|The Message of A Course in Miracles: A Translation of the Text in Plain Language|
Chapter 3: The Innocent Perception
1: Atonement Without Sacrifice
1. To be sure that any left-over fear associated with miracles is undone in your mind you must understand that the plan of the Atonement was set in motion by the resurrection of Jesus, not the crucifixion of Jesus. Only if you believe that separation from God is real can you believe that God would encourage Jesus to suffer because Jesus was good. This fearful concept of God arose from your perception that separation from God is real, that you are guilty for it, and that your punishment is justified for it. You should ask yourself if God, Which does not know separation but only Oneness and Love, thinks in this way.
2. The personal mind justifies its own persecutions by teaching that God persecuted Jesus for the salvation of all. This is why it holds hard to this view of God. But again, can you believe that a Loving God would do this? It is very important to let go of the idea that Jesus was ďpunishedĒ because you are guilty. If you retain any belief in this idea you will not understand the Loving Correction of the plan of the Atonement.
3. The idea of vengeance does not come from God but is projected onto God from your guilty mind. Nothing in the world that you perceive has anything to do with God because God did not make it and God does not maintain it. Since God does not know the world God does not hold anything that happens in it against you or against Jesus. The idea that God rejected Adam and ejected him from the Garden of Eden is the same kind of error of projection from your guilty mind. Your guilt and expectation of punishment are why you sometimes will not trust the Holy Spirit.
4. The idea of sacrifice also does not come from God but from your guilty belief that you need to be punished for separating from God. Sacrifice comes from your belief that separation from God is real and sacrifice is not Love but vicious attack. Your belief in it inspires fear in you and leads to your mind being closed to Godís Love.
5. Jesus has been represented as a sacrificial lamb whose bloody death washed away your sin. But it wasnít Jesusí death that undoes sin; it was His demonstrated awareness of His Oneness with God that undoes the concept of sin. Your guilt for separation from God is not undone by destruction. It is undone by your recognition that your Oneness with God is unchanged by your perception of separation. [Innocence is not weakness but strength].
6. When you are aware of your Oneness with God you have Everything and you donít need to sacrifice to get something to make you whole. You have no need to project a world for the same reason. In Oneness with God you can only extend Godís Love. Jesusí crucifixion is viewed by your split mind as reconciling God and man in a frightening ďatonementĒ that actually comes from your decision to not know God. But the Christ Mind manifested by Jesus is the State of awareness of Oneness with God to Which the real plan of the Atonement seeks to restore you.
7. The plan of the Atonement, which is the correction of your perception that you are separate from God, comes from the Truth in you and it only blesses you. It could not bless you if it meant you harm. There is no evil and in your Oneness with God you can overcome the idea of evil. The resurrection of Jesus demonstrated that illusions cannot destroy Truth. This is the real meaning of Atonement, the Perfect Lesson, the one that demonstrated that Jesus represented Truth. If you can accept that illusions cannot destroy Truth you will be released from your perception of separation from God.
8. In your Oneness with God you are Innocent because there is no harm in God. You can only know God when you release yourself from all belief in guilt. When you accept this you will know that correction, not sacrifice, is the appropriate gift for your mind and your mind will extend only Truth.
2. Miracles as True Perception
1. Truth and illusion cannot be understood in degrees or in opposition to each other. Everything and nothing cannot co-exist. What is True cannot be false and what is false cannot be True. Until you make a firm commitment to God, Which is Truth, your thinking will be inconsistent. You cannot make a firm commitment to illusion because it is nothingness and is not real. Whether you recognize it or not you do experience God sometimes. You can never totally deny Everything but you can totally let go of nothingness.
2. You cannot be partly Innocent and partly guilty since they are mutually exclusive. To look out from your Innocence is True Perception because It looks on your Oneness with God and nothing else.
3. Whenever you are afraid of someone or something in the world that you perceive you are making illusion real to you and blocking Godís Love. You deny the corrective power of Godís Love. In the experience of a miracle you perceive illusion as illusion and lets it be, without judgment, knowing that only God exists and that only God is Real. When you accept that you are Innocent you will not perceive anything but God as Real.
