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3.1 Love is. It teaches by being what it is. It does not do anything. It does not strive. It neither succeeds nor fails. It is neither alive nor dead. And thus it always was and always will be. It is not particular to you as human beings. It is in relationship to everything. All to all.
3.2 Just as true knowledge cannot be learned, love cannot be learned, and you cannot be learned. All that you desire and cannot learn is already accomplished. It is accomplished in you. It is you. Imagine the ocean or the cheetah, the sun or the moon or God Himself, attempting to learn what they are. They are the same as you. All exist within you. You are the universe itself.
3.3 It is a shared universe with no divisions. There are no sections, no parts, no inside and no outside, no dreams and no illusions that can escape or hide, disappear, or cease to be. There is no human condition that does not exist in all humans. It is completely impossible for one to have what another does not have. All is shared. This has always been true and is endlessly true. Truth is truth. There are no degrees of truth.
3.4 You are not form, nor is your real world. You seek the face of God in form as you seek for love in form. Both love and God are there, but they are not the form that your body’s eyes see. Just as these words you see upon this page are symbols only of meaning far beyond what the symbols can suggest, so too is everything and everyone around you, those you see and those you only can imagine. To seek the “face” of God, even in the form of Christ, is to seek for what is forever without form. To truly see is to begin to see the formless. To begin to see the formless is to begin to understand what you are.
3.5 All that you now see are but symbols of what is really there before you, in glory beyond your deepest imaginings. Yet you persist in wanting only what your eyes can see and hands can hold. You call these things real and all else unreal. You can close your eyes and believe that you are in the dark, but you will not believe that you are no longer real. Close your eyes on all that you have become accustomed to seeing. And you will see the light.
3.6 In the light that comes only to eyes that no longer see, you will find the Christ who abides in you. In Jesus Christ, the Son of God became the son of man. He walked the world with a face much like your own, a body with two legs and two arms, ten fingers and ten toes. And yet you know this was not Jesus, nor is this a picture of the Christ. Jesus gave a face to love, as you do here as well. But love did not attach itself to form and say, “This is what I am.” How can anything have a form except in symbols? A family crest, a mother’s ring, a wedding band are all the same: They but represent what they symbolize in form.
3.7 There is no form that is not thus. A form is but a representation. You see a thousand forms a day with different names and different functions and you think not that they are all the same. You place values on each one based on usefulness or pleasant appearance, on popularity or on reputation. Each one you place in relationship to yourself, and so you do not even see the form as it is but only as what it will do for you. You imprison form within your meaning, and still your meaning is truer than its form. You give all meaning to everything, and thus you populate your world with angels and with demons, their status determined by who would help you and who would thwart you. Thus do you determine your friends and your enemies, and thus you have friends who become enemies and enemies who become friends. While a pencil may essentially remain a pencil in your judgment, at least as long as it has all the qualities that you have determined that a pencil should have, few people can exhibit the qualities you have predetermined that they should possess at all times and in all places. And so one disappoints and another enthralls, one champions your cause and another denigrates you. In all scenarios you remain the maker of your world, giving it its causes and effects. If this can be so, how can the world be anything but symbolic, with each symbol’s meaning chosen by you and for you. Nothing is what it is, but only what it is to you.
3.8 Into this rank confusion is brought a simple statement: Love is. Never changing, symbolizing only itself, how can it fail to be everything or to contain all meaning? No form can encompass it for it encompasses all form. Love is the light in which form disappears and all that is, is seen as it is.
3.9 You who are looking for help wonder now how this would help you. What is there left to say that has not been said? What are these words but symbols, by my own admission? It is in what they symbolize that help arrives. You do not need to believe in the words nor the potential of the exercises to change your life, for these words enter you as what they are, not the symbols that they represent. An idea of love is planted now, in a garden rich with what will make it grow.
3.10 Everything has birth in an idea, a thought, a conception. Everything that has been manifested in your world was first conceived within the mind. While you know this is true, you continue to believe you are the effect and not the cause. This is partially due to your concept of the mind. What you conceive it to be, it will be to you. While many teachings have attempted to dislodge this concept that you hold so dear, because you use the mind to deal in concepts, you have been unable to let new learning have its effect. This is because you believe your mind is in control of what it thinks. You believe in a process of input and output, all completely human and scientifically provable. The birth of an idea is thus the result of what has come before, of seeing something old as new, of improving on a former idea, of taking various information and collecting it into a new configuration.
