A Course in Miracles

Chapter 21 - The Inner Picture

Fear To Look Within

The Holy Spirit will never teach you that you are sinful; errors He will correct, but this makes no one fearful. You are indeed afraid to look within, and see the sin you think is there. This you would not be fearful to admit. Fear in association with sin the ego deems quite appropriate, and smiles approvingly.

  • It has no fear to let you feel ashamed.
  • It doubts not your belief and faith in sin.

Its temples do not shake because of this. Your faith that sin is there but witnesses to your desire that it be there to see. This merely seems to be the source of fear.

Remember that the ego is not alone. Its rule is tempered, and its unknown “enemy,” Whom it cannot even see, it fears. Loudly the ego tells you not to look inward, for if you do your eyes will light on sin, and God will strike you blind. This you believe, and so you do not look. Yet this is not the ego’s hidden fear, nor yours who serve it. Loudly indeed the ego claims it is; too loudly and too often, for underneath this constant shout and frantic proclamation, the ego is not certain it is so. Beneath your fear to look within, because of sin, is yet another fear, and one which makes the ego tremble.

What if you looked within and saw no sin?

This “fearful” question is one the ego never asks. And you who ask it now, are threatening the ego’s whole defensive system too seriously for it to bother to pretend it is your friend. Those who have joined their brothers have detached themselves from their belief that their identity lies in the ego. A holy relationship is one in which you join with what is part of you in truth. And your belief in sin has been already shaken, nor are you now entirely unwilling to look within and see it not.

Your liberation still is only partial; still limited and incomplete, yet born within you. Not wholly mad, you have been willing to look on much of your insanity, and recognize its madness. Your faith is moving inward, past insanity and on to reason. And what your reason tells you now, the ego would not hear. The Holy Spirit’s purpose was accepted by the part of your mind the ego knows not of. No more did you. And yet this part, with which you now identify, is not afraid to look upon itself. It knows no sin. How, otherwise, could it have been willing to see the Holy Spirit’s purpose as its own?

This part has seen your brother and recognized him perfectly since time began. And it desired nothing but to join with him and to be free again, as once it was. It has been waiting for the birth of freedom; the acceptance of release to come to you. And now you recognize that it was not the ego that joined the Holy Spirit’s purpose, and so there must be something else. Think not that this is madness. For this your reason tells you, and it follows perfectly from what you have already learned.

There is no inconsistency in what the Holy Spirit teaches. This is the reasoning of the sane. You have perceived the ego’s madness and not been made afraid, because you did not choose to share in it. At times it still deceives you. Yet in your saner moments, its ranting strikes no terror in your hearts. For you have realized that all the gifts it would withdraw from you, in rage at your “presumptuous” wish to look within, you do not want. A few remaining trinkets still seem to shine and catch your eye. Yet you would not “sell” Heaven to have them.

And now the ego is afraid. Yet what it hears in terror, the other part (of your mind) hears as the sweetest music; the song it longed to hear since first the ego came into your minds. The ego’s weakness is its (the other part of your mind's) strength. The song of freedom, which sings the praises of another world, brings to it hope of peace, for it remembers Heaven. And now it sees that Heaven has come to earth at last, from which the ego’s rule has kept it out so long.bHeaven has come because it found a home in your relationship on earth. And earth can hold no longer what has been given Heaven as its own.

Look gently on each other, and remember the ego’s weakness is revealed in both your sight. What it would keep apart has met and joined, and looks upon the ego unafraid.

Little children, innocent of sin, follow in gladness the way to certainty. Be not held back by fear’s insane insistence that sureness lies in doubt. This has no meaning. What matters it to you how loudly it is proclaimed? The senseless is not made meaningful by repetition and by clamor. The quiet way is open. Follow it happily, and question not what must be so.

 

 

 

A Course in Miracles

Chapter 21 - The Inner Picture

Reason and Perception

Perception selects, and makes the world you see. It literally picks it out as the mind directs. The laws of size and shape and brightness would hold, perhaps, if other things were equal. They are not equal. For what you look for, you are far more likely to discover than what you would prefer to overlook.

The still small Voice for God is not drowned out by all the ego’s raucous screams and senseless ravings to those who want to hear it. Perception is a choice, and not a fact. But on this choice depends far more than you may realize as yet. For on the voice you choose to hear, and on the sights you choose to see, depends entirely your whole belief in what you are. Perception is a witness but to this, and never to reality. Yet it can show you the conditions in which awareness of reality is possible, or those where it could never be.

Reality needs no cooperation from you to be itself, but your awareness of it needs your help because it is your choice. Listen to what the ego says, and see what it directs you see, and it is sure that you will see yourself as...

