Seek not outside yourself. For it will fail, and you will weep each time an idol falls. Heaven cannot be found where it is not, and there can be no peace excepting there. Each idol that you worship when God calls will never answer in His place. There is no other answer you can substitute and find the happiness His answer brings. Seek not outside yourself. For all your pain comes simply from a futile search for what you want, insisting where it must be found. What if it is not there? Do you prefer that you be right or happy? Be you glad that you are told where happiness abides and seek no longer elsewhere. You will fail. But it is given you to know the truth and not to seek for it outside yourself.
No one who comes here but must still have hope, some lingering illusion, or some dream that there is something outside of himself that will bring happiness and peace to him. If everything is in him, this cannot be so. And therefore by his coming, he denies the truth about himself and seeks for something more than everything, as if a part of it were separated off and found where all the rest of it is not.
The lingering illusion will impel him to seek out a thousand idols and to seek beyond them for a thousand more. And each will fail him, all excepting one; for he will die and does not understand the idol that he seeks is but his death. Its form appears to be outside himself. This is the purpose every idol has, for this the role that is assigned to it, and this the role that cannot be fulfilled.
Whenever you attempt to reach a goal in which the body’s betterment is cast as major beneficiary, you try to bring about your death. For you believe that you can suffer lack, and lack is death. To sacrifice is to give up and thus to be without and to have suffered loss. And by this giving up is life renounced. Seek not outside yourself. The search implies you are not whole within and fear to look upon devastation and prefer to seek outside yourself for what you are.
Idols must fall because they have no life, and what is lifeless is a sign of death. You came to die, and what would you expect but to perceive the signs of death you seek? No sadness and no suffering proclaims a message other than an idol found that represents a parody of life which in its lifelessness is really death, conceived as real and given living form. Yet each must fail and crumble and decay because a form of death cannot be life, and what is sacrificed cannot be whole.
All idols of this world were made to keep the truth within from being known to you and to maintain allegiance to the dream that you must find what is outside yourself to be complete and happy. It is vain to worship idols in the hope of peace. God dwells within, and your completion lies in Him. No idol takes his place. Look not to idols. Do not seek outside yourself. Let us forget the purpose of the world the past has given it. For otherwise, the future will be like the past and a series of depressing dreams in which all idols fail you once by one, and you see death and disappointment everywhere.
To change all this and open up a road of hope and of release in what appeared to be an endless circle of despair, you need but to decide you do not know the purpose of the world. You give it goals it does not have, and thus do you decide what it is for. You try to see in it a place of idols found outside yourself with power to make you complete what is within by splitting what you are between the two. You choose your dreams, for they are what you wish, perceived as if it had been given you. Your idols do what you would have them do and have the power you ascribe to them. And you pursue them vainly in the dream because you want their power as your own.
Yet where are dreams but in a mind asleep? And can a dream succeed in making real the pictures it projects outside itself? Save time, my brothers; learn what time is for. And speed the end of idols in a world made sad and sick by seeing idols there. Your holy minds are altars unto God, and where He is, no idols can abide. The fear of God is but the fear of loss of idols. It is not the fear of loss of your reality. But you have made of your reality an idol which you must protect against the light of truth. And all the world becomes the means by which this idol can be saved. Salvation thus appears to threaten life and offer death.
It is not so. Salvation seeks to prove there is no death, and only life exists. The sacrifice of death is nothing lost. An idol cannot take the place of God. Let Him remind you of His love for you, and do not seek to drown His Voice in chants of deep despair to idols to yourself. Seek not outside your Father for your hope. For hope of happiness is not despair.
~ A Course in Miracles, Chapter 29, VIII