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8.1 Continuing to imagine your body as the dot within the circle, I ask you to imagine now being able to take a step outside of the area of this dot, and into the area of the wider circle. In this area of the wider circle, there is no time, no space, no particularity. It is an area of unlimited freedom. Yet we will begin with parameters that make this area as imaginable to you as possible, because here is where all that you can imagine can become your new reality.
8.2 Imagine this first as a place where no learning is needed. Ah, you might say now, this you have heard before. This idea of no longer needing to learn has intrigued you since it was first mentioned, and yet it seems too impossible, too “good” to be true. You are too used to thinking of yourself as a learning being to truly experience the freedom of not being bound by this constraint. In all of your life, you can think of no ability you have not achieved through learning. And yet most of you have “discovered” something that comes easily to you, something you might have said or been told you have a natural talent or ability to do. These things some of you have practiced or studied to take advantage of your natural ability and in doing so may have found a continued ability to learn faster or achieve more in this area than those who are not seen as having a “natural ability” of this particular kind. But because you are prone to comparison, many of you have been discouraged by not being able to be the “best” despite your natural talent or ability, and have given up “working hard” to be the best. Others who have achieved the highest possible acclaim for their talents find this acclaim unfulfilling once it is achieved.
8.3 All of these ideas we leave behind as we concentrate instead on the very simple idea of each of you containing a natural ability or talent that existed in some form prior to the time of learning. We concentrate on this idea merely as an idea and not in terms of the specific ability it may represent. We concentrate on this idea as the first parameter of the territory of your conscious awareness as you let awareness grow in you that you have experienced something that existed prior to the time of learning. And that this something was quite wonderful.
8.4 You might think of this ability that existed prior to the time of learning as coming from the content of the wider circle of who you are to infiltrate the dot of the body, or, conversely, as the body having taken a step outside of the dot of self to infiltrate the wider circle of the Self. When you have realized that you are “more” than your body, your natural talent or ability has been one of the primary factors leading to this realization. It has been one of the primary factors leading to this realization because a part of you has always known this ability was a “given.” That you are gifted—given to—and able to receive. And despite what science might have to say to you about the source of such talents or abilities, you have known that they are not of the body.
8.5 To accept this is to accept that you have access to a “given” Self, to something neither earned nor worked hard to attain. To imagine this as an idea is to imagine this “given” Self as the Self that exists beyond the boundary we have described as the dot of the body.
8.6 This idea will aid you too in your understanding of discovery, as your natural abilities or talents were discovered and in that discovery, you realized that although you had not previously known that this talent or ability existed, it was there awaiting but your discovery. You may also have seen that in the expression of this talent or ability new discoveries awaited you and that you greeted these discoveries with surprise and delight. As was written in “A Treatise on the New”, these surprises of discovery have, and will, cause you to laugh and be joyous. There was never any need, and will never be any need, to figure them out—for surprises cannot be figured out! Surprises are meant to be joyous gifts being constantly revealed. Gifts that need only be received and responded to. Not learned.
8.7 While discovery of the new will naturally include much that goes beyond what you now think of as your natural talents or abilities, the place or Source of your natural talents or abilities is a place from which to start building your awareness of what is available or given—of what is but awaiting your discovery and conscious awareness. Thus, like the home in which you reside, the idea that you have an already existing awareness of the Source of unity beyond the body will increase your comfort level, and will help establish it as the first parameter in the territory of your conscious awareness.
8.8 Now this is not new information. Much of this was taught in “A Treatise on the Nature of Unity and Its Recognition”. Between the Course and the Treatises, all of what you needed to learn was put forth. What we are now doing is discussing what was taught from the realm of wholeheartedness. What was learned was only able to be learned because you chose to become the wholehearted. You chose to join mind and heart and it was done. But you do not yet know how to rid yourself of former patterns. Your mind, while it no longer wants to cling to known patterns, is confronted with them constantly. Thus your heart still seems to battle with the supremacy of mind.
8.9 So what we are attempting to do is to open the mind to the wisdom of the heart with these dialogues. As the mind opens and accepts the new, the art of thought will become your new means of thinking. What has been learned will become an ability to think wholeheartedly, or with mind and heart in union, and then that ability will transcend ability and wholehearted will become what you are, and wholeheartedness your sole means of expression.
8.10 The self and the expression of self that comes from any place other than wholeheartedness is not the true Self or the true expression of the Self but the self-expression that arises from separation. Self-expression that arises from separation is still valuable, as it is a sign of yearning toward the true Self and the true expression of the Self. Thus where you have desired to express yourself in the past is very likely linked to the natural ability or talent you did not have to learn, to that which was given and available just a step beyond where the separated self could reach.
8.11 Expand your reach! Step outside of the dot of the separated self and into the circle of unity where all you desire is already accomplished in the fullness and wholeness of the undivided Self.
8.12 The divided self is the small self of separation that is constantly yearning for union with that from which it is divided. Enter the place of no division, the place of shared consciousness, the place of wholeness. The natural ability that you recognize as a given and unlearned aspect of your Self is the doorway. Step through that doorway. Take the first step outside of the known reality of your conscious awareness, the learned reality of your separate consciousness, and into the realm of shared consciousness.
8.13 Do not be surprised, however, if no shaft of light descends upon you, if you feel as if you have taken that step and yet remain unchanged. When you choose to take this step it is taken. What you will become aware of on the other side of that door will require a new way of seeing, a new kind of awareness.
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