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17.1 Being who you are is no luxury reserved for the idle rich, or the very young or old. Being who you are is necessary for the completion of the universe. Without the real you in it, there would be a void within the universe—and this would be impossible. And yet there is a way in which you are missing.
17.2 This has to do with consciousness and what you are aware of. Let’s just say the space that you would fill as your own Self is held for you by another part of your consciousness that has never left it. It is the reunion of these two selves that will bring about the completion of the universe and the return of heaven. Where two are joined together can be used rightly here as well as in regard to relationship. Your choice to separate from God is but a separation from your own Self, and this is truly the separation that needs to be healed to return you to God.
17.3 You shy away from thoughts of a consciousness beyond that of which you are aware because of fear. And yet you know you cannot claim that you are aware of all that exists within the universe, or even that you fully know your own Self. What is fearful about the unknown is simply that it is unknown. Coming to know what was previously unknown to you can remove the fear, if you will let it.
17.4 Consciousness of which you are unaware is not magic, superstition, or insanity. Yet you shield yourself from knowledge of it as if it would change the nature of the universe itself. It will change your perception of it. This is both what you desire and what you fear just as you both desire and fear knowing yourself.
17.5 There is an underlying assumption that you know all that is good for you to know, and that to know more is going to mean that things you would rather not know, and therefore must be bad, are what will be revealed. And yet all the evidence of your own thoughts will reveal to you your willingness to accept the bad about yourself and your world. And so this assumption that what is unknown must be bad cannot be valid, even by your own standards of evidence. Yet, in your estimation, the unknown cannot be fully good or worthy of your knowing because the reason that you use is loyal to the world you see. This is why even heaven, which you would label good, is not wholly good in your estimation of it. Why is it not wholly good? Because you have defined it as lacking much of what you have judged to be good in the world you now perceive.
17.6 You have, however, willingly entered many unknown states. Some of you have gotten married, had children, taken mind-altering drugs, or attempted strenuous or even terrifying physical feats. But all of you without exception have willingly entered the unknown state of sleep and experienced the loss of consciousness that it brings. Each of you has had the experience of dreaming during the time of sleep. Some may claim they know everything there is to know about sleep and dreaming, being married, using drugs, or having children; but even those of you who would listen to what the experts have to say believe this not.
17.7 Each day is an unknown you enter into, despite your every attempt to anticipate what it might hold. And yet, while it would seem you would grow quite used to this phenomenon, you do not. You still make your plans and rail against everything that interferes with them, even knowing in advance that your greatest efforts at organization are often to no avail. A Course in Miracles asks you to “receive instead of plan,” and yet few of you understand the meaning of this simple instruction or what it says to you of the unknown.
17.8 What it says is that the unknown is benevolent. What it says is that what you cannot anticipate can be anticipated for you. What it says is that you could be receiving constant help if you would but let it come. What it says is that you are not alone.
17.9 Receiving implies that something is being given. Receiving implies a willingness to accept what is given. This willingness is what you do not offer. Yet this is due to your lack of understanding about the nature of creation, and can be corrected.
17.10 Sin is simply the belief that correction cannot be made. This is the mistake that has happened in creation. This is how the impossible has become possible. If you were not so determined to believe correction cannot be made, correction would have occurred. This is the original error that is so in need of correction: your belief in sin—or in other words, your belief that what you have chosen is not reversible.
17.11 Is this not evident in the judgment you rely upon and in your treatment of criminals as well as of your own self and those you love? You believe mistakes must be paid for, not once but many times, and no matter how heavy the payment is, it only “pays for” what was done and cannot ever be undone. What does payment do but purchase something that is then yours to keep? What have you purchased with all your effort to make amends for your wrongdoing? You have but purchased guilt, and hold it to yourself—a constant companion and a judgment on your own self.
17.12 See you now why those who judge cannot enter heaven? Judgment proceeds from the belief in sin and the irreversibility of all errors. If you do not believe you can reverse or “turn back” to the state in which you existed before the original error, then you never shall.
17.13 And yet all you need do is turn back. Being an observer of your body has prepared you for this. Step back now to the place that has been held for you. You have not lost “your place in line” because you wandered. It has been held for you by the most loving of brothers, a brother united with your own Self.
17.14 This space you can turn back to holds no judgment and no fear, and so it is the repository of all that has proceeded from love. There it keeps all love’s gifts safe for you. Love’s gifts are gifts of creation or extension, gifts you have both given and received. Each act of love is added to the space in the universe that is yours and has become part of the whole along with you. All that has proceeded from fear is nothing, and has no existence apart from your own thoughts.
17.15 Your thoughts, however, have become quite harsh, and quite entrenched in the belief in their right to judge. Many of you have let go of your belief in sin and still held onto your belief in judgment, thinking one is different from the other. They are not different, and while you do not see this your thoughts remain based on fear and fear thus remains your foundation. For judgment is but the belief that what God created can be changed, and has been.
17.16 Forgiveness, which replaces judgment, must come from your heart. To forgive based on the logic of your mind rather than the compassion of your heart is to only give thought to forgiveness. This many of you will give, even to deciding to forgive despite your better judgment. See you not how little sense this makes, how insincere this even sounds?
17.17 Sincerity is synonymous with wholeheartedness—a concept you do not understand for it is beyond concepts. But now we begin to integrate your learning as we move to wholeness. The first move toward wholeness is but to understand this: heart and mind are not separate. A united mind and heart is a whole heart, or wholeheartedness. You may ask then why this Course has treated them as separate parts of you. This is simply because this is the way you see them, and because it has allowed me to address the different functions you have given them.
17.18 What is the same cannot have different functions. And now your mind and heart must work together in the united function we have established—returning to you your identity within God’s creation.
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