"Nothing real can be threatened. Nothing unreal exists.
Herein Lies the peace of God."
A Course in Miracles

God and the Ego

VI. The Dynamics of the Ego

39 No one can escape from illusions unless he looks at them, for not looking is the way they are protected . There is no need to shrink from illusions, for they cannot be dangerous. We are ready to look more closely at the ego's thought system because together we have the lamp that will dispel it, and since you realize you do not want it, you must be ready. Let us be very calm in doing this, for we are merely looking honestly for truth. The "dynamics" of the ego will be our lesson for a while, for we must look first at this to look beyond it since you have made it real. We will undo this error quietly together and then look beyond it to truth.

40 What is healing but the removal of all that stands in the way of knowledge? And how else can one dispel illusions except by looking at them directly without protecting them? Be not afraid, therefore, for what you will be looking at is the source of fear, but you have surely learned by now that fear is not real. We have accepted the fact already that its effects can be dispelled merely by denying their reality. The next step is obviously to recognize that what has no effects does not exist . Laws do not operate in a vacuum, and what leads to nothing has not happened . If reality is recognized by its extension, what extends to nothing cannot be real.

41 Do not be afraid, then, to look upon fear, for it cannot be seen. Clarity undoes confusion by definition, and to look upon darkness through light must dispel it. Let us begin this lesson in "ego dynamics" by understanding that the term itself does not mean anything. In fact, it contains exactly the contradiction in terms which makes it meaningless. "Dynamics" implies the power to do something, and the whole separation fallacy lies in the belief that the ego has the power to do anything . The ego is fearful to you because you believe this. Yet the truth is very simple:

42 All power is of God . What is not of Him has no power to do anything.

43 When we look at the ego, then, we are not considering dynamics but delusions. We can surely regard a delusional system without fear, for it cannot have any effects if its source is not true. Fear becomes more obviously inappropriate if one recognizes the ego's goal , which is so clearly senseless that any effort exerted on its behalf is necessarily expended on nothing. The ego's goal is quite explicitly ego autonomy . From the beginning, then, its purpose is to be separate, sufficient unto itself, and independent of any power except its own. This is why it is the symbol of separation.

44 Every idea has a purpose, and its purpose is always the natural extension of what it is . Everything that stems from the ego is the natural outcome of its central belief, and the way to undo its results is merely to recognize that their source is not natural, being out of accord with your true nature. We once said that to will contrary to God is wishful thinking and not real willing. His Will is one because the extension of His Will cannot be unlike itself. The real conflict you experience, then, is between the ego's idle wishes and the Will of God, which you share. Can this be a real conflict?

45 Yours is the independence of creation, not of autonomy. Your whole creative function lies in your complete dependence on God, Whose function He shares with you . By His willingness to share it, He became as dependent on you as you are on Him . Do not ascribe the ego's arrogance to Him, Who wills not to be independent of you . He has included you in His Autonomy. Can you believe that autonomy is meaningful apart from Him? The belief in ego autonomy is costing you the knowledge of your dependence on God in which your freedom lies. The ego sees all dependency as threatening and has twisted even your longing for God into a means of establishing itself . But do not be deceived by its interpretation of your conflict.

46 The ego always attacks on behalf of separation. Believing it has the power to do this, it does nothing else because its goal of autonomy is nothing else. The ego is totally confused about reality, but it does not lose sight of its goal. It is much more vigilant than you are because it is perfectly certain of its purpose. You are confused because you do not know yours .

47 What you must learn to recognize is that the last thing the ego wishes you to realize is that you are afraid of it . For if the ego gives rise to fear, it is diminishing your independence and weakening your power. Yet its one claim to your allegiance is that it can give power to you. Without this belief, you would not listen to it at all. How, then, can its existence continue if you realize that, by accepting it, you are belittling yourself and depriving yourself of power?

48 The ego can and does allow you to regard yourself as supercilious, unbelieving, "light-hearted," distant, emotionally shallow, callous, uninvolved, and even desperate, but not really afraid. Minimizing fear but not its undoing is the ego's constant effort and is indeed the skill at which it is very ingenious. How can it preach separation without upholding it through fear, and would you listen to it if you recognized this is what it is doing?

