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 IX: The Cloud of Guilt

Read ACIM Chapter 13, Section IX (pages 260-262)

How does Jesus describe the ego’s laws of punishment?

When we align with the ego, we are aligning with the laws of punishment. There must be belief in condemnation and guilt for there to be a perceived need for punishment. So the ego thought system is always engaged in a repeating cycle of condemnation, guilt and punishment. Making the illusion of the past seem real holds guilt in place. It seems that what is past cannot be changed. Condemnation of past behavior thus maintains guilt. Since it appears that the past cause of guilt cannot be changed, guilt seems to be eternal. This “continuity,” based on an unchangeable past that maintains a future of guilt, is the ego’s substitute for the eternity of Love.

How does the Holy Spirit release us from the laws of punishment?

The Holy Spirit releases us from this seemingly endless cycle by teaching us that the past does not exist and therefore cannot be a cause. Guilt is thus causeless. As we learn to let go of the idea of having a past and future, we awaken to the Light of Love in the present. This undoing of belief in the past and future is the Atonement. It is the release from guilt.

When we make another guilty in our minds, we are punishing ourselves. We are accepting pain and projecting pain. “The ego rewards fidelity to it with pain, for faith in it is pain.” (2:3) When we treasure specialness and uniqueness, guilt comes with it because we are really denying God’s oneness. We really are hating God and loving the ego’s substitute of specialness.

The world was made by the ego to make differences and specialness appear real. Yet, “The world can give you only what you gave it, for being nothing but your own projection, [the world] has no meaning apart from what you found in it and placed your faith in.” (3:1) As long as we hold the world dear and think there is anything of value in it, it will appear real to us, even though it is an illusion. Thus we can no longer tell the difference between the true and the false. Because of these mistaken values, we need the Holy Spirit to help us separate the false from the true.

It is helpful for us to clearly understand that when we place our faith in the world’s thought system, guilt, pain and punishment automatically come with it. The world and all its forms are merely the effect of the thought of separation, which is trying to be the opposite of what we are. This is why thoughts of guilt, condemnation and punishment come with belief in the world.

What is really happening when we perceive guilt in a brother?

Now we are learning that whenever we perceive guilt in a brother, we are simply seeing a projection of the guilt that lies in our own mind. Instead of getting rid of the guilt by seeing it in another, we are simply maintaining our own sense of guilt. “Guilt is always in your mind, which has condemned itself. Project it not, for while you do, [guilt] cannot be undone. With everyone whom you release from guilt great is the joy in Heaven, where the witnesses to your fatherhood rejoice.” (6:7-8) Heaven rejoices because when we are willing to let it go, we are freeing ourselves from the pain of guilt and punishment. We are loosening the chains that bind us.

Where can the Holy Spirit be found and what does He show us?

The Holy Spirit is always present in our minds, waiting to bring us the truth of our innocence and our brother’s innocence. Because nothing could change the reality of God’s one Son, guilt and separation could never be real. Guilt is an illusion. Separate bodies are an illusion. This is the truth that the Holy Spirit brings to us as we are willing to listen. As we listen, we are brought to the truth that the separation never happened. It has all been just an hallucination brought on by the power of our valuing false ideas that could never be true.

Having given belief to the idea of separation, we have also given belief to guilt. Separation and guilt always come together. But thankfully, belief does not make reality, although it does make the appearance of reality. We all know from experience that appearances can change. This is our window of release. With the Holy Spirit as our Guide, we can let go of our belief in the false idea of separation and thus let go of guilt.

As we learn to let the Holy Spirit guide our vision, He will help us look past the mistaken perception of the darkness of guilt and see the Light that God placed in us in our creation. The Holy Spirit will show us that the darkness we feared has no substance. On our own, we are afraid to look for the Light within, because we do not believe that it is there. But the strength of the Holy Spirit is available to us when we choose to accept it. With His help we can “look, then, upon the light [God] placed within you, and learn that what you feared was there has been replaced with love.” (8:13)

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