The Safety Net

Within the dream we are dreaming, A Course in Miracles (ACIM) is clear that we have a safety net. We seldom see it that way as we feel trapped in a world of our making with no way out. Fear and guilt overwhelm us and we look to the words of the Course to elicit feelings of safety while completely misunderstanding where to find safety. The ego uses the reminders of the Truth from the Course so that we end up quoting them to ourselves and each other in an effort to feel good, prove we're right and extremely safe in a world of terror. This approach is an ego tick that negates the practice of true forgiveness.

When we're willing to recognize this world is not a happy place and we do not feel safe, our justifications with the ego get called into question during the practice of forgiveness. We find we're literally junkies who are addicted to excuses for what we're going with the ego; And since the ego can not allow forgiveness to reveal any ego trick, justification is a defense. Remember, a defense does what it says, ie, it defends (protects) and only what is weak uses defense due to the fear of lack or loss.

A reminder does what it says, ie, it reminds or points the way to something else in the mind. Reminders of the Truth from the Course point away from belief with the ego and towards (the meaning of) the Truth. This is a course on the practical application of forgiveness and the experience of the meaning of the Truth. It is not a course on faith and justification. The choice is yours in how you will use the Course.

A common example that most course students recognize is regard anger. Nowhere in the Course are we told we should not get angry. That would actually be unrealistic. We are simply told not to deny we're angry and to admit we are choosing to get angry. However, what we are told is not to justify the anger. Do not make excuses for why you are angry. It's never for the "justification" reasons you think.

Taking this basic concept, let's look into the ego trick of justification as a defense to keep the ego safe which we mistakenly believe is our safety. Once you understand the trick, it can be applied to undoing anything with the ego. In this article, we're going to expose the trick using the reminders of the Truth from the Course as those are also subject to justification.

Belief, Justification, Assurance and Defense

What makes it so difficult to recognize the ego is using justification with reminders of the Truth is because they seem so wonderful and that we want to believe them. They sound like the Holy Spirit is telling us they are true when it's really the ego tricking us into believing they are true. It brings down to the difference between a defense of the ego and a reminder from the Holy Spirit and the choice you make. There is a huge difference in the mind.

First, let's look at few basic concepts to further the discussion:


Choosing to believe in an unreal ego idea (thought) makes it appear real and so you only have to invest belief with the unreal to prove you are right. Continued belief (judgment) keeps the idea with you.


Justification means, "to show, prove or declare something is right." It is the reasoning used by the ego for believing the unreal idea.


Since all belief and justification is in the mind, defense is in the mind and it means, "an attempt to justify (prove correct) or to do something in favor of an action." The only action you can take in the mind is decision making. Choosing to justify a ego belief makes a defense. It protects the unreal belief as you're in total agreement with the ego and denial of the Truth.

Let's be really clear: The defense (belief plus justification) does not make what you are trying to believe true. It makes the belief (unreal) appear real. The meaning is still what you've chosen with the ego even when used to justify a reminder of the Truth.


Assurance means, "to dispel doubts or a promise." There are two types of assurances: God or ego. The only guarantees the ego provides is what you're already experiencing and is clearly not working. Reminders of the Truth (God) point directly to the assurance (promise) of what is real. You choose which one sounds better and if it is the reminder, then you've got to get out of the justification trick.

The Separation Never Happened

We would not believe we're in this world unless we've already bought into the idea that we've separated from God. "The separation never happened" is the basic Truth reminder as part of the Atonement in the Course. It does, however, get used by the ego as a defense to negate the practice of forgiveness.

Justification of the reminder is the ego defense strategy. If we rephrase "the separation never happened" to the ego version, the trick of justification begins to expose itself: "Because the separation never happened, as the Course says, you are justified and correct to believe it did not happen." Honently looking reveal that we just explained why our belief that "the separation never happened" is correct using our "because" excuse (justification) with the ego. Again, this is not a Course on faith or justification as that further the ego and hides what the Truth reminder is pointing towards (which in this case is part of the Atonement, the solution). One mistaken belief leads to the next. Not far behind are the justifications as to "why" you are safe and still at home with God (other Truth reminders) in this world.

The Safety Net

Remember, this is a course in the obvious. The safety net can not be found in belief which defends the ego. It is only in those reminders of the Truth in the Course. Those do not require belief. Truth is not an idea. It's reality.

All reminders of the Truth, which are so lovingly pointed out to us in the Course, are there to do exactly what a reminder does: Remind us that we have reality (Truth) to catch us if we make a different choice. This does not mean to choose to "bliss out" on these assurances through ego belief. Rather, it means to consider them the explanations for why it is safe to practice forgiveness and obtain the experience of the Truth (which needs no defense).

