Manual for Teachers: Section 17 . . HOW DO GOD’S TEACHERS DEAL WITH MAGIC THOUGHTS? . . . . . . . . . . . page 45 paragraph 5

Section 17


page 45, paragraph 5





5. Anger in response to perceived magic thoughts is a basic cause of fear. ²Consider what this reaction means, and its centrality in the world’s thought system becomes apparent. ³A magic thought, by its mere presence, acknowledges a separation from God. ⁴It states, in the clearest form possible, that the mind which believes it has a separate will that can oppose the Will of God, also believes it can succeed. ⁵That this can hardly be a fact is obvious. ⁶Yet that it can be believed as fact is equally obvious. ⁷And herein lies the birthplace of guilt. ⁸Who usurps the place of God and takes it for himself now has a deadly “enemy.” ⁹And he must stand alone in his protection, and make himself a shield to keep him safe from fury that can never be abated, and vengeance that can never be satisfied. (ACIM, M-17.5:1-9)

Guilt’s Source

This phrase is most meaningful to me: 4the mind which believes it has a separate will that can oppose the Will of God, also believes it can succeed. When I read that, I felt it in my gut. I know the Course has been trying very hard to get me to understand the source of my guilt. It also wants me to understand that the guilt is unfounded. But for a long time, it was difficult for me to embrace this idea.


Intellectually I could accept it, but I couldn’t feel it. This phrase helped me to more fully accept that I harbor a deep reservoir of guilt which affects everything I believe. This guilt was born of the belief that I can and did separate myself from God. Further, this implies that I have a will that is in opposition to God.


Now I understood that the whole world as I saw it was a projection of that guilt. It acted as a repository for the guilt deeply buried that I was, on the surface, unaware of it. Letting go of the idea that my life stories are the source of my fear and guilt difficult. I would think I understood this, but then I would notice myself looking to my stories for answers.

I had to stop and laugh because just the other morning I was thinking that I woke up feeling draggy. My first thought was that maybe I had slept too hard. Or was it a dream I had? Perhaps I was over tired from a very full week? It is, indeed, hard to remember that the cause is not to be found in the story. The difference now is that I don’t stay with these ideas long because I no longer believe them.


Something else that has helped me very much came from “The Teachings of Inner Ramana.” It talks about how fear and guilt are so closely associated they are interchangeable. This is what it says.

The mind is afraid because the unnatural is not natural. The mind that has forgotten reality knows that something is wrong, but it does not know what that is. It projects stories in an effort to give itself a reason for its fear, but it cannot find the answer it seeks because it is looking in the wrong direction. Its fear does not come from its own projections, and so solutions to those projections cannot end the fear.

Real Source

My sluggish body is the projection and not the cause. Figuring out how to wake up energetic is not the way to solve the problem. That is looking in the wrong direction.

This reading reinforces what Jesus says in the Course. Fear and guilt, however they show up in the world are not caused by the world. The fear and guilt the Course has been trying to help me see. The belief in fear and guilt feels very real. I bury them so deeply that I seem unable (or perhaps more truthfully, unwilling) to extract it. But now I know that I will never be rid of the guilt through trying to fix the story. Instead I look to the Holy Spirit for the answer.

Treading Water

As I look back on my life it is as if it were made of one guilty, fearful situation after another with me always trying to make up for something. I would do something that caused circumstances that made me feel guilty and I would then try to fix it. Or I would try to be a better person to make up for it. I never caught up. I see now that all those things I did were caused by the buried guilt in my mind.

Trying to fix the story was like trying to repair the reflection in the mirror. I really was looking in the wrong direction. The burden of that guilt is still present and that’s ok. I am willing for this slow and gentle healing. I am willing to take the next step and the next.

The Holy Spirit knows the perfect path for me and I am content to walk it. I continue to watch my stories and notice what yet needs healing within my mind. I am being guided now to see my innocence and for that I am supremely grateful. This is how the Holy Spirit is answering my call for help.

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