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9.1 You wonder how it can be said that your heart is not deceived when it seems so often to deceive you. It seems as fickle as your mind, telling you one thing one day and one thing the next. Even more so than your mind it seems to lead you astray, forcing you to walk through paths full of danger and treachery into the deepest darkness instead of toward the light. It is your emotions rather than your heart that would do this to you.
9.2 Emotions speak the language of your separated self rather than the language of your heart. They are the forward guard of your defense system, always on the lookout for what might hurt or slight the little you that they deem under their protection, or the other little selves you deem under yours. But remember now how like to creation in form if not in substance what you have made is. Creation needs no protection. It is only your belief in the need for protection that has caused what you feel to become so clouded by illusion. If you felt no need to protect your heart, or any of those bodies that you love, your feelings would retain their innocence and could not hurt you in any way.
9.3 The desire to protect is a desire that arises from distrust and is based totally on fear. If there were no fear, what would there be to protect? Thus, all of your love—the love that you imagine you keep within yourself, and the love that you imagine you receive and give—is tainted by your fear and cannot be real love. It is because you remember love as that which kept you safe, that which kept you happy, that which bound all those you love to you, that you attempt to use love here. This is a real memory of creation that you have distorted. Your faulty memory has caused you to believe love can be used to keep you safe, to make you happy, and bind to you those you choose to love. This is not the case, for love cannot be used.
9.4 This is how you have distorted all relationship as well, making of it something that only becomes real in its use by you or to you. In your memory of creation you have remembered that all things exist in relationship, and that all things happen in relationship. Thus you have chosen to use relationship to prove your existence and to make things happen. This use of relationship will never provide the proof or the action you seek, because relationship cannot be used.
9.5 Look around the room in which you sit and take away the usefulness from each thing you see in it. How many items would you keep that you now look upon? Your body too was created for its usefulness. It sets you apart, just as each item in your room is set apart by what it is useful for. Ask yourself now: To whom is your body useful? This question does not apply to those for whom you cook or clean, those whose bodies you would repair or minds improve. The question is, really, who might have seen a use for a body such as yours before it was created? What kind of creator would create it and for what purpose?
9.6 You did not create your Self, but your body you did create. It was created for its usefulness just like every other object that shares the space you occupy. Think for a moment of what the creator of such a body would have intended the body to be. The body is a finite entity, created to be self-contained but also to self-destruct. It was created with a need for constant maintenance, a maintenance that requires toil and struggle. Every inch of its surface is a receiver and transmitter of information yet it carries additional tools such as eyes and ears to enhance its communication and to control what goes in and what goes out. It is as susceptible to pain as to pleasure. It contains the means for joining, but for joining that is of a temporary nature. It is as capable of violence as gentleness. It is born and dies in a state of helplessness.
9.7 The body could not help but be thus, as it was made with dual purposes in mind. It was made to make real and then glorify a separated self, and it was made to punish that separated self for the separation. Its creator had in mind what is reflected in the body: self-aggrandizement and self-effacement, pleasure and pain, violence and gentleness. A desire to know everything but only through its own effort, a desire to see everything but only through its own eyes, a desire to be known but only through what it would choose to share. Alongside these desires it is easy to see how a world such as that of the body developed. Alongside the desire to know was the desire not to know. Alongside the desire to see was the desire not to see. Alongside the desire to share was the desire to be hidden. Alongside the desire to live was the desire to live no more.
9.8 You have always been as you were created, but this is what you chose to make from that with which you started. In other words, you took what you are and made this of yourself. You did not create something from nothing and you did not usurp the power of God. You took what God created and turned it into an illusion so powerful that you believe it is what you are, rather than believing in the truth. But just as you have done this, you can undo this. This is the choice set before you—to go on believing in the illusion you have made, or to begin to see the truth.
9.9 Now you seek to know how to escape what you have made. To do so you must withdraw all faith from it. This you are not ready yet to do, but this is what your heart will now prepare you for. As you are prepared, you walk alongside he who has waited for you with a single purpose instead of alongside the conflicting desires you chose to let lead you to this strange world. You travel lightly now where before you walked in chains. You travel now with a companion who knows you as you are and would show your Self to you.
