A Course in Miracles: What is the Authority Problem?

The authority problem is related to judgment. When we judge another, it is because we believe that judging is our right and that judgment has value. This belief reflects an even deeper belief – that we are the author of self and world, that we are in charge of Creation.

This belief arises in – and because of – the context of separation. Separation produces an inevitable conflict between us and God, a mighty struggle to decide who has ultimate authority over our living and thinking. The authority problem does not deny God, it merely opposes God. Who is the boss – us or God?

The very question presumes separation.

In the world, in these bodies, we presume an authority that belongs to God, and because we are not God, we cannot help but wield that power in ways that hurt us and our brothers and sisters. Acceptance and application of this belief arises from the ego, which always seeks to maintain its existence by reinforcing separation. Ego argues that we are in control or should be. Ego argues that happiness is causes by what is external, and that it is up to us to manipulate the external in order to maximize our happiness (inevitably at the expense of others).

This belief is a distortion of truth and causes all fear and guilt, and thus all suffering.

The authority problem always leads to projection. It always doubles down on suffering. The solution to the problem is to practice justice, which always emphasizes mercy because mercy is what God offers us in Creation.

We are called to both recognize and accept that our actual identity is not separate from God or Creation, regardless of what label we place on it. This requires we no longer buy the ego’s lies about control and power, and instead surrender in order to more faithfully and accurately perceive our fundamental unity with all life, which is reality.

We cannot do this unaided. It is the Holy Spirit who teaches us how to remember the mercy of God and how to enact that in the dream of separation, in order to release all of us from pain. On that view, the “authority” is the Holy Spirit, Who speaks for God, and allows us to remember the peace that naturally arises when we no longer invest in or practice conflict.


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