2 - Illusion of Separation
as Lack of Love
believe that “being afraid” is involuntary;
something beyond your control. Yet
I have told you several times that only constructive
acts should be involuntary. We have said that Christ-control
can take over everything that does not matter, while
Christ-guidance can direct everything that does, if
you so choose.Fear cannot be Christ-controlled, but
it can be self-controlled. It prevents me from controlling
correction is therefore a matter of your will, because
its (fear's) presence shows that you have raised the
unimportant to a higher level than it warrants. You
have thus brought it under your will, where it does
not belong. This means that you feel responsible for
it. The level confusion here is obvious.
The reason I cannot control fear for you is that you
are attempting to raise to the mind level the proper
content of lower-order reality. I do not foster level
confusion, but you can choose to correct it. You would
not tolerate insane behavior on your part, and would
hardly advance the excuse that you could not help it.
Why should you tolerate insane thinking? There
is a confusion here which you would do well to look
at clearly. You believe that you are responsible for
what you do, but not for what you think.
truth is that you are responsible for what you think,
because it is only at this level that you can exercise
you do comes from what you think. You cannot separate
yourself from the truth by “giving” autonomy
to behavior. This (behavior) is controlled by me automatically,
as soon as you place what you think under my guidance.
you are afraid, it is a sure sign that you have allowed
your mind to miscreate, or have not allowed me to guide
it. It is pointless to believe that controlling the
outcome (behavior) of mis-thought can result in healing.
When you are fearful you have willed wrongly. This is
why you feel responsible for it. You must change your
mind, not your behavior, and this is a matter of will.
do not need guidance except at the mind level. Correction
belongs only at the level where creation is possible.
The term (correction) does not mean anything at the
symptom level, where it cannot work. The correction
of fear is your responsibility. When you ask for release
from fear, you are implying that it is not.You should
ask, instead, for help in the conditions which have
brought the fear about. These
conditions always entail a separated-mind willingness.
At that level, you can help it.
ou are much too tolerant of mind wandering, thus passively
condoning its miscreations. The particular result
does not matter, but the fundamental error does. The
correction is always the same. Before
you will to do anything, ask me if your will is in accord
with mine. If you are sure that it is, there will be
is always a sign of strain, which arises whenever the
will to do conflicts with what you do. This situation
arises in two ways;
can will to do conflicting things, either simultaneously
or successively. This produces conflicted behavior,
which is intolerable to yourself because the part of
the will that wants to do something else is outraged.
can behave as you think you should, but without entirely
willing (wanting) to do so. This produces consistent
behavior, but entails great strain within the self.
both cases, the will and the behavior are out of accord,
resulting in a situation in which you are doing what
you do not will (want to do). This arouses a sense of
coercion, which usually produces rage. The rage then
invades the mind, and projection (in the wrong sense)
is likely to follow. Depression or anxiety is virtually
that whenever there is fear, it is because you have
not made up your mind. Your will is split, and your
behavior inevitably becomes erratic. Correcting at the
behavioral level can shift the error from the first
to the second type of strain described above, but will
not obliterate the fear. It is possible to reach a state
in which you bring your will under my guidance without
much conscious effort, but this implies habit patterns
which you have not developed dependably as yet. God
cannot ask morr than you will. The strength to do comes
from your own undivided will to do. There is no strain
in doing God’s Will as soon as you recognize that
it is also your own.
for Lack of Love
lesson here is quite simple, but particularly apt to
be overlooked. I will therefore repeat it, urging you
to listen. Only your mind can produce fear. It does
so whenever it is conflicted in what it wills, thus
producing inevitable strain because willing and doing
become discordant. This cannot be corrected by better
doing, but it can be corrected by higher willing.
first corrective step is know first that this is an
expression of fear. Then say to yourself that you must
somehow have willed not to love, or the fear which arises
from behavior-will conflict could not have arisen. Then
the whole process is nothing more than a series of pragmatic
steps in the larger process of accepting the Atonement
as the remedy.
can be summarized as follows:
1. Know first that this is fear.
2. Fear arises from lack of love.
3. The only remedy is Perfect Love.
4. Perfect Love is the Atonement.
have emphasized that the miracle, or the expression
of Atonement, is always a sign of real respect from
the worthy to the worthy. This worth is re-established
by the Atonement. It is obvious, then, that when you
are afraid you have placed yourself in a position where
you need Atonement, because you have done something
loveless, having willed without love (because you have
forgotten your worth). This is precisely the situation
for which the Atonement was offered. The
need for the remedy inspired its creation. As long as
you recognize only the need for the remedy, you will
remain fearful. However, as soon as you remedy it, you
have also abolished the fear. This is how true healing
experiences fear, and no one enjoys it. Yet it would take
very little right-thinking to realize why fear occurs.
