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12.1 In the terms in which you are used to thinking, terms that have put the body at the center of your universe and yourself, there is no mechanism through which thought can enter your mind. You believe thoughts exist in your mind and are themselves the product of your brain, which lies within your body. Since it is believed that a cessation of brain activity is equivalent to the end of thought, you accept this as proof that your thoughts originate from within your brain.
12.2 You may have pictured the person who first received these words as receiving them either through her thoughts or through her ears, as in the idea of “hearing” words. The receiver of these words, in fact, “hears” these words as thoughts. They are not “her” thoughts, but they also are not separate from her. How can this be?
12.3 They are, quite simply, not the separated thoughts of the separated thought system.
12.4 This work is called a dialogue. A dialogue is most often thought of as a discourse between two or more people and as such is associated with the spoken word. When you enter into dialogue with another person, you listen, you hear, and you respond. This is exactly what occurs here. You have “entered into” this dialogue. While you think these words come to you through the written form of this book, by means of your eyes and the decoding mechanism of your brain, they do not, nor did the words of this Course. You were told within this Course and you are reminded now that these words enter through your heart. As your mind and heart joined in unity and became capable of hearing the same language, you truly began to enter the place of unity, to take the step outside of the dot of the body.
12.5 Now you may not “think” that you have been doing this, yet few of you would argue that you have been simply reading these words as you have read the words of other books. While you may be aware that something different is going on here, you might also say that your body has felt no “step” into the realm of unity, and you may rightly wonder now, if you can take such a step and be unaware of it, what its value to you is.
12.6 This is why we work now on your awareness and acceptance of your changed state, for without awareness the value of what we do here does remain minimal, and this I cannot allow. The urgent need for your return to unity has been mentioned before, and I remind you of this urgency again.
12.7 Let your reception of these words, a reception different from the reading of the words of most and maybe all other books you have read, be a sign to you. Keep this in mind as you consider how the first receiver of these words can “hear” these words as thoughts. Keep in mind that she thus has thoughts she is not thinking.
12.8 We have spoken already of “entering into” dialogue. When you enter into dialogue with another person you “hear” what it is they have to say. You “hear” their thoughts through the form of the spoken word. They do not then become “your” thoughts, but they do “enter” you. Their words must enter you in order for them to provide a source for your response—to become a means of communication and exchange. The same is true of the “thoughts” these words symbolize. Thus we continue to expand the territory of your conscious awareness through this realization that the ability of “thoughts” not your own to enter you is already commonplace.
12.9 We have already established that the thoughts that arise from unity are not the same as the thoughts that arise from the thought system of the separated self. We might make this a simpler subject to discuss by making a distinction between thinking and thought. This distinction, while it will not be consistent with your dictionary’s definition of these words, is still a useful distinction, as “thinking” is seen as what you “do.” Even in your dictionary definition, being “thoughtful” is seen as a condition of mindfulness, and mindfulness is much closer to the idea of wholeheartedness, or sharing in unity—the state of which we speak. Realize also that you do not consider it to be the “thinking” of another that is shared with you in dialogue, but the thoughts. Thus this distinction will suffice for our further discussion in this chapter.
12.10 Let us now consider “thinking” to be the active and often unwelcome voice “in your head,” the voice of background chatter. And let us consider your “thoughts” to be the more meditative version of your “thinking,” often even resulting in a conclusion to your thinking, a summary of the finer points, as what might come to you in a reflective moment at the end of the day. Again we will see the idea of thoughts “coming to you” at such times. This is not the “thinking” of a conflicted and struggling mind, but the “thoughts” of a mind at rest.
12.11 Thinking is more descriptive of the ego-mind; thoughts are more descriptive of the true mind. I am not saying that your ego is still at work because you still think in the same way as before. I am about to make the two main points of this discussion: The first is that thinking, with or without the ego, is a pattern of the separated self and does not serve you. The way in which you think may seem vastly improved since the ego ruled or may seem only minimally improved, but it is the pattern, not the ego, that is still with you. The second point is that although thinking does not serve you, you do have, right now, and have always had, true thoughts that come to you from your Self, the Self joined in unity. These are thoughts you did not “think,” just as the first receiver of these words received them as thoughts she did not “think.”
