To gain the most from A Course in Miracles Text Made Simple, we recommend that
you read the corresponding chapter and section in the Text of the Second or
Third Edition of A Course in Miracles published by the Foundation for Inner Peace.
Read ACIM Chapter 19, Section IV-C and Ci (pages 416-19)
In the opening two paragraphs, Jesus defines the difference between death and life: “And death is the result of the thought we call the ego as surely as life is the result of the Thought of God.” (2:15) Another way to describe this is that the idea of death arose as an effect of joining with the ego’s idea of separation rather than God’s idea of oneness.
What comes with the idea of separation is fear, guilt and punishment. Because the body was made by the ego to see separation and is what we are attracted to identify with, the body becomes the target for the ego belief in guilt and punishment. Therefore in the dream, the ego’s laws make it look like the body is vulnerable to outside forces, and eventually becomes sick and dies. This is why when we are attracted to belief in separation, it is the same as being attracted to death.
The good news is that separation is simply a lie and death is a lie. Jesus tells us, “Yet you must learn still more about this strange devotion, for it contains the third obstacle that peace must flow across. No one can die unless he chooses death. What seems to be the fear of death is really its attraction. Guilt, too, is feared and fearful. Yet it could have no hold at all except on those who are attracted to it and seek it out. And so it is with death. Made by the ego, its dark shadow falls across all living things, because the ego is the ‘enemy’ of life.” (1:3-9) Jesus is encouraging us to let go of our belief in a world of separation because he knows that with this belief comes the experience of fear, guilt and death. He wants us to understand that we do not have to continue to join with these fearful thoughts. We can let the Holy Spirit release us from this dedication to believing in the dream of death.
As we let go of our hold on believing that separate bodies could be real, we are at the same time letting go of the belief that guilt and death could be real. Jesus describes these false perceptions as simply shadows. “And yet a shadow cannot kill. What is a shadow to the living? They but walk past and it is gone.” (2:1-3)
We need help with this because we have believed in these false stories for so long. Jesus encourages us to forgive the grievances that come with joining with the ego, and let our sadness be brought to happiness by accepting the truth from our inner Guide. “What is impossible to you who chose His Will as yours? What is death to you? Your dedication is not to death, nor to its master. When you accepted the Holy Spirit’s purpose in place of the ego’s you renounced death, exchanging it for life.” (2:10-13)
Here Jesus emphasizes that the body is simply the effect of a false idea of separation and that this idea can be corrected. This false idea is the opposite of God’s Thoughts, and therefore could never be real. Jesus tells us, “One thing is sure; God, Who created neither sin nor death, wills not that you be bound by them. He knows of neither sin nor its results. The shrouded figures in the funeral procession march not in honor of their Creator, Whose Will it is they live. They are not following His Will; they are opposing it.” (3:3-6)
We have been dedicated to the ego thought system, which makes it look like separate bodies are real, but we can change our mind about what we are dedicated to. We can realize that we are not what the ego made. We are not separate bodies and we are not bound by the body. We can give the body a new purpose, the purpose of waking up from the dream of separation.
To serve this new purpose Jesus tells us, “The body can but serve your purpose. As you look on it, so will it seem to be.” (6:3-4) He also tells us, “You have another dedication that would keep the body incorruptible and perfect as long as it is useful for your holy purpose.” (5:1) As we accept this new purpose of waking up to our reality as God’s Love, we have all the power in Heaven to help us. “Your newborn purpose is nursed by angels, cherished by the Holy Spirit and protected by God Himself.” (9:4) As we accept our newborn purpose, we are learning to forgive or let go of our wild imaginings, our false ideas of separation. We are learning to think differently about everything we are seeing through the body’s eyes.
Here Jesus teaches us how to deal with the fearful images when he says, “Confronted with such seeming uncertainty of meaning, judge it not. Remember the holy presence of the One given to you to be the Source of judgment. Give it to Him to judge for you, and say: Take this from me and look upon it, judging it for me. Let me not see it as a sign of sin and death, nor use it for destruction. Teach me how not to make of it an obstacle to peace, but let You use it for me, to facilitate its [peace’s] coming.” (11:5-10)
As we accept our newborn purpose, are learning to see innocence instead of guilt. We are learning to see past separate bodies to the eternal Spirit that is always really there. In the Introduction to the Course Jesus told us, “Nothing real can be threatened. Nothing unreal exists. Herein lies the peace of God.” (Intro.2:2-4)
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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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