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12.1 The word love is part of your problem with this Course. If I were to take the word love and change it to some sophisticated-sounding technical term, and say this is the stuff that binds the world together in unity, it would be easier for you to accept. If I were to say you know not of this sophisticated term and this is why you have believed in your separation rather than in your unity with all things, you would be far more likely to nod your head and say, “I was but ignorant of this, as was everyone else.” If a scientist were to tell you that a benign energy had been found that proved your connection to everything in the universe, and gave it some fancy name, you would say, “A new discovery has been found and I am willing to believe it may be true, especially if others are also going to believe it to be true.”
12.2 You feel a little duped at being told love is the answer. You feel a little chastised to be told you know love not. You feel a little deceived to think that love may not be limited to what you have thought it to be. You think it is typical of a spiritual text to tell you love is the answer, as if it has not been said before. This message was preached long ago and still the world remains the same. How could this be the correct answer when this is so? Life is too complicated to be solved by love.
12.3 How quickly you would return to cynicism and to believing you have already tried and failed. For all of you believe that you have tried this idea called love, and all of you believe you have evidence that it is not the answer at all. What is your evidence? Your own failure to be happy and the unhappiness of the world you see.
12.4 We have said before the only meaning possible for your free will is your choice of what to join with and your choice of what to leave outside of yourself. Yet you must understand that nothing that is not part of God is worthy of joining, nor can join with you. What you have sought to join with is the reason for your unhappiness. For you seek to join with what cannot be joined, and you seek separation from all that could be joined with you and all that would fill your dark and lonely places with the happiness you seek.
12.5 This Course may seem to have come far astray from what you would have it do, for you are looking for something specific from it, though you know it not. You are looking for the rest and quiet joy that only comes from love. You are looking for the safety and security of a loving home, even if it is one only of philosophy. You look for the soft assurance of certainty, not of your mind but of your heart. There is a part of you that thinks, “If I could just be sure…” and stops there, for you are not even sure of what it is you seek assurance. And yet you know what tires you most is your inability to be certain of anything. And you are tired indeed.
12.6 God’s will for you is happiness, and of this you can be certain. To align your will with God’s is but to make this certain state your home. This is but a wish come true, and when it is all you wish for it will come to be. And in the granting of this wish will come your rest and the laying down of every heavy burden you have carried.
12.7 Admit now your desire to rest, a desire that could make you weep and make you wish to sleep an endless sleep. If you but understood the energy required to keep the world of your illusion in its place, you would understand the rest that will simply come of giving up your need to do so. Your desire for certainty is part of your resistance to any ideas that seem to be about change. What little that you think you know you would strive to keep, and yet deep down you realize that you know nothing with the certainty you seek.
12.8 Uncertainty of any kind is doubt about your Self. This is why this Course aims to establish your identity, for from it all the rest will come. As such, this Course seems to ask for change at every level, and yet from one change alone will all the others follow—and through no effort on your part at all. And even this one change is not a change at all, for it merely seeks to remove all the changes you but think that you have made to God’s creation. This change seeks but to restore you to your Self.
12.9 Your Self rests totally unchanged within the Christ in you. Re-establishing your relationship with your brother is what will show your Self to you. You have one brother who wears but many faces in your perception of who he is, and while you know him not you cannot know your Self. This one brother can unite you with all whom you perceive as others, for all others are one with him as well as you. This is the one joining that needs to occur to bring about all the rest.
12.10 This is the one disjoining that your choice for separation brought about, and it is but a separation from your Self. This is the most difficult point to get across, because in it lies a contradiction, the one contradiction that has created the world you see and the life you live. Although it is impossible for something to have gone wrong in God’s creation, something has gone wrong! All you need do is look about you to know that this is so—and, rather than be discouraged by this news, you breathe a sigh of relief because you knew this to be true and yet have felt as if this is the secret that has been kept from you. It is as if you are told endlessly “everything is fine” while you know this is not true. And if “everything” is fine, it must just be you who are all wrong.
12.11 All of creation seems to hum along in perfect harmony. The stars light up the sky, the sun and moon do what they were appointed to do, the animals of the sea, ground, and air are but what their Creator bade them be, the mountains stand in all their majesty, rivers flow and desert sands countless in number are blown endlessly about. Everything seems to be what it is and what it has always been, but for, perhaps, the mark of man upon it. Yet the moon remains the moon despite man’s landing on it. The earth remains the earth despite your highways, roads and bridges. And somewhere you know not, peace remains peace despite your wars, and happiness remains happiness despite your despair.
12.12 Yet what of you? You, too, seem to have remained the same for countless ages. Perhaps you believe that long ago you evolved from a form different than that which you inhabit now; but certainly within the laws of evolution, you have changed as little as the birds of the air or fish of the sea. Yet somehow you know that in all of creation, it is humanity alone that somehow is not what it was meant to be. On a lovely day and in a lovely place you can see that creation’s paradise still exists, but nowhere can you find the being God created in His image.
12.13 Does it make any sense at all that this would come to be? Or that once upon a time there walked upon the earth those who did reveal God’s image, and that when they ceased to be seen here God’s image was lost to earth forever? Could even one have come and gone and left this void forever more unfilled? A gaping hole within the universe itself?
