V. The Ego’s Use of Guilt, P 7
7 Irrational thought is disordered thought. God Himself orders your thought because your thought was created by Him. Guilt feelings are always a sign that you do not know this. They also show that you believe you can think apart from God, and want to. Every disordered thought is attended by guilt at its inception, and maintained by guilt in its continuance. Guilt is inescapable by those who believe they order their own thoughts, and must therefore obey their dictates. This makes them feel responsible for their errors without recognizing that, by accepting this responsibility, they are reacting irresponsibly. If the sole responsibility of the miracle worker is to accept the Atonement for himself, and I assure you that it is, then the responsibility for what is atoned for cannot be yours. The dilemma cannot be resolved except by accepting the solution of undoing. You would be responsible for the effects of all your wrong thinking if it could not be undone. The purpose of the Atonement is to save the past in purified form only. If you accept the remedy for disordered thought, a remedy whose efficacy is beyond doubt, how can its symptoms remain?
I often say that I accept 100% responsibility for the world I see. By that I mean that no one or nothing else is the reason the world appears to me as it does. I am not sick because of germs and I am not broke because I don’t make enough money. It is my thoughts alone that bring the appearance of lack and sickness into the world.
Here Jesus is talking about responsibility of a different order. Now that I accept responsibility for the world I made, I must accept that I cannot undo it on my own. That is not my responsibility. I accept that I am not a victim of the world, that my thoughts made what I see, then I decide I don’t want this anymore and I ask for the Atonement for it.
That is the way it is intended for me to act on my error. Notice the error and ask for and accept the Atonement, that and nothing more. What sometimes happens is that I fall back into the old ego habit of trying to correct my error through re-ordering my thoughts. I try to think of different ways to see it.
For instance, if I think that I am angry with a co-worker, and then I realize that my anger is causing me to be unhappy, the solution would be to ask for the Atonement for the angry thoughts. I would ask Holy Spirit to correct my perceptions. The error would be to try to correct my own perception by trying to think different thoughts about the coworker, or to try to force the thoughts out of my mind, or to think of excuses for the coworker, reasons he is such a jerk.
All of the solutions that involve correcting my own perception will just lead me deeper into guilt because I am using the ego mind to find the solution. The ego mind wants to be the thinker of the thoughts, but my thought was created by God. Listening to and believing in the thoughts I think with ego are guilt inducing because they seem to be in opposition to God.
The Atonement on the other hand, is a true solution. When I ask for and then accept the Atonement in any situation, the mind is ordered because it is returned to its original state, which was created by God, therefore there is no guilt. Without guilt, I am at peace and I am happy. Peace and happiness is how I know I am listening to the Voice for God. Feelings of guilt and unhappiness are how I know I am listening to and believing the ego.