  • tiny,
  • vulnerable and
  • afraid.

You will experience...

  • depression,
  • a sense of worthlessness, and
  • feelings of impermanence and unreality.

You will believe that you are helpless prey to forces far beyond your own control, and far more powerful than you. And you will think the world you made directs your destiny, for this will be your faith. But never believe because it is your faith, it makes reality.

There is another vision and another Voice in which your freedom lies, awaiting but your choice. And if you place your faith in them (another vision and Voice), you will perceive another Self in you. This other Self sees miracles as natural. They are as simple and natural to It as breathing to the body. They are the obvious response to calls for help, the only one It makes.

Miracles seem unnatural to the ego because it does not understand how separate minds can influence each other. Nor could they do so; but minds cannot be separate. This other Self is perfectly aware of this. And thus It recognizes that miracles do not affect another’s mind, only Its Own. There is no other.

You do not realize the whole extent to which the idea of separation has interfered with reason. Reason lies in the other Self you have cut off from your awareness, and nothing you have allowed to stay in it is capable of reason. How can the segment of the mind devoid of reason understand what reason is, or grasp the information it would give? All sorts of questions may arise in it, but if the basic question stems from reason, it will not ask it. Like all that stems from reason, the basic question is obvious, simple, and remains unasked. But think not reason could not answer it.

God’s plan for your salvation could not have been established without your will and your consent. It must have been accepted by the Son of God, for what God wills for him he mudy receive, for God wills not apart from him, nor does the Will of God wait upon time to be accomplished. Therefore, what joined the Will of God must be in you NOW, being eternal. You must have set aside a place in which the Holy Spirit can abide, and where He is. He must have been there since the need for Him arose, and was fulfilled in the same instant.

Such would your reason tell you, if you listened. Yet such is clearly not the ego’s “reasoning.” Its alien nature to the ego is proof you will not find the answer there. Yet if it must be so, it must exist; and if it exists for you, and has your freedom as the purpose given it, you must be free to find it.

God’s plan is simple; never circular and never self-defeating. He has no Thoughts except the self-extending, and in this your will must be included. Thus, there must be a part of you that knows His Will and shares It. It is not meaningful to ask if what must be is so. But it is meaningful to ask why you are unaware of what is so, for this must have an answer if the plan of God for your salvation is complete. And it must be complete because its Source knows not of incomplerion. Where would the answer be but in the Source? And where are you but there, where this same answer is? Your identity, as much a true effect of this same Source as is the answer, must therefore be together and the same.

Oh yes, you know this, and more than this alone. Yet any part of knowledge threatens dissociation as much as all of it. And all of it will come with any part. Here is the part you can accept. What reason points to you can see because the witnesses on its behalf are clear. Only the totally insane can disregard them, and you have gone past this. Reason is a means which serves the Holy Spirit’s purpose in its own right. It is not re-interpreted and re-directed from the goal of sin, as are the others. For reason is beyond the ego’s range of means.

Faith and perception and belief can be misplaced, and serve the great deceiver’s needs as well as truth. But reason has no place at all in madness, nor can it be adjusted to fit its end. Faith and belief are strong in madness, guiding perception toward what the mind has valued. But reason enters not at all in this. For the perception would fall away at once, if reason were applied. There is no reason in insanity, for it depends entirely on reason’s absence. The ego never uses it because it does not realize that it exists. The partially insane have access to it, and only they have need of it. Knowledge does not depend on it, and madness keeps it out.

The part of mind where reason lies was dedicated, by your will in union with your Father’s, to the undoing of insanity. Here was the Holy Spirit’s purpose accepted and accomplished, both at once. Reason is alien to insanity, and those who use it have gained a means which cannot be applied to sin. Knowledge is far beyond attainment of any kind, but reason can serve to open doors you closed against it.

You have come very close to this. Faith and belief have shifted, and you have asked the question which the ego will never ask. Does not your reason tell you now the question must have come from something that you do not know, but must belong to you? Faith and belief, upheld by reason, cannot fail to lead to changed perception; and in this change is room made way for vision. Vision extends beyond itself, as does the purpose which it serves, and all the means for its accomplishment.

 

 

A Course in Miracles

Chapter 21 - The Inner Picture

Reason and Correction

Reason cannot see sin but can see errors, and leads to their correction. It does not value them, but their correction. Reason will also tell you when you think you sin, you call for help.

Yet if you will not accept the help you call for, you will not believe that it is yours to give. And so you will not give it, thus maintaining the belief. For uncorrected error of any kind deceives you about the power that is in you to make correction. If it can correct, and you allow it not to do so, you deny it to yourself and to your brother. And if he shares this same belief, you both will think that you are damned. This you could spare him and yourself, for reason would not make way for correction in you alone.

