A Course in Miracles Chapter 12: The Holy Spirit’s Curriculum

The title for chapter 12 is The Holy Spirit’s Curriculum. Within this chapter are the following sub-titles: The Judgment of the Holy Spirit, The Way to Remember God, The Investment in Reality, Seeking and Finding, The Sane Curriculum, the Vision of Christ, Looking Within, and The Attraction of Love for Love.

I like the way this chapter interprets fear. It defines fear as “an appeal for help, a call for love in unconscious recognition of what has been denied. Fear is a symptom of your own deep sense of loss.” We all innately know that we were created to receive and give love. However, the ego is afraid of love as it understands when love is fully known, the ego will cease to exist. Fear and love are the two root emotions and you cannot feel both simultaneously, so one or the other is always going to dominate. When you deny or minimize your fears, they will continue to hold you under their control. It is only when you are willing to face your fears and allow them to rise to the surface that the Holy Spirit can come in and dispel them. “If you raise what fear conceals to clear-cut unequivocal predominance, fear becomes meaningless. You have denied its power to conceal love, which was its only purpose. The Holy Spirits interpretation of fear does dispel it, for the awareness of truth cannot be denied. Thus, does the Holy Spirit replace fear with love and translate error into truth. The Holy Spirit cannot shine away what you keep hidden, for you have not offered it to Him and He cannot take it from you. Learn how to offer the Holy Spirit everything you do not want.”

One of the concepts that this book discusses is the inner and outer world. This can be difficult to comprehend the first few times you hear it as it is in opposition to what we are taught and what our physical senses tell us. The ego perceives the world as outside of ourselves. This book states that everything we see outside is a reflection of what is happening inside of us, that we do not want to own, and so we project it outward onto the world around us. We feel anger but believe it is not okay to feel or show this anger so we will do and say things to cause the people around us to feel anger instead of us. Because we believe we are not lovable, we will do and say things to push people away from us and then turn around and complain about how lonely we are. We complain about the world around us; wars, prejudice, discrimination, violence without realizing that all of this is being created by us energetically projecting outward the parts of us we do not want to own. It is only when we are willing to go inward and accept all of us, the bad and the good without judgment, for we are all a combination of both, that we will begin to take responsibility for our actions and feel peace, love and acceptance for who we are. We will then start projecting this out into the world around us and the outer world will become a more peaceful, accepting, loving place to live. We create the reality we live in based on the thoughts, beliefs, feelings of our inner world being energetically projected out into the world around us. “He does not realize that he makes this world, for there is no world outside of him. Everything you perceive as the outside world is merely your attempt to maintain your ego identification. You have projected outward what is antagonistic of what is inward. That is why you must realize that your hatred is in your mind and not outside it before you can get rid of it, and why you must get rid of it before you can perceive the world as it really is.”

 

 

A Course in Miracles Chapter 11: God or the Ego

The title for chapter 11 is God or the Ego. Within this chapter are the following sub-titles: The Gifts of Fatherhood, The Invitation to Healing, From Darkness to Light, The Inheritance of God’s Son, The “Dynamics” of the Ego, Waking to Redemption, The Condition of Reality and The Problem and the Answer.

This chapter talks about how our perceptions of truth and reality are based on our experiences which then lead to our beliefs. In Christianity, we are encouraged to understand and accept truth as it was taught and passed down to us through the history of the church. We are not encouraged to question the traditional Easter story or consider anything beyond the literal interpretation we have been taught. This is the week leading up to Easter, sometimes called the passion week in Christianity. Most of you know the story of what happens to Jesus during this week where he goes from being adored on Palm Sunday, to the night he was betrayed in the garden, to the trial, the crucifixion and then to the resurrection. I have always been taught the literal interpretation of this event, that it had to do with sin, sacrifice, forgiveness and eternal life. In this chapter it looks at this week with a higher, spiritual understanding. From this perspective, the crucifixion represents the ego and the resurrection represents Christs victory over the ego through love.

