Course in Miracles
4 - The Root of All Evil
Teaching and Right Learning
says that you should go with a brother twice as far as he asks.
It certainly does not suggest that you set him back on his journey.
Devotion to a brother cannot set you back, either. It can lead only
to mutual progress.
of genuine devotion is inspiration, a word which, properly understood,
is the opposite of fatigue. To be fatigued is to be dis-spirited,
but to be inspired is to be in the spirit. To be egocentric is to
be dispirited, but to be self-centered in the right sense is to
be inspired, or in the Soul. The truly inspired are enlightened
and cannot abide in darkness.
You can speak
from the Soul or from the ego, precisely as you choose. If you speak
from the Soul, you have chosen
be still and know that I am God.” Psalm
are inspired because they come from knowledge. If you speak from
the ego, you are disclaiming knowledge instead of affirming it,
and are thus dispiriting yourself.
Do not embark
on foolish journeys, because they are indeed in vain. The ego may
desire them, but the Soul cannot embark on them because it is forever
unwilling to depart from its (thought system) Foundation.
to the cross should be the last foolish journey for every mind.
Do not dwell upon it, but dismiss it as accomplished. If you can
accept it as your own last foolish journey, you are also free to
join my Resurrection.
has indeed been needlessly wasted in a repetition compulsion. It
- the loss of
- the foolish
journey of the ego in an attempt at reparation, and finally,
- the crucifixion
of the body, or death.
compulsions can be endless unless they are given up by an act of
will. Do not make the pathetic human error of “clinging to
the old rugged cross.” The
only message of the crucifixion was that we can overcome the cross.
Unless you do so, you are free to crucify yourself as often as you
choose, but this is not the Gospel I intended to offer you. We have
another journey to undertake, and if you will read these lessons
carefully, they will help to prepare you to undertake it.
We have spoken
of many different human symptoms, and at this level there is almost
endless variation. There is, however, only one cause of all them.
The authority problem is
root of all evil.” 1
Money is but
one of its many reflections, and is a reasonably representative
example of the kind of thinking which stems from it. The idea of
buying and selling implies precisely the kind of exchange that the
Soul cannot understand at all, because its Supply is always abundant,
and all its demands are fully met.
which the ego has made involves a contradiction in terms. This is
because the mind is split between the ego and the Soul, so that
whatever the ego makes is incomplete and contradictory. This untenable
position is the result of the authority problem which, because it
accepts the one inconceivable thought as its premise, can only produce
ideas which are inconceivable. The
term “profess” is used quite frequently in the Bible.
To profess is to identify with an idea, and offer the idea to others
to be their own. The idea does not lessen; it becomes stronger.
A good teacher
clarifies his own ideas, and strengthens them by teaching them.
Teacher and pupil are alike in the learning process. They are in
the same order of learning, and unless they share their lessons,
they will lack conviction. A
good teacher must believe in the ideas which he professes, but he
must meet another condition; he must also believe in the students
to whom he offers his ideas.
guard over their ideas because they want to protect their thought
systems as they are, and learning means change. Change is always
fearful to the separated ones, because they cannot conceive of it
as a change towards healing the separation. They always perceive
it as a change towards further separation, because the separation
was their first experience of change.
that, if you allow no change to enter into your ego, your Soul will
find peace. This profound confusion is possible only if one maintains
that the same thought system can stand on two foundations. Nothing
can reach the Soul from the ego, and nothing from the Soul can strengthen
the ego or reduce the conflict within it. The ego is a contradiction.
Man’s self and God’s Self are in opposition. They are
opposed in creation, in will, and in outcome. They are fundamentally
irreconcilable because the Soul cannot perceive and the ego cannot
know. They are therefore not in communication, and can never be
in communication. Nevertheless, the ego can learn because its maker
can be misguided, but cannot make the totally lifeless out of the
life-given. The Soul need not be taught, but the ego must.
reason why learning is perceived as frightening is because learning
does lead to the relinquishment (not destruction) of the ego to
the Light of the Soul. This is the change the ego must fear because
it does not share my charity.
was like yours, and because I learned it I can teach it. I never
attack your egos, but I do try to teach you how their thought
system arose. When I remind you of your true creation, your egos
cannot but respond with fear.
and learning are your greatest strengths now because you must change
your mind and help others change theirs. It is pointless to refuse
to tolerate change because you believe you can demonstrate that,
by doing so, the separation has not occurred. The dreamer who doubts
the reality of his dream while he is still dreaming is not really
healing the level-split. You
have dreamed of a separated ego, and you have believed in a world
which rests upon it. This is very real to you. You cannot undo this
by doing nothing and not changing.
If you are
willing to renounce the role of guardian of your thought system
and open it to me, I will correct it very gently and lead you home.
Every good teacher hopes to give his students so much of his own
thinking that they will one day no longer need him. This is the
one real goal of the parent, teacher and therapist. This goal will
not be achieved by those who believe that they will lose their child
or pupil or patient if they succeed. It
is impossible to convince the ego of this because it goes against
all of its own laws. But remember that laws are set up to protect
the continuity of the system in which the law-maker believes.