49 Your recognition that whatever seems to separate you from God is only fear, regardless of the form it takes and quite apart from how the ego wants you to experience it, is therefore the basic ego threat. Its dream of autonomy is shaken to its foundation by this awareness. For though you may countenance a false idea of independence, you will not accept the cost of fear if you recognize it . Yet this is the cost, and the ego cannot minimize it. For if you overlook love, you are overlooking yourself , and you must fear unreality because you have denied yourself. By believing that you have successfully attacked truth, you are believing that attack has power . Very simply, then, you have become afraid of yourself . And no one wills to learn what he believes would destroy him.

50 If the ego's goal of autonomy could be accomplished, God's purpose could be defeated, and this is impossible. Only by learning what fear is , can you finally learn to distinguish the possible from the impossible and the false from the true. According to the ego's teaching, its goal can be accomplished, and God's purpose can not . According to the Holy Spirit's teaching, only God's purpose is accomplishment, and it is already accomplished.

51 God is as dependent on you as you are on Him because His autonomy encompasses yours and is therefore incomplete without it. You can only establish your autonomy by identifying with Him and fulfilling your function as it exists in truth . The ego believes that to accomplish its goal is happiness. But it is given you to know that God's function is yours and happiness cannot be found apart from your joint will. Recognize only that the ego's goal, which you have pursued quite diligently, has only brought you fear , and it becomes difficult to maintain that fear is happiness.

52 Upheld by fear, this is what the ego would have you believe. Yet God's Son is not insane and cannot believe it. Let him but recognize it, and he will not accept it. For only the insane would choose fear in place of love, and only the insane could believe that love can be gained by attack. But the sane know that only attack could produce fear , from which the love of God completely protects them.

53 The ego analyzes; the Holy Spirit accepts . The appreciation of wholeness comes only through acceptance, for to analyze means to separate out. The attempt to understand totality by breaking it up is clearly the characteristically contradictory approach of the ego to everything. Never forget that the ego believes that power, understanding, and truth lie in separation, and to establish this belief it must attack. Unaware that the belief cannot be established and obsessed with the conviction that separation is salvation, the ego attacks everything it perceives by breaking it up into small and disconnected parts without meaningful relationships and thus without meaning. The ego will always substitute chaos for meaning, for if separation is salvation, harmony is threat.

54 The ego's interpretation of the laws of perception are, and would have to be, the exact opposite of the Holy Spirit's. The ego focuses on error and overlooks truth . It makes real every mistake it perceives, and with characteristically circular reasoning concludes that, because of the mistake, consistent truth must be meaningless. The next step, then, is obvious. If consistent truth is meaningless, inconsistency must be true if truth has meaning. Holding error clearly in mind and protecting what it has made real, the ego proceeds to the next step in its thought system—that error is real, and truth is error .

55 The ego makes no attempt to understand this, and it is clearly not understandable, but the ego does make every attempt to demonstrate it , and this it does constantly. Analyzing to attack meaning, the ego does succeed in overlooking it and is left with a series of fragmented perceptions which it unifies on behalf of itself . This, then, becomes the universe it perceives. And it is this universe which, in turn, becomes its demonstration of its own reality.

56 Do not underestimate the appeal of the ego's demonstrations to those who would listen. Selective perception chooses its witnesses carefully, and its witnesses are consistent. The case for insanity is strong to the insane. For reasoning ends at its beginning, and no thought system transcends its source. Yet reasoning without meaning cannot demonstrate anything, and those who are convinced by it must be deluded. Can the ego teach truly when it overlooks truth? Can it perceive what it has denied ? Its witnesses do attest to its denial but hardly to what it has denied! The ego looks straight at the Father and does not see Him, for it has denied His Son.

57 Would you remember the Father? Accept His Son, and you will remember Him. Nothing can demonstrate that His Son is unworthy, for nothing can prove that a lie is true. What you see of His Son through the eyes of the ego is a demonstration that His Son does not exist, yet where the Son is, the Father must be. Accept what God does not deny, and He will demonstrate its truth. The witnesses for God stand in His light and behold what He created. Their silence is the sign that they have beheld God's Son, and in the Presence of Christ they need demonstrate nothing, for Christ speaks to them of Himself and of His Father. They are silent because Christ speaks to them, and it is His words that they speak.

58 Every brother you meet becomes a witness for Christ or for the ego, depending on what you perceive in him. Everyone convinces you of what you want to perceive and of the reality of the kingdom you have chosen for your vigilance. Everything you perceive is a witness to the thought system you want to be true. Every brother has the power to release you if you will to be free . You cannot accept false witness of him unless you have evoked false witnesses against him. If he speaks not of Christ to you, you spoke not of Christ to him. You hear but your own voice, and if Christ speaks through you, you will hear Him.

