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Word Gems 

exploring self-realization, sacred personhood, and full humanity


 

A Course In Miracles

 


 


"All things are lessons God would have us learn." A Course In Miracles

 

 

 

 

Editor's prefatory note:

When I write, I often tell myself, “This is the most important topic.” Maybe this time it’s true.

I began studying the Course about 15 years ago. I stayed with it, off and on, for 3 years but eventually gave it up as so much of it didn’t make sense to me.

Later, I would personally experience a measure of the sightedness spoken of in the Course; of the sort referenced in the “Small Quiet Room” book. In receipt of this first-hand knowledge, I returned to the Course, and now it was a new book to me, with much of its meaning suddenly plain enough.

background

The Course purportedly is channeled information from the other side. The unlikely receiver of messages was a professor at a medical university. It seems that this was a totally new and unexpected experience for her.

format

The narrator within the Course claims to be Jesus. The lessons are presented in "mashal" style, the same teaching method employed in the New Testament parables; meaning, the pedagogy offered by the Course is designed, in the main, not to impart information but understanding.

purpose

The Course asserts that "this is a course in mind training" and does not seek to establish another religion of the Earth; that, "a universal theology is impossible, but a universal experience is not only possible but necessary." This "universal experience" is accomplished by opening one's spirit to God who will teach us directly; until we follow this path, we remain in a form of spiritual insanity and darkness. As such, this "is a required course" for all human beings, destined to become godlike; "only the time you take it is voluntary." The essence of the sought-for right-mindedness is made possible by "removing the blocks to the awareness of love's presence" within the hidden inner person. Not everyone will study this book, as such, but everyone, if they wish to be sane and escape the ego's suffering, will become student in this universal classroom of sacred evolvement.

my evaluation

Do I believe that the Course is a message from Jesus? Well, one can never be absolutely certain of such things, but I will say this: I count the teaching of the Course, quite possibly, as the most profound, the deepest wisdom, I have ever encountered.

how this page is structured

Below you’ll find key terms and phrases of the Course supported by quotations from the text. Why might this be helpful? Many of the key words are found in common usage, every day language, and we think we know what they mean; however, the Course will often attach its own definition, and this will cause the uninitiated much confusion. As stated, the Course is written in “mashal” style. The surface, literal meaning is not primary. Most terms offered are highly symbolical. The entire Course is like a jigsaw puzzle with a more complete picture coming into view only after a good portion of the initial pieces have been fitted together.

The question might be asked, why are common terms offered with new definitions? For example, many traditional religious words are used, such as “atonement,” but do not mean what we’ve always known them to mean. The reason for this, I would say, is that the churches’ definition of “atonement” is quite detached from reality. The Course offers a new meaning, one rooted in how the universe really works. And so, it's not that the Course is so avant-garde in its use of words, but that these terms have been fraudulently or ill-advisedly employed for so long.

Direct quotations from the Course are offered in italicized red lettering, with Editor’s comments sprinkled throughout. This page is my own notebook on what I’m learning from the Course, and I will post items as I come to see them.

 

 

 

altar

Editor’s note: See discussion of "altar" under the “temple” icon.

 

Apocalypse

The first step toward freedom involves a sorting out of the false from the true... This reflects the true meaning of the Apocalypse... it is the doorway to life.

 

Editor's note:

“Apocalypse,” along with the Course’s sister-term, “Last Judgment,” has nothing to do with the end of the world or meeting a harsh God intent upon seeing the worst in us.

Instead, “it is the doorway to life.” Let us, however, take a moment to consider the common meaning preached by the churches.

READ MORE

 

 

Atonement

When you feel guilty, remember that the ego has indeed violated the laws of God, but you have not. Leave the “sins” of the ego to me. That is what the Atonement is for. But until you change your mind about those whom your ego as hurt [or those who have hurt you], the Atonement cannot release you.

Editor’s note: The term “Atonement” prompts us to think of orthodoxy’s teaching of vicarious sacrifice, dying on a cross, washed clean in the blood, that sort of thing. However, as we learn in the instruction, the standard religious view is well disowned by Jesus: he says, "Do not make the pathetic error of 'clinging to the old rugged cross.'" “Atonement” here refers to our own efforts, supervised by Spirit Guides, to open our eyes, to reduce the influence of the ego. Notice the contextual implication: Jesus says “leave the ‘sins’ to me.” But then he qualifies this by adding, we can’t be released until we ourselves change our minds. It becomes apparent, as we proceed through the Course, that Jesus is the lead Spirit Guide, at the helm of a vast number of similar helpers, who aid younger brothers and sisters who are ready to spiritually wake up. This is the "Atonement." In Summerland, there are multiple millions engaged in various forms of service-activity toward the egoically immature. Some day you will offer your services, as well, and then you too will become part of the "Atonement." Special note: When he uses the term sin, as is the case with so many terms employed in the Course, it’s not what we’ve always heard. Notice that he puts "sins" in quotes. Why? There is no such thing as sin, not the way the churches talk about it; there is only spiritual insanity, a malady with a remedy.

I am the Atonement. You have a role in the Atonement...

When you have been restored to [your right mind, without ego], you naturally become part of the Atonement yourself [that is, we become part of a helping-team].

The purpose of the Atonement is to restore everything to you; or rather, to restore it to your awareness.

The escape [from fear and guilt] is brought about by your acceptance of the Atonement, which enables you to realize that your errors never really occurred [because your “true self” remains untouched by the ego].

The Atonement is the final lesson.

The Atonement is a total commitment.

The Atonement can only be accepted within you by releasing the inner light.

The acceptance of the Atonement by everyone is only a matter of time.

God's alternative to the illusion of separation, to the belief in the reality of sin, guilt, and death ... is the correction for all errors of perception; [it is] the reconcilation [via an awakening to the inner riches of the soul]

... non-right-minded [persons are] temporarily inaccessible to the Atonement ... [they are in] a fear-weakened state. If they are prematurely exposed to a miracle, [they may be thrown] into panic.

Editor’s note: See more discussion on Atonement under the “temple” icon.

 

authorship

Editor’s note: The Course uses "authorship" almost as a synonym for "separation." The ego tends to believe that it is not one of God's creations and that it created itself. This self-authorship promotes a fear of aloneness, of isolation in the universe.

... you believe you are the author of yourself and project your delusion onto others... This belief is very frightening to them.

The problem everyone must decide is the fundamental question of authorship. All fear comes ultimately from ... the denial of Authorship.

 

Editor's note:

“Authorship” is related to an important term in psychology.

READ MORE

 

 

body

 

The body is the ego's home... It is the only identification with which the ego feels safe

Miracles reawaken the awareness that the spirit, not the body, is the altar of truth.