4. You are afraid of Godís Will because you have used your mind, which in Reality is One with God, to make a world apart from God. This makes it seem as though God is Something separate that wants to punish you for rejecting It. But you are holding back the Real Power of your mind and making it seem as though your Will is imprisoned by God. Yet to be One with God is to be of One Mind and One Will with God. When you know that you are One with God you are in Heaven.
5. Trusting the Holy Spirit in you is how you remember that you are One with God. You and the Holy Spirit are One with God and this Oneness is the Peace of God. But you can only see This by giving up all belief in guilt and the attack on yourself that it fosters through your perception of a world of separation. Oneness means that your mind perceives only Oneness.
6. To correct your perception of separation from God you must withdraw your belief in illusion and invest in Truth instead. You cannot make illusions true and if you are willing to overlook all that the personal mind perceives to look on Truth instead Truth will be reinforced in you. True perception looks on Reality and simultaneously erases misperceptions throughout your mind. This is the healing that the experience of the miracle brings to you.
3. Perception versus Knowledge
1. Because only God is Real you can only be certain in God. This is Knowledge. In the world that you perceive you can only perceive and since perception can vary it means that you are not certain. True perception, however, can lead you back to God.
2. In the world that you perceive you are not at Peace because you do not know yourself, your mindís Wholeness, or God. The answer to your question, ďWho am I?Ē is found by extending Godís Love. Your experience of the miracle, then, is your corrected, or True, perception. You only need to correct perception because in God there is no question and no perception, only an awareness of your Oneness with God.
3. [In your perception that you are in a world you may ask, ďWho am I?Ē to keep God away by projecting the Answer in the future. If you think you already know who you are you will not question and you will keep your mind closed because you are actually afraid of the Answer].
4. [ďVisions of GodĒ would be miracles not a direct revelation of God because they involve perception. They are corrected perception, however, and your natural Spiritual Vision.]
5. You can know yourself only in God. When you extend Godís Love in your perception you perceive that the Holy Spirit is Real, which ultimately leads to you knowing yourself in God. You must first perceive the Holy Spirit before you can transition to knowing God. While you still wonder what is real, it is clear that you do not know that you are One with God. [God is Pure Being and a revelation of God results only in experience. Perception is the level of your mind where action is taken. It is the level of miracles. Even your most corrected, spiritualized perception occurs at the level of the personal mind. God is Eternally within you but to perceive Godís Love is not the same as to know only God.]
6. Your perception must be corrected before you can be aware of your Oneness with God, Which will bring you Complete Peace. You are not separate from Godís Mind and all that you perceive is not separate from your mind. God filled your mind before you made perception and a world to perceive and God will fully replace them in your mind again but your perceptions must be brought into alignment with God first.
7. When you attack others in the world that you perceive you make separation from God real to you and you hurt yourself. You forget that your perceptions are only in your own mind and you become afraid of others because they seem like strangers rather than your own projected perceptions. To perceive correctly is to overlook the personal mindís perceptions of others and to extend Godís Love so that you remember your Oneness with God. To think like God is to extend only God in your mind. Godís Mind is Whole. When you look on separation as real you do not remember God.
4. Error and the Ego
1. The abilities and functions that your mind has in your identification with a personal self are only shadows or your real Power. The separation seems to have split your mind into levels Ė God; the personal self - that conflict because they are meaningless to each other. You are not certain of anything in the world that you perceive because the level of the personal mind is the level that replaced Certainty with choice. The choices that you make with the personal mind can also seem to split your split mind into further levels. You are free to make a loveless choice, which means you can choose to not know God. Only God is free from conflict because God is One. From the point of view of the separation Godís Mind seems to be split into God and your Christ Mind/Holy Spirit, with your Christ Mind/Holy Spirit being the highest level of God-awareness that you can attain in your perception that you are in a world. But in God there are no levels. From the point of view of God, God and Godís Answers to the separation (your Christ Mind/Holy Spirit) are One because they are unified in purpose.
