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Truth cannot come into a mind filled with thoughts that contradict or attack It. The ego’s thought system is based on the denial of Truth; it attempts to substitute falsity for Truth, fear for Love, and separation for Oneness. As long as you are driven by the movement of ego-based thought, you will not be attracted to Truth. There are but two systems of thought, one true and one false; when falsity is preferred, is Truth absent.
If you but recognized the cost to you in suffering of allegiance to the ego, you would raise to question all that you now believe. Your beliefs, and perception based on belief, bring about your experience. Perception and belief literally construct the world you see and determine your experience of it. You see what you believe, and you believe what you want to believe. It is there because you want it to be there. Yet is this forgotten, absent from awareness; and so it must be if you are to impute Reality and independence to the world you see. This picture of reality could not be long maintained unless you forget your role in making it.
The belief in guilt, sin, and attack, holds this world together in your mind, giving it its appeal. Unless the world provided you with something that has value to you, you would cease to maintain it. What value does it have? The world as you see it provides you with scapegoats, with people and situations onto whom you can project guilt, blame, and punishment. The deep guilt that lives in your mind, and the need to punish that guilt, is an intolerable burden that must find release. Yet the ego cannot allow guilt to be totally healed, for its existence depends on it. Its solution is to project guilt and the need to attack, to punish, onto the world, onto your brothers. The inner tension is thus temporarily lessened and made tolerable, yet never is it completely healed. Thereby is the belief in guilt and attack strengthened.
Guilt is either true or false, it cannot be both. To see guilt anywhere in anyone for any reason is to make it real. How you see your brother is how you see yourself; what you see as real in your brother, you will see in yourself. This is a law of Mind that is always in effect, even in the world of illusion. To project your sense of guilt onto your brother and to condemn him for it, which is to attack him, will never rid your mind of the guilt you carry. To see guilt anywhere is to confirm it in your mind and thus condemn yourself to further suffering. Fear always accompanies guilt, and suffering is the inevitable result.
The end of suffering is the end of guilt. Only the guilty suffer, for only they have need of it. Innocence demands nothing of anyone but rather wills only to give. All it sees are worthy of the gifts it gives, for it sees only itself everywhere and in everything. The innocent cannot suffer or condemn. They know not fear, and so Love is all they have to give. Those who know Love only, need not fear; for them the world has become a happy place ruled by Love. Everywhere they look, they see only the face of innocence. Holiness and innocence are the qualities of the Self, the Christ, the One Spirit that is the Truth of all. Where Its face is seen, Love has returned to bless the world freed from fear, and under Its gentle gaze are all forgiven and returned to the Kingdom of God.
Guilt demands vengeance to be paid in blood and suffering. The guilty see no one as innocent, for to do so would deny the fundamental “truth” on which their world is based. They see a guilty world in which every hand is raised against them, and everywhere attack lies in wait. The face of friendship but conceals the desire to condemn, for no one can be trusted. The guilty have no friends, only temporary alliances entered into for specific purposes. Their shifting and unstable goals make them all the more untrustworthy and nowhere can safety and security be found. The guilty cannot be trusted for their guilt has driven them mad, and madness is treacherous to all. Such is the bleak picture those who believe in guilt have constructed to represent the world wherein they live. And everyone is waiting to do to them what they think they have done to their brothers. Vengeance, given and received, makes Love impossible. Where Love is not, fear rules, bringing pain and misery to all.
Is this what you want to be true? A life marked by fear and pain, where you are alone in a friendless world? It is only your belief in and defense of guilt that condemns you to such a world. If you are willing to leave guilt behind, to forgive the world for what never occurred, to extend the hand of friendship to your brother, you will be shown a world where mercy rules and kindness is given to all.
To forgive or to condemn as guilty is a choice you are continuously called upon to make. Every day, in many different forms, under apparently different and widely varying circumstances, you are given the opportunity to choose the kind of world you want to inhabit. Forgive, and Love Itself will rise to greet you; peace and joy will accompany you and quicken you on your journey Home. Refuse to forgive, defend the vision of guilt, and you will suffer the bitter consequences of a life lived under a cloud of vengeance, where you will strike down or be struck down, and the pain of self-betrayal will darken all your days.
