Do not confuse the veil that obscures Christ’s face with the face of Christ itself. The veil terrifies; the face melts you instantly into God. So long as you are scared, even to the tiniest degree, you are still beholding the veil. Don’t get down on yourself for this; it’s okay. We all do it. But we can help each other undo it, too.
The veil is not external, though sometimes what is external can help us to get a handle on where and how to look for the veil. There is a point in one’s practice of A Course in Miracles where the interior landscape begins to clarify and you can move around in it easier. So you know where to go to look at the fear and the guilt, and you know the safe spot to which you can safely retreat, regain strength and come back again.
This is the work! It is all that we study the Course for – to learn how to look at the blocks that stand in the way of Love. Nothing else matters. Your income tax bracket, your broken marriage, the books you haven’t read, the bottles of booze in which people you love are dying . . . None of it. Only this.
The veil hangs dark and heavy and still – more like a wall of iron with terrifying faces painted on it in blood – inside of you. It’s there when you’re burying a beloved dog and it’s there when your child gives you a Valentine even though it’s April. The outside means nothing to it. Don’t look for it there. Don’t look for anything there.
All we are learning to do – all this lifetime and this study and this practice is for – is look at the veil. And when you make contact with it, then all that matters is coming back to it over and over until at last you are ready to draw it aside.
The veil across the face of Christ, the fear of God and of salvation, and the love of guilt and death, they are all different names for just one error; that there is a space between you and your brother, kept apart by an illusion of yourself that holds him off from you, and you away from him (T-31.VII.9:1).
This is not hard to understand intellectually. We are one and our failure to recognize this is the separation. So the atonement is simply the acceptance of our oneness.
But we are not feeling it! And we are not living it. I look around the room as I write and you are not here. You are in your room, with your prayers, and your books, and your people. I am still under the illusion that my body and your body are what really matters. Leonard Cohen sang about this very beautifully in his song Closing Time.
I loved you for your beauty
that doesn’t make a fool of me
You were in it for your beauty too
and I loved you for your body
there’s a voice that sounds like God to me
declaring, declaring, declaring that your body’s really you
We get confused. The world seems so real – so dense and interwoven. Parts of it are so lovely, you can’t imagine giving them up. Parts are so horrifying, we can’t even allow ourselves to think about them. And our bodies please us one day but fail us the next. We try to understand it and figure it out and make it mean something, but it doesn’t. It can’t.
Sooner or later we see this and we at last can let it go. We close our eyes and grope for the hand within – the hand of Jesus, who leads us to the Holy Spirit, who perfectly enfolds us, and leads us gently and surely to the veil that we have placed between the Love that is God and everything else. Nothing is real except what lies on the far side of the veil. The whole journey was a dream: only this is real.
When one reaches this place, it is possible to become frozen for lifetimes. You will find yourself wanting another spiritual practice, or a better teacher, or improved life circumstances, or another run with psychotherapy, or a different body – or communion with some other body. All of it is merely delay. All any of that means is you are going to come back here again later. Why wait?
If you are reading this, it is because you have done the work and found the companions who both guide you to the veil and then stand beside you while you decide whether – finally – to reach out and brush it aside. If my word counts for anything: there is no better time and we are not joined for any better purpose.
We do not need to be afraid of God any longer. We do not need to be separated from Love any longer.
Let us join together in a holy instant, here in this place where the purpose, given in a holy instant, has led you. And let us join in faith that He Who brought us here together will offer you the innocence you need, and that you will accept it for my love and His (T-19.D.i.9:6-7).
We stand with each other in order that we might each turn within and find the imagined source of darkness and pain. And seeing it – and knowing our brothers and sisters stand with us, and that we are joined by the mightiest of companions – we at last are ready to undo it. We reach out with trembling fingers towards this last obstacle to Love: it shifts: disappears: and then . . .