Editor’s note: Because the ego identifies with the body, the common emotions reflect the ego’s thoughts in the body. See the following extensive discussion:

READ MORE

 

 

change

Many stand guard over their ... thought systems [because] learning means change 

Change is always fearful to the separated

You believe that if you allow no change to enter your ego you will find peace

Tolerance for pain may be high, but it is not without limit. Eventually, everyone begins to recognize, however, dimly, that there must be a better way. As this recognition becomes more firmly established, it becomes a turning point. This ultimately reawakens spiritual vision

 

Editor's note:

Tolerance for pain may be high, but it is not without limit. Eventually, everyone begins to recognize ... there must be a better way.

God uses a very natural process to lead people to change. No one needs to be punished, no one needs to be brought to trial. The suffering we bring on ourselves by living according to the ego's dictates "eventually" causes us "to recognize there must be a better way."

Kairissi and Elenchus discuss this natural process of change.

READ MORE

 

 

Christ Mind

Only minds can really join, and whom God has joined no man can put asunder. It is, however, only at the level of Christ Mind that true union is possible, and has, in fact, never been lost.

Editor’s note: The term “Christ” is not a first name like “Jesus.” “Christ,” in the original biblical languages, means “agent” or “representative.” Jesus had the Christ Mind, but we, as his brothers and sisters, all of us, sons and daughters of God, are to share in the same. Notice the statement that “only minds can join.” This reminds me of one of my very favorite writings, a dialogue between Kairissi and Elenchus in “Prometheus” as they discuss the principle of “constructive assent.” The essence of contract law is not a signed piece of paper but a meeting of the minds that must subsume any contract if it is to be valid. This applies to love relationships, too, on all levels, from love for a friend, parents, siblings, others, with the highest expression that of the romantic interaction of eternal Twin Souls. All of these, if God has joined via the Christ Mind, can never be sundered.

 

choice

... your misperceptions stand in your way [to the Atonement]. Sane perception induces sane choosing... "Many are called but few are chosen" should be, "All are called but few choose to listen." Therefore, they do not choose right. The "chosen ones" are merely those who choose right sooner.

When your mood tells you that you have chosen wrongly, and this is so whenever you are not joyous, then know that this need not be... Think honestly what you have thought that God would not have thought... Search sincerely for what you have done and left undone ... and then change your mind to think with God's. When you are sad, know this need not be. Depression comes from a sense of being deprived of something... Remember that you are deprived of nothing except by your own decisions, and then decide otherwise. When you are anxious, realize that anxiety comes from the capriciousness of the ego ... When you feel guilty, remember that the ego has indeed violated the laws of God, but you have not. Watch your mind for the temptations of the ego... you are not sufficiently vigilant ... actively refuse to let your mind slip away [that is, "stay present" to the inner life]

Editor's note: Notice the many injunctions to proactively guard and direct one's own mind. We're reminded of Eugene Peterson's translation of Mark 11, "Embrace this god-life, really embrace it." These admonitions are something we must do for ourselves, not even God can do them for us, for to live and act otherwise would rob us of the dignity and the responsibility of being human. It's part of our glory of having been "made in the image."

 

create, miscreate

The God extended Himself to his creations and imbued them with the same loving Will to create.

The children of God ... waste themselves and their true creative powers on useless attempts to make themselves more comfortable by inappropriate means.

Because of your likeness to your Creator you are creative. No child of God can lose this ability because it is inherent in what he is, but he can use it inappropriately by projecting. [This miscreating] occurs when you believe that some emptiness or lack exists in you...

[Some of this miscreation happens when] you believe that you can create yourself, and that the direction of your own creation is up to you.

... the creation includes both the creation of the Son by God, and the Son's creations when his mind is healed.

Both the separation and the fear are miscreations that must be undone…

Editor’s note: The Course at times refers to the illusions of the egoic mind in terms of “miscreating.” It does this, it seems, to emphasize the inherent nature and power of the mind, that of naturally expressing itself, for better or worse, in terms of creating. We were made in the “likeness” of God, and this likeness, in great measure, issues as creative ability. Our present task is to regain our sanity, thereby retrieving to ourselves a proper direction for the naturally creative mind.

Whenever you are afraid, it is a sure sign that you have allowed your mind to miscreate and have not allowed me to guide it.

Few appreciate the real power of the mind ... The mind is very powerful, and never loses its creative force. It never sleeps. Every instant it is creating... There are no idle thoughts. All thinking produces form at some level.

The fearful must miscreate... When you miscreate you are in pain.

The fundamental conflict in this world ... is between creation and miscreation ... between love and fear.

Every system of thought [which is an expression of the mind creating, can become] a system of belief by which one lives. It is a mistake to believe that a system of thought based on lies is weak.

Your ego and your spirit will never be co-creators, but your spirit and your Creator will always be. Be confident that your creations are as safe as you are.

Creation and communication are synonymous. God created every mind by communicating His Mind to it, thus establishing it forever as a channel for the reception of His Mind and Will. Editor’s note: There is a fashionable theological precept insisting that, while God may be the force and intelligence behind the order and complexity of the cosmos, plus the One who superintends and looks after us, S/He is not a personal God, is not a true person, not an intelligence with individuality to whom you could actually speak. To be all this, theologians assert, somehow diminishes the stature of God. But this makes no sense to me. How could God supervise our lives, our growth and development, leading us toward eternal life, plus promising to be our Friend and Guide throughout eternity, without knowing us and communicating with us on a personal and individualized level? And if the Course’s instruction on “mind training” is to result in a healing of the “separation,” what meaning could this have if there is no personal God for us to connect with? How do you heal the “separation” when there’s no true Person to become one with, when you speak and there's no one actually receiving the communication? It would be really hard, it seems to me, to listen to someone, to meaningfully interact with another, if you yourself are not a Person. Further, I believe the evidence suggests that the very reason we are persons, the reason that we do have minds and are self-aware, the reason that we have personalities, is because we have been modeled after the archetypal Person, the original Mind, the primal Individual - serving as the very mold and pattern for one's being. I think this is what the Course is getting at with God created every mind by communicating His Mind to it.” How would you do that if you yourself are not a Mind, not a Person?

 

devil

Editor’s note: The Course uses the term "devil," not to signify an external being who opposes God but, the dysfunctional ego within and its delusion of separation, all of which leads us astray. See the article on "Satan."

The mind can make the belief in separation very real and very fearful, and this belief is the "devil." It is powerful, active, destructive, and clearly in opposition to God... Look at your life and see what the devil has made. But realize this making will surely dissolve in the light of truth. Your creation by God [see "authorship"] is the only Foundation that cannot be shaken 

Editor’s note: The famous story in the New Testament of Jesus being tempted by the Devil is not to be taken literally. It's allegorical. How do we know this? For one thing, as stated, there is no being in the universe known as the Devil (see the aforementioned article). However, beyond this, the context of the story itself instructs us. The Devil takes Jesus to a high mountain from which the latter is able to view all the kingdoms of the world. A pretty high mountain. There is no mountain that could offer such view. But, wait – yes, I know, true believers in the Devil, who are very impressed with the power of evil, will say, “He has the power to do things like that.” Well, possibly I could refer you to Dr. Stavrinides, a college professor from a very long time ago. He would say, “If you think the Devil rules the world; if you think he has so much power and can influence you like that; if you think he can do all those marvelous things; then, maybe you should worship him.” There is no Devil, but there is a pathological source of evil in the world, resident in the heart of each human being. The ego is well capable of any atrocity, and we don’t need any help from the Devil, we manage just fine on our own.

