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2 Illusions are always illusions of differences. How could it be otherwise? By definition, an illusion is an attempt to make something real that is regarded as of major importance, but is recognized as being untrue. The mind therefore seeks to make it true out of its intensity of desire to have it for itself. Illusions are travesties of creation; attempts to bring truth to lies. Finding truth unacceptable, the mind revolts against truth and gives itself an illusion of victory. Finding health a burden, it retreats into feverish dreams. And in these dreams the mind is separate, different from other minds, with different interests of its own, and able to gratify its needs at the expense of others.

“The mind therefore seeks to make it true out of its intensity of desire to have it for itself.”

What do I want that is so intensely desired that an entire world was imagined to satisfy this desire? It seems that the wish was for a separate self, independent of God and my brothers. So what do I gain for efforts? I get to be different and special. I get needs that must be met and I get to decide how to do that, all by myself.

I have been watching TV lately. I acquired an Amazon Fire Stick, which gives me a lot more options of the types of shows I can watch. What I have noticed is that I like mysteries. I like them in my books as well. I like to unravel or even watch the mystery unravel.

It occurs to me that this mirrors part of the appeal of the world we made. It is filled with mysteries I get to unravel, some as simple as deciding on the brand of toothpaste is best and as urgent as deciding how to deal with a serious problem. In fact, the world presents me with an unending stream of problems for me to solve.

Sometimes I am the hero and sometimes I am the failure. But it is always me, alone, independently making decisions. I have treasured that independence, that separate, special self.
What I have discovered is that it is all a farce. I have never been separate and never been independent. There is no world in which I play out this fantasy. There is only an imagined world seeming to appear in the gap I pretend exists between all things. And even that was dreamed up long ago and is only an ancient memory.

This world of separation was a thought in the mind that existed hardly an instant. I pretend to bring it to life by remembering it and I fool myself into believing I am living in it, all so that I can act as if I am a separate self, making plans and deciding on my own and making things happen. What a goof I am. I used to think this was my superpower. Now I think my superpower is my ability to awaken from this soured dream of separation.

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Study of Text, C 15: VII. The Needless Sacrifice, P 3. 3-21-18

VII. The Needless Sacrifice, P 3
3 The sick attraction of guilt must be recognized for what it is. For having been made real to you, it is essential to look at it clearly, and by withdrawing your investment in it, to learn to let it go. No one would choose to let go what he believes has value. Yet the attraction of guilt has value to you only because you have not looked at what it is, and have judged it completely in the dark. As we bring it to light, your only question will be why it was you ever wanted it. You have nothing to lose by looking open-eyed, for ugliness such as this belongs not in your holy mind. This host of God can have no real investment here.

Because guilt as a tool to control relationships is so common and so automatic, we must learn to recognize it and to recognize that guilt is not part of love and has no value. Looking at the part guilt plays in relationships, the first thing I notice is that guilt always stems from fear. Without fear, guilt would no longer have any value and thus would not be part of our thought system.

I thought about the use of guilt in the parent/child relationship. I wonder if any parent has avoided this behavior altogether. My parents certainly used guilt and used it frequently. They were afraid for me and so used guilt to control my behavior. They were afraid they would let something happen to me and this fear was very strong so it seemed to justify guilt as a parenting tool. They never considered this an error, and in fact, I expect they thought it was good parenting, certainly necessary.

When my kids were young, I did the same thing. Even after I became a student of the Course and was learning to recognize guilt in all its forms, I still fell back into the habit at times. At other times, the use of guilt became subtler and not as easy to see. Guilt has been a hard habit to break. I see that I still believe in it because I catch myself making guilty or feeling guilty. It astounds me, really, that I have such an attachment to it.

I have stopped trying to reason with myself about making myself guilty and making others guilty and then trying not to feel guilty or see the other as guilty. I simply accept that it is harming me and that I want to let it go. I know that guilt is not part of God and therefore it is not real. If I believe I am guilty, then I must believe I am not part of God. I know that I am part of God and so I must not be guilty.

In fact, if God is not guilt, then He did not extend guilt as part of creation, so guilt must not be real. It must be something I made up, perhaps an unintended consequence of choosing to experience something unlike God. Since it is unreal, I don’t have to believe in it. I can change my mind about anything I made simply because the power that made it is still in me. I have the power to undo what I made.

What would happen to my relationships if I no longer had guilt as a tool? I would have to rely on love instead. The ego mind is so attached to guilt that it has stopped believing in the power of love. This is why I have found it necessary to let go of guilt slowly. For instance, I used to use guilt in the way my parents did.

