The body is the ego’s idol; the belief in sin made flesh and then projected outward. This produces what seems to be a wall of flesh around the mind, keeping it prisoner in a tiny spot of space and time, beholden unto death and given but an instant in which to sigh and grieve and die in honor of its master. And this unholy instant seems to be life; an instant of despair, a tiny island of dry sand, bereft of water and set uncertainly upon oblivion. Here does the Son of God stop briefly by to offer his devotion to death’s idols, and then pass on. And here he is more dead than living. Yet it is also here he makes his choice again between idolatry and love.

Does not a world that seems quite real arise in dreams? Yet think what this world is. It is clearly not the world you saw before you slept. Rather, it is a distortion of the world, planned solely around what you would have preferred. Here, you are "free" to make over whatever seemed to attack you and change it into a tribute to your ego, which was outraged by the "attack." This would not be your wish unless you saw yourself as one with the ego, which always looks upon itself and therefore on you as under attack and highly vulnerable to it.

Dreams are chaotic because they are governed by your conflicting wishes, and therefore they have no concern with what is true. They are the best example you could have of how perception can be utilized to substitute illusions for truth. You do not take them seriously on awaking because the fact that reality is so outrageously violated in them becomes apparent. Yet they are a way of looking at the world and changing it to suit the ego better. They provide striking examples both of the ego’s inability to tolerate reality and your willingness to change reality on its behalf.

The ego seeks to "resolve" its problems, not at their source, but where they were not made. And thus it seeks to guarantee there will be no solution.

The study of the ego is not the study of the mind. In fact, the ego enjoys the study of itself and thoroughly approves the undertakings of students who would analyze it, approving its importance. Yet they but study form with meaningless content. For their teacher is senseless, though careful to conceal this fact behind a lot of words which sound impressive but which lack any consistent sense when they are put together.

Within this kingdom the ego rules, and cruelly. And to defend this little speck of dust, it bids you fight against the universe. This fragment of your mind is such a tiny part of it that, could you but appreciate the whole, you would see instantly that it is like the smallest sunbeam to the sun or like the faintest ripple on the surface of the ocean. In its amazing arrogance, this tiny sunbeam has decided it is the sun; this almost imperceptible ripple hails itself as the ocean. Think how alone and frightened is this little thought, this infinitesimal illusion, holding itself apart against the universe. The sun becomes the sunbeam’s "enemy" which would devour it, and the ocean terrifies the little ripple and wants to swallow it.

Yet neither sun nor ocean is even aware of all this strange and meaningless activity. They merely continue, unaware that they are feared and hated by a tiny segment of themselves. Even that segment is not lost to them, for it could not survive apart from them. And what it thinks it is in no way changes its total dependence on them for its being. Its whole existence still remains in them. Without the sun the sunbeam would be gone; the ripple without the ocean is inconceivable.