According to Lesson 139 of A Course in Miracles, all conflict can be traced to a single source: we do not know what we are. This is the eternal question, posited by seekers of all faiths and all times: what am I? This doubt assumes myriad forms: what should I do for work? Who should I love? Why is life so unfair? – and yet the content remains the same. We refuse to own our identity and a world of guilt and fear emerges in consequence. Who needs it?
Well, we need it, or we believe we do. It is a pretty slick sleight-of-mind, really. We dissociate what we are – split it up into fragments and then have one fragment inquire of the other, what are you? What am I? That ball has been rolling now for thousands of years and all it leaves in its wake is anguish and pain. You can sense the cycle, can’t you? We seem to know how to do this really well. It’s like we’ve been doing it nigh on forever.
And yet, because we are the ones doing it, we can also undo it. It isn’t even all that complicated. We simply have to be willing to be wrong about ourselves. We have to say, as Bill Thetford said to Helen Schucman, augmenting this particular form of the universal course, “there must be a better way.”
We might start by accepting the fragmentation. We can see it in the very act of questioning ourselves: what am I? The course neatly and logically demonstrates how this apparently reasonable – and certainly universally endorsed – question is actually impossible.
But you have split your mind into what knows and does not know the truth. You are yourself. There is no doubt of this. And yet you doubt it. But you do not ask what part of you can really doubt yourself. It cannot really be a part of you that asks this question. For it asks of one who knows the answer. Were it part of you, then certainly would be impossible (W-pI.139:5:4-11).
So we are like little children playing dress-up. We are spirit playing that it is matter. But somehow we have clouded over entirely the fact that it is not real.
How do we undo this?
In the middle of the game – the dream, the illusion – find some time to be still. And in those moments – it doesn’t take many – be willing to learn the truth about yourself. Be willing to shift your identity from this self in this world living this life to the Christ. Willingness is a blend of gratitude and openness through which the light of truth readily pours. All it needs is the tiniest gap. We need do nothing else
The Christ in you is very still. He knows where you are going, and He leads you there in gentleness and blessing all the way. His Love for God replaces all the fear you thought you saw within yourself. His Holiness shows you Himself in him whose hand you hold, and whom you lead to Him. And what you see is like yourself (T-24.V.6:1-5).
It is very hard to accept that there is nothing to do but accept this as the truth. Yet Lesson 139 is very clear on this point. Asking what we are is foolish, but asking acceptance of ourselves is the means by which we remember that we remain forever as God created us.
This does Atonement teach, and demonstrates the Oneness of God’s Son is unassailed by his belief he knows now what he is. Today accept Atonement, not to change reality, but merely to accept the truth about yourself, and go your way rejoicing in the endless love of God (W-pI.139.10:1-2).
The gift was given long ago. It is a condition of what we are in truth. What happened since – the long dark road of guilt and fear and all its attendant pain – is the dream at whose mercy we believe we live. It isn’t true. The Christ in us is ever ready to lift us all the way to the gates of Heaven.
The holy Lord of Heaven has Himself come down to you, to offer you your own completion. What is His is yours because in your completion is His Own (T-24.V.8:1-2).
That is what we are. And thus is our conflict brought to an end. The only condition of inner peace is acceptance.