Course in Miracles
2 - The illusion of Separation
When you are afraid of anything, you are acknowledging
its power to hurt you.
Remember that "where
your heart is, there is your treasure also." Matthew
This means that you
believe in what you value. If you are afraid, you are valuing wrongly.
Human understanding will inevitably value wrongly, and by endowing
all human thoughts with equal power, will inevitably destroy peace.
That is why the Bible
speaks of “The
peace of God which passeth (human) understanding.”
This peace is totally
incapable of being shaken by human errors of any kind. It denies
the ability of anything which is not of God to affect you in any
This is the proper
use of denial. It is not used to hide anything, but to correct error.
It brings all error into the light, and since error and darkness
are the same, it corrects error automatically. True denial is a
powerful protective device. You can, and should, deny any belief
that error can hurt you. This
kind of denial is not a concealment device, but a correction device.
The “right mind” of the mentally healthy depends on
You can do anything
I have asked you to
perform miracles, and have made it clear that miracles are natural,
corrective, healing,and universal. There
is nothing good they cannot do, but they cannot be performed in
the spirit of doubt.
the Souls He created are completely dependent on each other. The
creation of the Soul has already been perfectly accomplished, but
the creation by Souls has not. God created Souls so He could depend
on them because He created them perfectly. He gave them His peace
so they could not be shaken, and would be unable to be deceived.
you are afraid, you are deceived. Your mind is not serving the
literally starves the Soul by denying its "daily bread."
6:11 God offers only mercy. Your
words should reflect only mercy because that is what you have received,
and that is what you should give.
Justice is a temporary
expedient, or an attempt to teach man the meaning of mercy. Its
judgmental side arises only because man is capable of injustice,
if that is what his mind creates. You are afraid of God’s
Will because you have used your own will, which He created in the
likeness of His Own, to miscreate. What you do not realize is that
the mind can miscreate only when it is not free. An imprisoned mind
is not free by definition. It is possessed, or held back, by itself.
Its will is therefore limited and is not free to assert itself.
The real meaning
of “are of one kind,” Genesis
5:1 which was mentioned before, is “are of one
mind or will.” When
the Will of the Sonship and the Father are One, their perfect
accord is Heaven.
of error is a powerful defense of truth. You will note that we have
been shifting the emphasis from the negative to the positive use
of denial. As we have already stated, denial is not a purely negative
device; it results in positive miscreation. That is the way the
mentally ill do employ it. But remember a very early thought
of your own, “Never
underestimate the power of denial.”
service of the “right mind,” the denial of error frees
the mind and reestablishes the freedom of the will. When the will
is really free, it cannot miscreate because it recognizes only
projection arises out of false denial, not out of its proper use.
My own role in the Atonement is one of true projection; I can project
to you the affirmation of truth. If you project error to me, or
to yourself, you are interfering with the process. My use of projection,
which can also be yours, is not based on faulty denial. It does
involve, however, the very powerful use of the denial of errors.
miracle worker is one who accepts my kind of denial and projection,
unites his own inherent abilities to deny and project with mine,
and imposes them back on himself and others.
establishes the total lack of threat anywhere.
Together we can
then work for the real time of peace, which is eternal.
Used For Truth
use of defenses is quite widely recognized, but their proper use
had not been sufficiently understood as yet. They can indeed create
man’s perception, both of himself and of the world. They can
distort or correct, depending on what you use them for.
should be directed
only to error.
should be reserved only for truth. You should truly give as you
have truly received. The Golden Rule can work effectively only on
Intellectualization is a term which
stems from the mind-brain confusion. “Right-mindedness”
is the device which defends the right mind, and gives it control
over the body. “Intellectualization” implies a split,
while “right-mindedness” involves healing.
is properly employed in the service of withdrawing from the meaningless.
It is not a device for escape, but for consolidation. There is only
Dissociation is quite similar. You
should split off or dissociate yourself from error, but only in
defense of integration.
Detachment is essentially a weaker
form of dissociation.
Flight can be undertaken in whatever
direction you choose, but note that the concept itself implies flight
from something. Flight from error is perfectly appropriate.
