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8.1 The thoughts of your heart you have defined as your emotions. These thoughts stand apart from the wisdom of your heart that we have already discussed—the wisdom that knows to set love apart, as well as your own Self. Emotions, the thoughts of your heart, are what we will now work with, separating as we do the truth from your perception of it.
8.2 This curriculum aims to help you see that your emotions are not the real thoughts of your heart. What other language might your heart speak? It is a language spoken so quietly and with such gentleness that those who cannot come to stillness know it not. The language of your heart is the language of communion.
8.3 Communion is union that we will speak of here as being of the highest level, though in truth, no levels separate union at all. As a learning being, the idea of levels is helpful to you and will aid you in seeing that you progress from one step, or one level of learning, to another. This is more a process of remembering than learning, and this you will understand as memory begins to return to you. Your heart will aid you in replacing thinking with remembering. In this way, remembering can be experienced as the language of the heart.
8.4 This remembering is not of former days spent upon this earth, but of remembering who you really are. It comes forth from the deepest part of you, from the center in which you are joined with Christ. It speaks of no experiences here, wears no faces, and bears no symbols. It is a memory of wholeness, of all to all.
8.5 Many emotions as well as thoughts would seem to block your way to the stillness in which this memory can be found. Yet as you have seen again and yet again, the Holy Spirit can use what you made for a higher purpose when your purpose is in union with that of spirit. We will thus examine a new way of looking at emotions, a way that will allow them to assist you in your learning rather than block you from it.
8.6 You think of the heart as the place of feeling, and thus you associate emotions with your heart. Emotions, however, are really reactions of your body to stimuli that arrive through your senses. Thus, the sight of a lovely sunset can bring tears to your eyes. The slightest contact between your hand and the skin of a baby can cause you to feel as if your heart overflows with love. Harsh words that enter through your ears can cause your face to redden and your heart to beat with a heaviness you label anger or a sting you would call shame. Problems that mount up and seem too much to bear can cause what you call emotional turmoil or even a nervous breakdown. In these situations either too many feelings are going on all at once or all feeling is shut down all at once. As with everything else in this world, you strive for a balance that allows your heart to beat at one steady pace, for one emotion to surface at a time, for feelings that you can control. And yet you feel controlled by your feelings, emotions that seem to have a life of their own, and a body that reacts to all of it in ways that make you uncomfortable, anxious, ecstatic, or terrified.
8.7 None of this speaks of what your heart would say to you, but masks the language of the heart and buries stillness deep beneath an ever-changing milieu of life lived on the surface, as if your own skin were the playground for all the angels and demons that would dance there. What you would remember is replaced by memories of these emotions—so many that they could not be counted even for one day, even by those who claim to have them not. It is not your thoughts to which you turn to bring you evidence for your resentment, ammunition for your vengeance, pain for your remembering. It is to your emotions, those feelings that you would say come from your own heart.
8.8 What foolishness to think love could abide with companions such as these. If these be in your heart, where is love? If these illusions were real there would be no place for love at all, but love abides where illusion cannot enter. These illusions are like barnacles upon your heart, adhering to its surface, but keeping it not from fulfilling its function or carrying within itself that which keeps you safe upon this raging sea.
8.9 Safe within your heart lies love’s reality, a reality so foreign to you that you think you remember it not. Yet it is to this reality we head as we travel deep within you to the center of your Self.
8.10 Even those of you whose perceptions remain quite faulty know that there is a difference between what lies on the surface and what lies beneath. Often the surface of a situation is all that is seen, the surface of a problem all that is recognized, the surface of a relationship all that is known to you. You speak openly of these levels of seeing, recognizing, and knowing, saying often, “On the surface it would seem that…” and this observation is often followed by attempts to see beneath the surface to find causes, motivations, or reasons for a situation, problem, or relationship. Often this search is called seeking for the truth. While the way in which you go about seeking for the truth in places it is not causes it to remain hidden from you, your recognition that a truth is available in a place other than on the surface is useful to us now, as is your recognition that something other than what appears on the surface exists.
8.11 What do you mean to do when you attempt to look beneath the surface? Do you mean to look beneath the skin, or into the hidden recesses of a heart or mind? Without union all your seeking will not reveal the truth. And while there is a part of you that knows this, you prefer instead of union a game of speculation, conjecture, and probable cause. You look for explanations and information rather than the truth you claim to seek. You look in judgment rather than in forgiveness. You look from separation’s stance rather than from the grace-filled place of union. Perhaps you are thinking now that if you knew how this union worked you would surely use it to find the truth, and for other objectives as well. You would like to be a problem solver, a person who could, as in a court of law, separate right from wrong, truth from lies, fact from fiction. You do not even see that what you desire is further separation, and that separation cannot bring about the truth nor arise from unity.
8.12 Even your loftiest desires are fraught with righteousness that is still righteousness no matter what the noble cause you deem yourself willing to address. You would see into another’s mind and heart in order perhaps to help them, but also to have power over them. Whatever you might come to know you would deem your property and its disposition your purview. How dangerous would you be if union were such as this! How rightly you would fight it to protect your own secrets from revelation. This faulty perception of union would keep you from the goal you seek, the goal that is no goal but your only reality, the natural state in which you would exist but for your decision to reject your reality and your true nature.
8.13 Do you see now why unity and wholeness go hand in hand? Why you cannot withhold a piece of yourself and realize the unity that is your home? Were it possible to exist in unity and still withhold, unity would be a mockery. Who would you withhold for? And whom would you withhold from? Unity is wholeness. All for all.