3.11 What has this meant for learning that is not of this world? It means that you filter it through the same lens. You think of it in the same way. You seek to gather it together so that it will provide an improvement to what has been before. You look for evidence that shows that if you behave in a certain way certain things will happen as a result. Like a child learning not to touch a stove because it is hot and a burn will result, or learning that a warm blanket is comforting, you subject it to a thousand tests dependent on your senses and your judgment. While you believe you know what will hurt you and what you will find comforting, you subject what cannot be compared to the comparable.
3.12 Think not that your mind as you conceive of it learns without comparison. Everything is true or false, right or wrong, black or white, hot or cold, based solely on contrast. One chemical reacts one way and one reacts another, and it is only in the study of the two that you believe learning takes place.
3.13 You have not given up the idea that you are in control of what you learn, nor have you accepted that you can learn in a way that you have not learned before. Thus we move from head to heart to take advantage of your concepts of the heart, concepts much more in line with learning that is not of this world.
3.14 These words of love do not enter your body through your eyes and take up residence in your brain, there to be distilled into a language that you can understand. As you read, be aware of your heart, for this is where this learning enters and will stay. Your heart is now your eyes and ears. Your mind can remain within your concept of the brain, for we bypass it now and send it no information to process, no data for it to compute. The only change in thinking you are asked to make is to realize that you do not need it.
3.15 What this will mean to you goes far beyond the learning of this Course. One such concept, given up and not replaced, will free you beyond your deepest imaginings and free your sisters and brothers as well. Once one such concept is felled, others follow quickly. But none is more entrenched than this one, the one we begin today to let fall away.
3.16 You who have been unable to separate mind from body, brain from head, and intelligence from knowledge, take heart. We give up trying. We simply learn in a new way and in our learning realize that our light shines from within our heart, our altar to the Lord. Here the Christ in us abides and here we concentrate our energies and our learning, soon to learn that what we would know cannot be computed in the databanks of an overworked and over-trusted brain, a mind we cannot separate from where we believe it to be.
3.17 Our hearts, in contrast, go out to the world, to the suffering, to the weak of body and of mind. Our hearts are not so easily contained within the casing of our flesh and bone. Our hearts take wing with joy and break with sadness. Not so the brain that keeps on registering it all, a silent observer, soon to tell you that the feelings of your heart were foolishness indeed. It is to our hearts that we appeal for guidance, for there resides the one who truly guides.
3.18 You who think this idea is rife with sentiment, sure to lead you to abandoning logic, and thereafter certainly to cause your ruin, I say to you again: take heart. Such foolishness as your heart’s desires will save you now. Remember it is your heart that yearns for home. Your heart that yearns for love remembered. Your heart that leads the way that, should you follow, will set you certainly on the path for home.
3.19 What pain has your heart endured that it has failed to treasure for its source? Its source is love, and what greater proof need you of love’s strength? Such pain as has your heart endured would surely be a knife to cut through tissue, a blow that to the brain would stop all functioning, an attack upon the cells far greater than any cancer. The pain of love, so treasured that it cannot be let go, can and does indeed attack the tissue, brain, and cells. And then you call it illness and allow the body to let you down, still and always holding love unto yourself.
3.20 Must pain accompany love and loss? Is this the price you pay, you ask, for opening up your heart? And yet, should you be asked if you would have other than this love, you would not answer yes. What else is worth such cost, such suffering, so many tears? What else would you not let go when pain comes near, as a hand would drop a burning ember? What other pain would you hold closely, a grief not to be given up? What other pain would you be so unwilling to sacrifice?
3.21 Think not that these are senseless questions, made to bring love and pain together and there to leave you unaided and unhelped, for pain and love kept together in this way makes no sense, and yet makes the greatest sense of all. These questions merely prove love’s value. What else do you value more?
3.22 Your thoughts might lead you to a dozen answers now, more for some and less for others, your answers depending on the tenacity of your thoughts, which, led by your ego, would throw logic in love’s way. Some others might use their thoughts in yet another manner, claiming to choose love and not pain when what they really choose is safety at love’s expense. No one here believes they can have one without the other and so they live in fear of love, all the while desiring it above all else.
3.23 Think you not that love can be kept apart from life in any way. But we begin now to take life’s judgment from it, the judgments gained by your experience, judgment based on how much love you have received and how much love has been withheld from you. We begin by simply accepting the proof we have been given of love’s strength. For this we will return to again and again as we learn to recognize what love is.
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