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

CHAPTER 4
The Root of All Evil

VIII. Creation and Communication

94 It should be clear by now that, while the content of any particular ego-illusion does not matter, it is usually more helpful to correct it in a specific context. Ego-illusions are quite specific, although they frequently change and although the mind is naturally abstract. The mind nevertheless becomes concrete voluntarily as soon as it splits. However, only part of it splits, so only part of it is concrete. The concrete part is the same part that believes in the ego because the ego depends on the specific. It is the part that believes your existence means you are separate .

95 Everything the ego perceives is a separate whole, without the relationships that imply being . The ego is thus against communication except in so far as it is utilized to establish separateness rather than to abolish it. The communication system of the ego is based on its own thought system, as is everything else it dictates. Its communication is controlled by its need to protect itself, and it will disrupt communication when it experiences threat. While this is always so, individual egos perceive different kinds of threat which are quite specific in their own judgment. For example, although all forms of perceived demands may be classified or judged by the ego as coercive communication which must be disrupted, the response of breaking communication will nevertheless be to a specific person or persons.

96 The specificity of the ego's thinking, then, results in a spurious kind of generalization which is really not abstract at all. It will respond in certain specific ways to all stimuli which it perceives as related. In contrast the Soul reacts in the same way to everything it knows is true and does not respond at all to anything else. Nor does it make any attempt to establish what is true. It knows that what is true is everything that God created. It is in complete and direct communication with every aspect of creation because it is in complete and direct communication with its Creator.

97 This communication is the Will of God. Creation and communication are synonymous. God created every mind by communicating His Mind to it, thus establishing it forever as a channel for the reception of His Mind and Will. Since only beings of a like order can truly communicate, His creations naturally communicate with Him and like Him. This communication is perfectly abstract in that its quality is universal in application and not subject to any judgment, any exception, or any alteration. God created you by this and for this. The mind can distort its function, but it cannot endow itself with functions it was not given. That is why the mind cannot totally lose the ability to communicate, even though it may refuse to utilize it on behalf of being.

98 Existence as well as being rests on communication. Existence, however, is specific in how, what, and with whom communication is judged to be worth undertaking. Being is completely without these distinctions. It is a state in which the mind is in communication with everything that is real, including the Soul. To whatever extent you permit this state to be curtailed, you are limiting your sense of your own reality, which becomes total only by your recognizing all reality in the glorious context of its real relationship to you. This is your reality. Do not desecrate it or recoil from it. It is your real home, your real temple, and your real Self.

99 God, who encompasses all being, nevertheless created beings who have everything individually but who want to share it to increase their joy. Nothing that is real can be increased except by sharing. That is why God Himself created you. Divine Abstraction takes joy in application, and that is what creation means . "How," "what," and "to whom" are irrelevant because real creation gives everything since it can create only like itself. Remember that in being there is no difference between having and being as there is in existence. In the state of being, the mind gives everything always.

100 The Bible repeatedly states that you should praise God. This hardly means that you should tell Him how wonderful He is. He has no ego with which to accept such thanks and no perception with which to judge such offerings. But unless you take your part in the creation, His joy is not complete because yours is incomplete. And this He does know. He knows it in His own Being and its experience of His Son's experience. The constant going out of His love is blocked when His channels are closed, and He is lonely when the minds He created do not communicate fully with Him.

101 God has kept your kingdom for you, but He cannot share His joy with you until you know it with your whole mind. Even revelation is not enough because it is communication from God. It is not enough until it is shared . God does not need revelation returned to Him, which would clearly be impossible, but He does want revelation brought to others. This cannot be done with the actual revelation because its content cannot be expressed, and it is intensely personal to the mind which receives it. It can, however, still be returned by that mind through its attitudes to other minds which the knowledge from the revelation brings.

102 God is praised whenever any mind learns to be wholly helpful. This is impossible without being wholly harmless because the two beliefs coexist. The truly helpful are invulnerable because they are not protecting their egos, so that nothing can hurt them. Their helpfulness is their praise of God, and He will return their praise of Him because they are like Him, and they can rejoice together. God goes out to them and through them, and there is great joy throughout the Kingdom. Every mind that is changed adds to this joy with its own individual willingness to share in it. The truly helpful are God's miracle workers whom I direct until we are all united in the joy of the Kingdom. I will direct you to wherever you can be truly helpful and to whoever can follow my guidance through you.

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A Course in Miracles
WORKBOOK

Part I
I. Introduction

1 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.

2 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.

3 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.

4 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.

5 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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Lesson 47
God is the Strength in which I trust.

1 If you are trusting your own strength, you have every reason to be apprehensive, anxious, and fearful. What can you predict or control? What is there in you that can be counted on? What would give you the ability to be aware of all the facets of any problem and to resolve them in such a way that only good can come of it? What is there in you that gives you the recognition of the right solution and the guarantee that it will be accomplished?

2 Of yourself, you can do none of these things. To believe that you can is to put your trust where trust is unwarranted and to justify fear, anxiety, depression, anger, and sorrow. Who can put his faith in weakness and feel safe? Yet who can put his faith in strength and feel weak?

