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Now is the time when changes can be made in your life and mind. Change occurs first in the mind, as the mind is fundamental. If you would change your behavior, your actions, you must first change the mind through which action arises. Action expresses thought, thought is shaped by belief, beliefs arise as response to values, values are determined by what you want and what you want to be true. What you see, both within and without, is what you get. You cannot receive as experience that which is excluded from your awareness.
The task then, is to open the mind to new possibilities. Change always involves allowing something new, something not there before, to enter your mind. This process of change has two requirements: You must make room, open the mind to the new; and you must accept it when it comes, letting it become part of you. Real change cannot occur in a mind wedded to the past, for such a mind is concerned only with making the future a continuation of the past, and thus assuring its safety, or so it thinks. What safety has the past ever given you? The past is over and gone; it is not here to give you anything.
The safety you seek through continuing the past into the future, and so avoiding what the present has to offer, does not exist. Give up the past! Let it go! By reliving the past in the present, you assure yourself of nothing but suffering and death. Your safety lies in the present, in rediscovering the Self and the Light of your Mind. There is no security to be found in a body, destined to sicken and die. The Reality of what you are cannot be threatened by anything, anywhere, at any time. The Self is beyond time and place, and unaffected by them. This is your true security, where your safety lies forever. Yet while you continue to identify with what you are not, it is unavailable to you.
There are two possible identities, or so you think, and but one of these is real. Yet while you prefer illusion to Truth, illusion will seem real to you and have “real” effects. The dream seems very real to the dreamer until he awakens, then it vanishes as the sun rises and shines away the darkness.
To awaken from the dream, you must begin to question its reality. Your questioning must be guided from beyond the illusion, for within it, its effects are very convincing. The thought system of the ego is consistent and makes sense to you, within the parameters it has established. It must be questioned from beyond those limits, and the premises on which it is based, carefully examined.
The ego teaches that you are a body, self-evidently separate from other bodies, and living in a world of physicality. The world is external to you, surrounds you, and exerts control over you, influencing you in many different ways. You must, therefore, adapt yourself to it, and accept the limits it imposes. You are fundamentally in a weak and vulnerable position, a fragile body that must be protected from discomfort, threat, and uncertainty. Everything the ego teaches is premised on you being a body; it is to the body’s senses that it appeals to “prove” its picture of reality. The body and the world arise together in your experience, for you cannot have one without the other.
Yet there is the experience of mind, of awareness, without which there would be no experience at all. Awareness is clearly another order of reality, for it is conscious of the external and the internal. In fact, awareness constitutes most fundamentally what is internally experienced, mediating and processing all perception and experience. This gives rise to the sense of personhood; without awareness there is no sense of identity.
You cannot make your fundamental sense of being aware an object of consciousness. You can be aware of the content of your mind such as thoughts, images, feelings, but you cannot be aware of awareness itself in the same way. The Self Awareness is direct and simple, unmediated, and has nothing to do with objects, images, or symbols. A moment’s reflection on this fact suggests, at the very least, that you are perhaps more than just a body. In fact, you are not a body at all, as the body, like all objects, is simply an image that appears in your awareness. One or the other, the body or the mind, is your reality, but not both.
You need not worry about what you should do or what you should say. The Holy Spirit will guide you in everything, in all situations, at all times. He alone knows the response that is in your highest interest, and equally beneficial to all who will be affected in any way by your decision. Referring decisions to Him will always result in the best outcome for all concerned. It may not appear so at times, but as you learn that you do not know enough to judge, and if you will trust, the end result is certain.
Judgement is not your function for the simple reason you do not have the knowledge and understanding to judge truly. Judgement as the world sees it, is based on opposites, on ideas of good or bad. As exercised by you, it reflects your beliefs and biases, and is hardly open minded or fair. Your judgement is an expression of your evaluation of a person, situation, or event; and this evaluation is never based on complete knowledge. Judgement is used to defend your belief system and justify your image of yourself.
The Holy Spirit judges truly and He judges fairly. His judgement of God’s Holy Son never changes, regardless of events or circumstances. God’s Son is guiltless now and forever, and God’s Love for Him is unceasing. The Holy Spirit knows you are not a body, or what the body says or does. He overlooks your errors and dismisses your beliefs about yourself as untrue, for He knows you as the Christ, the Self of All, Spirit Itself, God’s perfect and Holy Creation. He shows you how to see your brother truly through the Vision of Christ He offers you, and holds this vision of what you are for you, until you are ready to receive it.