Carl Jung, BBC interview, 1959: "We need more understanding of human nature, because the only real danger that exists is man himself ... We know nothing of man, far too little. His psyche should be studied because we are the origin of all coming evil."

If the New Testament story offers us meaning it is that of Jesus, our elder Brother, confronting his own egoic human nature; and winning. That’s good news for all of us, because we, too, can surmount the influence of the heart of darkness.

 

Divine Abstraction

 

Editor's note:

God, Who encompasses all being, created beings who have everything individually, but who want to share it to increase their joy. Nothing real can be increased except by sharing. That is why God created you. Divine Abstraction takes joy in sharing.

READ MORE

 

 

ego

Editor's note: See the important article on the "Ego" as defined by Eckhart Tolle.

The ego is that part of the mind that believes your existence is defined by separation.

The ego is the mind’s belief that it is completely on its own.

… the ego is [not] a separate thing, but … you want to believe that you are [separate]. The ego is a device for maintaining this belief...

I have spoken of the ego as if it were a separate thing, acting on its own. This was necessary to persuade you that you cannot dismiss it lightly, and must realize how much of your thinking is ego-directed.

The ego is nothing more than a part of your belief about yourself. Your other life [that is, the hidden “true self” of the soul] has continued without interruption, and has been and always will be totally unaffected by your [ego-led] attempts to dissociate it.

 

By becoming involved with tangential issues, [the ego] hopes to hide [from your awareness] the real question [concerning its motivations]... The ego’s characteristic busyness with nonessentials is for precisely that purpose [which is, to distract itself]. Preoccupations with problems set up to be incapable of solution are favorite ego devices for impeding learning progress [toward sanity] … these [are] diversionary tactics

the ego … judges only in terms of threat or non-threat to itself… is primarily concerned with its own preservation in the face of threat… The ego exerts maximal vigilance about what it permits into awareness, and this is not the way a balanced mind holds together … it raises control rather than sanity to predominance…

READ MORE

 

The ego is afraid of the spirit's joy, because once you have experienced it you will withdraw all protection from the ego

When you feel guilty, remember that the ego has indeed violated the laws of God, but you have not… While you feel guilty, the ego is in command, because only the ego can experience guilt. This need not be.

Editor's note: See the article on "Guilt" for discussion on how the churches use it as a weapon to control people.

Everyone makes an ego or a self... the ego is only an idea not a fact.

Belief is an ego function... When teaching is no longer necessary, you will merely know God [that is, those who know have no need of belief].

You who identify with your ego cannot believe that God loves you [because the very essence of the ego is 'separation' and 'otherness'].

[The ego's] communication is controlled by its need to protect itself, and it will disrupt communication when it experiences threat. Editor's note: How often we experience, when speaking to someone, a conversation that begins well, but then something is said that offends the other person, and we immediately feel their spirit withdrawing from us. It's the ego feeling under attack and threatened, and now pulling back for safety.

The ego tries to exploit all situations into forms of praise for itself... [The ego lives] by comparisons. Editor's note: The mind led purely by ego is always trying to find a way to make itself more, and others less, by various comparisons. All situations are exploited to offer the ego this boost or enhancement.

The branch that bears no fruit [the dysfunctional ego within] will be cut off and will wither away. Be glad! The light will shine from the true Foundation of life [which is the light of consciousness of the true Self] and your own [egoic] thought system will stand corrected.

Editor's note: A branch connected to a main vine, connected to source, is a primary symbol in the New Testament. We are the branch, deriving our life from God. However, at present, the ego is also a kind of branch feeding from us, a form of parasite to our being. It will "wither away," as the Course says, as soon as we shine a mental light of awareness on it.

How can [the ego] maintain the trick of its own existence except with [sleight-of-hand]? But where you look to find yourself is up to you.

 

we are sailing stormy waters... 

Rod Stewart’s presentation of “We Are Sailing” at the Royal Albert Hall is a knock-out performance. It’s one of my favorite music videos...

 

 

Everyone there, it was pretty obvious, was on fire, and the whole auditorium was doing “the wave.” However…

Some people believe that if we could all just hold hands and sing and chant and feel good and lift our spirits like this a whole lot more, we could change society and ourselves, and create harmony and well-being for everyone. But the “Course In Miracles” would not agree with this formula for world peace.

The song asks an implied question: How can we be free in an unfree world? moreover, how can we navigate the roiling and churning waters of this world’s chaos and make it home to the beloved?

READ MORE

 

 

egoic love

The “little I” [the small ego] seeks to enhance itself by external approval, external possessions, and external “love” … We [the small ego in us, will] “love” another in order to get something ourselves. That, in fact, is what passes for love in the dream world [of perception].

The special [friendship and marital] relationships of the world [of perception] are destructive, selfish, and childishly egocentric … The world uses its special relationships as a final weapon of exclusion and demonstration of separateness.

Editor’s note: See “The Wedding Song” for more discussion on the egoic marriage.

Think of the love of animals for their offspring, and the need they feel to protect them ... because they regard them as part of themselves. [This is very similar to human egoic love.]

Love will enter immediately into any mind that truly wants it ... wants it without ... the ego's "drive to get"

 

emptiness

There is no emptiness in you... You have not only been fully created , but you have also been created perfect.

... you believe that some emptiness or lack exists in you, and that you can fill it with your own [egoic] ideas instead of truth.

 

fear

When you are afraid, be still, [go within] and know that God is real, and you are His beloved Son in whom He is well pleased. Do not let your ego dispute this, because the ego cannot know what is as far beyond its reach as you are.

All fear is ... reducible to the basic misperception that you have the ability to usurp the power of God [that is, that you are separate from and in competition with God].

You are very fearful of everything you have perceived but have refused to accept.

The escape [from fear] is brought about by your acceptance of the Atonement, which enables you to realize that your errors never really occurred.

If you are afraid, you are valuing wrongly... You believe in what you value... Everyone defends his treasure...

Whenever you are afraid you are deceived, and your mind cannot serve the Holy Spirit.

The opposite of love is fear, but what is all-encompassing can have no opposite.

Editor’s note: The root of fear is a belief in loss and separation, of needing to defend oneself, of not having or being enough. Love, however, is a sense of oneness, of unity. While all this is true enough, the Course aims to unveil a higher-order love which has no opposite. See further discussion in the article, "The Greatest Virtues Of God's Mind Have No Opposites."

All healing is essentially the release from fear.

Corrective learning ... often entails fear, because you are afraid of what your spiritual sight will show you ... When the Holy Spirit is permitted to look upon the defilement of the altar, He also looks immediately toward the Atonement... Discomfort [of fear] is aroused only to bring the need for correction into awareness... The real vision is obscured, because you cannot endure to see your own defiled altar.

