Course in Miracles
5 - Healing & Wholeness
Decisions (Ego's Use of Guilt)
some of our concepts will become clearer and more personally meaningful
if the ego’s use of guilt is clarified.
The ego has a
purpose, just as the Holy Spirit has.
The ego's purpose
is fear because only the fearful can be egotistic. The ego's logic
is as impeccable as that of the Holy Spirit because your mind has
all the means at its disposal to side with Heaven or earth, as it
elects. But again, let us remember that both are in you. In
Heaven there is no guilt because the Kingdom is attained through
the Atonement, which releases you to create. The word "create"
is appropriate here because, once what you have made is undone by
the Holy Spirit, the blessed residue is restored and therefore continues
What is truly
blessed is incapable of giving rise to guilt and must give rise
to joy. This makes it invulnerable to the ego because its peace
is unassailable. It is invulnerable to disruption because it is
whole. Guilt is always disruptive. Anything that engenders fear
is divisive because it obeys the law of division. If the ego is
the symbol of the separation, it is also the symbol of guilt. Guilt
is more than merely not of God. It is the symbol of the attack on
God. This is a totally meaningless concept except to the ego, but
do not underestimate the power of the ego's belief in it. This is
the belief from which all guilt really stems.
The ego is the
part of the mind which believes in division. How can part of God
detach itself without believing it is attacking Him? We spoke before
of the authority problem as involving the concept of usurping God's
power. The ego believes that this is what you did because it believes
it is you. It follows, then, that if you identify with the ego,
you must perceive yourself as guilty. Whenever you respond to your
ego, you will experience guilt and you will fear punishment. The
ego is quite literally a fearful thought.
the idea of attacking God may be to the sane mind, never forget
that the ego is not sane.
a delusional system, and it speaks for it. Listening to the ego's
voice means that you believe it is possible to attack God. You believe
that a part of Him has been torn away by you. The classic picture
of fear of retaliation from without then follows because the severity
of the guilt is so acute that it must be projected. Although Freud
was wrong about the basic conflict itself, he was very accurate
in describing its effects.
accept into your mind has reality for you. It is, however, only
your acceptance of it that makes it real. If you enthrone the ego
in it, the fact that you have accepted it or allowed it to enter
makes it your reality. This is because the mind, as God created
it, is capable of creating reality. We said before that you must
learn to think with God. To think with Him is to think like Him.
This engenders joy, not guilt, because it is natural. Guilt is a
sure sign that your thinking is unnatural. Perverted thinking will
always be attended with guilt because it is the belief in sin.
The ego does
not perceive sin as a lack of love. It perceives sin as a positive
act of assault.
This is an interpretation
which is necessary to the ego’s survival because, as soon
as you regard sin as a lack, you will automatically attempt to remedy
the situation, and you will succeed. The ego regards this as doom,
but you must learn to regard it as freedom. The guiltless mind cannot
suffer. Being sane, it heals the body because it has been healed.
The sane mind cannot conceive of illness because it cannot conceive
of attacking anyone or anything.
We said before that illness is a form of magic.
It might be better to say that it is a form of magical solution.
ego believes that by punishing itself it will mitigate the punishment
even in this it is arrogant. It attributes to God a punishing intent,
and then takes over this intent as its own prerogative. It tries
to usurp all the functions of God as it perceives them because it
recognizes that only total allegiance can be trusted.
The ego cannot oppose the laws
of God any more than you can, but it can interpret them according
to what it wants, just as you can. That is why the question, “
What do you
must be answered.
You are answering it every minute and every second. And each moment
of decision, is a judgment which is anything but ineffectual. Its
effects will follow automatically until the decision is changed.
This is repeated here because you have not learned it, but again,
your decision can be unmade as well as made. Remember, though, that
the alternatives are unalterable.
The Holy Spirit,
like the ego, is a decision. Together they constitute all the alternatives
which the mind can accept and obey. The ego and the Holy Spirit
are the only choices open to you. God created one, and so you cannot
eradicate it. You made the other, and so you can. Only what God
creates is irreversible and unchangeable. What you have made can
always be changed because, when you do not think like God, you are
not really thinking at all. Delusional ideas are not real thoughts,
although you can believe in them. But you are wrong. The function
of thought comes from God and is in God. As part of His Thought,
you cannot think apart from Him.
is a thought disorder. God Himself orders your thought because your
thought was created by Him. Guilt feelings are always a sign that
you do not know this. They also show that you believe you can think
apart from God, and want to. Every thought disorder is attended
by guilt at its inception and maintained by guilt in its continuance.
