Chapter 4: Illusions of the Ego
In this chapter, the link between Buddhist philosophy and ACIM starts to become clear with the increasing clarity of the role of the ego. One central concept is that you choose your reality, moment by moment, when you choose to either think with the ego or chose to think like God (right-mindedness).
The only way to God is to abandon the ego, and in Chapter 4, Jesus points out that only someone already with God can help (meaning himself.) In the ego’s thoughts, our worth is determined by what we do and we must earn love. In God’s thoughts, our worth is established by God and we are perfect, whole, and complete as we are. We create like God when we love, for love is what we are.
Contrast that with the ego, which sees what we do, or have, as more important than being love.
Chapter 4 notes that we not only create an ego for ourselves (and one that changes constantly) but also an ego (again, changeable) for everyone else. The ego we make for the other person is our idea of who they are. God, or Jesus, would instead see the other as also made by God and whole, perfect and complete. Our ego sees the other person as separate from God and just as separate from ourselves. Very likely, we see this person as somehow flawed; just as we see ourselves as flawed.
The Kingdom of Heaven is presented as being within you while the go sees it as a place or state. To be in Heaven you have to make the choice to live there, which means leaving the ego behind and thinking as God thinks.
Instead the ego thinks with a completely different thought system and sees the concept of Oneness as an enemy. To quote:
“You who identify with your ego cannot believe God loves you. You do not love what you made (the ego)and it does not love you. Being made out of the denial of the Father the ego has no allegiance to you, its maker. You cannot conceive of the real relationship that exists between God and His creations because of your hatred for the self you made.”
The ego is incapable of understanding love and must be left behind by choosing love, in order to become one with God (the Atonement.)
Listen to the show replay here: http://traffic.libsyn.com/undotheego/CEE_ACIM_Chapter_4.mp3