3 - Retraining The Mind
Vs the Self-Image
system of thought must have a starting point. It begins
with either a making (ego)
, a difference which we have discussed already. Their
resemblance lies in their power as (thought system)
foundations.Their difference lies in what rests upon
them. Both are cornerstones for systems of belief by
which men live. It
is a mistake to believe that a thought system which
is based on lies is weak. Nothing made by a child of
God is without power. It is essential to realize this,
because otherwise you will not understand why you have
so much trouble with this course, and will be unable
to escape from the prisons which you have made for yourselves.
You cannot resolve the authority problem by depreciating
the power of your minds. To do so is to deceive yourself,
and this will hurt you because you know the strength
of the mind. You also know that you cannot weaken it,
any more than you can weaken God.
“devil” is a frightening concept because
he is thought of as extremely powerful and extremely
active. He is perceived as a force in combat with God,
battling Him for possession of the Souls He created.
deceives by lies, and builds kingdoms of his own, in
which everything is in direct opposition to God. Yet
he attracts men rather than repels them, and they are
seen as willing to “sell” him their Souls
in return for gifts they recognize are of no real worth.
makes absolutely no sense. The whole picture is one
in which man acts in a way he himself realizes is self-destructive,
but which he does not choose to correct, and therefore
perceives the cause as beyond his control.
have discussed the fall, or separation, before, but
its meaning must be clearly understood without symbols.
separation is not symbolic. It is an order of reality
or a system of thought that is real enough in time,
though not in eternity. All beliefs are real to the
fruit of only one tree was “forbidden” to
man in his symbolic garden. But God could not have forbidden
it, or it could not have been eaten. If God knows His
children, and I assure you that He does, would He have
put them in a position where their own destruction was
“tree” which was forbidden was named the
“tree of knowledge.” Yet God created knowledge,
and gave it freely to His creations. The
symbolism here has been given many interpretations,
but you may be sure that any interpretation which sees
either God or His creations as capable of destroying
their own Purpose is in error.
Eating of the fruit of the tree of knowledge is a symbolic
expression for incorporating into the self the ability
for (ego) self-creating. This
is the only sense in which God and His Souls are not co-creators.
The belief that they are (co-creators) is implicit in
the “self concept,” a concept now made acceptable
by its weakness, and explained by a tendency of the self
to create an image of itself. Its
fear aspect is often ascribed to fear of retaliation by
a “father figure,” a particularly curious
idea in view of the fact that no one uses the term to
refer to the physical father. It refers to an image of
a father in relation to an image of the self.
are perceived, not known.
cannot deceive, but perception can. Man
can perceive himself as self-creating, but he cannot
do more than believe it. He cannot make it true. And,
as we said before, when you finally perceive correctly,
you can only be glad that you cannot. But until then,
the belief that you can (create yourself) is the central
foundation stone in your (ego) thought system, and all
your defenses are used to attack ideas which might bring
it to light. You still believe you are images of your
own creation. Your minds are split with your Souls on
this point, and there is no resolution while you believe
the one thing that is literally inconceivable. That
is why you cannot create, and are filled with fear about
what you make.
mind can make the belief in separation very real and
very fearful, and this belief is the “devil.”
is powerful, active, destructive, and clearly in opposition
to God because it literally denies His Fatherhood. Never
underestimate the power of this denial. Look
at your lives, and see what the devil has made. But
know that this making will surely dissolve in the light
of truth, because its foundation is a lie.
creation by God is the only foundation which cannot
be shaken because the light is in it. Your starting
point is truth, and you must return to this Beginning.
Much has been perceived since then, but nothing else
has happened. That is why your Souls are still in peace,
even though your minds are in conflict. You
have not yet gone back far enough, and that is why you
become so fearful. As you approach the Beginning, you
feel the fear of the destruction of your thought system
upon you, as if it were the fear of death.
is no death, but there is a belief in death. The
Bible says that ,
branch that bears no fruit will be cut off and will
wither away." John
glad! The light will shine from the true Foundation
of Life, and your own thought system will stand corrected.
It cannot stand otherwise. You who fear salvation are
willing death. Life and death, light and darkness, knowledge
and perception are irreconcilable. To believe that they
can be reconciled is to believe that God and man can
the Oneness of knowledge is conflictless. Your kingdom
is not of this world because it was given you from beyond
this world. Only
in this world is the idea of an authority problem meaningful.
The world is not left by death but by truth, and truth
can be known by all those for whom the Kingdom was created,
and for whom it waits.