My child would do something wrong and in my fear, I would try to stop this behavior by making the child feel bad about what they did. At first, I had no other tool and so it seemed reasonable. But later as I began to let go of guilt, I felt helpless without it. I had to learn to trust my Inner Guide to show me how to use love instead.

Here is an example. My granddaughter was watching TV while I did some work in the other room. I went into the kitchen for something and saw that she had just poured the cleaner for my glasses out. I asked her why on earth she would do that, and she didn’t seem to have an answer. I asked her how she expected me to clean my glasses now.

That statement was an effort on my part to get her not to do this kind of thing by making her feel guilty for doing it. Jeez. I walked away for a moment allowing my mind to clear, and to allow Spirit to send me guidance. When I came back into the room, I noticed that she had been watching a YouTube of someone her age making concoctions and immediately realized that it had been the source of inspiration for dumping the eyeglass cleaner. She was about to give it a try for herself.

I said, “Oh, I see why you are doing this. It makes sense now.” She was clearly relieved that I understood. I then told her that I could see why it would seem interesting to try it herself but she would have to resist the urge, and next time she would need to talk to me about it first to see what was acceptable. This was the way to use love to handle the situation and it felt so much better than using guilt.

The more often I have done this, the easier and more natural it has become. My goal is to move from disrupting guilt one situation at a time to giving up the belief in guilt altogether. I am getting closer to my goal and I am grateful for the Inner Guide that helps me to recognize the use of guilt and that shows me how love is a better option.

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1 The belief in order of difficulties is the basis for the world’s perception. It rests on differences; on uneven background and shifting foreground, on unequal heights and diverse sizes, on varying degrees of darkness and light, and thousands of contrasts in which each thing seen competes with every other in order to be recognized. A larger object overshadows a smaller one. A brighter thing draws the attention from another with less intensity of appeal. And a more threatening idea, or one conceived of as more desirable by the world’s standards, completely upsets the mental balance. What the body’s eyes behold is only conflict. Look not to them for peace and understanding.


I understand this problem. Life can appear to be very chaotic as I am bombarded with people and situations that vie for my attention. Because of past learning, I categorize them according to importance to me and according to urgency. This is the way we think we have to live. There are books written to help us learn how to best juggle these choices because for some, it becomes confusing and overwhelming and there seems to be a desperate need to get it right.

Two common categories are good and bad. I want to work in my garden and I want to visit my daughter and granddaughter. These are, in my estimation, good things. I had to get my taxes prepared and I know someone who is suffering. I put these in the bad category. Dealing with the good stuff is no problem for me unless something gets in the way. Dealing with the bad stuff goes into the procrastinate or deny file or the get it over with file.

I try to organize my life in such a way that the good comes first and the bad is dealt with without too much suffering. It is the way I have always tried to make sense of life and to bring some sort of peace to my life. What Jesus is saying here is that my efforts will not work, and I know he is right.

For instance, I have waited until nearly the last minute to get my tax information together so I can bring it to the preparer. The reason it has become such an unpleasant task is that I dislike the whole ordeal so much that I ignore it all year, failing to organize as I go. I ignore any opportunity to learn what is important and why and so I feel inadequate to do this and that makes the process a little scary.

This year was worse than usual, so I tried to control my mounting panic by bringing the idea of organization to a new level. My tax information may or may not be complete and accurate, but the finished product looks great! I put it all in a binder with tabs to indicate the different categories and zippered pockets for the smaller receipts so they would not get lost.

It goes even further, but you get the picture. This is me trying to convince myself that I understand my world and am at peace in it. But underneath, I don’t feel peaceful about it because I have glossed over my true concerns. It is like I put makeup over a dirty face to disguise the problem and then called it a day. And this is just one situation among many that call for my attention.

Now here is something that happened in this situation that gave me a clue that I was handling this all wrong. I had one issue with the tax information that I thought was not right but couldn’t figure out how to fix it. I worried about it but didn’t know what to do. This went on for three days as I tried to ignore it, and deny it, and to procrastinate some more. Finally, after I had given up and was just going to hope for the best, I surrendered the problem to God. And the answer just came to me, and it was so simple.

So this morning as I read the paragraph for today, I thought about what my life would be like if I did not try to decide with the ego thinking mind what everything is for and what it all means. What if I didn’t try to organize all these disparate things at all? What if I didn’t divide life into categories of good and bad, for instance?

