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2.1 What purpose would it seem to serve to have anything exist only as a representation? We might think of this in terms of original purpose and the original purpose of representation being to share the Self in a new way. Expressions you call art are desires to share the Self in a new way. These expressions you call art are expressions of a Self who observes and interacts in relationship. They are not expressions that remain contained to who you are or who you think yourself to be. They are not expressions of the Self alone. They are not expressions of the Self alone in terms you might consider autobiographical, and they are not expressions of the Self alone that you would consider the self in separation. They are rather expressions of the Self in union—expressions of what the Self sees, feels, envisions, imagines in relationship.
2.2 What purpose has art? While art is but a representation of what the artist chooses to share, few of us would call these representations useless or without value. Art is a representation but it also becomes something in truth, something that has been named art. Art becomes something in truth by expanding awareness, or in other words, by making something known. This is what true relationship does and is its purpose as well as what it is.
2.3 While we have said you chose the separation, it has not been said that this choice was the choice it has been made to seem. You chose to represent yourself in a new way, to express yourself in a new way, to share yourself in a new way. The choice to represent your Self in form was a choice for separation but not because separation itself was desired as you have assumed. This is the assumption you have accepted in much the same way you have accepted your free will as that which allows you to be separate from and independent of God. Once this assumption was accepted, the duality of your existence became paramount, became the only means you saw of deciphering the world around you and your role within it. Separation, aloneness, independence, individuality—these became the purpose you assumed rather than the purpose you started out to achieve—that of a new way of expression in a form that would expand awareness, through relationship, of Self and others. You chose a means of creation—as God chose a means of creation. That means of creation is separation, becoming separate (the observer as well as the observed) so as to extend creation through relationship (of the observer and the observed).
2.4 While much time was spent within this Course, discussing the choice you but think you made, this discussion was necessary only in the same terms that made it necessary to thoroughly discuss the ego’s thought system. What you believe about yourself is part of the foundation that has been built around this system. Now, along with the beliefs put forth in “A Treatise on Unity,” you are asked to accept a new belief regarding the choice we have called the separation, a choice you have deemed as sin.
2.5 While you have believed you are the self of the ego, you have believed in a need to both glorify the self and denigrate the self. These beliefs have shaped your dualistic view of the world and all that exists with you within it. For every “glory,” gift, or success you have achieved you have believed in a corresponding cost that was, in essence, a cost that came at the expense or denigration of the self. You believed that for every gain there was also a loss. For you believed that every step in the advancement of your separated state was a step away from God and your real Self. This belief was based in logic, but the logic of the illusion—in which you believed you chose to separate from God out of defiance and a desire to be one with God no longer. This could not be further from the truth and is the cause of all your suffering, for contained within this belief was the belief that with each successful step toward independence came a corresponding step away from God. As independence seemed to be your purpose here, you could not keep yourself from attempts to advance in this direction. And yet, neither could you keep from punishing yourself for this advancement.
2.6 We leave all of this behind now as we advance toward truth through returning to original purpose. Your return to your original purpose eliminates the concept of original sin and leaves you blameless. It is from this blameless or unaltered state that your personal self can begin to represent the truth for it leaves untruth, or the ego, behind. It is only this one, unaltered Self that is the truth of who you are and who your brothers and sisters are as well. This is what is meant by oneness. This is what is meant by unity.
2.7 And yet the truth has as many ways of being represented as does illusion.
2.8 Just as artistic representations of illusion are sometimes called art, representations of the self of illusion have been called the self without this being so. In each, however, is the self you believe is real revealed. Thus, not all that is called art is art, and not all that you call self is Self, even while both may represent the truth as you perceive of it. Representing the truth as you perceive it to be has been the righteous work of many who have caused great harm to others and the world. There is no truth to be found in illusion and so no representations of perceived truth, no matter how intensely they have been championed, have truly altered effect for they have not altered cause.
2.9 There is no right or wrong in art, and there is no right or wrong, no good or bad in regards to the Self but only accurate or inaccurate representations of the truth. Inaccurate representations of the truth simply have no meaning and no matter how much one might try to read meaning into the meaningless, it will not be found there. The meaningless has no ability to change the meaning of truth. And so your Self has remained unaltered as has all to which you have assigned inaccurate meaning.
2.10 Thus you stand at the beginning, with a Self now devoid of the meaninglessness you but attempted to assign to it. You stand empty of untruth and about to embark on the journey of truth. You stand in the transformational moment between the unreal and the real. All you await is an idea, a remembrance of the original idea about your personal self.
2.11 This memory lies within your heart and has the ability to turn the image you have made into a reflection of the love that abides with it in holiness that is beyond your current ability to imagine. It is impossible for you to imagine this holiness with the concepts of the thought system you heretofore have relied upon. This thought system has allowed only the acceptance of a reality within certain parameters, for it has not allowed you to imagine being able to take steps “back” to the God you believe you left in defiance, or the Self you believe you abandoned there. Be truthful with yourself now and realize that what I speak of here is known to you. Realize that you know that it is not God who abandoned you, but you who abandoned your Self and God. Give up your desire to think that if you did such a thing there was a reason for you to have done so. How many times have you asked yourself why you would have chosen separation if there had not been a reason for you to do so? Realize that a reason has been given here and that this reason, while perfectly believable, is not one that includes a need to abandon your Self or God. Why should you be more inclined to believe that you left a paradise in order to live a while in a form that would cause you much suffering and strife, for the sole reason of being separate from that to which you long to return? The only alternative has seemed to be a belief in a God that would banish you from paradise for your sins. We have worked, thus far, to change your idea of a vengeful God. Now we work to change your idea of a vengeful self. For what else would such a self be?
2.12 This is such an important point for you to grasp that I return you to our comparison of the family of man to the family of God, as well as to our discussion of the return of the prodigal sons and daughters of God. This discussion may have seemed to accept the idea of a self as highly developed as an adolescent child, a self who would willingly choose to explore independence, no matter what the cost. This discussion merely examined the reality you chose to believe in, the reality of an ego-self, a self-concept seemingly stuck in an adolescent phase of development. The ego-self’s only desire was for you to “grow up” into its version of an independent being—no matter what the cost.
2.13 While you may be happily congratulating yourself on leaving such adolescent thinking behind, this thinking must be quickly replaced with a new idea about yourself or its hold on you will remain.
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