Could such a choice be difficult to make? If you saw clearly the results that follow each choice, would choosing be difficult? If all the choices you have made have brought you sorrow, would you not want to choose again and choose differently?
Forgiveness is the choice that must be made if you would be happy. A mind devoted to holding grievances is choosing conflict and attack as its constant state. With fear as your chosen partner, happiness will not be found. Happiness is part of joy, and joy without Love is impossible. The belief in guilt is the denial of Love, for fear is guilt’s constant companion; and where fear is, Love is not. The choice for Love is the choice for forgiveness. Forgiveness overlooks all “sins” that were never committed but in dreams. All dreams are dispelled by the gentle remedy it brings, and the world of illusion, enfolded in the gentle embrace of forgiveness, is quietly brought to an end, allowing Truth to return and take you Home.
Whenever you are feeling less than happy, you have chosen wrongly. Happiness is what you are, an aspect of what is true. To be yourself truly, to be the Self, is to be happy and in a state of peace. Nothing and no one can disturb that peace or take your happiness away unless you so choose. To choose the ego as your guide is to decide against happiness, for it knows nothing of happiness. The ego is based on fear, having arisen as a fearful response. To identify with the ego is to continue that dependence on fear, and though you may seek happiness through various things and activities, it will elude you for it cannot be found without. Happiness arises from within for no reason, being independent of appearances and conditions that constantly change. When you realize the Self, awaken to and as the Self, you find a happiness that is unshakeable, that will never leave you, for it is forever a part of you.
To seek happiness is to seek the Self, but you must not waste time looking for it where it is not. Happiness, like all of Truth, cannot be found in the things of this world, for it is not here. Seek though you may, nothing of lasting value can be found in a place of constantly changing conditions marked by guilt, sin, and separation. You cannot find what is part of what you are, while you identify with what you are not.
You are not the ego though it lives in your mind. It is an alien identity, imagined as a response to the fear that arose when the idea of separation from your Source first seized your mind, and in that moment seemed to become a reality. This error is repeated again and again, every time you choose fear over Love, separation over Unity. Your mind has become crystallized around this misunderstanding and the identification with what you are not. You have lived so long in this state of mind it seems like reality to you, and the actuality of Reality Itself has been lost. Yet Reality still abides deep in your mind, held for you by God’s Answer to your belief in separation, the Holy Spirit. Whenever you so decide, the memory of what you are will rise to awareness, and all doubt and confusion will vanish.
Help is needed to prepare the way for the return of Truth. Your mind has been given to falsity. The belief in separation has taken the place of Reality, and all your experience witnesses to and “proves” separation is true. Experience follows belief; it is an extension of it. What you believe becomes the “reality” of your experience. What you do not believe vanishes from your world.
Each and every day, every hour of every day, and each and every moment, you must decide between Truth and illusion. You are not aware of the need to make this choice, for the one alternative that can be chosen, has been forgotten. So long accustomed to choosing between illusions, which is no choice at all, you do not realize the only choice that can be made. Illusions vary in form, size, complexity, apparent consequences, and in many other ways, but their content is always the same. They are not real; to consistently choose nothingness, is to go nowhere.
The endless series of journeys undertaken by those hypnotized by the world of appearances, merely repeat themselves over and over again, treading the same well-worn path, failing to recognize the road they travel. Differences in form, in conditions and circumstances, seem to present many different roads leading to various destinations. Each holds out the promise of satisfaction, of fulfillment, of completion, waiting at the end of the road. The forms of this world may vary but never will their content differ. Illusion represents nothingness, no matter how attractive it may appear. Happiness is not found by valuing what is valueless.
Whenever you choose to follow the egoic thought system, and base your decisions on the values it represents, nothingness is what you will get. Always is this true and it will never change. There are only two possibilities to choose from, and this also will never change: Truth or illusion, Love or fear, God or the ego; different ways to say the same thing.
If you decide to follow the Holy Spirit as your Guide to choice, you will find yourself walking quite a different road. This road has a purpose not of this world, for it leads out of the world and restores Heaven to your awareness. Every choice for Truth is another step towards Wholeness and the healing of separation. The Holy Spirit will guide you every step of the way until He is no longer needed. Once you are established on the road to Truth, you will not look back, for separation, pain, and suffering will no longer attract you, no matter how beautifully they are packaged.
