"Nothing real can be threatened. Nothing unreal exists.
Herein Lies the peace of God."
Course in Miracles
The Root of All Evil
VI. The Ego-Body Illusion
things work together for good. There are
exceptions except in the ego's judgment. Control is a central factor in what the ego permits into consciousness and one to which it devotes its maximum vigilance. This is
the way a balanced mind holds together.
control is unconscious. The ego is further off balance by keeping its primary
unconscious and raising control rather than sensible judgment to predominance. The ego has every reason to do this according to the thought system which gave rise to it and which it serves. Sane judgment would inevitably judge
the ego and must be obliterated by the ego in the interest of its self-preservation.
A major source of the ego's off-balanced state is its lack of discrimination between impulses from God and from the body. Any thought system which makes this confusion
be insane. Yet this demented state is
to the ego, which judges only in terms of threat or non-threat
In one sense the ego's fear of the idea of God is at least logical, since this idea
dispel the ego. Fear of dissolution from the Higher Source, then, makes
sense in ego-terms. But fear of the body, with which the ego identifies so closely, is more blatantly senseless.
The body is the ego's home by its own election. It is the only identification with which the ego feels safe, because the body's vulnerability is its own best argument that you
be of God. This is the belief that the ego sponsors eagerly. Yet the ego hates the body because it does not accept the idea that the body is
enough to be its home. Here is where the mind becomes actually dazed. Being told by the ego that it is really part of the body and that the body is its protector, the mind is also constantly informed that the body can
protect it. This, of course, is not only accurate but perfectly obvious.
Therefore the mind asks, "Where can I go for protection?" to which the ego replies, "Turn to me." The mind, and not without cause, reminds the ego that it has itself insisted that it
identified with the body, so there is no point in turning to it for protection. The ego has no real answer to this because there
none, but it
have a typical solution. It obliterates the
from the mind's awareness. Once unconscious, the question can and does produce uneasiness, but it cannot be answered because it cannot be
. This is the question which
be asked: "Where am I to go for protection?" Even the insane ask it unconsciously, but it requires real sanity to ask it consciously.
When the Bible says, "Seek and ye shall find," it does not mean that you should seek blindly and desperately for something you would not recognize. Meaningful seeking is consciously undertaken, consciously organized, and consciously directed. The goal must be formulated clearly
and kept in mind
. As a teacher with some experience, let me remind you that learning and
to learn are inseparable. All learners learn best when they believe that what they are trying to learn is of
to them. However, values in this world are hierarchical, and not everything you may want to learn has lasting value.
Indeed, many of the things you want to learn are chosen
their value will not last. The ego thinks it is an advantage not to commit itself to
that is eternal because the eternal
come from God. Eternalness is the one function which the ego has tried to develop but has systematically failed. It may surprise you to learn that had the ego wished to do so it could have made the eternal because, as a product of the mind, it
endowed with the power of its own creator. However, the
to do this, rather than the ability to do it, is what the ego cannot tolerate. That is because the decision, from which the ability would naturally develop, would necessarily involve accurate perception, a state of clarity which the ego, fearful of being judged truly,
The results of this dilemma are peculiar, but no more so than the dilemma itself. The ego has reacted characteristically here as elsewhere because mental illness, which is
a form of ego involvement, is not a matter of reliability as much as of validity. The ego compromises with the issue of the eternal, just as it does with all issues that touch on the real question in any way. By compromising in connection with all
questions, it hopes to hide the real question
and keep it out of mind
. The ego's characteristic busyness with non-essentials is for precisely that purpose.
Consider the alchemist's age-old attempts to turn base metal into gold. The one question which the alchemist did not permit himself to ask was, "What
?" He could not ask this because it would immediately become apparent that there was no sense in his efforts even if he succeeded. If gold became more plentiful, its value would decrease, and his own purpose would be defeated. The ego has countenanced some strange compromises with the idea of the eternal, making many odd attempts to relate the concept to the
important in an effort to satisfy the mind without jeopardizing itself. Thus, it has permitted minds to devote themselves to the possibility of perpetual
to perpetual thoughts.