Editor's note: Raymond Lodge, communicating from the other side, concurs with the Course's "you are afraid of what your spiritual sight will show you." He says, “If only people would go within themselves more, just now and then, they could reach out and get a good deal of what [I have] learnt [in Summerland]. But when they want to do things on the Earth-plane, they don’t wish to go within themselves, because they are afraid of reaching a decision against what they [that is, their lower natures] wish to do. That is the reason people can’t choose between right and wrong.See on the "true self" page an extensive list of thinkers who advocate "going within" to find truth.

The correction of fear is your responsibility. When you ask [Jesus or God] for release from fear, you are implying that it is not [your responsibility]. You should ask, instead, for help in the conditions that brought fear about.

 

forgiveness

Forgiveness is the means by which we will remember [who we really are, our “true selves,” as opposed to the egoic “false self”].

... the only meaningful prayer is for forgiveness, because those who have been forgiven have everything. Once forgiveness has been accepted, prayer in the usual sense becomes utterly meaningless. The prayer for forgiveness is nothing more than a request that you may be able to recognize what you already have... You have lost the knowledge that you yourself are a miracle of God.

Because you see them as they are, you offer them your acceptance of their truth so they can accept it for themselves. This is the healing that the miracle induces.

Forgiveness is the healing of the perception of separation.

 

habit

The habit of engaging with God and His creations is easily made if you actively refuse to let your mind slip away [that is, if we "stay present" to the true self]. The problem is not one of concentration; it is the belief that no one, including yourself, is worth consistent effort. Side with me consistently against this deception, and do not permit this shabby belief to pull you back.

Editor’s note: There is much here of considerable importance. Engaging with God can become habit, second nature to us; it can be reduced to system. Compare this to Eugene Peterson's translation of Mark 11, "Embrace this god-life, really embrace it." However, right now, such is likely not the case for us. The answer to rectify does not entail an exercise of will-power. Our failure here is rooted in the ego’s sense of unworthiness. This is big, and we’ve not known just how big. In my article on “the 500 tape-recorded messages from the other side” we learn of millions of people over there, even in Summerland, who are led by the ego's "shabby belief" of self-loathing. This lack of self-respect issues as a subtle desire to be rid of oneself, and I outline seven major ways that those thus afflicted attempt to do away with themselves. This is a very significant concept, the fallout of the disheartened ego leading to existential crisis, and we’ll want to read more about this malady.

 

Holy Spirit

... the mind is split between the ego and the Holy Spirit [that is, the Purfied Consciousness, the true self]

The Holy Spirit is the highest communication medium. Miracles [flashes of insight] do not involve this type of communication, because they are temporary communication devices. When you return to your original form of communication with God by direct revelation, the need for miracles is over.

Editor’s note: As we’ve seen, the Course insists on using orthodoxy’s terminology, but then takes it all away by assigning a new definition. The “Holy Spirit” herein is not a person, not part of Big Religion’s “trinity,” but better rendered as the “Purified Consciousness” of each coming-alive person, throwing off the shackles of the ego, and now finding that communication with God seems a natural way to live. A contrast is made with the temporary insights of "miracles," as opposed to a more settled state of mind, a normal "open channel" to God, to be experienced once the ego is dismantled. This normal and usual way channel the Course calls "communion" with God. See the "prayer" icon.

 

Holy Trinity

... the mind awakens from its sleep [of separation] and ... All sense of separation disappears. The Son of God [this means all of us; see "the Sonship"] is part of the Holy Trinity, but the Trinity itself is one... They are of one Mind and one Will. This single purpose creates perfect integration and establishes the peace of God... this vision can be perceived only by the truly innocent [because evil does not exist for them, and they see only the underlying unity of all of God's children; see more at "Innocent"].

Only the Levels of the Trinity are capable of unity.

Editor’s note: Big Religion's "Trinity" finds no support in reality. It's a fabled concept designed to minimize human dignity, knows nothing of "made in the image," as it promotes God as remote, inaccessible, runic, and exclusive. See the "Trinity" article for a full discussion of this prevarication. The Course's definition here is worlds apart. A recrafted view of Trinity includes God, the Sonship -which means us - and the Holy Spirit. These create an unbreakable non-differentiated unity and oneness. Universal Consciousness, that is, the Holy Spirit, makes all of us part of God and each other

 

imprisoned will

Editor’s note: Just as the “true self” is referred to with many artful names (“inner teacher,” “inner altar,” etc.), so too is there multiplicity with the “false self.” “Imprisoned will” is just another name for the dysfunctional ego's tyranny over the authentic self.

The acceptance of the Atonement by everyone is only a matter of time… you are capable of enormous procrastination, but you cannot depart entirely from your Creator, Who set limits on your ability to miscreate. An imprisoned will engenders a situation which, in the extreme, becomes altogether intolerable. Tolerance for pain may be high, but it is not without limit. Eventually, everyone begins to recognize, however, dimly, that there must be a better way. As this recognition becomes more firmly established, it becomes a turning point. This ultimately reawakens spiritual vision.

An imprisoned mind is not free because it is ... held back by itself.

Editor’s note: “Begins to recognize, however dimly,” reminds me of a phrase I’ve used to describe my early years, that of, the insensate worm vaguely aware of the light. The “imprisoned will” is assured of eventual freedom because the ego makes people so miserable that a day finally comes when we say, “enough.” Think of someone you know, maybe yourself, who is not doing so well, is suffering under a great weight of selfish decisions; such person, we might think, is far from God - but, hold on; as the pain reaches levels too high to bear, he or she, at the right moment, might be one step away from enlightenment. All this is the guiding philosophy of those "missionary" Spirits who work the trenches in the Dark Realms. Their churlish clients might act tough, but eventually, as the pain of the ego's dominion vaults to intolerable altitudes, they begin to cry for help. Avoid the rush, enter your "small quiet room" today.

 

innocence, lamb of God

... those who represent the lamb as blood-stained do not understand the meaning of the symbol. Correctly understood, it ... speaks of my innocence.

Innocence is incapable of sacrificing anything [for the misguided purpose of atoning for sins] because the innocent mind [already] has everything

Innocence is wisdom because it is unaware of evil, and evil does not exist. It is, however, perfectly aware of everything that is true.

The innocence of God is the true state of mind of His Son.

I have stated that the basic concepts referred to in this course are not matters of degree. Certain fundamental concepts cannot be understood in terms of opposites... Innocence is not a partial attribute. It is not real until it is total. The partly innocent are apt to be quite foolish at times. It is not until their innocence becomes a viewpoint with universal application that it become wisdom. Innocent or true perception means that you never misperceive and always see truly. More simply, it means that you never see what does not exist, and always see what does.

In this state [of innocence] the mind knows [and does not have to believe in] God, for God is not symbolic; He is Fact.

