A Course in Miracles

Chapter 4 - The Root of All Evil

The Constant State

It cannot be emphasized too often that correcting perception is merely a temporary expedient. It is necessary to do so only because misperception is a block to knowledge (of what we really are), while accurate perception is a stepping-stone towards it. The whole value of right perception lies in the inevitable judgment which it entails that it (perception) is unnecessary. This removes the block entirely.

You may ask how this is possible as long as you appear to be living in this world. And since this is a sensible question, it has a sensible answer. You must be careful, however, that you really understand the question.

What is the “you” who are living in this world?

Immortality is a constant state. It is as true now as it ever was or ever will be, because it implies no change at all. It is not a continuum, nor is it understood by being compared to an opposite. Knowledge never involves comparisons. That is its essential difference from everything else the mind can grasp. “A little knowledge” is not dangerous, except to the ego. Vaguely it senses threat. And being unable to realize that “a little knowledge” is a meaningless phrase, since “all” and “a little” in this context are the same, the ego decides that since “all” is impossible, the fear does not lie there. “A little,” however, is a scarcity concept, and this the ego understands well. “A little,” then, is perceived as the real threat.

The essential thing to remember is that the ego does not recognize the real source of its perceived threat. And if you associate yourself with the ego, you do not perceive the whole situation as it is. Only your allegiance to it gives the ego any power over you. We have spoken of the ego as if it were a separate thing acting on its own. This was necessary to persuade you that you cannot dismiss it lightly, and must realize how much of your thinking is ego-directed. We cannot safely let it go at that, however, or you will regard yourselves as necessarily conflicted as long as you are here, or more properly, as long as you believe that you are here.

The ego is nothing more than a part of your belief about yourselves. Your other life has continued without interruption, and has been and always will be, totally unaffected by your attempts to disassociate. The ratio of repression and dissociation varies with the individual ego-illusion, but dissociation is always involved, or you would not believe that you are here.

In learning to escape from the illusions you have made, your great debt to each other is something you must never forget. It is exactly the same debt that you owe to me. Whenever you react egotistically towards each other, you are throwing away the graciousness of your indebtedness, and the holy perception it would produce.

The term “holy” can be used here because, as you learn how much you are indebted to the whole Sonship, which includes me, you come as close to knowledge as perception ever can. The gap is then so small that knowledge can easily flow across it, and obliterate it forever.

You have very little trust in me as yet, but it will increase as you turn more and more often to me instead of your egos for guidance. The results will convince you increasingly that your choice in turning to me is the only sane one you can make. No one who has learned from experience that one choice brings peace and joy, while another brings chaos and disaster, needs much conditioning.

The ego cannot withstand the conditioning process, because the process itself demonstrates that there is another way. Conditioning by rewards has always been more effective than conditioning by pain, because pain is an ego-illusion, and can never induce more than a temporary effect. The rewards of God, however, are immediately recognized as eternal. Since this recognition is made by you, and not the ego, the recognition itself establishes that you and your ego cannot be identical. You may believe that you have already accepted the difference, but you are by no means convinced as yet. The very fact that you are preoccupied with the idea of escaping from the ego shows this.

You cannot escape from the ego by...

  • humbling it or
  • controlling it or
  • punishing it.

Remember that the ego and the Soul do not know each other. The separated mind cannot maintain the separation except by dissociating. Having done this, it utilizes repression against all truly natural impulses, not because the ego is a separate thing, but because you want to believe that you are. The ego is a device for maintaining this belief, but it is still only your willingness to use the device that enables it to endure.

My trust in you is greater than yours in me at the moment, but it will not always be that way. Your mission is very simple. You have been chosen to live so as to demonstrate that you are not an ego. I repeat that I do not choose God’s channels wrongly. The Holy One shares my trust, and always approves my Atonement decisions because my will is never out of accord with His.

I have told you before that I am in charge of the whole Atonement. This is only because I completed my part in it as a man, and can now complete it through other men. My chosen receiving and sending channels cannot fail because I willl send them my strength as long as theirs is wanting.

