A Course in Miracles Text Made Simple

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.

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Chapter 8: The Journey Back

Section II: The Difference between Imprisonment and Freedom

Read ACIM Chapter 8, Section II (pages 139-141)

Why do we experience uncertainty, doubt, pain and depression?

The ego does not know what we are, yet it tries to teach us what we are. If we believe what it teaches, we are believing in an illusion of what we are. That is the basis of this world. Since illusions have no foundation in reality, they are inevitably confusing. The result is that we experience continual uncertainty about who we are as long as we follow the ego’s teachings. Because the ego teaches contrary to our natural path, our learning from the ego is depressing.

What the ego teaches denies the Love and accompanying joy that is our nature. Because this learning is inherently painful, we have come to believe that learning is unpleasant and so we resist learning. This resistance manifests in resistance to change. We fear change because the changes that came with learning the ego’s lessons are so painful. The pain is the result of loss of our true Identity, loss of the strength we share with God, loss of the safety that comes with being one with our Source. The ego teaches that it is giving us free will, but it is really imprisoning our will.

What is the ego’s mantra?

The ego’s mantra is “independence.” In this world, independence is highly valued. Being able to be our own person, be in charge of our life, take control, not be subject to anyone else, is often sought for with great determination, starting with our teenage years. We honor those who seem to have successfully achieved their personal goals in the world. We do not recognize that the real cost of striving for this independence is the denial of our free will. The ego is really offering us independence from joy because our joy can only be found in the Will we share with God.

In truth we were created by God’s Will and are one with His Will. Since God is all of reality, we were created one with all reality. We already are one with all that is. There is nothing else to have or be. To be independent from this oneness we must give up all that is and limit what we think we are to something that is separate from reality. Thus to be independent is to be imprisoned because it is to be limited.

The ego does not tell us this. It holds the idol of independence before us, trying to convince us of its great value. Yet it is an empty image with no value of its own. By choosing independence, we choose limitation and thus we are not free. God’s Will for us is that we are free to share all of His joy, all of His Love, all that is real. Choosing less than that cannot be free will. It is this the Holy Spirit teaches us. As we learn to recognize that the ego can only offer limitation and imprisonment, we will cease to value its images and we will awaken to our Home in the Kingdom.

Why is it so important to stop and listen to the Holy Spirit?

When we listen to the Holy Spirit, we learn that we are in union with Love and cannot be without It. Love’s Will is our will. Learning this returns us to our innate joy and freedom. This learning also brings us an awareness of Love’s boundless peace and strength. We learn that we are as unlimited as God is because we are one with Him. The Holy Spirit’s teaching brings us to this acknowledgment. “When you acknowledge this you bring the acknowledgment automatically to everyone, because you have acknowledged everyone. By your recognition you awaken theirs, and through [their recognition] yours is extended.” (8:3-4) As we recognize the difference between imprisonment and freedom we help everyone.

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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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