Section 1 – The Origins of Separation
- To extend is a fundamental aspect of God which He gave to His Son. In the creation, God extended Himself to His creations and imbued them with the same loving Will to create. You have not only been fully created but have also been created perfect. There is no emptiness in you. Because of your likeness to your Creator you are creative. No child of God can lose this ability because it is inherent in what he is, but he can use it inappropriately by projecting. The inappropriate use of extension, or projection, occurs when you believe that some emptiness or lack exists in you, and that you can fill it with your own ideas instead of truth. This process involves the following steps: First, you believe that what God created can be changed by your own mind.Second, you believe that what is perfect can be rendered imperfect or lacking. Third, you believe that you can distort the creations of God, including yourself. Fourth, you believe that you can create yourself, and that the direction of your own creation is up to you.
- These related distortions represent a picture of what actually occurred in the separation, or the “detour into fear.” None of this existed before the separation, nor does it actually exist now. Everything God created is like Him. Extension, as undertaken by God, is similar to the inner radiance that the children of the Father inherit from Him. Its real source is internal. This is as true of the Son as of the Father. In this sense the creation includes both the creation of the Son by God, and the Son’s creations when his mind is healed. This requires God’s endowment of the Son with free will because all loving creation is freely given in one continuous line, in which all aspects are of the same order.
- The Garden of Eden, or the pre-separation condition, was a state of mind in which nothing was needed. When Adam listened to the “lies of the serpent,” all he heard was untruth. You do not have to continue to believe what is not true unless you choose to do so. All that can literally disappear in the twinkling of an eye because it is merely a misperception. What is seen in dreams seems to be very real. Yet the Bible says that a deep sleep fell upon Adam, and nowhere is there reference to his waking up. The world has not yet experienced any comprehensive reawakening or rebirth. Such a rebirth is impossible as long as you continue to project or miscreate. It remains within you, however, to extend as God extended His Spirit to you. In reality this is your only choice because your free will was given you for your joy in creating the perfect.
- All fear is ultimately reducible to the basic misperception that you have the ability to usurp the power of God. Of course, you neither can nor have been able to do this. Here is the real basis for your escape from fear. The escape is brought about by our acceptance of the Atonement, which enables you to realize that your errors never really occurred. Only after the deep sleep fell upon Adam could he experience nightmares. If a light is suddenly turned on while someone is dreaming a fearful dream, he may initially interpret the light itself as part of his dream and be afraid of it. However, when he awakens, the light is correctly perceived as the release from the dream, which is then no longer accorded reality. This release does not depend on illusions. The knowledge that illuminates not only sets you free, but also shows you clearly that you are free.
- Whatever lies you may believe are of no concern to the miracle, which can heal any of them with equal ease. It makes no distinctions among misperceptions. Its sole concern is to distinguish between truth on the one hand, and error on the other. Some miracles may seem to be of greater magnitude than others. But remember the first principle in this course; there is no order of difficulty in miracles. In reality you are perfectly unaffected by all expressions of lack of love. These can be from yourself and others, from yourself to others, or from others to you. Peace is an attribute in you. You cannot find it outside. Illness is some form of external searching. Health is inner peace. It enables you to remain unshaken by lack of love from without and capable, through your acceptance of miracles, of correcting the conditions proceeding from lack of love in others.
As we come to today’s reading, we clear our inner altars of all that would hinder us from our return to Him. We bow our minds and hearts before God and acknowledge His ultimate power, love, and goodwill toward us, His Son. We ask that we are not tempted to take our devotional practice lightly, to push it aside for a more convenient time, but to come to Him faithfully and with utmost sincerity. We recognize that we did not create ourselves; that we belong to Him Who is perfect and has made us perfect according to His Will. We pray in our own words with respect, sincerity, and utmost reverence. We do not grovel or plead or make special requests – for God is in charge and His love and devotion toward us give us what is best and provides for our abundant joy and everlasting peace. We pray in the name of Jesus, with Whom we are one. And we all say Amen, for we agree that our prayers please our Father who loves to hear from us and acknowledges each one.
Today we go back to the beginning of our sojourn in time. What happened that we ended up here? Born not knowing who we are or why we are here, trying to find our own way in a bewildering maze of that which is not love, truth, peace, or joy. Yearning for an intimacy which cannot occur between bodies, yearning for connection that seems impossible in a world of inequality, injustice, and strife – that is us here in the world.