It is natural
enough for the ego to try to protect itself, once you have made
it, but it is not natural for you to want to obey its laws unless
you believe in them. The ego cannot make this choice because
of the nature of its origin. You can because of the nature of yours.
Egos can clash in any situation, but Souls cannot clash at all.
If you perceive a teacher as merely a “larger ego,”
you will be afraid, because to enlarge an ego is to increase
teach with you and live with you if you will think with me, but
my goal will always be to absolve you finally from the need for
This is the
opposite of the ego-oriented teacher’s goal. He is concerned
with the effect of his ego on other egos, and therefore interprets
their interaction as a means of ego preservation. I would not be
able to devote myself to teaching if I believed this, and you will
not be a devoted teacher as long as you maintain it. I am constantly
being perceived as a teacher either to be exalted or rejected, but
I do not accept either perception for myself.
is not established by your teaching or your learning. Your worth
was established by God. As long as you dispute this everything you
do will be fearful, particularly any situation which lends itself
to the “superiority-inferiority” fallacy. Teachers
must be patient, and repeat their lessons until they are learned.
I am willing to do this because I have no right to set your learning
limits for you.
you do or think or wish or make is necessary to establish your worth.
is not debatable except in delusions. Your ego is never at stake
because God did not create it. Your Soul is never at stake because
He did. Any confusion on this point is a delusion, and no form of
devotion is possible as long as this delusion lasts.
ego tries to exploit all situations into forms of praise for itself
in order to overcome its doubts. It will be doubtful forever, or
rather, as long as you believe in it. You
who made it cannot trust it, because you know it is not real. The
only sane solution is not to try to change reality, which is indeed
a fearful attempt, but to see it as it is. You
are part of reality, which stands unchanged beyond the reach of
your ego, but within easy reach of your Soul.
When you are
and know that God is real and you are His beloved Son in whom
He is well pleased. Psalm
Do not let
your ego dispute this, because the ego cannot know what is as far
beyond its reach as you are.
God is not
the author of fear. You are. You have chosen, therefore, to create
unlike Him, and you have made fear for yourselves. You are not at
peace because you are not fulfilling your function. God gave you
a very lofty responsibility which you are not meeting. You know
this, and you are afraid. In fact, your egos have chosen to be afraid
instead of meeting it. When you awaken, you will not be able to
understand this because it is literally incredible. Do not believe
the incredible now. Any
attempt to increase its believableness is merely to postpone the
The word “inevitable”
is fearful to the ego, but joyous to the Soul. God is inevitable,
and you cannot avoid Him any more that He can avoid you. The ego
is afraid of the Soul’s joy because, once you have experienced
it, you will withdraw all protection from the ego, and become totally
without the investment in fear. Your investment is great now because
fear is a witness to the separation, and your ego rejoices when
you witness to it. Leave it behind! Do not listen to it, and do
not preserve it. Listen only to God, Who is as incapable of deception
as are the Souls He created.
and release others. Do not present a false and unworthy picture
of yourself to others, and do not accept such a picture of them
yourselves. The ego has built a shabby and unsheltering home for
you because it cannot build otherwise. Do not try to make this impoverished
house stand. It's weakness is your strength. Only
God could make a home that is worthy of His creations, who have
chosen to leave it empty by their own dispossession.
Yet His home
will stand forever, and is ready for you when you choose to enter
it. Of this you can be wholly certain. God is as incapable of creating
the perishable as the ego is of making the eternal.
Of your egos
you can do nothing to save yourselves or others, but of your Souls
you can do everything for the salvation of both. Humility is a lesson
for the ego, not for the Soul. The
Soul is beyond humility because it recognizes its radiance, and
gladly sheds its light everywhere.
meek shall inherit the earth" Matthew
5:5 because their egos are humble and this gives
them better perception.
of Heaven is the right of the Soul, whose beauty and dignity are
far beyond doubt, beyond perception, and stand forever as the mark
of the Love of God for His creations, who are wholly worthy of Him,
and only of Him. Nothing
else is sufficiently worthy to be a gift for a creation of God Himself.
I will substitute
for your ego if you wish, but never for your Soul. A father can
safely leave a child with an elder brother who has shown himself
responsible, but this involves no confusion about the child’s
origin. The brother can protect the child’s body and his ego,
which are very closely related, but he does not confuse himself
with the father because he does this, although the child may. I
can be entrusted with your body and your ego simply because this
enables you not to be concerned with them, and lets me
teach you their unimportance. I
could not understand their importance to you if I had not once been
tempted to believe in them myself.
us undertake to learn this lesson together, so we can be free of
them together. I need devoted teachers
who share my aim of healing the mind. The
Soul is far beyond the need of your protection or mine.
“In this world you need not have tribulation because
I have overcome the world.” John
is why you should be of good cheer.