The mind of forgiveness judges not, leaving all judgement to the Holy Spirit. To judge is to condemn; you cannot condemn a brother and not share in that condemnation. Forgiveness replaces all condemnation with a miracle of Love. To forgive is to recognize the Truth in your brother, and overlook all appearances. Through forgiveness you learn to look past the body, the external, and see the Light within. Forgiveness offers you the Truth about yourself, for what you see in your brother is also in you, or you would not be able to see it.
To see the Light in anyone, is to see It in all. Without this Vision of Truth, are you blind, seeing through the ego’s eyes a world condemned. The ego cannot see otherwise, for it sees you as guilty and deserving of punishment for your sins. As it sees you, it sees the world, for what is seen within is always projected without. To see a world condemned is to see a fearful world, waiting to punish those whose condemnation it suffers. And so it continues, a vicious circle of attack and counterattack, mercy nowhere to be found, only the pain of attack and the suffering that follows. Is this what you want? To strike down your brother and be struck down in turn? Or would you show mercy that mercy be granted you also?
The world is nothing in itself, being the projection of your thoughts. Yet are there two ways to see it while it remains a part of your experience, each vision arising from the thought system you have chosen. There are only two worlds, just as there are only two guides who speak for them. Seen through the ego’s eyes, is the world a dark and dreary place, sad and lonely, comfortless, with every hand raised against you, and safety found only behind thick walls and locked doors.
The Holy Spirit shows you a very different world, shining in the Light of kindness and mercy, where everyone is your brother and no enemy can be found. Perfect safety is yours always, and the Unity of all is perfectly apparent. Heaven is reflected here, for It is not resisted or denied. This is a forgiven world where there is no guilt or condemnation, and the Light shines forth from everyone and everything.
When you see this Light in your brother, the world you experience will change. To see It in another, is to recognize your brother as he truly is. This will change the way you see yourself and the world, and nothing will be the same.
Whenever the Light is seen in anyone or anything, It will rush to join you, for the Light, like Love, is One. To see the Light requires only the willingness to do so, for the Light is in your Mind. The Holy Spirit holds this Light for you until you are ready. While guilt rules your mind and your brother is seen as enemy to you, the Light will not be seen. Guilt or innocence, darkness or Light, the choice is always yours to make, and you will see what you have chosen.
It is impossible to see what you do not want to see. All perception reflects what you want to be true, what you want to believe. It cannot be otherwise, for this is perception’s purpose. Made as a substitute for knowledge, its purpose was established by you. Unlike knowledge, perception is highly variable, constantly changing, and always involves interpretation and judgement. Although perception seems to be instantaneous, it is actually a repetition of, and continuation of, the past. Through a mindset determined by the past, you attempt to perceive the present.
What you see is not out there to be seen, unless you put it there. The world does not exist apart from your mind. Only your thoughts give the world its seeming existence. The consequences of your thoughts, your ideas, are projected outward and seen as if separate and self-existent. It is all a trick, a magic show, where shadows appear as if solid, and what is One appears to be broken into a multiplicity of unrelated parts. You see the world because you want to see it; your investment in it is what makes it seem real to you, and gives it apparent effects. Withdraw your investment completely and the world you see will disappear, along with you and everything in it.
Unless you support the world of separation with your wishes, it cannot be a part of your experience, but will vanish into the nothingness from which it arose. Your desire gives it existence, and attachment to the things of the world maintains it in your mind. To desire and value even one thing here, will keep you a prisoner, for one illusion contains all illusions.
Truth, like illusion, is only available to you if you want It. Unlike illusion however, Truth exists whether believed in or not. Truth is always there, waiting for you to recognize It and invite It to return. You cannot serve two masters; sooner or later you will tire of the ego and its shabby, unpredictable gifts, and turn your attention back to Truth.