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A Course in Miracles

Part I
Review III

1 Our third review begins today. We will review two of the last 20 ideas each day until we have reviewed them all. We will observe a special format for these practice periods which you are urged to follow as closely as you can. We understand, of course, that it may be impossible for you to undertake what is suggested here as optimal each day and every hour of the day.

2 Learning will not be hampered when you miss a practice period because it is impossible at the appointed time. Nor is it necessary that you make excessive efforts to be sure that you catch up in terms of numbers. Rituals are not our aim and would defeat our learning goal.

3 But learning will be hampered when you skip a practice period because you are unwilling to devote the time to it which you are asked to give. Do not deceive yourself in this. Unwillingness can be most carefully concealed behind a cloak of situations you cannot control. Learn to distinguish situations which are poorly suited to your practicing from those which you establish to uphold a camouflage for your unwillingness.

4 Those practice periods which you have lost because you did not want to do them for whatever reason should be done as soon as you have changed your mind about your goal. You are unwilling to cooperate in practicing salvation only if it interferes with goals you hold more dear. When you withdraw the value given them, allow your practice periods to be replacements for your litanies to them. They gave you nothing. But your practice periods offer you everything. Accept their offering and be at peace.

5 The format you should use for these reviews is this: devote five minutes twice a day or longer if you would prefer to contemplating the ideas assigned. Read over the ideas and comments which are written first in each day's exercises. Then begin to think about them quietly, letting your mind relate them to your needs, your seeming problems, and all your concerns.

6 Place the ideas within your mind, and let it use them as it chooses. Give it faith that it will use them wisely, being helped in its decisions by the One Who gave the thoughts to you. What can you trust but what is in your mind? Have faith, in these reviews, the means the Holy Spirit uses will not fail. The wisdom of your mind will come to your assistance. Give it direction at the start, then lean back in quiet faith, and let it use the ideas you have given it as they were given you.

7 You have been given them in perfect trust, in perfect confidence that you would use them well, in perfect faith that you would understand their messages and use them for yourself. Offer them to your mind in that same trust and confidence and faith. It will not fail. It is the Holy Spirit's chosen means for your salvation. And with His trust merits yours as well.

8 We emphasize the benefits to you if you devote the first five minutes of the day to your review and also give the last five minutes of your waking day to it. If this cannot be done, at least try to divide them so you undertake one in the morning, and the other in the hour just before you go to sleep.

9 The exercises to be done throughout the day are equally important and perhaps of even greater value. You have been inclined to do the exercises and then go on to other things, without applying what you learned to them. As a result, your learning has had little reinforcement, and you have not given it the opportunity to prove its worth to you.

10 Here is another chance to use it well. In these reviews we stress the need to let your learning not lie idly by between your longer practice periods. Attempt to give your daily two ideas a brief but serious review each hour. Use one on the hour and the other one a half an hour later. You need not give more than just a moment to each one.

11 Repeat it, and allow your mind to rest a little time in silence and in peace. Then turn to other things, but try to keep the thought with you and let it serve to help you keep your peace throughout the day. If you are shaken, think of it again. These practice periods are planned to help you form the habit of applying what you learn each day to everything you do.

12 Do not repeat it and then lay it down. Its usefulness is limitless to you. And it is meant to serve you in all ways, all times and places, and whenever you need help of any kind. Try, then, to take it with you in the business of the day and make it holy, worthy of God's Son, acceptable to God and to your Self.

13 Each day's review assignment will conclude with a restatement of the thought to use each hour and the one to be applied on each half hour as well. Forget them not. This second chance with each of these ideas will bring such large advances that we come from these reviews with learning gains so great that we begin again on solid ground.

We apply the Lesson to every concern, problem, situation, and relationship that comes up during the day and try to remember the Lesson on the hour with "I rest in God." (W.120.(109)1.1) On the half hour: "I am as God created me." (W.120.(110)2.1)

Love and blessings, Sarah

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A Course in Miracles

Lesson 120
[Review of Lessons 109-110]

1 For morning and evening review:

[109] I rest in God.

2 I rest in God today and let Him work in me and through me, while I rest in Him in quiet and in perfect certainty.

[110] I am as God created me.

