Day 23 - A Course in Miracles
Chapter Two: The Illusion of Separation
V. The Correction for Lack of Love
82 The first corrective step is know first that this is an expression of fear. Then say to yourself that you must somehow have willed not to love, or the fear which arises from behavior-will conflict could not have arisen.Then the whole process is nothing more than a series of pragmatic steps in the larger process of accepting the Atonement as the remedy. These steps can be summarized as follows:
83 1. Know first that this is fear.
84 2. Fear arises from lack of love.
85 3. The only remedy for lack of love is perfect love.
86 4. Perfect love is the Atonement.
87 We have emphasized that the miracle, or the expression of Atonement, is always a sign of real respect from the worthy to the worthy. This worth is re-established by the Atonement. It is obvious then that when you are afraid, you have placed yourself in a position where you need Atonement because you have done something loveless, having willed without love. This is precisely the situation for which the Atonement was offered. The need for the remedy inspired its creation. As long as you recognize only the need for the remedy, you will remain fearful. However, as soon as you remedy it, you have also abolished the fear. This is how true healing occurs.
88 Everyone experiences fear, and no one enjoys it. Yet it would take very little right-thinking to realize why fear occurs. Very few people appreciate the real power of the mind, and no one remains fully aware of it all the time. However, if anyone hopes to spare himself from fear, there are some things he must realize and realize fully. The mind is a very powerful creator, and it never loses its creative force. It never sleeps. Every instant it is creating and always as you will. Many of your ordinary expressions reflect this. For example, when you say, "Don't give it a thought," you imply that if you do not think about something, it will have no effect on you. And this is true enough.
89 On the other hand, many other expressions clearly illustrate the prevailing lack of awareness of thought-power. For example, you say, "Just an idle thought," and mean that the thought has no effect. You also speak of some actions as "thoughtless," implying that if the person had thought, he would not behave as he did. While expressions like "think big" give some recognition to the power of thought, they still come nowhere near the truth. You do not expect to grow when you say it because you do not really think that you will.
90 It is hard to recognize that thought and belief combine into a power surge that can literally move mountains. It appears at first glance that to believe such power about yourself is merely arrogant, but that is not the real reason why you do not believe it. People prefer to believe that their thoughts cannot exert real control because they are literally afraid of them. Many psychotherapists attempt to help people who are afraid, say, of their death wishes by depreciating the power of the wish. They even try to "free" the patient by persuading him that he can think whatever he wants without any real effect at all.
91 There is a real dilemma here which only the truly right-minded can escape. Death wishes do not kill in the physical sense, but they do kill spiritual awareness. All destructive thinking is dangerous. Given a death wish, a man has no choice except to act upon the thought or behave contrary to it. He thus chooses only between homicide and fear. The other possibility is that he depreciates the power of his thought. This is the usual psychoanalytic approach. It does allay guilt but at the cost of rendering thinking impotent. If you believe that what you think is ineffectual you may cease to be overly afraid of it, but you are hardly likely to respect it.
92 The world is full of examples of how man has depreciated himself because he is afraid of his own thoughts. In some forms of insanity, thoughts are glorified, but this is only because the underlying depreciation was too effective for tolerance. The truth is that there are no "idle" thoughts. All thinking produces form at some level. The reason people are afraid of ESP and so often react against it is because they know that thoughts can hurt them. Their own thoughts have made them vulnerable.
93 You who constantly complain about fear still persist in creating it. I told you before that you cannot ask me to release you from fear because I know it does not exist, but you do not. If I merely intervened between your thoughts and their results, I would be tampering with a basic law of cause and effect, the most fundamental law there is in this world. I would hardly help if I depreciated the power of your own thinking. This would be in direct opposition to the purpose of this course. It is much more helpful to remind you that you do not guard your thoughts carefully except for a small part of the day and somewhat inconsistently even then. You may feel at this point that it would take a miracle to enable you to do this, which is perfectly true.
