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17.1 Just as the creation story had to start somewhere—so you had to start somewhere. We have spoken of the spirit that animated all things as the movement or cause of movement that began the creation story. We have spoken of Christ-consciousness as the awareness of existence through relationship. We have spoken of life-consciousness and Christ-consciousness as the merging of the human and the divine into observable form. Thus there must be a difference between life-consciousness and Christ-consciousness, since you have been life-conscious without being Christ-conscious. You have been the created without being the creator. Something has been missing. What is Christ? What is Christ-consciousness? Are they different or the same?
17.2 You have been told Christ-consciousness is neither God nor man but the relationship that allows the awareness that God is everything. You have been told Christ-consciousness has also been known as wisdom, Sophia, spirit. Christ-consciousness thus obviously predates the man Jesus, and creation itself. It is both the feminine and masculine, the “identity” of God, or in other words, the All of All given an identity. God holds you within Himself. Christ is held within you as the center or heart of yourself—as your identity and God’s identity. Christ is the “I Am” of God, the expression of “I Am” in form, the animator and the animated, the informer and the informed, the movement, being, and expression of creation. Christ is that which anointed form with the “I Am” of God. In many religious traditions, life is ritually or sacramentally anointed in its coming and its going in remembrance of the original anointing.
17.3 Why do we return to this now, repeating what has been said before? Because we have reached the time, once again, for you to claim your identity. Although being who you are has been discussed in many ways, many of you still await being different than who you are. This is because you realize that being your true Self is being in union, undivided and inseparable from God, the All of All. God is only the all-knowing because God is in everything and everyone. Consciousness itself is not knowing but awareness. God is the Creator of knowing because God created a means of coming to know. This “part” of God, the animator and informer, is Christ-consciousness.
17.4 What is the drive that kept you reading this Course, caused you to enter this dialogue, kept you examining, kept you attempting to move beyond learning to a new means of knowing? Christ-consciousness. This is why it was said in the beginning pages of the Course that the Christ in you was the learner. The Christ in you is what was created to inspire movement beyond simple awareness to knowing. You have always been aware that you exist and always been in search of an answer as to why you exist. You have always been aware of the world around you and always been in search of answers to what the world around you is all about. An approach to knowing, which was called learning, was previously the predominant approach. As this approach became more and more centered in the mind and more and more about coming to know what others had already learned and were capable of teaching, learning began to fail the cause of knowing.
17.5 There have always been individuals who challenged the predominant patterns of learning because of the strength of their connection to Christ-consciousness. While no one has more access to Christ-consciousness than another, some exhibited more willingness to let that consciousness be their guiding force—that by which their being gained movement and expression. Those like Jesus, who fully expressed Christ-consciousness in form, did so as individuals, by not negating their being as they realized this connection. Many others with realization of Christ-consciousness as strong as that of the man, Jesus, did not express that realization but negated the individual in favor of the “spiritual.”
17.6 This is why we return now to your identity and the individuation of your identity.
17.7 Christ-consciousness is not the second coming of Christ but the first coming—the movement of being into form. This being was fully expressed by Jesus Christ, who represented, in form, the first coming and who began the movement from maintenance to sustenance of Christ-consciousness. Let’s consider why this representation should be necessary.
17.8 As the universe is not comprised of the unnecessary, nor are human beings. The universe, as well as human beings, are comprised of nothing that is superfluous, but only of the necessary in the sense that all the given components are necessary for wholeness. Representation of the power of Christ-consciousness in human form was necessary to complete the cycle of birth, death, and rebirth.
17.9 Christ-consciousness was represented not only by Jesus, but by his mother, Mary. Mary, like Jesus, realized full Christ-consciousness and full expression of Christ-consciousness in form. Each did so in individual ways, ways that revealed the choices available to those who would follow after them. One way, that of Jesus, was the way of acceptance, teaching by example, and preparing a way for those who would approach Christ-consciousness through teaching and learning and leading example lives. Another way, that of Mary, was the way of creation, and was a representation and preparation for those who would approach Christ-consciousness through relationship.
17.10 The way of Jesus represented full-scale interaction with the world, demonstrating the myth of duality, the death of form, the resurrection of spirit. The way of Mary represented incarnation through relationship, demonstrating the truth of union, the birth of form, and the ascension of the body. Both ways were necessary. Both ways were necessarily represented or demonstrated. Both ways were represented and demonstrated by many other individuals as well. The way was a choice. The main ability of the individual is the ability to represent what God created, the means of coming to know—which is Christ-consciousness—through individual choice or will.
17.11 Christ-consciousness is your will to know, to be, and to express. The time of Christ, and the second coming of Christ, are expressions meant to symbolize the completion of the cycle of birth, death, and rebirth as a means of coming to know.
17.12 What Jesus represented or demonstrated has now been realized, which is why this is called the time of Christ. The “time” of Christ, whom so many associate with Jesus Christ, represents the “time” of fulfillment of the way of Jesus. What could be taught and learned has been taught and learned. Now it is time to move beyond what could be taught and learned to what can only be realized through relationship. Now is the time of the final revelation of what can be realized, or made real, through following the example life of Jesus.
17.13 Thus we enter the ending stage of what can be realized through fulfillment of the way of Jesus and the beginning of the fulfillment of the way of Mary. This ending stage of the fulfillment of the way of Jesus is the stage of interaction with the world, the time of miracles, the death of the old way and the birth of the new.
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