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3.1 The first opportunities for the art of thought to be applied relate to memory in terms of your experience here. In other words they will relate to the re-experiencing of all that you believe has shaped your life. These opportunities are but the forerunners of new learning. They are but opportunities to replace illusion with the truth so that the truth of who you are is all that remains.
3.2 Seeing how different from the experience of illusion is the experience of truth is the same as seeing how different the art of thought is from the thinking of the ego-mind! The art of thought is diametrically opposed to the thinking of the ego-mind.
3.3 The ego-mind sees nothing for what it is. The ego-mind sees not anything but what it wants as gifts and even these it sees not as gifts but as rewards. The ego-mind barters rather than giving and receiving as one, believing in a return only for effort. Because it sees only rewards and not gifts, it cannot see that gifts are shared. Because it cannot see that gifts are shared, it cannot afford to see relationship. Because it believes it is on its own it cannot see the higher order. Because of all of this, it cannot experience the truth and so exists in illusion.
3.4 The experience of truth dispels illusion and thus the ego-mind. The art of thought replaces the ego-mind with the wholehearted. The wholehearted is but the heart and mind joined in unity.
3.5 How can what is closely guarded extend? How can what is controlled create? How can what continues to give in to fear know love? All your reasons for fear-based living have been discounted one by one. And yet you dare not try to live without it. Why? Because of the thoughts of the ego-mind. The ego-mind is concerned only with its own survival but it has you convinced it is your survival that depends on it. How can you be convinced to live as if the truth were otherwise? For only if you begin to live as if the truth were otherwise can you see that it truly is otherwise, or based on a wisdom other than what has come before.
3.6 The only way for you to come to live in truth is through faith; not a faith in what might be, but a faith in what is. A faith in what is, is a faith in miracles. Miracles are what you are now asked to call upon. For calling upon miracles is an act of faith. You think the quest for miracles is a quest for proof that demonstrates a lack of faith but the reverse is true. What kind of miracle would lead to a lack of faith? There is no such kind of miracle.
3.7 I ask you now to request a miracle.
3.8 What kind of a miracle should you ask for? How big of a miracle should you request? How big is your faith? How much proof does it require? I speak not in jest but ask you to seriously consider just what kind of miracle is needed to get you to change your mind about who you are and thus about the nature of your thoughts.
3.9 Observe yourself as you think through this question. Can you remove all fear from it? Why should it be that fear is what you encounter? The bigger the miracle that occurs to you, the more you are likely to fear the consequences. These are not consequences for the world you fear, but consequences for yourself. If you requested a miracle, and it came true, what then? If you request a small miracle and it comes true, how awful you would feel that you had not requested a bigger miracle. You will almost feel panic at the thought of such a choice being put before you. If you will agree to choose a miracle at all, which many of you will balk at doing, you want to choose the “right” miracle. Some of you may think through just what kind of miracle would be most convincing to you since you see this exercise as what it is, an attempt to convince you to think otherwise about yourself. If you ask for a cure for a disease, how will you know that this cure is a miracle and not the result of scientific discovery or the natural course an illness was bound to take? What miracle could be seen as only miracle and not leave doubt as to its circumstances? Would you choose a miracle that would leave no room for doubt? Such a simple miracle might be the turning of water into wine. What harm could come from it? And yet even this you would fear for if you asked for such a miracle and it came to be, you would then have to contemplate your power to perform miracles. Here you find your greatest fear of all: fear of your power.
3.10 As was said within A Course of Love, willingness does not require conviction but leads to conviction. The apostles had no faith in their ability to perform miracles. The faith they showed was in their willingness to try. This little willingness gave way to conviction as miracles flowed through them as the blessings that they are.
3.11 I do not want to lose any of you here, but such is your fear that you can already see your own loss. As great as the fear of miracles is, the fear of not being able to perform is greater. You think of this as a test and one you can pass or fail. And what’s more, not only would your passing of this test require you to contemplate your power, but your failure would require you to contemplate your lack of it. If you asked for a miracle and it did not come to be, wouldn’t it negate all you have achieved thus far and send you back to a state of disbelief? Better not to try at all than to risk trying and failing when such consequences would seem to hang in the balance.
