1. How bitterly does everyone tied to this world defend the specialness he wants to be the truth! His wish is law to him, and he obeys. Nothing his specialness demands does he withhold. Nothing it needs does he deny to what he loves. And while it calls to him, he hears no other Voice. No effort is too great, no cost too much, no price too dear to save his specialness from the least slight, the tiniest attack, the whispered doubt, the hint of threat, or anything but deepest reverence. This is your son, beloved of you as you are to your Father. Yet it stands in place of your creations, who are son to you, that you might share the Fatherhood of God, not snatch it from Him. What is this son that you have made to be your strength? What is this child of earth on whom such love is lavished? What is this parody of God’s creation that takes the place of yours? And where are they now that the host of God has found another son whom he prefers to them?
2. The memory of God shines not alone. What is within your brother still contains all of creation, everything created and creating, born and unborn as yet, still in the future or apparently gone by. What is in him is changeless, and your changelessness is recognized in its acknowledgment. The holiness in you belongs to him. And by your seeing it in him, returns to you. All of the tribute you have given specialness belongs to him, and thus returns to you. All of the love and care, the strong protection, the thought by day and night, the deep concern, the powerful conviction this is you, belong to him. Nothing you gave to specialness but is his due. And nothing due him is not due to you.
3. How can you know your worth while specialness claims you instead? How can you fail to know it in his holiness? Seek not to make your specialness the truth, for if it were you would be lost indeed. Be thankful, rather, it is given you to see his holiness because it is the truth. And what is true in him must be as true in you.
4. Ask yourself this: Can you protect the mind? The body, yes, a little; not from time, but temporarily. And much you think you save, you hurt. What would you save it for? For in that choice lie both its health and harm. Save it for show, as bait to catch another fish, to house your specialness in better style, or weave a frame of loveliness around your hate, and you condemn it to decay and death. And if you see this purpose in your brother’s, such is your condemnation of your own. Weave, rather, then, a frame of holiness around him, that the truth may shine on him, and give you safety from decay.
5. The Father keeps what He created safe. You cannot touch it with the false ideas you made, because it was created not by you. Let not your foolish fancies frighten you. What is immortal cannot be attacked; what is but temporal has no effect. Only the purpose that you see in it has meaning, and if that is true, its safety rests secure. If not, it has no purpose, and is means for nothing. Whatever is perceived as means for truth shares in its holiness and rests in light as safely as itself. Nor will that light go out when it is gone. Its holy purpose gave it immortality, setting another light in Heaven, where your creations recognize a gift from you, a sign that you have not forgotten them.
6. The test of everything on earth is simply this: “What is it for?” The answer makes it what it is for you. It has no meaning of itself, yet you can give reality to it, according to the purpose that you serve. Here you are but means, along with it. God is a Means as well as End. In Heaven, means and end are one, and one with Him. This is the state of true creation, found not within time, but in eternity. To no one here is this describable. Nor is there any way to learn what this condition means. Not till you go past learning to the Given: not till you make again a holy home for your creations is it understood.
7. A co-creator with the Father must have a Son. Yet must this Son have been created like Himself. A perfect being, all-encompassing and all-encompassed, nothing to add and nothing taken from; not born of size nor place nor time, nor held to limits or uncertainties of any kind. Here do the means and end unite as one, nor does this one have any end at all. All this is true, and yet it has no meaning to anyone who still retains one unlearned lesson in his memory, one thought with purpose still uncertain, or one with a divided aim.
8. This course makes no attempt to teach what cannot easily be learned. Its scope does not exceed your own, except to say that what is yours will come to you when you are ready. Here are the means and the purpose separate because they were so made and so perceived. And therefore, do we deal with them as if they were. It is essential to be kept in mind that all perception still is upside down until its purpose has been understood. Perception does not seem to be a means. And it is this that makes it hard to grasp the whole extent to which it must depend on what you see it for. Perception seems to teach you what you see. Yet it but witnesses to what you taught. It is the outward picture of a wish; an image that you wanted to be true.
9. Look at yourself, and you will see a body. Look at this body in a different light and it looks different. And without a light it seems that it is gone. Yet you are reassured that it is there because you still can feel it with your hands and hear it move. Here is an image that you want to be yourself. It is the means to make your wish come true. It gives the eyes with which you look on it, the hands that feel it, and the ears with which you listen to the sounds it makes. It proves its own reality to you.
10. Thus is the body made a theory of yourself, with no provisions made beyond itself, and no escape within its sight. Its course is sure, when seen through its own eyes. It grows and withers, flourishes and dies. And you cannot conceive of you apart from it. You brand it sinful, and you hate its acts, judging it as evil. Yet your specialness whispers, “Here is my own beloved son, in whom I am well pleased.” Thus does the “son” become the means to serve his “father’s” purpose. Not identical, not even like, but still a means to offer to the “father” what he wants. Such is the travesty on God’s creation. For as His Son’s creation gave Him joy and witness to His Love and shared His purpose, so does the body testify to the idea that made it and speak for its reality and truth.
