Chapter 20: The Vision of Holiness
III. Sin as an Adjustment
1 The belief in sin is an adjustment. And an adjustment is a change; a shift in perception, or a belief that what was so before has been made different. Every adjustment is therefore a distortion, and calls upon defenses to uphold it against reality. Knowledge requires no adjustments and, in fact, is lost if any shift or change is undertaken. For this reduces it at once to mere perception; a way of looking in which certainty is lost and doubt has entered. To this impaired condition are adjustments necessary, because they are not true. Who need adjust to truth, which calls on only what he is, to understand?
2 Adjustments of any kind are of the ego. For it is the ego's fixed belief that all relationships depend upon adjustments, to make of them what it would have them be. Direct relationships, in which there are no interferences, are always seen as dangerous. The ego is the self-appointed mediator of all relationships, making whatever adjustments it deems necessary and interposing them between those who would meet, to keep them separate and prevent their union. It is this studied interference that makes it difficult for you to recognize your holy relationship for what it is.
3 The holy do not interfere with truth. They are not afraid of it, for it is within the truth they recognized their holiness, and rejoiced at what they saw. They looked on it directly, without attempting to adjust themselves to it, or it to them. And so they saw that it was in them, not deciding first where they would have it be. Their looking merely asked a question, and it was what they saw that answered them. You make the world and then adjust to it, and it to you. Nor is there any difference between yourself and it in your perception, which made them both.
4 A simple question yet remains, and needs an answer. Do you like what you have made?-a world of murder and attack, through which you thread your timid way through constant dangers, alone and frightened, hoping at most that death will wait a little longer before it overtakes you and you disappear. You made this up. It is a picture of what you think you are; of how you see yourself. A murderer is frightened, and those who kill fear death. All these are but the fearful thoughts of those who would adjust themselves to a world made fearful by their adjustments. And they look out in sorrow from what is sad within, and see the sadness there.
5 Have you not wondered what the world is really like; how it would look through happy eyes? The world you see is but a judgment on yourself. It is not there at all. Yet judgment lays a sentence on it, justifies it and makes it real. Such is the world you see; a judgment on yourself, and made by you. This sickly picture of yourself is carefully preserved by the ego, whose image it is and which it loves, and placed outside you in the world. And to this world must you adjust as long as you believe this picture is outside, and has you at its mercy. This world is merciless, and were it outside you, you should indeed be fearful. Yet it was you who made it merciless, and now if mercilessness seems to look back at you, it can be corrected.
6 Who in a holy relationship can long remain unholy? The world the holy see is one with them, just as the world the ego looks upon is like itself. The world the holy see is beautiful because they see their innocence in it. They did not tell it what it was; they did not make adjustments to fit their orders. They gently questioned it and whispered, "What are you?" And He Who watches over all perception answered. Take not the judgment of the world as answer to the question, "What am I?" The world believes in sin, but the belief that made it as you see it is not outside you.
7 Seek not to make the Son of God adjust to his insanity. There is a stranger in him, who wandered carelessly into the home of truth and who will wander off. He came without a purpose, but he will not remain before the shining light the Holy Spirit offered, and you accepted. For there the stranger is made homeless and you are welcome. Ask not this transient stranger, “What am I?” He is the only thing
in all the universe that does not know. Yet it is he you asked, and it is to his answer that you would adjust. This one wild thought, fierce in its arrogance, and yet so tiny and so meaningless it slips unnoticed through the universe of truth, becomes your guide. To it you turn to ask the meaning of the universe. And of the one blind thing in all the seeing universe of truth you ask, "How shall I look upon the Son of God?"
8 Does one ask judgment of what is totally bereft of judgment? And if you have, would you believe the answer, and adjust to it as if it were the truth? The world you look on is the answer that it gave you, and you have given it power to adjust the world to make its answer true. You asked this puff of madness for the meaning of your unholy relationship, and adjusted it according to its insane answer. How happy did it make you? Did you meet with joy, to bless the Son of God, and give him thanks for all the happiness that he held out to you? Did you recognize your brother as the eternal gift of God to you? Did you see the holiness that shone in both you and your brother, to bless the other? That is the purpose of your holy relationship. Ask not the means of its attainment of the one thing that still would have it be unholy. Give it no power to adjust the means and end.
9 Prisoners bound with heavy chains for years, starved and emaciated, weak and exhausted, and with eyes so long cast down in darkness they remember not the light, do not leap up in joy the instant they are made free. It takes a while for them to understand what freedom is. You groped but feebly in the dust and found your brother's hand, uncertain whether to let it go or to take hold on life so long forgotten. Strengthen your hold and raise your eyes unto your strong companion, in whom the meaning of your freedom lies. He seemed to be crucified beside you. And yet his holiness remained untouched and perfect, and with him beside you, you shall this day enter with him to Paradise, and know the peace of God.
10 Such is my will for both of you, and for each of you to one another, and for himself. Here there is only holiness and joining without limit. For what is Heaven but union, direct and perfect, and without the veil of fear upon it? Here are we one, looking with perfect gentleness upon each other, and on ourselves. Here all thought of any separation between us becomes impossible. You who were prisoners in separation are now made free in Paradise. And here would I unite with you, my friends, my brothers and my Self.
11 Your gift unto each other has given me the certainty our union will be soon. Share, then, this faith with me, and know that it is justified. There is no fear in perfect love because it knows no sin, and it must look on others as on itself. Looking with charity within, what can it fear without? The innocent see safety, and the pure in heart see God within His Son, and look unto the Son to lead them to the Father. And where else would they go but where they will to be? You and your brother now will lead the other to the Father as surely as God created His Son holy, and kept him so. In your brother is the light of God's eternal promise of your immortality. See him as sinless, and there can be no fear in you.
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