12.12 What I am striving to help you see, once again, is that union isn’t achieved with a flash of light from above, but that it quietly infiltrates the dot of the self in its unguarded moments. I am attempting to help you to become aware and comfortable with the idea that, released of old patterns, the self will join with unity more and more frequently, until finally you will sustain Christ-consciousness and live in the world as the elevated Self of form.
12.13 One of the primary ideas that will assist you in leaving patterns of thinking behind is the idea that thought as we are describing it, the thought that is not really thought but the way of coming to know of the Self joined in unity, enters you through the place of mind and heart joined in wholeheartedness at the center of yourself, a place that has nothing to do with the body. That you listen, hear, and respond may at times be of the body, but it may also at times not be of the body. The main idea to hold in your mind and heart is the idea of entry, and the idea that what comes of unity does not need access through your body’s eyes or ears or any of what you consider to be your senses. Along with this main idea it is essential for you to realize that this is not so strange and unusual as it may sound, that this access and entryway already exists within you, and that you have already benefited from moments of interaction with, if not awareness of, the state of unity.
12.14 Now that you are coming to a more clear idea of what the “thoughts” that come to you from unity may be like, you will undoubtedly realize this: You have had such thoughts already, thoughts that came to you with an authority that you are not used to—thoughts that you know, beyond a shadow of a doubt, are true or right or accurate. They may be simple thoughts about a situation in which you are involved, or about the situation of another. Or they may be profound insights into your Self or the nature of the world.
12.15 You may at such times have been frustrated by an inability to share these thoughts, or to deliver them with the authority of the truth simply because you have known that they are true, and because you realized, as soon as the truth came into your mind, how seldom in the past you have been sure of anything. You may have been amazed at this new authority, and you may have desired more than anything to have others realize that you really know something, that this wasn’t your usual opinion or idea you were offering up for discussion, but something you knew the truth about!
12.16 Many of you may, as well, have experienced the fading of your certainty about this truth over time. It may have been your inability to convey this truth, another’s reaction to this truth, or simple doubt that arose within your thinking, but regardless of this fading of your certainty, you still carry within you the moment of realization—the moment in which the truth was known to you without doubt, known to you without uncertainty. And you may begin to realize that what has been said throughout this Course—that all doubt is doubt about yourself—is true. If another challenges you, or if your own thinking challenges you, doubt is quick to arise simply because you do not expect yourself to be certain of anything, and certainly do not expect yourself to be certain about the “right” or “true” course of action required in a situation, or of something that has not yet occurred but that you are given the certainty to know will occur. But once you have felt this certainty, you will never be so sure again that you cannot know the truth. Adding the phrase “beyond a shadow of a doubt” will be something you no longer need add to your knowing of the truth because you will realize its redundancy.
12.17 To know is to know. To know is to be certain. This may seem crazy or impossible, and in your realization that it seems crazy or impossible to you, you may become more aware than ever before that what I have said about your way of thinking being insane is true. You think it is perfectly sane to go through life without knowing anything “beyond a shadow of a doubt,” without knowing anything with certainty, when the reverse is what is true. It is sane to know the truth. It is insane not to know the truth.
12.18 Some of you will have credited your personal or individual self with the “figuring out” of this truth. Others of you will have recognized the “voice” of authority with which this truth came to you as something other than your usual thoughts, other than your usual “self.” Either way, however, you know that your Self was involved, somehow, in this coming to know of the truth, even if this coming to know of the truth wasn’t quite “of” the “you” of the personal self.
12.19 The thoughts that come to you from unity can thus be seen as both your own thoughts and thoughts that arise from union. Union is not other than you, as I am not other than you. Union includes you, just as the All of Everything, the whole of wholeness, the one of oneness, includes you. We are, in unity, one body. We are, in Christ-consciousness, one Christ. We are, in wholeheartedness, one heart and one mind.
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