94 Men are not used to miraculous thinking, but they can be trained to think that way. All miracle workers need that kind of training. I cannot let them leave their minds unguarded, or they will not be able to help me. Miracle working entails a full realization of the power of thought and real avoidance of miscreation. Otherwise, a miracle will be necessary to set the mind itself straight, a circular process which would hardly foster the time collapse for which the miracle was intended. Nor would it induce the healthy respect for true cause and effect which every miracle worker must have.
95 [Miracles cannot free the miracle worker from fear.] Both miracles and fear come from thoughts, and if you were not free to choose one, you would also not be free to choose the other. By choosing the miracle, you haverejected fear. You have been afraid of God, of me, of yourselves, and of practically everyone you know at one time or another. This is because you have misperceived or miscreated us and believe in what you have made. You would never have done this if you were not afraid of your own thoughts. The vulnerable are essentially miscreators because they misperceive creation.
96 You persist in believing that when you do not consciously watch your mind, it is unmindful. It is time, however, to consider the whole world of the unconscious or "unwatched" mind. This may well frighten you because it is the source of fear. The unwatched mind is responsible for the whole content of the unconscious which lies above the miracle level. All psychoanalytic theorists have made some contribution in this connection, but none of them has seen it in its true entirety. They have all made one common error in that they attempted to uncover unconscious content. You cannot understand unconscious activity in these terms because "content" is applicable only to the more superficial unconscious levels, to which the individual himself contributes. This is the level at which he can readily introduce fear and usually does.
97 When man miscreates he is in pain. The cause and effect principle here is temporarily a real expediter. Actually, "Cause" is a term properly belonging to God, and "Effect," which should also be capitalized, is His Son. This entails a set of Cause and Effect relationships which are totally different from those which man introduced into his own miscreations. The fundamental opponents in the real basic conflict are creation and miscreation. All fear is implicit in the second, just as all love is inherent in the first. Because of this difference, the basic conflict is one between love and fear.
98 It has already been said that man believes he cannot control fear because he himself created it. His belief in it seems to render it out of his control by definition. Yet any attempt to resolve the basic conflict through the concept of mastery of fear is meaningless. In fact it asserts the power of fear by the simple assumption that it need be mastered. The essential resolution rests entirely on the mastery of love. In the interim, the sense of conflict is inevitable since man has placed himself in a strangely illogical position. He believes in the power of what does not exist.
99 Two concepts which cannot coexist are "nothing" and "everything." To whatever extent one is believed in, the other has been denied. In the conflict fear is really nothing, and love is everything. This is because whenever light enters darkness, the darkness is abolished. What man believes is true for him. In this sense the separation hasoccurred, and to deny this is merely to misuse denial. However, to concentrate on error is merely a further misuse of defenses. The true corrective procedure is to recognize error temporarily but only as an indication that immediatecorrection is mandatory. This establishes a state of mind in which the Atonement can be accepted without delay.
100 It should be emphasized, however, that ultimately there is no compromise possible between everything and nothing. Time is essentially a device by which all compromise in this respect can be given up. It seems to be abolished by degrees because time itself involves a concept of intervals which do not really exist. The faulty use of creation made this necessary as a corrective device. "And God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son that whosoever believeth in Him shall not perish, but have eternal life" needs only one slight correction to be entirely meaningful in this context. It should read, "He gave it to His only begotten Son."
101 It should especially be noted that God has only one Son. If all the Souls God created are His Sons, then every Soul must be an integral part of the whole Sonship. You do not find the concept that the whole is greater than its parts difficult to understand. You should therefore not have too much trouble in understanding this.
102 The Sonship in its oneness does transcend the sum of its parts. However, this is obscured as long as any of its parts are missing. That is why the conflict cannot ultimately be resolved until all the parts of the Sonship have returned. Only then can the meaning of wholeness, in the true sense, be fully understood.
103 Any part of the Sonship can believe in error or incompleteness if he so elects. However, if he does so, he is believing in the existence of nothingness. The correction of this error is the Atonement. We have already briefly spoken about readiness, but there are some additional points which might be helpful here. Readiness is nothing more than the prerequisite for accomplishment. The two should not be confused. As soon as a state of readiness occurs, there is usually some will to accomplish, but this is by no means necessarily undivided. The state does not imply more than a potential for a shift of will.
