Course in Miracles
4 - The Root of All Evil
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?
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
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.
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.
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?