Let me start by focusing on the crucifixion. Jesus spent his life preaching a message of love that was rejected by both the religious and political authorities at that time who represent the ego. They were motivated by fear; that the people would choose Jesus over them, that they could lose their power, that life as they controlled it could change if they could not find a way to get rid of Jesus. They projected their fears onto Jesus by attacking him with words of judgement, hatred and condemnation, inflicting physical pain onto his body. They required a sacrifice, Jesus over the other criminal had to die. Jesus hung on the cross, later buried, symbolic of the ego in complete control with all the power and about to declare victory over the message of love Jesus had taught.

But 3 days later, love won. Jesus was alive, walking and eating with the people in his community. A life that had looked dead was renewed. The one who lived his life in daily communion with God transcended the power of the ego. The darkness of the grave turned into the glorious light of God’s presence.

“The love of God surrounds his son whom the god of crucifixion condemns. Teach not that I died in vain. Teach rather that I did not die by demonstrating that I live in you. For the undoing of the crucifixion of Gods son is the work of the redemption in which everyone has a part of equal value. The resurrection is the complete triumph of Christ over the ego, not by attack but by transcendence. For Christ does rise above the ego and all its works, and ascends to the Father and his Kingdom. Believe in the resurrection because it has been accomplished, and it has been accomplished in you. For we ascend unto the Father together, as it was in the beginning, is now and ever shall be, for such is the nature of Gods Son as his Father created him.”

“Each day, each hour and minute, even each second, you are deciding between the crucifixion and the resurrection; between the ego and the Holy Spirit.”

A Course in Miracles Chapter 10: The Idols of Sickness

The title for chapter 10 is The Idols of Sickness. Within this chapter are the following sub-titles: At Home in God, The Decision to Forget, The God of Sickness, The End of Sickness, and The Denial of God.

This chapter has an interesting perspective on understanding sickness. I had never thought about it this way until I read this book. Those of you who are currently sick or have a major disease may have a difficult time accepting some of the teachings in this chapter. It takes time for our mind to process and accept new information from the higher spiritual realm as we are conditioned to only understand sickness from a physical body orientation.

Sickness is defined as an attack on yourself and as a denial of the presence of God living within you. When a person fails to fully comprehend how much God loves them and how valuable and perfect they are in his eyes, they may instead see themselves as being a sinner, flawed and even evil. They may complain to themselves and to others about the things they do not like about themselves. It could be a physical attribute on their body or something they did, thought or felt that they judged as being wrong. Growing up, if people spoke negative things over them, they interpreted this as truth about who they were, even though it was all lies. By the time most people reach adulthood, they struggle to identify with how great and amazing God created them to be and generally do not like who they have become. When this happens, their ego mind gets the message that they are not worth anything so it begins to attack them through sickness and disease to defend and prove this belief about them. God cannot create sickness because it goes against his nature of love. However, you, through listening to the lies of the ego can make yourself sick. “When you attack, you are denying yourself. You are specifically teaching yourself that you are not what you are. When you think you are attacking yourself, it is a sure sign that you hate what you think you are. If God created you perfect, you are perfect. If you believe you can be sick, you have placed other gods before him. But if you refuse to worship him (sickness) in whatever form he may appear to you, and wherever you think you see him, he will disappear into the nothingness out of which he was made.”

This chapter teaches a different viewpoint on how you are to be healed of sickness. Since we were all created by the same God, we are all connected to each other through our minds. When one person is sick, it energetically affects everyone. However, it works in reverse, when one person is healthy, it energetically affects everyone and will bring healing to those that are sick. When someone is sick, rather than affirm and support their sickness, ACIM teaches that you are to come along side of them and remind them of who they really are, remind them of the God that loves them, remind them of how interconnected you all are and share with them the health, joy, love that you have. “Do not side with sickness in the presence of a Son of God even if he believes in it, for your acceptance of God in him acknowledges the Love of God he has forgotten. Your recognition of him as part of God reminds him of the truth about himself, which he is denying. Remind him of his wholeness and remember your creator with him. The power of one mind can shine into another because all the lamps of God were lit by the same spark. It is everywhere and it is eternal. Perceiving the spark will heal, but knowing the light will create. Put all your faith in it, and God himself will answer you.”