3 I am God's Son. Today I lay aside all sick illusions of myself and let my Father tell me Who I really am.

4 On the hour:

5 I rest in God.

6 On the half hour:

7 I am as God created me.

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Sarah's Reflections

Lesson 120
Review III ~ Lessons 109-110

This is the last day of the Review and what a sweet Lesson to end our Review period. "I rest in God" (W.120.(109)1.1) and "I am as God created me. " (W.120.(110)2.1) It has been an overwhelmingly busy week for us here and resting in God today in our minds, despite any external whirl, is an inviting thought. The ego mind has no rest. All our stress, anxiety, despair, and frustration come from thoughts that keep us from knowing who we are as God created us. Can we just relax today, take some respite from of all this activity, go beyond all our raucous thoughts, rest from the activities that keep us distracted from the Self we are, and be reminded of our true reality? Yes, even in our busy doings we can rest in God. "This quiet center, in which you do nothing, will remain with you, giving you rest in the midst of every busy doing on which you are sent." (T.18.VII.8.3) (ACIM OE T.18.VIII.70) In other words, we bring the peace to every situation.
To rest in God is to be in His flow and allow Him to lead the way. To rest in God is to find our center of peace, if only for a moment, where we release the external world. To rest in God is to know the constancy of the Self we are and know the changing, seeking, and striving self is an illusion. To rest in God is to know we are eternally safe in His loving arms. Today, let us find this place of respite within and know that in spite of any experiences of stress and turmoil, the truth is that we are at home, we are safe, and we are whole. When we don't experience this, we are actually listening to the ego.
Peace is constant within us all the time, awaiting our acceptance of it. When we bring the false to the truth, we experience a deep feeling of release. We remember our true reality as God created us---never changing, all loving, always still and at peace, whole, safe, and at home. To rest in God is to give ourselves over to Him and let Him work through us, using our bodies as an instrument of His peace and love in the world. Our own actions become entirely involuntary and our thoughts become His. It is, indeed, to live in ease and to live in the flow.
This experience comes to the quiet mind. It is a deep place of silence and safety in the mind we come to in our meditation and contemplation as we start and end our day. On the hour, we take respite in the quiet center of our mind where there is perfect certainty while reminding ourselves on the half hour of our true reality as God's Son. Sure, we will pick up the struggle again because we still want to be on this worldly stage---special and unique, but as we connect more and more with the truth, our desire for this experience of rest increases. To rest in God is to know that when we seem to be in the struggle, it is not who we really are. Behind the struggle is the peace of God. "Salvation lies in the simple fact that illusions are not fearful because they are not true. " (T.16.V.14.1) (ACIM OE T.16.VI.56)
To rest in God is to see our problems from above the battleground, outside this dream. From this place, we accept all there is without judgment and do not fight against it. When we fight against what is, we suffer. "All your difficulties stem from the fact that you do not recognize yourself, your brother or God. " (T.3.III.2.1) (ACIM OE T.3.V.31) We are never upset with a fact. What upsets us are our interpretations. "It is always an interpretation that gives rise to negative emotions, regardless of their seeming justification by what appears as facts. " (Manual for Teachers.17.4.2) When our minds are at peace, we know everything is fine, regardless of appearances. Jesus gave us this message when he affirmed that he knows everything we have done and loves us always. "He cannot be unjust to anyone or anything, because He knows that everything that is belongs to Him, and will forever be as He created it." (T.26.II.8.2) (ACIM OE T.26.III.17)
Who you think you are and what you think you have made of yourself is all delusional. It is just a mistaken identity you have come to believe is yourself. You are God's Son and you share His attributes. As God's Son, you are the same as Jesus---One with all creation. These are not just pretty words. They are the truth of our Being. Can we take this much love in today? To do so requires that we look at our false thoughts and beliefs without judgment. When we look at the ego with Jesus from outside of the dream, we can smile at it and see it as the delusion it is. Rest in God. Take His Word for who you really are today and every day.

The practice continues as before, with time spent each morning and each evening with the Lesson and letting related thoughts come to mind. These are already in the mind. We can allow them to come forward without effort. They are a form of self-talk that is helpful in dismissing the chatter of the ego. They are the wisdom of the Holy Spirit in our right minds where the truth resides.

We apply the Lesson to every concern, problem, situation, and relationship that comes up during the day and try to remember the Lesson on the hour with "I rest in God." (W.120.(109)1.1) On the half hour: "I am as God created me." (W.120.(110)2.1)

Love and blessings, Sarah


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