There’s a tendency among Course students to conclude that the individual self is responsible for the separation from God. This is a misunderstanding of the Course‘s central message.
The separate self did not split from its source. A separate self can’t separate. How can that which doesn’t yet exist create the condition in which it exists? For there to exist a separate self, it must already have been separated, and by something other than itself. The separate self is the effect, not the cause, the offshoot, not the origin.
This is the sinlessness of that which is experienced as the separate self. And the journey back to God involves allowing the feelings of guilt which arise in all their various forms to process themselves through the separate self so that the feeling of separation can resolve. This is not something the separate self does; it’s the natural surfacing of guilt in the mind over which the separate self has no control. The separate self’s only job, as it were, is to allow such feelings to arise so that they can be known and loved for what they are—calls for love—and released through the conduit of the self. This is the process of purification, and it has nothing to do with a separate self. The separate self is merely the instrument through which the process happens. Truly, it is not personal.
“In preparing for the holy instant, do not attempt to make yourself holy to be ready to receive it. That is but to confuse your role with God’s. Atonement cannot come to those who think that they must first atone, but only to those who offer it nothing more than a simple willingness to make way for it. Purification is of God alone, and therefore for you. Rather than seek to prepare yourself for Him, try to think thus:
I who am host to God am worthy of Him.
He Who established His dwelling place in me created it as He would have it be.
It is not needful that I make it ready for Him, but only that I do not interfere with His plan to restore to me my own awareness of my readiness, which is eternal.
I need add nothing to His plan.
But to receive it, I must be willing not to substitute my own in place of it.” (T-18.IV.5)