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4.1 By asking you to request a miracle, I am honoring who you are and inviting you into the state of mind that is miracle-readiness. The art of thought is the expression of that state. The art of thought is the miracle.
4.2 Thus we must dispel, along with the illusion of fear, the illusion of specificity. You have not been asked to request a specific miracle. Although your thoughts have naturally gone to consideration of the specific, this is but an indication that you are still in the habit of thinking you learned under the instruction of the ego-mind. This Treatise must change that habit in order for all your thoughts to become the miracles that express the truth of who you are. This Treatise will put your instruction fully under my guidance and allow you to disregard the instruction of the ego-mind.
4.3 A Course of Love began with an injunction to pray. A Course in Miracles began with a definition of miracles. Both are the same. Prayer and the art of thought are the same. This should serve to make it clear that the request I have made of you is once again far more broad and generalizable than your old habit of thought has led you to see. Miracles are, in other words, a way of thinking, the new way that we are going to learn together. They are the state of giving and receiving as one. They are the state in which blessings flow. They are your natural state.
4.4 How can the rules of thought we have identified serve to bring about the miracle that you are? The first means identified was that of experiencing what is and acknowledging what is both as a fact of your existence as a human being and as a gift of the Creator. Now that we have more properly identified the miracle, you must see that your Self is what is in need of identification and acknowledgment. This identification and acknowledgment was the stated goal of A Course of Love. It does not negate your existence as a human being nor does it deny your existence as being a gift of the Creator. Recall the sunset. Are you any less the glory of God than the sun? This is a call to be as aware of your Self as you are capable of being aware of the sunset.
4.5 When the sun has remained but an object to you, no effect is possible from the sunset. The sun, even during the most blazing sunset, has at times remained no more than object to you. So too has your Self. When your Self is seen as no more than a body it is seen as little more than an object.
4.6 The second rule of the art of thought is to acknowledge relationship, the call for a response, and the nature of all gifts as being given to all. This is thus a call to realize that you exist in relationship, that your relationship calls for a response, and that you are given to all as all are given to you.
4.7 This is an enormous shift in your habit of thought as you become the center of the universe.
4.8 This is quite a different you than the self of the ego-mind. The ego-mind, in its imitation of creation, put the “you” of the ego or the body at the center of its thought system and from this central position developed all of its ideas of glorifying the separated self as well as of subjugating the separated self. This subjugation to the ego-mind is what led to the ego-mind being able to develop the “laws of man.” These laws of man are the laws of the body’s survival.
4.9 Your responsibilities shift completely under the laws of God. Your thoughts are released from their concentration on what exists outside of you as your responsibility is placed where it belongs, in the call to respond. This response is only yours to give and is all you are asked to give. This response comes from within the Self—the rightly identified and acknowledged Self.
4.10 Think of all you now feel responsible for and this lesson will become more clear. While your first thoughts will automatically go to a lengthy list of those concerns associated with the survival of the body, they will miss a whole aspect of concerns associated with keeping others other. You keep others other by attempting to respond for them rather than responding to them. You thus have thought it is your responsibility to care for the world outside of yourself rather than for your Self.
4.11 There is much play on the words response, responsible, and responsibility here. This is no accident. Your call is to respond and you have seen this call incorrectly as a call to be responsible. The idea of responsibility sprang from the ego-mind that would usurp the power of God. What kind of gift arrives with a demand for the receiver to be responsible for it?
4.12 You may answer that there are many, even within this Course’s definition of gift, the most obvious of which might be your children. Another of which might be your talents. It is the idea of your responsibility for these gifts that has led to your oppression. Again I tell you, your call is to respond rather than to be responsible. How can you be free to respond when your thinking remains tied to responsibility?
4.13 Responsibility but implies a guardianship that is not needed. Responsibility implies needs that would not be met without you. Response is given and thus genuine. It is a natural act of giving and receiving as one. Responsibility is a demanded response, a necessary response, an obligation. Response happens from within. Responsibility is all about dealing with an outside world. While both may result in the same or similar actions, this does not negate the need for the difference to be realized. Charity is a responsibility. Love is a response. See you not the difference? Can a father not be guided by responsibility and still fail to give love? Can a dancer not struggle mightily to perfect her talent without experiencing its joy?
4.14 Do you think the Creator is responsible for what was created? To think of the Creator in this way is to think of the Creator with the upside-down thinking of the ego-mind. Is this not the kind of thinking that has caused you to blame God for what you have labeled “bad” as well as to praise God for what you have labeled “good”? Would not this kind of a creator be at odds with the concept of free will?
4.15 But for a creator not to respond to what has been created—this would indeed be a travesty! This would be antithetical to the laws of creation! This would be antithetical to love!