Guilt is inescapable for those who believe they order their own
thought, and must therefore obey its orders. This makes them feel
responsible for their mind errors, without recognizing that, by
accepting this responsibility, they are really reacting irresponsibly.
If the sole
responsibility of the miracle worker is to accept the Atonement
for himself, and I assure you that it is, then the responsibility
for what is atoned for cannot be yours.
cannot be resolved except by accepting the solution
of undoing. You would be responsible for the effects of all
your wrong thinking if it could not be undone. The purpose of the
Atonement is to save the past in
purified form only. If you accept the remedy for a thought disorder,
and a remedy whose efficacy is beyond doubt, how can its symptoms
remain? You have reason to question the validity of symptom cure,
but no one believes that the symptoms can remain if the underlying
cause is removed.
Course in Miracles
5 - Healing & Wholeness
The continuing will to remain separated is the
only possible reason for continuing guilt feelings.
said this before, but we did not emphasize the destructive results
of this decision at that time.
decision of the mind will affect both behavior and experience. What
you will, you expect. This is not delusional. Your mind does create
your future, and it can turn it back to full creation at any minute,
if it accepts the atonement first.
It will also turn back to full creation the instant it has done
Having given up its thought
disorder, the proper ordering of thought becomes quite apparent.
God in His knowledge is not waiting, but His Kingdom is bereft while
you wait. All the Sons of God are waiting for your return, just
as you are waiting for theirs. Delay does not matter in eternity,
but it is tragic in time.
have elected to be in time rather than eternity, and have therefore
changed your belief in your status. Yet your election is both free
and alterable. You do not belong in time. Your place is only in
eternity, where God Himself placed you forever.
are the preservers of time.
fears of future retaliation or abandonment, and thus ensure that
the future will remain like the past. This is the ego’s continuity,
and gives it a false sense of security through the belief that you
cannot escape from it; but you can and must.
offers you the continuity of eternity in exchange. When you choose
to make this exchange, you will simultaneously exchange...
is only to unchain your will and make it free. Your ego cannot accept
this freedom, and will oppose your free decision at every possible
moment and in every possible way. And as its maker you recognize
what it can do because you gave it the power to do it.
does indeed know its power, because the mind does indeed know God.
Remember the Kingdom always, and
remember that you who are part of the Kingdom cannot be lost.
mind that was in me is in you, for God creates with perfect fairness.
Let the Holy Spirit remind you
always of His fairness, and let me teach you how to share it with
How else can the
chance to claim it for yourself be given you?
you do not understand is that the two voices (ego and Holy Spirit)
speak for different interpretations of the same thing simultaneously,
or almost simultaneously, for the ego always speaks first. Alternate
interpretations were unnecessary until the first one was made,
and speaking itself was unnecessary before the ego was made.
ego speaks in judgment and the Holy Spirit reverses its decision,
much as the Supreme Court has the power to reverse the lower courts'
decisions about the laws of this world. The
ego's decisions are always wrong because they are based on a complete
fallacy (about what you are) which they were made to uphold. Nothing
the ego perceives is interpreted correctly. Not only does it cite
Scripture for its purpose, but it even interprets Scripture as a
witness for itself.
Bible is a fearful thing to the ego because of its prejudiced judgment.
Perceiving it as fearful, it interprets it fearfully. Having made
you afraid, you do not appeal to the Higher Court because you believe
its judgment would be against you.
need cite only a few examples to see how the ego's interpretations
have misled you.
ego quotation is "As ye sow, so shall ye reap. " Galatians
is "I will visit the sins of the father unto the third and fourth
There are many
others. But if you will let the Holy Spirit re-interpret these in
His own light, they will suffice.
ye sow, so shall ye reap" merely means that what you believe to
be worth cultivating you will cultivate in yourself. Your judgment
of what is worthy makes it worthy for you.
is mine, sayeth the Lord" is easily explained if you remember
that ideas increase only by being shared. This quotation therefore
emphasizes the fact that vengeance cannot be shared. Give it therefore
to the Holy Spirit, Who will undo it in you because it does not
belong in your mind, which is part of God.
will visit the sins of the fathers unto the third and fourth generation,"
as interpreted by the ego, is particularly vicious. It is used,
in fact, as an attempt to guarantee its survival beyond itself.