The Holy Spirit waits for this opening, the birth of willingness, and joyfully responds. He takes every little willingness on your part and adds His Willingness, making it a mighty force for change. He stands always ready to assist you in everything you do, and if you let Him, your life will transform. Through the healing of your mind, through the return to Wholeness, your life will change completely. And you will learn to give your brothers the blessings you have received, for the Gifts of God are not for you alone, but are meant for all. Only by sharing the Gifts God has given you, by giving Them away, can you have Them for yourself.
God gives no special favors, for everything He has, He gives to all. The nature of his Gifts is all inclusiveness, and through this recognition you are made ready to receive Them. To receive God’s Gifts, is to be willing to give Them away, and by so doing are you blessed. Your Father knows only giving and He gives unceasingly. If you would know Him again, you must give everything to everyone, without exception. Only thus do you meet the condition of the Kingdom.
To return to the Kingdom is the eventual goal of everyone in this world. You may live many lifetimes and not be conscious of this fact. Yet there will come a time when each and every one will become aware of this goal. Dimly at first, then slowly, the awareness will grow until the desire for peace and clarity becomes increasingly urgent. This is not always recognized for what it is, yet somewhere in your mind you sense the terrible incompleteness of this world, and you begin to recognize that you will never find happiness and fulfillment here. You see that everything you value and love will change, will pass away; that you will lose everything until you too pass away, leaving nothing behind. The meaninglessness of life as a body in separation will become painfully apparent, undeniably so. The world you see will be as ashes in your mouth, tasteless and bitter. Now is the time for you to leave this world, a decision that was made long ago. You need not stay a moment longer, yet you do not know what to do.
Deep in your mind lies buried a memory of before time began. It is a joyful memory, shining with the Light of Heaven Itself. There was a time when you knew nothing of separation, a world of form ruled by fear, suffering, and loss. You lived in Light; you were Light, continually extending Itself in Love, eternally joyful, eternally creating. This has never changed. Even now you are Light, Mind, and Spirit, God’s Creation, at One with Him and All that is real.
That memory, that knowledge, is lost to you, gone from your awareness, buried too deep for you to reach it unaided. The purpose of the mind training, the constant application of spiritual discipline and right understanding to your thoughts, emotions, and actions, is to heal and prepare your mind so this ancient memory can return.
You are Spiritual Being. You are Truth Itself, Reality Itself. You have forgotten for a moment, a tiny tick of time, what you are; and all that seemed to happen is but a dream with no effect on you at all. You will not know this however, until you awaken from the dream; and awaken you will, for it has already happened. You have not yet reached the place in your dream where you leave the world forever, yet can you hasten the coming of that day by your dedication and focus now.
Whenever you choose Truth over illusion, Love over fear, forgiveness in place of grievance, you take a big step closer to that day. By learning the lessons of Truth, the lessons of forgiveness the Holy Spirit teaches, you lessen the need for time. This is time’s purpose: To be used for learning that will bring you to the completion of learning, making time itself no longer necessary. As you learn your lessons, the Holy Spirit will collapse time for you, bringing you ever closer to the end of time.
When you decide that leaving this world is all you want, time is shortened considerably. To use time well is to abide in the present, to be very aware in the present moment. This must be a consistent practice, a consistent focusing, arising from a constant remembering of your life’s purpose, your single purpose. This remembering, this focusing in the present moment, will grow, will strengthen as you practice it over time. It must develop until it becomes continuous, or nearly so.
Why? Your mind is continuously active. There is a constant movement of thought and feeling, a stream of activity that runs through your awareness unceasingly. You are constantly responding by giving it your attention, thus enabling it to continue unabated. The constant projection of thought arises from the ego and serves its interests. You are constantly choosing to identify with your thought process, giving rise to a sense of personhood, a personal identity. This “person” is the ego in expression. This identification is so ingrained, so well established, that it is automatic and constant. Nowhere in this activity is there room for you to experience what you are as simple awareness, empty of egoic identity.
The only way to experience what you are beyond the egoic limitation, is to quiet the mind, to make space for something else to reveal itself. This requires you, as awareness, to become conscious of what is passing through your mind, and consciously refuse the habitual movement of egoic identification, choosing instead to merely observe. This is the basis of what is commonly referred to as meditation. The fact that you can do this, observe rather than be absorbed in the constant activity of thought, is proof that you are not simply the egoic activity in mind, but rather are the mind itself. This is often first experienced through meditation practices such as are found in the Workbook of A Course in Miracles, as well as in the spiritual disciplines of other spiritual teachings.
