"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
PAUSED FOR WEEKEND

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 48
There is nothing to fear.

1 The idea for today simply states a fact. It is not a fact to those who believe in illusions, but illusions are not facts. In truth there is nothing to fear. It is very easy to recognize this. But it is very difficult to recognize for those who want illusions to be true.

2 Today's practice periods will be very short, very simple, and very frequent. Merely repeat the idea as often as possible. You can use it with your eyes open at any time and in any situation. It is strongly recommended, however, that you take a minute or so whenever possible to close your eyes and repeat the idea slowly to yourself several times. It is particularly important that you use the idea immediately should anything disturb your peace of mind.

3 The presence of fear is a sure sign that you are trusting in your own strength. The awareness that there is nothing to fear shows that somewhere in your mind, not necessarily in a place which you recognize as yet, you have remembered God and let His strength take the place of yours. The instant you are willing to do this there is indeed nothing to fear.

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Sarah's Reflections

Lesson 48
There is nothing to fear.

The Lesson today clearly reflects why there is nothing to fear. It harkens back to the Lesson yesterday: "God is the Strength in which I trust." (W.47) "The presence of fear is a sure sign that you are trusting in your own strength." (W.48.3.1) Fear is based on guilt, and guilt demands punishment. When we see ourselves as guilty, we project the guilt and expect punishment. If we want to live without fear, we need to give up the guilt. This means we first have to become aware of it. It is also essential that we see how guilt is tied to our investment in being a unique and separate self.
 
When we chose to dream, which was the choice for separation, we had to put blocks between ourselves and God. Fear, guilt, shame, and judgment are all effective tools of separation. When we identify with the body, it becomes an example of differences with other bodies. We had to do that in order to have the experience of a separate self, living in the world. It is an experience of fear we are no longer willing to accommodate. Now, when obstacles come up, we are more willing to let them go so that we might experience more peace and joy. It is very helpful to be willing to see what is coming up and not resist it.
 
We have long invested in our independence, but it is built on very shaky ground. As Jesus put it yesterday, "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 facets of any problem, and to resolve them in such a way that only good can come of it?" (W.47.1.2-4) We can't. We don't have that kind of ability, no matter how much we try to develop problem-solving abilities, no matter how many skills we learn, and no matter how much brain power we have. We can't possibly have that kind of perspective where we can know every facet of every problem. There are always nasty surprises, which bring more fear, anxiety, and depression. It all starts with the guilt in the mind. The simple fact is there is only one problem and thus only one solution. The problem is the guilt of separation, and the solution is to remember who we are. It is to remember our holiness.
 
Jesus tells us the idea for today is simply stating a fact though it is not a fact to us. This is because we still believe in illusions, meaning we believe this world is real and can hurt us. The body can be hurt, but the body is not who we are. The seeming reality of this world does give us apparent reasons for fear as long as we still believe in it and in our own separate identity. Fear shows up when something we are invested in or attached to is taken from us or something we want is not available. Yet Jesus tells us, in truth, there is nothing to fear. To get this, we do need to understand the metaphysics of the Course---that this world of illusion is not real. While we are told this, it is not until we experience our holiness that we will know the world is nothing but illusion, and there truly is nothing to fear. It is no different than waking up from a nightmare where in our awakened state we see there was nothing real happening and thus nothing to fear.
 
Our biggest fear, of course, is what might happen to our bodies. We fear their destruction. Yet the message of the crucifixion is---the body is not who we are. We are spirit and cannot be hurt or destroyed. "Nothing can hurt you unless you give it the power to do so." (T.20.IV.1.1) (ACIM OE T.20.V.28) "If you will listen to His Voice [the Holy Spirit] you will know that you cannot either hurt or be hurt, and that many need your blessing to help them hear this for themselves." (T.6.I.19.2) (ACIM OE T.6.II.16)
 