9.10 Look upon your body now as you earlier looked upon the space you occupy. Take away the body’s usefulness. Would you keep that which you now look upon? As you stand back and observe your body, always with the vision of your heart, think about just what it is that you would use it for. What God created cannot be used, but what you have made can, for its only purpose is your use. Choose to use it now to return you to your real Self, and the new purpose you establish will change its conditions as well as its usefulness to you.
9.11 All use is predicated on the simple idea that you do not have what you need. You will continue to believe this while your allegiance remains split. Until you have withdrawn all faith in what you have made, you will believe that what you made remains useful to you. Since this is the case, and since it cannot be changed without your total willingness to change it—a willingness not yet complete—we will, instead of trying to ignore what you have made, use it in a new way. Keep in mind, however, that we are merely saving time, and that your real Self has no need to use anything at all.
9.12 As stated before, what is most useful to us now is your perception of your heart. Your illusions concerning it, when undone, will quickly reveal to you the truth because your misperceptions concerning your heart remain closer to the truth than any that you hold. The memories of your heart are the strongest and purest that exist, and their remembrance will help to still your mind and reveal the rest.
9.13 We thus return to your perception of your emotions and all that causes you to feel. In your feelings, especially those you cannot name, lies your connection to all that is. This is useful because what you have named and classified is harder to dislodge and bring to light. Even those feelings you attempt to name and keep cleverly in a box that you have labeled this or that often are not content to stay where you would place them. They seem to betray you, when it is you who betray them by not allowing them to be what they are. This could be used as a capsule definition of your entire problem: You do not allow anything that exists in your world, including yourself, to be what it is.
9.14 Feelings that on their own seem to rebel against this insane situation are guided by memories trying to reveal the truth to you. They call to you from a place that you know not. The difficulty is that the only self that is listening to this call is your separated self. It is in the attempts of the separated self to interpret what feelings would say that they become as distorted as all the rest. It is the separated self that feels impelled to label feelings good and bad, some worthy of acknowledgment and the rest worthy only of denial or contempt. It is your language that gives emotion its place, one step behind fear, in your battle to control or protect what you have made.
9.15 Fear always lies one step beneath the surface of a situation because it lies one step beneath the surface of your self. Peel back the first level of what your eyes allow you to observe and you will find fear lurking there. The next level, depending on your disposition, is either the desire to control or the desire to protect. They are really the same but they wear different faces to the world. If, for the purposes of our discussion, the body is the surface aspect of your self, and if beneath that surface what is first encountered is fear, it is from fear that all the rest proceeds. Surely it is easy to see that neither the desire to control nor to protect would exist without the layer of fear that comes before it.
9.16 Fear, like all the rest of your emotions, comes in many guises and is given many names, but there are really only two emotions: one is fear, the other love. Fear is thus the source of all illusion, love the source of truth.
9.17 How could one separated off from all the rest not be fearful? It matters not at all that all whom you observe seem to be separate as well. No one really believes another to be as separate as he is. It always seems as if others have what you lack and what you are looking for. You seem to be alone in your frailty, loneliness, and lack of love. Others misunderstand you and know you not, and neither can you make any sense of them.
9.18 This need not be, for you are not separate! The relationships you seek to end your loneliness can do so if you but learn to see relationship differently. As with all your problems in perception, fear is what blocks the vision of your heart, the light the Christ in you would shine upon the darkness. Can you not see that when you chose to make yourself separate and alone you also made a choice for fear? Fear is nothing but a choice, and it can be replaced by choice of another kind.
9.19 It has been said often that cause and effect are one in truth. The world you see is the effect of fear. Each one of you would have compassion for a child tormented by nightmares. Each parent’s most fervent wish would be to tell a child truthfully there is no cause for fear. Age has not taken fear from any of you nor made your dream of life any less of a nightmare. Yet you spare few moments of compassion for yourself, and when such chance occurrences come about you quickly override compassion with practicality. While it makes sense to you to attempt to dispel a child’s nightmare, you see no way to dispel your own. You hide fear beneath the surface and behind each alternative label you would give it, in a desperate attempt to see it not. To live in fear is, indeed, a curse, and one that you would try to tell yourself is not present in your life. You look to others to feel compassion for, to those living in countries torn by war or neighborhoods steeped in violence. There is cause for fear, you say. But not here.