Correction cannot be accepted or refused by you without your brother. Sin would maintain it can. Yet reason tells you that you cannot see your brother or yourself as sinful, and still perceive the other innocent. Who looks upon himself as guilty and sees a sinless world? And who can see a sinful world and look upon himself apart from it?

Sin would maintain you must be separate. But reason tells you that this must be wrong. If you are joined, how could it be that you have private thoughts? And how could thoughts that enter into what but seems like yours alone have no effect at all on what is yours? If minds are joined, this is impossible.

No one can think but for himself, as God thinks not without His Son. Only were both in bodies could this be. Nor could one mind think only for itself unless the body were the mind, for only bodies can be separate and therefore unreal. The home of madness cannot be the home of reason. Yet it is easy to leave the home of madness if you see reason. You do not leave insanity by going somewhere else. You leave it simply by accepting reason where madness was. Madness and reason see the same things, but it is certain that they look upon them differently.

Madness is an attack on reason that drives it out of mind, and takes its place. Reason does not attack, but takes the place of madness quietly, replacing madness if it be the will of the insane to listen to it. But the insane know not their will. For they believe they see the body and let their madness tell them it is real. Reason would be incapable of this. And if you would defend the body against your reason, you will not understand the body or yourself.

The body does not separate you from your brother; and if you think it does, you are insane. But madness has a purpose, and believes it also has the means to make its purpose real. To see the body as a barrier between what reason tells you must be joined must be insane. Nor could you see it, if you heard the voice of reason.

What can there be that stands between what is continuous? And if there is nothing in between, how can what enters part be kept away from other parts? Reason would tell you this. But think what you must recognize, if it be so.

If you choose sin instead of healing, you would condemn the Son of God to what can never be corrected. You tell him, by your choice, that he is damned; separate from you and from his Father forever, and without a hope of safe return. You teach him this, and you will learn of him exactly what you taught. For you can teach him only that he is as you would have him, and what you choose he be is but your choice for you. Yet think not this is fearful. That you are joined to him is but a fact, not an interpretation.

How can a fact be fearful unless it disagrees with what you hold more dear than truth? Reason will tell you that this fact is your release. Neither your brother nor yourself can be attacked alone, but neither can accept a miracle instead without the other being blessed by it and healed of pain.

Reason, like love, would reassure you, and seeks not to frighten you. The power to heal the Son of God is given you because he must be one with you. You are responsible for how he sees himself. And reason tells you it is given you to change his whole mind, which is one with you, in just an instant; and any instant serves to bring complete correction of his errors and make him whole.

The instant that you choose to let yourself be healed, in that same instant is his whole salvation seen as complete with yours. Reason is given you to understand that this is so. For reason, kind as is the purpose for which it is the means, leads steadily away from madness toward the goal of truth, and here you will lay down the burden of denying truth. This is the burden that is terrible, and not the truth.

That you are joined is your salvation; the gift of Heaven, not the gift of fear. Does Heaven seem to be a burden to you? In madness, yes. And yet what madness sees must be dispelled by reason. Reason assures you Heaven is what you want, and all you want. Listen to Him Who speaks with reason, and brings your reason into line with His.

Be willing to let reason be the means by which He would direct you how to leave insanity behind.Hide not behind insanity, in order to escape from reason. What madness would conceal, the Holy Spirit still holds out for everyone to look upon with gladness.

You are your brother’s Savior. He is yours. Reason speaks happily indeed of this. This gracious plan was given love by Love. And what Love plans is like Itself in this: Being united, It would have you learn what you must be. And being one with It, it must be given you to give what It has given and gives still. Spend but an instant in the glad acceptance of what is given you to give your brother, and learn with him what has been given both of you. To give is no more blessed than to receive, but neither is it less.

The Son of God is always blessed as one. And as his gratitude goes out to you who blessed him, reason will tell you that it cannot be you stand apart from blessing. The gratitude he offers you reminds you of the thanks your Father gives you for completing Him. And here alone does reason tell you that you can understand what you must be. Your Father is as close to you as is your brother. Yet what is there that could be nearer you than is your Self?

The power that you have over the Son of God is not a threat to his reality. It but attests to it. Where could his freedom lie but in himself, if he be free already? And who could bind him but himself, if he deny his freedom? God is not mocked; no more His Son can be imprisoned save by his own desire. And it is by his own desire that he is freed. Such is his strength, and not his weakness. He is at his own mercy. And where he chooses to be merciful, there is he free. But where he chooses to condemn instead, there is he held a prisoner, waiting in chains his pardon on himself to set him free.

 

 
 

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