Jesus tells us that we believed a bad report about ourselves and about God. We believed in the power of sin rather than the perfection of God and His creations. We believed that our perfection in Him could be lost or damaged or made more perfect. We believed in our own power to distort God’s creations, including ourselves, We believed that instead of God being in charge, we were in charge of our creation and that the direction of our creation is up to us, and not to God. It was insurrection against all that was love and peace and joy. What we get in exchange for our rebellion is a virtual reality, a nightmare of our own making. For every lie we come up with, we find evidence in which to back it up – we work very hard to make that which is not truthful true.
Our hope lies in the miracle of waking up in the nightmare and realizing who and what we are. Jesus leads the way. He came to experience the nightmare as one of us. He was the Son who never left but had God’s love for those who did. Born into a world of lies, half-truths, and confusion, He was and is the light, the truth, the way. He said to follow Him and be perfect as He is perfect. To accept our Sonship with God, to accept our perfection and leave thoughts of sin and shame and sacrifice behind. By example, we are to stop believing in suffering, bloodshed, and death and instead resurrect our holy Selves within. In other words open our eyes, seek the truth, ask for the truth and it will be given to us. Not by bright lights and extraterrestrials coming down from the heavens, but the radiance of God within us, shining forth from us, breaking free of the humanity that we made and acknowledging and accepting our Sonship with God, our brotherhood in Christ and with all of Creation.
We do not have to convince ourselves of reality. We do not have to keep repeating scripture and go about saying mantras all day or lock ourselves away somewhere from the rest of the world and surround ourselves with people who look, think, and believe the same way we do. God’s kingdom becomes apparent to us. We recognize the nightmare for what it is and awakened, we are released from it. The nightmare becomes a teaching device and nothing more. Everything that happened in the nightmare – no matter the significance – is gone. It was a dream of separation, it was a dream of our own making, a consideration that God extended to let us experience what it was we separated our awareness from Him to do. That it turned into a bad dream is hardly His responsibility, for no matter what we never lost our perfection in Him, we never lost His love and devotion to us and for us, we have no power within us to remove ourselves from His love.
Accepting the Atonement then is accepting correction. Acknowledging who and what we are in Him corrects all mistakes, releases us from our sojourn in time, and gives us the ability to help release others. Sharing Atonement is how we secure our place in His Kingdom. Sharing Atonement is the practice of the Golden Rule. Those who are saved, awaken others. Withholding Atonement is the practice of that which is not Christ – we are saved, to hell with others.
No matter the depth of the lies, all are healed, Jesus assures us in paragraph five, with equal ease. The miracle is the truth. It makes no distinctions between lies, between mistakes, between sins. It only separates between truth and falsehood. To us, miracles may seem big or small, but none are greater than another. A serial killer coming to know his perfection in Christ demands no more effort on the part of truth than someone who has never so much as pinched their brother in a fit of jealousy. There is simply no more and no less effort on the part of truth to be true because it always was and ever will be what it is. It does not have to work at it. Lies, on the other hand, have to put forth a lot of effort to maintain themselves. They call for a lot of defense and a lot of attack. Lies call forth allies and get up sides to back them up. Lies beget more lies; they are chaotic and lead to unhappiness and insanity. Truth stands as one in unity. When we get our mind around this we see how silly it is to get our panties in a wad about anything!
While humanity calls for outrage, blame, and vengeance, in reality we are perfectly unaffected by all expressions of lack of love! Jesus makes it clear that even when our own egos try to berate us, make us feel ashamed and guilty for our past mistakes and our more recent blunders, we can go to the truth and realize our peace, our perfection, the meaninglessness of anything that would work to prove how unworthy we are of God’s love. When others attack us, when we attack others – we go to our peace. Bringing our darkness to that peace corrects every mistake and every situation. It will make us sick if we look for peace in the external world. The external world has none. Inner peace and health are one and the same. It is our inner peace that gives us certainty in the face of lovelessness from others. It is our inner peace, our acceptance of miracles, that provides healing to all conditions that come from lovelessness in ourselves and in others.
 A Course in Miracles. Chapter 2:1 The origins of separation. Foundation for Inner Peace, Second Edition (1992).
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