4.16 My request to you to choose a miracle is but a request to you to hear Creation’s response to who you are. What might such a response sound like? Feel like? Look like? It is a response of pure appreciation and love. It is always available. It is the gift given in everything you look upon and see without the obstacle of the ego-mind’s interpretation.
4.17 Let us speak a moment of this interpretation. That each of you interprets what you see, read, hear, smell, and touch differently must mean something. What you have decided that this means is that you are an independent thinker, something you have prized. Some of you will accept another’s interpretation of meaning if it is helpful to you, saves you time, or seems in accord with your own views. Others of you feel it necessary to interpret everything on your own. Without further discussion, you would see interpretation and response quite similarly and this would but lead to a continuation of the belief in different forms of the truth.
4.18 The art of thought is being taught here in order to prevent just such a conclusion. The truth is the truth and not dependent upon your definition of it. A response is not an interpretation. A response is an expression of who you are rather than of what you believe something else to be.
4.19 You who have thought that your interpretation of events and feelings has given them their meaning—think again. Their meaning exists already and is not up to you to determine. This is not your responsibility. You who have thought that your interpretation of situations and the feelings they have aroused have defined who you are, think again. Be willing to apply the art of thought rather than the thinking of the ego-mind. Interpretation but gives you opinions about those things that you experience. Response reveals the truth to you because it reveals the truth of you.
4.20 The joy you have thought has come to you from an interpretation that is uniquely your own is as nothing compared to the joy that will come to you from a response that is uniquely you. But you must give up your penchant for interpretation before you can learn to respond. I realize that this will concern you while you continue to not realize the difference between response and interpretation. The only way for this concern to have the chance to leave you is for you to begin to practice the art of thought and thus begin to learn the difference.
4.21 As was already stated, the first opportunities for you to learn the art of thought will be provided through what we have called the re-experiencing of memory. These are opportunities to re-experience the lessons your life has brought you. You will experience the same lessons in the same way, rather than in a new way, if you meet these experiences again with the attitude of interpreting them rather than responding to them. They do not require interpretation but response. Response was what was required in the first place and your inability to respond need not be repeated. You are being revisited with these lessons expressly for the purpose of not repeating your former reaction or interpretation of them. You are being revisited with these lessons so that you may apply to them the art of thought rather than the thinking of the ego-mind. The art of thought will reveal the truth to you. The thinking of the ego-mind would simply reinterpret the meaning you previously gave to these lessons.
4.22 This is a sticky distinction, for you are used to congratulating yourself on the maturity required to reinterpret previous lessons. To form a new opinion about something gives you a feeling of open-mindedness and growth. Lay aside your desire for reasons for self-congratulation in favor of Self-revelation. The saying, “The truth shall be revealed to you” is the same as saying “Your Self shall be revealed to you.”
4.23 Revelation is a proper description of the mode by which the art of thought teaches and helps you learn. It is not through study, effort, or reinterpretation but through revelation.
4.24 Revelation is direct communication with God in the sense that it is direct communication from a Self you have known not, the Self that is one with the Creator.
4.25 We must backtrack a little here to do the same exposition that we did in regard to miracles in regard to revelation. By asking you to choose a miracle, you were provided a means through which your fears became clear to you. There are a few of you who would deny these fears. Fewer still are unafraid of miracles and eager to embrace them. As you may have surmised, we are getting at your final fears here, those most deeply buried and kept in secret from you. Some of you who would count yourselves least fearful are those of you whose fears are most deeply buried. So whether you count yourself among the fearful or not, please continue to give me your attention just a while longer as we uncover all that would still hold you back.
4.26 As was said within A Course of Love, all fear is doubt about your Self. Now we must expand upon this thought, for doubt about your Self is doubt about God. While God is nothing but the Source of Love, you have, in your doubt, made of God the source of fear. Pause a moment here and let the enormity of this confusion sink in, for this is the reversal in thinking that will pave the way for all the rest. Because of this confusion you have responded to Creation with fear. Is it any wonder a new response is asked of you?
4.27 In the translations of the Bible and many other religious texts, the word or idea of awe has been confused with the word or idea of fear. A Course in Miracles told you that awe is the providence of God and not due miracles or any other thing or being. I bring up this point to assure you that this confusion is nothing new, but a confusion so deeply ingrained in you that it has become an aspect of yourself as human being. From time immemorial, fear has been associated with God. This was the thinking I came to reverse. While I succeeded in revealing a God of love, this revelation has not been reconciled with your experience here. This is what we will now seek to do by putting an end to fear and ushering in, with this ending, the beginning of a time of miracles.
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