Editor's note: Also see the notes at "knowledge versus perception." We think we know what “innocence” means; the Course cautions us that we do not. Whatever it means, we believe that we can do our research, gather experience, talk to others, and, little by little, we will acquire a decently good definition of “innocence.” The Course, however, wants us to know that any attribute of the mind of God cannot be won by “degrees” nor can it be understood by its opposite. Why is this is so? God’s virtues have no opposites, and when we come to know them it will be all or nothing – no “degrees.” At the right time, via one of the Course's "miracles," knowledge of the virtues of God’s mind, so to speak, will simply be dropped into our heads, with no lead up. As we’ve used the phrase, “I was blind, but suddenly I see.” But let us speak specifically to “innocence.” We commonly employ this descriptor for the mentally impaired, children of minority age, and maybe the especially gullible and inexperienced. However, these on-the-street views of “innocence” have nothing to do with the minds of God or the Sonship; quite the opposite, actually. We say that little children are innocent because they do not understand evil, but the divine mind is innocent because it never sees evil at all – because evil does not exist. What the Course is getting at in this seeming double-talk is that evil has no real substance; it’s just a hurtful short-cut to the good, a shadow of the good. (See more discussion on the “Evil” page.) The mind of the Sonship knows God, with the ego consigned to believing in God. God is "Fact," says the Course, but the ego has a little trouble with that. The divine mind sees, places weight upon, only what is real. In practical terms, this means that the divine mind never hates anyone, cannot be offended, has no desire to seek for revenge, because it sees beyond what others call evil and knows that the hidden true self of the one causing present damage will yet rise to the fore. That's what's real. As Jesus says, everyone, some later than sooner, will yet embrace the Atonement.

 

internal teacher, inner light, inner altar

Editor’s note: Various metaphors – “internal teacher,” “inner light,” "inner altar" -- are employed by the Course to speak of the “true self,” the soul, one’s link to God.

This Course is a beginning, not an end … No more specific lessons are assigned, for there is no more need of them. Henceforth, hear but the Voice for God … He will direct your efforts, telling you exactly what to do, how to direct your mind, and when to come to Him in silence, asking for his sure direction and His certain Word.

Editor’s note: As noted before, and elsewhere, the “still small voice” within, the voice of one’s own soul linked to God, is the authentic Word of God, not a printed page offering the thoughts of others.

God has provided the Answer, the only Way out [of the illusions of perception], [via] the true Helper. It is the function of His Voice, His Holy Spirit, to mediate between the two worlds [of perception and knowledge]… It is the Holy Spirit’s goal to help us escape from the dream world [of perception] by teaching us how to reverse our thinking and unlearn our mistakes.

[God’s] Voice seems to be distant and difficult to hear because the ego … seems to be much louder.

The Atonement can only be accepted within you by releasing the inner light. Editor's note: See "joy" for "shining the ego away" by this inner light.

 

irreconcilable

Your [egoic] self and God's Self [your true self] are in opposition. They are opposed in source, in direction and in outcome. They are fundamentally irreconcilable... spirit [and] ego [are] not in communion, and can never be in communion.

Editor’s note: Notice the hard-edged words: “irreconcilable” and “never in communion.” The ego cannot be reformed, but only reduced. And this is why Adrian has said, echoing the ancient wisdom of the Gnostics, earliest Christians, “This world is irredeemable. It cannot be fixed but only forsaken”; the ego cannot be tamed but only transcended. In metaphoric terms, we see this represented in the "apocalyptic" book of Revelation which casts the symbols of the fighting ego, Brute Force and Lying Teacher, into the lake of fire “alive.” Why “alive”? Because the ego cannot be reformed, and it will fight you to the end. See much discussion of this in the article, “500 Taped-Recorded Messages From The Other Side.” There, I speak of the common error of what I call the “Kumbaya” principle, the belief that the world can be reformed and that everyone can be brought to spiritual evolution by diligent crusading efforts. This is not possible - "spirit and ego are not in communion, and can never be in communion" because it would be like fire and ice trying to be friends.

 

Jesus

There is nothing about me that you cannot attain.

I have stressed that awe is not an appropriate reaction to me because of our inherent equality... you should not experience awe in the presence of your equals.

[I am] an elder brother.

I was created like you

I am [not] in any way separate or different from you except in time.

My devotion to my brothers has placed me in charge of the Sonship.

I am in charge of the process of Atonement… When you have been restored to the recognition of your original state [of oneness with God], you naturally become part of the Atonement yourself.

The power to work miracles belongs to you. I will provide the opportunities to do them, but you must be ready and willing… Those who are released [from the ego] must join in releasing their brothers for this is the plan of the Atonement… unite with me … for the release of all of God’s creations.

Ask me which miracles you should perform.

Do not make the pathetic error of 'clinging to the old rugged cross.'

I was not "punished" because you were bad... This kind of [belief] is responsible for a host of related errors, including the belief that God rejected Adam and forced him out of the Garden.

 

joy

When your mood tells you that you have chosen wrongly, and this is so whenever you are not joyous, then know that this need not be... When you are sad, know this need not be. Depression comes from a sense of being deprived of something... Remember that you are deprived of nothing except by your own decisions, and then decide otherwise.

The disheartened are useless to themselves and to me, but only the ego can be disheartened. Have you really considered how many opportunities you have had to gladden yourself [and] have refused? Your mind and mine can unite in shining your ego away, releasing the strength of God into everything you think and do... Without your allegiance ... the ego cannot exist.  

Editor’s note: How do we lessen the influence of the ego in our minds? By “shining” it away. This is picturesque denoting a very simple dynamic. All we need do is notice, to become aware, of the wiles and tricks of the ego. We don’t have to fight it or grit our teeth in combat. Peter Russell calls this process "ease itself" and "relaxing into the resistence." Simply focus the internal light of mental awareness on what the ego is doing, and we will “shine it away.” The ego lives in the dark, is nourished by our illusion and deception, but once we perceive how it works, it’s the beginning of the end for the ego.

Judge how well you have done this [shining away of the ego] by your own feelings. Editor's note: It's immediate feedback. A sense of joy, which is our natural state linked to God, is immediately forthcoming and sensed when we choose rightly and withdraw support for the ego. Emotions, in large measure, reveal and reflect, in the body, the ego's power. But there is a higher-level basis for emotion. Joy signals our alignment with God's mind, a precept reflected in the Course's statement, "You are a mirror of truth, in which God Himself shines in perfect light."

Nothing real can be increased except by sharing. That is why God created you:

 

judgment

... beyond perception there is no judgment [only knowledge]

... judgment is ... placing your belief in the unreal... it implies the belief that reality is yours to select from. You have no idea  of the tremendous release and deep peace that comes from meeting yourself and your brothers totally without judgment. When you recognize what you are and what your brothers are, [then judging] is without meaning.

 

knowledge

To know is to be certain.

You know when you have ceased to ask questions.

Knowledge is truth, under one law, the law of love or God. Truth is unalterable, eternal and unambiguous. It can be unrecognized, but it cannot be changed. It applies to everything that God created, and only what He created is real. It is beyond learning because it is beyond time and process. It has no opposite; no beginning and no end. It merely is.