9.20 This is the only way you have been able to see to bring relief to the nightmare of a life of fear. You project fear outward and away from yourself, seeing not that you keep that which you would project. Seeing not that outward signs of fear are but reflections of what you keep within.
9.21 Think now of one of those you have identified as living the life of fear you deny yourself. And imagine that you could bring this one in from that dark and dangerous place. She is cold, and you prepare a fire and give her a warm blanket for her knees. He is hungry and you prepare a feast for him fit to serve a king. This one exists in the violence you would keep outside your doors, and from your inner sanctum you give this one a respite from the war that rages beyond it. All of your behavior and even your fantasies testify that you believe an absence of cold makes for warmth. That the absence of hunger is fullness. The absence of violence peace. You think that if you but provide these things that are opposite to what you would not want to have, you have accomplished much. But a warm fire will only provide warmth as long as it is stoked. A meal will provide fullness only until the next is needed. Your closed door only keeps you safe while its boundary is respected. To replace the temporary with the temporary is not an answer.
9.22 You may be thinking now that what I have just told you is not an answer is precisely what the Bible has instructed you to do. I am recorded as telling you to feed the hungry, to quench the thirst of the thirsty, to welcome and give rest to the stranger. I have said when you do this unto others you do this to me. Do you think that I am in need of a meal, a cup of water, a warm bed? While you are trapped in the illusion of need surely these acts of charity are of some value, but again I tell you that this value is temporary. My words call you to the eternal, to nourishment and rest of the spirit rather than the body. That your sights are set on the care of the body alone is another example of choosing an opposite for replacement.
9.23 Is this not your way of solving all the problems that you face? You see what you do not want and try to replace it with its opposite. Your life is thus spent in struggling against what you have for what you have not. Only one example is needed to clarify the predicament in which you have placed yourself. You feel lacking and so you want. You want and want and want. You truly believe you do not have what you need, and so make yourself continuously needy. You thus spend your life trying to fulfill your needs. For most of you, this trying takes on the form of work and you spend your entire life working to meet your needs and those of the ones you love. What would you do with your life if you had no needs to meet? What would you do with your life if you had no fear? These questions are the same.
9.24 The only replacement that can occur that will accomplish what you seek is the replacement of illusion with the truth, the replacement of fear with love, the replacement of your separated self with your real Self, the Self that rests in unity. It is your knowledge that this must occur that leads you to attempt every other kind of replacement. You can continue on in this fashion, always hoping that the next replacement will be the one that succeeds in bringing you what you desire, or you can choose instead the only replacement that will work.
9.25 All that you are asked to give up is your insane notion that you are alone. We speak much of your body here only because it is your proof of this insane idea’s validity. It is your proof as well that a life of fear is warranted. How could you not fear for the safety of a home as fragile as the body? How could you fail to provide the next meal for yourself and those within your care? You do not see all that these distractions of meeting needs would keep you from.
9.26 And yet the very reality that you have set up—the reality of not being able to succeed in what you must constantly strive to do—is a situation set up to provide relationship. Like everything else you have remembered of creation and made in its image, so too is this. While making yourself separate and alone you have also made it necessary to be in relationship to survive. Without relationship your species itself would cease to be, in fact, all life would end. Of course you must help your sister and brother, for they are yourself, and they are your only means to grasp eternity even within this false reality you have made.
9.27 Let us return to the example of feeding your sister’s hunger and quenching your brother’s thirst. This is not only a lesson in feeding and quenching spiritual hunger and thirst, but a lesson in relationship as well. It is the relationship inherent in meeting another’s need that makes the meeting of the need a thing of lasting value. It is your willingness to say, “Brother, you are not alone” that is the benefit of such situations, not only to your brother but also to you. It is in saying, “Sister, you are not alone” that spiritual hunger and thirst is met with the fullness of unity. It is in realizing that you are not alone that you realize your unity with me and begin to turn from fear toward love.