Consider the rest of the Course another set of loving explanations for what you are choosing to give up (forgive). The light of Love shines brightly enough for the safety net to be obvious to anyone willing to look at their ego and forgive.


To the ego, defenselessness is seen as weakness and yet to see the safety net, you will need to stop defending the ego. The justification junkies we all are is merely a mind addiction from wanting to be right instead of happy. However, now you know that justification of belief merely defends the ego; And now you have the trick exposed to apply to anything in your life.

Defenselessness (not defending the ego) is true strength because it relies on the Father where the Truth reminders point to remembrance of Him. To head in that direction in the mind, you must first accept that you've already chosen with the ego and will continue to do so as you learn forgiveness. You are going to get upset and angry. Do not defend (justify) that anger. Also, accept that you've been trying to believe your way to the Truth instead of practicing forgiveness of the beliefs (judgments) which leads directly to where the reminders point. Do not defend (justify) the trick even if you feel guilty or angry (do not justify them). Every time you accept responsibility for anything as being your choice, even when you've chosen to believe with the ego, you have the ability to choose differently because you are not justifying it which is protecting the ego.

What you are believing with the ego is what you are forgiving. The Father has provided the safety net but it's your decision to use it or not. The Truth reminders point where to look in the mind for the safety net and how to forgive. Forgiveness leads directly to the meaning in the Course that safety is in defenselessness. Forcing faith merely reinforces the ego. That's not true bliss and not the safety net.

How the Internet Affects Traditional Media

Traditional Publishing, REST IN PEACE

This is the headline that greets you when you land on a web page identified as a memorial to commemorate the decline of Traditional Media. A photograph of a man who seems to be in distress and who's possibly just lost his job companies this headline. If this does not paint a bleak picture, go on to read the 548 headlines that all sing to the same tune as the following:

  • Bad Times: NYT Says Revenue Fell 13.9% Last Month –
  • Men's monthly magazine Arena to cease printing after 22 years –
  • Cosmopolitan UK publisher to cut 100 jobs –

There's even a website entitled Newspaper Death Watch that chronicles all the publishing and newspaper houses that close down. All rather morbid would not you say?

The Deadly Spell

Let's take a quick look at Traditional Media and how the Internet cast it's deadly spell.

Back in the old days, we're talking 500 years ago; Gutenberg revolutionized the printing industry by inventing the printing press. This meant bibles could be produced at a fraction the time it used to. This also mean more copies in a shorter time and the Word of God got further reach in a shorter time. Newspaper houses and Magazine publishers still use a printing press today (well thank you captain obvious) .

Much later, shortly after the advent of electricity, the world was blessed with another few media breakthroughs, rarely radio then a few years later, television. Marketers and Advertising agencies had it all figured out as they devised Integrated Marketing Campaigns with astronomical budgets. Ah, the good old days. Well, much to the dismay of many of these agencies, this media landscape started to change.

Behold! Enter The WWW

At first a website was seen as a cute way to put your company brochure online and on top of that the disastrous dot bomb era created skepticism that labeled the Internet as a bad media and business channel.

Fortunately, since then the Internet has matured. Now, in countries where broadband has achieved high levels of household penetration, the web has become the consumer medium of choice.

Why? Because people can do research, shop online, watch videos and connect with friends all in the comfort of their own homes. People can choose what media they want to consume, where and when they choose too, especially with mobile connectivity. Marketers can no longer dictate what advertising messages people get subjected too.

Social Media, The New Black

Then there is the phenomenon of Social Media. It changed the media landscape forever. Social Media websites have allowed consumers to connect with friends, family, colleges and peers in ways that were never imaginable a few decades ago.

Technology has empowered the consumer to become the prosumer. Prosumers are consumers who produce content like videos, photos and blogs that can be instantly distributed and shared among millions of people via social media platforms. This is also known as user-generated content or UCG.

Here is an interesting bit of trivia about the reach of Traditional Media vs. The Internet and Social Media.

Years it took to reach a market audience of 50 Million:

  • Radio – 38 Years
  • TV – 13 Years
  • The Internet – 4 Years
  • The iPod – 3 Years
  • Facebook – 2 Years

So How Does The Internet Affect Traditional Media?

The Internet has reduced the need for traditional media because it enabled consumers to join social communities within their neighbors, across their countries and internationally. It has empowered them to converse at their leisure, 24/7, with friends.