Very few people appreciate the real power of the mind,
and no one remains fully aware of it all the time. However,
if anyone hopes to spare himself from fear, there are
some things he must realize, and realize fully. The mind
is very powerful, and it never loses its creative force.
It never sleeps. Every instant it is creating, and always
as you will. Many of your ordinary expressions reflect
this. For example, when you say, “Don’t
give it a thought,” you imply that if you do not
think about something, it will have no effect on you.
And this is true enough.
On the other hand, many other expressions clearly illustrate
the prevailing lack of awareness of thought-power. For
example, you say, “Just an idle thought,”
and mean that the thought has no effect. You also speak
of some actions as “thoughtless,” implying
that if the person had thought, he would not behave
as he did. While
expressions like “think big” give some recognition
to the power of thought, they still come nowhere near
the truth. You do not expect to grow when you say it,
because you do not really think that you will.
is hard to recognize that thought and belief combine
into a power surge that can literally "move mountains."
appears at first glance that to believe such power about
yourself is merely arrogant, but that is not the real
reason why you do not believe it. People prefer to believe
that their thoughts cannot exert real control because
they are literally afraid of them.
Many psychotherapists attempt to help people who are
afraid, say, of their death wishes, by depreciating
the power of the wish. They even try to “free”
the patient by persuading him that he can think whatever
he wants without any real effect at all.
is a real dilemma here which only the truly right-minded
can escape. Death wishes do not kill in the physical
sense, but they do kill spiritual awareness. All destructive
thinking is dangerous. Given a death wish, a man has
no choice except to act upon the thought, or behave
contrary to it. He thus chooses only between homicide
and fear. The other possibility is that he depreciates
the power of his thought. This is the usual psychoanalytic
approach. It does allay guilt, but at the cost of rendering
thinking impotent. If you believe that what you think
is ineffectual you may cease to be overly afraid of
it, but you are hardly likely to respect it.
world is full of examples of how man has depreciated
himself because he is afraid of his own thoughts.
In some forms of insanity, thoughts are glorified,
but this is only because the underlying depreciation
was too effective for tolerance. The truth is that
there are no “idle” thoughts.
All thinking produces
form at some level. The reason people are afraid
of ESP and so often react against it is because
they know that thoughts can hurt them. Their own
thoughts have made them vulnerable.
who constantly complain about fear still persist
in creating it. I
told you before that you cannot ask me to release
you from fear, because I know it does not exist,
but you do not. If I merely intervened between your
thoughts and their results, I would be tampering
with a basic law of cause and effect, the most fundamental
law there is in this world.
I would hardly help if I depreciated the power of
your own thinking. This would be in direct opposition
to the purpose of this course.
It is much more helpful to remind you that you do
not guard your thoughts carefully except for a small
part of the day, and somewhat inconsistently even
then. You may feel at this point that it would take
a miracle to enable you to do this, which is perfectly
are not used to miraculous thinking, but they can be
trained to think that way. All
miracle workers need that kind of training.
ACIM Workbook For Students
cannot let them leave their minds unguarded or
they will not be able to help me. Miracle working
entails a full realization of the power of thought,
and real avoidance of miscreation. Otherwise a
miracle will be necessary to set the mind itself
straight, a circular process which would hardly
foster the time collapse for which the miracle
was intended. Nor would it induce the healthy
respect for true cause and effect which every
miracle worker must have.
miracles and fear come from thoughts, and if you
were not free to choose one, you would also not
be free to choose the other. By choosing the miracle
you have rejected fear. You have been afraid of
God, of me, of yourselves, and of practically
everyone you know at one time or another. This
is because you have misperceived or miscreated
us, and believe in what you have made.