Actually, all the quotation means is that the Holy Spirit, in
later generations, retains the power to interpret correctly what
former generations have thought, and thus release their thoughts
from the ability to produce fear anywhere in the Sonship.
wicked shall perish" is merely a statement of fact, if the word
"perish" is properly understood. Every loveless thought must be
undone. Even the word "undone" is fearful to the ego, which interprets
"I am undone" as "I am destroyed."
ego will not be destroyed because it is part of your thought,
but because it is uncreative, and therefore unsharing, it will
be re-interpreted entirely, to release you from fear. The part
of your thought which you have given to the ego will merely return
to the Kingdom where your whole mind belongs.
ego is a form of arrest, but arrest is merely delay. It does not
involve the concept of punishment, although the ego welcomes that
interpretation. You can delay the completion of the Kingdom, but
you cannot introduce the concept of assault into it.
When I said,
"I am come as a light into the world," John
came to share the light with you. Remember the symbolic reference
we made before to the ego's dark glass, and remember also
that we said, "Do not look there." It is still true that where
you look to find yourself is up to you.The Higher Court will
not condemn you. It will merely dismiss the case against you.
There can be no case against
a Child of God, and every witness to guilt in God's creations
is bearing false witness to God Himself.
everything you believe gladly to God's own Higher Court because
it speaks for Him, and therefore speaks truly. It will dismiss
the case against you however carefully you have built it.
he case may be foolproof, but it is not God-proof.
The Voice for God will not hear it at all
because He can only witness truly.
will always be "Thine is the Kingdom" Matthew
6:13 because He was given you
to remind you of what you are.
Your patience with each other
is your patience with yourselves. Is not a Child of God worth
patience? I have shown you infinite patience because my will is
that of our Father, from Whom I learned of infinite patience.
His Voice was in me as it is in you, speaking for patience towards
the Sonship in the Name of its Creator. What you need to learn
now is that only infinite patience can produce immediate effects.This
is the way in which time is exchanged for eternity. Infinite patience
calls upon infinite love, and by producing results now it renders
To say that time is temporary
is merely redundant. We have repeatedly said that time is a learning
device which will be abolished when it is no longer useful. The
Holy Spirit, Who speaks for God in time, also knows that time
is meaningless. He reminds you of this in every passing moment
of time because it is His special function to return you to eternity,
and remains to bless your creations there. He is the only blessing
you can truly give because He is so truly blessed; and because
He has been given you so freely by God, you must give Him as you
Course in Miracles
5 - Healing & Wholeness
The idea of “set” is among the better
psychological concepts. Actually, it is used quite frequently in
the Bible and also in this course under many different terms. For
keep him in perfect peace whose mind is stayed (or set) on Him,”
which means that God’s peace is set in the Holy Spirit, because
it is fixed on God. It is also fixed in you. You, then, are fixed
in the peace of God. The concept of “Fixation” is also
a very helpful one which Freud understood perfectly. Unfortunately,
he lost his understanding because he was afraid, and, as you know
all too well, fear is incompatible with good judgment. Fear distorts
thinking, and therefore disorders thought.
system of thought was extremely ingenious, because Freud was extremely
ingenuous, and a mind must endow its thoughts with its own attributes.
This is its inherent strength, although it may misuse its power.
Freud lost much of the potential value of his thought system because
he did not include himself in it. This is a dissociated state, because
the thinker cuts himself off from his thoughts. Freud’s thought
was so conflicted that he could not have retained his sanity as
he saw it without dissociation. That is why the many contradictions
which are quite apparent in his thinking became increasingly less
apparent to him. A man who knows what fixation really means, and
yet does not yield to it, is terribly afraid.
the pull of God, on Whom your mind is fixed because of the Holy
Spirit’s irrevocable set. “Irrevocable” means
“cannot be called back or redirected.” The irrevocable
nature of the Holy Spirit’s set is the basis for His unequivocal
Voice. The Holy Spirit never changes His mind. Clarity of thought
cannot occur under conditions of vacillation. Unless a mind is fixed
in its purpose, it is not clear. Clarity literally means the state
of light, and enlightenment is understanding. Enlightenment stands
under perception, because you have denied it as the real foundation
of thought. This is the basis for all delusional systems.
of fixation, as Freud saw it, has a number of learning advantages.
First, it recognizes that man can be fixated at a point in development
which does not accord with a point in time. This clearly could have
been a means toward real release from the time belief had Freud
pursued it with an open mind. Freud, however, suffered all his life
from refusal to allow eternity to dawn upon his mind and enlighten
it truly. As a result, he overlooked NOW entirely, and merely saw
the continuity of past and future.
