"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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A Course in Miracles
WORKBOOK

Lesson 49
God's Voice speaks to me all through the day.

1 It is quite possible to listen to God's Voice all through the day without interrupting your regular activities in any way. The part of your mind in which truth abides is in constant communication with God, whether you are aware of it or not. It is the other part of your mind that functions in the world and obeys the world's laws. It is this part which is constantly distracted, disorganized, and highly uncertain.

2 The part that is listening to the Voice of God is calm, always at rest, and wholly certain. It is really the only part there is. The other part is a wild illusion, frantic and distraught, but without reality of any kind. Try today not to listen to it. Try to identify with the part of your mind where stillness and peace reign forever. Try to hear God's Voice call to you lovingly, reminding you that your Creator has not forgotten His Son.

3 We will need at least four five-minute practice periods today and more if possible. We will try actually to hear the Voice reminding you of God and of your Self. We will approach this happiest and holiest of thoughts with confidence, knowing that in doing so we are joining our will with the Will of God. He wants you to hear His Voice. He gave It to you to be heard.

4 Listen in deep silence. Be very still, and open your mind. Go past all the raucous shrieks and sick imaginings that cover your real thoughts and obscure your eternal link with God. Sink deep into the peace that waits for you beyond the frantic, riotous thoughts and sounds and sights of this insane world. You do not live there. We are trying to reach your real home. We are trying to reach the place where you are truly welcome. We are trying to reach God.

5 Do not forget to repeat today's idea very frequently. Do so with your eyes open when necessary, but closed when possible. And be sure that you sit quietly and repeat the idea for today slowly whenever you can, closing your eyes on the world and realizing that you are inviting God's Voice to speak to you.

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Sarah's Reflections

Lesson 49
God's Voice speaks to me all through the day.

Isn't it interesting how our unwillingness to hear God's Voice is the only thing that keeps us from hearing It? What makes us unwilling? We choose instead to listen to the ego and to value our own identity as individual, unique beings who want to make our own decisions and maintain control over this perceived life that we call our own. It is all about our resistance to losing our special identity and our individual selves. This is why we still listen to ourselves and clutter our minds with all kinds of random thoughts. We keep the noise in our minds to keep the Holy Spirit away. "The memory of God comes to the quiet mind." (T.23.I.1.1) (ACIM OE T.23.II.7)
 
Jesus says God speaks to us throughout the day, and our right minds are in constant communication with Him. (W.49.1.2) This is the part of the mind where truth abides. "It is quite possible to listen to God's Voice all through the day without interrupting your regular activities in any way." (W.49.1.1) We might wonder how this can be. To listen to God’s Voice all through the day, we must want to hear Him. Jesus says we are in constant communication, whether we are aware of it or not. We are not aware because our conscious mind  ". . . is constantly distracted, disorganized, highly uncertain," (W.49.1.4) and ". . . functions in the world and obeys the world's laws." (W.49.1.3)
 
Our minds are split between the part that is focused on the world and "obeys its laws" and the part that is sane (the right mind where the Holy Spirit resides) and is still in communication with Him. If we were in touch with God's Voice, we would be hearing it constantly. To do so, we must be willing to turn away from the distractions of the ego. While we are seemingly here, we are called to appear like everyone else, follow the laws of this world, but hold a different mindset.
 
The only real part of the mind is that which is calm, always at rest, and wholly certain. That is where God's Voice abides. "It is really the only part there is." (W.49.2.2) But we seem to have another part, which is the wrong mind and is the domain of the ego that we listen to most of the time. This part of the mind is a ". . . wild illusion, frantic and distraught, but without reality of any kind." (W.49.2.3) Jesus asks us to "Try today not to listen to it." (W.49.2.4)
 
We don't have to try to make ourselves calm or certain. All we have to do is go to where the quiet resides in us all the time. "Sink deep into the peace that waits for you beyond the frantic, riotous thoughts and sights and sounds of this insane world." (W.49.4.4) Our meditation practice is to go beyond these raucous thoughts. Other Lessons would have us look at them and be willing to release them. Both practices are important to our mind training.
 
There is a section early on in the Text in Chapter 5, Section II, "The Voice for God," (ACIM OE Section III) where he clearly says that while we can be unaware of the place in our minds where God is, we cannot obliterate it. What happens with the experience of the holy instant is that we receive a reflection of this unbreakable connection we have with God. At the point of separation, when the wrong-minded thought system arose, ". . . God placed in the mind the Call to joy. This call is so strong that the ego always dissolves at Its sound. That is why you must choose to hear one of two voices within you. One you made yourself, and that one is not of God. But the other is given you by God, Who asks you only to listen to it. The Holy Spirit is in you in a very literal sense. His is the Voice That calls you back to where you were before [the separation] and will be again." (T.5.II.3.2-8) (ACIM OE T.5.III.19)
 
Do you doubt you hear this Call? Do you doubt you hear the Voice of the Holy Spirit that is always speaking to you? You are reading this and studying the Course because you heard and responded to the Call. While we think that we don't hear Him, something in us does. The only reason we don’t hear His Voice consistently is because our focus is on the raucous, frantic chattering of the part of our mind tuned in to the things of this world. In other words, we are listening to the voice of the ego. To hear the Holy Spirit more consistently, we need to go past our thoughts to the quiet within. We need to refocus and choose where we put our attention. It will take practice to "Go past all the raucous shrieks and sick imaginings that cover your real thoughts. . .," (W.49.4.3) to the quiet, calm place where God is. We are learning to bring this peace to any situation, but at this point, it will take work and concentration. This requires a willingness to take the time in quiet reflection and meditation.
 
