An important thin for us to remember: Heaven is not a location, a destination we someday achieve as a reward. It is the realization of a beautifully peaceful, loving and joined state of mind we have denied – right here, right now.
I ask for a “vision” of oneness that I can verbally conceptualize and share with others. A feeling of the universe comes into my mind. It is infinitely filled with many colored planets and stars whose light beckons lovingly. It is awesomely beautiful, everything seems so different and so the same – each so needed to make the others shine so brightly, be as beautiful as they are. And they seemed to have no other purpose save to shine their light and reflect their beauty. There is a sense of both excitement and contentment at the prospect of what was unfolding there. It feels like a kind of “fearless adventure” in loving, a happy and playful exchange of delights. I look for words to better describe this feeling, but none arrive. It is simply a sense of loving and being loved that is so strong it has become a world, a universe for loving.
I wonder where I am in all this. There seems to be a kind of “explosion” and now I am lost in the midst of a collection of unrelated planets and stars; a jumble unidentifiable to what I had seen before. My sense of peace is gone. The joy of loving everything I see has left me. My focus seems to zoom in to a spot somewhere unknown to me; it is isolated and barren. I feel alone. The thought comes: somehow when I projected the, “Where am I” thought, the “I” lost its identity with the universe and became associated with the individual planets which I do not relate to. It is the feeling of what we have defined as “the Big Bang,” splitting the one, whole universe into different galaxies, planets and stars. I feel lost in the confusion this represents.
I remember what I have asked for and mentally review what has transpired. I realize everything that has happened has been in my mind; my choice of how to see what was there. There was no breaking up, only my change of focus, my choice to find a “me” that wasn’t really there. So I said to myself and to the universe, ”This is not what I want. I don’t want to be alone,” and in a virtual blink, the universe I had seen returned and was as beautiful and as loving as it was before. It felt so “right,” so perfectly natural and satisfying. After a bit, I ask: “Why was I able to do all that when I don’t seem able to change what I now see, here, in this world?” The answer: “In this story you knew you were the author.”
No thought you imagine you think apart from God has any real meaning because you cannot be apart from God. Any experience that arises from those thoughts is equally unreal. That doesn’t mean the experience didn’t happen, but it had no meaning or effect outside the story that supported the untrue, unreal thought. ACIM refers to these stories as “dreams,” because their effects register only while we are “asleep” to the reality of who we are. Yet it is our confusion and insistence that these stories are real that anchors us within them. To break the cause and effect cycle we must change what motivates our thinking. Guilt is the motivator now, pushing our thoughts to judgments that separate us and make us unhappy. If we want a loving experience we must want our thoughts to be loving. Pick someone you love to judge. We all have lots of them. Ask what traits you see in them that you see in yourself. Don’t be satisfied until you see the truth; it has always been yourself you judge. You only know these “others” thru your perception of what you think is wrong with you. Now ask for help on how to forgive and love this one that you don’t really know, this one who answers to the name you call your Self.
I asked Brother how I would know if I was really loving myself. “Would you invite a brother to find the Love of God thru you,” he asked? After briefly thinking about it, I replied, probably not. “When you happily invite everyone to share the Love you know God has for you, you will know you love yourself.”
In Heaven, nothing opposes the Peace of God. There is no conflict to overcome before peace is ours. We also have it in our mind now, here in the world we have made. What is in our mind does not leave its source, even when unremembered. The reason it escapes our awareness now is that we do not acknowledge being the “Self” who has it. We imagine instead we are the guilty character in the story of separation we are telling, ignorant of our truth. We have tried to divide this Self into many different, conflicting parts to avoid the blame our imagined sin imposes. There is no lasting peace for this self that we have judged. To accept the Peace of God we must forgive this self and let our love find the whole and undivided Self that it was given to; the one who ever so slightly remembers he still remains in Heaven, where nothing opposes the Peace of God.
There is an exercise I find very helpful to remind me, “there is no sin.” I sit quietly and let the thoughts of all those past and present I hold responsible for inflicting pain and suffering on the world come to me. As each name appears I say, “____________, my will for you is perfect happiness because there is no sin.” I feel the connection of my thoughts with theirs and say, “Let us forgive ourselves and come together, bringing peace to all the world. There is no sin.” Each time I do this I find the remnants of my own unforgiveness, my resistance to giving up the belief that sin is real. Doing this also helps me in situations where I had previously “automatically” judged someone. I catch myself more quickly now and think of these as opportunities to more fully accept, there is no sin. The belief in sin is strong. It is the cornerstone of our perception of separateness. It is the cause of all our wars and suffering, our earthquakes and hurricanes. It is the reason we deprive ourselves of everlasting Love. But together, thru forgiveness, we can change this belief because, in truth, there really is no sin.