Ideational preoccupations with problems set up to be incapable of solution are also favorite ego devices for impeding the strong-willed from making real learning progress. The problems of squaring the circle and carrying pi to infinity are good examples. A more recent ego attempt is particularly noteworthy. The idea of preserving the
by suspension, thus giving it the kind of limited immortality which the ego can tolerate, is among its more recent appeals to the mind. It is noticeable, however, that in all these diversionary tactics, the one question which is
asked by those who pursue them is, "What
This is the question which
must learn to ask in connection with
your mind wishes to undertake. What is the purpose? Whatever it is, you cannot doubt that it will channelize your efforts automatically. When you make a decision of purpose, then, you have made a decision about your future effort, a decision which will remain in effect unless you change the
Psychologists are in a good position to realize that the ego is capable of making and accepting as real some very distorted associations. The confusion of sex with aggression and the resulting behavior, which is perceived as the same for both, serves as an example. This is "understandable" to the psychologist and does not produce surprise. The lack of surprise, however, is
a sign of understanding. It is a symptom of the psychologist's ability to accept as reasonable a compromise which is clearly senseless—to attribute it to the mental illness of the patient rather than his own and to limit his questions about both the patient
himself to the trivial.
Such relatively minor confusions of the ego are not among its more profound misassociations, although they do reflect them. Your egos have been blocking the more important questions which your minds
ask. You do not understand a patient while you yourselves are willing to limit the questions you raise about
mind because you are also accepting these limits for
. This makes you unable to heal him
yourselves. Be always unwilling to adapt to
situation in which miracle-mindedness is unthinkable. That state in itself is enough to demonstrate that the perception is wrong.
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A Course in Miracles
A theoretical foundation such as the text is necessary as a background to make these exercises meaningful. Yet it is the exercises which will make the goal possible. An untrained mind can accomplish nothing. It is the purpose of these exercises to train the mind to think along the lines which the course sets forth.
The exercises are very simple. They do not require more than a few minutes, and it does not matter where or when you do them. They need no preparation. They are numbered, running from 1 to 365. The training period is one year. Do not undertake more than one exercise a day.
The purpose of these exercises is to train the mind to a different perception of everything in the world. The workbook is divided into two sections, the first dealing with the undoing of what you see now and the second with the restoration of sight. It is recommended that each exercise be repeated several times a day, preferably in a different place each time and, if possible, in every situation in which you spend any long period of time. The purpose is to train the mind to generalize the lessons, so that you will understand that each of them is as applicable to one situation as it is to another.
Unless specified to the contrary, the exercise should be practiced with the eyes open, since the aim is to learn how to see. The only rule that should be followed throughout is to practice the exercises with great specificity. Each one applies to every situation in which you find yourself and to everything you see in it. Each day's exercises are planned around one central idea, the exercises themselves consisting of applying that idea to as many specifics as possible. Be sure that you do not decide that there are some things you see to which the idea for the day is inapplicable. The aim of the exercises will always be to increase the application of the idea to everything. This will not require effort. Only be sure that you make no exceptions in applying the idea.
Some of the ideas you will find hard to believe, and others will seem quite startling. It does not matter. You are merely asked to apply them to what you see. You are not asked to judge them, nor even to believe them. You are asked only to use them. It is their use which will give them meaning to you, and show you they are true. Remember only this—you need not believe them, you need not accept them, and you need not welcome them. Some of them you may actively resist. None of this will matter nor decrease their efficacy. But allow yourself to make no exceptions in applying the ideas the exercises contain. Whatever your reactions to the ideas may be, use them. Nothing more than this is required.
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God is the Mind with which I think.
Today's idea holds the key to what your real thoughts are. They are nothing that you think you think, just as nothing that you think you see is related to vision in any way. There is no relationship between what is real and what you think is real. Nothing that you think are your real thoughts resemble your real thoughts in any respect. Nothing that you think you see bears any resemblance to what vision will show you.
You think with the Mind of God. Therefore you share your thoughts with Him, as He shares His with you. They are the same thoughts because they are thought by the same Mind. To share is to make alike or to make one. Nor do the thoughts you think with the Mind of God leave your mind, because thoughts do not leave their source. Therefore your thoughts are in the Mind of God, as you are. They are in your mind as well, where He is. As you are part of His Mind, so are your thoughts part of His Thoughts.
