The Two Worlds A Rendering
We have been told to bring the darkness to the light, and guilt to holiness. And we have also been told that error must be corrected at its source. Therefore, it is this tiny part of our self, the little thought that seems split off and separate, that the Spirit of Love needs. The rest is fully in God’s keeping, and needs no guide. But this wild and delusional thought needs help, because, in its delusions, it thinks it is the Child of God, whole and omnipotent, sole ruler of the kingdom it set apart, to tyrannize by madness into obedience and slavery. This is the little part we think we stole from heaven.
We are asked to give it back to heaven. Heaven has not lost it, but we have lost sight of heaven. Let the Spirit of Love remove it from this withered kingdom in which we set it up, surrounded by darkness, guarded by attack, and reinforced by hate. Within these barricades is still a tiny segment of our Self, complete and holy, serene and unaware of what we think we have separated off from it. Be we not separate, for the One Who surrounds and pervades this withered kingdom has brought union to us, to return our little offerings of darkness and illusion to the eternal light.
How is this done? It is extremely simple, being based on what this little kingdom really is. The barren sands, the darkness, and the lifelessness are seen only through the body’s eyes. Its vision is distorted, and the messages it transmits to us, who made it to limit our awareness, are little and limited, so fragmented that they are meaningless. From the world of bodies, made by insanity, insane messages seem to be returned to the mind which made it. And these messages bear witness to this world, pronouncing it as true. For we sent forth these messengers, to bring this back to us.
Everything these messages relay to us is quite external. There are no messages that speak of what lies underneath and behind and within, for it is not the body that could speak of this. Its eyes perceive it not, its senses remain quite unaware of it, its tongue can not relay its messages. Yet God can bring us there, if we are willing to follow the Spirit of Love through seeming terror, trusting Him not to abandon us, and leave us there. For it is not His purpose to frighten us, but only ours. We are severely tempted to abandon Him at the outside ring of fear. But He would lead us safely through, and far beyond.
The circle of fear lies just below the level the body’s senses see, and seems to be the whole foundation on which the world is based. Here are all the illusions, all the twisted thoughts, all the insane attacks, the fury, vengeance, and betrayal that were made to keep the guilt in place, so that the world could rise from it, and keep it hidden. Guilt’s shadow rises to the surface, enough to hold its most external manifestation in darkness, and to bring despair and loneliness to it, and keep it joyless. But Guilt’s own intensity is veiled by its heavy coverings, and kept apart from what was made to keep it hidden.
The body cannot see this, for the body arose from this for its protection, which must always depend on keeping it not seen. The body’s eyes will never look on it. Yet they will see what it dictates. The body will remain guilt’s messenger, and will act as it directs, as long as we believe that guilt is real. For the “reality” of guilt is the illusion that seems to make it heavy and opaque, impenetrable, and a real foundation for the ego’s thought system. Its thinness and transparency are not apparent, until we see the light behind it. And then we see it as a fragile veil, before the light.
This heavy-seeming barrier, this artificial floor that looks like rock, is like a bank of low, dark clouds that seem to be a solid wall before the sun. Its impenetrable appearance is wholly an illusion. It gives way softly to the mountain tops that rise above it, and has no power at all to hold back anyone willing to climb above it, to see the sun. It is not strong enough to stop a button’s fall, nor hold a feather. Nothing can rest upon it, for it is but an illusion of a foundation. Try but to touch it, and it disappears; attempt to grasp it, and our hands hold nothing.
Yet in this cloud bank it is easy to see a whole world rising. A solid mountain range, a lake, a city, all arise in our imagination, and from the clouds, the messengers of our perception return to us, assuring us that it is all there. Figures stand out and move about, actions seem real, and forms appear and shift from loveliness to the grotesque. And back and forth they go, as long as we would play the game of children’s “make believe.” Yet, however long we play it, and regardless of how much imagination we bring to it, we do not confuse it with the world below, nor seek to make it real.
So should it be with the dark clouds of guilt, no more impenetrable and no more substantial. we will not bruise ourself against them, in traveling through. Let our Guide teach us their unsubstantial nature, as He leads us past them. For beneath them is a world of light, whereon they cast no shadows. Their shadows lie upon the world beyond them, still further from the light. But from them to the light, their shadows cannot fall. This world of light, this circle of brightness, is the real world, where guilt meets with forgiveness. Here, the world outside is seen anew, without the shadow of guilt upon it.
Here are we forgiven, for here we have forgiven everyone. Here is the new perception, where everything is bright and shining with innocence, washed in the waters of forgiveness, and cleansed of every evil thought we laid upon it. Here there is no attack upon the Child of God, and we are welcome. Here is our innocence, waiting to clothe us and protect us, and make us ready for the final step in the journey inward. Here are the dark and heavy garments of guilt laid by, and gently replaced by purity and joy.
Yet even forgiveness is not the end. Forgiveness does make lovely, but it does not create. It is the source of healing, but it is the messenger of love, and not its Source. Here are we led, that God Himself can take the final step unhindered. For here does nothing interfere with Love, letting it be Itself. A step beyond this holy place of forgiveness, a step still further inward, but one we cannot take, transports us to something completely different. Here is the source of light; nothing perceived, forgiven, nor transformed. But merely known.
This course will lead to Knowledge, but knowledge itself is still beyond the scope of our curriculum. Nor is there any need for us to try to speak of what must forever lie beyond words. We need remember only that whoever attains the real world, beyond which learning cannot go, will go beyond it, but in a different way. Where learning ends, there God begins, for learning ends before Him Who is complete where He begins, and where there is no end.
It is not for us to dwell on what cannot be attained. There is too much to learn. The readiness for knowledge still must be attained. Love is not learned. Its meaning lies in itself. And learning ends when we have recognized all it is not. That is the interference; that is what needs to be undone. Love is not learned, because there never was a time in which we knew it not. Learning is useless in the presence of our Creator, whose acknowledgment of us, and ours of Him, so far transcends all learning, that everything we learned is meaningless, replaced forever by the Knowledge of Love and its One meaning.
Our relationship has been uprooted from the world of shadows, and its unholy purpose has been safely brought through the barriers of guilt, washed with forgiveness, and set shining and firmly rooted in the world of light. From there it calls to us to follow the course it took, lifted high above the darkness, and gently placed before the gates of heaven. The holy instant in which we were united, is but a messenger of Love, sent from beyond forgiveness to remind us of all that lies beyond it. Yet it is through forgiveness that it will be remembered.
And when the memory of God has come to us, in the holy place of forgiveness, we will remember nothing else. And memory will be as useless as learning, for our only purpose will be creating. Yet this we cannot know, until every perception has been cleansed and purified, and finally removed forever. Forgiveness removes only the untrue, lifting the shadows from the world, and carrying it, safe and sure within its gentleness, to the bright world of new and clean perception. There is our purpose now. And it is there that peace awaits us.
Rendered from portions of section 18, chapter 9,
A Course in Miracles