An Introduction to Chapter 4 “The Illusions of the Ego”

Some thoughts on Chapter 4 Introduction and Section I

This chapter starts us off by giving some general information concerning our own egos, as well as some basics on the relationship between ego and spirit. The first two sentences allude to how we see our brothers. Usually our brothers ask us to interact with them in some way in the realm of form. “…Go with a brother twice as far as he asks” suggests that we ‘see’ our brothers from the point of view of innocence prior to all form so that we can see that reflected back to us. “Setting him back on his journey” would be to only see them as form, denying them their spiritual aspect and condemning them as only egos. While we do make ego images of everyone and everything we interact with, can we stop in silence for a bit and experience our brothers and our world as something not confined to that image that we have made?

If for a second, in our silence, we can ‘see’ someone as coming from that silence, then we can give a glimpse of mutual progress and allow inspiration to be experienced through our form. Or if as part of our exploration, we confine ourselves and everyone to their egos, we will experience that loving feedback mechanism we know label as fear.

Confining yourself to your ego and self-made image is to ‘crucify’ yourself. And as we are told, “Such repetitions are endless until they are voluntarily given up.” But through ACIM and many other teachers we are given the message that we can go beyond the cross, but only if we decide that is what we truly want.

All change towards the remembrance of spirit brings up fear, as the ego tells us that only by reinforcing, solidifying and strengthening our self image can we finally achieve peace. Fear comes up as that feedback mechanism because we know on some level that the ego’s statement is not true. ACIM further tells us in Section I that while ego can never ‘know’ spirit, ego can learn and can be taught. This teaching of ego is essentially what we are doing as we read ACIM and start to realize that we do have a choice as to how we see our ‘selves,’ our brothers and our world. As we realize this choice and practice it through silence and forgiveness, we can start to experience our joy and innocence fill and shine through our form.

ACIM points out that our goal is “relinquishment, not the destruction, of the ego to the light of spirit.” Demanding the destruction of the ego as our way to salvation is just another ego ruse to misguide us. ACIM instructs us to observe how we manifested the ego in thought and if the form of the body, and then eventually to make a choice for our true essence of innocence and joy.

“Your worth is not established by teaching or learning. Your worth is established by God.” While you and I may continuously debate our worth in our thoughts, none of our conclusions are true. The experience of joy and love will point the way to our true worth which was established long before we ever had a single thought about it. As we have said before, to try to convince yourself that you are worthy is only hiding or temporarily covering the opposite thought of how worthless, for whatever reason, we think we are.

“I can be entrusted with your body and your ego only because this enables you not to be concerned with them,” is not a statement saying that we need to give our thoughts to some physical, omnipotent being to be healed. It is a statement asking us to give what we perceive we have ‘made,’ whether our own egos or the entire world, to a process of rest and silence, and suspension of judgement. Through this process of forgiveness, we may experience a reinterpretation of what we have made pointing towards our true selves. Even the word ‘God,’ as used in ACIM, is just a pointer to the truly unnameable.

ACIM text Chapter 4, Introduction, paragraph 1, sentence 1
ACIM text Chapter 4, Introduction, paragraph 1, sentence 2
ACIM text Chapter 4, Introduction, paragraph 3, sentence 6
ACIM text Chapter 4, Section I, paragraph 3, sentence 2
ACIM text Chapter 4, Section 1, paragraph 7, sentence 1 and 2

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