Love is the essence and truth of who we are, but the recognition that we have it begins when we stop denying it is there. Yet, we ask no question, have no doubt, that is not founded on the uncertainty that we are loved. Jesus tell us, “Uncertainty of what you must be is self-deception on a scale so vast, its magnitude can hardly be conceived.” It is impossible not to know the thing we most surely must know. What is it then that could induce us to deny our loving Self even beyond our own knowing? The simple answer is we have come to believe our story of sin. We feel more comfortable with the ego’s assurance that we are the “sinful” character in our story. But it is time now to accept the truth, and we are in the process of doing just that. Don’t be deceived or discouraged by the conflict and chaos we see in the world. We are in the midst of choosing to become defenseless to our loving nature and the ego is protesting that this still is not a safe thing to do, showing us all the reasons its fears are justified. Choosing to respond to the challenges in a loving way will demonstrate that it is safe after all. Consciously recognize which point of view you will support before you respond to a call for love. Will if be fear or love you let find you?
Refuse to judge or try to change what God has given us to love. It does little good to change what you see until you have changed how truthfully you can see it. Love whatever self you now see. If it seems to be in a body, love it. If it appears to be weak or judgmental, forgive that perception and love it. What we seek here is to change our mind about the reality of what we see, not to evaluate or purify what we have already condemned. “Show me how to see this differently,” must be our prayer.
Jesus tells us in many ways, “There is no sin in the Mind of God, outside of which is nothing.” Forgive this character you have condemned to suffer and to die alone. Step back from condemning him and free the Love of the Dreamer to emerge. Experience the joy and freedom of knowing the Innocence of God is present in all He has created. Know just this and you will feel the breath of Heaven rest gently on your cheek.
We are not the weak and helpless victims of a world, destined to experience inevitable pain and suffering and death as “payment” for our sins. We are co-creators of a universe, a Heaven, whose purpose is to experience and to express a joyous adventure of loving. We are not the weak and helpless characters in a dream of separation. We are the Dreamer Who will awaken to the truth of our God created one Self when finally the need to feel separate from our whole, one Self gives way to our desire to be loved.
This moment, and forever, we are as Love created us. There is nothing more to learn, nothing to become to achieve this. There is only to say “yes” to Love’s Presence, wherever we find it, and we will find It whenever we are open to giving or receiving love. Forgive yourself for being lost in an idea of sin that isn’t true, that only exists in a dream that will vanish when we have accepted God’s Love.
The need for understanding and learning end in the moment you feel wholly loved.
Listen . . . Do you hear God calling, asking for your help? It may sound like a brother asking to be loved. Or a sister wanting to be reassured. We have many opportunities to hear Him call, if we will be still a moment and just listen. Make this the purpose of your world, to hear Him call and offer you the gift to see and bless His holy Child that He created one with you; to love each one of them without a thought of what the dream was that we condemned before. Bless each one until you have blessed them all, making sure that you were not left out. Be still and listen . . . Can you hear Him now? The world is lighter each time you hear God call.
Thinking about the need to forgive and love the self we now see that Brother has been very pointedly suggesting and wondering specifically what to do:
“You are feeling confused about “how to” make this transition to accepting the truth that you are a perfectly innocent and loving Being-right now. You are confused about what to “do” because you are unconsciously depending on your ego perception to tell you what to do. It not only does not know, but is actively engaged in preventing this from happening. If there were a productive way to teach your ego to accept your innocence it would not have been necessary for God to have given us the Holy Spirit to hold His Vision of that truth. I have entitled your study material, “A Course In Miracles,” to remind you that Its Source is miraculous, beyond the knowing or explanation, of your perception. When you are again in your “right” or real Mind, “miraculous” thinking will be “normal” for in acceptance of your oneness with your brother, that part of yourself you have denied, your mind will know its wholeness and no longer seem in conflict with itself.
“Within this peace you will find no opposition to your desire to love. Accepting him as part of you your thoughts and the Thoughts of God again are joined and the need to perceive a world opposing you is gone. Now will you understand that your love is the motivation for all miracles; that it is what awakens the memory of a state of Being filled with endless joy and infinite peace that now is lost in a maze of differences woven into a world that has become your “truth.” But if you will pause a moment and simply love the self you have condemned, that spark of love, unleashed from its past judgments, will be the miracle that wipes away every dream you thought was real, but which, in truth, has never been.