Where, then, are your real thoughts? Today we will attempt to reach them. We will have to look for them in your mind because that is where they are. They must still be there because they cannot have left. What is thought by the Mind of God is eternal, being part of creation.
Our three five-minute practice periods for today will take the same general form that we used in applying yesterday's idea. We will attempt to leave the unreal and seek for the real. We will deny the world in favor of truth. We will not let the thoughts of the world hold us back, and we will not let the beliefs of the world tell us that what God would have us do is impossible.
Instead, we will try to recognize that only what God would have us do is possible. We will also try to understand that only what God would have us do is what we want to do. And we will also try to remember that we cannot fail in doing what He would have us do. There is every reason to feel confident that you will succeed today. It is the Will of God.
Begin the exercises for today by repeating the idea to yourself, closing your eyes as you do so. Spend a fairly short period in thinking a few relevant thoughts of your own, keeping the idea in mind as you do so. After you have added some four or five thoughts of your own, repeat the idea again, and tell yourself gently:
My real thoughts are in my mind. I would like to find them.
Then try to go past all the unreal thoughts that cover the truth in your mind, and reach to the eternal.
Under all the senseless thoughts and mad ideas with which you have cluttered up your mind are the thoughts which you thought with God in the beginning. They are there in your mind now, completely unchanged. They will always be in your mind, exactly as they always were.
Everything that you have thought since then will change, but the foundation on which they rest is wholly changeless. It is this foundation toward which the exercises for today are directed. Here is your mind joined with the Mind of God. Here are your thoughts one with His.
For this kind of practice, only one thing is necessary—approach it as you would an altar dedicated in Heaven itself to God the Father and God the Son. For such is the place you are trying to reach. You will probably be unable as yet to realize how high you are trying to go. Yet even with the little understanding you have already gained, you should be able to remind yourself that this is no idle game but an exercise in holiness and an attempt to reach the Kingdom of Heaven.
In using the shorter form for applying today's idea, try to remember how important it is to you to understand the holiness of the mind that thinks with God. Take a minute or two as you repeat the idea throughout the day to appreciate your mind's holiness. Stand aside, however briefly, from all thoughts that are unworthy of Him Whose host you are. And thank Him for the thoughts He is thinking with you.
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God is the Mind with which I think.
Beneath what we think we think are our real thoughts. Our only real thoughts are those we think with God. What goes on in our day-to-day thinking diminishes the quality of our lives and relationships and limits our joy, success, and happiness. The thoughts that occupy our minds are mostly based on sin, guilt, and fear, which translate as past, present, and future. We believe we did something wrong in the past, hold guilt in the present, and fear punishment in the future. These thoughts are the cause of our unhappiness because we are holding onto painful memories and unhealed conflicts from the past, or we are consumed with concerns, plans, and worries regarding the future. Our mind is cluttered with all kinds of senseless thoughts and mad ideas. They are beliefs we hold, judgments we have, grievances we hang onto, plans we make, fantasies about the future, hopes, dreams, memories, interpretations, opinions, viewpoints, reactions, and emotions, all conditioned by the past and attributed to our upbringing, culture and family background.
All of it comes from our belief in sin. We accepted into the mind the ego's myth that we left God, destroyed our home in Heaven, went off on our own, and now we deserve punishment for what we seemingly did. This constitutes our unconscious program of which we are mostly unaware. What we are aware of are feelings of unworthiness, lack, loneliness, worry, and sadness. We can't heal anything we don't bring to awareness. This is where mind watching becomes so important. Paying attention to our thoughts is the only way healing can happen. Otherwise, they keep running in the background and keep us invested in the world. The essence of forgiveness is to bring our untrue thoughts to what is real in us, which is the love of God that is in our right minds. We must expose our thoughts in order to see they have no reality. None of them are true. Byron Katie asks if we can ever be absolutely certain of the truth of any thought we are holding in the mind. It is this deep questioning that brings a level of uncertainty to our thoughts. This is the beginning of considering that we may be wrong about what we are thinking and believing.
