A Course in Miracles

Chapter 5 - Healing & Wholeness

Two Decisions (Ego's Use of Guilt)

Perhaps 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 in creation.

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.

However ridiculous the idea of attacking God may be to the sane mind, never forget that the ego is not sane.

It represents 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.

Whatever you 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.

The ego believes that by punishing itself it will mitigate the punishment of God.

Yet 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 want?”

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.

Irrational thought 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.

The dilemma 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.

 
 

A Course in Miracles

Chapter 5 - Healing & Wholeness

Time and Eternity

The continuing will to remain separated is the only possible reason for continuing guilt feelings.

We have said this before, but we did not emphasize the destructive results of this decision at that time. Any 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 so. 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. You 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.

Guilt feelings are the preservers of time.

They induce 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. God offers you the continuity of eternity in exchange. When you choose to make this exchange, you will simultaneously exchange...

  • guilt for joy,
  • viciousness for love, and
  • pain for peace.

My role 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.

The mind 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. The 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 your brothers. How else can the chance to claim it for yourself be given you?

Bible Interpretations

What 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.

The 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.

The 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.

We need cite only a few examples to see how the ego's interpretations have misled you.

A favorite ego quotation is "As ye sow, so shall ye reap. " Galatians 6:7
Another is "Vengeance is mine, sayeth the Lord." Romans 12:19; Proverbs 20:22
Still another is "I will visit the sins of the father unto the third and fourth generation." Exodus 34:7
And also, "The wicked shall perish." Psalm 37:20

There are many others. But if you will let the Holy Spirit re-interpret these in His own light, they will suffice.

"As 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.

"Vengeance 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.

"I 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.

"The 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."

The 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. The 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 12:46

I surely 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.

Appeal 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.

His verdict 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 time unnecessary.

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 received Him.

 

 

 

A Course in Miracles

Chapter 5 - Healing & Wholeness

Eternal Fixation (Decision For God)

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 example,

“God will keep him in perfect peace whose mind is stayed (or set) on Him,” Isaiah 26:3

a statement 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.

Freud’s 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.

Fixation is 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.

The concept 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.

Second, although 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.

Third, although 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 was impossible.

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 is yours.

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?

God commended 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.

Atonement Prayer

Decisions 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.

Therefore, the 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.

I will to let Him by allowing Him to decide for God for me.
 

 
 

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