“The love of God is in everything He created. If you will accept yourself as God created you, you will be incapable of suffering. Yet to do this you must acknowledge Him as your Creator. Your Father created you wholly without sin, wholly without pain and wholly without suffering of any kind. If you deny Him you bring sin, pain and suffering into your own mind because of the power he gave it (your mind).”

A Course in Miracles Chapter 9: The Acceptance of the Atonement

The title for chapter 9 is The Acceptance of the Atonement. Within this chapter are the following sub-titles: The Acceptance of Reality, The Answer to Prayer, The Correction of Error, The Holy Spirit’s Plan of Forgiveness, The Unhealed Healer, The Acceptance of Your Brother, The Two Evaluations, and Grandeur versus Grandiosity.

As Christians, we are taught to seek after the will of God, people pray for this will to be revealed to them and live in fear that they are living lives contrary to God’s will for them. From this comes a fear of God, that he will be displeased with us if we get to the end of our lives and have not figured it out yet. This Course teaches that the Will of God is You! God’s will was to create you to be an extension of who he is. “If then, a mind believes that its will is different from His, it can only decide either that there is no God or that Gods will is fearful. The former accounts for the atheist and the latter for the martyr, who believes that God demands sacrifices. Either of these insane decisions will induce panic, because the atheist believes he is alone, and the martyr believes that God is crucifying him. God is Love and you do want Him. This is your will. Ask for this and you will be answered, because you will be asking only for what belongs to you.” God’s will for us is to be united with him so his love can shine through us to love others.

One of the questions we all ask is why our prayers are not answered. This course gives an interesting answer to this question. “Suppose, then, that what you ask of the Holy Spirit is what you really want, but you are still afraid of it. Should this be the case, your attainment of it would no longer be what you want.” An example would be that you are praying for a pay raise but it would include more responsibility at work. But a part of you is fearful that you may not be able to handle the additional responsibility. Because the Holy Spirit does not want you living in fear, you most likely will not be given a raise. “The Bible emphasizes that all prayer is answered, and this is indeed true. The very fact that the Holy Spirit has been asked for anything will ensure a response. Yet it is equally certain that no response given by Him will ever be one that would increase fear. It is possible that His answer will not be heard. It is impossible, however, that it will be lost. There are many answers you have already received but have not yet heard. I assure you that they are waiting for you.” What I believe this statement is referring to is that anytime we pray, our prayers are immediately answered but the answers are placed in a “holding” area until we can receive or “hear” them. Using the above example, the pay raise with increased responsibility was answered but put on hold, waiting until you overcame your fear of the increased responsibility. Once that fear was gone, you would then receive the pay raise.

This chapter talks about the difference between grandeur which comes from God, and grandiosity which comes from ego. I looked up the definitions of these words in the dictionary and found that grandeur means glorious, magnificence, majestic, splendor and superb. Grandiosity means seeming to be impressive but not really possible or practical. So, the ego takes what is of God and attempts to replicate it and hopes we can’t tell the difference. God sees us as being of great worth and the ego wants us to believe we are worth very little. “The ego will tell you that you are insane, and argue that grandeur cannot be a real part of you because of the littleness in which it believes. Yet your grandeur is not delusional because you did not make it. You made grandiosity and are afraid of it because it is a form of attack but your grandeur is of God, who created it out of His love.”

“Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness that most frightens us. We ask ourselves, Who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, fabulous? Actually, who are you not to be? You are a child of God. Your playing small does not serve the world. There is nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people won’t feel insecure around you. We are all meant to shine, as children do. We were born to make manifest the glory of God that is within us. It’s not just in some of us; it’s in everyone. And as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same. As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others.”  Marianne Williamson

 

 

 

 

A Course in Miracles Chapter 8: The Journey Back

The title for chapter 8 is The Journey Back. Within this chapter are the following sub-titles: The Direction of the Curriculum, The Difference between Imprisonment and Freedom, The Holy Encounter, The Gift of Freedom, The Undivided Will of the Sonship, The Treasure of God, The Body as a Means of Communication, The Body as Means or End, and Healing as Corrected Perception.

