III. Perception versus Knowledge, P 2
2 All your difficulties stem from the fact that you do not recognize yourself, your brother or God. To recognize means to “know again,” implying that you knew before. You can see in many ways because perception involves interpretation, and this means that it is not whole or consistent. The miracle, being a way of perceiving, is not knowledge. It is the right answer to a question, but you do not question when you know. Questioning illusions is the first step in undoing them. The miracle, or the right answer, corrects them. Since perceptions change, their dependence on time is obvious. How you perceive at any given time determines what you do, and actions must occur in time. Knowledge is timeless, because certainty is not questionable. You know when you have ceased to ask questions.
Jesus starts this paragraph by telling me that I don’t know who I am. I understand this. I have thought I was Myron for nearly all of my life. Even now that I know I am not Myron, I still don’t remember who it is I am. Even the little bit I do remember, I forget and then must remember again. And though I accept the idea that I am the Son of God, I don’t really know what that means, nor do I really believe it. I believe Jesus when he says it is true, but I also don’t believe it.
If I truly believed it I would live it, and that isn’t happening. I am living a conflicted life, sometimes listening to the ego mind and sometimes laughing at the ego mind, but never am I simply living as the Son of God. I am making headway as I ask questions of the Holy Spirit and receive answers. I ask for healing of the mistaken thoughts in my mind and receive healing, and I can then ask better questions. My perceptions are being corrected, but corrected perceptions are not knowledge, a step toward knowledge, but not the same as knowledge.
Jesus points out that while I don’t recognize myself, recognize means to “know again” and that is encouraging because if I knew myself before, then I can know myself again. Right now my job is to continue to question my thoughts and accept Jesus’ plan for my redemption. While the correction of my perception is not knowledge it is bringing me closer to recognizing myself. I will do this until there are no more questions and what is left will be knowledge.
Jesus says that I don’t recognize my brother, either, and I see that this is true. Just this past week I have failed to recognize my brother in three of his disguises. I looked at my sister-in-law and saw a sick and failing body. My vision stopped at her body and I believed the illusion I saw with the body’s eyes. How could a fragile and sickly body be my brother, who, like me is the Son of God. I saw my daughter as suffering and endangered. How could this precious child of God suffer? I looked at the illusion and allowed my vision to stop there, so I did not recognize my brother in this one either.
I don’t recognize God either. If I recognized God, I could not believe in pain, suffering and death. I would not believe in guilt or sin or fear. If I recognized God, I would never be drawn to any of these illusory beliefs. If I recognized God, I would never imagine I could actually be a body. If I recognized God, I would have no fear of Him and would happily return my whole mind to Him. But I once recognized Him and so I will again.
What I know so far: I cannot get to knowledge through thinking, because thinking is just the rearranging of perceptions. Perceptions must be healed through a miracle, that is, through my desire to be healed I accept the Atonement, and my mind is miraculously healed. I also have learned that no matter how healed they are, perceptions change and are not whole; they are uncertain and temporary and so are not knowledge. How I think determines how I act and all of this occurs in time which is an illusion and so not knowledge. So really what I understand about knowledge is what it is not.
What I do now is continue to question my thoughts and to ask for the miracle of a changed mind. While all of this, the questioning and the healing miracle, the Atonement itself, are all part of the illusion, they are the path out of the illusion. They are the way I remember God and remember myself. While not knowledge, they are the necessary step toward knowledge.