8.14 We have talked now of what is on the surface. Let us try an experiment.
8.15 Think of your body now as the surface of your existence and look upon it. Stand back from it, for it is not your home. The heart we speak of does not abide in it and nor do you. Separate bodies cannot unite in wholeness. They were made to keep wholeness from you and to convince you of the illusion of your separateness. Step back. See your body as just the surface layer of your existence. It is what appears to be and no more. Let it not keep you from seeing the truth, as you do not let other surface conditions hide the truth from you. Even if you have not formerly found the truth, you have recognized what is not the truth. Your body is not the truth of who you are, no matter how much it appears to be. For now, let’s consider it the surface aspect of your existence.
8.16 We will go one step further as well, for many of you are thinking still that it is what is within the body that is real: your brain and heart, your thoughts and emotions. If your body contained what was real, it too would be real. Just as if a surface situation contained the truth, it would be the truth. If your body and what lies within it are not who you are, you feel as if you are left homeless. This feeling of homelessness is necessary for your return to your real home, for were you locked up and contained within your body, and were you to accept this container as your home, you would not accept another.
8.17 Your “other” home is the home you feel as if you have left and the home you feel the desire to return to. Yet it is where you are, and you could not be anywhere else. Your home is here. You think this is incongruous with the truth as I’m revealing it, the truth that heaven is your home, but it is not. There is no here in the terms that you would think of it, the terms that set your reality in a location, on a planet, in a body. God is here and you belong to God. This is the only sense in which you can or should accept the notion that you belong here. When you realize God is here, then and only then can you truthfully say here is where I belong.
8.18 Now that you are standing back from your body, participating in this experiment to recognize the surface element of your existence, you are perhaps more aware than ever before of being in a particular place and time. As you stand back and observe your body, this is what you will see: a form moving through time and place. You may be more aware than ever of its actions and complaints, its sturdiness or lack thereof. You may be realizing how it governs your existence and wondering how you could spend even a moment without awareness of it.
8.19 This moment without awareness of the body was beautifully described in A Course in Miracles as the Holy Instant. You may not think observation of your body is a good way to achieve this, but as you observe you learn to hold yourself apart from what you see. A reminder is needed here, however, a reminder to not observe with your mind, but with your heart. This observance will contain a holiness, a gift of sight beyond that of your normal vision.
8.20 You may begin by feeling compassion toward this body that you have long viewed as your home. There it goes again, one more time, sleeping and waking. One more time fueling itself with energy. One more time expending that energy. One more time growing weary. One more day is greeted, and its greeting lies upon your heart. Each day tells you all things come to pass. At times this is cause for rejoicing. At other times a cause for sorrow. But never can it be evaded that each day is a beginning and an ending both. Night is as certain as day.
8.21 Into these days that come to pass move many other bodies such as yours. Each one is distinct—and there are so many! As you become an observer you may well be overwhelmed by what you observe, by the sheer magnitude of all that with you occupies the world. Some days this will make you feel like one of many, a tiny peon of little significance. On other days you will feel quite superior, the ultimate achievement of the world and all its years of evolution. There are days you will feel quite of the earth, as if this is your natural home and heaven to your soul. On other days your feeling will be quite the opposite, and you will wonder where you are. Yes, there your body is, but where are you?
8.22 Although you cannot observe it, you will become aware of how the past walks through your days with you, and the future too. Both are like companions who for a little while are welcome distractions but are loath to leave you when you would have them gone.
8.23 Where lives this past and future? Where does day go when it is night? What are you to make of all these forms that wander through your days with you? What is it, really, that you are observing?
8.24 This is your re-enactment of creation, begun each morning and completed each night. Each day is your creation held together by the thought system that gave it birth. To observe this is to see its reality. To see this reality is to see the image of God you have created in God’s likeness. This image is based on your memory of the truth of God’s creation and your desire to create like your Father. It is the best, in your forgetfulness, that you could do; but still it tells you much.
8.25 Everything is held together by the thought system that gave birth to it. There are but two thought systems: the thought system of God, and the thought system of the ego or the separated self. The thought system of the separated self sees everything in separation. The thought system of God sees everything in unity. God’s thought system is one of continuous creation, rebirth and renewal. The ego’s thought system is one of continuous destruction and disassembly, of decay and death. And yet how like they are one to the other!
8.26 How like to memory it is to think a thing remembered in every smallest detail and yet to have no idea what the memory is about! All memory is twisted and distorted by what you would have it be. Everyone can think of at least one long remembered incident that when given to the light of truth revealed a lie of outlandish proportions. These are the memories of loved ones you were sure were trying to hurt you when in truth they were only trying to help. The memories of situations you deemed meant to embarrass or destroy you that were in truth meant to teach you what you needed to learn to lead you to a success you now enjoy.
8.27 Thus your memory of God’s creation is a memory you retain to the smallest detail, and yet the details mask the truth so thoroughly that all truth is given over to illusion.
8.28 How can it be that you move through the same world day by day in the same body, observing many situations like unto each other, awakening to the same sun rising and setting, and yet can experience each day so differently that one day you feel happy and one day you feel sad, one day you feel hope and one day you feel despair? How can it be that what was created so like to God’s creation can be so opposite to it? How can memory so deceive the eyes, and yet fail to deceive the heart?
8.29 This is the truth of your existence, an existence in which your eyes deceive you but your heart believes not in the deception. Your days are but evidence of this truth. What your eyes behold will one day deceive you while what your heart beholds will the next day see through the deception. And so one day lived in your world is misery incarnate and the next a thing of joy.
8.30 Rejoice that your heart is not deceived, for herein lies your path to true remembering.
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