V. The Ego’s Use of Guilt, P 4
4 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. This is because the mind is capable of creating reality or making illusions. I said before that you must learn to think with God. To think with Him is to think like Him. This engenders joy, not guilt, because it is natural. Guilt is a sure sign that your thinking is unnatural. Unnatural thinking will always be attended with guilt, because it is the belief in sin. The ego does not perceive sin as a lack of love, but as a positive act of assault. This is necessary to the ego’s survival because, as soon as you regard sin as a lack, you will automatically attempt to remedy the situation. And you will succeed. The ego regards this as doom, but you must learn to regard it as freedom.
The ego is always whispering in my mind of attacks I need to defend against, and attacks I need to carry out. There is a constant barrage of guilt and fear thoughts, and of thoughts of pain and suffering, lack and loss. How do I not allow this in my mind? It seems already to be there. I think of these thoughts as dropping into my mind, or floating in, offering themselves to me. When I am attracted to them they stay and become my reality. When I have no interest in them, they float on through, hardly slowing.
At first I noticed the thoughts as they appeared in my awareness and I made a conscious and deliberate decision to believe them or not to believe them. At times I had to tear my attention from them, and put my foot down, so to speak. I took a stand against them, choosing to believe what Jesus has been telling me. Eventually, I noticed the thoughts as if in my peripheral vision, and turned from them without much effort.
Now I notice that the ego is subtler in its efforts to entangle me in its fear thoughts. For instance, this morning as I was reading the Lesson for the day, I had the thought that I have so many ego thoughts still, and that means I am not going to awaken any time soon. In that moment of believing, I felt sad and discouraged and very guilty. It all happened in the briefest of moments and there were not the words I used here to describe it. It was more like a feeling. But when I felt the guilt and the discouragement I knew I had chosen to believe something that is not true. In that realization I chose again.
The choice was made quickly, and I see as I read this selection from the Course, that the brief stab of guilt was the result of believing I am in lack. It was the belief that I don’t have God’s love and approval, that I am bereft of hope, that I am separated from my Creator and alone in the world, and that I may never again be part of Him. At one time that belief was one that had a strong hold on my mind and it would have opened the door to many more ego thoughts, and eventually led to depression.
It is different now. I saw the thought. I considered it ever so briefly, then I answered it with love. It was a call for love and I responded with love. I turned from that dark thought to the light in my mind. I allowed the thoughts I think with God to fill me. I am His holy Son in whom He is well pleased. Everything else is meaningless. And once again I am free.