A Course in Miracles Chapter 23: The War Against Yourself

The title for chapter 23 is The War Against Yourself. Within this chapter are the following sub-titles: The Irreconcilable Beliefs, The Laws of Chaos, Salvation without Compromise and Above the Battleground.

Throughout our day we can find ourselves at war against ourselves. We have expectations of who we want to be, what we want to do and find ourselves doing the opposite. We focus on our shortcomings, sins and failures, mentally beating ourselves up. We have expectations of others that go unmet, causing conflict between us. We spend our time attacking ourselves and attacking others, living a life of conflict rather than peace. “War is the condition in which fear is born and grows and seeks to dominate. Peace is the state where love abides, and seeks to share itself. Conflict and peace are opposites. Where one abides the other cannot be; where either goes the other disappears.”

This chapter talks about the 4 laws of chaos we can sometimes find ourselves living by and how they can bring about the conflict and war within us. The first one is “the truth is different for everyone.” We believe that what we perceive as truth is The Truth and anyone who does not believe our truth becomes our enemy. This can be religious beliefs, political beliefs, child rearing beliefs, money beliefs; all kinds of different things. We justify our beliefs by attacking everyone else’s beliefs. If someone does not agree with us we become defensive, attempting to convince them that we are right and they are wrong. Increasing the conflict we feel within us and with the other person, creating separation between us.

The second is “each one must sin, and therefore deserves attack and death.”  We look at errors and mistakes as sin and therefore, the person who committed them deserves some kind of punishment rather than correction. You see this in the workplace, in parenting, in our penal system and even in how we view our relationship with God. We believe if we can instill fear in people it will stop them from doing something we perceive as wrong or bad. We use fear rather than love as a motivator. It puts fear in people that if they can’t do something right, they will be punished, therefore, many people do not even try to do something they have never done before. Once again it causes separation between us and other people.

The third is “Chaos is eternal.” This refers to the belief that everything we do on earth has eternal consequences. The punishment will continue when we die and cross over to the other side because God is a fearful, vengeful God of justice and hell is real. Now it becomes impossible for people to turn to God in their time of need for now “He has become the enemy who caused it, to whom appeal is useless.” This idea of eternal punishment is another belief man created to control others through fear. A God of love is incapable of inflicting eternal punishment on his own dearly beloved creation. If he did, he would be inflicting it on himself as we are all eternally one.

The fourth is “the belief you have what you have taken.” This comes from the idea that we are all separate from each other, therefore, we have enemies we must compete and fight against to get anything in life. Enemies are not going to freely share what they have with you, you must take them out to get what you want.

Fortunately, this chapter has the cure for how to live your life outside of these laws based on illusions of chaos, attack and war against yourself and others. It is to take a higher perspective. To allow yourself to step back from your everyday life and look at what is going on from a heavenly, eternal perspective. “When the temptation to attack rises to make your mind darkened and murderous, remember you can see the battle from above. There is a stab of pain, a twinge of guilt, and above all, a loss of peace. When they occur be lifted up, and from a higher place look down upon it. From there will your perspective be quite different. And the perspective coming from this choice shows you the battle is not real, and easily escaped. And God Himself and the lights of Heaven will gently lean in to you, and hold you up.”

When you find yourself at war with yourself or those around you, get in the presence of God so you can have God’s perspective on what is happening. You will then receive the peace of God.

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