The ego mind argues that this is impossible and that nothing would get done and the result would be chaos. But just from this one situation with the taxes, I see that all is chaos now. I see that working with just the ego mind to decide and direct causes uncertainty and fear, not to mention guilt that I did such a poor job all year. And then I saw that when I finally gave up the possibility that I could do this one final task and surrendered it to God, everything fell quickly into place. The ego must be wrong.

What if I did not judge anything that occurred, that I did not separate and categorize my life at all? What if I didn’t dread tax season every year but simply did what needed to be done trusting that I have loving Presence ever ready to help me whatever my need? What if I saw my suffering friend as fully capable through the Presence of Love in his mind to deal with his situation? Then the situation would not be different than any other situation.

I have already seen that when I surrender my life to God, I am gently uplifted and carried. But this desire to decide on my own what everything means and what should be done about all the separate elements, how to categorize them and to decide which ones are important and which ones are not, takes it out of God’s hands and leaves me on my own again.

I imagine, instead, a life that is a series of events with only one meaning and one purpose, not good or bad, important or unimportant. I imagine every event being perfect in its time and then being gone to make room for the next perfect moment. I imagine using each moment in whatever way the Holy Spirit would have me use it. I imagine being in joy regardless of what seems to be happening because I am living a life of purpose that is not my own, but God’s.

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Study of Text, C 15: VII. The Needless Sacrifice, P 2. 3-14-18

VII. The Needless Sacrifice, P 2
2 The ego establishes relationships only to get something. And it would keep the giver bound to itself through guilt. It is impossible for the ego to enter into any relationship without anger, for the ego believes that anger makes friends. This is not its statement, but it is its purpose. For the ego really believes that it can get and keep by making guilty. This is its one attraction; an attraction so weak that it would have no hold at all, except that no one recognizes it. For the ego always seems to attract through love, and has no attraction at all to anyone who perceives that it attracts through guilt.

Why do couples come together? What do they expect to get out of the relationship? Perhaps we feel lonely and hope a relationship will relieve that feeling.  Maybe we feel vulnerable and think a relationship will make us feel stronger or safer. Perhaps we want children and someone to share that with.

There might be a feeling of emptiness in us and we think a relationship will fill that hole in our hearts. It is possible that we feel a strong attraction to someone and this attraction feels like love, as we understand it. And maybe we think this feeling of love comes from the other person and so we think we need that special person in order to feel love.

Whatever the reason for the relationship, if it doesn’t come from a desire to share and to join as one without the need to get something from the other, then it is going to create guilt in the mind. And guilt causes fear, and fear often takes the form of anger. What generally happens is that the couple begins to use guilt and fear to keep the relationship intact.

I know that nearly everyone has used guilt or had guilt used on them in a relationship as a means to control. I know that I used to do this, but I don’t think I do that anymore, at least not outwardly. I still notice the tendency in my mind, though. There will be some form of the thought that the other person should do something for me, that is, act a certain way, say certain things, visit or call, maybe agree with me or take my side.

These are all ways of using guilt to control the nature of the relationship. I have avoided saying these things out loud and I catch them quickly when they show up in my mind and ask for another way to see the situation, but this tendency to use people and to make them special, and to use guilt to control the relationship, is a stubborn idea and keeps showing up.

As I learn that love does not seek to get anything from a relationship, I begin to experience my relationships differently, and there is not such a strong pull toward guilt. The tie to guilt is weaker and breaks more easily. I also see that the relationship is not so fragile and is more loving, and more fulfilling.

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Manual for Teachers: 7. SHOULD HEALING BE REPEATED? P 6. 3-13-18

6 The mistake is always some form of concern with the self to the exclusion of the patient. It is a failure to recognize him as part of the Self, and thus represents a confusion in identity. Conflict about what you are has entered your mind, and you have become deceived about yourself. And you are deceived about yourself because you have denied the Source of your creation. If you are offering only healing, you cannot doubt. Doubt is the result of conflicting wishes. Be sure of what you want, and doubt becomes impossible.

Let me not get in the way of God’s work through me.

Healing is a simple thing. I need only allow the power of God to work through me. It becomes complicated or confused only when the ego mind is allowed to intrude on the healing. Then the mind begins to question; can this be healed, should it be healed? Have you ever had the thought that maybe it was the person’s classroom and maybe you should not interfere? The healer has become confused about his own identity. Conflict has entered the mind.

