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14.1 The purpose of the life you share here with your brothers and your sisters has been to challenge God’s creation. Now your united purpose must change to that of remembering who you are within God’s creation, rather than in the world that you have made. Think but a minute of this, and you will begin to see the enormity of the difference in these two purposes.
14.2 Is it not true that you have made an enemy of creation? Do you feel part of it and at one with all within it? If not, you have made yourself creation’s enemy. You seek to be different from all the rest, and in this seeking proclaim that one part of creation is better than another part. You thus seek to fragment creation as you have fragmented your own self. And from the vantage point you have established in which you view yourself as the epitome of God’s creation, you see the rest of creation as being meant to serve your ends. And since your end or goal is that of separation and being different from all the rest, this is the goal you ask creation to bow down to, a goal that never can be achieved any more than can your separation from what you think is unlike you.
14.3 You cannot have feelings of superiority and not an enemy make. The same occurs when you would make yourself inferior, and you are always making for yourself a place at one of these extremes. And all this effort and conflict arises simply from your insistence upon being separate. He who is your enemy you cannot help but be at war with. Where there is war there can be no peace. War is not simply the existence of external activity. External activity is but the effect of a cause that remains internal, and all war is but war upon yourself.
14.4 Do you not see how your notion of heaven being an attainment you can reach only after death fits your goal of separation? If your belief in heaven were true, your challenge to creation would be real and only your death would prove the victor. For if after death your creator God provided you with a paradise not of this world, a separate place to honor your specialness and separation from all else that He created, then would you be vindicated and the purpose of your war made holy. You would be proven right and creation wrong.
14.5 Would this make sense? What creator would create a world in which the highest achievement of the life upon it would be to leave it in order to gain life? What creator would create a world not meant to exist in harmony? Harmony is life. What creator would create a temporary life and hold eternal life as a reward for death?
14.6 If you can see the senselessness of a creator and a creation such as this and still believe in it, then you must believe in a god who is insane. You who pride yourself on reason and practicality—think if a creation such as this could contain any reason whatsoever. Why then do you believe in it?
14.7 You who have made a god of reason and of intellect, think carefully now of what your reason and your intellect have made for you. How terrible would it really be to realize that although you have tried mightily, a creation such as this cannot be made to make any sense at all? Those who have turned their backs on God and refused to believe in such nonsense have simply refused to make reason try to fit the unfitable without seeing that an alternative exists.
14.8 You are not asked to believe the unbelievable, or to disregard all that reason would say to you. Only the opposite is true. You are asked rather to give up the laws of chaos for the laws of reason. The laws of illusion for the laws of truth.
14.9 Think you not that reason opposes love, for love gives reason its foundation. The foundation of your insane world is fear. The foundation of heaven, your true home, is love. The same world based upon these different foundations could not help but look quite different.
14.10 Your ideas of love, however, fit your goal of separation as neatly and conveniently as does your idea of heaven. For what you require of love is that it set you apart and make you special. Much more is demanded of those you love than of any of your other brothers and sisters. The more that is required is all to feed your idea of your own specialness. You look for constant verification that this one you love loves you in return, and if this attention is not provided you feel you have cause for claiming wounds that cannot be healed and reparations that cannot be paid. You thus hold the one you love the most in the greatest bondage, and call that bondage a relationship.
14.11 This can be most clearly seen in relationships that were once “everything” to you and have since failed you. This can be a memory of any relationship, and each of you has one. It can be of parent and child, of best friends, of a marriage or a partnership, or even that of a mentor or student. Whatever the relationship’s configuration, it was one that truly brought you joy. Within it you were happy and felt as if you needed nothing more than this. It was a relationship so intense that at its peak you would have begun to see its continuation without change as the major goal of your life. Without it, life would not be worth living, and so it was necessary to retain it at all cost.
14.12 This is a classic example that reveals much to you about yourself and the world you have made if you are but willing to look at it with eyes that truly see. It is the magnifying glass that will allow you to see your world in all its mad confusion. For what caused you such great joy seemed to come at the cost of pain and to leave you more alone and comfortless than before. How could this be said of love? And how could it have failed you so? And how, if it were real—as it surely felt as if it was—could it prove anything but that love is no answer, and surely not for you?
