Chapter Four: The Root of All Evil
VII. The Constant State
81 It cannot be emphasized too often that correcting perception is merely a temporary expedient. It is necessary to do so only because misperception is a block to knowledge, while accurate perception is a stepping-stone towards it. The whole value of right perception lies in the inevitable judgment which it entails that it is unnecessary. This removes the block entirely. You may ask how this is possible as long as you appear to be living in this world, and since this is a sensible question, it has a sensible answer. You must be careful, however, that you really understand the question. What is the "you" who are living in this world?
82 Immortality is a constant state. It is as true now as it ever was or ever will be because it implies no change at all. It is not a continuum nor is it understood by being compared to an opposite. Knowledge never involves comparisons. That is its essential difference from everything else the mind can grasp. "A little knowledge" is not dangerous except to the ego. Vaguely it senses threat, and being unable to realize that "a little knowledge" is a meaningless phrase since "all" and "a little" in this context are the same, the ego decides that, since "all" is impossible, the fear does not lie there. "A little," however, is a scarcity concept, and this the ego understands well. "A little," then, is perceived as the real threat.
83 The essential thing to remember is that the ego does not recognize the real source of its perceived threat, and if you associate yourself with the ego, you do not perceive the whole situation as it is. Only your allegiance to it gives the ego any power over you.
84 We have spoken of the ego as if it were a separate thing acting on its own. This was necessary to persuade you that you cannot dismiss it lightly and must realize how much of your thinking is ego-directed. We cannot safely let it go at that, however, or you will regard yourselves as necessarily conflicted as long as you are here, or more properly, as long as you believe that you are here.
85 The ego is nothing more than a part of your belief about yourselves. Your other life has continued without interruption and has been and always will be totally unaffected by your attempts to dissociate. The ratio of repression and dissociation varies with the individual ego-illusion, but dissociation is always involved or you would not believe that you are here. In learning to escape from the illusions you have made, your great debt to each other is something you must never forget. It is exactly the same debt that you owe to me. Whenever you react egotistically towards each other, you are throwing away the graciousness of your indebtedness and the holy perception it would produce.
86 The term "holy" can be used here because as you learn how much you are indebted to the whole Sonship, which includes me, you come as close to knowledge as perception ever can. The gap is then so small that knowledge can easily flow across it and obliterate it forever. You have very little trust in me as yet, but it will increase as you turn more and more often to me instead of your egos for guidance. The results will convince you increasingly that your choice in turning to me is the only sane one you can make. No one who has learned from experience that one choice brings peace and joy while another brings chaos and disaster needs much conditioning.
87 The ego cannot withstand the conditioning process because the process itself demonstrates that there is another way. Conditioning by rewards has always been more effective than conditioning by pain because pain is an ego-illusion and can never induce more than a temporary effect. The rewards of God, however, are immediately recognized as eternal. Since this recognition is made by you and not the ego, the recognition itself establishes that you and your ego cannot be identical. You may believe that you have already accepted the difference, but you are by no means convinced as yet. The very fact that you are preoccupied with the idea of escaping from the ego shows this.
88 You cannot escape from the ego by humbling it or controlling it or punishing it. Remember that the ego and the Soul do not know each other. The separated mind cannot maintain the separation except by dissociating. Having done this, it utilizes repression against all truly natural impulses, not because the ego is a separate thing, but because you want to believe that you are. The ego is a device for maintaining this belief, but it is still only your willingness to use the device that enables it to endure.
89 My trust in you is greater than yours in me at the moment, but it will not always be that way. Your mission is very simple. You have been chosen to live so as to demonstrate that you are not an ego. I repeat that I do not choose God's channels wrongly. The Holy One shares my trust and always approves my Atonement decisions because my will is never out of accord with His. I have told you before that I am in charge of the whole Atonement. This is only because I completed my part in it as a man and can now complete it through other men. My chosen receiving and sending channels cannot fail because I will lend them my strength as long as theirs is wanting.
90 I will go with you to the Holy One, and through my perception, He can bridge the little gap. Your gratitude to each other is the only gift I want. I will bring it to God for you, knowing that to know your brother is to know God. A little knowledge is an all-encompassing thing. If you are grateful to each other, you are grateful to God for what He created. Through your gratitude, you can come to know each other, and one moment of real recognition makes all men your brothers because they are all of your Father. Love does not conquer all things, but it does set all things right. Because you are all the Kingdom of God, I can lead you back to your own creations, which you do not yet know. What has been dissociated is still there.
91 As you come closer to a brother, you do approach me and, as you withdraw from him, I become distant to you. Your giant step forward was to insist on a "collaborative venture." This does not go against the true spirit of meditation; it is inherent in it. Meditation is a collaborative venture with God. It cannot be undertaken successfully by those who disengage themselves from the Sonship because they are disengaging themselves from me. God will come to you only as you will give Him to your brothers. Learn first of them, and you will be ready to hear God as you hear them. That is because the function of love is one.
92 How can you teach someone the value of something he has deliberately thrown away? He must have thrown it away because he did not value it. You can only show him how miserable he is without it and bring it near very slowly, so he can learn how his misery lessens as he approaches it. This conditions him to associate his misery with its absence and to associate the opposite of misery with its presence. It gradually becomes desirable as he changes his mind about its worth.
93 I am conditioning you to associate misery with the ego and joy with the Soul. You have conditioned yourselves the other way around. A far greater reward, however, will break through any conditioning if it is repeatedly offered whenever the old habit pattern is broken. You are still free to choose, but can you really want the rewards of the ego in the presence of the rewards of God?