Considering all that's been said, the demise of Traditional Media can seriously be attributed to the following factors:

  1. Decline in readership: The distribution of free news and information on the web has led to the decline in readership for traditional publications.
  2. Decline in revenues: The decline in readership advertisers advertisers will spend their money elsewhere and this leads to a decline in ad revenue.
  3. Real-time updates: Traditional Media can not compete with immediately updated user-generated content that's immediately available for the world to see.
  4. The rise of UGC websites: People have the freedom of unlimited real time commentary on content while Traditional Media is static and is a one-way communication tool.
  5. Online Audio / Video channels: People can choose what they want to watch and listen, when they want to and where without advertising interrupting their experience.

Simply put. The Internet has revolutionized the way things get done today. It has revolutionized the way we do business, the way we communicate and has broken down the walls of Traditional Media.

A recent example is the decision by Unilever UK to fire Lowe , their Ad agency of 15 years, in favor of crowdsourcing – which means it has thrown the brand creative pitch open to agencies and basically any person who can think of an idea, worldwide. This is done on the Internet of course.

Traditional Media will still be around for a while, but the Internet is getting more and more integrated into our daily lives.

Think about this. You could do without the Mail & Guardian or the MensHealth Mag for quite some time, sometimes live quite happily without it? But you just dare cut that ADSL connection …

An Introduction To Teacher Education

A teacher's job is a highly respected and specialized field, be it teaching kindergarten, grade school, high school, college, or post-graduate courses. Teachers are necessary in all fields of education, and in order to be teachers themselves, they need to be educated by experts in their desired fields.

Teacher education is a diverse field, covering numerous subjects and various methods of teaching. Teaching in any field is demanding and is a challenging task. Beyond regular education, some people choose to follow specialized paths, such as early childhood education or special education. These teachers need extra educational background in order to be certified to deal with their specific students. These teachers need to have intense patience and be friendly with toddlers. Innovative play way methods need to be adopted to ensure continuing interest among children.

Another specialized educational field is Montessori teaching. This style of teaching appears to be simple, but in reality, it is highly demanding. As this is a specific style of teaching, aimed at gifted or advanced students, with a degree of flexibility and customization not found in traditional curriculums, teachers will need to learn the best ways to work within the Montessori structure, and apply their educational background to This style of teaching.

Elementary or primary school is the backbone for all people's education. Thus, these teachers have to be able to convey basic principles, such as reading, spelling, writing and math, as well as cover basic science, social studies, and sometimes foreign language courses. Of course, all of this has to be taught in an age-appropriate fashion. Elementary teacher education focuses on methods that work best for young students.

High school teachers face challenges elementary school teachers usually do not. Because they teach teenagers who are dealing with the issues of adolescence and can often "act out," teachers need to learn how to engage and motivate this difficult age group. Subjects are taught in greater depth in high school, as well, so the teacher will need more specific knowledge. They also sometimes have to be ready to compensate for any gaps in elementary education, particularly deprivations in the basics – reading, writing and math.

Ultimately, the goal of teacher education is to provide future teachers – or teachers looking to further develop their teaching ability – with the skills that they need to convey essential information to their students. The training they will require depends on many factors, including the age group, subjects, and type of school that they will be teaching in.

Evaluating Credit Card Offers: Essential Terms You Must Understand

Credit card offers, they're everywhere! They appear in your mailbox. They pop up while you're surfing the Internet. They're in slick brochures next to the cash register or gas pump. They're in full-page ads in the Sunday papers.

If you need a new credit card, how do you choose? You should evaluate each offer carefully, and to do that you must understand these essential terms.

Annual Percentage Rate (APR) :

The interest rate charged on your account balance. (But see "Balance Calculation Methods," because the rules for computing interest from your balance and your APR can vary.) Your statement will typically show the APR and a monthly and / or daily rate based on the APR that's actually used to calculate your Monthly interest. There may be several APRs applicable to different portions of your balance, for example an introductory rate, a regular purchase rate, and a regular cash advance rate.

A fixed APR is set by the credit card company, which can generally change it with as little as 15 days advance notice, especially if you run afoul of any of the "gotchas" in the terms. These "gotchas" are often very consumer-unfriendly. For example, many companies these days reserve the right to raise your rate if you've been late on a payment to another, unrelated company.

A variable APR is tied to some widely used economic index, such as the Prime Rate. It may be stated as "prime + x%, currently y%," for example "prime + 7%, currently 13.5%." This means that when the Prime Rate is 6.5%, your APR is 13.5%. When the Prime Rate goes up or down, so does your APR. But beware, because some of the same "gotchas" apply to variable APRs as to fixed APRs. Read the fine print. It may state that if you're late with one payment, your APR will no longer be variable but will rise to an exorbitant fixed rate, usually over 20%.

