Course in Miracles
18 - Dream and The Reality
Purpose of the Body
It is only the awareness of the body
that makes love seem limited, for the body is a limit on love. The
belief in limited love was its origin. And it was made to limit
the unlimited. Think
not that this is merely allegorical, for it was made to limit you.
Can you who
see yourselves within a body know yourself as an idea? Everything
you recognize you identify with externals, something outside itself.
You cannot even think of God without a body, or some form you think
cannot know, and while you limit your awareness to its tiny senses,
you will not see the grandeur which surrounds you. God cannot come
into a body, nor can you join Him there. Limits on love will always
seem to shut Him out, and to keep you apart from Him. The
body is a tiny fence around a little part of a glorious and complete
idea. It draws a circle, infinitely small, around a very little
segment of Heaven splintered from the whole, proclaiming that within
it is your kingdom, where God can enter not.
kingdom the ego rules, and cruelly. And to defend this little speck
of dust, it bids you fight against the universe. This fragment of
your mind is such a tiny part of it that, could you but appreciate
the whole, you would see instantly that it is like the smallest
sunbeam to the sun, or like the faintest ripple on the surface of
the ocean. In its amazing arrogance, this tiny sunbeam has decided
it is the sun; this almost imperceptible ripple hails itself as
the ocean. Think how alone and frightened is this little thought,
this infinitesimal illusion, holding itself apart against the universe.
The sun becomes the sunbeam’s “enemy” which would
devour it, and the ocean terrifies the little ripple and wants to
sun nor ocean is even aware of all this strange and meaningless
activity. They merely continue, unaware that they are feared and
hated by a tiny segment of themselves. Even that segment is not
lost to them, for it could not survive apart from them. And what
it thinks it is in no way changes its total dependence on them for
its being. Its whole existence still remains in them. Without the
sun the sunbeam would be gone; the ripple without the ocean is inconceivable.
Such is the
strange position in which those in a world inhabited by bodies seem
to be. Each body seems to house a separate mind, a disconnected
thought, living alone and in no way joined to the Thought by which
it was created. Each tiny fragment seems to be self-contained, needing
each other for some things, but by no means totally dependent on
their one Creator for everything, and needing the whole to give
them any meaning, for by themselves they do mean nothing. Nor have
they any life apart and by themselves.
Like to the
sun and ocean your Self continues, unmindful that this tiny part
regards itself as you.
It is not
missing; it could not exist if it were separate, nor would the whole
be whole without it. It is not a separate kingdom, ruled by an idea
of separation from the rest. Nor does a fence surround it, preventing
it from joining with the rest, and keeping it apart from its Creator.
This little aspect is no different from the whole, being continuous
with it and at one with it. It leads no separate life because its
life is the oneness in which its being was created.
Do not accept
this little, fenced-off aspect as yourself.
The sun and
ocean are as nothing beside what you are. The sunbeam sparkles only
in the sunlight, and the ripple dances as it rests upon the ocean.
Yet in neither sun nor ocean is the power that rests in you. Would
you remain within your tiny kingdom, a sorry king, a bitter ruler
of all he surveys, who looks on nothing, yet who would still die
to defend it? This little self is not your kingdom. Arched
high above it and surrounding it with love is the glorious whole,
which offers all its happiness and deep content to every part. The
little aspect which you think you set apart is no exception.
no bodies, and reaches to everything created like itself. Its
total lack of limit is its meaning. It is completely impartial in
its giving, encompassing only to preserve and keep complete what
it would give. In your tiny
kingdom you have so little! Should it not, then, be there that you
would call on love to enter? Look at the desert, dry and unproductive,
scorched and joyless, which makes up your little kingdom, and realize
the life and joy which love would bring to it from where it comes,
and where it would return with you.
of God surrounds your little kingdom, waiting at the barrier you
built to come inside and shine upon the barren ground. See how life
springs up everywhere! The desert becomes a garden, green and deep
and quiet, offering rest to those who lost their way and wander
in the dust. Give them a place of refuge, prepared by love for them
where once a desert was, and everyone you welcome will bring love
with him from Heaven for you. They enter one by one into this holy
place, but they will not depart as they had come, alone. The love
they brought with them will stay with them, as it will stay with
you. And under its beneficence, your little garden will expand,
and reach out to everyone who thirsts for living water, but has
grown too weary to go on alone.
Go out and
find them, for they bring your Self with them; and lead them gently
to your quiet garden, and receive their blessing there. So will
it grow and stretch across the desert, leaving no lonely little
kingdoms locked away from love, and leaving you inside. And you
will recognize yourself, and see your little garden gently transformed
into the Kingdom of Heaven, with all the love of its Creator shining
upon it. The
holy instant is your invitation to love, to enter into your bleak
and joyless kingdom, and to transform it into a garden of peace
answer is inevitable. It will come because you came without the
body, and interposed no barriers which would interfere with its
glad coming. In the holy instant, you ask of love only what it offers
everyone, neither less nor more. Asking for everything, you will
receive it. And your shining Self will lift the tiny aspect which
you tried to hide from Heaven straight into Heaven. No part of love
calls on the whole in vain. No Son of God remains outside His Fatherhood.
Be sure of this; love has entered your special relationship, and
entered fully at your weak request. You do not recognize that love
has come because you have not yet let go of all the barriers you
hold against each other, and you will not be able to give love welcome
separately. You could no more know God alone than He knows you without
your brother. But, together, you could no more be unaware of love
than love could know you not, or fail to recognize itself in you.
You have reached
the end of an ancient journey, not realizing yet that it is over.
You are still
worn and tired, and the desert’s dust still seems to cloud
your eyes and keep you sightless. Yet
He Whom you welcomed has come to you, and would welcome you. He
has waited long to give you this. Receive
it now of Him, for He would have you know Him. Only
a little wall of dust still stands between you. Blow
on it lightly and with happy laughter and it will fall away, and
walk into the garden love has prepared for both of you.