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2.1 The closing pages of A Course of Love instructed you to think no more. A break in time was needed for you to disengage the ego-mind that produced the type of thinking that needs to come to an end. This ending is but a beginning in truth and has led you to readiness to learn the art of thought.
2.2 We identified much for you to leave behind within the pages of A Course of Love. These many things which seemed so distinct and separate and which ranged from fear, to struggle, to effort, to control and protection, can all now be seen as the product of the thoughts of your ego-mind.
2.3 To experience the truth and apply to that experience the thoughts of the ego-mind, the same thoughts that were applied to former experiences of the truth, would be to respond to love the same way again. The questions you have asked concerning how love could be the answer when it has been preached by so many for so long are answered here. The answer lies in your response to love. To respond is to answer. You have sought your “answer” everywhere, but here is where it lies. It is yours to give and can only be given to love from love. Only in giving is it received.
2.4 Thus we have sought to uncover your Source, to provide you access to your heart, from which all responses flow. As your heart is the Source of your true Self, your thoughts, once removed from those of the ego-mind are the expression and extension of your true Self. They are the answer of the Created to the Creator, the answer of the Self to God.
2.5 Thoughts that were guarded by the ego-mind were in need of being set free. Appealing to your heart was the means or cause of this freedom being accomplished in you. What was spoken of within A Course of Love as unlearning has begun and continues here. What was spoken of within A Course of Love as new learning has begun and continues here as well. The difference is that you are now ready to learn a new means of response to this unlearning and learning. That response is the art of thought.
2.6 The so-called thinking of the ego-mind was so tyrannical that its use throughout your lifetime deadened many of your feelings. It led you so far from the truth that you no longer trust in it. It confused the smallest issues to such a degree that it left you unable to respond purely to anything. The so-called thinking of the ego-mind could be likened to chitchat, background noise, static. So little meaning did it have that all meaning became muddled.
2.7 Your only recourse to this situation in the past was focus. You thus applied your thoughts to learning subjects of a specific nature. Through this focus you believed you accomplished much. You congratulated yourself on having the discipline required to train your mind to focus and to learn, or shamed yourself when you were unable to do so. To those most skilled in this training of the ego-mind worldly rewards have long been given. These people attain degrees and skills and then further apply the discipline that they have learned by using their skills and knowledge in the world for even greater rewards. These rewards have further emphasized the importance of such focused thoughts and thus further entrenched the ego-mind. To think that you could learn the truth of who you are through these same means was the fallacy that the early teaching of A Course of Love sought to dispel.
2.8 But again, as was stated often throughout A Course of Love, an alternative exists. It did not exist when you knew not of it and so your attempts at learning have been valiant and are no cause for anxiety. But now this alternative is being revealed to you, and it does call for a change of thought so extensive that all thought as you once knew it does need to cease.
2.9 You have already succeeded in learning in this new way once or you would not be here. This is your proof that you can do so again and again until the new way totally replaces the old and the art of thought leaves behind forever the need for what the ego-mind once but seemed to offer you.
2.10 The thoughts of your ego-mind were ruled by the nature of the body. To exist as creatures whose only thoughts are of survival of the body is to exist in a lower order. The laws of the body have thus subjected you to conditions that invited the ego-mind to turn its attention to existence in this lower order. It is only you who can recognize and invite the higher order or subject yourself to its conditions. It is only your attention to the existence of this higher order that will reveal its laws to you. These are the laws of God or the laws of love.
2.11 The laws of God or the laws of love can be summarized by the simple statement of giving and receiving being one in truth. The implications of this statement are far broader than at first might seem indicated. All of these implications have been touched upon within A Course of Love. The most essential of these implications is that of relationship for giving and receiving cannot occur without relationship.
2.12 All relationship is but relationship between Creator and Created. The new means of thinking is referred to here as the “art” of thought in order to call your wholehearted attention to the continual act of creation that is the relationship between Creator and Created. Creation is but a dialogue to which you have not responded. The art of thought will free you to respond.
2.13 This response needs to at first be seen in two parts. An example illustrates. To look at a sunset is to see an object, the sun. It is also to see the sky, to see the variety of colors displayed, to see the horizon. It is to see the surrounding area, perhaps to see the play of clouds among the descending rays, perhaps to feel the warmth or chill of an evening. The whole experience might include the sound of birds or traffic, the rhythm of the ocean, or the pounding of your own heart. It might be a shared experience, one in which you share the feeling of awe inspired by this sight with one you love. It might be seen as you walk or drive, rake leaves or gaze from an office window. It might be a deathbed vision or the first sunset of which a young child is aware. It might be a scene taken totally for granted as you go about whatever business calls you at that hour.
2.14 The sunset is a gift of God. It is what it is. This is the first part of this example.
2.15 The second part is its reception. A gift has been given. What is your response?
2.16 The sunset is part of your human experience. In the lower order of that experience it speaks to your survival needs. It may signal many things ranging from a desire to get safely home before it is dark, to a desire to eat an evening meal. It signals change in the natural world around you. Birds and squirrels and flowers too have a reaction to the setting of the sun. They react to what is. This is their response, an altogether lovely response of created to Creator.
2.17 Yet to rise above this lower order of experience is to receive and to give back. First the sunset is experienced for what it is. It is acknowledged. It is a fact of your existence as a human being, a part of the natural world, a gift of the Creator. Secondly, it is experienced relationally. It speaks to you and you to it. It binds you to the natural world and to the present but also to the higher world and the eternal. It binds you to all those who have and will experience the sunset by being a shared experience. It is there not for you alone, but in listening to its call for a response, it becomes a gift for you that is in no way diminished by it being a gift for all.
2.18 Finally, the sunset becomes, through your experience of it, an opportunity to apply the art of thought.
2.19 Thus, these are the basic rules of the art of thought: First, to experience what is and to acknowledge what is, both as a fact of your existence as a human being and as a gift of the Creator. Second, to acknowledge the relationship inherent in the experience, the call for a response, and the nature of all gifts as being given to all.
2.20 While this may seem somewhat elementary in relation to a sunset, its application to all areas of life will at first seem quite demanding. But what is elementary remains elementary once it is learned.
2.21 To experience what is and to acknowledge what is, one must be present, present as human being. To experience what is and to acknowledge what is as being a gift of God is to be present as a divine being having a human experience. No part of being is negated. All senses and feelings of the human being are called into awareness and yet there is also acknowledgment of the Creator behind the Created.
2.22 To acknowledge the relationship and the nature of the gift is to realize unity. To realize the call for a response is to hear the call to create like unto the Creator. This creating like unto the Creator may be used as a definition for the art of thought.
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