When you ask the Holy Spirit to guide your life and decision making, you are acting sanely. Recognizing the severe deficiencies and lack of real knowledge from which your decision making suffers, to turn it over to the One Who knows what is best for you at all times and in all ways, is the rational thing to do. To ask before you decide must become a habit well established in your mind, and rigorously adhered to, if you are to have His help consistently. He is always available and ready to offer guidance, but needs your willingness to receive and follow His instructions, for nothing will be forced upon you. The Holy Spirit merely offers guidance. He does not command or control in any way. Your free will can never be violated for it was given you by God. You are the sole determiner of what you do, everywhere and at all times.
A Course in Miracles states you are the Light of the world. The Bible says a similar thing. What do they mean? Light is an aspect of Creation, for It is of the Mind, being Its creative energy Whose function is to continually extend Itself, thereby extending Creation. Light is limitless and always active in Creation. The Light is in your Mind and is a part of your Mind. In the mind of separation however, the belief in guilt and sin, and the grievances that are the expression of guilt, hide the Light of your mind, making It inaccessible to your awareness.
Forgiveness is required to heal the sense of guilt and all grievances. This frees the mind, allowing its Light to shine brightly again, dispelling the darkness of the world and offering a blessing to all. Your function is to shine as the Light of the world, that all may see the Light and thereby be shown the way. The Light is felt even by those who do not recognize It, for It shines from your eyes and touches their hearts. The Light will bless all that you look upon. Its nature, even in this world, is to extend and join with Itself in everyone and everything you see. In this joining are you and your brother twice blessed, and the healing of separation is strengthened in both.
Forgiveness is the key that unlocks the door that leads to freedom. This door will not yield to any other attempt, for your efforts to keep and defend separation made the door and closed it in your mind, and only that which comes from beyond the mind can open it again. The practice of forgiveness is necessary to heal the deep guilt in your mind that is the source of the attacks you make on your brother. In truth, you and your brothers are One, but this Oneness cannot return to awareness while attack is cherished. To realize Truth, you must accept Its conditions. To experience anything, you must be willing to let it into your mind. While you are committed to attacking your brother, he will be excluded from your awareness, and the experience of your Oneness will be impossible. You cannot experience that which you are denying in thought, word, and deed.
Truth will return to your mind when you stop attacking It. The maintenance and defense of separation is an attack on Truth, for separation is maintained through the projection of guilt and the active configuration of the mind in a position of attack and defense. When you attack your brother, you are attacking the Unity you share and choosing separation. The Truth cannot be affected by anything of this world and It cannot, in fact, be attacked. But It cannot go where It is actively opposed. The Truth needs your active willingness and heartfelt desire to reclaim your mind and set it free.
Forgiveness, committed to and continuously practiced, will free you from your long imprisonment. This process of undoing your mind, and the replacing of fear and untruth with Love and freedom, unfolds over time. Gradually, as your mind recovers the Wholeness that was lost, clarity will return and confusion will lessen. You will learn to recognize the signs that indicate you have chosen illusion, thus giving you the chance to choose again. The time spent acting out illusion will decrease, and will be replaced more and more by the action of Truth. You must and will learn to recognize the difference between Truth and illusion. The inability to do so is responsible for much of the confusion in your mind.
Forgiveness must be extended to everyone and everything without exception. Only thus will the full power of Love and miracles be released into your life, transforming it and giving it back to Truth. Every grievance contains all grievances, for to attack one brother is to attack the Unity of all. Unity is all of a piece; to exclude any part of It is to attack Its Wholeness and shatter It to bits. All your brothers are part of you and you are part of all. Unity is indivisible and therein is Its strength.
Forgiveness, properly understood, looks upon all things and judges not. It recognizes all judgement as meaningless. To judge is to condemn, and to condemn is to attack. To forgive is to refuse all condemnation, to lay down all attack. Forgiveness sees the Truth in all and offers each a miracle of Love. It cannot do otherwise for that is its function, given unto you that you might offer it to all and thereby receive it for yourself. The forgiven offer only forgiveness to their brothers, for the mind free of guilt can offer only what it has received. To heal the guilt in your mind is to release the world from the burden of guilt you have laid upon it. The guiltless see only innocence everywhere, for they see truly.