9.28 You are not your own creator. This is your salvation. You did not create something from nothing, and what you started with is what God created and remains as God created it. You do not have to ask yourself to stretch your belief beyond these simple statements. Are they really so implausible as to be beyond your acceptance? Is it so impossible to imagine that what God created was distorted by your desire to have your reality be other than what it is? Have you not seen this kind of distortion take place within the reality you do see? Is this not the story of the gifted son or daughter who squanders all the gifts he or she possesses by seeing them not or by sadly distorting what they might be useful for?
9.29 You are the prodigal sons and daughters welcomed constantly to return home to your Father’s safe embrace.
9.30 Think of your automobile or computer or any other thing you use. Without a user, would it have any function at all? Would it be anything? An automobile abandoned and without a user might become the home to a family of mice. A computer might be covered with a cloth, a flowerpot placed on top of it. Someone not knowing what it is for would make of it what he or she would have it be, but never would the user seek to exchange roles with it. When an accident happens, an automobile cannot be seen to be at fault for mistakes made by its user. Yet in a way this exchange of roles is similar to what you have attempted to do, and it is like placing the blame for a car accident on the automobile. You have attempted to change places with the body, claiming that it is using you rather than that you are using it. You do so out of guilt in an attempt to place your guilt outside yourself. “My body made me do it” is like the cry of the child with an imaginary friend. With his claim of an imaginary friend, the child announces that his body is not within his control. What is your ego but an imaginary friend to you?
9.31 Child of God, you need no imaginary friend when you have beside you he who is your friend always and would show you that you have no needs at all. What you truly are cannot be used, not even by God. See you not that it is only in illusion that you can use others who are like yourself?
9.32 You learn your concept of using others from the reality you have made in which you use the body that you call your home and identify as your own self. How can the user and the object of use be one and the same? This insanity makes the purpose of your life seem to be one of usefulness. The more your body can be of use to others and to yourself, the more worthwhile you see it as being. Ages have passed since creation began, and still you have not learned the lesson of the birds of the air or the flowers of the field. Two thousand years have passed since you were told to observe this lesson. The lilies of the field neither sow nor reap and yet they are provided for. The birds of the air live to sing a song of gladness. So do you.
9.33 God’s will for you is happiness, and never has it been otherwise. God’s creation is for eternity and has no use for time. Time too is of your making, an idea of use gone mad, as once again you have taken something made for your own use and allowed it to become the user. With your own two hands you give away all your happiness and power to that which you have made! It matters little now that in so doing you once again imitated what your faulty memory would tell you that your Creator did. God alone can give free will. In giving your power to things like your body and to ideas like time your imitation of the gift of free will is so falsely placed in illusion that you cannot see this madness for what it truly is. Your body has no use for your power, and time was not made for happiness.
9.34 The free will that God gave you is what has allowed you to make of yourself and your world what you will. Now you look upon this world with guilt and see it as evidence of your evil nature. It reinforces your belief that you have changed too much from what you were to ever again be worthy of your true inheritance. You fear that this, too, you would squander and lay to ruin. The only thing that might succeed in proving your place as that of royal inheritor would be if you could fix yourself and the world, restoring it to a previous condition that you imagine you know. In this scenario God is like unto your banker rather than your Father. You would prove to God that you can “make a go of it” before you would ask Him for His help.
9.35 As long as you do not want to be forgiven you will not feel the gentle touch of forgiveness upon you and your world. While there is no need in truth for this forgiveness, as there is no truth to this big change that you believe you have undergone, your desire to be forgiven is a first step away from your belief that you can fix things by yourself and in so doing earn your way back into your Father’s home. Being willing to be forgiven is the precursor of atonement, the state in which you allow your errors to be corrected for you. These errors are not the sins you hold against yourself, but merely your errors in perception. Correction, or atonement, returns you to your natural state where true vision lies, and error and sin disappear.
