VII. Creating versus the Self-Image, P 4
4 Eating of the fruit of the tree of knowledge is a symbolic expression for usurping the ability for self-creating. This is the only sense in which God and His creations are not co-creators. The belief that they are is implicit in the “self-concept,” or the tendency of the self to make an image of itself. Images are perceived, not known. Knowledge cannot deceive, but perception can. You can perceive yourself as self-creating, but you cannot do more than believe it. You cannot make it true. And, as I said before, when you finally perceive correctly you can only be glad that you cannot. Until then, however, the belief that you can is the foundation stone in your thought system, and all your defenses are used to attack ideas that might bring it to light. You still believe you are an image of your own making. Your mind is split with the Holy Spirit on this point, and there is no resolution while you believe the one thing that is literally inconceivable. That is why you cannot create and are filled with fear about what you make.
I am trying to create myself. That is a fact. I see myself as a body, and no matter what I say about it, that is if I say I am a body, in a body, or pretending to be a body, I believe I am an image of my own making. Of course I do! I am certainly not an image of God’s making, so it must be my making. It will not help me to return to my true Self if I deny what I have done.
From within this image, I continue to tweak my self concept, as I try to control the body image, keep it healthy, clothe and decorate it in an effort to express my “self” and thus become something of my own making. I “make something of myself.” I “become the best I can be.” I take self-improvement courses, study fashion and change my hair color or style, discover an amazing new diet.
I will never be through making myself, never be satisfied with the results, because I know (I deny, but I know) that I have a true Self that cannot be altered, and so all my effort does nothing. I know that this made up self, no matter how refined, is not me, doesn’t even come close to my true self. All of these things I do are defenses against the truth, efforts to hold at bay the reality that I am trying to improve something that does not exist and never has.
While I continue to play in the world of make-believe I rob myself of true creation. I also scare myself. I live in uncertainty and doubt about nearly everything. Should I take this medicine or that supplement? Would it be good for me or hurt me? Studies vary. And that is just one area of uncertainty. There is nothing certain in our world and we live with the constant, though seldom acknowledged anxiety of not knowing.
The separation story will never get better. We will discover the cure for one disease and another will pop up. We will find the perfect diet and exercise program combined with the most effective meditation practice and death will claim this body, anyway. We will form a self-governing system and change the world and it will ultimately fall apart.
Nothing will work because the idea of separation cannot work. Its destruction is built into the concept itself. It will never make us happy because it is the opposite of our natural joy and peace. It will always leave us fearful and guilty because these are components of separation and unavoidable.
Our experiment in self-creating has had a good run, but surely it is time to set it aside. Of course it is. That is why we are here, studying A Course in Miracles, together. It is why I spend every day watching my thoughts, asking for guidance and healing. I am ready to retire as my own teacher, as my own guide, and absolutely as my own creator. All these things I do are symbolic of my growing desire to awaken from the dream of separation. I long for something I can’t quite remember.