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Whenever is the time, and wherever you are is the place to find Truth. Truth is not somewhere else far away, a something that must be diligently sought. It is closer to you than your own heartbeat. There is no distance that separates you from the Truth at this very moment. How can there be a gap between Truth and illusion, between what exists and what does not? The ego would have you believe such a gap exists, for the ego must maintain a sense of separation in your mind, a belief that you are separate from the Truth here and now. Thus must Truth be a future goal to be reached, waiting always somewhere far ahead, never immediate or present. To live in time and bypass the present by projecting a future result, is to be an ego whose real concern is to maintain separation and postpone the realization of Truth indefinitely.
The awakening to Truth is the disappearance of the ego, the sense of a separate self. A self that is separate from the world and everything in it, seemingly complete in itself, is in fact the denial of the Self created by God, and a very effective defense against it.
Do you understand salvation, what it is and its requirements? Salvation is the freeing of your mind from the effects of its errors of thought, the correction of all false ideas and beliefs and the subsequent transformation of experience. Salvation is the process of spiritual awakening. What must you do to be saved? Do you want to be saved? Surely you realize that to attain a goal, you must desire it, have some understanding of it, and make an effective and consistent effort to reach it. Some discipline is always required to accomplish anything in the world of form.
Salvation is the purpose of A Course in Miracles, the goal towards which the mind training is directed. Its purpose is accomplished through the healing of the mind, the correction of all error that the mind be empty, ready, and able to receive the Truth. The mind that has accepted, has attained salvation, is free of fear and resting in the Self. Now it can offer salvation to all its brothers, for salvation is accepted for all and freely given that it may be shared.
What has as its purpose the liberation of the mind from all bondage, from the tyranny of the ego and the darkness of ignorance, cannot but succeed for its purpose is total and uncompromising. All the Power of God is contained within the desire for salvation. That is the only desire arising from the mind of separation that is whole and true, and has as its aim to leave illusion behind forever and return to what is only true. This desire, this inspiration to return to your Father, is the gift of the Holy Spirit, Who has been holding it for you since time began. He joyfully offers it to you when you are ready, and through your acceptance is salvation assured. When may be unknown, the circumstances not yet clear, yet through your sincere desire for salvation, it is given you.
What is the price to be paid for salvation? Only the giving up of what was never true. The release of all attachment to fear, sin, and guilt. The relinquishment of the need to attack and defend, to suffer and die. Can this be a sacrifice? Letting go of all limitation, of everything that ever caused you pain? Is the return to a real state of sanity, joy, happiness, freedom and Love, anything but highly desirable?
If you could truly see the state you are actually in without confusion and denial; if you could see what salvation offers you, you would not hesitate one moment and salvation would be immediate. The lack of clarity in your mind, the as yet undeveloped ability to discern truly what is in your highest interest, keeps you a prisoner to the past, to the ego, by your own choice. Whether conscious or unconscious, it is a choice that governs your life and determines its conditions. The necessity of learning to choose differently by learning to think differently, is why the process of salvation must work itself out in time.
Learning is a necessary condition of life in a world of time and separation. Learning is an ability you invented as a part of your mind’s capacities. Yet when learning proceeds under the Holy Spirit’s guidance, according to His purpose, it is used to undo illusions, to learn in an entirely new way; learning is used to set you free rather than to imprison. Repetition is an essential learning principle. Without it, learning cannot be achieved. However, repetition takes place in time and prolongs the need for time. The ability and necessity to learn is fundamental to the mind of perception. Without it, a world cannot be constructed and maintained. When perception took the place of knowledge, it became necessary to undergo a learning process to correct perception that knowledge may return. Although learning does not exist in the condition of knowledge, learning is needed to reduce uncertainty that you be made ready for the return of knowledge. When the Holy Spirit has guided you to learning’s end, it is needed no more, and in the state of mind beyond all learning are you made ready for Truth’s return.
Your mind must be taught rightly in order to go beyond all learning and perception. Your formidable ability to learn must be understood in the Light of Truth, and used for Truth’s return. All that has been learned in the past, the ego’s thought system and its values, all that you have taught yourself, must be recognized as false that you may let it go and leave your mind open to receive true ideas.
Real learning is a process in which the falsity of your mind is undone, and the learning of what is true takes place. Illusion cannot be long maintained when you refuse the lessons it would teach you. To choose Truth, and to devote all learning and teaching to meeting the conditions under which Truth can return, is the only use of your learning ability in this world that is truly useful, and the only learning goal that is meaningful.
What is the answer to all your apparent problems? You have no problems but one: separation from your creative source. Every problem you ever had, have now, or will ever have, arises from and is a form of this one error. In reality, you cannot be separate from God as you live, move, and have your Being in Him. Yet in dreams where you seem to be separate from all you experience, does this one error, this belief in what could never be, seem to take many forms. Each problem appears with its apparently unique characteristics, and seemingly calls for its own solution. And indeed, in a world of form, will solutions to problems be specific to each one.