"There is no relationship between what is real and what you think is real."
(W.45.1.3) What we think is real are our thoughts about the world, our relationships, how we define who people are, and our difficulties, which are all part of the dream we are dreaming. It is all illusory. If I think someone in my life has hurt me, I am not seeing correctly. To see correctly, I must come to see as God sees. God sees us all as His one perfect and innocent Son who has chosen to forget who he is. Everyone I encounter or think about is a brother calling for understanding and love, just as I am. Thus, my responsibility is to bring my judgments of any brother to my awareness as he is a reflection of the self-attacking thoughts I hold in my own mind. Through forgiveness, I see his innocence, and thus I know my own. It is to see my brother as God sees him.
Yes, it can be challenging because of our resistance, but it is not hard. We just need to change the channel in the mind. We just need to pivot from the false self to the true Self. This morning I felt attacked when my partner reacted very negatively after I reminded him of what he agreed to do today. To me, it felt like a gentle reminder, but it elicited a very angry response from him. My first thought was how I was being unfairly treated by him. But as I went into the silence, I realized that under my seemingly kind and helpful remarks was a judgment about him. Given that I was getting such an angry response from him, I knew there was something here for me to look at. To exhume our judgments takes great self-honesty as they can be deeply hidden in the mind. The reaction of my brother was my invitation to look more deeply at the judgment I was holding about him. Initially, we may resist, decrying our own innocence, yet we can’t heal what we keep hidden from ourselves.
Jesus reminds us we have not left God
". . . because thoughts do not leave their source,"
(W.45.2.5) and we are a thought in the Mind of God. What that means is that we have never left God's Mind. In other words, the separation never happened. We are still with God, dreaming of exile in this body and this world.
"Therefore, your thoughts are in the Mind of God, as you are."
(W.45.2.6) We think we have separated from God, yet His thoughts can still be reflected here in this world because His thoughts are still in our minds
"A blindfold can indeed obscure your sight, but cannot make the way itself grow dark. And He Who travels with you
(T.31.II.11.8-9) (ACIM OE T.31.II.25) In order to connect to the real thoughts in our minds, our part is to become aware of our dark thoughts and bring them to the light. These are thoughts of self-hatred, unworthiness, grievances, anger, fear, and guilt, but they do not reflect who we are. They are not our true thoughts.
Even though we believe we have left God, the reflection of His Love is still available to us in this dream. Though we believe we are here in this world, the truth is we have never left the Mind of God.
"Therefore, your thoughts are in the Mind of God, as you are. They are in your mind as well, where He is."
(W.45.2.6-7) The world is not real. It is a projection of the guilt in our minds, so now it seems ideas in the Mind of God have left their Source. We do seem to be separate from God in a world of separate parts
. "Each one peoples his world with figures from his individual past, and it is because of this that private worlds differ. Yet the figures that he sees were never real, for they are made up only of his reactions to his brothers, and do not include their reactions to him. Therefore, he does not see he made them, and that they are not whole. For these figures have no witnesses, being perceived in one separate mind only."
(T.13.V.2.1-4) (ACIM OE T.12.V.34)
"It is through these strange and shadowy figures that the insane relate to their insane world."
(T.13.V.3.1) (ACIM OE T.12.V.35)
Our thoughts that are fear-based, frantic, anxious, changeable, senseless, and obsessive clutter up our minds. They are what keep us from the awareness that we are indeed in constant communication with our Source, One with God. The thoughts we are thinking are therefore unworthy of who we are as God’s Son. They keep us from awareness of our holiness. Jesus tells us to reach our real thoughts is an exercise in holiness. It may seem challenging right now to reach the truth within us, but the changeless foundation is already in us and can be readily reached with willingness, practice, effort, and confidence.
Jesus assures us we can be confident for the following reasons. 1)
". . . what God would have us do is what we want to do
". . . we cannot fail in doing what He would have us do
." 3) "
There is every reason to feel confident that we will succeed today
." 4) "
It is the Will of God."