I was asked to pray for someone this morning. The ego mind jumped right in with questions about the problem and I saw my mind become confused about how to pray in this situation. So I stopped thinking. I let my mind go still and right away, I knew how to pray. I knew that this person was healed and whole and nothing else about her was true.

I knew she was energetic and in love with life, that she felt loving and joyful simply because that is her true nature. These things are true about her because of who she is and I cannot imagine anything else being true. My mind is clear about this and so my prayer is powerful as is the mind that holds it as true. I know what is true and so doubt is impossible and healing is certain.

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Study of Text, C 15: VII. The Needless Sacrifice, P 1. 3-9-18

VII. The Needless Sacrifice, P 1
1 Beyond the poor attraction of the special love relationship, and always obscured by it, is the powerful attraction of the Father for His Son. There is no other love that can satisfy you, because there is no other love. This is the only love that is fully given and fully returned. Being complete, it asks nothing. Being wholly pure, everyone joined in it has everything. This is not the basis for any relationship in which the ego enters. For every relationship on which the ego embarks is special.


The hardest thing for most people to accept is that we don’t know what love is. We think we do. We think we love our spouses and parents and children. And of course, there is love in those relationships, but it is not pure, unconditional love. It is not fully given and fully returned. It is not untainted by the special needs we think we have.

There is such a thing as love and that is the love we share with our Creator. It is powerful, pure and completely satisfying. Unfortunately, while here in time we can only take Jesus’ word on this. There is no memory of it. We deliberately blocked that memory so that we could have this experience.

We keep the memory of God’s love blocked now because if we remembered His love, we rush back into Him. Jesus says in the Course that we have become afraid to return to God, afraid of retribution. In the ego mind from which most of us make decisions, we defend and attack, and so we imagine that God does the same thing. Of course, Love cannot attack and has no need to defend, but we no longer understand love so here we are in this crazy cycle with no apparent way out.

Jesus overcame this confusion, found the way out of our self-imposed prison of ego thinking and makes that escape available to us. Because he did it, it was done for the entire mind. We are saved. Now we only need to accept that this is true. Like frightened children we hide from our salvation, mistaking it for danger. We pretend that we don’t need help and we can do it for ourselves.

So we form relationships in which we bargain for love. It makes me want to cry to think about it. I have done this so many times and every time it has failed and continues to fail over and over again. There is a light for me at the end of this long, long tunnel. I am learning the difference between love and need.

I am learning that I deserve love and am worthy of it. I am learning that I can actually love others, really love them as I let go of using them to get what I already have, that is, love. When I stop using my relationships to get, they become relationships of sharing what we both already have. Then they are closer to what love truly is, not exactly the same, but a clearer reflection of love.

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Manual for Teachers: 7. SHOULD HEALING BE REPEATED? P 5. 3-7-18

5 The real basis for doubt about the outcome of any problem that has been given to God’s Teacher for resolution is always self-doubt. And that necessarily implies that trust has been placed in an illusory self, for only such a self can be doubted. This illusion can take many forms. Perhaps there is a fear of weakness and vulnerability. Perhaps there is a fear of failure and shame associated with a sense of inadequacy. Perhaps there is a guilty embarrassment stemming from false humility. The form of the mistake is not important. What is important is only the recognition of a mistake as a mistake.


Now Jesus explains the basis for doubt and he tells us it is self-doubt. Of course, he is talking about the ego-self since your true-self has no doubt. I can see why I sometimes doubt if I am using my ego mind to affect healing. The ego has no interest in healing and no ability to heal. The only thing it can offer is fear and doubt, and as a relief, distractions, such as magic potions to temporarily relieve the effects of the magical problem.

Jesus talks about the different ways doubt will manifest such as a sense of inadequacy or fear of failure. I have experienced both of these. There are other forms doubt takes, but as Jesus says, the form doesn’t matter. The only thing that does matter is that we recognize it is just a mistake. As it happens, I have an issue right now.

I got sick the other day with viral bronchitis. I looked at my mind and I saw the thoughts that caused this manifestation and I have changed my mind about them. I have remembered that the peace of God is everything I want and that I have no use for sickness. I also asked my friend and healer to pray with me about this.

I saw that I was noticing the symptoms and was tempted to doubt, but I also know the truth and I know I cannot trust the body’s senses to tell me the truth. So I am disregarding the body and placing my trust in what Jesus tells us. I have asked that my mind be healed of the beliefs that source sickness and I have brought my doubt to the light to be undone. I am in expectation of a speedy recovery.

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