Yet is the content of every problem the same, no matter how it appears. It is illusion. And the solution is always the same: a miracle offered you by the Holy Spirit in your mind to correct your wrong perception. This fact makes all problems, no matter the appearance, equally easy to resolve. The forgetting of this fact leads to belief in a hierarchy of illusions, with some more ‘real’ and thus more difficult to overcome. There is no order of difficulty in miracles, thus there is no hierarchy of illusions. All are healed with equal ease if they are given to the Holy Spirit to be replaced with miracles.
When miracles are all you want, all your problems will vanish, for you will no longer need them. The recurring ‘problems’ and conflicts of human life are but the symptoms that follow the fundamental error of misidentification. To identify with the ego and the thought system of separation, is to choose the guide to pain, suffering, and disaster. When you ask the ego to make your decisions, the state of peace that is your true home is all but forgotten. How can that which was born as a faulty response to a problem that did not exist, do anything other than create more problems that do not exist? As it was created, so it will create. It cannot do otherwise. Yet are its creations just imagination with no basis in Truth.
What is needed above all else is the recognition of the cause, the source of all apparent troubles that afflict you. The failure to recognize the source of pain and suffering will simply perpetuate it. Without correction, will problems continue to multiply and never will there be an end to them. They are, every one, simply the results that follow your fundamental error.
You are not an ego, a separate self confined to a body, fighting its way through a hostile world, condemned to trudge wearily across a barren landscape. You are in no danger except from your own mistaken thoughts. Your fear and guilt haunt and pursue you, seeming to threaten your peace and well being. Projected outwardly, they appear as if apart from you, malevolent forces poised always to attack. Human figures, situations, and events that seem to cause suffering and loss, simply embody your beliefs about yourself and give expression to your wishes.
Perhaps the hardest thing to understand, to accept, is your complete responsibility for what you see and experience. Nothing happens to you against your will. Nothing is forced upon you. Everything but reflects your wishes until you decide otherwise. You are the dreamer of the dream in which you find yourself. In that is your freedom and your salvation.
What if what you think you did to yourself and others had no effect on anyone? In truth, nothing in the world of illusion is happening at all. The actions themselves and the effects they seem to have are but part of the dream. To forgive yourself and everyone and everything through the recognition that there is nothing to forgive in the world of dreams, is to set yourself and the world free from all thoughts of sin and guilt. Only the guiltless are forgiven for it is only they who forgive. When you are unwilling to forgive, you cannot receive. You are forgiven through the act of forgiving your brother. Through this are both forgiven, and both are set free to be themselves.
There is no time to waste for the world is tired; all who live here have grown weary, bent low under the heavy burden of sin and guilt you have laid upon them. Now is the time to forgive the world that you may be forgiven and set free at last to return to your home in Heaven. While you languish in chains, the world is not free. While the world suffers your guilt, you remain in bondage to sin, suffering, and death. You and your brothers rise or fall together; all are joined in the One Mind. No one can be free while he keeps his brother in chains.
Nothing is more important for you to do than to forgive. All else pales in comparison. The entire Plan of Atonement rests upon the willingness to forgive. Love will heal your wounds and set you free, and forgiveness is the most comprehensive form of Love in the world of separation. Through forgiveness is the edifice of sin and guilt that upholds separation undone forever, and you are set free to return to God’s Kingdom. Nothing can compare to the joy you will feel on that day.
Whenever you are tempted to withhold forgiveness, remember who it is you are forgiving. Always and only are you forgiving yourself, for it is your ‘sins’ you see in your brother. It is your guilt for which he stands condemned. To forgive your brother is literally to forgive yourself. You cannot love your brother unless your love yourself; you cannot love yourself without loving your brother also. This circle of Love has no beginning and no end for it extends forever. All are included in its gentle and merciful embrace; no one is left outside.
Loose the world by the act of forgiveness and forgiveness will rest upon you and you will be free. Freedom is a gift from God and must be shared in order to keep it. When you are free, you will see that freedom belongs to all, and you will grant all your brothers the right to live freely. You will deny no one what rightly belongs to them, and God will give you everything that belongs to you because He gave it to you in your creation.
Whatever the cost of freedom, you will pay it. There is nothing in this world that can come between you and freedom except your refusal to meet its conditions. The condition of freedom is surrender to Truth, for freedom is not an illusion and cannot be found there. Only in your relationship to Truth can true freedom be found. What is incapable of being bound in any way is free by its very nature. In the awakening to and as the Self, is freedom revealed as the very condition of your Being.
What is most important to remember is always to include your brother’s welfare in every decision you make. Remember that decisions are never made in isolation; every one affects the whole. The power of God’s Son is always expressed for the Whole Sonship. If you would be aware of the power given you by God in your creation, you must recognize that it can only be used in the service of all of God’s Creation.
