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1.1 The personal self exists as the self you present to others. This is the only way in which the personal self will continue to exist following the completion and the integration of this Course. Previously, the personal self that you presented to others represented an ego-self who you believed yourself to be. Now the ego has been separated from the personal self so that you may claim your personal self again and present to others a true representation of who you are.
1.2 While still a representation, there is a huge difference between a true representation and a false representation.
1.3 The false representation of the ego as the Self is what has led to the world you see. A true representation of the Self that you are is what we work toward in this Treatise and will lead to true vision and to a new world.
1.4 A representation of the truth not only reveals the truth but becomes the truth. A representation of what is not the truth reveals only illusion and becomes illusion. Thus, as your personal self becomes a representation of the truth it will become who you are in truth.
1.5 As with much of our previous work, the first step in advancing toward this goal is in developing an awareness of what is not the truth. While the ability to distinguish between the true and the untrue has been repeatedly discussed as the ability to separate fear from love, further guidelines are needed.
1.6 You who have spent most of your life representing the ego have but given a face to illusion and made it seem real. When I say that you have represented the ego, what I mean is that the personal self, as represented by your body, while adhering to the ego’s thought system, became an ego-self or an unreal self. An unreal self cannot help but exist in an unreal reality. It is as if you have been an actor upon a stage, the part you play as unreal as the setting on which you play it. Yet there is a “you” who has been playing the part, a part that, while developed under the ego’s direction, still allowed for bits and pieces of who you are to be seen, felt and acknowledged.
1.7 The ego’s thought system has been replaced by the thought system of unity and you are left, perhaps, feeling unsure of the part you are now to play. There is not one of you who has not begun to experience the transformation that is, in truth, occurring, although you may not as yet have seen the changes you are experiencing as the transformation to which you have been called. These changes, perhaps, seem like little things—a change in attitude here, a change in behavior there. But I assure you that these changes are mighty and are but the result of the change in cause that has occurred through your learning of this Course.
1.8 I began this Treatise by saying that the personal self exists as the self you present to others and that this is the only way in which the personal self will now continue to exist. This statement implies and acknowledges your previous belief in a personal self who existed as more than a representation. While when joined with the truth, this representation will be acknowledged as what it is and as the truth of who you are, to erroneously have seen your former representation of illusion as the truth of who you are is what has led to your perception of the world of suffering and strife that you have seen.
1.9 This change that is in the process of coming about has to do with awareness. When you become aware of the personal self as a representation, you become aware of the Self whom the personal self is representing. To have believed that the personal self, as a representation of the ego, was who you were, was an illusion that blocked awareness of your true Self from your mind. Your true Self is now ready to come out of the mist of illusion in which it was hidden and to be represented in truth by the form you occupy and have previously seen as the reality of yourself.
1.10 To say that the personal self will now exist only as the self you present to others is to say that the personal self will now cease to be seen as your reality.
1.11 To say that the personal self has only existed as the self you presented to others in the past is quite a different statement and has a totally different meaning. The personal self you once presented to others as “who you were” was a self who existed in time, a self who believed that the past made up the self of the present and that the self of the present made up the self of the future. The personal self you presented to others in the past was a chosen self and never a whole self as evidenced by the variety of selves you saw yourself to be. The personal self of the past was a self of roles, each one as learned as that which an actor might portray. You saw nothing more amiss in being a professional self in one instance and a social self in another, a parent in one role and a friend in another, than you did in defining a past self, a present self, and a future self. The greatest distinction of all was that between the private self and the public self, as if who you were to yourself and who you presented yourself to be could be two completely different selves. Even within the illusion in which you existed there was a self kept hidden.
1.12 To become a whole Self, with no parts hidden, a Self with no parts in truth, is the task that I set before you and am here to help you fulfill. I can do this because I accomplished this, both in life and in all time and time beyond time, making you, along with me, the accomplished. As has already been said, the accomplished Self is the Christ. Your remembrance of the Christ-Self has abolished the ego-self and allows us to begin the lessons of the personal self.
1.13 We could not begin the curriculum here because you would have been unable, without the lessons of this Course, to distinguish the personal self from the ego-self. There is a danger even now in focusing upon the self of the body, as this self has been so long bound to the ego-self. Even with the ego once and finally vanquished, the patterns of the ego’s thought system remain to be undone. This is atonement. We work now to correct the errors of the past in the present, the only place where such work can be done. We work with what we have, a form fully able to represent the truth and, in so doing, we bring the truth to life and life to the truth.
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