Chapter 23: THE WAR AGAINST YOURSELF


I. The Irreconcilable Beliefs

1 The memory of God comes to the quiet mind. It cannot come where there is conflict, for a mind at war against itself remembers not eternal gentleness. The means of war are not the means of peace, and what the warlike would remember is not love. War is impossible unless belief in victory is cherished. Conflict within you must imply that you believe the ego has the power to be victorious. Why else would you identify with it? Surely you realize the ego is at war with God. Certain it is it has no enemy. Yet just as certain is its fixed belief it has an enemy that it must overcome and will succeed.

2 Do you not realize a war against yourself would be a war on God? Is victory conceivable? And if it were, is this a victory that you would want? The death of God, if it were possible, would be your death. Is this a victory? The ego always marches to defeat, because it thinks that triumph over you is possible. And God thinks otherwise. This is no war; only the mad belief the Will of God can be attacked and overthrown. You may identify with this belief, but never will it be more than madness. And fear will reign in madness, and will seem to have replaced love there. This is the conflict's purpose. And to those who think that it is possible, the means seem real.

3 Be certain that it is impossible God and the ego, or yourself and it, will ever meet. You seem to meet, and make your strange alliances on grounds that have no meaning. For your beliefs converge upon the body, the ego's chosen home, which you believe is yours. You meet at a mistake; an error in your self-appraisal. The ego joins with an illusion of yourself you share with it. And yet illusions cannot join. They are the same, and they are nothing. Their joining lies in nothingness; two are as meaningless as one or as a thousand. The ego joins with nothing, being nothing. The victory it seeks is meaningless as is itself.

4 Brother, the war against yourself is almost over. The journey's end is at the place of peace. Would you not now accept the peace offered you here? This "enemy" you fought as an intruder on your peace is here transformed, before your sight, into the giver of your peace. Your "enemy" was God Himself, to Whom all conflict, triumph and attack of any kind are all unknown. He loves you perfectly, completely and eternally. The Son of God at war with his Creator is a condition as ridiculous as nature roaring at the wind in anger, proclaiming it is part of itself no more. Could nature possibly establish this, and make it true? Nor is it up to you to say what shall be part of you and what is kept apart.

5 The war against yourself was undertaken to teach the Son of God that he is not himself, and not his Father's Son. For this, the memory of his Father must be forgotten. It is forgotten in the body's life, and if you think you are a body, you will believe you have forgotten it. Yet truth can never be forgotten by itself, and you have not forgotten what you are. Only a strange illusion of yourself, a wish to triumph over what you are, remembers not.

6 The war against yourself is but the battle of two illusions, struggling to make them different from each other, in the belief the one that conquers will be true. There is no conflict between them and the truth. Nor are they different from each other. Both are not true. And so it matters not what form they take. What made them is insane, and they remain part of what made them. Madness holds out no menace to reality, and has no influence upon it. Illusions cannot triumph over truth, nor can they threaten it in any way. And the reality that they deny is not a part of them.

7 What you remember is a part of you. For you must be as God created you. Truth does not fight against illusions, nor do illusions fight against the truth. Illusions battle only with themselves. Being fragmented, they fragment. But truth is indivisible, and far beyond their little reach. You will remember what you know when you have learned you cannot be in conflict. One illusion about yourself can battle with another, yet the war of two illusions is a state where nothing happens. There is no victor and there is no victory. And truth stands radiant, apart from conflict, untouched and quiet in the peace of God.

8 Conflict must be between two forces. It cannot exist between one power and nothingness. There is nothing you could attack that is not part of you. And by attacking it you make two illusions of yourself, in conflict with each other. And this occurs whenever you look on anything that God created with anything but love. Conflict is fearful, for it is the birth of fear. Yet what is born of nothing cannot win reality through battle. Why would you fill your world with conflicts with yourself? Let all this madness be undone for you, and turn in peace to the remembrance of God, still shining in your quiet mind.

9 See how the conflict of illusions disappears when it is brought to truth! For it seems real only as long as it is seen as war between conflicting truths; the conqueror to be the truer, the more real, and the vanquisher of the illusion that was less real, made an illusion by defeat. Thus, conflict is the choice between illusions, one to be crowned as real, the other vanquished and despised. Here will the Father never be remembered. Yet no illusion can invade His home and drive Him out of what He loves forever. And what He loves must be forever quiet and at peace because it is His home.

10 You who are beloved of Him are no illusion, being as true and holy as Himself. The stillness of your certainty of Him and of yourself is home to Both of You, Who dwell as one and not apart. Open the door of His most holy home, and let forgiveness sweep away all trace of the belief in sin that keeps God homeless and His Son with Him. You are not a stranger in the house of God. Welcome your brother to the home where God has set him in serenity and peace, and dwells with him. Illusions have no place where love abides, protecting you from everything that is not true. You dwell in peace as limitless as its Creator, and everything is given those who would remember Him. Over His home the Holy Spirit watches, sure that its peace can never be disturbed.

11 How can the resting place of God turn on itself, and seek to overcome the One Who dwells there? And think what happens when the house of God perceives itself divided. The altar disappears, the light grows dim, the temple of the Holy One becomes a house of sin. And nothing is remembered except illusions. Illusions can conflict, because their forms are different. And they do battle only to establish which form is true.

12 Illusion meets illusion; truth, itself. The meeting of illusions leads to war. Peace, looking on itself, extends itself. War is the condition in which fear is born, and grows and seeks to dominate. Peace is the state where love abides, and seeks to share itself. Conflict and peace are opposites. Where one abides the other cannot be; where either goes the other disappears. So is the memory of God obscured in minds that have become illusions' battleground. Yet far beyond this senseless war it shines, ready to be remembered when you side with peace.

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