Editor’s note: Ironically, while the highest knowledge is “beyond learning,” it is also a precept taught in a Course to be learned. However, the Course itself declares that its purpose is to lead us to the “internal teacher” which is the authentic path to knowledge and truth, not a printed page.

 

knowledge versus perception

From knowledge and perception respectively, two distinct thought systems arise which are opposite in every respect. In the realm of knowledge no thoughts exist apart from God, because God and His Creation share one Will. The world of perception, however, is made by the belief in opposites and separate wills, in perpetual conflict with each other and with God. What perceptions sees and hears appears to be real because it permits into awareness only what conforms to the wishes of the perceiver. This leads to a world of illusions, a world that needs constant defense because it is not real.

Perception is a continual process of accepting and rejecting, organizing and reorganizing, shifting and changing... What happens to perceptions if there are no judgments and nothing but perfect equality? Perception becomes impossible. Truth can only be known... perception involves partial awareness. Knowledge ... is all one and has no separate parts.

I have stated that the basic concepts referred to in this course are not matters of degree. Certain fundamental concepts cannot be understood in terms of opposites... Innocence is not a partial attribute. It is not real until it is total. The partly innocent are apt to be quite foolish at times. It is not until their innocence becomes a viewpoint with universal application that it become wisdom. Innocent or true perception means that you never misperceive and always see truly. More simply, it means that you never see what does not exist, and always see what does.

 Editor's note: see more discussion at "innocence"

 

Last Judgment

The Last Judgment ... is a final healing rather than a meting out of punishment

The aim of the Last Judgment is to restore right-mindedness to you

 

learning, teaching

The Atonement is the final lesson. Learning itself, like the classrooms in which it occurs, is temporary. The ability to learn has no value when change is no longer necessary.

Editor's note: As usual, the Course has ultimate values in mind when it declares that learning is temporary. When we finally perceive the perfection and fullness of the soul – which understanding is facilitated by the Atonement -- learning, in this case, comes to an end. It seems, however, this goal in its fullness may ever be out of reach; apparently, we will spend eternity learning of the perfection of the inner riches, every sharpening our perception of what God has given us. As such, the Course says, "You can learn to improve your perceptions, and become a better and better learner. This will bring you into closer and closer accord with the Sonship; but the Sonship is a perfect creation and perfection is not a matter of degree." However, other forms of learning, without debate, go on endlessly in our eternal lives. The universe is a big place, filled with all manner of knowledge, and we will always thrill to learn more about these externals.

Spirit need not be taught, but the ego must be... My lesson was like yours and because I learned it I can teach it.

Teaching and learning are your greatest strengths now, because they enable you to change your mind and help others to change theirs.

Every good teacher hopes to give his students so much of his own learning that they will one day no longer need him. This is the one true goal of the teacher.

think with me ... my goal will always be to absolve you finally from the need for a teacher.

I need devoted teachers who share my aim of healing the mind. Editor’s note: We are all to become teachers of God’s way of life. It's the Family Business (see the inset box on the "Summerland, 1-minute" page). Not only will this provide a service to those less-developed, but we, too, gain immensely when required to explain to others. John Wheeler reported that, as a young man, Einstein told him, “If you want to learn, teach!”

Undermining the ego's thought system [can seem to be] painful [as it is so familiar to us] ... Babies scream in rage if you take away a knife or scissors [so too] ... Your attitudes [toward removing the ego's power] are [presently] conflicted... This will not last. Be patient a while and remember that the outcome [of final healing] is as certain as God.

Good teachers never terrorize their students. To terrorize is to attack, and this results in rejection of what the teacher offers. The result is learning failure. Editor's note: The ancient Spirit Guide Abu speaks of the teaching style of God in very similar terms; that, unless the spiritually insane find themselves wanting to be like their teachers, to love their teachers, no good can come from any outreach effort.

No force except your own will is strong enough or worthy enough to guide you. In this you are as free as God, and must remain so forever.

You retain thousands of little scraps of fear [which prevent your learning and rising to a better level of cosciousness]. Light cannot penetrate through the walls you make to block it ... Watch your mind for the scraps of fear

How can you teach someone the value of something he has deliberately thrown away? He must have thrown it away because he did not value it. You can only show him how miserable he is without it, and slowly bring it nearer so he can learn how his misery lessens as he approaches it.

 

love

[The Course aims] at removing the blocks to the awareness of [true] love's presence [residing within the soul].

When you love someone you have perceived him as he is, and this makes it possible for you to know him.

 

mind training

This is a course in mind training.

Whenever you are afraid, it is a sure sign that you have allowed your mind to miscreate and have not allowed me to guide it.

You are much too tolerant of mind wandering, and are passively condoning your mind's miscreations.

[When fear arises] Say to yourself that you must somehow have chosen not to love, or the fear could not have arisen. Then the whole process of correction becomes nothing more than a series of ... steps in the larger process of accepting the Atonement as the remedy.

Few appreciate the real power of the mind ... The mind is very powerful, and never loses its creative force. It never sleeps. Every instant it is creating... There are no idle thoughts. All thinking produces form at some level.

I have already indicated that you cannot ask me to release you from fear [as it is your responsibility to choose love]... If I intervened between your thoughts and their results, I would be tampering with a basic law of cause and effect... I would hardly help you if I depreciated the power of your own thinking. This would be in direct opposition to the purpose of this course.

Watch your mind [this is repeated many times]

 

Editor's note:

you cannot change your mind by changing your behavior

There are entire religions, belief-systems, philosophies built around the proposition that we can induce fundamental change to our minds, hearts, and beings by changing our behavior. The Course makes an extremely important point in its assertion here.

READ MORE

 

[When the ego presents to your mind negative images] you need but say, "I will not look there because I know these images are not true." Then let the Holy [Spirit] shine on you [with the internal light of conscious presence to the true self] ... knowing that this and only this must be.

 

miracles

Miracles are natural. When they do not occur, something has gone wrong.

Miracles are thoughts.

Miracles are teaching devices.

Every day should be devoted to miracles.

Miracles make minds one in God.

Miracles arise from a mind that is ready for them.

Miracles reawaken the awareness that the spirit, not the body, is the altar of truth.

Miracles rearrange perception and place all levels in true perspective.

... the miracle aims at restoring the awareness of reality

... the miracle ... puts you in communion with your self and God

Miracles enable you to heal the [spiritually] sick and raise the [spiritually] dead.

Miracles are part of an interlocking chain of forgiveness which, when completed, is the Atonement.

Miracles are a way of earning release from fear.

Miracles ... dispel illusions about yourself and perceive the light in you... [will free] you from your nightmares [of fear, guilt, and scarcity].

By releasing your mind from the imprisonment of your illusions, they [miracles] restore sanity.

Miracles restore the mind to its fullness.

... [the miracle's] purpose is to restore him to his right mind.

Miracles are examples of right thinking, aligning your perception with truth as God created it.

A miracle is a correction introduced into false thinking by me [Jesus]. It acts as a catalyst, breaking up erroneous perception and reorganizing it properly. This places you under the Atonement principle, where perception is healed.