2. The first split in your mind that made you seem to be no longer One with God was your introduction of consciousness: the personal mind, the level of perception and choice. The personal self is supposed to be your attempt to make yourself not-God, but you can only ever be One with God. The personal self will always be open to question; only in God can you be certain of What you are.
3. When you identify with a personal self you question yourself but you will not accept the Real Answer to What you are because This Answer will undo the personal self. In your split mind you must always be afraid and confused because you can never be certain, which means being One. You must be conflicted because your mind is divided against itself. This internal insecurity you project outward onto a world that seems full of strangers ready to attack you. Your fear is justified when you perceive yourself as a personal self and that is why the only way out of fear is to remember that you are not the self that you made; you are One with God. You can never make the self you made true and What you really are is unchanged by your misidentification with a personal self. This is why you will eventually choose to heal your mind of its perceived separation from God.
4. Your corrected split mind does correctly perceive your Oneness with God but it should not be confused with Godís Mind because it can still make another choice. Godís Mind only knows God and there is no other choice in Oneness. But your corrected mind correctly perceives Godís Love and is a miracle that corrects your misidentification with a personal self.
5. The personal mind is very active because it chooses to be uncertain and to perceive rather than to simply know God. Your only way out of uncertainty is consistent perception. Your decision to know God again, which is the natural State of your mind, puts your mind in the service of the Holy Spirit. This corrects your perception. [You can never completely sever your mind from God. In fact, the world that you made and sustain in your mind, though an error, indirectly affirms that the power of your mind comes from God].
6. You made the body as a means to perceive because you must perceive with something. Your split mind identifies with a body in an attempt to escape its uncertainty about what it is. The Holy Spirit cannot join with a body because of the bodyís inherent emptiness as a thought apart from God and your identifying with a body makes the Holy Spirit seem almost unreachable to your mind. Your split mind perceives the Holy Spirit as a threat because It makes you aware that the body is not your Real Identity. But the Holy Spirit never attacks; It simply overcomes error because It is Truth. Even in its misidentification your mind cannot help but at least vaguely recognize this.
7. In Reality you are One with God and this in not changed because you have chosen to perceive separation from God as real. The Holy Spirit cannot undo your perceived separation from God as long as you want separation. Jesus was a man who remembered God and Who corrected His perception of separation from God at the level of His mind where the separation seemed to be real. He showed that the mind, not the body, is real. He accepted Godsí Will as His own. The Holy Spirit cannot return you to God against your will but, if you choose, you can put your mind under the Holy Spiritís guidance and correct your perception of separation from God. Your misperceptions are your obstacles to God and if you let go of them then your perception will be corrected and you will naturally choose God again. You are called to God but you must make the choice to answer This Call. The Peace of God is your Reality.
5. Beyond Perception
1. To recap:
These ideas highlight an important distinction.
2. Since the separation you have confused Godís Creation with the physical universe that you made to perceive separation from God. Godís Creation is Godís Formless Being extending Infinitely and Eternally. Godís Being is Everywhere. The physical universe is finite, time-bound form. It is very concrete, limited, and specific. You made a world to fill the perceived lack in your mind brought about by your perception of separation from God and anything made in your perception of this world is made for the same reason and reaffirms separation. Ingenious and inventive thinking always give rise to concrete form. They do not come from God because God is already Whole and does not need to make anything.
3. Godís Mind does not inspire action, only Being. What you have made of yourself makes it impossible for you to just be with God. God doesnít change and in God you do not change. Yet change is part of your experience in the world that you perceive so it is obvious that if you perceive yourself in a world you do not know that you are in God. You are free to make this choice but clearly you do not make this choice from an awareness of your Oneness with God.
4. You should not direct the question, ďWhat am I?Ē toward the personal mind that you made and with which you identify. Your asking it implies that what you made knows the answer and can supply the answer. But in the personal mind you cannot perceive yourself correctly because in Reality you do not have an image to be perceived. An ďimageĒ is only symbolic and can be changed and so it is not unchanging as God is Unchanging.
