A Course in Miracles Text Made Simple

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Chapter 5: Healing and Wholeness

Section V: The Ego’s Use of Guilt

Read ACIM Chapter 5, Section V (pages 83-86)

Because we have chosen the ego’s thought system to be our own, we have both the ego and the Holy Spirit in our mind. It is helpful to remember that this is a choice and that we can choose once again. In this section, Jesus tells us “...your mind has the means at its disposal to side with Heaven and earth as it elects.” (1:4)

How can we tell if we are joining with the ego mindset?

It is helpful for us to recognize the symptoms of choosing the ego. If we experience any fear or guilt, it is because we are joining with the ego mindset. If we are not supremely happy and in deep peace, we are still choosing the ego’s belief in separation. Guilt is inevitable if we think we have separated from God. “How could part of God detach itself without believing it is attacking Him?” (3:2)

We are being brought to the understanding that whenever we join with ego thoughts, we will experience fear and guilt. The ego is the symbol of fear and guilt because it is the symbol of separation from God. Jesus explains it very clearly when he says, “Listening to the ego’s voice means that you believe it is possible to attack God, and that part of Him has been torn away by you. Fear of retaliation from without follows, because the severity of the guilt is so acute that it must be projected.” (3:10-11)

Understanding the concepts in the first three paragraphs of this section is very important and helpful to us. Jesus is helping us to understand why we experience fear and guilt. He is helping us understand why we punish ourselves, make ourselves sick and believe in stories of loss and death. Many people have asked, “If we are part of God, why would we choose to do this to ourselves — write tragic stories of war, sickness and death?” Because the guilt is so severe, we have hidden it in our unconscious mind and projected it onto an outside world to “protect” ourselves. But the belief in guilt still remains in our minds and we still believe we deserve punishment.

Here we are seeing that the reason for these stories is our desire for separation. We truly believe we have attacked God and stolen away a part of Him. This thought brings fear and guilt with it. This is in the collective unconscious of the human condition. This whole world is based on the belief in separation and therefore it is a world laden with misery, fear and guilt. We make up life stories of struggle, specialness and trying to get something for ourselves alone. But in the end, we lose it all in death. All these stories are just projections from a sick, disordered mind that believes it really succeeded in separating from God.

Why is it important that we see the root cause of our problems?

An important part of our awakening is to see the root cause of our problems. “Whatever you accept into your mind has reality for you. It is your acceptance of it that makes it real. If you enthrone the ego in your mind, your allowing it to enter makes it your reality.” (4:1-3)

When we think with the ego, we will experience the false stories found within the ego thought system as real. We will experience fear and guilt. We will experience struggle, sickness and finally death. Jesus wants us to understand that this is not our true reality. It may seem real to us while we are experiencing it, but it is all bogus. We are not these stories and these stories of being separated from our true nature will not bring us happiness.

Our true nature is Love. Separation, uniqueness and independence are not prizes to be gained but are beliefs in lack and weakness to be healed. Once we see what is really going on, we will willingly lay down the ego’s thought system. We will not identity with the ego’s stories and believe in the fear, guilt, suffering, sickness and death that pervade these stories. Jesus tells us, “The guiltless mind cannot suffer. Being sane, the mind heals the body because it [the mind] has been healed. The sane mind cannot conceive of illness because it cannot conceive of attacking anyone or anything.” (5:1-3)

Guilt demands punishment. We feel guilty because we believe we have attacked God so we project our belief in punishment on Him. Believing He will punish us, we try to “beat God to the punch” by punishing ourselves before He does. This clearly shows the insanity of the ego.

How do I apply this in my life?

How does this fit with me paying the rent and the car payment? How does this help me with my anger about my son’s misbehavior? How does this help me with my feelings of guilt and fear?” The fact that we still think we have problems, feel vulnerable, lacking, and experience life as a struggle, is a signal that we are still hanging on to the ego’s thought system. Jesus wants us to understand that we have a choice. He tells us, “The Holy Spirit and the ego are the only choices open to you. God created one, and so you cannot eradicate it. You made the other, and so you can.” (6:8-10)

In this section, it is becoming very clear to us that the whole ego thought system is based on lies and is not true. There is no separation. We have not made bodies which are separate and alone real. We could not separate from God even if we wanted to. What God creates is eternal and unchangeable. What we are experiencing is an illusion of separation. It never really happened. We are still Love as God created us. Jesus tells us, “...when you do not think like God, you are not really thinking at all. Delusional ideas are not real thoughts, although you can believe in them.” (6:12-13)

What are we to do with the ego?

The only thing we can do with the ego is to lay it down, let it go. It is as though we have been carrying a huge boulder on our shoulders and now realize that we do not have to continue carrying this heavy burden. We can lay it down. We can release it. This is what the Course calls forgiveness. We can let go of what never really happened. We can learn to see past the false stories to the truth with the Holy Spirit as our Guide. This is what the Course means when it says, “Choose once again.” This is what is called accepting the Atonement for ourselves.

As we are willing to give up the destructive and disordered thoughts of the ego, as we are willing to lay them down, what has been eternally true returns to our awareness. The ego’s destructive thinking is a barrier to our awareness of Love’s presence. As our willingness grows to lay down the heavy burden, we will return to the awareness of the eternal extension of Love. All this returns to us as we are willing to recognize how the ego’s use of fear and guilt works in our minds and are willing to no longer accept the ego’s lies. The Holy Spirit is always present to guide us every step of the way. We can celebrate that we have this help and accept it in our daily lives.

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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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