Chapter Thirty One: The Simplicity of Salvation
II. The Illusion of an Enemy
13 An ancient lesson is not overcome by the opposing of the new and old. It is not vanquished that the truth be known nor fought against to lose to truth's appeal. There is no battle which must be prepared, no time to be expended, and no plans that need be laid for bringing in the new. There is an ancient battle being waged against the truth, but truth does not respond. Who could be hurt in such a war unless he hurts himself? He has no enemy in truth. And can he be assailed by dreams?
14 Let us review again what seems to stand between you and the truth of what you are. For there are steps in its relinquishment. The first is a decision that you make. But afterwards the truth is given you. You would establish truth. And by your wish, you set two choices to be made each time you think you must decide on anything. Neither is true. Nor are they different. Yet must we see them both before you can look past them to the one alternative that is a different choice. But not in dreams you made that this might be obscured to you.
15 What you would choose between is not a choice and gives but the illusion it is free, for it will have one outcome either way. Thus is it really not a choice at all. The leader and the follower emerge as separate roles, each seeming to possess advantages you would not want to lose. So in their fusion there appears to be the hope of satisfaction and of peace. You see yourself divided into both these roles, forever split between the two. And every friend or enemy becomes a means to help you save yourself from this.
16 Perhaps you call it love. Perhaps you think that it is murder justified at last. You hate the one you gave the leader's role when you would have it, and you hate as well his not assuming it at times you want to let the follower in you arise and give away the role of leadership. And this is what you made your brother for and learned to think that this his purpose is. Unless he serves it, he has not fulfilled the function that was given him by you. And thus he merits death because he has no purpose and no usefulness to you.
17 And what of him? What does he want of you? What could he want, but what you want of him? Herein is life as easily as death, for what you choose, you choose as well for him. Two calls you make to him, as he to you. Between these two is choice because from them there is a different outcome. If he be the leader or the follower to you, it matters not, for you have chosen death. But if he calls for death or calls for life, for hate or for forgiveness and for help, is not the same in outcome. Hear the one, and you are separate from him and are lost. But hear the other, and you join with him, and in your answer is salvation found. The voice you hear in him is but your own. What does he ask you for? And listen well! For he is asking what will come to you because you see an image of yourself and hear your voice requesting what you want.
18 Before you answer, pause to think of this:
20 Then let us wait an instant and be still, forgetting everything we thought we heard; remembering how much we do not know. This brother neither leads nor follows us but walks beside us on the selfsame road. He is like us, as near or far away from what we want as we will let him be. We make no gains he does not make with us, and we fall back if he does not advance. Take not his hand in anger but in love, for in his progress do you count your own. And we go separately along the way unless you keep him safely by your side.
21 Because he is your equal in God's love, you will be saved from all appearances and answer to the Christ Who calls to you. Be still and listen. Think not ancient thoughts. Forget the dismal lessons that you learned about this Son of God who calls to you. Christ calls to all with equal tenderness, seeing no leaders and no followers and hearing but one answer to them all. Because He hears one Voice, He cannot hear a different answer from the one He gave when God appointed Him His only Son.
22 Be very still an instant. Come without all thought of what you ever learned before and put aside all images you made. The old will fall away before the new without your opposition or intent. There will be no attack upon the things you thought were precious and in need of care. There will be no assault upon your wish to hear a call that never has been made. Nothing will hurt you in this holy place to which you come to listen silently and learn the truth of what you really want. No more than this will you be asked to learn. But as you hear it, you will understand you need but come away without the thoughts you did not want and that were never true.
23 Forgive your brother all appearances, which are but ancient lessons that you taught yourself about the sinfulness in you. Hear but his call for mercy and release from all the fearful images he holds of what he is and of what you must be. He is afraid to walk with you and thinks perhaps a bit behind, a bit ahead, would be a safer place for him to be. Can you make progress if you think the same, advancing only when he would step back and falling back when he would go ahead? For so do you forget the journey's goal, which is but to decide to walk with him, so neither leads nor follows. Thus it is a way you go together, not alone. And in this choice is learning's outcome changed, for Christ has been reborn to both of you.
24 An instant spent without your old ideas of who your great companion is and what he should be asking for will be enough to let this happen. And you will perceive his purpose is the same as yours. He asks for what you want and needs the same as you. It takes perhaps a different form in him, but it is not the form you answer to. He asks and you receive, for you have come with but one purposethat you both may learn you love each other with a brother's love. And as a brother, must his Father be the same as yours, as he is like yourself.
25 Together is your joint inheritance remembered and accepted by you both. Alone it is denied to both of you. Is it not clear that while you still insist on leading or on following, you think you walk alone with no one by your side? This is the road to nowhere, for the light cannot be given while you walk alone, and so you cannot see which way you go. And thus there is confusion and a sense of endless doubting as you stagger back and forward in the darkness and alone. Yet these are but appearances of what the journey is and how it must be made. For next to you is One Who holds the light before you so that every step is made in certainty and sureness of the road. A blindfold can indeed obscure your sight but cannot make the way itself grow dark. And He Who travels with you has the light.