5. God can be known because God does not change. Knowledge is not open to interpretation. But perceiving meaning is always open to mistakes because interpretation can change. Confusing God with the world that you perceive is your attempt to be separate from God and One with God at the same time. This only confuses you about yourself even further. The personal mind has become ingenious in its attempts to make separation from God real to you. But this is only wasted effort for your mind. Being Whole, God does not require ingenuity to make anything. Ingenuity will not help you to remember God and when you are willing you can free yourself of the effort ingenuity requires.
6. [Prayer is a way of asking and prayer is the means through which you remember Godís Love. The only meaningful prayer is to ask for help to forgive, or to let go of, your perception of separation from God so that you can remember your Oneness with God. So true prayer is asking for help in remembering What you already have. When you have forgiven yourself your illusion of separation from God you will remember that you have Everything. In your perception that you are in a world you can resemble God only by extending Godís Love because you have forgotten that you are Godís Love. God is your Source and to extend Godís Love is your only purpose.]
7. God extends God and God is All that is. But in your identification with the personal mind on every level you are evaluating and selecting from the myriad choices presented by the world that you perceive. Judgment is necessary for you in the personal mind so that you can select what to value and by valuing it make it real to you.
8. There is no need for judgment when you know only Oneness. In your identification with a personal self you seem cut off from your Source, you are always incomplete, and you can only perceive separation. God does not have separate parts. To know any Part of God is to know All of God because God is One. When you remember What you really are you will know God.
6. Judgment and the Authority Problem
1. God has no need for judgment because God is One. Judgment is used by the Holy Spirit only to help you sort out Truth from illusion. After the Last Judgment, which is your own final sorting out of Truth from illusion, you will have no use for judgment. Judgment is used by the personal mind to perceive fragmentation in place of Oneness. When you judge with the personal mind you make the world your reality.
2. You lose Peace when you choose to judge with the personal mind because it makes real to you a world that is not real. For the personal mind to reject Oneness it must perceive many different forms that are unlike each other and then judge, or evaluate, them so that it can reject some forms and accept others. It accepts as real what it judges as valuable and it rejects as unreal what it judges as less valuable. One of the illusions of the personal mind is that what it rejects is not real to it but would you judge against something you did not believe is real? If the personal mind perceives it, it believes it is real. In the end, though, there really are no wrong or right judgments made by the personal mind because what it judges is not real. Judging in any form with the personal mind implies that it is up to you to decide what is real.
3. When you choose to look on yourself and the world in your mind without the personal mindís judgment you will experience deep Peace. When you look on your Oneness with God and extend Godís Love in your awareness you will realize that it is meaningless to judge a world that is not real. Your own meaning is lost to you when you judge with the personal mind because you believe that the imperfect personal self is you and that the world it is judging is real. All of your doubt comes from your belief that you need the personal mindís judgment to organize the life that you perceive that you are living in a world and to define the personal self. But when you look only on your Oneness with God the personal mindís judgment is automatically replaced by your recognition of Truth.
4. [What you perceive but reject is fearful to you because you believe that rejecting it means you have lost control over it. It shows up in the dreams that you have when you sleep because what you refuse to accept you block from conscious awareness. What you reject is not dangerous to you but rejecting it makes it seem dangerous to you.]
5. When you are tired it is because you have judged yourself capable of being tired. When you laugh at others it is because you have judged them as unworthy. When you laugh at yourself you have to laugh more at others because you cannot believe that you are more unworthy than they. All of this makes you feel tired because it is depressing. The personal mindís constant judgment is almost intolerable. You cannot really be tired but you can wear yourself down with constant judgment. Yet you cherish such a debilitating ability because you want to be the one who decides what is real. You also fear judgment because you are afraid it will be used against you. You believe this to the extent that you believe that judgment is valuable in establishing you as your own source.
6. God offers only Love. Extending Godís Love is the way that you remember that you are One with God. True Justice means recognizing that the world is not real and that only God is Real. This is judgmentís only real use. You only need this judgment because you have forgotten that you are One with God.