The miracle acknowledges everyone as your brother [or sister] and mine.

[Miracles release] you from your false sense of isolation, deprivation, and lack.

The miracle ... is a device for perception correction.

Editor’s note: It becomes clear that the concept of “miracle” has nothing to do with its forerunners of old, the water into wine and even healing leprosy. All of those had their place at the time, but the highest expression of “miracle” is that which gets at the root-source of humankind’s misery, the ego-led insanity of every unenlightened person. As such, “miracles” are flashes of insight which begin to break up the ego’s stronghold, begin to help us escape from the egoic nightmare of separation and neediness. Jesus says in the Course that we, too, as ancillary helpers to the Guides, will perform miracles, in that, as we mature, we will be able to encourage the “sick” and the “dead” to rediscover their inner life in God.

 

miracle worker, healer

The sole responsibility of the miracle worker is to accept the Atonement for himself... Once you accept this, your mind can only heal.

Miracle working entails a full realization of the power of thought in order to avoid miscreation.

Both miracles and fear come from thoughts. If you are not free to choose one, you would not be free to choose the other.

 

mission

Your mission is very simple: You are asked to live so as to demonstrate that you are not an ego

 

perception

Perception is based on a separated state... perception rests on lack

The world of perception [as opposed to immutable and eternal knowledge and truth] is the world of time, of change, of beginnings and endings. It is based on interpretation, not on facts. It is the world of birth and death, founded on the belief of scarcity, loss, separation and death. It is learned rather than given [by revelation of God], selective in its perceptual emphases, unstable in its functioning, and inaccurate in its interpretations.

Perception sees through the body’s eyes and hears through the body’s ears. [The five senses are virtually constantly deceived, and therefore one’s perception is virtually constantly wrong.]

When you have been caught in the world of perception you are caught in a dream. You cannot escape without help, because everything your senses show merely witnesses to the reality of the dream…

The world we see merely reflects our own internal frame of reference – the dominant ideas, wishes, and emotions in our minds. “Projection makes perception.” We look inside first, decide the kind of world we want to see and then project that world outside, making it the truth as we see it.

Editor’s note: Philosophers speak of each person’s “reality tunnel.” We see what we want to see, or are programmed to see, and without the “eyes being opened,” we’ll always get it wrong.

 

prayer

Prayer is a way of asking for something. It is the medium of miracles [implying that insights will come if we are truly open to them]. But the only meaningful prayer is for forgiveness, because those who have been forgiven have everything. Once forgiveness has been accepted, prayer in the usual sense becomes utterly meaningless. The prayer for forgiveness is nothing more than a request that you may be able to recognize what you already have. In electing perception [via the ego] instead of knowledge, you placed yourself in a position where you could resemble your Father only by perceiving miraculously. You have lost the knowledge that you yourself are a miracle of God.

As long as perception lasts prayer has a place. Since perception rests on lack, those who perceive [as opposed to know] have not totally accepted the Atonement...

Communion, not prayer, is the natural state of those who know... only beings of a like order can truly communicate

Editor's note: According to the Course's definitions, prayer is asking, and those who have everything do not pray, as such; instead, they live in constant communion with God: "There can be no greater mistake than that, for love is incapable of asking for anything." But, consider this: "communion," not "praying to get," is also our natural state with all brothers and sisters, and especially with one's Twin Soul.

[God] has never failed to answer [any] request [made by the "true self"] because it asks only for what He has already willed. Those who call truly are always answered.

I will come in response to a single unequivocal call.

Watch carefully and see what it is you are really asking for [that is, are your prayers just expressions of the ego's neediness of never having enough?] ... If you will really try to do this, you have taken the first step toward preparing your mind for the Holy [Spirit] to enter.

 

raising the dead

your sanity will be restored. I raised the dead [those controlled by the ego] by knowing that life is an eternal attribute of everything that the living God created.

Editor’s note:  The “dead” here are the spiritually dead, the spiritually insane. The New Testament often uses the term "dead in the same sense, as in “let the dead bury the dead.” Raising the dead, thus, means to aid in another’s coming to sanity, to access and rekindle-to-flame the smoldering ember of “life,” eternal life of the human spirit, buried under the rubble of the ego’s influence; a “life” which never leaves anyone nor can be extinguished, no matter the amount of evil at the surface of personality.

 

reality

“Nothing real can be threatened. Nothing unreal exists. Herein lies the peace of God.” This is how “A Course In Miracles” begins. It makes a fundamental distinction between the real and the unreal … only what [God] created is real.

 

Editor's note:

In the "holodeck" article, we entertained discussion concerning coming worlds, not just Summerland but, thought-worlds, worlds brought into being by the power of desire and intention. In this surfeit of creativity, the question will arise, "Is it a real world? Is it less real than the Earth-world? Or is this - here, right now - the unreal world?"

READ MORE

 

 

revelation

Revelation is intensely personal.

Revelation [is] the original form of communication between God and his creations.

Revelation unites you directly with God.

Editor’s note: While “miracles” are temporary flashes of insight that begin to break up the domain of ego, "revelation" speaks to our original state, a steady state, of communion with God. With this in view, Paul directed, “pray always.”

There is a kind of experience so different from anything the ego can offer

 

scarcity principle

Our sense of inadequacy, weakness, and incompletion comes from the strong investment in the “scarcity principle” that governs the whole world of illusions. From that point of view, we seek in others what we feel is wanting in ourselves. From that point of view, we seek in others what we feel is wanting in ourselves. That, in fact, is what passes for love in the dream world. There can be no greater mistake than that, [that is, confusing love for the "scarcity principle"] for love is incapable of asking for anything. Editor’s note: And this is why, on the egoic level of pereceiving the world, "opposites attract," an affinity based on inner sense of poverty.

The world believes that if everyone has everything, there is nothing left [for the ego, which wants more and more]. Editor’s note: In a great many articles on the Word Gems site we’ve spoken of the Small Ego’s illusions of neediness: “I don’t have enough” because “I am not enough.”

Only those who have a real and lasting sense of abundance can be truly charitable… “Giving to get” is an inescapable law of the ego [which is] continually preoccupied with the belief in scarcity

[The "true self' senses the reality, which is,] "God has given you everything." This one fact means the ego does not [truly] exist ... The Holy Spirit knows that you both have everything and are everything.

 

Self

Editor’s note: The Course presents this word in upper case. It is the true Self, the sacred Self, part of God, our being as derivative of God, which cannot be harmed no matter the evil of this world.

Your [true] Self is still in peace, even though your mind is in conflict [which at present is led by the ego]. You have not yet gone back far enough [that is, deeply enough into your person to discover the true Self, the true foundation of your being], and that is why you become so fearful. As you approach the Beginning [that is, the foundation of your being], you [the ego in you] feel the destruction of your [egoic] thought system ... as if it were the fear of death [because it is the death of the ego]. There is no death [for the true Self], but there is a belief in death.