Freud misinterpreted what the Holy Spirit told him, or better, reminded
him of, he was too honest to deny more than was necessary to keep
his fear in tolerable bounds as he perceived the situation. Therefore,
he emphasized that the point in development at which the mind is
fixated is more real to itself than the external reality with which
it disagrees. This, again, could have been a powerful release mechanism
had Freud not decided to involve it in a strong defense system,
because he perceived it as an attack.
Freud interpreted fixation as involving irrevocable “danger
points” to which the mind could always regress, the concept
can also be interpreted as an irrevocable call to sanity which the
mind cannot lose. Freud himself could not accept this interpretation,
but throughout his thought system, the “threat” of fixation
remained, and could never be eliminated by any living human being.
Essentially, this was the basis of Freud’s pessimism, personally
as well as theoretically. He tried every means his very inventive
mind could devise to set up a form of therapy which could enable
the mind to escape from fixation forever, even though he knew this
This knowledge plagued Freud’s belief in his own thought system
at every turn because he was both an honest man and a healer. He
was therefore only partially insane, and was unable to relinquish
the hope of release, even though he could not cope with it. The
reason for this amount of detail is because you are in the same
position. You were eternally fixated on God in your creation, and
the pull of this fixation is so strong that you will never overcome
it. The reason is perfectly clear. The fixation is on a level so
high that it cannot be surmounted. You are always being pulled back
to your Creator because you belong to Him.
Do you really
believe you can make a voice that can drown out His? Do you really
believe that you can devise a thought system which can separate
you from His? Do you really believe that you can plan for your
safety and joy better than He can?
You need be
neither careful nor careless; you need merely "cast your cares
upon Him because He careth for you." 1
Peter 5:7 You are His care, because He loves you. His
Voice reminds you always that all hope is yours because of His care.
You cannot choose to escape His care, because that is not His Will,
but you can choose to accept His care, and use the infinite power
of His care, for all those He created by it.
There have been
many healers who did not heal themselves. They have not "moved
mountains by their faith" (Matthew
17:20), because their faith was not whole. Some of them
have healed the sick at times, but they have not raised the dead.
Unless the healer heals himself, he does not believe that there
is no order of difficulty in miracles. He has not learned that every
mind God created is equally worthy of being healed because God created
it whole. You are merely asked to return to God the mind as He created
it. He asks you only for what He gave, knowing that this giving
will heal you. Sanity is wholeness, and the sanity of your brothers
Why should you
listen to the endless insane calls, which you think are made upon
you, when you know the Voice of God Himself is in you?
His Spirit to you, and asks that you commend yours to Him. He wills
to keep it in perfect peace, because you are of one mind and Spirit
with Him. Excluding yourself from the Atonement is the ego’s
last-ditch defense of its own existence. It reflects both the ego’s
need to separate, and your willingness to side with its separateness.
This willingness means that you do not want to be healed.
Bt the time
is now. You have not been asked to work out the plan of salvation
yourselves because, as I told you before, the remedy is not of your
making. God Himself gave you the perfect correction for everything
you have made which is not in accord with His holy Will. I have
made His plan perfectly explicit to you, and have also told you
of your part in His plan, and how urgent it is that you fulfill
it. There is time for delay, but there need not be. God weeps at
the “sacrifice” of His Children who believe they are
lost to Him.
I have already
told you that whenever you are not wholly joyous it is because
you have reacted with a lack of love to some Soul which God
created.Perceiving this as “sin,” you become defensive
because you expect attack. The decision to react in this way,
however, is yours, and can therefore be undone. It cannot be
undone by repentance in the usual sense, because this implies
guilt. If you allow yourself to feel guilty, you will re-inforce
the error rather than allow it to be undone for you.
cannot be difficult. This is obvious if you realize that you
must already have made a decision not to be wholly joyous,
if that is how you feel.
first step in the undoing (of fear) is to recognize that you
actively decided wrongly, but can as actively decide otherwise.
Be very firm with yourselves in this. And keep yourselves
fully aware of the fact that the undoing process, which does
not come from you, is nevertheless within you, because God
placed it there.
Your part is
merely to return your thinking to the point at which the error
was made, and give it over to the Atonement in peace.
Say to yourselves
the following as sincerely as you can, remembering that the
Holy Spirit will respond fully to your slightest invitation:
I must have decided
wrongly because I am not at peace.
I made the decision
myself, but I can also decide otherwise.
I will to decide otherwise,
because I want to be at peace.
I do not feel guilty,
because the Holy Spirit will undo all the consequences
of my wrong decision, if I will let Him.
to let Him by allowing Him to decide for God for me.