9.36 Your natural state is one of union, and each joining that you do in holy relationship returns a little of the memory of union to you. This memory of your divinity is what you seek in truth from each special relationship you enter into, but your true quest is hidden by the concept of use that gets in its way. While your heart seeks for union, your separated self seeks for what it can use to fill the emptiness and ease the terror of its separation. What your heart seeks in love it attains, but your separated self would keep this attainment from you by turning every situation into a means to serve its ends. As long as union is seen as a means only to keep loneliness from you it is not seen for what it truly is.
9.37 You have placed limits on all things in your world, and it is these limits of usefulness that would block your memory’s return. A love relationship, while seen as the ultimate achievement in terms of the closeness you can acquire with a brother or sister, is still limited by what you would have it do. Its purpose, simply stated, is to supply a lack. This is your definition of completion. What is missing in you is found in another and together a sense of wholeness is achieved.
9.38 Again this is but a distortion of creation. You remember that wholeness is achieved through union, but not how to accomplish it. You have forgotten that only you can be accomplished. You believe that by putting various parts together a whole can be achieved. You speak of balance, and try to find something for one part of yourself in one place and something for another somewhere else. This one fulfills your need for friendship and that one for intellectual stimulation. In one activity you express your creativity and in another your prayerfulness. Like a diversified investment portfolio, you think this parceling out of different aspects of yourself protects your assets. You fear “putting all your eggs in one basket.” You seek to balance the things you label drudgery and the things you label exciting. In doing so you see yourself as “spending your time” wisely, and you call yourself a “well-rounded individual.” As long as more than this is not sought, more than this will not be realized.
9.39 Seeking what you have lost in other people, places, and things is but a sign that you do not understand that what you have lost still belongs to you. What you have lost is missing, not gone. What you have lost is hidden to you but has not disappeared nor ceased to be. What you have lost is valuable indeed, and this you know. But you know not what this valuable something is. One thing alone is sure: When you have found it you will know that it has been found. This is what will bring you happiness and peace, contentment and a sense of belonging. This is what will cause you to feel as if your time here has not been in vain. You know that whatever else your life seems to be for, if on your deathbed you have not found what you have sought, you will not leave in deepest peace but in dark despair and fear. You will have no hope for what lies beyond life, for you will have found no hope in life.
9.40 Your quest for what is missing thus becomes the race you run against death. You seek it here, you seek it there, and scurry on to the next thing and the next. Each person runs this race alone, with hope only of victory for himself. You realize not that if you were to stop and take your brother’s hand, the racecourse would become a valley full of lilies, and you would find yourself on the other side of the finish line, able at last to rest.
9.41 The injunction to rest in peace is for the living, not the dead. But while you run the race you will know it not. Competition that leads to individual achievement has become the idol you would glorify, and you need not look far for evidence that this is so. This idolatry tells you that glory is for the few, and so you take your place in line at the starting gate and make your bid for glory. You run the race as long as you can and, win or lose, your participation in the race was but the required offering to the idol you have made. And at some point, when you can run the race no more, you bow down to those who have achieved glory; they become your idols and you become their subjects, watching what they do with envy and with awe. To these you make your sacrifices and pay your homage. To these you say, “I would be like you.” To these you look for a vicarious fulfillment, having given up any hope for real fulfillment. Here you are entertained, shocked, excited, or repelled. Here you watch the gladiators kill one another for your amusement. Here is your notion of use displayed in all its most horrific detail.
9.42 What is this but a demonstration, on a larger scale, of what you live each day? This is all that anything larger than yourself demonstrates to you. All society, groups, teams, and organizations are but a collective portrayal of individual desire. Slaves and masters but use one another and the same laws bind both. Who is master and who is slave in this body you would call your home? What freedom would you have without the demands your body places upon you? The same question can be asked of this world you see as home to the body. Which is master and which is slave when both are held in bondage? The glory you give idols is but bondage as well. Without your idolatry their glory would be no more, and so they live in fear no less than that of those who idolize them.