This place of total safety is in our right minds where the Holy Spirit resides. God is not an external force we have to try to reach. We just have to look at our sadness, depression, anger, guilt, fear, anxiety, and whatever thoughts are disturbing to our mind and be willing to bring them to the truth. All these are thoughts of fear in various forms. We are called to go deep into our own minds where God is, below the ". . . trivial things that churn and bubble on the surface of your mind, and reach down and below them to the Kingdom of Heaven." (W.47.7.3)
 
We are part of God's Mind. We are not a figure in the dream who seems to be living here. We are the dreamer of this dream, and we can make a choice as to whether we choose the Holy Spirit or the ego as our guide to seeing. Thus, when we no longer identify with the dream, fear is meaningless. Nothing outside of God exists. Fear is the belief we hold that there is something other than God and that it has power to overcome God. We believe we have taken His power, defeated Him, and changed ourselves. With this belief comes guilt and fear. As a result, we unconsciously invite punishment into our lives. The answer lies in forgiveness, which brings us to the end of guilt, and then we realize our innocence has always been there. There is no fear in innocence. We are still the Holy Son. What we think we did in separating from our Father never happened, so there is no basis for fear.
 
As we affirm that God is the strength in which we can trust, we are reminded who we are in truth. We are reminded that we have never usurped God's power, He is not a punishing, angry God, and we never distorted ourselves, so there is no need for guilt.
 
So much of traditional religious teaching is based on fear. It is built on the belief that Adam was put into a place of temptation, which a loving Father would never do. It is also built on the belief that Jesus was allowed to suffer and die on the cross for our sins, which he clearly refutes in the Course. In retraining our minds through the application of these teachings, we can release these deep cultural and religious "truths," which continue to perpetuate our fear. God's only reality is Love, and that is our only reality. We are created in His image. We are Love. There is no fear. It is not real.
 
We have projected fearful images onto God and are now reluctant and afraid to turn to Him. This fear is not consciously in our awareness, but it is there and needs to be examined. We do so by looking at areas of our lives that we still prefer to manage on our own, whether it is our finances, our relationships, our security, our job, our pleasures, and so on. In each area, list your fears and concerns that would arise in your mind if you were to step back and totally surrender your independent will to God. This reflects our unconscious distrust of God. We still want to be in charge of certain aspects of our lives.
 
"You, my child, are afraid of your brothers and of your Father and of yourself. But you are merely deceived in them. Ask what they are of the Teacher of reality, and hearing His answer, you too will laugh at your fears and replace them with peace. For fear lies not in reality, but in the minds of children who do not understand reality. It is only their lack of understanding that frightens them, and when they learn to perceive truly they are not afraid. And because of this they will ask for truth again when they are frightened. It is not the reality of your brothers or your Father or yourself that frightens you. You do not know what they are, and so you perceive them as ghosts and monsters and dragons. Ask what their reality is from the One Who knows it, and He will tell you what they are. For you do not understand them, and because you are deceived by what you see you need reality to dispel your fears." (T.11.VIII.14.1-10) (ACIM OE T.10.VIII.88)
 
"Would you not exchange your fears for truth, if the exchange is yours for the asking? For if God is not deceived in you, you can be deceived only in yourself. Yet you can learn the truth about yourself from the Holy Spirit, Who will teach you that, as part of God, deceit in you is impossible." (T.11.VIII.15.1-3) (ACIM OE T.10.VIII.90)
 
Practice instructions today are for short, simple, and frequent practice periods with eyes open whenever you can remind yourself of the Lesson, and a minute or so whenever possible with eyes closed, repeating the idea slowly. Use the idea immediately if anything should disturb your peace. What we are doing in these practice periods is bringing any thoughts that come up during the day of anger, depression, sadness, or any other thought that depicts fear. As soon as we notice a fearful thought, just as quickly we can bring it to the light. To keep a fear thought is to choose the ego over the Holy Spirit. We can make another choice. It is a matter of turning from the false to the truth within.

Love and blessings, Sarah
 
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