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.

Chapter 13: The Guiltless World

Section IV: The Function of Time

Read ACIM Chapter 13, Section IV (pages 245-247)

Why does Jesus say the ego teaches that destruction is salvation?

This section continues with the theme of our fear of Love. Since Heaven is Love, if we fear Love, we also fear Heaven. The ego has made a substitute for Heaven and along with that made a substitute image for what we are. When we believe in the ego thought system, we believe we are this substitute image with a separate and unique identity.

The foundation of this substitute is the ego idea that it is possible to separate from Love and still exist. Since separation from Love, were it true, would be Love’s destruction, the ego teaches that destruction is salvation. It is only through destruction of Love that it could be possible to have an identity separate from Love.

Since destruction is the kingpin of the ego thought system, it teaches us that our function is to destroy. Most of us don’t think of ourselves as being on a binge of destruction, but that is because the ego has convinced us that our judgments and perception of differences is just part of maintaining and protecting our identity. We think that judgment is necessary and that we need to decide what we want and how to get it and keep it for ourselves. That is how we maintain our specialness and our uniqueness. We don’t realize that our judgment, or deciding on our own, is destroying our awareness of the Love we are. The ego does not tell us that the identity that we think we are protecting is an empty image without life. Yet we are willing to experience even death to protect this identity. “For you believe that attack is your reality, and that your destruction is the final proof that you were right.” (2:5)

Why is our belief in time the principal mechanism for maintaining guilt?

Jesus asks us to question our belief in death as “proof” of life. Our unwillingness to question our beliefs prevents us from recognizing the falsity of their foundation. One of our beliefs that we never question is our belief in the reality of time. Yet we are reminded here that time is not of God. It was made up by the ego as part of its scheme for self-preservation. Time is the principal mechanism for maintaining guilt. The moment we accept that time is not real, guilt will be gone because guilt is always based upon what we believe happened in the past. If time is not real, nothing that appears to happen in time is real.

The ego uses time to hang on to the past and make it appear that our future is the effect of our past. “Remember that [the ego’s] emphasis on guilt enables it to ensure its continuity by making the future like the past, and thus avoiding the present. By the notion of paying for the past in the future, the past becomes the determiner of the future, making them continuous without an intervening present.” (4:3-4)

Why does the Course say that all the thoughts we are aware of are rooted in the past?

The practices in Workbook lessons 5 through 9 help us learn how all the thoughts we are aware of are rooted in the past. These thoughts interfere with our perception of the present. Lesson 5 says, “I am never upset for the reason I think.” As we see in paragraph 5 we are always interpreting the present based on the past. We think we are reacting to present circumstances but we are really reacting to the meaning we are giving it based upon memories of the past. Bringing our past to the present causes us to see what is not there. (Lesson 6) As long as we are aligned with the ego, we will see only the past. (Lesson 7) Because the ego views the past as its means of self-preservation, it keeps our mind preoccupied with past thoughts. (Lesson 8) Because of this we see nothing as it is now. (Lesson 9) These lessons are important steps in our release from the past and return to our natural state of oneness in Love.

What frees us from belief in a past and future?

Every brother offers us the opportunity to recognize Love for every brother in truth only offers Love. Nothing else is real. Forgiveness releases our mind from the past and frees us to accept the gift of Love that every brother is truly offering. Forgiveness comes through learning that the past is an illusion. “Unless you learn that past pain is an illusion, you are choosing a future of illusions and losing the many opportunities you could find for release in the present.” (6:5) We cannot recognize the holiness of our brother as long as we perceive him through the filter of our past. Neither can we know our own holiness, or oneness.

In another part of the Text we are told to ask of everything, “What is it for?” Here we are being shown we should ask the same question of the purpose we are giving time. When we align ourselves with the ego, we use time to maintain our separate identity. When we align ourselves with the Holy Spirit, time is used to extend the wholeness of the present, free of the past or future. This is the beginning of the appreciation of eternity.

As long as we join with the ego, our belief in time with a past and future will continue. When we are willing to join with the Holy Spirit’s interpretation of time, we use time only as a means of undoing our belief in time. We remember that only the eternal present is real. Love has no past or future because it is eternally changeless and is always the same.

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