Distantiation can be properly used
as a way of putting distance between yourself and what you should
is an effort to return to your own original state. It can thus be
utilized to restore, rather than to go back to the less mature.
should be a redirection of effort
to the sublime.
are many other so-called “dynamic” concepts which are
profound errors due essentially to the misuse of defenses. Among
them is the concept of different levels of aspiration, which actually
result from level confusion. However, the main point to be understood
from this section is that you can defend truth as well as error,
and, in fact, much better.
are easier to clarify after the value of the goal itself is firmly
established. Everyone defends his own treasure. You do not have
to tell him to do so, because he will do it automatically. The real
questions still remain. What do you treasure, and how much do you
you have learned to consider these two questions, and to bring them
into all your actions as the true criteria for behavior, I will
have little difficulty in clarifying the means. You have not learned
to be consistent about this as yet. I have therefore concentrated
on showing you that the means are available whenever you ask. You
can, however, save a lot of time if you do not extend this step
unduly. The correct focus will shorten it immeasurably.
is the only defense which cannot be used destructively. That is
because, while everyone must eventually join it, it is not a device
which was generated by man.
principle was in effect long before the Atonement itself began.
The principle was love, and the Atonement itself was an act of love.
Acts were not necessary before the separation, because the time-space
belief did not exist. It was only after the separation that the
defense of Atonement, and the necessary conditions for its fulfillment,
increasingly apparent that all of the defenses which man can choose
to use constructively or destructively were not enough to save him.
It was therefore decided that he needed a defense which was so splendid
that he could not misuse it, although he could refuse it. His choice
could not, however, turn it into a weapon of attack, which is the
inherent characteristic of all other defenses. The Atonement thus
becomes the only defense which is not a two-edged sword.
actually began long before the crucifixion. Many Souls offered their
efforts on behalf of the separated ones, but they could not withstand
the strength of the attack and had to be brought back. Angels came,
too, but their protection did not suffice, because the separated
ones were not interested in peace. They had already split their
minds, and were bent on further dividing, rather than reintegrating.
The levels they introduced into their minds turned against each
other, and they established differences, divisions, cleavages, dispersions,
and all the other concepts related to the increasing splits which
being in their right minds, they turned their defenses from protection
to assault, and acted literally insanely. It was essential to introduce
a split-proof device which could be used only to heal, if it were
used at all.
was built into the space-time belief in order to set a limit on
the need for the belief, and ultimately to make learning complete.
The Atonement is the final lesson. Learning itself, like the classrooms
in which it occurs, is temporary. The ability to learn has no value
when change of understanding is no longer necessary. The eternally
creative have nothing to learn. Only after the separation was it
necessary to direct the creative forces to learning, because changed
behavior had become mandatory.
can learn to improve their behavior, and can also learn to become
better and better learners. This serves to bring them into closer
and closer accord with the Sonship, but the Sonship Itself is a
perfect Creation, and perfection is not a matter of degree. Only
while there are different degrees is learning meaningful. The “evolution”
of man is merely a process by which he proceeds from one degree
to the next. He corrects his previous missteps by stepping forward.
This represents a process which is actually incomprehensible in
temporal terms, because he returns as he goes forward.
Atonement is the device by which he can free himself from the past
as he goes ahead. It undoes his past errors, thus making it unnecessary
for him to keep retracing his steps without advancing to his return.
In this sense the
Atonement saves time, but, like the miracle which serves it, does
not abolish it. As long as there is need for Atonement there is
need for time. But the Atonement, as a completed plan, does have
a unique relationship to time. Until the Atonement is finished,
its various phases will proceed in time, but the whole Atonement
stands at time’s end. At this point, the bridge of the return
has been built.
is a total commitment.
think this is associated with loss. This is the same mistake all
the separated ones make, in one way or another. They cannot believe
that a defense which cannot attack is the best defense.
is what is meant by “the
meek shall inherit the earth.” Matthew
will literally take it over because of their strength. A two-way
defense is inherently weak precisely because it has two edges, and
can turn against the self very unexpectedly. This tendency cannot
be controlled except by miracles.
