Chapter Three: Retraining the Mind
VII. The Loss of Certainty
51 We said before that the abilities which man possesses are only shadows of his real strengths and that the intrusion of the ability to perceive, which is inherently judgmental, was introduced only after the separation. No one has been sure of anything since. You will also remember, however, that I made it clear that the resurrection was the means for the return to knowledge, which was accomplished by the union of my will with the Father's. We can now make a distinction which will greatly facilitate clarity in our subsequent statements.
52 Since the separation, the words "create" and "make" have been greatly confused. When you make something, you make it out of a sense of lack or need. Anything that is made is made for a specific purpose and has no true generalizability. When you make something to fill a perceived lack, which is obviously why you would want to make anything, you are tacitly implying that you believe in separation. Knowing, as we have frequently observed, does not lead to doing at all.
53 The confusion between your own creation and what you create is so profound that it has become literally impossible for you to know anything. Knowledge is always stable, and it is quite evident that human beings are not. Nevertheless, they are perfectly stable as God created them. In this sense, when their behavior is unstable they are disagreeing with God's idea of the creation. Man can do this if he chooses, but he would hardly want to do it if he were in his right mind. The problem that bothers you most is the fundamental question which man continually asks of himself, but which cannot properly be directed to himself at all. He keeps asking himself what he is. This implies that the answer is not only one which he knows but is also one which is up to him to supply.
54 Man cannot perceive himself correctly. He has no image. The word "image" is always perception-related and not a product of knowing. Images are symbolic and stand for something else. The current emphasis on "changing your image" merely recognizes the power of perception, but it also implies that there is nothing to know. Knowing is not open to interpretation. It is possible to "interpret" meaning, but this is always open to error because it refers to the perception of meaning. Such wholly needless complexities are the result of man's attempt to regard himself as both separated and unseparated at the same time. It is impossible to undertake a confusion as fundamental as this without engaging in further confusion.
55 Methodologically, man's mind has been very creative but, as always occurs when method and content are separated, it has not been utilized for anything but an attempt to escape a fundamental and entirely inescapable impasse. This kind of thinking cannot result in a creative outcome, although it has resulted in considerable ingenuity. It is noteworthy, however, that this ingenuity has almost totally divorced him from knowledge. Knowledge does not require ingenuity. When we say "the truth shall set you free," we mean that all this kind of thinking is a waste of time, but that you are free of the need to engage in it if you are willing to let it go.
56 Prayer is a way of asking for something. Prayer is the medium of miracles, but the only meaningful prayer is for forgiveness because those who have been forgiven have everything. Once forgiveness has been accepted, prayer in the usual sense becomes utterly meaningless. Essentially, a prayer for forgiveness is nothing more than a request that we may be able to recognize something we already have. In electing to perceive instead of to know, man placed himself in a position where he could resemble his Father only by miraculously perceiving. He has lost the knowledge that he himself is a miracle. Miraculous creation was his Source and also his real function.
57 "God created man in His own image and likeness" is correct in meaning, but the words are open to considerable misinterpretation. This is avoided, however, if "image" is understood to mean "thought" and "likeness" is taken as "of a like quality." God did create the Soul in His own Thought and of a quality like to His own. There is nothing else. Perception, on the other hand, is impossible without a belief in "more" and "less." Perception at every level involves selectivity and is incapable of organization without it. In all types of perception, there is a continual process of accepting and rejecting or organizing and reorganizing, of shifting and changing focus. Evaluation is an essential part of perception because judgments must be made for selection.
58 What happens to perceptions if there are no judgments and there is nothing but perfect equality? Perception becomes impossible. Truth can only be known. All of it is equally true, and knowing any part of it is to know all of it. Only perception involves partial awareness. Knowledge transcends all the laws which govern perception because partial knowledge is impossible. It is all one and has no separate parts. You who are really one with it need but know yourself, and your knowledge is complete. To know God's miracle is to know Him.
59 Forgiveness is the healing of the perception of separation. Correct perception of each other is necessary because minds have willed to see themselves as separate. Each Soul knows God completely. That is the miraculous power of the Soul. The fact that each one has this power completely is a fact that is entirely alien to human thinking, in which if anyone has everything, there is nothing left. God's miracles are as total as His Thoughts because they are His Thoughts.
60 As long as perception lasts, prayer has a place. Since perception rests on lack, those who perceive have not totally accepted the Atonement and given themselves over to truth. Perception is a separated state, and a perceiver does need healing. Communion, not prayer, is the natural state of those who know. God and His miracles are inseparable. How beautiful indeed are the Thoughts of God who live in His light! Your worth is beyond perception because it is beyond doubt. Do not perceive yourself in different lights. Know yourself in the One Light where the miracle that is you is perfectly clear.