The journey back refers to the personal journey we each take away from the fear based ego toward the love of God. Where we each awaken to the truth about ourselves and about God. Where we identify the illusions, we have been living under and allow the Holy Spirit to show us the truth. Where we realize what it really means to be an eternal spiritual being living in a physical body. Jesus states, “Never accord the ego the power to interfere with the journey. It has none, because the journey is the way to what is true. Leave all illusions behind, and reach beyond all attempts of the ego to hold you back. I go before you because I am beyond the ego. Reach, therefore, for my hand because you want to transcend the ego. My strength will never be wanting, and if you choose to share it you will do so.”

This is a journey we are to take with the people around us, as we are all created by God, for God and for each other. “When you meet anyone, remember it is a holy encounter. As you see him you will see yourself. As you treat him you will treat yourself. As you think of him you will think of yourself. Never forget this, for in him you will find yourself or lose yourself.” It is impossible to learn about who you are outside of relationships.  If you look only at yourself, you will not find yourself because you are a part of everything around you. Jesus states, “I said that I am with you always, even unto the end of the world. That is why I am the light of the world. Alone we can do nothing, but together our minds fuse into something whose power is far beyond the power of its separate parts. This mind is invincible because it is undivided.”

This book has an interesting perspective on the body and sickness which I had never heard before and it has taken me some time to process. The ego wants you to believe that the physical body is who you are, and that it should be the focus of your life. ACIM teaches that the physical body is just a vehicle for the mind to communicate through and join with other minds to unite them together and with the mind of God. “The body is beautiful or ugly, peaceful or savage, helpful or harmful, according to the use to which it is put.” The ego brings about sickness and disease to keep your focus on the physical body. The book refers to this as attacking yourself or others. However, the body was not created for sickness. The Holy Spirit teaches that health is the natural state of the body. “All forms of sickness, even unto death, are physical expressions of the fear of awakening. They are attempts to reinforce sleeping out of fear of waking. Sleep is withdrawing; waking is joining. Healing is the release from the fear of waking. The decision to wake is the reflection of the will to love, since all healing involves replacing fear with love.”

The more we are willing to spiritually awake and tune into God on this earthly journey, the more we will become love to ourselves and others. It will then become more difficult for the fearful ego to attack us with sickness. When you read about Jesus, there is no mention of his body ever being sick.

 

 

A Course in Miracles Chapter 7: The Gifts of the Kingdom

The title for chapter 7 is The Gifts of the Kingdom. Within this chapter are the following sub-titles: The Last Step, The Law of the Kingdom, The Reality of the Kingdom, Healing as the Recognition of Truth, Healing and the Changelessness of Mind, From Vigilance to Peace, The Totality of the Kingdom, The Unbelievable Belief, The Extension of the Kingdom, The Confusion of Pain and Joy, and The State of Grace.

“Inspiration is of the Holy Spirit and certainty comes from the laws of God.” Too often we have confused the laws of man (ego, based in fear) as being the laws of God. The laws of man are applicable only to this physical realm. The laws of God (based in love) are applicable on earth and in every realm ever created for all eternity. Seek ye first the Kingdom of Heaven, means to seek to live by the laws of God rather than the laws of man. These laws are some of the gifts of the Kingdom.

There is a spiritual law of projection and extension which is the law by which you were created by God and given the ability to create. To the ego, the law is perceived as a means of getting rid of something it does not want (projection). To the Holy Spirit, it is the law of sharing or extension, by which you give what you value in order to keep it. “The law therefore produces abundance or scarcity, depending on how you choose to apply it. This choice is up to you, but it is not up to you to decide whether or not you will utilize the law. Every mind must project or extend, because that is how it lives and every mind is life.”

When it speaks of creating it is referring to your thoughts, beliefs, feelings, experiences and relationships. The ego inspires creations from fear and the Holy Spirit inspires creations from love. Love always extends outward as love cannot be contained, it is designed to be shared and experienced. God is one with everything he created, therefore you are also one with all of creation. When you fully comprehend this law of God, you will understand the power that resides within you and create things from a place of love rather than fear.