(W.45.5.1-4) If God Wills it and we want it, what can stop us? What can stop us is the thought we aren't very good at this, aren’t worth the effort, and won't succeed. Further, we drag our feet because of our fear and resistance of waking up from this dream. On the other hand, we are doing these Lessons because there is a part of us that wants to learn what Jesus is teaching. Our motivation comes from our desire for consistent peace and happiness. When we acknowledge how miserable we really are, we will be highly motivated to do these Lessons. As we apply these Lessons in our day-to-day lives, we experience more of the constancy, harmony, peace, benevolence, and stability of our true Self.
In the Lesson yesterday, we were told we don't see, and now we are told we don't think. We must begin to recognize, however dimly, how totally delusional we are! There is not much to hold onto in the world! We have been told our eyes don't see, our minds don't think, and our entire experience in the world is one of hallucinations! It is all insanity. None of it is real. Yet to us, it is the known, so we have made an adjustment to it all. As you go through the undoing of the thought system of the ego, it is not unusual to experience some disorientation as we come from the darkness of this world into more and more light.
"The Thought God holds of you is like a star, unchangeable in an eternal sky."
(T.30.III.8.4) (ACIM OE T.30.IV.45) This is the thought we share with God about our reality, and in this thought, we think with God.
"The truth in you remains as radiant as a star, as pure as light, as innocent as love itself."
(T.31.VI.7.4) (ACIM OE T.31.VI.67) This is the Atonement Principle, which is our assurance that we have not changed ourselves. We are still the radiant, eternal, innocent, and pristine Son of God. We can only block this awareness, and this is exactly what we have done.
While we yearn for the peace of God, we still have a lot of fear and resistance. We wonder what will happen to us if we release our hold on this self we think we are. Clearly, we all want to escape from the frantic thoughts that occupy our minds, but we don't want to let go of our separate identity, which is defined by the thoughts we hold. Thus, we want to alleviate our suffering but still keep the self intact. Thus, we feel some tension and fear the unknown. Jesus assures us that no one will be hurled into Heaven, so there is no need for fear. We can go as slowly or as quickly as our fear will allow. We are in charge of this process. It is all about readiness.
The practice today is about making space for our real thoughts. They are still in our right minds. God has not changed His Mind about His Son, even if we have forgotten who we are. We watch our thoughts and bring them to the Holy Spirit by placing them on our inner altar. A sure sign we are listening to the ego is when we are not at peace. When this is the case, we can decide,
"Perhaps there is another way to look at this. What can I lose by asking?"
(T.30.I.12.3-4) (ACIM OE T.30.II.26) There is always an answer within when we turn to the Holy Spirit. The answer is always some form of peace.
Once more, as we did yesterday, we practice sinking into the quiet within, going past all the unreal thoughts that cover the truth in our minds as we reach to the eternal within us. This is a holy endeavor and one we should take very seriously, although not somberly, for it is a joyous experience. Within me, there is a place that never changes, a place always at peace, always brilliant with love's shining glow. And today, Oh God, yes today, I want to find that place! Today, I want to touch the solid foundation at the core of my Being and know its stability. Today, I want to find my Self.
My experience with this meditation has had profound results. I see my thoughts as dark, dense clouds. As a thought shows up, I give it no attention. With each thought that comes up, I stay detached. I try not to engage with it. If I get off track, I remind myself my mind can hold only what I think with God. After a while, peace descends. It is like a beautiful, gentle, warm, and welcoming light. When another thought draws me back into the world, I let it go. I express gratitude for the peace, and I know I can return to it at anytime I choose. I feel the power of the support that is available every step of the way. Jesus says, if it helps us, we can ask to take his hand on this journey through the clouds that obscure our vision. I dedicate this day to peace and keep choosing to disconnect my mind from any worries and concerns.
Repeat the idea as you close your eyes, adding 4-5 related thoughts (remember the instructions in letting related thoughts come that were given in Lessons 42 and 43). Repeat the idea again and say:
My real thoughts are in my mind. I would like to find them
God's Thoughts are with you. He has never left you. He shares His mind with you and knows of your loveliness and innocence; He knows you are a spotless mind, never apart from Him.
Love and blessings, Sarah
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