Chapter Five: Healing and Wholeness
VII. The Two Decisions
59 Perhaps some of our concepts will become clearer and more personally meaningful if the ego's use of guilt is clarified. The ego has a purpose, just as the Holy Spirit has. The ego's purpose is fear because only the fearful can be egotistic. The ego's logic is as impeccable as that of the Holy Spirit because your mind has all the means at its disposal to side with Heaven or earth, as it elects. But again, let us remember that both are in you. In Heaven there is no guilt because the Kingdom is attained through the Atonement, which releases you to create. The word "create" is appropriate here because, once what you have made is undone by the Holy Spirit, the blessed residue is restored and therefore continues in creation.
60 What is truly blessed is incapable of giving rise to guilt and must give rise to joy. This makes it invulnerable to the ego because its peace is unassailable. It is invulnerable to disruption because it is whole. Guilt is always disruptive. Anything that engenders fear is divisive because it obeys the law of division. If the ego is the symbol of the separation, it is also the symbol of guilt. Guilt is more than merely not of God. It is the symbol of the attack on God. This is a totally meaningless concept except to the ego, but do not underestimate the power of the ego's belief in it. This is the belief from which all guilt really stems.
61 The ego is the part of the mind which believes in division. How can part of God detach itself without believing it is attacking Him? We spoke before of the authority problem as involving the concept of usurping God's power. The ego believes that this is what you did because it believes it is you. It follows, then, that if you identify with the ego, you must perceive yourself as guilty. Whenever you respond to your ego, you will experience guilt and you will fear punishment. The ego is quite literally a fearful thought.
62 However ridiculous the idea of attacking God may be to the sane mind, never forget that the ego is not sane. It represents a delusional system, and it speaks for it. Listening to the ego's voice means that you believe it is possible to attack God. You believe that a part of Him has been torn away by you. The classic picture of fear of retaliation from without then follows because the severity of the guilt is so acute that it must be projected. Although Freud was wrong about the basic conflict itself, he was very accurate in describing its effects.
63 Whatever you accept into your mind has reality for you. It is, however, only your acceptance of it that makes it real. If you enthrone the ego in it, the fact that you have accepted it or allowed it to enter makes it your reality. This is because the mind, as God created it, is capable of creating reality. We 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. Perverted thinking will always be attended with guilt because it is the belief in sin.
64 The ego does not perceive sin as a lack of love. It perceives sin as a positive act of assault. This is an interpretation which 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 guiltless mind cannot suffer. Being sane, it heals the body because it has been healed. The sane mind cannot conceive of illness because it cannot conceive of attacking anyone or anything.
65 We said before that illness is a form of magic. It might be better to say that it is a form of magical solution. The ego believes that by punishing itself it will mitigate the punishment of God. Yet even in this it is arrogant. It attributes to God a punishing intent, and then takes over this intent as its own prerogative. It tries to usurp all the functions of God as it perceives them because it recognizes that only total allegiance can be trusted.
66 The ego cannot oppose the laws of God any more than you can, but it can interpret them according to what it wants, just as you can. That is why the question, "What do you want?" must be answered. You are answering it every minute and every second, and each moment of decision is a judgment which is anything but ineffectual. Its effects will follow automatically until the decision is changed. This is repeated here because you have not learned it. But again, your decision can be unmade as well as made. Remember, though, that the alternatives are unalterable.
67 The Holy Spirit, like the ego, is a decision. Together they constitute all the alternatives which the mind can accept and obey. The ego and the Holy Spirit are the only choices open to you. God created one, and so you cannot eradicate it. You made the other, and so you can. Only what God creates is irreversible and unchangeable. What you have made can always be changed because when you do not think like God you are not really thinking at all. Delusional ideas are not real thoughts, although you can believe in them. But you are wrong. The function of thought comes from God and is in God. As part of His Thought, you cannot think apart from Him.
68 Irrational thought is a thought disorder. 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 thought disorder is attended by guilt at its inception and maintained by guilt in its continuance. Guilt is inescapable for those who believe they order their own thought and must therefore obey its orders. This makes them feel responsible for their mind errors, without recognizing that by accepting this responsibility they are really 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.
69 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 a thought disorder, and a remedy whose efficacy is beyond doubt, how can its symptoms remain? You have reason to question the validity of symptom cure, but no one believes that the symptoms can remain if the underlying cause is removed.