14.13 We must begin with what is obvious, a simple point that some of you have denied and that some of you could not. What makes this relationship stand out in your mind and feel so painful in your memory of it is that it was quite real in a way that is different from your relationships before or since. No other relationship affected you in such a way. Never were you more sure of a relationship’s value to you. Anything that could make you feel so joyous, so safe and warm and loved, could not help but hold a value quite beyond compare. In this you were correct. It was no illusion that caused you to feel this way. This was not the love that passes for love in this world, but something else entirely. For at least one brief moment, this was true love, for nothing but love can be the cause of joy, nor offer a haven of safety in an insane world.
14.14 It is your response to love that concerns us now, for the return of love is coming and you do not want to make the same response again.
14.15 Everything that you consider valuable you want to keep. This makes perfect sense to you because the foundation of your world is fear. Were the foundation of your world love, everything that you consider valuable you could not wait to share. Perhaps you think the desire to keep things for yourself stems from something other than fear. You might call this desire pride or security, or even accept that it is vanity, before you would call it fear. But fear is what it is.
14.16 Only fear breeds the feelings of lack that stand with it, the cornerstone of the foundation of your separate world. You do not realize that you have created a universe for yourself, a universe that you are required to maintain, and that without your effort would dissolve. This universe is yourself and you are everything in it. Do you not believe that were you to perish something quite unique would be lost to the world? You are alone and irreplaceable: one of a kind. Within you lie all that you would hope to contribute and create. Within the actions and interactions of your lifetime lie all the effects you would hope to have on what remains here. Without you, the people and the events that you would influence would behave quite differently and bring about different results than are somehow meant to occur. Although you know not your purpose, at least a part of you believes that this is true, for there must be some reason for your existence—although you cannot quite imagine what that reason might be. You must be meant to be because you are, and you cannot fathom that you would exist at all if there were not a reason for you to do so.
14.17 Is this not a description of a universe? What is a universe but itself and everything in it? Nothing would seem to exist outside of it, and so it must be unique. Everything that would happen within the universe would depend upon it.
14.18 You think that you are quite aware of your small space within the universe, and that it is foolishness to say that you think otherwise. Yet, since only what you know is part of your universe, do you not see that it depends on you, and if it depends on you that it is you? Only what you are aware of exists in the universe that is you. Only what happens to you affects your universe. Your universe is completely different than anyone else’s and completely self-contained. The laws of your universe are for the maintenance of your body, because without it you would not exist. And when you cease to exist, so does your universe. The lights will be turned out upon it and it will be no more.
14.19 What a big job you have assigned yourself! It is no small wonder that you live in fear when so much is dependent upon you. And no wonder that when you find a respite, a place of rest and beauty and of love, you want to claim it for your own lest it get away! It too must be maintained within your universe, or you will know it not and its benefits will escape and be lost to you. You wish that you could join with it and make it one with you, but since you know not that this can be done or how to do it, you try to accomplish the “next best thing” and keep it close to you, a twin universe still existing separately, but close enough that you can gaze upon it and feel the benefit of its warmth because of its proximity. More than this you cannot do, but still you try. With chains you would bind this separate universe to your own, for as long as it maintains its autonomy, which it must, even its nearness is not enough. And so what you attempt next is an exchange of sorts. Like two countries, one rich in oil, another in grain, you set up dependencies that will keep you linked. Some of you do this quite obviously, and over years and years create a web of intricate design, a snare or trap that seems impossible to dismantle because of its interconnections. Others experience this plan of entrapment solely in their mind as they plot and plan for what they never have the opportunity to put into place. Still others are more coy in their design, and dress it up to look like sacrifice and gifts given, but all with the same purpose in mind. What none realize is that fear has replaced love.
14.20 Some may realize that they are afraid of losing love, and even speak of it and try to alleviate the fear with official commitments, pledges, and promises made. Others may deny their fear, and say they trust in what they have and the faithfulness of the one they love. Fewer than these are those who do not need to voice their faith and trust, for their feelings remain strong despite their fear. For even those who fear no deception must remain afraid of the great deceiver. Whether they call it life or death, it is still the same. It is the chance that cannot be foreseen but is always there: death may take their loved one prematurely, and if not prematurely certainly eventually.