When you choose to create with fear, you feel deprived of things and believe you have to compete/attack others to get what you need/want in life because you see yourself as separate from everything, being unequal, judging one person as better than another. ACIM teaches that, “Whenever you deny a blessing to a brother you will feel deprived because denial is as total as love. You need the blessing you can offer him. There is no way for you to have it except by giving it. This is the law of God, and it has no exceptions. What you deny you lack, not because it is lacking, but because you have denied it in another and are therefore not aware of it in yourself. Give therefore, of your abundance, and teach your brothers theirs. Do not share their illusions of scarcity, or you will perceive yourself as lacking. The egos picture of you is deprived, unloving and vulnerable. You cannot love this. Do not see this picture in anyone, or you have accepted it as you. Teach no one that he is what you would not want to be. Your brother is the mirror in which you see the image of yourself. See the Love of God in you, and you will see it everywhere because it is everywhere. See his abundance in everyone, and you will know that you are in him with them. They are part of you, as you are part of God.”

In the divisive world in which we live, I believe this is a great teaching we can all learn from as it changes the perception of how we see everyone which in turn changes how we interact with them.

 

 

 

 

 

 

A Course in Miracles Chapter 6 The Lessons of Love

The title for chapter 6 is The Lessons of Love. Within this chapter are the following sub-titles: The Message of the Crucifixion, The Alternative to Projection, The Relinquishment of Attack, The Only Answer, and The Lessons of the Holy Spirit.

This will be a challenging chapter to read for those of you raised in traditional Christian thought as I was. We have been taught to understand the crucifixion as Jesus being punished and becoming a sacrifice for our sins. In this book, Jesus states that, “The crucifixion was not a form of punishment. Those who interpreted it as this were understanding it from a place of fear.”  Jesus teaches that the crucifixion was a teaching moment for us to realize what happens when we project our anger onto another person by assaulting them. It was the result of two clearly opposed thought systems, the ego and the Son of God. The ego represented those who hated what Jesus was doing and teaching and felt threatened by him so attacked him. The Son of God represented Jesus who only walked in love, doing nothing wrong and when attacked, did not fight back. “The message of the crucifixion is perfectly clear: Teach only love, for that is what you are. If you interpret the crucifixion in any other way, you are using it as a weapon for assault rather than as the call for peace for which it was intended. The Apostles often misunderstood it, and for the same reason that anyone misunderstands it. Their own imperfect love made them vulnerable to projection, and out of their own fear they spoke of the “wrath of God’ as His retaliatory weapon. Nor could they speak of the crucifixion entirely without anger, because their sense of guilt had made them angry. These are some of the examples of upside-down thinking in the New Testament although its gospel is really, only the message of love. If the Apostles had not felt guilty, they could never have quoted me as saying, I come not to bring peace but a sword. This is clearly the opposite of everything I taught.”

All of us get into the habit of projection and do not always realize when or why we are doing this. To project is to take the parts of yourself that you do not like and project them onto someone else so you no longer feel or own them. While it may appear to be an attack on the other person, it is actually an attack on yourself. Your inability to fully love every part of who you are. This is a game the ego loves to play. It perpetuates the belief that you are separated from self and others. As long as you continue to believe that you are separated from God, you will fear retaliation and abandonment and believe in attack and rejection. Since this is what you perceive, it is what you will teach, learn and identify yourself with. ACIM teaches that “Everyone identifies himself with his thought system, and every thought system centers on what you believe you are. The way out of two opposing thought systems is to clearly choose one and relinquish the other. This will replace conflict with peace in your mind. The Holy Spirit sorts out the true from the false in your mind, and teaches you to judge every thought you allow to enter it (take every thought captive) in the light of what God put there. Whatever is in accord with this light, He retains, to strengthen the Kingdom in you. What is partly in accord with it He accepts and purifies. But what is out of accord entirely He rejects by judging against. This is how He keeps the Kingdom perfectly consistent and perfectly unified. Remember however, that what the Holy Spirit rejects, the ego accepts. This is because they are in fundamental disagreement about everything, being in fundamental disagreement about what you are.” The Holy Spirit sees you as wholly perfect and lovable so there is no need to project anything. Instead, the Holy Spirit takes the belief that this is who you are, and extends that out to others by sharing your love and nonjudgmental attitude with people and seeing all people as equal and one with each other and with creator God. “You are a child of God, a priceless part of His Kingdom, which He created as part of Him. Nothing else exists and only this is real”

 

 

 

 

 

 

A Course in Miracles: Chapter 5 Healing and Wholeness

The title for chapter 5 is Healing and Wholeness. Within this chapter are the following sub-titles: The Invitation of the Holy Spirit, The Voice for God, The Guide to Salvation, Teaching and Healing, The Ego’s Use of Guilt, Time and Eternity, and The Decision for God.