turns the defense of Atonement to the protection of the inner self,
which, as it becomes more and more secure, assumes its natural talent
of protecting others. The inner self knows itself as both a brother
and a Son. You know that when defenses are disrupted there is a
period of real disorientation, accompanied by fear, guilt, and usually
vacillations between anxiety and depression. This course is different
in that defenses are not being disrupted but reinterpreted, even
though you may experience it as the same thing. In the reinterpretation
of defenses, only their use for attack is lost. Since this means
they can be used only one way, they become much stronger and much
more dependable. They no longer oppose the Atonement, but greatly
can only be accepted within you. You have perceived it largely as
external thus far, and that is why your experience of it has been
minimal. The reinterpretation of defenses is essential in releasing
the inner light.
the separation, man’s defenses have been used almost entirely
to defend himself against the Atonement, and thus maintain
the separation. They themselves generally see this as a need to
protect the body. The many body (relationship and sexual) fantasies
with which men’s minds are engaged arise from the distorted
belief that the body can be used as a means for attaining “atonement”
the body as a temple is only the first step in correcting this kind
of distortion. It alters part of the misperception, but not all
of it. It does recognize, however, that the concept of
Atonement in physical terms is not appropriate. However, the next
step is to realize that a temple is not a building at all. Its real
holiness lies in the inner altar, around which the building
emphasis men have put on beautiful church buildings is a sign of
their fear of Atonement, and their unwillingness to reach
the altar itself. The real beauty of the temple cannot be seen with
the physical eye. The Spiritual eye, on the other hand, cannot see
the building at all because It has perfect sight. It can, however,
see the altar with perfect clarity.
effectiveness, the Atonement belongs at the center of the inner
altar, where it undoes the separation and restores the wholeness
of the mind. Before the separation the mind was invulnerable to
fear, because fear did not exist. Both the separation and the fear
are miscreations of the mind, which must be undone.
is what is meant by “the
restoration of the temple.” 2Chronicles
not mean the restoration of the building, but the opening of the
altar to receive the Atonement. This heals the separation, and places
within man the one defense against all separation mind-errors which
can make him perfectly invulnerable.
of the Atonement by everyone is only a matter of time. In fact,
both time and matter were created for this purpose. This appears
to contradict free will because of the inevitability of the final
decision. If you review the idea carefully, however, you will realize
that this is not true. Everything is limited in some way by the
manner of its creation. Free will can temporize, and is capable
of enormous procrastination. But it cannot depart entirely from
its Creator, Who set the limits on its ability to miscreate by virtue
of its own real purpose.
of will engenders a situation which, in the extreme, becomes altogether
thresholds can be high, but they are not limitless. Eventually everyone
begins to recognize, however dimly, that there must be a better
way. As this recognition becomes more firmly established, it becomes
a perceptual turning-point. This ultimately reawakens the Spiritual
eye, simultaneously weakening the investment in physical sight.
The alternating investment in the two types or levels of perception
is usually experienced as conflict for a long time, and can become
very acute. But the outcome is as certain as God.
eye (Holy Spirit or Right Mind) literally cannot see error and merely
looks for Atonement. All the solutions which the physical eyes seek
dissolve in Its sight. The Spiritual eye, which looks within, recognizes
immediately that the altar has been defiled, and needs to be repaired
and protected. Perfectly aware of the right defense, It passes over
all others, looking past error to truth. Because of the real strength
of its vision, It pulls the will into Its service and impels the
mind to concur. This reestablishes the true power of the will, and
makes it increasingly unable to tolerate delay. The mind then realizes
with increasing certainty that delay is only a way of increasing
unnecessary pain which it need not tolerate at all. The pain threshold
drops accordingly, and the mind becomes increasingly sensitive to
what it would once have regarded as very minor intrusions of discomfort.
Children of God are entitled to perfect comfort, which comes from
a sense of perfect trust. Until they achieve this, they waste themselves
and their true creative powers on useless attempts to make themselves
more comfortable by inappropriate means. But the real means is already
provided, and does not involve any effort at all on their part.
Their egocentricity usually misperceives this as personally insulting,
an interpretation which obviously arises from their misperception
of themselves. Egocentricity and communion cannot coexist. Even
the terms are contradictory.
Atonement is the only gift that is worthy of being offered to the
altar of God. This is because of the inestimable value of the altar
itself. It was created perfect, and is entirely worthy of receiving
perfection. God is lonely without His Souls and they are lonely
without Him. Men must learn to perceive the world as a means of
healing the separation. The Atonement is the guarantee that they
will ultimately succeed.