To be egocentric is to be dis-spirited, but to be Self-centered, in the right sense, is to be inspired or in spirit [that is, our spirit is aligned with the Great Spirit, which is a proper definition of "spirituality"].

Your [egoic] self and God's Self [your true self] are in opposition.

Who is the "you" ... living in this world?

The ego must offer you some sort of reward for maintaining this belief. All it can offer is a sense of temporary existence... Against this sense of temporary existence, spirit offers you the knowledge of permanence and unshakable being. No one who has experienced [this] revelation ... can ever believe in the ego again.

Editor’s note: In this paragraph we find reference to the “false self” (“a sense of temporary existence”) and the “true self” (“unshakable being”). Immediately after this section there is the statement, “You who identify with your ego…” This is how we make a “false self.” We “identify” with it, that is, we make ourselves equal to it, and in so doing we blur the lines of who we really are and become convinced that we are something we’re not. It's not easy to sort this out and takes a "revelation" to see clearly who we really are. The "false self" is the ego's "reward" in that we gain a sense of personhood in this process, albeit an errant one; we believe that we are the ego's "chattering in the head" as we cannot hear the "still small voice" of the soul's whispering directive.

I will never forsake you ... but I must wait as long as you choose to forsake yourself [that is, as long as you live by the "false self" and deny who you really are]

 

separation

 ... the original error [is] that one can be separated from God

A sense of separation from God is the only lack you really need correct.

These related distortions [of miscreation] represent a picture of what ... occurred in the separation, or the "detour into fear." None of this existed before the separation, not does it actually exist now.

The [mythic] Garden of Eden, or the pre-separation condition, [represented] a state of mind in which nothing was needed.

If you attack another in error, you will hurt yourself. You cannot know your brother when you attack him. You are making him a stranger by misperceiving him [as something foreign], and so you cannot know him. It is because you have made him a stranger that you are afraid of him. Perceive him correctly so that you can know him. There are no strangers in God's creation... When [His children] do not recognize each other, they do not recognize Him.

The ego arose from the separation, and its continued existence depends on your continuing belief in the separation.

 

sin

Sin is defined as “lack of love.” Since love is all there is, sin in the sight of the Holy Spirit is a mistake [of perception] to be corrected, rather than an evil to be punished. Our sense of inadequacy, weakness, and incompletion comes from the strong investment in the “scarcity principle” that governs the whole world of illusions. From that point of view, we seek in others what we feel is wanting in ourselves. That, in fact, is what passes for love in the dream world. There can be no greater mistake than that, [that is, confusing love for the "scarcity principle"] for love is incapable of asking for anything.

Editor’s note: See the essay on “Sin,” the traditional view, which has been used by the churches to control people with fear and guilt. Notice what the Course judges to be the basis for love in this world: we seek in others that which we feel to be lacking in ourselves. Most marriages are based on this neediness: “I need someone to make me happy and give me the good life.” See “The Wedding Song” for a full discussion of this “scarcity principle.”

 

the Sonship

 

Editor's note:

The term “Sonship” will be troubling to some. “Why not a Daughtership? Why the sexual chauvinism? Does not God also love his daughters?”

READ MORE

 

You can learn to improve your perceptions, and become a better and better learner. This will bring you into closer and closer accord with the Sonship; but the Sonship is a perfect creation and perfection is not a matter of degree.

… the defense of [the] Atonement [is] your real protection [because it opens your eyes to the riches of the soul] … as you become more and more secure [with the need to defend the egoic self diminishing] you assume your natural talent of protecting others, knowing yourself as both a brother and a Son.

Editor’s note: Attention here is drawn to our innate proclivity, our destiny, toward service-mindedness, protecting and aiding the disadvantaged. This is what the Family of God does, and this is what a mature son or daughter of God does, and it’s how we’ll be living our eternal lives.

God has only one Son. If all his creations are his Sons, every one must be an integral part of the whole Sonship. The Sonship in its Oneness transcends the sum of its parts... Any part of the Sonship can believe in ... incompleteness if he so chooses... The correction of this error is the Atonement. Editor's note: The metaphor of Sonship as singularity, that "God has only one Son," is meant to signify, it appears to me, the underlying unity and connectedness of all God's children. We're given a clue to this meaning with perceptions of "incompleteness" as "error." The Atonement is the answer because as we "go within" we sense a bondedness with all.

Your gratitude to your brother is the only gift I want... to know your brother is to know God. If you are grateful to your brother, you are grateful to God for what he created.

As you come closer to a brother, you approach me... [the Atonement] cannot be undertaken successfully by those who disengage themselves from the Sonship, because they are disengaging themselves from me. God will come to you only as you will give Him to your brothers.

In learning to escape from illusions, your debt to your brother is something you must never forget. It is the same debt that you owe to me. Whenever you act egotistically towards another, you are throwing away the graciousness of your indebtedness... as you learn how much you are indebted to the whole Sonship, which includes me, you  come ...  close to knowledge [as you escape illusion]

 

temple

 

... [to view] the Atonement in physical [or historical] terms is impossible. [Likewise, it is necessary] to realize that [the real] temple is not a [man-made] structure at all. Its holiness lies at the inner altar, around which the structure is built.

Editor’s note: The Course draws upon well-known biblical imagery as it instructs. The Course's “temple” is a primary icon along with the related “altar” and “Atonement.” In effect, the speaker of the Course, Jesus, is saying, “You have heard of the major biblical symbols, but allow me to explain what they really signify.”

READ MORE

 

 

time, space, world

The real purpose of this world is to use it to correct your unbelief [in the perfection of the true self]. Editor’s note: The Course offers many references to the temporary nature of time, space, and the world. We entered this "4-D" universe for the strategic purpose of maturing ourselves, with time, space, and the world as provisional stage-props to that end.

Time is under my direction, but timelessness belongs to God. In time we exist for and with each other. In timelessness we coexist with God.

The purpose of time is solely to "give you time" to achieve [right-mindedness]

... a [mental] state of [miracle-]readiness [is no] more than a potential for a change of mind... You may think this implies that an enormous amount of time is necessary between readiness and mastery, but let me remind you that time and space are under my control.

Editor’s note: This is a very important comment by Jesus. He asserts that "you are afraid of what your spiritual sight will show you," meaning, people believe they will find out that they’re a bad person if they “go within.” And even when they begin this introspective path, they fear it will take a very long time to clean up all of problems inside. What I’ve just said constitutes the essential argument made by those who insist that reincarnation is necessary to spiritual evolvement: “I’m so flawed that it will take much time, a thousand life-times, to turn myself into a good person.” But this is not true, at all. Time has nothing to do with coming to awareness of the inner riches. When it happens, it happens for the “miracle-ready” mind in one hot moment of cosmic clarity: "I was blind, but suddenly I see." This is Jesus’ whole point when he says not to worry about huffing-and-puffing our way through endless ages of self-development: “time and space are under my control. See the “Reincarnation” page for much discussion on this essential error of “R.”

 

 

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Editor's last word:

The "small quiet room" is the workshop of the Course.