The willingness to be present in your mind, moment to moment, rather than lost in the constant chatter of the ego, must be developed. It is an active willingness, constantly exercised, constantly remembered. Strength of mind, of focused awareness, is also required. Given the requisite willingness and single purpose, this strength will grow over time, giving you the ability to choose, to consciously decide each moment for Truth, for Love, for freedom.
The thoughts that arise in your awareness come from one of two sources: the Holy Spirit or the ego. There are no sources but these two for everything that appears in your mind. Which you choose to follow is up to you, but you must develop the presence of mind and the understanding necessary to make conscious choices consistently. Until then, you will vacillate between the two, as unconscious, habitual tendencies will assert themselves, again and again.
While unconscious tendencies dominate your mind, you cannot freely choose. The choices you make in your life will follow a repeating pattern, even though situations and circumstances may change. Yet the outcome will be the same. To bring about meaningful change, you must learn to know your own mind, not superficially but deeply. You must become aware of your mind in action, for it is always active. Its activity either multiplies and strengthens illusion, or moves you in the direction of Truth.
To reinforce Truth in your mind, you must follow the guidance you receive from the Holy Spirit, for He alone knows Truth. You have lost the awareness of It, and banished It even from your memory. He is the link between you and your Creator, between you and your Self. As long as you are lost in the play of illusion, He will never leave you. The Holy Spirit is always available and will give you all the help you need, and can accept, at any time. You need only develop the habit of asking, and be receptive and open, to receive answers.
This requires the development of trust on your part, which is usually a long process that unfolds over time, although it need not be. Long accustomed to making decisions yourself with the help of the ego, to ask for guidance from the unseen goes against everything the world believes. Yet this is precisely what you must do if you are to return to Truth. Truth is also unseen through the body’s eyes, although the mind easily sees Its reflection.
Whatever you do, do with Love, from Love, as Love. Love is what you are, and you cannot, in truth, be anything else. Yet in dreams can you imagine yourself as something else, an identity in opposition to Love, with Love’s Presence obscured by fear. Love is not found in a world ruled by fear and loss, for It is not welcome but in distorted form, reduced to “specialness,” reserved for “special” relationships in which all others are excluded.
Love enters not where exclusion denies Its Wholeness, for Its Wholeness is Its nature and meaning. Think not you will find Love in special arrangements that deny and separate. It is not Love you will find but guilt, not safety but uncertainty. To exclude anyone or anything from your Love is to exclude yourself, for Love is One as you are One, and to deny your Wholeness in any way is to place yourself outside of It. Nothing is gained by refusing to love but misery and loneliness.
You have the responsibility, if you choose to accept it, of bringing Love to this world, to this loveless place. Love returns to this world one mind at a time, yet every mind aflame with Love, will pass this flame to everyone they meet. Such is Love’s return, a contagion that will spread until Love covers the whole world and everyone in it.
But first must the flame be lit in your mind. The mind must be made ready, purified, to receive and hold Love. The fear of Love that dominates the mind in separation must be healed, and right understanding established. The many forms in which fear appears must be recognized and released. Belief in the necessity of attack and defense, all attempts to harm another in any way, must be renounced entirely. The condition of Love is harmlessness, and this must become the state of your mind that Love be made welcome. The mind made ready for Love’s return is quiet, at peace within itself, and filled with goodwill towards all. To such a mind does Love gladly return.
You have tried in many different ways to meet the challenges of life. You have employed many different strategies, but there is one thing you have never done: You have never tried to love unconditionally. To lay down all your defenses, and come out from behind the thick walls you have erected in your mind, is considered madness by all who inhabit this world. And yet, not to do so is where madness really lies. Your defenses have not made you safe, but have rather increased your sense of weakness and insecurity. They have reinforced and strengthened your belief in separation, which is the real source of your fear and anxiety.
If you are a body, there is no defense however strong, no strategy however “brilliant,” that will keep you safe forever. Death waits for all, and there is no defense that will defeat it. You but postpone the day of reckoning when all your hopes, wishes, and dreams lay trampled in the dust, as death celebrates its triumph and your little life is snatched away.