The purpose of the world you see is to be the place where you awaken to the Truth of what you are. It has no purpose in and of itself, but responds to the purpose you have given it. The world thus serves the ego’s purpose or the purpose given it by the Holy Spirit. It serves one or the other; it cannot serve both. Whichever purpose you give the world, so will it be for you. If you choose the ego, the world will be a place of separation, of constant threat and fear, where no one can be trusted completely, and pain, sickness, and suffering of all kinds merely wait their turn to visit you. The Holy Spirit’s purpose shows you a very different world, where all things work together for your highest good, and the Light shines from within everything you see. Love and the Unity of all, is reflected everywhere. This world is a kindly place where you are secure, and every step you take brings you closer to your Home in Heaven.
The choice is yours as to which world you want to see. As always, there are only two alternatives from which to choose. Through the ego’s eyes you will see a world condemned to suffer and die, and you along with it. Identify with the ego, and you will not escape the harsh fate it deals to all of its followers. To choose the Holy Spirit is to follow a different path, characterized by justice and mercy, healing and Wholeness. He will lead you gently and surely on a journey back to where you began. All false ideas, all distortions in your mind, will be corrected, leaving your mind purified and clear, ready to welcome and embrace the Truth.
Whenever there is a decision to be made, remember the only two alternatives and choose wisely. To choose wisely is to let the Holy Spirit guide your decision, for He recognizes what is the same and what is different. All illusion, all apparent choices based on the values of this world, the valuation of what is valueless, He sees as the nothingness it is. Nothingness is nothingness no matter what the form. He is not confused by apparent complexity or difference. Everything is either true or false and when this is learned, choosing will become easy. The confusion in your mind about the value of things, and your inability to discern Truth from illusion, has made your choosing erratic and self-destructive. To choose wisely requires you to be aware of the actual value of the alternatives facing you, and the consequences associated with each. Without this awareness, you are choosing blindly, acting out the past, and repeating the same errors over and over again.
To follow the Holy Spirit’s guidance is to return to the present and make the only choice that can ever be made. Of the two alternatives always and only presented to you, Truth or illusion, but one of these is a real choice, for who can choose nothingness? To choose what is nothing is merely to postpone the choice that must be made. When this distinction becomes clear to you, you will see that no choice is possible or needed. All you ever need do is recognize Truth and give It welcome.
Forgiveness bids the Truth welcome and invites It into your life, for it supports Truth in every way. As an expression of Love, forgiveness recognizes the innocence of every Son of God, and extends Him that recognition. As a miracle, it corrects level confusion and establishes the Spiritual as the level of Truth. Through the practice of forgiveness for all, do you learn you are forgiven. Thus is your mind healed of the guilt that denies and attacks the Truth. Forgiveness leads you back to Truth as surely as does guilt lead you away from It.
The Truth needs no help to be Itself for It is true everywhere and always. But you need help to reach It, as the belief in illusion has filled your mind and driven the Truth from your awareness. You are Spirit, always have been and always will be. Nothing can change this for God created you in His Likeness. Yet in your mind, you have imagined a reality in which He is excluded, and the Truth of what you are has been lost. By your belief in what you have made, it seems real to you, and its effects as strong as Truth. While you do not question the world you see through the body’s eyes, it will hold you a willing prisoner, trapped within the high walls you have erected to keep out Truth. And you will fear Love and love fear, sorrow will darken your life, and happiness will not be found.
Sorrow is the constant companion of those who know not God. God is your Source, your Being, your Mind, and your Life. To know Him not, to have forgotten Him, is the greatest tragedy imaginable. Yet that is exactly what has happened to all who seem to live in this world. To be a person, a body, is to be in a state of amnesia, having wandered so far from your Home not even the memory of It remains. You have given yourself another identity that is the opposite of your real Identity in every way. This identity must be actively maintained and used as a defense against the return of your real Identity, for even here your true Self calls to you unceasingly, but Its calls are drowned out by the incessant activity of mind and body.