Jesus tells us that learning to listen only to God's voice was his final Lesson. We all have work to do if we are to become like him. It requires that we choose against our wrong-minded thinking. Jesus says, "It is possible even in this world to hear only that Voice and no other," (T.5.II.3.9) (ACIM OE T.5.IV.20) but "It takes effort and great willingness to learn." (T.5.II.3.10) (ACIM OE T.5.IV.20) That is what Jesus modeled for us when he heard only the Voice of the Holy Spirit, which came when he released his final doubt thought.
 
It is reassuring to know that God's calm and loving Voice is always available to us. I am never alone no matter how angry, fearful, or out of control I may feel. He is always available to guide me. I just need the willingness to look at how I am blocking this Voice by choosing to listen to the ego. He will never impose on me. I am totally free not to listen, but what I can't do is destroy this Voice in me. I can't destroy this connection to my Source, which is a statement of the Atonement Principle that the separation never happened; but I can choose to remain unaware of its presence. Jesus respects our decision. He never coerces us.
 
Today, let us take the time to go past all our unsettling thoughts to that calm place in us that is always there. How do we know we are hearing God's Voice? Is it actually a voice? Yes, it can be, but it is more likely to be an experience of peace and stillness. It may show up as an image, or we might get an intuitive sense of something we feel guided to say or do. His Voice may come in several different ways. "If I need a word to help me, He will give it to me. If I need a thought, that will He also give. And if I need but stillness and a tranquil, open mind, these are the gifts I will receive of Him. He is in charge by my request. And He will hear and answer me, because He speaks for God my Father and His holy Son." (W.361-365.1.1-5) He gives us guidance in all matters, including practical matters. His guidance in practical matters is described in the Song of Prayer as the echo of the real song, being sung to us by God. The real Song is the Song of His Love and gratitude for us, which we return in our deep love and connection for Him.
 
"If you cannot hear the Voice for God, it is because you do not choose to listen. That you do listen to the voice of your ego is demonstrated by your attitudes, your feelings and your behavior. Yet this is what you want. This is what you are fighting to keep, and what you are vigilant to save. Your mind is filled with schemes to save the face of your ego, and you do not seek the face of Christ." (T.4.IV.1.1-5) (ACIM OE T.4.V.56)
 
When you listen to the ego, ". . . it is sure that you will see yourself as tiny, vulnerable and afraid. You will experience depression, a sense of worthlessness, and feelings of impermanence and unreality. You will believe that you are helpless prey to forces far beyond your own control, and far more powerful than you. And you will think the world you made directs your destiny." (T.21.V.2.3-6) (ACIM OE T.21.VI.50)
 
That is our choice. We listen to the raucous shrieks of the ego and respond to the perceived demands of our world; or we go within and connect with One Who knows our best interests, One Who knows the outcome that serves everyone equally, and One Who can bring us quiet certainty in the face of any perceived calamity. It hardly seems like a choice if we really believed this, yet our resistance is strong because of our investment in the world and our identity as a separate, unique, individual self.
 
Today, I felt a sudden prompt to go to see my mother. I had no plan to go today as I had other things on my agenda that I actually preferred to do. There was initial resistance to listening to the prompt, but it felt quite insistent. So away I went and it turned out she needed my presence there. I was very grateful I listened to the prompt and thanked the Holy Spirit for directing me to where I needed to be. My own personal agenda fell away, and in the end, nothing else really needed by attention as I had believed.
 
Course-based meditation is what the Lessons now speak about starting in Lesson 41 and again in 44, 45, 47 and today's Lesson 49. These Lessons, taken together, point to how we are to meditate. They also describe the way we are to approach the practice sessions. We are to approach the sessions with the confidence that we can do this since it is the most natural thing in the world. We know the way will be open if we believe it is possible. If we join with God's Will, how can we not succeed? We approach the meditation time by recognizing we are attempting something very holy. We start by repeating the idea, making no effort to think about anything but instead turning inward, sinking past all of our idle thoughts and entering very deeply into our own minds. We keep the mind clear of any thoughts that might divert our attention by letting these thoughts quietly pass by. Observe any passing thoughts without involvement or attachment, and slip quietly by them. No particular approach is advocated, only a sense of the importance of what we are doing and its inestimable value to ourselves.

Love and blessings, Sarah
 
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