A Course in Miracles Text Made Simple

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Chapter 21: Reason and Perception

Section IV: The Fear to Look Within

Read ACIM Chapter 21, Section IV (pages 454-56)

Why does Jesus say we are we afraid to look within?

When we believe in the ego thought system of separation from God, we will be afraid to quiet our mind and see what is there. If we identify with the ego as what we are, there will be fear to look within. The ego teaches that we are full of sin. “Loudly the ego tells you not to look inward, for if you do your eyes will light on sin, and God will strike you blind.” (2:3) We do not want to look upon the guilt that we think is there. Often this is why we spend so much time focusing on things the ‘outer’ world. This keeps our mind so busy and distracted that we have no time to let our mind quiet and listen to what is there.

Yet behind this belief in sin Jesus tells us that there is even a deeper fear. “Beneath your fear to look within because of sin is yet another fear, and one which makes the ego tremble. What if you looked within and saw no sin? This ‘fearful’ question is one the ego never asks.” (2:8, 3:1-2)

What happens as we look within and see there is no sin?

Going within and finding our innocence would be the end of the ego. We would find our true Identity in God’s oneness and would no longer wish to join with belief in separate bodies. We would see that we are joined with every brother in innocence because the dream of separation is now seen as just a dream and not the truth. Jesus tells us, “Those who have joined their brothers have detached themselves from their belief that their identity lies in the ego. A holy relationship is one in which you join with what is part of you in truth.” (3:4-5)

As we go inward, what does reason tell us?

Jesus answers us in this way: “Your faith is moving inward, past insanity and on to reason. And what your reason tells you now the ego would not hear. The Holy Spirit’s purpose was accepted by the part of your mind the ego knows not of. No more did you. And yet this part [your right mind], with which you now identify, is not afraid to look upon itself. It knows no sin. How, otherwise, could it have been willing to see the Holy Spirit’s purpose as its own?” (4:3-9) Here we see that as we go inward, we find our ‘right’ mind, where sanity resides. Here we identify with the Holy Spirit instead of the ego. Here we find peace and gentleness and freedom from the fear thoughts that the ego thought system generates. Here we learn to choose peace instead of conflict; we learn to see innocence instead of guilt in every brother.

As we continue to join with the Holy Spirit instead of the ego, what happens?

As we continue on our inward journey with the Holy Spirit, we are able to look at the madness of the ego without fear. We see that the ego’s ‘gifts’ lead to pain and not to the freedom we now seek. Jesus tells us, “A few remaining trinkets still seem to shine and catch your eye. Yet you would not ‘sell’ Heaven to have them. And now the ego is afraid. Yet what it [the false mind] hears in terror, the other part [the right mind] hears as the sweetest music; the song it longed to hear since first the ego came into your mind. The ego’s weakness is [your right mind’s] strength. The song of freedom, which sings the praises of another world, brings to it hope of peace. For it [your right mind] remembers Heaven, and now it sees that Heaven has come to earth at last, from which the ego’s rule has kept it out so long. Heaven has come because it found a home in your relationship on earth. And earth can hold no longer what has been given Heaven as its own.” (6:7, 7:1-7)

As we continue to join with the Holy Spirit instead of the ego, we follow the Holy Spirit in quietness and peace. We see the ego’s fearful thoughts of lack and disaster and quietly step aside from them because we would no longer make the ego our dwelling place. We are getting used to the Holy Spirit’s gentle ways of knowing where our true safety lies and cherish the feeling of comfort and well-being that comes with residing in the temple of the Holy Spirit. Jesus tells us, “What matters it to you how loudly [the ego] is proclaimed? The senseless is not made meaningful by repetition and by clamor. The quiet way is open. Follow it happily, and question not what must be so.” (8:6-9)

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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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