9.43 Use, in any form, leads to bondage, and so to perceive a world based on use is to see a world where freedom is impossible. What you think you need your sister for is thus based upon this insane premise that freedom can be purchased and that master is freer than slave. Although this is illusion, it is the illusion that is sought. The purchase price is usefulness. And so each joining is seen as a bartering in which you trade your usefulness for that of another. An employer has use for your skills and you have use for the salary and benefits the employer offers. A spouse is useful in many ways that complement your areas of usefulness. A store provides you with goods that you would use, and you supply a store with capital that its owner will use. If you are gifted with beauty or athletic or artistic talent that can be used, how lucky you think you are. A beautiful face and a fit body can be traded for so much. It is no secret that you live in a world of supply and demand. From the simple concept of individuals needing to be in relationship to survive has grown this complex web of use and abuse.
9.44 Abuse is but improper use—use on a scale that makes the insanity of use obvious to both the user and the usee, and so has its proper place in our discussion here. Look at patterns of abuse, in everything from drugs and alcohol to physical or emotional mistreatment. These, like the larger examples of your daily life gone awry, are but demonstrations of internal desires taken to a greater extreme; only these, rather than being reflected by the group, are reflected within the individual. The individual with issues of abuse would do a service to the world if the people in it were to understand what that abuse is a reflection of. Like any extreme, it merely points out what in less extreme instances is still the same: Use is improper.
9.45 It is its purpose that makes use improper. The Holy Spirit can guide you to use the things that you have made in ways that benefit the whole, and this is the distinction between proper and improper use, or use and abuse. You would use for the benefit of the separated self. When magnified, the destructive force of such abuse is easily apparent. Again you would place the blame outside yourself and label drugs, alcohol, tobacco, gambling, and even food as destructive forces. Like the automobile you would blame for an accident, user and usee have become confused. All such confusion stems from the initial confusion of the use you think your body would put you to. All such confusion stems from your displacement of yourself and your abdication of your power to the things that you have made.
9.46 Let me say again that this is your misguided attempt to follow in creation’s way. God gave all power to his creations, and you would choose to do this as well. Your intent is not evil, but guided by the guilt and false remembering of the separated self. As much as you have desired anonymity and autonomy from God, still you blame God for creating a situation in which you think you have been allowed to hurt yourself. How could God allow all this suffering, you ask? Why does He tempt you with such destructive forces? Forces beyond your control? Why did not God create a world benign and unable to harm you?
9.47 Such is the world that God did create: A world so lovely and so peaceful that when you see it once again you will cry with joy and forget your sadness in an instant. There will be no long remembering of regrets, no feeling badly for all the years in which you saw this not. There will merely be a glad “Aha!” as what was long forgotten is returned to you. You will but smile at the childish games you played, and have no more regrets than you would have for your childhood. Your innocence will stand out clearly here, and never again will you doubt that the world that God created belongs to you and you to it.
9.48 All your vast wanderings will be seen for what they are. All that you desired will be revealed as only two desires, the desire to love and the desire to be loved. Why wait to see that these desires are all that call you to the strange behavior you display? Those who give in to abuse are merely calling louder for the selfsame love that all are in search of. Judgment is not due them, for all here are abusers—starting with their own selves.
9.49 Attempts to modify the behavior of abuse are near to useless in a world based on use. The foundation of the world must change, and the stimulus for this change lies within you. All use ends with joining, for use is what you have traded joining for. Instead of recognizing your union, a state in which you are whole and complete because you are joined with all, you have determined to stand separate and use the rest to support your separate stance. See you the difference in these two positions? In what way is your way better than the way God created for you, a way that is completely free of conflict? Despite your bravest attempts to remain separate, you must use your brothers and sisters in order to even maintain the illusion of your separation. Would it not simply be better to end this charade? To admit that you were not created for separation but for union? To begin to let go of your fear of joining, and as you do, let go of use as well?
9.50 How different would the world be if you would but attempt for one day to replace use with union! Before you can begin, however, we must expand on the lessons you are learning by observing your own self. Now we seek to uncover the illusion that you can be used by your body, for your own seeming use by such as this leads to all other ideas of use.
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