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3.1 Your personal self is dear to you and dear to me as well. I have always loved you because I have always recognized you. What cannot be recognized or known cannot be loved. While your ego has not been loveable, you have always been. Here is where you need realize that the personal self that is dear to you is not your ego-self and never has been.
3.2 All of your personal characteristics are nothing more than a persona that has served the ego faithfully. All of your traits have been chosen either in accordance with the ego’s desires or in opposition to them. Whether they be in accord or in opposition, their source has still been the ego. These traits, whether you see them as good or bad or somewhere in between are what you have seen as making you loveable or unlovable. Yet you have also often made them challenges to love, saying in effect to those who love you, “Love me in spite of these traits that are not loveable and then I will know your love is true.” You make this same statement to yourself as well, seemingly called to continuously challenge your own lovability.
3.3 As much as you fear disappointment for yourself and let this fear keep you from much you would desire, you fear as much or more your ability to disappoint others or to “let them down.” Some of you carefully constructed your lives to leave as little room as possible for disappointment to affect it or others you hold dear. Some of you have seemed to do the opposite, despite your best intentions calling disappointment to yourself and being constantly under the pall of having disappointed others. Still others have always found their lives to be beyond their efforts at control and long ago gave up trying. Most of you fall somewhere in between, living a life full of good intentions and effort and being surprised neither by what seems to work nor what seems to fail.
3.4 It is yourself, who, more often than not, you blamed for all your misfortune. You would have liked to be strong and capable and hated your own weakness. You would have liked to be even-tempered and hated the moods that seemed to come over you without cause. You did not understand when illness or depression stood in the way of your desires or the plans of others and let such circumstances fill you with self-loathing.
3.5 You thus created a society that reflected this hatred of the self and that functioned on finding blame for every misfortune. Your illnesses became the result of behaviors ranging from smoking to too little exercise. Your accidents caused lawsuits where blame could be rightly placed. Your depression was blamed on the past. Even your successes were often claimed to be at the expense of another or to have come in spite of failings most severe. While society would seem to have done so much to cause your unhappiness, and while you have in turn blamed it as much as it blamed you, you never blamed anything quite as much as you blamed yourself.
3.6 This is the vengeful self we eliminate now. You have, in truth, replaced judgment with forgiveness, but you have not yet fully forgiven yourself. This statement may sound incongruous, for how could you have replaced judgment with forgiveness and not forgiven yourself? What this means is that you have replaced judgment with forgiveness as a belief. You have put this belief into practice in each instance where you have seen it to be needed. What this means is that you continue to fail to recognize your need to replace judgment with forgiveness when it comes to yourself. You have not yet realized how much you still consider unlovable about yourself. This does not mean that you are not loveable, only that you have not yet fully recognized your true Self. Until you fully recognize your Self, you cannot fully love yourself. Until you fully love, you do not love in truth.
3.7 Both God and Love are found in relationship where the truth becomes known to you. When the truth becomes known to you, you know God for you know love. Beliefs, and especially the changed beliefs we have worked together to integrate into your thought system, are only a first step, a step toward holy relationship. These new beliefs of your new thought system must be wholehearted. They cannot be beliefs that exist only in your mind, a new philosophy to be applied to life. They must exist in your heart. And how can they exist in the heart of an unlovable self?
3.8 You cannot think your way to the new life that calls to you. You can only get there by being who you are in truth.
3.9 I have always loved you for I have always recognized you. While your recognition of your Self has come a long way through your learning of this Course, your self is still seen as a stumbling block. You might think that were you able to live in some ideal community, away from all that has brought you to where you now are, you might be able to put the beliefs of this Course into practice. If not quite this drastic, your thoughts might tell you that if you were in another job, devoid of certain familial responsibilities, or the need to provide for financial obligations, you would be much better suited to putting these beliefs into practice. Or you might look at your behaviors, your habits, your general personality, and simply declare yourself unsuitable for further learning. Whether you think such thoughts consciously or not, there is a part of you that still believes you are not good enough to be the “good” self you believe this Course calls you to be. Most of you have now believed you are “good enough” for days or hours or moments, but something always and eventually calls you back to the idea that you are not good enough or that you do not want to put the effort into being good enough. Like a person who believes she has a weight problem and knows a diet would be “good” for her, the diet is often rejected because failure is deemed a certainty. While you continue to see the call of this Course as a call to goodness, you will surely fail.
3.10 The Self that I recognize as You, is not other than who you are, but who you are. All that was ever other than who you are was the ego. The ego is gone. The ego was simply your idea of who you were. This idea was a complex set of judgments, of good and bad, right and wrong, worthy and unworthy, a list as endless as it was worthless. Realize now the worthlessness of this idea and let it go.
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