The Glory of Who We Really Are

by Greg Mackie

We Course students spend a lot of time looking at our egos and getting in touch with the darkness of the ego's world. This is vital work; as the Course says, "No one can escape from illusions unless he looks at them, for not looking is the way they are protected" (T-11.V.1:1). Yet it is equally vital to look at the other side: the glory of who we really are. Without frequent reminders of our radiant true Self, looking at the mess we think we made of ourselves can be awfully depressing.

To provide myself with such reminders, I compiled a list of some of the Course's best descriptions of our true Self. I put all the passages into the first person and have frequently gone through the list as an exercise in remembering my holiness. I've also applied the list to my brothers, especially those I've been holding grievances against.

I'm very happy to report that this has been a real breakthrough for me. I've experienced a real shift in perception, one that has brought a lot of peace and joy. For this reason, I want to share these passages with you and invite you to repeat them, apply them to yourself and your brothers, and bask in the sunlight of your true Identity as God created you. Enjoy!

Course passages describing the glory of who we really are

Below is the list I've been using. Of course, it doesn't even begin to include all of the Course's beautiful descriptions of our true nature. I call it my "greatest hits" collection. I've loosely categorized the passages, just to provide a framework to help us explore them more fully. As will be evident, the categories overlap a great deal.

I am God's Son, an absolutely perfect being whom God loves with an infinite love

I am God's Son, complete and healed and whole, shining in the reflection of His Love. In me is His creation sanctified and guaranteed eternal life. In me is love perfected, fear impossible, and joy established without opposite. I am the holy home of God Himself. I am the Heaven where His Love resides. I am His holy Sinlessness Itself, for in my purity abides His Own. (W-pII.14.1:1-6)

Father, Your Son is holy. I am he on whom You smile in love and tenderness so dear and deep and still the universe smiles back on You, and shares Your Holiness. How pure, how safe, how holy, then, are we, abiding in Your Smile, with all Your Love bestowed upon us, living one with You, in brotherhood and Fatherhood complete; in sinlessness so perfect that the Lord of Sinlessness conceives us as His Son, a universe of Thought completing Him. (W-pII.341.1:1-3)

A couple of themes stand out for me in these passages. One is the absolute perfection of who we are. As God's Son, we have every positive attribute to an absolute degree-there is not even the slightest hint of anything less than perfect in us. The other theme is God's infinite love for us. This love is as perfect as our attributes, so perfect that it is impossible "His Love could harbor just a hint of hate, His gentleness turn sometimes to attack, and His eternal patience sometimes fail" (T-29.I.1:5). How does this picture compare to the way we normally regard our attributes and God's Love?

I am the light of Heaven and the light of the world

My true Identity is so secure, so lofty, sinless, glorious and great, wholly beneficent and free from guilt, that Heaven looks to It to give it light. It lights the world as well. It is the gift my Father gave to me; the one as well I give the world. (W-pII.224.1:1-3)

I am he my Father loves. My holiness remains the light of Heaven and the Love of God. (W-pII.283.1:4-5)

How do you feel when you are told that Heaven looks to you to give it light? We normally think of God as the light of Heaven, and He is. But He loves us so much that He has infused us with His light, making us so glorious that we are the light of Heaven. And this light shines even here on earth, if we have eyes to see it. Our purpose here is to let this light shine through us to all who feel imprisoned in darkness: "I am the light of the world. That is my only function. That is why I am here" (W-pI.61.5:3-5).

I am holy beyond my ability to imagine it, but the will I share with God's knows my holiness

My Self is holy beyond all the thoughts of holiness of which I now conceive. Its shimmering and perfect purity is far more brilliant than is any light that I have ever looked upon. Its love is limitless, with an intensity that holds all things within it, in the calm of quiet certainty. Its strength comes not from burning impulses which move the world, but from the boundless Love of God Himself. How far beyond this world my Self must be, and yet how near to me and close to God! (W-pII.252.1:1-5)

My holiness is far beyond my own ability to understand or know. Yet God, my Father, Who created it, acknowledges my holiness as His. Our Will, together, understands it. And Our Will, together, knows that it is so. (W-pII.299.1:1-4)

What's the holiest thing you can imagine? I think of Jesus. We are holier than that-not actually holier than Jesus, but holier than we imagine Jesus to be. What's the brightest light you've ever looked upon? I think of the sun, which is so bright we can't look directly at it. We are brighter than that, but our light has a calm and quiet intensity, not a blinding one. Its power source is not the feverish impulses of this world but God's radiant Love. And though our holiness is beyond our imagination and beyond the world, it is truly nearer than anything else to us. When we get in touch with the will we share with God, not only can we imagine our holiness, we will know it.

