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1.1 Every living being has a heart. Let us define heart as the center of being, that place from which all feeling arises. All true feeling is love. All love praises God. All love is recognition of the glory of God and all God created. Love is the only pure response of the created for the Creator, the only response of the Creator to the created. Your recognition of what love is will return you to God and your Self.
1.2 You learned in A Course in Miracles that all knowledge is generalizable. So is all feeling. All feeling results from love or lack of love. There are no other reasons for the feelings that you experience. All feelings are generated by the heart and have nothing to do with the body. The heart of the body is the altar at which all your offerings to God are made. All offerings are love or lack of love. Lack of love is nothing. Thus, all offerings made from a place other than love are nothing. All offerings made from a place of fear or guilt are nothing.
1.3 Love is the condition of your reality. In your human form your heart must beat for the life of your self to take place. This is the nature of your reality. Love is as essential to your being as the heart to the body. You would not exist without love. It is there even if you are as unaware of it as you are of the beating of your heart. A baby is no less alive because it does not realize its heart is beating. You are no less your Self even though you do not realize that without love you would not exist.
1.4 God’s only thought is love. It is a thought without limit, endlessly creating. Because of the extension of God’s thought of love, you exist. I exist with you in this selfsame thought. You do not understand this only because you do not understand the nature of your own thoughts. You have placed them inside your body, conceptualizing them in a form that makes no sense.
1.5 Yet when you apply your thought to learning you learn. Let this encourage you. This is an ability we can use together to learn anew.
1.6 You should be in a hurry only to hear the truth. And of course all of the ways that you act when you want to hurry are backward to what you would achieve. Let your worries come and let your worries go. Remember always that they simply do not matter except in terms of time, and that you will save time by letting them go. Remember that your worries affect nothing. You think if your worries affect time this is an effect, but time is an illusion. It too does not matter. Remind yourself of this as well. This is part of letting go of the old world to make way for the new. Realize these things do not matter and will not be carried with you to the new world. So you might as well let them go now.
1.7 It is as if you have carried your heavy luggage with you everywhere just in case you might need something. Now you are beginning to trust that you will not need these things you have carried. Ah, no heavy coat. For you trust the sun will shine, that warmth will surround you. You are an immigrant coming to a New World with all your possessions in hand. But as you glimpse what was once a distant shore and now is near, you realize none of what you formerly possessed and called your treasures are needed. How silly you feel to have carted them from one place to the next. What a waste of time and energy to have been slowed down by such a heavy burden. What a relief to realize that you need carry it no more. How you wish you would have believed they were not needed when you began. How happy you are to leave them behind.
1.8 You do not realize as yet how heavy was your burden. Had you literally carried a heavy and useless trunk from one world to another when you had been told by someone wiser that it would not be needed, you would upon realizing the truth ask yourself what else you had been told and disregarded. You might try one more thing and then another that you previously would not have tried when you were so convinced that you were right and the other wrong. And as each new step is tried and found to work, your confidence in the wisdom of this teacher would continue to grow. You might consider that you could still learn from your mistakes and find the learning in the end to be the same, and this you surely might do from time to time. But eventually you would realize that it would be quicker and easier to learn without mistakes, and eventually you would realize also that the wisdom of your teacher had become your own.
1.9 The urge to test another’s wisdom is the urge to find your own way and have it be a better way. It is the urge not to trust the teacher in all things but only in certain things. It is the desire to find your way on your own so that you can take pride in your accomplishment, as if by following another’s map the sense of accomplishment in your arrival would be diminished. This wanting to do things on your own is a trick of the ego, your pride a gift the ego demands. These are the magic thoughts that oppose miracle-mindedness. These are the thoughts that say on my own I am everything, rather than on my own I am nothing. A true leader follows until she is ready to lead. She does not strike out on her own at the beginning, before she knows the way. There is no shame in learning. No shame in following the course another has put forth. Each true course changes in application. Fifty students may sit in a classroom being taught the same lessons and not one will learn in exactly the same way as another. This is true with the teaching and learning of information, and true with the teaching and learning of the truth as well. The only way that you can fail to learn the truth is to demand to learn it on your own. For on your own it is impossible to learn.