The ego’s purpose is to cover over the present with its emphasis on continuing the past and projecting and controlling the future. The present is regarded by the ego as too dangerous to allow you to experience, for in the present the ego does not exist. It is firmly based in the past, and depends on your constant remembering of the past for its existence. By keeping your mind in a state of constant engagement with past and future, the ego hopes to keep you from discovering or abiding in the present where you would learn the Truth.
In the present there is no ego, no contraction of awareness into a defensive posture, separating it from all it sees and seemingly confining it to a body. To come into the present and abide there in awareness, is a necessary condition for the discovery of Truth. Reality exists only in the present, for the present is the only dimension of time that is real. The past is over and gone, although its effects may be kept alive through memory. The future is but imagination, a destination not yet reached. The effects of the past and the fantasies of the future have actuality only in the present.
In the present, the effects and habits of the past can be and must be undone. If you would find the freedom you once knew and will know again, you must free yourself from the shackles of the past you have imposed upon your mind. The past is over, yet it lives on in your mind as if it were happening now, blinding you to the present. What the present offers cannot be yours while the past holds you captive to a memory of what happened so long ago.
The moment of separation lives on in your mind, replicating itself endlessly while you defend and maintain it. It need not be so for you can decide to let it go. For that you need help, and help is freely given if you ask. The only requirement needing to be fulfilled to receive the Holy Spirit’s help, is that you must want it truly. Ask sincerely, listen with an open mind, and respond by following the guidance given, is all you must do. When you follow instructions as given you cannot go wrong, although this may not be apparent to you at first.
The process of turning your life and mind over to the Higher Power can happen quickly or can take a very long time; the resistance in your mind determines this. Resistance is a form of fear; all the separated ones carry a terrible memory of that moment when fear took the place of Love, and what was One seemed to shatter into a multiplicity of unrelated parts. Fear continued to strengthen as separation grew and division multiplied. The ego arose as a response to separation. The ego is, most simply put, the belief in separation; and the consequences of that belief are the world you see and all your apparent experiences in it. The body is the concretization of the wish for separation, and the acts of perception through the body’s senses seem to “prove” its reality.
The task of the Holy Spirit is to help you see that what you have done has imprisoned you and is the cause of all your suffering. The responsibility for what has happened, is happening now, and will happen, rests on you, nowhere else. To accept this responsibility is the requirement of freedom. You are dreaming a dream, surrounding yourself with figures that come and go, and situations that change constantly. Things seem to happen to you against your will. The world you see appears to be beyond your control, and is cause with you as its effect. Helplessly subject to many different forces, you move fearfully through life, stalked by pain, sickness, suffering, and death. Such is the world you have made.
Because you have made the world, you can escape from it. If the world you see were your cause and you simply its effect, you would be trapped here forever. However, if you are the maker of this world, you can leave it at any time, if you so decide. To help you change your mind about the world is the purpose of this book. Yet you will not make the necessary change unless you are motivated to do so. This teaching, in concert with the Holy Spirit, can provide the necessary motivation, if you so choose. To choose differently, you must be made aware of an alternative, and it must be regarded as more desirable. This requires a clarity of mind you do not possess. Yet a willingness to be shown, to start down a different path, is enough to begin.
The Holy Spirit must begin by clearly showing you the difference that results when choosing Him as your guide. If you will trust Him and follow His direction, you will increasingly experience the opposite of what you experience now. Instead of sadness, happiness will enter your life and slowly, as confusion lessens, your life will take on new meaning. Because you are aligning yourself with the One Who knows the true purpose to be given the world, you will begin to see another purpose, a purpose that is meaningful. This purpose will become the motivation for further learning.
To learn who you truly are is the only thing to learn and the goal towards which all learning aims. It seems incredible that you do not know who you are, but it is sadly true. In giving yourself an image-based identity, you have lost the awareness of who you are in Truth. You are not an image, a body lost in a world of many bodies, each separate from all others and complete in itself. Completion is not found in a state of separation and isolation, but in joining. When minds are joined, bodies are seen in proper perspective as learning aids, useful for that purpose but not as ends in themselves.