In Jesus' eyes, I am just as holy as he is

In Jesus' eyes my loveliness is so complete and flawless that he sees in it an image of his Father. I become the symbol of his Father here on earth. To me he looks for hope, because in me he sees no limit and no stain to mar my beautiful perfection. (M-23.5:5-7; changed to first person)

I am wholly lovely. A perfect shaft of pure light. Before my loveliness the stars stand transfixed, and bow to the power of my will.…I who am in the image of the Father need bow only to Him, before whom Jesus kneels with me. (Urtext; changed to first person)

To whom do we normally apply the description in the first passage? Traditionally, they are applied to Jesus. Yet here, Jesus turns the tables and applies it to us. We are the perfect Son of God, the image of the Father, the symbol of God on earth, the world's hope for salvation-so much so that rather than us kneeling before Jesus, we and Jesus together kneel before God.

I am still God's perfect Son no matter what I think I've done to myself

All the evil that I think I did was never done, all my sins are nothing, I am as pure and holy as I was created, and light and joy and peace abide in me. (W-pI.93.4:1; adapted and changed to first person)

What my Father wills of me can never change. The truth in me remains as radiant as a star, as pure as light, as innocent as love itself. (T-31.VI.7:3-4; changed to first person)

I am still Your holy Son, forever innocent, forever loving and forever loved, as limitless as my Creator, and completely changeless and forever pure….You are my Father and I am Your Son. (W-pII.10.5:1, 3; changed to first person)

We may think, "Okay, I can accept the idea that I started out as this pure and holy being, but I've done so many awful things since then that I've corrupted myself beyond repair." Yet the Course's promise is that we are still as God created us. All that horrible stuff we think we've done is pure illusion, with no effect at all on our Identity as God's perfect Son. Thank God!

Benefits of getting in touch with the glory of who we really are

I'm sure we can think of many benefits. Here I'll mention just two that have felt especially meaningful to me as I've worked with the passages.

It ends the "self project"

If we were to really get what these passages are telling us about ourselves, it would completely pull the rug out from under the self-improvement project we've talked about in the past few weeks. That project is rooted in the belief that we have made our self, have done an awful job of it, and therefore need to work hard to patch our self up and make it holy. But according to these passages, God created our Self, He created it perfect, and therefore all we need to do is accept the holy Self we already are. Working with these passages is a great way to do that.

It gives us both the incentive and the faith we need to be truly helpful to our brothers

This is a benefit of getting what these passages are telling us about our brothers. As much as we don't like to admit it, I think there is a big part of us that doesn't think others are very lovable and doesn't have a lot of faith in them. We have a cynic in us who says people are inherently selfish, flawed, and will inevitably screw up. This cynical part of us doesn't believe in the goodness and holiness of people. With this attitude, why would we really want to help them? And even if we do want to help them, how effective will our help be when we look down on them and don't trust them to use our help wisely?

These passages are the perfect antidote for this attitude, because they directly counter our lack of love and faith in people with a vision that awakens love and faith. As long as we're only looking at appearances, our cynical attitude is virtually inevitable-the world is indeed full of, as Robert puts it, "bodies misbehaving." But these passages open our eyes to a vision of our brothers that goes beyond appearances entirely, revealing a shared true Self that is pure and radiant and holy beyond our wildest imaginings. Who would not want to help such beautiful, lovable beings? And how much more effective would our help be if we truly saw the goodness and holiness of people, and had perfect faith in them to use our help in a way that contributes to the salvation of the world?

How can we truly experience the glory of who we really are?

When I presented this material in class, one participant asked a great question. He prefaced it by saying that while he intellectually believed in what those passages describe, he had never really experienced it for himself. The question: How can we move from mere intellectual acceptance of the Course's exalted view of us to a real, experiential awareness of the glory of who we really are?

I offered a two-part answer. First, I said that probably every one of us has had some experience of our glorious true Self, however faint and fleeting, and one way to get in touch with that experience now is to make a conscious effort to remember the times we've experienced it in the past. Second, I said that the journey from intellectual acceptance to living experience is exactly what the Course is designed to facilitate. It gives us a structured mind-training program with a disciplined practice regimen to help us experience for ourselves the magnificent reality it describes. The whole purpose of this class, in fact, was to share the practice of repeating those passages, a practice that can awaken that experience.

