"My true Identity abides in You."
"Abides" means "lives or dwells," but it also means "remains unchanged." I think that is the sense it has in this lesson: "My true Identity remains unchanged in You." (At least that is how I'm hearing it today.) "I made an image of myself" (1:1). I made a false picture of what I am, an idol, and I have imagined that this image is what I am: "it is this I call the Son of God" (1:1). This is the Course's understanding of what has, traditionally, been called "the Fall." In traditional Judeo/Christian understanding, Man was created innocent and sinless, but he fell into sin, and thus corrupted his nature forever ("original sin"). In the Course's understanding, all that really happened is that we imagined we had changed; we made a false picture of ourselves and thought, "This is me." But what we really are never changed at all! Our true Identity remains unchanged, despite our making of idols. Creation is still, now, as it always was, because God's creation cannot be changed (1:2).
There is a vast difference between having actually corrupted our nature and only thinking that we did. In the old view, we had a real problem, resolvable only by the supernatural intervention of God. Real sin had been done, and had to be met with real punishment. Sin against an infinite God required a payment equally infinite, and so God's infinite Son had to die in our place, and then a "new nature" had to be created by God and somehow injected into humanity (being "born again"). Those who did not receive this new life were doomed to hell.
In the view presented by the Course, no real sin has been done, and the original perfection of God's creation remains unchanged. All that is necessary is for us to recognize our mistaken self-identification and to change our minds about it. When we let go of the idols or false images ("Let me not worship idols", 1:3), the nature of Christ within us is uncovered and revealed as untouched by our insanity.
I am still the one my Father loves; that has not changed (1:4). My holiness still "remains the light of Heaven and the Love of God" (1:5). How could what God created as the light of Heaven be destroyed and become darkness? (1:6-7) If God created everything that is, how could I possibly be something else? (1:8) There is nothing else for me to be.
Each time today I find myself judging something about myself, disliking myself, berating myself, or feeling guilty about what and who I am, let me remind myself that none of what I am seeing is my true Identity. My true Identity remains in God and part of Him. The seeming other identity is an idol; let me not worship it, bow down to it and attribute some great power to it or fear it. This is not who I am. Let me be still an instant and go home.
As I recognize this true Identity, I must realize that by the nature of what It is, It must be shared with all creation. Everything is part of me, and I of it, all coming from the same Source (2:1). When I recognize everything as part of this shared Identity, other aspects of my one Self, I will naturally "offer blessing to all things, uniting lovingly with all the world" (2:2).
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