Course in Miracles
21 - The Inner Picture
you not see that all your misery comes from the strange belief that
you are powerless?
is the cost of sin. Helplessness is sin’s condition; the one
requirement that it demands to be believed. Only the helpless could
believe in it. Enormity has no appeal save to the little, and only
those who first believe that they are little, could see attraction
the Son of God is the defense of those who do not identify with
him, and you are for him or against him; either you love him or
attack him, protect his unity or see him shattered and slain by
No one believes
the Son of God is powerless. And
those who see themselves as helpless must believe that they are
not the Son of God.
What can they
be except his enemy? And
what can they do but envy him his power, and by their envy make
themselves afraid of it?
These are the
dark ones, silent and afraid, alone and not communicating, fearful
the power of the Son of God will strike them dead. And raising up
their helplessness against him, they join the army of the powerless,
to wage their war of vengeance, bitterness and spite on him, to
make him one with them. Because they do not know that they are one
with him, they know not whom they hate.
They are indeed
a sorry army, each one as likely to attack his brother or turn upon
himself as to remember they thought they had a common cause. Frantic
and loud and strong the dark ones seem to be, yet they know not
their enemy, except they hate him.
In hatred they
have come together, but have not joined each other, for had they
done so, hatred would be impossible. The army of the powerless must
be disbanded in the presence of strength. Those who are strong are
never treacherous, because they have no need to dream of power and
to act out their dream.
How would an
army act in dreams?
Any way at all.
It could be seen attacking anyone with anything. Dreams have no
reason in them. A flower turns into a poisoned spear, a child becomes
a giant and a mouse roars like a lion. And love is turned to hate
This is no army,
but a madhouse. What seems to be a planned attack is bedlam. The
army of the powerless is weak indeed. It has no weapons and it has
no enemy. Yes, it can overrun the world and seek an enemy, but it
can never find what is not there. Yes, it can dream it found an
enemy, but this will shift even as it attacks, so that it runs at
once to find another and never comes to rest in victory.
And as it runs,
it turns against itself, thinking it caught a glimpse of the great
enemy which always eludes its murderous attack by turning into something
does this enemy appear, who changes so it is impossible even to
recognize him!Yet hate must a target. There can be no faith in sin
without an enemy.
Who that believes
in sin would dare believe he has no enemy?
Could he admit
that no one made him powerless?
surely bid him seek no longer what is not there to find. Yet first
he must be willing to perceive a world where it is not. It is not
necessary that he understand how he can see it; nor should he try,
for if he focusses on what he cannot understand, he will but emphasize
his helplessness and let sin tell him that his enemy must be himself.
But let him only
ask himself these questions, which he must decide to have it done
“Do I desire a world I rule instead of one which rules
“Do I desire a world where I am powerful instead of helpless?”
“Do I desire a world in which I have no enemies and cannot
“And do I want to see what I denied because it is the truth?”
You have already
answered the first three questions, but not yet the last, for this
one still seems fearful, and unlike the others.
Yet reason would
assure you they are all the same. We said this year would emphasize
the sameness of things that are the same.
This final question,
which is indeed the last you need decide, still seems to hold a
threat the rest have lost for you. And this imagined difference
attests to your belief that truth may be the enemy you yet may find.
Here, then, would
seem to be the last remaining hope of finding sin and not accepting
Forget not that
the choice of truth or sin, power or helplessness, is the choice
of whether to attack or heal, for healing comes of power, and attack
Whom you attack
you cannot want to heal. And whom you would have healed must be
the one you chose to be protected from attack. And
what is this decision but the choice whether to see him through
the body’s eyes, or let him be revealed to you through vision?
How this decision
leads to its effects is not your problem, but what you want to see
must be your choice. This is a course in cause, and not effect.
your answer to the last question you have left unanswered still.
And let your reason tell you that it must be answered, and IS answered
in the other three. And then it will be clear to you that, as you
look on the effects of sin in any form, all you need do is simply
what I would see? Do I want this?”
This is your
one decision; this the condition for what occurs. It
is irrelevant to how it happens, but not to why. You have control
of this. And if you choose to see a world without an enemy, in which
you are not helpless, the means to see it well be given you.
Why is the
final question so important?
Reason will tell
you why—It is the same as are the other three except
in time. The
others are decisions which can be made and then unmade and made
again. But truth is constant, and implies a state where vacillations
You can desire
a world you rule which rules you not, and change your mind.
You can desire
to exchange your helplessness for power, and lose this same desire
as a little glint of sin attracts you.
And you can want
to see a sinless world, and let an “enemy” tempt you
to use the body’s eyes and change what you desire.
In content all
the questions are the same. For each one asks if you are
willing to exchange the world of sin for what the Holy Spirit sees,
since it is this the world of sin denies; and therefore those who
look on sin are seeing the denial of the real world.
Yet the last
question adds the wish for constancy in your desire to
see the real world, so the desire becomes the only one you have.
the final question “yes,” you add sincerity to the decisions
you have already made to all the rest, for only then have you renounced
the option to change your mind again. When it is this you do not
want, the rest are wholly answered.
Why do you think
you are unsure the others have been answered?
Could it be necessary
they be asked so often, if they had?
Until the last
decision has been made, the answer is both “yes” and
“no.” For you have answered “yes” without
perceiving that “yes” must mean “not
No one decides
against his happiness, but he may do so if he does not see he does
it. And if he sees his happiness as ever changing, now this, now
that, and now an elusive shadow attached to nothing, he does
decide against it.
or happiness in changing form that shifts with time and place, is
an illusion which has no meaning. Happiness must be constant, because
it is attained by giving up the wish for the inconstant. Joy
cannot be perceived except through constant vision, and
constant vision can be given only those who wish for constancy.
The power of
the Son of God’s desire remains the proof that he is wrong
who sees himself as helpless. Desire
what you will, and you will look on it and think it real.
but has the power to release or kill. And
none can leave the thinker’s mind, or leave him unaffected.