Setting Aside Little Gods: ACIM Lesson 31

I am not the victim of the world I see.

Lesson 31 of A Course in Miracles is a declaration of freedom and spiritual autonomy. We are not captives of lived experience but rather creators. We are not victims because our invulnerability is the absence of attack both internally and externally.

Life is peace and happiness. God is in our mind as peace and happiness. And so we are peace and happiness.

A Course in Miracles is the means by which we remember this in the very context we made to forget it.

Thus, we will probably do this lesson and still retain some degree of connection to the body and the self that appears to reside in it. The world will continue to appear as a cause with many effects, many of which adhere to us, some of which make us feel victimized.

Yet if we do the lesson willingly, that connection will be shaken and then replaced – even if dimly – by our actual identity in truth.

A hint of this lies in the insight that in our feedom, “lies the freedom of the world” (W-pI.31.4:3).

It is an illusion that we are separate from the world. In fact, the world and the body are the same illusion. The body’s eyes (and all its senses, really) reinforce this illusion but vision corrects it. Vision shows us what is real and what is unreal, and in doing so restores to us our actual identity as creators in Creation.

The circle of creation has no end. Its starting and its ending are the same. But in itself it holds the universe of all creation, without beginning and without an end.


Lesson 31 reflects the reversal of traditional conceptions of cause-and-effect. It is a reversal of our confused thought process, which inverts creation and thus does not see creation – let alone create – at all. We are cause and the world is our effect; we are cause and happiness is our effect.

It is tempting to conflate this truth with the body and the world. To say, for example, that “I” created that cardinal in that snow-covered lilac bush. In fact, what “I” created is joy – the cardinal in the snow-covered lilac bush is just an image onto which I project joy’s cause.

What happens to joy when I no longer project its cause? What happens to joy when I no longer force it to be conditional on “right” and “external” circumstances?

The healing to which A Course in Miracles directs us may or may not have effects in the dream we call body, self and world. That is neither its function nor its purpose. It’s not about the cardinal in the lilac at all.

But healing will inevitably have effects in our mind which is where Creation is. That this fact is still confusing or idealistic is okay; we are not asked to be ACIM experts but rather willing and open-minded beginners. Accepting – leaning into – the posture of a beginner humbles us because we remain invested in and attached to the ego’s emphasis on specialness-through-separation. We want to be experts. At a minimum, we want to have our spiritual shit more together than so-and-so.

Note: we all have a so-and-so and we are all somebody’s so-and-so.

But there is – because there is always – another way.

Humility brings peace because it does not claim that you must rule the universe, nor judge all things as you would have them be. All little gods it gladly lays aside, not in resentment, but in honesty and recognition that they do not serve.


Can you see the little gods? Can you hear them? They are the ego’s means of persuading you that you are separate from creation, a detached witness and observer.

Lesson 31 is when we begin at last to set aside those “little gods” and their bland lies in favor of the grandeur that is Love and the peace that is Creation.

Are we taking baby steps? Yes.

Will we always? No.

And that itself is cause for joy.

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  1. Before I started the course, I thought I was farther along than most – endeavoring to live in peace and with love toward others. Ten plus years later, I believe I am only just starting, and have only just scratched the surface of the necessary forgiveness work. I’m glad this is a “journey without distance” or I’d never get home. LOL.

    Thanks Sean. As always.

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