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Chapter 12: The Holy Spirit's Curriculum

Section III: The Investment in Reality

Read ACIM Chapter 12, Section III (pages 220-223)

What happens as we relinquish our investment in the world?

In the overall view of this section, Jesus is asking us to relinquish our investment in the world. He is asking us to take our investment in the world to the altar of God, which is where the truth resides in our mind. When we do this we will receive a new vision of the world from the Holy Spirit. This vision shows us the reality of Love and the unreality of everything else.

What are the consequences of holding on to our belief in the world?

He also shows us the consequences of holding on to our belief in the world. “To identify with the ego is to attack yourself and make yourself poor. That is why everyone who identifies with the ego feels deprived. What he experiences then is depression or anger, because what he did was to exchange Self-love with self-hate, making him afraid of himself.” (6:1-3) Investment in this world brings anxiety because it is identifying with the ego as what we are. Identifying with the ego is an investment in self-hatred and death. This is is a very poor investment indeed.

What happens when we insist on having things be a certain way in this world?

If we insist on having anything a certain way in the world of form, it is a sign that we are invested in the ego. If we believe we are the ego, we believe that salvation means protecting and maintaining the ego. Since the ego is the idea of separation, the ego’s idea of salvation always involves some form, which is separation. Thus the ego always insists on having the form it thinks will make it safe. “Insistence means investment, and what you invest in is always related to your notion of salvation.” (2:5)

When we invest in the ego’s forms of salvation, the only way out of this mistaken thinking is to recognize that it does not matter. If we think that we have to have specific forms in specific ways in order to be happy, we are attacking ourselves and making ourselves poor. If we don’t have what we think we need in a certain way, we feel lack. We are poor because we are investing in illusions which have no value because, in reality, they are nothing and nowhere.

In paragraph four Jesus says, “Recognize what does not matter, and if your brothers ask you for something ‘outrageous,’ do it because it does not matter. Refuse, and your opposition establishes that it does matter to you.” (4:1-2) Course students who read this may ask something like, “If someone asks me to jump off a bridge, does this mean I shoud do it?” This is clarified in the Text on page 331 where it says, “I have said that if a brother asks a foolish thing of you to do it. But be certain that this does not mean to do a foolish thing that would hurt either him or you, for what would hurt one will hurt the other. Foolish requests are foolish merely because they conflict, since they always contain some element of specialness.” (T-16.I.6:4-6)

When someone makes a foolish request, why do we need the help of the Holy Spirit?

To recognize a foolish request, we need the help of the Holy Spirit. “Only the Holy Spirit recognizes foolish needs as well as real ones. No needs will long be left unmet if you leave them all to Him Whose function is to meet them. That is His function, and not yours.” (T-16.I.6:7, 7:4-5) To be receptive to the Holy Spirit’s guidance, we need to let go of our insistence (investment) that the forms of the world be a certain way for us to be happy or feel safe.

Why is it so important to realize that what we are experiencing is coming from our own minds?

It is very helpful to remember that what we are experiencing in this world is coming from our own minds. “He does not realize that he makes this world, for there is no world outside of him.” (6:7) Our right mind knows only the oneness of Love. The ego thought system of separation is completely opposite to the reality of the oneness. Love is what we are and It cannot be changed. If we want to identify with the ego, we are trying to hold on to a thought system that is completely opposed to what we are. This causes immense conflict.

If we want to maintain our identification with the ego we need to reduce this sense of conflict, so we project the thought system of separation and make it appear to be external to us. Being a projection, it still remains in our mind. But when we look at the projection of hate reflected back to us, we forget that the source of this reflection is in our own minds. Thus we think that our reflected projections are happening to us and have nothing to do with our thoughts. So when something or someone in the world seems to disturb us or be the cause of our unhappiness, we try to change something in the outside world to make us happy. This is what Jesus means when he says “...he always tries to handle [conflict] by making some sort of insane ‘arrangement’ with the world.” (6:5) This insane “arrangement” is to project the thoughts that are in conflict with our true Self onto a world that is outside of us.

Why do we experience so many problems in this world?

Jesus goes on to explain why we experience so many problems in this world. He helps us understand what is happening in our minds so we can do something about it. Inside our minds is all that is loving and true. Because we have joined with the ego thought system, we are holding something in our mind that is totally alien to our true thoughts. These completely opposite thoughts cannot mix. Therefore we unconsciously project the alien, antagonistic thoughts and see these thoughts as outside of us. That is why we see the world as full of conflict, suffering and pain. What we are seeing is just the projection of the conflict that is in our own minds.

The projected conflict produces a constant supply of problems that seem to come from the outside world. We are told, “Do not believe it is outside of yourself, for only by recognizing where it is will you gain control over it. For you do have control over your mind, since the mind is the mechanism of decision.” (9:9-10) We will continue to have problems with the world that we see as outside us until we learn to hand over every perceived problem to the Holy Spirit and receive His healing perception. “Yet to find this place [of peace], you must relinquish your investment in the world as you project it, allowing the Holy Spirit to extend the real world to you from the altar of God.” (10:9) As we receive the Holy Spirit’s vision of oneness, the conflict of separation fades away. We move into an experience of simplicity and ease, because we remember that only Love is real.

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Reference Keys for
A Course in Miracles Quotes

How to Read References for Quotes from A Course in Miracles

Below are example references to specific sentences using the notation of the Second & Third Editions of A Course in Miracles published by the Foundation for Inner Peace:

T-26.IV.4:7 = Text, Chapt. 26, Section IV, paragraph 4, sentence 7.

W-pI.169.5:2 = Workbook, Part I, Lesson 169, paragraph 5, sentence 2.

M-13.3:2 = Manual for Teachers, Question 13, paragraph 3, sentence 2.

C-6.4:6 = Clarification of Terms, Term 6, paragraph 4, sentence 6

The above numbering system of the Second & Third Editions is © Copyright 1992, The Foundation for A Course in Miracles.
 

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