3 God is your safety in every circumstance. His Voice speaks for Him in all situations and in every aspect of all situations, telling you exactly what to do to call upon His strength and His protection. There are no exceptions because God has no exceptions. And the Voice Which speaks for Him thinks as He does.

4 Today we will try to reach past your own weakness to the Source of real strength. Four five-minute practice periods are necessary today, and longer and more frequent ones are urged. Close your eyes and begin as usual by repeating today's idea. Then spend a minute or two in searching for situations in your life which you have invested with fear, dismissing each one by telling yourself,

5 God is the Strength in which I trust.

6 Now try to slip past all concerns related to your own sense of inadequacy. It is obvious that any situation that causes you concern is associated with feelings of inadequacy, since otherwise you would believe that you could deal with the situation successfully. It is not by trusting yourself that you will gain confidence. But the strength of God in you is successful in all things.

7 The recognition of your own frailty is a necessary step in the correction of your errors, but it is hardly a sufficient one in giving you the confidence which you need and to which you are entitled. You must also gain an awareness that your confidence in your real strength is fully justified in every respect and in all circumstances.

8 In the latter phase of the practice period, try to reach down into your mind to a place of real safety. You will recognize that you have reached it if you feel a deep peace, however briefly. Let go all the trivial things that churn and bubble on the surface of your mind, and reach down and below them to the Kingdom of Heaven. There is a place in you where there is perfect peace. There is a place in you where nothing is impossible. There is a place in you where the strength of God abides.

9 Repeat the idea for today often. Use it as your answer to any disturbance. Remember that peace is your right because you are giving your trust to the strength of God.

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Sarah's Reflections

Lesson 47
God is the Strength in which I trust.

So much of our lives we live in a state of apprehension, anxiety, and fear. Jesus says it is because no matter how much we think we can control and manage the events of our lives, we can never be certain about anything. We can never be aware of all facets of any problem, circumstance, or situation, such that only good will come from them. Is it any wonder we are anxious and fearful? Is it any wonder we have trouble making decisions? Everything we try to do in the world is tinged with fear. We become so used to this underlying anxiety that we generally don't even notice it, or we may have become very good at covering it over with positive thoughts. Yet notice it we must, if we are to bring about healing that will lead to deep peace.
 
"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 see beyond it, since you have made it real. We will undo this error quietly together, and then look beyond it to truth." (T.11.V.1.1-6) (ACIM OE T.10.VI.39)
 
I was going through the to-do list for my day, and there were a myriad of things on this list I wanted to accomplish. When I tuned into my feelings, I noticed a low level of fear around everything. Even small daily things like what I should make for dinner, how to write this commentary, how to be helpful to my ailing mother, questions about my diet and health, what to pack for my trip, how to invest my money, and what priorities were essential to attend to today, were all tinged with anxiety. All of it brings a level of apprehension about my inability to know what to do in order that only good would come from it for all. Jesus addresses this when he asks us this series of questions: "What can you predict or control? What is there in you that can be counted on? What would give you the ability to be aware of all the facets of any problem, and to resolve them in such a way that only good can come of it? What is there in you that gives you the recognition of the right solution, and the guarantee that it will be accomplished?" (W.47.1.2-5) We try hard to maintain confidence in our strength and ability, but deep down, when we get honest with ourselves, we realize we can't know and predict positive outcomes in any situation with perfect trust and confidence. Thus, we are anxious and fearful all the time.
 
Jesus says, "It is necessary for the teacher of God to realize, not that he should not judge, but that he cannot." (M.10.2.1) "In order to judge anything rightly, one would have to be fully aware of an inconceivably wide range of things; past, present and to come. One would have to recognize in advance all the effects of his judgments on everyone and everything involved in them in any way. And one would have to be certain there is no distortion in his perception, so that his judgment would be wholly fair to everyone on whom it rests now and in the future. Who is in a position to do this? Who except in grandiose fantasies would claim this for himself?" (M.10.3.3-7) While we try to predict and control outcomes, as long as we put trust in our weakness, which is to rely on our separate selves, we will feel fear, anxiety, depression, anger, and sorrow. "Who can put his faith in weakness and feel safe?" (W.47.2.3)
 
We work hard to shore up our self-image and our confidence; and when we fail at managing the events of our lives, we do everything we can to enhance our skills and abilities so we can have more confidence in ourselves and feel more capable in the future. If we aren't doing well with this, we look for books and tapes, therapists, and supporters, who will assure us of our abilities and enhance our skills to manage our lives better. Yet what Jesus is basically doing here is undermining our abilities and asking us to question them. He wants us to realize we can't rely on our own strength with any confidence. Instead of inflating our self-confidence, maintaining we can handle it all, relying on our own strength, and denying all our insecurities, he asks us to acknowledge our fears and bring them to the light. When you admit your fears and recognize your own frailties, he says you have taken ". . . a necessary step in the correction of your errors." (W.47.6.1) However, while this is a first step , ". . . it is hardly a sufficient one in giving you the confidence which you need, and to which you are entitled. You must also gain an awareness that confidence in your real strength is fully justified in every respect and in all circumstances." (W.47.6.1-2)
 
