When Feeling Guilty, Anxious, Sad, Depressed, Not Joyous

“When you feel guilty, remember that the ego has indeed violated the laws of God, but you have not. Leave the ‘sins’ of the ego to me. That is what Atonement is for. (T63)”

Affirmation: “When you feel guilty, leave the ‘sins’ of the ego to Jesus.”


1 – Guilty

A reassuring passage, we are here reminded that our true reality is innocence. The ego is not our true reality. It is only a part of our belief about ourselves, a part that Atonement can and does heal.

2 – Anger and Attack

Guilt is frequently a component of anger and attack, two ideas that the Course says have no justification. It is true that immediately after an outburst, we are likely to feel better, but this does not last. Feeling better happens immediately because, as Kenneth Wapnick says in a recorded presentation, we think that we have gotten rid of the guilt. Have we? No. We have only vented. Soon the guilt at the outburst will overtake us again. Then the time has come for an apology to the one we have wronged.

3 – Atonement

So we do not have to feel guilty. There is a way out. Remember that the ego is a false sense of self. The real Self has been untouched by our guilt, and when we accept Atonement, we will know peace.

4 – Anxious

“When you are anxious, realize that anxiety comes from the capriciousness of the ego, and know this need not be. You can be as vigilant against the ego’s dictates as for them. (T63)”

Anxiety is a form of fear, of course. And fear and love are the primary emotions. The phrase, “capriciousness of the ego,” can be a bit difficult, but essentially it is saying that our egos are wily, and we cannot trust where they lead.

5 – Pills

Just as with sadness, anxiety is an emotion that most of us experience–some of us for long periods of time. Pills are not recommended long-term by physicians. So in this sense our medical establishment is in line with Jesus’s explanation that pills are a form of magic that work because we believe in them. Jesus implies that we would be better off without pills, if doing without would not raise our level of fear.

6 – Vigilance

Vigilance against the ego’s dictates is a call to action, mental action. We do not have to fall for the nefarious dictates of the ego, and we would do well to consider what some of those really are. Certainly the ego is in control when we are anxious. We need to consider whether or not this is really what we want. We need to realize that other people and their attitudes toward us are not the essential point. Our relationship to God is primary, and when we allow Him the upper hand, our anxiety about the opinions of others declines.

7 – Sad

“When you are sad, know this need not be. Depression comes from a sense of being deprived of something you want and do not have. Remember that you are deprived of nothing except by your own decisions, and then decide otherwise. (T63)”

This passage is part of a group in which Jesus negates negative emotions. He makes clear at this point that we make our own decisions, and we can change conditions that hurt. In particular, in this passage he indicates that sadness can be overcome, even when it is depression.

8 – Form of Magical Solution

Elsewhere Jesus notes that pills are a form of magic, but that they may be necessary if we are already fearful. They are an intermediate step that will assist us, still caught in illusions, to overcome what is wrong simply because we believe that it will work for us. Certainly medication for depression would seem to fall in this category.

9 – Depression

Note the explanation of why depression happens: a sense of being deprived of something you want and do not have. The vast majority of us can relate to this, sometimes on a daily basis–and certainly over our lifetime. It is a great relief to know that we have actually chosen these instances of deprivation. We are trying to learn something. The fact that we are learning through pain is not good, because elsewhere Jesus says that it is not necessary to learn through pain. Eckhart Tolle (The Power of Now) indicates much that supports A Course in Miracles, but his pathway toward Awakening was in fact through tremendous anxiety and depression. A later book by Tolle, A New Earth, makes this point even clearer by his explanation of the “pain body.” Jesus, though, would not have us take this route if we can follow him to the uttermost that he promises.

10 – Not Joyous

“When your mood tells you that you have chosen wrongly, and this is so whenever you are not joyous, then know this need not be. (T63)”

Our mood falls when we try to make decisions without first asking for guidance. Then we get that sinking feeling that we have made the wrong decision. That sinking feeling is frequently correct.

11 – Guidance

Of course, we cannot practically ask for guidance at every turn, but Jesus says elsewhere that if we set the proper tone for the day, asking for guidance at its beginning, and then again at the best opportunities, we will be well on our way to good days always. He says that the Course is always practical, and asking for guidance in every moment would not be practical.

12 – Holy Spirit

All of us want to be joyous. Staying close to the Holy Spirit is the secret to just that.


Dear Father/Mother,

I am not joyous when I try to live by my own lights, leaving out the Holy Spirit. Let me turn to Him for guidance.

I can be joyous. Let me accept this as a lodestone. And I thank you for letting me know that joy is my right as a child of God.

May I turn around all these negative states of thinking and feeling today, right now. May I focus on positivity, not negativity, knowing that when I focus on positivity, I bring all things to myself that are good. May Jesus’s warnings be taken to heart. And may this day go well.

Thank You.


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