What is necessary to discover within yourself is the still, deep center of your Being where the Self abides. The Self has never left you though It disappeared from conscious awareness. Your mind, the mind you experience as you, shines by a light that is not its own, the Light of the Self. Eventually you will be able to follow that light back to Its Source. If you would do this, you must become disciplined in your mind through a mind-training such as found in A Course in Miracles. An untrained mind can accomplish nothing for it lives in a state of chaos, at the mercy of the many conflicting thoughts and impulses that drive it. Never will you know peace and happiness until your mind is free of the insanity that has gripped it since time began.
The Christ Light has as its purpose to illuminate all the dark places in your mind that you would keep hidden. All the secret hates, the deeply cherished grievances you hold against your brothers, the dark memories of sin you would forget yet not let go; all that you would conceal from the Holy Spirit must be exposed to the Light of forgiveness that it be healed. These sins, this proof of guilt you cling to, are like a deep sickness that poisons your mind and prevents true healing.
What you are unaware of, what resides in your mind below the threshold of conscious awareness, exerts its influence nevertheless. The energy of mind must be free to return to Light. The mind must be free of false ideas and free of the contraction imposed upon it by fear, for these obstruct the mind’s natural freedom. All falsity, and in particular all grievances, hide the Light in you and act as heavy weights that tether the mind to the earth when it would soar through the heavens. The mind must be emptied of all that holds it down and prevents its freedom of movement. Whatever else you do to heal the mind, and there is much to this process, you must release the ancient, deep seated grievances and hatred that have held you a prisoner to fear for so long.
Fear and unforgiveness are always found together; where one is, there will the other be also. To forgive unconditionally is to reject fear in all its forms. To replace grievances with the expression of Love will ultimately heal all fear until only Love remains. When once again Love is all you are, will freedom be restored and the Kingdom will be yours. Do not wait on time or waste it in idle pursuits while pain and sorrow follow not far behind. Let us hasten to return to our Father, our Home. He is waiting for your return; this is what you really seek, what you desire with all your heart.
All the seeking of this world is but the misguided attempt to find, to recover what was never lost. The deep fear and emptiness within your mind is the driving force behind all your seeking; the dim recognition that something is lacking, that fulfillment is necessary, is the thought that begins the search. This thought, though barely conscious, is nonetheless what gives reason and direction to your activities. Yet is it partial and incomplete, and the effort that arises from it is misguided and ultimately leads you nowhere.
All the things you seemingly want to accomplish, the goals you find so important that dominate your life, all of these are but substitutes for what you really want. Your heart cries out for meaning, for true purpose. In a world that seems to be separate from you and unaware of, even indifferent to your existence, the frightened mind must seek shelter and purpose through its activities. By keeping active, in constant motion, it feels secure in its accomplishments and safe from the intrusion of chaos. Whatever goals you may have are highly esteemed, their nature matters not, for it is your goals you depend on to give life meaning and purpose. In truth, it is not the goals you want but the experience they bring. A state of happiness, of fulfillment and peace, is what you seek.
To feel worthy of being loved is the impetus that impels you to seek accolades and the approval and admiration of others. You believe that if others, be they many or just certain individuals, approve of and admire what you do, then is your worthiness demonstrated and proven. Thus is the recognition accorded you by others, the criterion by which your worth is established. There is no shakier or more uncertain ground upon which to rest than the fickle and constantly changing opinions of the ego. Your worth has been established by God and has nothing to do with the world of form.
Whichever goals you may seek are meaningless unless they are shared by the Holy Spirit. He alone knows if they are part of your one true goal, or if they hinder it. The true goal of every life is to awaken to the Love, freedom, and Unity, that is the Self. In your awakening is everything included, and the entire world brought closer to the end of time. True healing is never limited, it includes all.
Teaching you to change your mind about what you value and believe is the functional purpose of A Course in Miracles. What you value, and the beliefs that support and arise from your values, are directly responsible for the conditional circumstances and the direction of your life. Your life is a direct expression of the attempt to fulfill and attain what is valued. The line along which your life develops is established by the goals you choose, and these are determined by what you value and what you value negatively, what you wish to avoid.
Whatever the goals you choose, you will build your life on them, for goals express purpose and purpose is what holds your life together. Purpose can be expressed or unexpressed, conscious or unconscious. If you are not conscious of purpose in your life, then it is certain that you are following the ego’s purpose no matter what the appearance. The ego will always choose purpose for you; it has a constant purpose and never falters in its dedication to that purpose. All thoughts, all feelings and desires, the impulses that spur you to action, all have one purpose and overriding aim: to maintain the sense of separation and the specialness that is its reward. To this end, the ego will use everything in your life for nothing escapes its notice or its need to control.
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