11. And thus are two sons made, and both appear to walk this earth without a meeting place and no encounter. One do you perceive outside yourself, your own beloved son. The other rests within, His Father’s Son, within your brother as he is in you. Their difference does not lie in how they look, nor where they go, nor even what they do. They have a different purpose. It is this that joins them to their like and separates them from all aspects with a different purpose. The Son of God retains his Father’s Will. The son of man perceives an alien will and wishes it were so. And thus does his perception serve his wish by giving it appearances of truth. Yet can perception serve another goal. It is not bound to specialness but by your choice. And it is given you to make a different choice and use perception for a different purpose. And what you see will serve that purpose well and prove its own reality to you.
This Course cannot teach what cannot easily be learned, nor can I expound upon or offer commentary on what must come to you only when you are ready to receive. In this world, the means to the end is perceived as separate – we exist in a state of time where it seems one thing must follow the thing before it. And so, the Course is designed to teach us in the way we are made to perceive. However, we must remember the purpose of perception was not for truth and so perception cannot teach us – in other words we cannot depend on what we see with our flesh eyes. Perception only witnesses to what we taught it to be. It is the outward picture of a wish, Jesus tells us, a wish to be separate from one another, to be separate from Creation, to focus on the differences, to be special and distinct from All that is.
Perception then is an image of what we want; it is a means to make our wishes come true. Perception proves its own reality to us. And so, we find it very difficult if not impossible to conceive of ourselves as more than bodies, as able to escape our perceptions – even though they are all different and cause all manner of problems for us – we hold on to them and call them special and want them to be true, even though they make us hate each other and welcome death! Read paragraph ten sentence by sentence and see how this travesty against the creation of God plays out – making our lives in the flesh seem our reality and our truth, drowning out the Voice for God within us, keeping us drearily cycling through time encountering the same content with a multitude of different forms, seldom if ever asking ourselves “What is this for?”
Instead of One son, we have two – a split which keeps the God-like from ever meeting or encountering the flesh and blood alternate. The one is perception-based and ruled, our own beloved son, the one we spend our whole existence catering to and fawning over and sacrificing to in order to prevail another day, eat another meal, win another war, climb another ladder that promises success. The Other is the Son of God, within each one of us linking us together forever in love, joy, and peace, establishing the Kingdom of God, complete only in each other. The two sons have two entirely different purposes – one purpose joins them to the perception-based the other purpose joins them to the Divine.
The Son of God retains the Love and oneness of God; the son of man perceives the fear and doubt of a world that would oppose oneness and make opposites to truth. The son of man wants the alien world to be true and so his perceptions will make it so. Everywhere he goes he will see opposition and opposites to truth. He will glory in his willingness to sacrifice, to take up arms, to go to battle, to vanquish a constant stream of his supposed “enemies.” He will love to tell people off, put others in their place and keep them there, see joy and fellowship, fearlessness and fun as timewasters viewing relaxation and restfulness with suspicion and grudge.
And here Jesus tells us quite clearly that perception can serve another goal. We can use perception to get past specialness by simply choosing to use it for truth. When we use perception for truth, we will see beyond the physical, and what we see will prove reality to us. This will happen for each one of us when we seek for truth with no thought of specialness. We are seeking truth then not to make a name for ourselves, flying around the world in our own private jets spreading the Word of God. When I realize that I have nothing more to teach you than you have to teach me; when I realize that I don’t get to go up in the Rapture and leave all the rest of humanity behind; when I realize that there is nothing at all about me that will ever make me more special than you or any other part of Creation in the eyes of God, then I am ready to use my perceptions for Christ. And when I use my perceptions for Christ, I see what it is all about. I see you as you really are – your beauty, grace, and love. I appreciate you; I cherish you; I devote myself to you and as I devote myself to you, I devote myself to God and when I devote myself to God, I devote myself to my true Creation and my body responds to this in a most positive way.
For one thing, I sleep better because I am no longer tormented by all those things I will never accomplish for God or otherwise. The lies you made up about me, no longer sting. I am no longer distressed over how you made fun, how jealous you acted over my happiness, how mean-spirited you seemed toward me and mine. You cheated on me? You denied paternity of our baby? You neglected me in my greatest hour of need and turned on me when I needed you the most? You took credit for my work? You showed up and stole my show? I forgive it all because there is nothing to forgive. It is over. Those hurtful things were not you anymore than all the unkind, unloving, downright mean and jealous acts done in my ignorance was me. We are one.
While the perception of oneness seems to take place on the personal before it can be generalized to the world’s condition, the conscious choice to see past specialness to the oneness of Sonship is the Meeting Place, where the son of man is finished, and the Son of God remains – established in our hearts and minds forever.
 A Course in Miracles. Chapter 24 The goal of specialness. VII The meeting place. Foundation for Inner Peace, Second Edition (1992).
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