V. Beyond Perception 6-10
- 6. Prayer is a way of asking for something. It is the medium of miracles. But the only meaningful prayer is for forgiveness because those who have been forgiven have everything. Once forgiveness has been accepted, prayer in the usual sense becomes utterly meaningless. The prayer for forgiveness is nothing more than a request that you may be able to recognize what you already have. In electing perception instead of knowledge, you placed yourself in a position where you could resemble your Father only by perceiving miraculously. You have lost the knowledge that you yourself are a miracle of God. Creation is your Source and your only real function.
- 7. The statement “God created man in his own image and likeness” needs reinterpretation. “Image” can be understood as “thought,” and “likeness as “of a like quality.” God did create spirit in His Own Thought and of a quality like to His Own. There is nothing else. Perception, on the other hand, is impossible without a belief in “more” and “less.” At every level it involves selectivity. Perception is a continual process of accepting and rejecting, organizing and reorganizing, shifting and changing. Evaluation is an essential part of perception because judgments are necessary in order to select.
- 8. What happens to perceptions if there are no judgments and nothing but perfect equality? Perception becomes impossible. Truth can only be known. All of it is equally true and knowing any part of it is to know all of it. Only perception involves partial awareness. Knowledge transcends the laws governing perception because partial knowledge is impossible. It is all one and has no separate parts. You who are really one with it need but know yourself and your knowledge is complete. To know God’s miracle is to know Him.
- 9. Forgiveness is the healing of the perception of separation. Correct perception of your brother is necessary because minds have chosen to see themselves as separate. Spirit knows God completely. That is its miraculous power. The fact that each one has this power completely is a condition entirely alien to the world’s thinking. The world believes that if anyone has everything, there is nothing left. But God’s miracles are as total as His Thoughts because they are His Thoughts.
- 10. As long as perception lasts prayer has a place. Since perception rests on lack, those who perceive have not totally accepted the Atonement and given themselves over to the truth. Perception is based on a separated state, so that anyone who perceives at all needs healing. Communion, not prayer, is the natural state of those who know God and His miracle are inseparable. How beautiful indeed are the Thoughts of God who live in His Light! Your worth is beyond perception because it is beyond doubt. Do not perceive yourself in different lights. Know yourself in the One Light where the miracle that is you is perfectly clear.
Today as we finish section five of Chapter Three, Jesus explains the function of prayer for the miracle workers. Prayer is a way of asking for something. Just as paint is the medium for a portrait artist, prayer is the medium for miracles. But the only prayer that has any meaning is not one for healing, but one of forgiveness. Once we accept forgiveness, asking for things has no more meaning. As I pondered the meaning of paragraph six and asked Holy Spirit for illumination, I realized that we no longer ask for specific miracles, because all we want is God’s Will. And we are the Will of God – you and me – It was God’s Will to create us and as we align our wills and accept the miracle of you and the miracle of me, we enter into the knowledge of and wonder of Creation.
Jesus tells us that God’s conception of man was in His Mind and of the same quality as God Himself. We are spirit and spirit is all there is outside the realm of perception. If we are to believe in the popular creation myths that appear in classic literature, religious texts, and modern philosophy, we will believe that God created us from dirt, that he formed dirt and spit figures that looked like Him. We will cherish the thought that He breathed life into the figures, giving them not only a living soul but the ability to separate into male and female to procreate. Superficially this may seem like a great gift until you actually experience what it is like to be a human. To be ruled by our drives to survive, by our hunger, our thirst, our desires to be loved, cherished, and belong. To be manipulated by our desire to avoid pain. To be considered so unworthy of God that He must punish us and stand by while we are tormented and persecuted and always live with the threat of being left behind. No thank you!
Never forget, God created us to be like Him, in Spirit. Our time in the flesh is not of Creation, it is of our own making. At every level of our making there was selectivity because perception is a continual process of trial and error, making order and then disorder, taking up one thing and putting down another, in a constant state of flux, unrest, and instability. There is nothing certain about separation because it is fragmented, divided, and not whole. A state of constant judgment is necessary in order to choose and select, to try this and not that – because we simply have no way of knowing anything in the separated state.
In Spirit there are no perceptions; there is nothing to judge, there is nothing to prefer, there is nothing but perfect equality. In Spirit, perception is impossible – all truth is known because of the transparency of Spirit. To know one part of Spirit is to know it all. Only in a state of perception do we suffer a state of partial awareness – for how could we ever see the whole story or get the big picture when everyone and everything is seen in part and from a different point of view? Jesus points out what is very obvious once we think it through – knowledge is indivisible – we cannot have a little bit of truth, to know truth we must have all truth – no lies, no fiction, no secrets. Truth is not true if we only tell part of the story and keep the rest hidden. This is why as mortals we can never know the truth – truth is only available to us in the Spirit.
Once we realize that we are the miracle of God, that we are God’s Will, that we are Thoughts and Expressions of God and accept our true and spiritual Selves, we become one with Truth, we become one with Knowledge. We no longer believe that God made us from dirt, that we were thrust into a world of division and unrest because of His wrath and anger, that we are to be forever in a state of worship and groveling adoration to a Deity that would do such a thing. We were created to be like Him, in Spirit and in Truth. When we accept that, we are saved from the dark tale of humanity, we know ourselves not as flesh and blood but as Spirit and as Truth.
Jesus tells us that forgiveness is the healing of the separation perception. When we choose the vision of Christ, we no longer choose to see others as separate from ourselves. As we embrace unity and oneness in the Spirit, we know God completely. This is the power behind the miracle. We know who we are! We know who our brother is! We know the mutuality and equality of Spirit – I am a beloved Son of God even as you are beloved of God. God is our Father, awaiting our return, drawing a bath to cleanse us of our miscreations, assembling a wardrobe to replace our drab rags, preparing a feast to fill our love-starved souls, announcing to the Kingdom that we have come home.
You can see what a radical teaching this is, brothers. Our religions have called us to war upon those who do not believe the way we do, while Jesus is calling us to love and to embrace our brothers and be strangers no more. Our religions have taught us that we must hang our heads in fear and shame, suffer miseries to earn God’s love, shed blood and offer savory sacrifices, and Jesus is reminding us of our Father’s love, His great affection and devotion to us, His calls to us to awaken to the Kingdom within each and every one of us. If it seems too good to be truth, ask God with a humble heart to reveal His love to you. Ask God with a mind free of all except a desire to know the truth, what He thinks of you. Ask Him to set you free from the fear and torment that troubles your mind and keeps you in a state of confusion and turmoil. Ask Him to forgive you for choosing to go the wrong way.
Past forgiveness, Jesus says, we can only commune with God, not asking things of Him, not begging and pleading, groveling and weeping, for He is our Father, our Creator, our constant Companion, our certain Friend. All that He has, we have. All that we have, He has. This is the holy and natural state of being. Grow up, my brothers, and accept God’s love, His devotion, His communion. We who are Spirit are the thoughts of God. We, who awaken and live in His Light, are beautiful to Him. As long as we perceive ourselves as anything less than a miracle, we cannot know God, we cannot accept His forgiveness, we cannot endure the truth and the light of His Love. Jesus tells us to perceive ourselves as God’ Son, to know ourselves in the One Light where the miracle that is us is perfectly clear. Forgive us, Father, for ever doubting Your Love.
 A Course in Miracles. Chapter 3: The innocent perception. V. Beyond perception. 6-10. Foundation for Inner Peace, Second Edition (1992).
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