would never have done this if you were not afraid
of your own thoughts. The
vulnerable are essentially miscreators because
they misperceive creation.
persist in believing that, when you do not consciously
watch your mind, it is unmindful. It is time,
however, to consider the whole world of the unconscious
or “unwatched” mind. This may well
frighten you because it is the source of fear.
unwatched mind is responsible for the whole content
of the unconscious which lies above the miracle
level. All psychoanalytic theorists have made
some contribution in this connection, but none
of them has seen it in its true entirety.
man miscreates he is in pain. The cause and effect principle
here is temporarily a real expeditor. Actually, “Cause”
is a term properly belonging to God, and “Effect,”
which should also be capitalized, is His Son. This entails
a set of Cause and Effect relationships which are totally
different from those which man introduced into his own
miscreations. The fundamental opponents in the real basic
conflict are Creation and miscreation. All
fear is implicit in the second (miscreation, just as all
love is inherent in the first (Creation). Because of this
difference, the basic conflict is one between love and
has already been said that man believes he cannot
control fear because he himself created it. His
belief in it seems to render it out of his control
by definition. Yet any attempt to resolve the basic
conflict through the concept of mastery (controlling)
of fear is meaningless. In fact, it asserts the
power of fear by the simple assumption that it need
be mastered. The essential resolution rests entirely
on the mastery of love.In the interim, the sense
of conflict is inevitable, since man has placed
himself in a strangely illogical position:He believes
in the power of what does not exist.
concepts which cannot coexist are “nothing”
and “everything.” To whatever extent
one is believed in, the other has been denied. In
the conflict fear is really nothing, and love is
everything. This is because whenever light enters
darkness, the darkness is abolished. What
man believes is true for him. In this sense the
separation has occurred, and to deny this is merely
to misuse denial. However, to concentrate on error
is merely a further misuse of defenses. The true
corrective procedure is to recognize error temporarily,
but only as an indication
that immediate correction is mandatory. This establishes
a state of mind in which the Atonement can be accepted
It should be emphasized, however, that ultimately
there is no compromise possible between everything
and nothing. Time is essentially a device by which
all compromise in this respect can be given up.
It seems to be abolished by degrees, because time
itself involves a concept of intervals which do
not really exist. The faulty use of creation made
this necessary as a corrective device.
God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten
Son that whosoever believeth on Him shall not perish,
but have eternal life” John
only one slight correction to be entirely meaningful
in this context. It should read,
gave it (the real
world) to His only begotten Son.”
should especially be noted that God has only one Son.
If all the Souls God created are His Sons, then every
Soul must be an integral part of the whole Sonship. You
do not find the concept that the whole is greater than
its parts difficult to understand. You should, therefore,
not have too much trouble in understanding this. The Sonship
in its Oneness does transcend the sum of its parts. However,
this is obscured as long as any of its parts are missing.That
is why the conflict cannot ultimately be resolved until
all the parts of the Sonship have returned. Only then
can the meaning of wholeness, in the true sense, be fully
part of the Sonship can believe in error or incompleteness,
if he so elects. However, if he does so, he is
believing in the existence of nothingness. The
correction of this error is the Atonement. We
have already briefly spoken about readiness, but
there are some additional points which might be
helpful here. Readiness is nothing more than the
prerequisite for accomplishment. The two should
not be confused. As soon as a state of readiness
occurs, there is usually some will to accomplish,
but this is by no means necessarily undivided.
The state does not imply more than a potential
for a shift of will.
cannot develop fully until mastery has been accomplished.
have already attempted to correct the fundamental
error that fear can be mastered, and have emphasized
that only love can be mastered. In
case this be misunderstood to imply that an enormous
amount of time will be necessary between readiness
and mastery, let me remind you that time and space
are under my control.
One of the chief ways in which man can correct his magic-miracle
confusion is to remember that he did not create himself.
He is apt to forget this when he becomes egocentric,
and this places him in a position where the belief in
magic in some form is virtually inevitable. His will
to create was given him by his own Creator, Who was
expressing the same Will in His Creation. Since creative
ability rests in the mind, everything that man creates
is necessarily a matter of will. It also follows that
whatever he creates is real in his own sight, but not
necessarily in the Sight of God. This basic distinction
leads us directly into the real meaning of the Last