You are not a body, you are Spirit, and nothing in this world can affect your changeless state in any way. You need no sophisticated defenses or clever strategies to keep you safe. God Himself keeps you safe, forever abiding in peace and joy. Even in this world you are not in any danger, but to know this, you must lay down your defenses and give up your need to attack. Only through defenselessness can you find safety, for it is the defenseless in whom Love finds a home. Love’s perfect vulnerability keeps It safe from all harm, and only those who know Love can live fearlessly.
Whenever you are tempted to attack, remember that you always attack yourself first. Surely to attack yourself is not the way to guarantee safety. Although the ego teaches that you can attack your brother without suffering its effects yourself, do not believe this. Whatever you do to anyone, you do also to yourself, for mind is One, even when asleep. Whatever you give, you give yourself, for you are always and only giving to yourself. This is the inescapable law established by God in your Creation, and cannot be circumvented. In this is your salvation made sure, for it established your Oneness with your brother, thus proving separation impossible.
It is always in your interest, and only in your interest, to forgive. You are always and only forgiving yourself. To forgive yourself, you must forgive all your brothers, for it is your “sins,” or guilt, that you see in them. Your brothers are a part of you as you are a part of them, and to truly forgive is to recognize what is true of one, is true of all. Either all of you are innocent, sinless, guiltless, or all are guilty. There is nothing in between these two choices; this is a choice that everyone in this world must make.
If you choose guilt, you make the world real in your mind and sin inescapable. Is this what you want? You made that choice once, and it remains in effect until you choose again. Its effects appear in the world you see, for perception but reflects what you believe, what you want to be true. You choose what you want to see, what you desire to be true, and perception reflects that choice and thus “proves” its reality. You see what you want to see.
To choose guiltlessness instead will change the world you see. Without the condemnation you laid upon it, is the world free to reflect Heaven, to mirror Truth. The world then becomes a happy place where real learning takes place, illusion is undone, and freedom from fear, suffering, and death, becomes possible. A forgiven world becomes the temporary home of God’s Son, where He rests a little while before returning to the Kingdom. It smiles upon Him and supports Him in every way.
These are the only two worlds you can see, the world of guilt or the world forgiveness rules, and each but reflects your choice of what you want to see. There is no world separate from your mind, waiting for you to inhabit it. The world is your projection, and your choice. There is one important difference between the two worlds. The world forgiveness shows you, reflects the Truth that lies beyond all dreaming. It is a borderland from which Truth can be reached, and all dreams left behind forever.
The world of guilt and sin, of fear and hatred, is but nothingness, illusion through and through, whose only purpose is to keep you prisoner, subject to pain, sickness, suffering, and death. This world was made to be a place where Truth is excluded, and terrible illusions enshrined in Its place. This world was and is nothing more than a mistake, an impossible thought, and it has seeming existence only through your choice. Your thought gave this world existence, and you maintain it in thought until you want it no more. However, you must truly want it no more to be free of it and the limited vision that witnesses to its reality. To want Truth and yet maintain illusion in your mind, is to guarantee that you will not attain It. The choice of which world you would see and inhabit and experience, is a complete one, and to choose one is to deny the other. And what you deny, you will not see.
The world of separation and death or the world in which Truth is reflected, Love or fear, the Self or the self, joy or pain, the Holy Spirit or the ego; this the choice you are called upon to make, not just once but every day, every hour, every minute, even every moment. There is no other choice you can ever make. Every choice you have made in the past, every choice you make now, and every one you will make in the future, as long as choice seems possible to you, is a choice between Truth and illusion.
You who have wandered so long in an alien land far from your Home, listen, and listen well. The world of illusion, the world you see with the body’s eyes, will never fulfill you, no matter what you do. It will never give you peace or joy. Never will you find a lasting and unchanging Love that will not desert you, or a happiness that is unshakeable. Nothing of value, nothing real or lasting or wholly satisfying, can be found in this world of dreams.
Dreams will never satisfy God’s Son. Only Reality Itself, the Truth of what you are, your eternal Oneness with God and your function in Him, will bring you the completion you seek. Do not waste time looking for completion where it cannot be found, for it is not here. Do not delay the inevitable. To do so is to prolong the suffering this world offers you. Everyone will return to God, to the Kingdom, to the Self, the Christ they share with God. It is God’s Will and your will also, though you have forgotten.
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