When I first saw the title to this chapter I immediately assumed it was about physical healing. I soon realized that from God’s perspective, healing is a much broader topic than what my limited thinking could conceive. This book teaches that healing happens when you go through the atonement process and realize that you created an ego that convinced you that you were separate from God and his love.  When you reject this idea by listening to the voice of the Holy Spirit and get reconnected to God, healing has occurred. All healing first occurs at the level of the mind which creates your thoughts and beliefs.  “The voice of the Holy Spirit is the restoration of the integrity of the mind.” The Holy Spirit is the call within you to return to God so your minds can be healed from the illusion of separation you believed in. While you have both the voice of the ego and of the Holy Spirit speaking to you through your mind, you also have the ability to distinguish between them and choose to listen to the Holy Spirit rather than the ego. ACIM teaches that “The decision of which voice you will listen to is simple. It is made on the basis of which call is worth more to you.”

Another interesting concept related to healing is that Jesus’s part in our atonement is not complete until each of us accept it and then give it away by sharing it with others. ACIM talks about the importance of seeing everyone as your family. We are all brothers and sisters in the family of God and when we perceive each other this way, what we share with each other will be strengthened in each of us. We are blessed every time we think a loving thought about another person even if we do not know them. When the book refers to the “sonship” it is referring to the idea that we are all sons and daughters of God. When everyone God ever created finds their way back to God, oneness will be complete as we will all be connected to each other and to the God that created and loves us.

The book has some interesting things to say about the Holy Spirit. “The voice of the Holy Spirit does not command, because It is incapable of arrogance. It does not demand, because It does not seek control. It does not overcome, because It does not attack. It merely reminds. The Holy Spirit is your Guide in choosing. He is in the part of your mind that always speaks for the right choice, because He speaks for God. He is your remaining communication with God, which you can interrupt but cannot destroy.”  The Holy Spirit is your “guide to salvation, because He holds the remembrance of things past and to come, and brings them to the present.”

ACIM states that “nothing the ego perceives is interpreted correctly. Not only does the ego cite Scripture for its purpose, but it even interprets Scripture as a witness for itself. The Bible is a fearful thing in the egos judgment.” In this chapter, Jesus reinterprets some of the Bible verses we are familiar with.

  • “My yoke is easy and my burden light” means “Let us join together, for my message is light.” When we choose to join our minds to the mind of Christ and follow his pattern for living and we listen to and obey the voice of the Holy Spirit, “What we can accomplish together has no limits.”
  • “Turning the other cheek” means “Show him that he cannot hurt you and hold nothing against him, or you hold it against yourself.”
  • “I will never leave you or forsake you,” because to forsake you would be to forsake myself and God Who created me. You forsake yourself and God if you forsake any of your brothers. You must learn to see them as they are, and understand they belong to God as you do.”
  • “As you sow, so shall ye reap.” What you consider worth cultivating you will cultivate in yourself. Your judgment of what is worthy makes it worthy for you.
  • “Vengeance is mine, saith the Lord.” The statement emphasizes 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.” In later generations the Holy Spirit can still reinterpret what former generations had misunderstood, and thus release the thoughts from the ability to produce fear.
  • “The wicked shall perish.” Every loveless thought (wicked) must be undone.
  • “I come as the light into the world” I came to share the light with you.
  • “Cast your cares upon Him because He careth for you.” You are His care because He loves you.

 

 

ACIM Chapter 4 The Illusion of the Ego

ego-god

The title for chapter 4 is The Illusion of the Ego. Within this chapter are the following sub-titles: Right Teaching and Right Learning, The Ego and False Autonomy, Love without Conflict, This Need Not Be, The Ego-Body Illusion, The Rewards of God, and Creation and Communication.

