XI. The Test of Truth
1. Yet the essential thing is learning that you do not know. Knowledge is power, and all power is of God. You who have tried to keep power for yourself have “lost” it. You still have the power, but you have interposed so much between it and your awareness of it that you cannot use it. Everything you have taught yourself has made your power more and more obscure to you. You know not what it is, nor where. You have made a semblance of power and a show of strength so pitiful that it must fail you. For power is not a seeming strength, and truth is beyond semblance of any kind. Yet all that stands between you and the power of God in you is but your learning of the false, and of your attempts to undo the true.
2. Be willing, then, for all of it to be undone, and be glad that you are not bound to it forever. For you have taught yourself how to imprison the Son of God, a lesson so unthinkable that only the insane, in deepest sleep, could even dream of it. Can God learn how not to be God? And can His Son, given all power by Him, learn to be powerless? What have you taught yourself that you can possibly prefer to keep, in place of what you have and what you are?
3. Atonement teaches you how to escape forever from everything that you have taught yourself in the past, by showing you only what you are now. Learning has been accomplished before its effects are manifest. Learning is therefore in the past, but its influence determines the present by giving it whatever meaning it holds for you. Your learning gives the present no meaning at all. Nothing you have ever learned can help you understand the present or teach you how to undo the past. Your past is what you have taught yourself. Let it all go. Do not attempt to understand any event or anything or anyone in its “light,” for the darkness in which you try to see can only obscure. Put no confidence at all in darkness to illuminate your understanding, for if you do you contradict the light, and thereby think you see the darkness. Yet darkness cannot be seen, for it is nothing more than a condition in which seeing becomes impossible.
4. You who have not yet brought all of the darkness you have taught yourself into the light with you, can hardly judge the truth and value of this course. Yet God did not abandon you. And so you have another lesson sent from Him, already learned for every child of light by Him to Whom God gave it. This lesson shines with God’s glory, for in it lies His power, which He shares so gladly with His Son. Learn of His happiness, which is yours. But to accomplish this, all your dark lessons must be brought willingly to truth, and joyously laid down by hands open to receive, not closed to take. Every dark lesson that you bring to Him Who teaches light He will accept from you, because you do not want it. And He will gladly exchange each one for the bright lesson He has learned for you. Never believe that any lesson you have learned apart from Him means anything.
5. You have one test, as sure as God, by which to recognize if what you learned is true. If you are wholly free of fear of any kind, and if all those who meet or even think of you share in your perfect peace, then you can be sure that you have learned God’s lesson, and not your own. Unless all this is true, there are dark lessons in your mind that hurt and hinder you, and everyone around you. The absence of perfect peace means but one thing: You think you do not will for God’s Son what his Father wills for him. Every dark lesson teaches this, in one form or another. And each bright lesson with which the Holy Spirit will replace the dark ones you do not accept, teaches you that you will with the Father and His Son.
6. Do not be concerned about how you can learn a lesson so completely different from everything you have taught yourself. How would you know? Your part is very simple. You need only recognize that everything you learned you do not want. Ask to be taught, and do not use your experiences to confirm what you have learned. When your peace is threatened or disturbed in any way, say to yourself: “I do not know what anything, including this, means. And so I do not know how to respond to it. And I will not use my own past learning as the light to guide me now.” By this refusal to attempt to teach yourself what you do not know, the Guide Whom God has given you will speak to you. He will take His rightful place in your awareness the instant you abandon it and offer it to Him.
7. You cannot be your guide to miracles, for it is you who made them necessary. And because you did, the means on which you can depend for miracles has been provided for you. God’s Son can make no needs His Father will not meet, if he but turn to Him ever so little. Yet He cannot compel His Son to turn to Him and remain Himself. It is impossible that God lose His Identity, for if He did, you would lose yours. And being yours He cannot change Himself, for your Identity is changeless. The miracle acknowledges His changelessness by seeing His Son as he always was, and not as he would make himself. The miracle brings the effect that only guiltlessness can bring, and thus establishes the fact that guiltlessness must be.