3.12 But again I tell you this is no idle request. Whatever is necessary to convince you now is what I will provide. Such is the urgency of the time, the urgency for the return to unity, the urgency of the need to leave fear behind. Can you not, from this one example of your fear of miracles, see the glaring reality of all you still would fear?
3.13 This too is a means of unlearning. How can you leave behind all you fear without seeing all you fear for what it is and choosing to lay it aside?
3.14 This does not have to be done right now if your fear is mightier than your willingness. But hold this thought within your mind. What is needed to convince you will be provided. Such is the urgency of your return to unity. If not now, then soon, you will be asked to make this final choice, this choice to leave fear behind for good and to become who you are.
3.15 Who you are is a miracle worker. This is not all that you are but is a measure of who you are. This is not all that you are but this is the quickest means of realizing who you are. As was said in A Course in Miracles, miracles are timesaving devices. Although asking you to choose a miracle would seem to violate one of the rules of miracle-readiness as described in A Course in Miracles, the extreme need of your return to love requires extreme measures.
3.16 Let us consider your objections to miracles one by one for in so doing we will uncover the source of all your fears as well as the Source of miracles.
3.17 First, you will say you have no objections to miracles, only to having them performed through you. Your lack of willingness to perform miracles, you will say, stems from your unworthiness to perform miracles. Your unworthiness stems from your belief that you are “only” human. You are not God. You are not a holy person. Thus miracles should not flow through you.
3.18 Second, you would object to being asked to choose a miracle. Surely you cannot know the consequences of what any miracle would have on the rest of the world. If you were to ask for a life to be spared, how would you know it was not that person’s “time to die”? If you were to ask for the cure of a disease, how would you know that disease was not meant to be to further someone’s learning? If you were to ask to win the lottery, how could such selfishness not be punished?
3.19 Third, you might, at the suggestion that you need proof to shore up your faith, balk, even while you remain convinced that a failure of such proof would shake your faith.
3.20 Fourth, you might balk at the suggestion that God would grant miracles on such a whim, such a fanciful idea as that of your being convinced of your own power. How could this possibly be important? Even were you to possess such power, surely it is a power that is of God and needs not you for its accomplishment. Better not to mess with such things. Even the thought of it leads you to ideas of magic and power that are not of this world and thus that must have a dark side as well as a light. Here suspicion dawns and threatens all you have come to hold dear.
3.21 These thoughts border on the sacrilegious. Miracles are the realm of Jesus and of the saints and that is surely where they belong. To even implore them would be heresy.
3.22 You fear as well that you do not know what miracles are and thus cannot perform them. You want a definition first. What is an appropriate miracle? For whom should they be requested? What are the criteria? How are they done? Do they happen all at once? Or can they be for some future date? What about the correction of something that has already occurred? You have far too many questions without answers to choose a miracle.
3.23 Although many more fears might prevail upon you, we will consider only one further fear, the fear of making the wrong choice in your choice of miracles. This is the same as a fear of scarcity. For surely the working of one miracle would be a fluke anyway. Proof of nothing and easily discounted and explained away. Surely to believe that where one miracle worked another might be possible would be to have ideas of grandeur not meant for you. Here your thoughts might stray to the performing of many miracles. What a media circus that would be. You would be in demand to end so much suffering in so many places. Surely you wouldn’t want that even if it could come to be. Indeed this would require the auspices of a saintly soul and not one such as you.
3.24 See you not the choices made in each of these scenarios and the reasoning or lack of reasoning behind them? You are not worthy. You are not saintly, godlike or even holy. You might choose incorrectly. You might invoke retribution. You might be selfish. You might be proved to have no faith. You might succumb to thoughts of grandeur.
3.25 In short, you are too afraid, for a variety of reasons, to try. In short, you are not willing and have many reasons for not being willing. What we have done here is bring your fears to light, fears that you did not even realize you held so closely or would be so terrified to let go.
3.26 Now we can address each of these fears, bringing to them the art of thought rather than the thinking of the ego-mind.
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