When we look at our fears and frailties and bring them to the healing light of the Holy Spirit, His strength replaces our weakness. His strength is always there in our right minds and always available. When we stop putting our trust in the ego and turn to the Holy Spirit as our Teacher, we release our dependence on our limited self that feels all alone in the world, believing it can only rely on itself, trusting no one. When our minds are aligned with the Truth in us, we can look at our frailties from above the battleground and smile at the silliness of believing our own strength has any power. "Who would attempt to fly with the tiny wings of a sparrow when the mighty power of an eagle has been given him?" (M.4.I.2.2) This seems to be what we are trying to do all the time but at a high cost to our peace of mind. We dismiss the true Power always available in our own minds and instead give power to people, objects, and circumstances to shore up our lives. This makes us feel weak, frail, and fearful.
 
We lack the sense of certainty and safety that can only come from God. "His Voice speaks for Him in all situations and in every aspect of all situations, telling you exactly what to do to call upon His strength and His protection." (W.47.3.2) Further, we are told there are no exceptions in this. There is nowhere God is not. Why would I withhold any aspect of my life and continue to believe in my strength and my ability to handle everything on my own? Don't we take pride in our independence and in our control? Isn't that something we have nurtured and nourished over a long time? Don't we believe we can somehow manage, manipulate, and control everything on behalf of our happiness? Let's look honestly and courageously at the outcomes that our way has brought.
 
We are called to be humble and admit we have been wrong in the way we have set things up. We are given an alternative by replacing our own sense of confidence with an infinitely stronger foundation. God is our safety in every circumstance. There are absolutely no exceptions to this, but to realize this, we have to bring our dark ego thoughts to the light. We need to look at situations in our lives, which we have invested with fear. Only by admitting our fear, our anxiety, our weaknesses, and our deep uncertainty, can they be dismissed. When we are joined with the Holy Spirit, everything we do will be aligned with His strength. Everything we do will be an expression of His Love. His guidance is always there, but as long as we are listening to the voice of the ego, the guidance of the Holy Spirit will not be heard.
 
When we are aligned with Him, we move easily through every seeming challenge. Work no longer feels like such an effort. Our confidence now is warranted. It is based on trust. Every challenge becomes an opportunity to learn peace. Every grievance becomes an opportunity to choose love. This is consistent with the teaching of Jesus in the Gospel of John, where he says, "As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself unless it abides in the vine, so neither can you, unless you abide in me . . . apart from me you can do nothing." (John 15:4-5)
 
Unless we surrender to His strength in us, we will rely on our own strength. We will stubbornly insist we know. We will continue to trust in our own ability, to stand on our own two feet, to proudly take personal responsibility, and place all of our focus on our self-reliance. Haven't we all had that reinforced in us in our upbringing? Does it feel like we are now asked to give up what we have so carefully nurtured and applauded all of our lives---our self-sufficiency?
 
Yes, we have come to accept our individuality as a prized possession. It is what the separation is all about. To be born again is to realize that our way has brought us anxiety, depression, fear, stress, and, ultimately, a sense of aloneness, sadness, and meaninglessness. "What is it all for," we ask? "Why can't I experience success no matter how hard I try?" Or, "Why does happiness constantly elude me?" Or, "Why don't my relationships bring me joy?"
 
This Lesson makes it clear that peace and joy can never be apart from our connection with God. Strength is in us, covered over by our false beliefs held in the mind that thinks it knows something.
 
It is such a relief when we finally admit that we don't know and accept there is Something in us that does know. We don't have to do this alone. The thing is, we never make any decision alone. We make it either by turning to the ego or relying on the Holy Spirit. It is one or the other. One keeps us in the cycle of birth and death and the other takes us to the recognition of eternal life. The strength of God in us can be trusted. What it takes is a willingness to look at our ego thought system and bring our anxieties, depression, expectations, needs, lacks, desires, and problems to the light, so we can experience the power of the Holy Spirit working in us. Recognizing our weakness is a necessary start. "There is a place in you where there is perfect peace. There is a place in you where nothing is impossible. There is a place in you where the strength of God abides." (W.47.7.4-6)
 
In the practice periods, "Today we will try to reach past our own weakness to the Source of real strength. Four five-minute practice periods are necessary today, and longer and more frequent ones are urged. Close your eyes and begin, as usual, by repeating the idea for the day. Then spend a minute or two in searching for situations in your life which you have invested with fear, dismissing each one by telling yourself: God is the Strength in which I trust ." (W.47.4.1-5)
 
Now sink down in your mind, beneath all your worry thoughts which are based on your sense of inadequacy. Reach down below these thoughts to the quiet place where God's strength lives in you. Imagine sinking down beneath the noisy thoughts on the surface of the mind to the peaceful depths where all is still. "You will recognize that you have reached it [this place] if you feel a sense of deep peace, however briefly ." (W.47.7.2) With any disturbance that comes up today, remind yourself, " God is the Strength in which I trust. " (W.47) It is a great antidote to fear and a great way to refuse to listen to the ego's fears.

Love and blessings, Sarah
 
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