Chapter Thirteen: From Perception to Knowledge
VIII. The Decision For Guiltlessness
64 Learning will be commensurate with motivation, and the interference in your motivation for learning is exactly the same as that which interferes with all your thinking. The happy learner cannot feel guilty about learning. This is so essential to learning that it should never be forgotten. The guiltless learner learns so easily because his thoughts are free. Yet this entails the recognition that guilt is interference, not salvation, and serves no useful function at all.
65 You are accustomed to using guiltlessness merely to offset the pain of guilt and do not look upon it as having value in itself. You believe that guilt and guiltlessness are both of value, each representing an escape from what the other does not offer you. You do not want either alone, for without both, you do not see yourselves as whole and therefore happy. Yet you are whole only in your guiltlessness, and only in your guiltlessness can you be happy. There is no conflict here. To wish for guilt in any way, in any form, will lose appreciation of the value of your guiltlessness and push it from your sight.
66 There is no compromise that you can make with guilt and escape the pain which only guiltlessness allays. Learning is living here, as creating is being in Heaven. Whenever the pain of guilt seems to attract you, remember that, if you yield to it, you are deciding against your happiness and will not learn how to be happy. Say therefore to yourself gently, but with the conviction born of the love of God and of His Son,
68 Each day, each hour and minute, even every second, you are deciding between the crucifixion and the resurrection, between the ego and the Holy Spirit. The ego is the choice for guilt; the Holy Spirit the decision for guiltlessness. The power of decision is all that is yours. What you can decide between is fixed because there are no alternatives except truth and illusion. And there is no overlap between them because they are opposites which cannot be reconciled and cannot both be true. You are guilty or guiltless, bound or free, happy or unhappy.
69 The miracle teaches you that you have chosen guiltlessness, freedom, and joy. It is not a cause, but an effect. It is the natural result of choosing right, attesting to your happiness that comes from choosing to be free of guilt. Everyone you offer healing to returns it. Everyone you attack keeps it and cherishes it by holding it against you. Whether he does this or does it not will make no difference; you will think he does. It is impossible to offer what you do not want without this penalty. The cost of giving is receiving. Either it is a penalty from which you suffer or the happy purchase of a treasure to hold dear.
70 No penalty is ever asked of God's Son except by himself and of himself. Every chance given him to heal is another opportunity to replace darkness with light and fear with love. If he refuses it, he binds himself to darkness because he did not choose to free his brother and enter light with him. By giving power to nothing, he threw away the joyous opportunity to learn that nothing has no power. And by not dispelling darkness, he became afraid of darkness and of light. The joy of learning that darkness has no power over the Son of God is the happy lesson the Holy Spirit teaches and would have you teach with Him. It is His joy to teach it, as it will be yours.
71 The way to teach this simple lesson is merely this: guiltlessness is invulnerability. Therefore, make your invulnerability manifest to everyone, and teach him that whatever he may try to do to you, your perfect freedom from the belief that you can be harmed shows him he is guiltless. He can do nothing that can hurt you, and by refusing to allow him to think he can, you teach him that the Atonement, which you have accepted for yourself, is also his. There is nothing to forgive. No one can hurt the Son of God. His guilt is wholly without cause, and being without cause, cannot exist.
72 God is the only Cause, and guilt is not of Him. Teach no one he has hurt you, for if you do, you teach yourself that what is not of God has power over you. The causeless cannot be. Do not attest to it, and do not foster belief in it in any mind. Remember always that mind is one and cause is one. You will learn communication with this oneness only when you learn to deny the causeless and accept the Cause of God as yours. The power that God has given to His Son is his, and nothing else can His Son see or choose to look upon without imposing on himself the penalty of guilt in place of all the happy teaching the Holy Spirit would gladly offer him.
73 Whenever you decide to make decisions for yourself, you are thinking destructively, and the decision will be wrong. It will hurt you because of the concept of decision which led to it. It is not true that you can make decisions by yourself or for yourself alone. No thought of God's Son can be separate or isolated in its effects. Every decision is made for the whole Sonship, directed in and out and influencing a constellation larger than anything you ever dreamed of. Those who accept the Atonement are invulnerable. But those who believe they are guilty will respond to guilt because they think it is salvation and will not refuse to see it and side with it. [They believe that increasing guilt is self-protection.] And they will fail to understand the simple fact that what they do not want must hurt them.
