The motivation for change

In A Course in Miracles, Jesus oftentimes pleads with us to not condemn others. A few examples: “If you would know your prayers are answered, never doubt a Son of God. Do not question him and do not confound him” (T-9.II.4:1).  “I trust my brothers who are one with me” (W-pI.181.6:5; W-pI.rIV.201.1:1). However, each time we watch the world news, it gets rather hard to keep that up. Whether we’re aware of it or not, we all form an opinion about obviously dishonest politicians; about the next horrific killing of innocent people by terrorists. To stop judging such wrongs seems meek and weak, and certainly not an effectively solution to create a better world. So what does Jesus mean?

Jesus wants us to learn peace by teaching it. In “The lessons of Love” (Chapter 6), Jesus tells us about how motivation for learning in general works. “[…] Everyone identifies himself with his thought system, and every thought system centers on what you believe you are. […] All good teachers realize that only fundamental change will last, but they do not begin at that level. Strengthening motivation for change is their first and foremost goal. It is also their last and final one. Increasing motivation for change in the learner is all that a teacher need do to guarantee change [of mind].” (T-6.V.B.1:9) So how does Jesus motivate his students, in the face of the oftentimes depressing world news?

The key lies in the answer to the fundamental question: “What am I?” As long as you and I still believe we are a body in which we experience the world, our thought system is inevitably focused on bodies; or, more generally, on time, space, and perception. To believe I am a body is a sure sign I’ve chosen the ego’s thought system of sin, guilt and fear. These dynamics indeed seem to reign supreme in the world of bodies. The evening news constantly shows us that this world is a very fearful place, filled with people that are guilty of a wide range of sins that ought to be brought to justice. In short: as long as we keep chanting: “I am a body, I am a body”, we will not learn the lessons of love, since we won’t be motivated to believe Jesus when he asks us not to question or confound a brother.

A large part of A Course in Miracles, therefore, is devoted to making us realize that the right answer to the question “What am I?” is that you and I are pure spirit, the one Son of God, who seemingly fell asleep and is now dreaming a nightmarish dream of what it would be like to be separated from God. Recall, for example, lesson 139: “There is no conflict that does not entail the single, simple question, “What am I?” Yet who could ask this question except one who has refused to recognize himself? Only refusal to accept yourself could make the question seem to be sincere. The only thing that can be surely known by any living thing is what it is. And yet you doubt it. […] It is for this denial that you need Atonement. Your denial made no change in what you are. But you have split your mind into what knows and does not know the truth.” (W-pI.139-5.2) The lesson of Atonement is: “I am as God created me”, that is, an extension of Love, as pure spirit with solely the function of  extending that same Love, in Heaven as well as on this illusory earth. In this world, nothing lasts except genuine love. There is not a single soul who has not in one way or another experienced this truth, however vaguely.

The Holy Spirit is the Voice for Love that arose simultaneously in the mind when the Son of God seemed to fall asleep in the ego-dream. Jesus tries to motivate us to choose the voice of the Holy Spirit ever more often. Despite our perception, this voice will never advocate judgment.  In lesson 151 we read: “He will not tell you that your brother should be judged by what your eyes behold in him, nor what his body’s mouth says to your ears, nor what your fingers’ touch reports of him. He passes by such idle witnesses, which merely bear false witness to God’s Son. He recognizes only what God loves, and in the holy light of what He sees do all the ego’s dreams of what you are vanish before the splendor He beholds. Let Him be Judge of what you are, for He has certainty in which there is no doubt, because it rests on Certainty so great that doubt is meaningless before Its face. Christ cannot doubt Himself. The Voice for God can only honor Him, rejoicing in His perfect, everlasting sinlessness. Whom He has judged can only laugh at guilt, unwilling now to play with toys of sin; unheeding of the body’s witnesses before the rapture of Christ’s holy face. And thus He judges you. Accept His Word for what you are, for He bears witness to your beautiful creation, and the Mind Whose Thought created your reality. What can the body mean to Him Who knows the glory of the Father and the Son? What whispers of the ego can He hear? What could convince Him that your sins are real? Let Him be Judge as well of everything that seems to happen to you in this world. His lessons will enable you to bridge the gap between illusions and the truth.” (W-pI.151.7:2)

The next time we are tempted to judge politicians and terrorists (or our spouse or neighbor, our condemnation of which is really the same type of thought), we could realize that we are judging form. We have therefore erroneously answered the question “What am I?” with “I am a body”. In form, it’s no use denying that dreadful things are happening, which ought to brought to justice. But seen from the perspective of content, our perceptions are always wrong, for they are born of projection of guilt we refuse to see in ourselves. To find peace, we need remember that the right answer to the question “What am I?” is that you and I and everyone around us is the same innocent Son of God. Recall chapter 9, the correction of error: “He [any brother] is still right, because he is a Son of God. His ego is always wrong, no matter what it says or does. If you point out the errors of your brother’s ego you must be seeing through yours, because the Holy Spirit does not perceive his errors.” (T-9.III.2).

The real motivation for change is that as long as I judge others for what I perceive to be their sins (thereby feeding guilt), I am merely keeping myself in pain, since I project out the illusion of my own perceived sin. I could also calmly look at that with Jesus, and realize that nothing happened — “not a single note of Heaven’s song was missed” (T-26.V.5:4). What’s more, the Holy Spirit can turn each perceived ‘dark spot of sin’ into a lesson of forgiveness. It’s great practicing if you think about it. Next time you see a politician acting in a stupid way, or you see the havoc wreaked by terrorists, ask the Holy Spirit (or Jesus) for help in answering the question: “What am I?”

This is not to say that criminals should not be brought to justice, but that’s within the dream world of form. In content, they are but a part of the seemingly split mind of the Son of God. You and I and all politicians, criminals and terrorists are still holographic extensions of God’s Love, our perception to the contrary. Learn that all this judgmental perception need not be and that we “could see peace instead of this” (W-pI.34). “To find peace, teach peace to learn it.” (T-6.V.B) So Jesus motivates us to change our thinking: as I judge any brother, so I secretly judge my self. Condemning anyone around us is a sure way to keep pain inside alive, and no-one in his right mind wants pain. Thus Jesus concludes: “Teach only love, for that is what you are.” (T-6.I.13:1)

Also see my seven “guidelines for living in an illusory world” in “Miracles or Murder: a guide to concepts of A Course in Miracles“. This guidebook, endorsed by Gary and Cindy Renard, was published in March 2016 by Outskirts Press and is available at


2 thoughts on “The motivation for change

  1. Pingback: De motivatie voor verandering – Ik zoek innerlijke vrede .nl

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