I will go with you to the Holy One, and through my perception He can bridge the little gap. Your gratitude to each other is the only gift I want. I will bring it to God for you, knowing that to know your brother is to know God.

A little knowledge is an all-encompassing thing. If you are grateful to each other, you are grateful to God for what He created. Through your gratitude you can come to know each other, and one moment of real recognition makes all men your brothers, because they are all of your Father. Love does not conquer all things, but it does set all things right. Because you are all the Kingdom of God, I can lead you back to your own creations, which you do not yet know. What has been dissociated is still there.

As you come closer to a brother you do approach me, and as you withdraw from him, I become distant to you. Your giant step forward was to insist on a “collaborative venture.” This does not go against the true spirit of meditation; it is inherent in it. Meditation is a collaborative venture with God. It cannot be undertaken successfully by those who disengage themselves from the Sonship, because they are disengaging themselves from me.

God will come to you only as you will give Him to your brothers. Learn first of them, and you will be ready to hear God as you hear them. That is because the function of love is one.

How can you teach someone the value of something he has deliberately thrown away? He must have thrown it away because he did not value it. You can only show him how miserable he is without it, and bring it near very slowly, so he can learn how his misery lessens as he approaches it. This conditions him to associate his misery with its absence, and to associate the opposite of misery with its presence. It gradually becomes desirable, as he changes his mind about its worth.

I am conditioning you to associate misery withthe ego and joy with the Soul.

You have conditioned yourselves the other way around. A far greater reward, however, will break through any conditioning, if it is repeatedly offered whenever the old habit pattern is broken. You are still free to choose, but can you really want the rewards of the ego in the presence of the rewards of God?


A Course in Miracles

Chapter 4 - The Root of All Evil

Creation and Communication

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.

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 estaablish 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.

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.

Temporary Existence vs Being

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.

Existence as well as being rests on communication.

(Temporary) Existence, however, is specific in how, what, and with whom communication is judged to be worth undertaking.

BEING (Eternal Presence) 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.

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.

The Bible repeatedly states that you should praise God. Psalm 150:1

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.

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.

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.



A Course in Miracles

Chapter 4 - The Root of All Evil

True Rehabilitation

Every mind which is split needs rehabilitation.

The medical orientation to rehabilitation emphasizes the body, while the vocational orientation stresses the ego. The “team” approach generally leads more to confusion than to anything else because it is too often misused as a way of exerting the ego’s domination over other egos, rather than as a real experiment in the cooperation of minds. Rehabilitation, as a movement, is an improvement over the overt neglect of those in need of help, but it is often little more than a painful attempt on the part of the

"halt to lead the blind." Matthew 15:14

The ego is likely to fear broken bodies because it cannot tolerate them. The ego cannot tolerate ego weakness either without ambivalence, because it is afraid of its own weakness, as well as the weakness of its chosen home. When it is threatened, the ego blocks your natural impulse to help, placing you under the strain of divided will. You may then be tempted to withdraw, to allow your ego to recover and to gain enough strength to be helpful again on a basis limited enough not to threaten your ego, but too limited to give you joy. Those with broken bodies are often looked down on by the ego because of its belief that nothing but a perfect body is worthy as its own temple.

A mind that recoils from a hurt body is in great need of rehabilitation itself. All symptoms of hurt need true helpfulness, and whenever they are met with this, the mind that so meets them heals itself.

Rehabilitation is an attitude of praising God as He Himself knows praise: He offers praise to you, and you must offer it to others. The chief handicaps of the clinicians lie in their attitudes to those whom their egos perceive as weakened and damaged. By these evaluations, they have weakened and damaged their own helpfulness, and have thus set their own rehabilitation back. Rehabilitation is not concerned either with the ego’s fight for control, or its need to avoid and withdraw. You can do much on behalf of your own rehabilitation and that of others if, in a situation calling for healing, you think of it this way:

"I am here only to be truly helpful. I am here to represent Christ, Who sent me. I do not have to worry about what to say, or what to do, because He Who sent me will direct me. I am content to be wherever He wishes, knowing He goes there with me. I will be healed as I let Him teach me to heal."


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