Chapter Eighteen: The Dream and the Reality
VII. Dreams and the Body
49 There is nothing outside you. That is what you must ultimately learn, for it is in that realization that the Kingdom of Heaven is restored to you. For God created only this, and He did not depart from it nor leave it separate from Himself. The Kingdom of Heaven is the dwelling-place of the Son of God, Who left not his Father and dwells not apart from Him. Heaven is not a place nor a condition. It is merely an awareness of perfect Oneness and the knowledge that there is nothing else; nothing outside this Oneness and nothing else within.
50 What could God give but knowledge of Himself? What else is there to give? The belief that you could give and get something else, something outside yourself, has cost you the awareness of Heaven and the loss of your Identity. And you have done a stranger thing than you yet realize. You have displaced your guilt to your bodies from your minds. Yet a body cannot be guilty, for it can do nothing of itself. You who think you hate your bodies deceive yourselves. You hate your minds, for guilt has entered into them, and they would remain separate, which they cannot do.
51 Minds are joined; bodies are not. Only by assigning to the mind the properties of the body does separation seem to be possible. And it is mind that seems to be fragmented and private and alone. Its guilt, which keeps it separate, is projected to the body, which suffers and dies because it is attacked, to hold the separation in the mind and let it not know its identity. Mind cannot attack, but it can make fantasies and direct the body to act them out. Yet it is never what the body does that seems to satisfy. Unless the mind believes the body is actually acting out its fantasies, it will attack the body by increasing the projection of its guilt upon it.
52 In this, the mind is clearly delusional. It cannot attack, but it maintains it can and uses what it does to hurt the body to prove it can. The mind cannot attack, but it can deceive itself. And this is all it does when it believes it has attacked the body. It can project its guilt, but it will not lose it through projection. And though it clearly can misperceive the function of the body, it cannot change its function from what the Holy Spirit establishes it to be. The body was not made by love. Yet love does not condemn it and can use it lovingly, respecting what the Son of God has made and using it to save him from illusions.
53 Would you not have the instruments of separation reinterpreted as means for salvation and used for purposes of love? Would you not welcome and support the shift from fantasies of vengeance to release from them? Your perception of the body can clearly be sick, but project not this upon the body. For your wish to make destructive what cannot destroy can have no real effect at all. And what God created is only what He would have it be, being His Will. You cannot make His Will destructive. You can make fantasies in which your will conflicts with His, but that is all.
54 It is insane to use the body as the scapegoat for guilt, directing its attack and blaming it for what you wished it to do. It is impossible to act out fantasies. For it is still the fantasies you want, and they have nothing to do with what the body does. It does not dream of them, and they but make it a liability where it could be an asset. For fantasies have made your body your "enemy," weak, vulnerable, and treacherous, worthy of the hate which you invest in it. How has this served you? You have identified with this thing you hate, the instrument of vengeance and the perceived source of your guilt. You have done this to a thing that has no meaning, proclaiming it to be the dwelling-place of the Son of God and turning it against him.
55 This is the host of God that you have made. And neither God nor His most holy Son can enter an abode which harbors hate and where you have sown the seeds of vengeance, violence, and death. This thing you made to serve your guilt stands between you and other minds. The minds are joined, but you do not identify with them. You see yourself locked in a separate prison, removed and unreachable, incapable of reaching out as being reached. You hate this prison you have made and would destroy it. But you would not escape from it, leaving it unharmed, without your guilt upon it.
56 Yet only thus can you escape. The home of vengeance is not yours; the place you set aside to house your hate is not a prison but an illusion of yourself. The body is a limit imposed on the universal communication which is an eternal property of mind. But the communication is internal. [It is not made up of different parts which reach each other.] Mind reaches to itself. It does not go out. Within itself it has no limits, and there is nothing outside it. [It encompasses everything.] It encompasses you entirely; you within it, and it within you. There is nothing else, anywhere or ever.
57 The body is outside you, and but seems to surround you, shutting you off from others and keeping you apart from them [and them from you]. It is not there. There is no barrier between God and His Son, nor can His Son be separated from himself except in illusions. This is not his reality, though he believes it is. Yet this could only be if God were wrong. God would have had to create differently and to have separated Himself from His Son to make this possible. He would have had to create different things and to establish different orders of reality, only some of which were love. Yet love must be forever like itself, changeless forever and forever without alternative. And so it is. You cannot put a barrier around yourself because God placed none between Himself and you.
58 You can stretch out your hand and reach to Heaven. You whose hands are joined have begun to reach beyond the body, but not outside yourselves, to reach your shared Identity together. Could this be outside you? Where God is not? Is He a body, and did He create you as He is not and where He cannot be? You are surrounded only by Him. What limit can there be on you whom He encompasses? Everyone has experienced what he would call a sense of being transported beyond himself. This feeling of liberation far exceeds the dream of freedom sometimes experienced in special relationships. It is a sense of actual escape from limitations.
59 If you will consider what this "transportation" really entails, you will realize that it is a sudden unawareness of the body and a joining of yourself and something else in which your mind enlarges to encompass it. It becomes part of you as you unite with it. And both become whole as neither is perceived as separate. What really happens is that you have given up the illusion of a limited awareness and lost your fear of union. The love that instantly replaces it extends to what has freed you and unites with it. And while this lasts, you are not uncertain of your Identity and would not limit it. You have escaped from fear to peace, asking no questions of reality but merely accepting it. You have accepted this instead of the body and have let yourself be one with something beyond it simply by not letting your mind be limited by it.
60 This can occur regardless of the physical distance which seems to be between you and what you join, of your respective positions in space, and of your differences in size and seeming quality. Time is not relevant; it can occur with something past, present, or anticipated. The "something" can be anything and anywherea sound, a sight, a thought, a memory, and even a general idea without specific reference. Yet in every case, you joined it without reservation because you love it and would be with it. And so you rush to meet it, letting your limits melt away, suspending all the "laws" your body obeys and gently setting them aside.
61 There is no violence at all in this escape. The body is not attacked, but simply properly perceived. It does not limit you merely because you would not have it so. You are not really "lifted out" of it; it cannot contain you. You go where you would be, gaining, not losing, a sense of self. In these instants of release from physical restrictions, you experience much of what happens in the holy instant; the lifting of the barriers of time and space, the sudden experience of peace and joy, and, above all, the lack of awareness of the body and of the questioning whether or not all this is possible.
62 It is possible because you want it. The sudden expansion of the self which takes place with your desire for it is the irresistible appeal the holy instant holds. It calls to you to be yourself within its safe embrace. There are the laws of limit lifted for you, to welcome you to openness of mind and freedom. Come to this place of refuge, where you can be yourself in peace. Not through destruction, not through a "breaking out," but merely by a quiet "melting in." For peace will join you there simply because you have been willing to let go the limits you have placed upon love and joined it where it is and where it led you in answer to its gentle call to be at peace.