74 All this arises because they do not believe that what they want is good. Yet will was given them because it is holy and will bring to them all that they need, coming as naturally as peace that knows no limits. There is nothing their wills will not provide that offers them anything of value. Yet because they do not understand their will, the Holy Spirit quietly understands it for them and gives them what they will without effort, strain, or the impossible burden of deciding what they want and need alone.
75 It will never happen that you will have to make decisions for yourself. You are not bereft of help, and Help that knows the answer. Would you be content with little, which is all that you alone can offer yourself, when He Who gives you everything will simply offer it to you? He will never ask what you have done to make you worthy of the gift of God. Ask it not therefore of yourselves. Instead, accept His answer, for He knows that you are worthy of everything God wills for you. Do not try to escape the gift of God which He so freely and so gladly offers you. He offers you but what God gave Him for you. You need not decide whether or not you are deserving of it. God knows you are.
76 Would you deny the truth of God's decision and place your pitiful appraisal of yourself in place of His calm and unswerving value of His Son? Nothing can shake God's conviction of the perfect purity of everything that He created, for it is wholly pure. Do not decide against it, for being of Him, it must be true. Peace abides in every mind that quietly accepts the plan which God has set for his Atonement, relinquishing his own. You know not of salvation, for you do not understand it. Make no decisions about what it is or where it lies, but ask of the Holy Spirit everything and leave all decisions to His gentle counsel.
77 The One Who knows the plan of God which God would have you follow can teach you what it is. Only His wisdom is capable of guiding you to follow it. Every decision you undertake alone but signifies that you would define what salvation is and what you would be saved from. The Holy Spirit knows that all salvation is escape from guilt. You have no other "enemy," and against this strange distortion of the purity of the Son of God, the Holy Spirit is your only friend. He is the strong protector of your innocence, which sets you free. And it is His decision to undo everything that would obscure your innocence from your unclouded mind.
78 Let Him, therefore, be the only Guide that you would follow to salvation. He knows the way and leads you gladly on it. With Him you will not fail to learn what God wills for you is your will. Without His guidance, you will think you know alone and will decide against your peace as surely as you made the wrong decision in ever thinking that salvation lay in you alone. Salvation is of Him to Whom God gave it for you. He has not forgotten it. Forget Him not, and He will make every decision for you, for your salvation, and the peace of God in you.
79 Seek not to appraise the worth of God's Son, whom He created holy, for to do so is to evaluate his Father and judge against Him. And you will feel guilty for this imagined crime, which no one in this world or Heaven could possibly commit. God's Spirit teaches only that the "sin" of self-replacement on the throne of God is not a source of guilt. What cannot happen can have no effects to fear. Be quiet in your faith in Him Who loves you and would lead you out of insanity. Madness may be your choice, but not your reality. Never forget the Love of God, Who has remembered you. For it is quite impossible that He could ever let His Son drop from His Loving Mind wherein he was created and where his abode was fixed in perfect peace forever.
80 Say to the Holy Spirit only, "Decide for me," and it is done. For His decisions are reflections of what God knows about you, and in this light, error of any kind becomes impossible. Why would you struggle so frantically to anticipate all that you cannot know when all knowledge lies behind every decision which the Holy Spirit makes for you? Learn of His wisdom and His love and teach His answer to everyone who struggles in the dark. For you decide for them and for yourself.
81 How gracious is it to decide all things through Him Whose equal love is given equally to all alike! He leaves you no one outside yourself, alone without you. And so He gives you what is yours because your Father would have you share it with Him. In everything be led by Him and do not reconsider. Trust Him to answer quickly, surely, and with love for everyone who will be touched in any way by the decision. And everyone will be. Would you take unto yourself the sole responsibility for deciding what can bring only good to everyone? Would you know this?
82 You taught yourselves the most unnatural habit of not communicating with your Creator. Yet you remain in close communication with Him and with everything that is within Him, as it is within yourself. Unlearn isolation through His loving guidance and learn of all the happy communication that you have thrown away but could not lose.
83 Whenever you are in doubt what you should do, think of His Presence in you and tell yourself this and only this:
85 Then let Him teach you quietly how to perceive your guiltlessness, which is already there.