7. The personal self manifests many problems in itself and in its perceived ďlifeĒ in a world but they all have one source: the belief that God is not real and that the personal self is its own source. This is the ďauthority problemĒ. God is your Source, or Author, but your mind is split between the personal self and the Holy Spirit. In your identification with a personal self you experience your mind as incomplete and conflicted and anything it makes is also incomplete and conflicted. The personal self is not real and its belief that it is real and its own source means it can only make illusions. When you identify with the personal self you believe its illusions are true.
8. When you reject God and identify with a personal self you believe that you are only that personal self and that you are your own source. This doesnít really make sense and sometimes you may become so confused about your source that you wonder if you exist at all. So you project the delusion that you are your own source onto a world so it seems as though the world made you. You then battle with ďothersĒ in the world that you perceive over who has the power to define you. This power struggle with others reflects the guilt and fear you feel deep down because you believe that you have stolen Godís Power. None of this affects God because you cannot really make yourself separate from God. God only offers you a correction for this error in perception.
9. When you no longer want to reject God you will know that God cannot reject you. You have not stolen Godís Power but you have given up your awareness of It as your Power. You can give up judging an unreal world and simply know that you are always in God.
10. Peace is the natural State of your Being in God. You can reject your natural state but you cannot change What It is. Your only problem is that you do not accept God as your Source and this denial is the reason for all of your fears. This is not offensive to God but it is offensive to you. When you deny that God is your Source you deny your own Peace. Your perception of a world that is real is denial that God is your Source.
11. Your belief in a world that is real limits you but you do not accept that it is your free will to believe in it or to let it go. Judgment is the way that you limit yourself by making some parts of the world valuable and therefore real to you. But your wishing that the world is real does not make it so. Only God is Real and you can be at Peace only when you accept This.
7. Creating versus the Self-Image
1. Your thought system can either extend Godís Love or make something separate from God. These choices are alike in their power but differ in their results. A thought system that is based on the lie that you can be separate from God is not weak because it is made by your mind, which is One with God. You have to understand your Power so that you can undo what you have made.
2. Instead of accepting the Power of your mind to make a world that is the opposite of God in every way you made the concept of the ďdevilĒ. Even though what the ďdevilĒ offers has no real value it is still supposed to be powerful enough to attract you away from God. Does this make sense? You cannot overcome your confusion about your source by depreciating the power of your mind and projecting it onto a ďdevilĒ. On some level you know that you cannot weaken your mind anymore than you can weaken God and to think that you can is to deceive yourself.
3. Your decision to be separate from God makes a thought system that is real in your perception of a world but is meaningless to God. It is real to you because you believe in it. The ďfallĒ, or separation, did not occur because God tempted you to destroy yourself. God only knows Godís Oneness and any idea that God or any Part of God is capable of destruction is an error.
4. You are One with God - except in the idea that separation from God is possible. The image you have of yourself as a personal self in a body does not exist in God, Where there are no images to perceive, only Oneness to know. You can make a concept of yourself that is separate from God and you can believe in it but you cannot make it real. All of your defenses were made to protect you from the awareness that your concept of yourself is not real. While you believe that the concept that you have made is real your mind will be split from the Holy Spirit, you will not know your Oneness with God, and you will be afraid for your self-concept.
5. Through belief your mind can make a world separate from God, make it seem very real and very fearful, and deny that God is its Source. In a sense this belief is the ďdevilĒ. The world that you have made to be separate from God is a lie and it will disappear when you accept that God is Truth. Your Oneness with God is the only thing that cannot be changed and in Truth you are still in Peace though your mind seems conflicted. As you return to God you will feel your undoing of the personal selfís thought system as fear of death. But remember that there is no death, only a belief in death.
6. The thought system that you made will be undone. To fear this is to choose death because God is Life and separation from God would be death. You are not of a world; you are of God. You will leave the world not by dying but by accepting that only God is Truth and letting go of the world. Only in your perception of a world does it make sense for you to believe that you are your own source. For you to believe that you can make both a world and God true is for you to believe that God is not One and free of conflict.
|Copyright 2009 Elizabeth A. Cronkhite|