What you are cannot be described for it is beyond words; yet it can and must be experienced. To bring you to that place where the experience of what you are returns to your awareness, is the purpose of all authentic spiritual practice. The purification and undoing of your mind must be accomplished to make room for Truth’s return. This process unfolds in time, but is mediated by that which is out of time.
What you need to know is given you when you need to know it. Until enough understanding has been gained to receive explanation, you have no need of it. Likewise, regarding circumstances and events, you must be made ready, you must be prepared, before you can make use of them. Everything is revealed and given in its proper time. Nothing happens prematurely or too late. The process of your life, of your awakening, unfolds at a given rhythm and pace. Your willingness to learn and apply what is being taught, determines the pace of progress. The active process of awakening is very individualized, and is adapted to the needs of each individual. The curriculum itself is not established by you but by God. When you take it, and how long before you complete it, is up to you.
Whenever you decide for yourself from the position that your decision has to do with you alone, you are mistaken. Nothing you think, say, or do affects you only. Minds are joined; even in separation, mind is One. Every mind affects all other minds and is affected by them. Isolation is not a fact, it is a fantasy.
The laws of God apply even here in the dream invented to take His place. God’s Creation is One, although in this world that does not appear to be the case. Nevertheless, what is done by one is reflected in all. Though you are not conscious of this fact, you cannot think of the Sonship except as One. What you think true of your brother is also true of you, however strongly you may deny it. To see your brother as guilty or sinful, because of something he may have said or done, confirms the belief that you are guilty. If your brother is a body, then so are you. You will see him as you see yourself, and yourself as you see him. This law is inescapable. In that, however, is your release, and your brother’s also.
To include your brother’s welfare as part of your decision making, is the recognition that allows the miracle to enter your life. Miracles are gifts from God to you through me. They are given to all, but you must be ready to both give and receive. To be ready to receive the miracle is to choose Love, for miracles are gifts of Love and they cannot enter where Love is not welcome. A miracle is given to correct a perceived lack, both inner and outer. It corrects faulty thinking and its consequence, wrong perception. It comes from the invisible, the Spiritual, and acts upon the visible. The miracle cannot be explained by the logic of this world, for its origin is beyond the world. Yet in the world are miracles needed as a means to correct the partial and faulty perception of those who live in darkness.
Miracles demonstrate Truth comes from the spiritual level, not the physical. They bring the mind into harmony with Truth, and thereby help establish Truth as the goal of life and the basis for decision making. They affirm life as it truly is, and deny death in all its forms. Miracles correct illusion and by so doing demonstrate its unreality.
There is no order of difficulty in miracles for they correct illusion, what is untrue, regardless of the form it may take. The only true statement you can make about illusions is that they are not true. This is true of all of them regardless of size, complexity, or other characteristics. Miracles simply correct what is untrue and it disappears.
Miracles come to you through the Holy Spirit, Who is the inspiration for miracles. He holds a miracle in His Mind for every problem you think you have. All of them disappear with equal ease if given to Him.
Miracles are the correction for all the falsity of this world and the erroneous thinking that is its source. In shining silence, they await your readiness to let all your problems be truly solved by giving them to the Holy Spirit. All problems past, present, and future, will disappear, and He will lead you back to where you are at home.
Miracles will disappear when you no longer have need of them. Until then, they will replace the ego’s thinking and perceiving with experiences of Wholeness and Love. When you offer a miracle to your brother, are you blessed as One. The purpose of the miracle is to be given away, that it be shared. All gifts of God are given that they may be shared, for everything of God is for all.
When a miracle is given, are the giver and receiver blessed as One. Through the miracle is their Oneness demonstrated and their perfect equality made evident. As you receive miracles, so will you give them. Through you, the Holy Spirit will offer miracles to your brothers who will receive them until they too are made ready to give. Thus will an interlocking chain of miracles be forged until all are joined in the miracle of forgiveness.
Whenever miracles are substituted for grievances, is forgiveness made evident. Miracles cannot be given without forgiveness as their content. Forgiveness recognizes what was never true, and by this recognition shines it away. What is perceived as nothingness must disappear as the investment in it has been withdrawn. Forgiveness is the recognition that only what is true has existence. This is the only lesson you ever need learn. All other learning aims at this single goal.
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