I started a conversation about the ego in the previous blog and will continue it here. The Bible never mentions the word “ego” but uses other words for the same idea such as: flesh, carnal, selfish, worldly or the sin nature. The ego came out of the belief that you are separated by God, and if you believe in this idea, you will continue to have an ego. Your ego creates a false and unworthy picture of who you are and of who other people are. Your worth is established by God. Jesus says that if you do not believe this, your life will be ruled by fear and you will believe that people can be superior or inferior which is contrary to God’s belief that we are all equal in his sight. Nothing you do, think, wish or make is necessary to establish your worth.

Thoughts of God are unacceptable to the ego because they prove to the ego that Spirit is real and ego is not. Therefore, the ego must distort spiritual truth or refuse to accept it. The ego feels threatened by anything eternal because the ego is a temporary creation of your mind. Because the ego cannot identify with your spirit, it chooses to identify with your body which is also a temporary creation for living on the earth. Since you consider the ego to be a part of who you are, you are always protecting and defending it. The ego likes to keep you busy with non essentials, engaged in drama, preoccupied with problems that do not have solutions, so you do not have time to focus on anything eternal. When you find, yourself caught up in these kinds of things, stop and ask yourself why? What is the purpose? Is it leading you to spiritual growth and a stronger connection with God? Is it helping you love yourself and others?

We all have this duality within us of the ego and the Spirit (God’s presence within us) which are in opposition to each other. Spirit cannot perceive as it only knows truth. Ego cannot know truth as it only knows how to perceive things from a place of fear. The ego can learn from Spirit but fears doing this because every time the ego learns a truth, the ego gets diminished and the Spirit within you gets empowered. Your ego does not like this because it likes to be the one in control. Jesus states that his role in our life is to “separate the true from the false, so truth can break through the barriers the ego has set up and can shine into your mind. Against our united strength, the ego cannot prevail.” Therefore, the ego regards the Spirit as an enemy.  Jesus said, “When you identify with your ego, you do not believe that God loves you. You retain thousands of little scraps of fear that prevent the Holy One from entering. Light cannot penetrate through the walls you make to block it, and it is forever unwilling to destroy what you have made. No one can see through a wall, but I can step around it. Watch your mind for the scraps of fear, or you will be unable to ask me to do so. I will love you and honor you and maintain complete respect for what you have made, but I will not uphold it unless it is true.”

You have the mind of God within you but may still find yourself choosing to obey the mind of the ego. Ask the Spirit to show you where your thoughts are out of alignment with God’s thoughts and then shift them into alignment. When you judge another person, when you see yourself as being less than or more than another person, your thoughts are not in alignment with the thoughts of God and are being ruled by the ego. Jesus states that you can easily change “which mind you will obey but do not think you are worth the consistent effort so you are unable to control your mind. Your mind and mine can unite in shining your ego away, releasing the strength of God into everything you think or do.” Throughout the day, you each have the choice to decide if you want to speak from your ego or from your Spirit. To speak from the ego will create fatigue as you are dis-spirited. To speak from the Spirit will create inspiration as you are in-spirit. The ego is nothing more than a part of your belief system about yourself that is a lie. Jesus taught us through his life and teachings how to release the ego and live in direct connection to God through the Holy Spirit. To live by love and not by fear.

I found this last part of the chapter on the ego intriguing as it went against what I read in the Bible and practiced in church concerning the idea of praising God.  ACIM says, “The Bible repeatedly states that you should praise God. This hardly means that you should tell Him how wonderful He is. He has no ego with which to accept such praise, and no perception with which to judge it. God is praised whenever any mind learns to be wholly helpful. The truly helpful are invulnerable, because they are not protecting their egos and so nothing can hurt them. Their helpfulness is their praise to God, and He will return their praise of Him because they are like Him and they can rejoice together. The truly helpful are God’s miracle workers, whom I direct until we are all united in the joy of the Kingdom. I will direct you to wherever you can be truly helpful, and to whoever can follow my guidance through you.”