The penalty APR is the rate to which your APR will immediately be raised when you violate any of the "gotchas" in the terms. This rate is usually at least 50% higher than the regular APR. Again, be sure to read the fine print to see what situations will trigger the penalty APR. You'll often see these: failure to pay this or any other account on time, exceeding your credit limit on this or any other account, excessive credit balances on your accounts in aggregate.

Balance Calculation Methods:

These are important to understand, because your APR is only part of the story when it comes to calculating the interest you'll be charged each month. The other part is how the balance is calculated to which the APR is applied. In any case the balance is multiplied by the daily or monthly interest rate. But the balance calculation is not as straightforward as you might think.

1. Two-Cycle Balance. This is the worst method from a consumer's point of view because it can lead to the highest interest calculations. Unfortunately, it's also becoming the most widely used method. To calculate the balance, add together the average daily balances for the current billing period (sometimes even including new charges) and the previous period. Here's why this is so unfriendly to you. Say you have run a balance for a few months and finally pay it from $ 200 down to zero at the end of May. You think it's safe to use the card in June for a new $ 100 purchase, and if you pay the $ 100 by the end of the June grace period, you will not owe any interest on it. But you're wrong. Since your average daily balance in May was not zero (say it was $ 120), and since you used the card in June, your interest will be calculated on May's average balance again, so even if you pay the whole June purchase in June, you Will still owe additional interest. In other words, you must wait two months, allow the account to cycle once with a zero balance, before it's safe to use it again – "safe" in the sense that you will not incur extra interest if you pay the balance in full By the end of the grace period.

2. Average Daily Balance. This was once the most common calculation method and is still popular. Add the daily balance for each day in the billing cycle, then divide by the number of days in the cycle. Depending on the terms, this may or may not include new charges.

3. Adjusted Balance. This is the best method from a consumer's point of view, but it's rapidly going the way of the dodo. Take the balance at the beginning of the billing cycle, then subtract any payments or other credits recorded during the cycle. Do not include new charges during the cycle. For example, if your beginning balance was $ 1200, and you paid $ 400 during the cycle, the balance to which your monthly rate will be applied is $ 800, regardless of any new charges.

Balance Transfer:

This means that you're charging card X to pay off (all or part of) the balance on card Y. So the balance is, in effect, transferred from card Y to card X. Why would you want to do this? Usually to take advantage of an introductory low interest rate when applying for a new card. Look closely at the terms. Sometimes these introductory rates last only a few months. The best ones are for the life of the balance. You will often have to pay a transaction fee equal to 3% of the balance transferred. Sometimes these fees are capped at $ 75 or so. Be sure to see whether or not the transaction fee excepts what you'll save in interest. If so, do not do it. Sometimes the credit card company will agree to waive the fee, especially on a new account. Do not be afraid to ask.

Cash Advance:

A cash loan charged immediately to your credit card account. Usually there is no grace period for paying off a cash advance, which means you'll be charged interest starting from the day of the loan, even if you pay it in full by the end of the billing cycle. Also this type of charge may have a higher APR than purchases or balance transfers. Check your terms. Note that some kinds of transactions, like buying casino chips or lottery tickets, may be valued as cash advances. This can also apply to writing a purchase check to your own bank account. Be sure to read the fine print.

Credit Limit:

The upper limit on your account balance. Exceeding it may result in penalties. Be very careful if your balance is close to the limit ("maxed out"), because you can exceed it without charging anything new if you fail to pay enough. Remember that just because the company has approved you for a certain limit does not mean you can afford to take on that much debt.

Disclosure Chart:

An important portion of the Terms and Conditions statement. It's a little bit like the Nutrition Statement on a food package because the law dictates what has to be listed here. If you can not stand to read all the fine print, be sure that you read this part.

  1. Fixed APR or APRs after any introductory rate (s) have expired
  2. Rule (s) for calculating variable APR (s) if applicable
  3. Grace period
  4. Annual fee if applicable
  5. Minimum per-cycle finance charge
  6. Additional fees if applicable, such as cash advance fees
  7. Balance calculation method
  8. Late payment and delinquency fees
  9. Over limit fees

Grace Period:

The time, calculated from the account cycle date, during which you can pay the balance in full without having any interest charged. This usually applies only to purchases, and only if you've paid the previous month's balance in full and on time. (Sometimes even that's not enough. See "Two-Cycle Balance" calculation method for an additional "gotcha.")


This can be very misleading. It does not mean the company is guaranteeing to issue you the card in the offer. It just means that they chose you to receive this offer based on some general screening of your credit report. They always reserve the right to deny or alter the offer based on a more detailed examination of your records.