14.21 And all of these, those who would admit to fear, and those who would not, would still believe that love exists despite fear’s claim upon it, and think that they are lucky to have found a love to shield them for a little while from all the other things they fear. And yet the greatest fear of all is that of loss of love. You who have given everything to be alone and separate fear most of all that which you have given everything to attain. For what is loss of love but confirmation of your separate state? What is loss of love but being left alone?
14.22 Loss of love comes from only one source. Call it fear or call it separation but it is still the same. For in your separated state you ask that love make you special to someone else, and that one special to you. You think this is what love is for, and so you make of it something it is not and only call it love.
14.23 Heaven can only be made to seem to fit your goal of separation, and the same is true of love. You cannot change what love is or what heaven is. All that seems to make it change is the function or purpose you would give it. It is but you who gave heaven the purpose of giving you something to look forward to, a reward for a life lived according to your own rules, a reward to be gained by some and not by others, a pinnacle of achievement that will prove your rightness and your success after you are gone. Love you give the same purpose, but bid it do the job of rewarding you here and now. It, like heaven, is your proof that you are good and worthy, special and to be rewarded for your specialness.
14.24 You have thus placed love and heaven together in a parody of creation’s meaning of each. Yes, they go together, and this you know; but the purpose of neither is what you have ascribed it to be. The purpose you give each thing within your world is what makes it what it is to you. And as each purpose you have ascribed to anything proceeds from the foundation of fear that built your world, each purpose is as senseless and as reversed from the truth as is the next.
14.25 This is why this Course cannot just talk of love and bring you any closer to it than you are. While you realize not the purpose of anything in truth, you cannot know love or your own Self.
14.26 While your purpose remains to make yourself and others special, you will not put an end to the separation. And you cannot just let go of your own specialness. For as long as you hold on to the specialness of others you hold on to your own. There is no reason to hold on to another’s specialness unless you hold onto your own. And what you give to others you keep for yourself. Give another specialness, and you keep it for yourself as well as see it in them instead of seeing their glory. Specialness keeps them separate, and therefore susceptible to loss. How can you lose what is one with you? You cannot. You can only lose that which is separate. And specialness does make separate.
14.27 This is the problem compounded in your “special” love relationships of having experienced real specialness, which is not specialness at all but glory. Your joining caused this, for each joining brings you in touch with your brother. Each joining returns you to your holy relationship with your brother, which is the only one you have in truth. Only this relationship is real, and in it are included all others. One does not discard or replace the other. What is real is all-inclusive. What is unreal is nothing.
14.28 You who do not know how to trade your separated state for that of union have still done so when you have loved freely and without fear. In this state your memory returns to you of who you are, and you are innocent and joyous and one with love itself. That this memory does not last, and these feelings seem unsustainable, is the result only of that which does discard and replace. As we have said before, there are but two emotions. One is love, the other fear. Fear, through your own choice, replaces and discards love. Fear is always strongest when you value something that you feel may be threatened. Love threatens most your specialness. Before your conscious mind has any awareness of what is happening, your memory of love, of innocence and of joy, threatens your specialness, your ego, your separated self who quickly rushes in with love’s replacement. Nothing but fear could take the memory of love from you, or replace so quickly the glory that is your nature with the specialness that is not.
14.29 You think love is what you value most, and so resist any notion that what you view as love is not what you think it is. But as long as you equate love with the special ones on whom you choose to bestow it, you will know love not. What you will know is specialness, raised to the level of the Almighty and set upon His throne in a crown of jewels.
14.30 In your world love has no meaning unless it is attached to a particular thing. And as soon as love is attached to a particular, love’s opposite is brought into existence. While you refuse to look upon this simple fact, you have no hope of change, nor does your world. You who think, “What harm can come of loving this one above all others?” think again. For you are choosing not to love but to make special. And you are choosing but to make love’s opposite real to you and those you claim to love, as well as those you claim not to love.
14.31 Let us ask instead how loving all as one can bring harm? If you love all the same, what loss is there to anyone, including the one you would choose to make special? All that is lost is specialness. This is the view of life you cannot imagine bringing about, or bringing joy in its coming. But this is what you must begin to imagine if you desire to accept love’s coming instead of to reject it once again. For your refusal to give up specialness is your refusal of the Christ in you and a refusal of love itself.
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