1.10 Resign as your own teacher. Accept me as your teacher and accept that I will teach you the truth. Find no shame in this. You cannot learn what I would teach you without me. You have tried in countless ways and can try still again. But you will not succeed. Not because you are not smart enough. Not because you will not try hard enough. But because it is impossible. It is impossible to learn anything on your own. Your determination to do so only blocks your learning. It is only through union with me that you learn because it is only in union with me that you are your Self. All your effort is based on disbelief of this truth, and your attempts to prove that this truth is not the truth. All that this effort brings you is frustration. All your seeming success from this effort brings you is pride to offer to your ego. This gift your ego demands is not worth the price you pay. The price of this gift is everything.
1.11 A teacher always has a role in the learning of the student. This does not diminish the student’s achievement. You must realize it is your desire to make of yourself your own creator that has caused all your problems. This is the authority problem. It is pervasive in the life of your physical form and in the life of your mind. It is only your heart that does not consider this an issue of concern. This is another reason we appeal to the heart.
1.12 The heart cares not where love comes from, only that it comes. This is useful to us in several ways. By this I do not mean that there are not particular objects of your affection. This is not the love of which we speak. The heart yearns for what is like itself. Thus love yearns for love. To think of achieving love “on one’s own” is ludicrous. This is why love is your greatest teacher. To yearn for what is like yourself is to yearn for your Creator and, when perception is healed, to create like your Creator. This yearning exists naturally within you and cannot be diminished or satiated.
1.13 Those who are seen as loveless and alone in the world are those you find to be the objects of your pity. Yet you do not realize that this is the state your ego has you endlessly striving to achieve. Your ego would have you believe that only when you need no one to achieve all you desire, only when you are satisfied with what you are and with what you can do on your own, only then will your autonomy and your learning be complete, for this is all your learning has been for. The goal of this world is for you to stand on your own, complete within yourself. This goal will never be reached, and only when you give up trying to reach it can you begin to learn anything of value. You are complete only within God, where you endlessly abide. Striving to be that which you can never be is the hell you have created.
1.14 Lack of striving is seen as a settling for less. This would be true if what you were striving for had value. To strive mightily for nothing is still to have nothing and to end up with nothing. Striving, however, must be distinguished from struggle. To strive for that which has value is what this Course is about. It has nothing to do with struggle. You think also that to leave struggle behind, to disengage from the conflict of this world that causes it, is to turn your back on the real world and all that has meaning in it. In this you think correctly. And yet you do not choose this option, thinking that to do so you turn your back on responsibility and on duty, thus counting this action as a noble one. This desire to engage in struggle has nothing to do with what you are responsible for. It is merely your ego’s attempt to involve you in distractions that keep you from your real responsibility. Think again about your attraction to struggle. It is your attraction to the game, a game you hope to win, another chance to show your stamina and your strength, your quick wits and your cunning mind. It is another chance to prevail against the odds so stacked against you that you can once again convince yourself that you alone have succeeded against mighty adversaries. It is the only way you see to prove your power and control over a world of chaos. To not engage in the chaos at all is seen not as desirable, but as a sort of abdication, a loss through failure to engage. Although you are well aware you will not win the game you play here, you see the effort to do so, no matter how futile, as being that which makes up your life. To not engage is to not prove your own existence.
1.15 This is what you have made this world for: to prove your separate existence in a world apart from your Creator. This world does not exist. And you do not exist apart from your Creator. Your yearning for love is what tells you this is so. It is the proof you do not recognize.
1.16 What could cause you to yearn for love in a loveless world? By what means do you continue to recognize that love is at the heart of all things even while it is not valued here? Here is a fine example that means and end are the same. For love is what you are as well as what you strive for. Love is means and end.
1.17 All the symbols of your physical life reflect a deeper meaning that, while hidden to you, you still know exists. The union of two bodies joined in love create a child, the union of man and woman joined in marriage create oneness.
1.18 Love is at the heart of all things. How you feel but reflects your decision to accept love or to reject it and choose fear. Both cannot be chosen. All feelings you label joyous or compassionate are of love. All feelings you label painful or angry are of fear. This is all there is. This is the world you make. Love or fear is your reality by your choice. A choice for love creates love. A choice for fear creates fear. What choice do you think has been made to create the world you call your home? This world was created by your choice, and a new world can be created by a new choice. But you must realize that this is all there is. Love or lack of love. Love is all that is real. A choice for love is a choice for heaven. A choice of fear is hell. Neither is a place. They are a further reflection of means and end being the same. They are but a further reflection of your power.
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