"The learning of the world is built upon a concept of the self, adjusted to the world's reality."
"The building of a concept of self is what the learning of the world is for."
Quotes from T31,V - A Course in Miracles.
You might say, that the "cause" of all suffering, is the "act of identifying as a self" or the "idolising" of the concept of a self.
This concept is made by us and is an idol to take the place of our reality as a Son of God.
"What is a concept but a THOUGHT to which its maker GIVES A MEANING of HIS OWN? "
'Now must the Holy Spirit find a way to help you see this concept of the self must be UNDONE, if any PEACE OF MIND is to be given you."
What is a "concept"? The dictionary defines it as "an abstract idea". Therefore, we are making an abstract idea about ourselves as we journey through our lives and as we reach "maturity" we have perfected it.
It maybe helpful to contemplate this question: Where did I get these "abstract ideas" about myself? Think about all the ideas you hold about yourself. All these are beliefs. Beliefs are just thoughts. These thoughts, steming from beliefs were made by us as we "mature". We end up making a "concept of a self" by all these abstract ideas we hold about ourselves. We may not realise we idolise these ideas about ourselves, but we do.
Jesus says that they (these abstract ideas and beliefs we hold firmly about ourselves) are learned and that they are not natural.
Abstract ideas about ourselves move quickly into becoming tightly held beliefs. The courses lessons help undo these beliefs, undo these abstract ideas, undo these concepts that have built an idea of a separate self.
In my journey with the teachings of A Course in Miracles and allowing the Holy Spirit to undo them, I came to see clearly that the tightly held beliefs I had about myself, were the very things that kept me in hell. These beliefs actually made a 'self' that I defended and believed was "me".
The undoing of these concepts/beliefs took time and I willingly gave myself the rest of my life for this to happen. At times, there was a lack of ease and some distress, but I kept going no matter what. I saw the error that I thought, "what I was", was what my brother said I was. I had been listening to an ego judge me and so, instead, I turned to the Holy Spirit and Jesus and learnt directly from them, my true Self. I listened more to the Voice that Loves me and less to the ego.
This section of the course is one of my favourites. It speaks directly to the problem and the solution.
Below is the full paragraph from A Course in Miracles, Chapter 31, V - Self-Concept versus Self. I recommend you read this section of the text many times. It can be very helpful. Blessing of Love, Cate
(7)Concepts are learned. They are not natural. Apart from learning, they do not exist. They are not given, so they must be made. Not one of them is true (see, Not one concept is true) and many come from feverish imaginations, hot with hatred and distortions born of fear. What is a concept but a thought to which its maker gives a meaning of his own? Concepts maintain the world. But they can not be used to demonstrate the world is real. For all of them are made within the world, born in its shadow, growing in its ways and finally "maturing" in its thought. They are ideas of idols, painted with the brushes of the world, which cannot make a single picture representing truth.