12.14 But one was needed to end the separation, and in this one are all the rest joined. For what alone in all creation could be affected by your free will but your own self? But one was needed to, of his own free will, join his will with his Father’s for it to be done for all. This is all correction or atonement means, and all that is in need of your acceptance. Join your brother who made this choice for all, and you are reunited with the Christ in you.
12.15 Joined minds cannot think separately and have no hidden thoughts. They are, in fact, not minds in the plural at all, but all-one-mind. What this Course is saying is that at some point that does not exist in time, God’s son made the choice for separation. Whether God’s son had one form or many at that time matters not, for one form or many, there was still one mind, the mind of God’s son joined in unity with that of his Father. Many of you have been taught this mystery of faith. Father, Son, and Holy Spirit are One. If you had indeed learned what you were taught, the separation would be no more.
12.16 These words, Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, like the word love, are but symbols representing ideas that represent what is. That you have made of the Father a singular figure, somehow greater than the Son, and accepted the Holy Spirit as something largely not within your understanding, only exemplifies the nature of the error in need of correction. While words, as symbols, cannot fully explain what cannot be symbolized, a beginning is made that must be completed through the memories of your heart. So we continue, realizing that these words can express the truth only within their ability as symbols, and that farther than where these symbols can take you, the truth lies within your Self.
12.17 You have all seen the way a thought that seems to arise out of nowhere can affect you. An idea, birthed one day, does not seem to have been there the day before. Perhaps it is the idea of taking a trip or having a baby, of returning to school, or quitting a job. This idea, newly birthed, may seem to come and go, or may grow into an obsession, but either way, it leaves not its source. And without the birth of the idea, the results of the idea would not come to be. You may have a thousand ideas one day and ten thousand the next, so many that you could never keep track of them all, and yet they still exist within you and do not splinter off and become something on their own apart from you. Imagine this occurring and you will see how senseless this situation would be. Could a trip happen on its own? To whom would it happen?
12.18 You may very well say, however, that an idea seemed to take on a life of its own and compel you to do things you might have never dreamed of doing. People often look back upon their lives and wonder how they got from here to there, and some may see that one idea took root and changed what seemed to be a destiny already written.
12.19 As near as words can describe the separation, this is what occurred: An idea of separation entered the mind of God’s son. Like any idea of yours, this idea did not leave its Source nor change the essence of its Source in any way. While the idea of taking an adventurous vacation when brought to fruition might reshape the life of the one participating in it, it would not change who that person was, or who his father was, or the nature of the family he was born into. All that would change would be the shape of his life, the things that would happen within it, perhaps the places in which it would occur or the people that would be part of it. In short, the external aspects of the life.
12.20 From the idea of separation came the idea of an external aspect of life. Before the idea of the separation, there was no such thing—and there still is no such thing except as an extension of the original idea. Just as we discussed your desire to protect or to control proceeding from the concept of fear, and realized that without fear they would not exist, so too is it with the external aspect of life. Without the original idea of separation, the external aspect of life would not exist. Just as fear is not real although it seems to be, separation is not real although it seems to be.
12.21 The Father did not prevent the idea of separation from taking place, and could not any more than you could prevent an idea from occurring to you. Just as an idea of yours, once born, continues to exist, so too, did this idea of separation. But just as your ideas do not take on a life of their own even though they at times seem to, this idea as well had no ability to be more than what it was, except for as the son chose to participate in it.
12.22 Thus, the son’s participation in the idea of separation seemed to bring about a completely reshaped life, a destiny different than that which had already been written. Yet this participation could not but proceed from the original idea and could not proceed in reality but only in the external aspect of life that preceded it. The idea of separation changed nothing in reality, but became a drama acted out upon a stage so real that it seemed to be reality.
12.23 Separation is painful only to those who believe it can occur in truth. What would a child’s rejection or a parent’s death mean to those who did not believe in separation? Do you believe that God believes in separation? He knows it not, and because He knows it not, it does not exist. Because He knows it not, He has not been hurt by it. He knows no rejection and no death. He knows no pain or sorrow. His son remains with Him in his eternal home, joined with him as always in eternal completion.
12.24 Yet while the son’s extension into an external world is quite real, it is all that is truly real within it. The son could not create unlike the Father who created everything by extension of Himself. Neither the Father’s extension, nor the son’s, lessened Father or son in any way. Replace the word Father with the word Creation and see if this does not help to make this concept clear. Could Creation’s continuing extension of itself, its continuing creation, make less of it than what it started out to be? What we call Father is but creation’s heavenly face, a personification of what cannot truly be personified. You find it hard to believe Creation itself can be benevolent and kind, or just another name for love, but such it is. God is but creation’s starting point, the creator of creation and yet Creation itself. The Son and Holy Spirit, like unto Creation, proceeded from the starting point of God. God is the Son and Holy Spirit’s starting point as well, the Creator of the Son and Holy Spirit, yet He also is the Son and Holy Spirit.
12.25 Now, carry this pattern forward, for the pattern of God’s extension is the pattern of creation and thus the pattern of the universe. The son extended himself into creation, and you are that extension and as holy as is he. The idea of separation only seems to have made God’s son susceptible to division, and these word symbols are all that seem to separate Father, Son, and Holy Spirit from Creation or from each other.
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