“You would not be other than who you are. You may know that this is true or you may dwell in fantasies, desiring what another has or some success, fame, or riches that seem impossible for you to attain. And yet, whether you know it is true or not, it is true: You would not be other than who you are. Herein lie your peace and your perfection. If you would not be other than you are, then you must be perfect. This is a conclusion both logical to the mind and believable to the heart, and its acceptance is a step toward wholeheartedness.” (ACOL, C:20.42)
We will have to take Jesus at his word: that we are perfect as we are. None of us actually believe this now, because we hold an image of a self that we hope to become, a self-image that has always beckoned us to be more and to be different.
But this self-image is born of the ego, and we are rapidly leaving the ego behind. Jesus designed the first book of A Course of Love so that we would develop a new identity, one that is not based on egoic fantasies and egoic notions.
How can we understand that we are “perfect” as we are? It doesn’t mean that we are without blemish; it simply means that we would not be other than who we are, that no imagined self-image, born of the ego, can satisfy us for long. So we rest, finally, in the truth that we like ourselves enough to accept ourselves without judgment. Judgment, after all, along with fear, are the two aspects of experience that keep Christ-consciousness from descending upon us. Knowing that judgment is forbidden us, we can know, beyond the shadow of a doubt, that this judgment is not to be applied personally. So we accept Jesus’s word that he sees us as perfect just as we are. And we long for nothing else.
This does not mean that we won’t change and grow, just that we won’t denounce ourselves in the meantime. We will accept the peace that is ours from accepting ourselves just as we are.
This is a sea change for most of us. We are so used to feeling unworthy, as abject, miserable beings, that being told that we are perfect just as we are seems too good to be true. It can even sound like heresy. But A Course of Love is new revelation, and no longer do we have to see ourselves as miserable creatures mired in sin. A Course in Miracles removed the stigma of sin by calling our missteps just “mistakes.” And ACOL now continues the same logic.
ACIM did not tell us that we were perfect as we are. So what is Jesus getting at now? He is getting us to accept ourselves as children of God who have separated from Him, in illusion, but who now want to find our way back. This is laudable, though not in an egoic sense. This is the path that we are on—a return to God and the Self through wholeheartedness and union with the truth.
Imagine that we didn’t accept ourselves just as we are. What would that get us but self-loathing? And is not this an affront to God, child of Him who we are? What God created may have made mistakes, indeed, has made mistakes, but this can be rectified. And in the remembrance that will come upon us, we will also know that only in fantasies would we be other than we are.
So perfection is not beyond us, though any attempt to apply this idea while still caught in the ego will do us no good. We need to apply the art of thought to this new idea: we need to experience the possibility that Jesus is right; and we need to respond to God and Creation in a way that is worthy of both God and us. This response will affirm our willingness to believe in the truth that Jesus is proffering, and this response to this truth will free us to consider that, just maybe, we are already the being whom we want to be.
I don’t feel perfect when I consider Jesus’s words. But I do recognize that I wouldn’t choose to be other than who I am. And so I need to take these two thoughts and meld them into one. My response to You is needed. This response will free me to consider that Jesus just may be right: With separation gone and reunion with the Self on the horizon, I can see that my personal self is going to be someone whom I can accept.
This is a blessed revelation! Thank You for guiding me, ever so gently, away from the ego, as I consider these words from Jesus. He knows that I don’t want to dwell in fantasies of an exalted self; just being myself is what he is calling for. And I ask that you will improve my attitude as I seek to make his words and his beliefs my own. Negativity about what Jesus has said gets me nowhere.