This answer led to a discussion in which a number of participants shared that they had experienced glimpses of the glory the Course is talking about. We speculated that just about everyone who has been drawn to the Course has probably had some experiences of this sort. Why else would a person be motivated to walk the Course's path? The man who asked the original question agreed, and then shared something that moved all of us. He wanted to assure us that yes, he had experienced what we were talking about for himself. He had forgotten that, but the sharing in the class had helped him to remember.

We realized then that there is a third way to move from intellectual acceptance to experiential awareness of our glory: drawing on the love and support of our brothers who are walking the path to God with us. As we share our experiences of truth with one another they are reinforced, and everyone remembers just a little more of the wonderful reality he or she forgot. "Take your brother's hand, for this is not a way we walk alone" (W-pI.rV.In.9:6). I think all of us emerged from the class grateful to our mighty companions for the gifts we received from each other.

Practicing with these passages

I've listed all of the passages on the last page of this handout, and I really recommend that you try using them as a practice. There are two practices you can do. The first is applying the passages to yourself. To do this, I recommend reading them very slowly, inserting your name at various points, and repeating any lines that have a particularly strong impact for you. (You can also read the passages into a tape and then listen to the tape.) Really let the message sink in. This is not some abstract teaching; this is a true description of you.

The other practice is applying the passages to your brothers, especially those you hold grievances against. For this practice, I recommend bringing a specific brother to mind and following the same procedure you used for applying the passages to yourself. (Of course, you'll have to change them to the second-person "you.") Really try to set aside whatever negative, cynical views you have of this person and let these lines shine into your mind, revealing to you a vision of who he or she really is.

The Glory of Who We Really Are

I am God's Son, complete and healed and whole, shining in the reflection of His Love. In me is His creation sanctified and guaranteed eternal life. In me is love perfected, fear impossible, and joy established without opposite. I am the holy home of God Himself. I am the Heaven where His Love resides. I am His holy Sinlessness Itself, for in my purity abides His Own. (W-pII.14.1:1-6)

Father, Your Son is holy. I am he on whom You smile in love and tenderness so dear and deep and still the universe smiles back on You, and shares Your Holiness. How pure, how safe, how holy, then, are we, abiding in Your Smile, with all Your Love bestowed upon us, living one with You, in brotherhood and Fatherhood complete; in sinlessness so perfect that the Lord of Sinlessness conceives us as His Son, a universe of Thought completing Him. (W-pII.341.1:1-3)

My true Identity is so secure, so lofty, sinless, glorious and great, wholly beneficent and free from guilt, that Heaven looks to It to give it light. It lights the world as well. It is the gift my Father gave to me; the one as well I give the world. (W-pII.224.1:1-3)

I am he my Father loves. My holiness remains the light of Heaven and the Love of God. (W-pII.283.1:4-5)

My Self is holy beyond all the thoughts of holiness of which I now conceive. Its shimmering and perfect purity is far more brilliant than is any light that I have ever looked upon. Its love is limitless, with an intensity that holds all things within it, in the calm of quiet certainty. Its strength comes not from burning impulses which move the world, but from the boundless Love of God Himself. How far beyond this world my Self must be, and yet how near to me and close to God!(W-pII.252.1:1-5)

My holiness is far beyond my own ability to understand or know. Yet God, my Father, Who created it, acknowledges my holiness as His. Our Will, together, understands it. And Our Will, together, knows that it is so. (W-pII.299.1:1-4)

In Jesus' eyes my loveliness is so complete and flawless that he sees in it an image of his Father. I become the symbol of his Father here on earth. To me he looks for hope, because in me he sees no limit and no stain to mar my beautiful perfection. (M-23.5:5-7; changed to first person)

I am wholly lovely. A perfect shaft of pure light. Before my loveliness the stars stand transfixed, and bow to the power of my will.…I who am in the image of the Father need bow only to Him, before whom Jesus kneels with me. (Urtext; changed to first person)

All the evil that I think I did was never done, all my sins are nothing, I am as pure and holy as I was created, and light and joy and peace abide in me. (W-pI.93.4:1; adapted and changed to first person)

What my Father wills of me can never change. The truth in me remains as radiant as a star, as pure as light, as innocent as love itself. (T-31.VI.7:3-4; changed to first person)

I am still Your holy Son, forever innocent, forever loving and forever loved, as limitless as my Creator, and completely changeless and forever pure….You are my Father and I am Your Son. (W-pII.10.5:1, 3; changed to first person)

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