8. How can you, so firmly bound to guilt and committed so to remain, establish for yourself your guiltlessness? That is impossible. But be sure that you are willing to acknowledge that it is impossible. It is only because you think that you can run some little part, or deal with certain aspects of your life alone, that the guidance of the Holy Spirit is limited. Thus would you make Him undependable and use this fancied undependability as an excuse for keeping certain dark lesson from Him. And by so limiting the guidance that you would accept; you are unable to depend on miracles to answer all your problems for you.
We are in the dark, and it is essential to our spiritual awakening that we know this and recognize this. For without understanding that we have no way of knowing truth, we will live in a world of guilt and shame. We will assume that when things go wrong it is somebody’s fault for they knew better. We will study hard, work day and night, and deny ourselves all kinds of things thinking that we know how to find love and happiness, but love and happiness will not come to us when we try to find it in the dark. We will make all kinds of sacrifices for others looking for appreciation and admiration, but appreciation and admiration cannot be found where the world teaches us to look for it. In this realm, we can never know one another. I can assume all kinds of things about you, and you can assume all kinds of things about me, but they would all be wrong. For as long as we do not know who and what we are, we will get it all wrong, blaming and pointing fingers at others, feeling ashamed and confused, wondering why everybody else seems to have what is always out of our grasp.
Jesus tells us that we must come to God recognizing that without Him we remain ignorant of our true Identity. When we try to run the show, we are going to get it wrong. This is not to prove to us how big and strong and wonderful God is and how weak and stupid and not-so-wonderful we are – it is simply the truth of the matter – in our humanity we are nothing; in our divinity we are Everything – like God. Live for the flesh, and we know nothing for the flesh is not made for knowledge; flesh is made for that which is outside knowledge. Lessons learned outside of knowledge are dark lessons which hinder our awakening.
Today’s devotional text is an essential lesson in recognizing truth, and it is very simple. Jesus tells us that we will recognize that what we have learned is true when we have peace, and we share peace with everyone we meet. If I come at you holding things that you have done against me in the past, I am not sharing peace, I am sharing guilt with you. But if I come to you with only peace, I have freed both myself and you from the past.
The other day I ran into a woman whom I have held a grudge against for years. She had thought it was a big joke when her husband had told his colleagues at my alma mater that he was having an affair with me. It had really hurt my feelings to think that they thought it was funny to cast aspersions on me all so he could strut about campus pretending to be some lady’s man. Granted this had been a long time ago, but when I saw her, I greeted her with peace. I had forgotten all about it – it was not until later that I realized that the grudge was gone, that I no longer felt hurt or upset, that I offered her peace without even thinking about it. I no longer have a need to make her guilty because I know that we are all in the dark here and we are all going to make mistakes in regard to one another. When we live from our lower mind and do not reach for the higher mind of Holy Spirit, we walk in an ongoing cycle of ignorance, hurt feelings, pain, shame, and blame. We are always looking for ways in which to make ourselves feel bigger, better, bolder, at the expense of others. We will justify all manner of stupidity and cruelty simply because we have shut ourselves off from the Mind of Sonship.
Jesus promises us that as we learn to trust in Holy Spirit for everything, we will no longer deny the miracles that come from walking in the peace of guiltlessness and teaching and learning truth. When we know who and what we really are, we can go beyond the human perspective; we can give up the weird ways we learned to relate to one another in the past; we can shrug off the past for the past holds nothing that benefits us – the past is a ploy that would keep us locked in a cycle of guilt and obliviousness. That woman can think my reputation is a joke because my reputation means nothing to me. Being worried about our reputations is a lesson that the world teaches us – because the ego wants to keep us worried about everything. And to that Jesus says, Live in peace and let miracles solve every problem, because that is what they do.
The miracle acknowledges that you are as you were created, even as I am as I was created – not these goofy caricatures of ourselves we have made ourselves to be. When I see you as God’s Son and I see myself as God’s Son, the effect of guiltlessness is accomplished in you and in me. And guiltlessness brings peace and peace comes only with understanding and truth.
 A Course in Miracles. Foundation for Inner Peace, Second Edition (1992).
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