104 Confidence cannot develop fully until mastery has been accomplished. We have already attempted to correct the fundamental error that fear can be mastered and have emphasized that only love can be mastered. You have attested only to your readiness. Mastery of love involves a much more complete confidence than either of you has attained. However, the readiness at least is an indication that you believe this is possible. That is only the beginning of confidence. In case this be misunderstood to imply that an enormous amount of time will be necessary between readiness and mastery, let me remind you that time and space are under my control.
105 One of the chief ways in which man can correct his magic-miracle confusion is to remember that he did not create himself. He is apt to forget this when he becomes egocentric, and this places him in a position where the belief in magic in some form is virtually inevitable. His will to create was given him by his own Creator, Who was expressing the same will in His creation. Since creative ability rests in the mind, everything that man creates is necessarily a matter of will. It also follows that whatever he creates is real in his own sight but not necessarily in the sight of God. This basic distinction leads us directly into the real meaning of the Last Judgment.
Urtext – Use of Terms
5. JESUS ‐ CHRIST
There is no need for help to enter Heaven for you never left. But there is need for help beyond yourself as you are circumscribed by false beliefs about your Identity, Which God alone established in reality. Helpers are given you in many forms, although upon the altar They are one. Beyond each one there is a Thought of God, and this will never change. But they have names which differ for a time, for time needs symbols, being itself unreal. Their names are legion, but we will not go beyond the names the course itself employs. God does not help
because He knows no need. But He creates all Helpers of His Son while he believes his fantasies are true.
Thank God for them for they will lead you home.
Urtext – Workbook for Students
23. “I can escape from the world I see by giving up attack thoughts.”
The idea for today contains the only way out of fear that will succeed. Nothing else will work; everything else is meaningless. But this way cannot fail. Every thought you have makes up some segment of the world you see. It is with your thoughts, then, that we must work, if your perception of the world is to be changed.
If the cause of the world you see is attack thoughts, you must learn that it is these thoughts which you do not want. There is no point in lamenting the world. There is no point in trying to change the world. It is incapable of change because it is merely an effect. But there is indeed a point in changing your thoughts about the world. Here you are changing the cause. The effects will change automatically.
The world you see is a vengeful world, and everything in it is a symbol of vengeance. Each of your perceptions of “external reality” is a pictorial representation of your own attack thoughts. One can well ask if this can be called seeing. Is not fantasy a better word for such a process, and hallucination a more appropriate term for the result?
You see the world which you have made, but you do not see yourself as the image-maker. You cannot be saved from the world, but you can escape from its cause. This is what salvation means, for where is the world you see when its cause is gone? Vision already holds a replacement for everything you think you see now. Loveliness can light your images, and so transform them that you will love them even though they were made of hate. For you will not be making them alone.
The idea for today introduces the thought that you are not trapped in the world you see, because its cause can be changed. This change requires, first, that the cause be identified and then let go, so that it can be replaced. The first two steps in this process require your cooperation. The final one does not. Your images have already been replaced. By taking the first two steps, you will see that this is so.
Besides using it throughout the day as the need arises, five practice periods are required in applying today’s idea. As you look about you, repeat the idea slowly to yourself and then close your eyes and devote about a minute to searching your mind for as many attack thoughts as occur to you. As each one crosses your mind say:
“I can escape from the world by giving up attack thoughts about __________.”
Hold each attack thought in mind as you say this, and then dismiss that thought and go on to the next.
In the practice periods, be sure to include both your thoughts of attacking and of being attacked. Their effects are exactly the same because they are exactly the same. You do not yet recognize this and you are asked at this time only to treat them as the same in today’s practice periods. We are still at the stage of identifying the cause of the world you see. When you finally realize that thoughts of attack and of being attacked are not different, you will be ready to let the cause go.
365 Days Through A Course in Miracles
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