“You will have difficulty accepting the existence of miracles while wanting to believe in the reality of your world. The two are diametrically opposed as concerns their purpose and their goals. Miracles, in your perception, call for the surrender of your control and ask for trust in what you now most fear. As I have previously said, you are at the crossroads of deciding what you will accept as real. Clearly seeing that it is the evidence of miracles you want more than the effects of your fearful perception will be a major influence in making this choice. Forgive me now as I have forgiven you. Join me in the place of innocence our Father’s Love holds for us. We were “born” to love all that He Loves and this begins with loving whatever Self we now see, wherever we perceive it to be. Together we will make certain the reality of our Oneness by accepting His Love on behalf of each other and for every brother who cannot yet see himself as part of Him.”
No matter how discouraging at times it may seem, finding God’s Love is as certain as watching each wave as it reaches to the shore.
I awoke one morning with a feeling of doubt, wondering if I had misunderstood what I had been studying for the past 35 years. I felt confused and uncertain. Could I really trust what I had no way of “proving?” I asked Brother. “You are at a cross-roads, trying to decide if it is “safe” to wholly abandon your perception of separateness. Your confusion seems to center around whether or not you can trust God, that He has never judged you. But in truth you struggle with the recognition that you are God. You must decide if sin is real, if you have separated from your Source or remain a part of What created you. You will know when you decide. Fear will have disappeared from your mind and your heart will sing in constant joy.”
Sharing an idea is what gives it strength. Until a thought is shared it has no power, in fact is devoid of any meaning at all. When you feel moved to share an idea it is likely because the consciousness is feeling a need for it. Ask the God Self if it will serve truth or illusion and act accordingly. If it express your desire to join or reassure someone in their hour of doubt, ask for the words and the means to share it. Intentionally sharing your thoughts is not an easy thing to do.
It is our belief that we have sinned, become separated from God and each other and lost our ability to be loved. Of ourselves, we do not know how to find It again. But God’s Love is like creation’s “magnet,” drawing everything to itself. If we but open our willingness to have it, Love will find us. Being part of God we are Loves’ Home.
Still chewing on March 30 guidance, (4/23 post) trying to get full impact of what Brother meant, he said today:
“Heed this well and do not underestimate the power of its simplicity. When I ask you to “forgive and love the self you now see,” it is not for you to worry that this may be a flawed or worldly ego self. I am asking you to forgive the only one you have ever condemned and commit to loving the only one you imagine that you hate. You cannot now see the strength or value of this commitment as it relates to the ease with which the God Self can then share His Vision with you.
When you forgive and love whatever self you see, your love will show you only what is real about that self. You are now as God created you in perfect Love. And being What It Is, Love recognizes Itself and sees only what is part of It – with nothing asked or needed from your perception.
Forgive and love the self you now see and trust your God Self to do the rest. You cannot fail now to find your Self, for here, in this field of loving, is the world reconciled with Heaven and you recognize you are already Home.”
Healing is not about trying to heal the character in our dream-story. Healing is about remembering the holy child of God who knows he cannot be sick. Healing is recognizing the difference between what is real and what is only a dream. Healing is forgiveness that accepts the God Self Vision that the child of God cannot hate or feel a loss of Love; cannot be separate from his brother or the Love that created him like Itself. Forgive and love the self you now see. It is only denying that love that gives rise to dreams of sickness and hate. Forgive and love the self you now see because you are perfect as you are right now; only unloving dreams can hide it. Forgive and love the self you now see and there will be no future stories of sickness and hate. Don’t wait to love a “perfect” ego image that never will come. Forgive and love the self you now see so God can show you what is now, and has always been true.
When you have the desire to help, first ask the God Self to sit with you in an awareness of loving. As you do this be reminded that the God Self is your real Self, fulfilling your desire, but on the level of knowing our oneness. There is much to be learned from knowing that giving and receiving are indeed the same.
Tom to Brother: After all these years of study it feels as though there is still a piece missing from my awareness.
B: “It is not so much a piece is missing, but your acceptance of the significance of a piece you have, but have not yet recognized its importance or full impact on the other pieces. You haven’t yet grasped the significance of my teaching that you are whole and perfect just the way you are, right now. You have been intent on needing to change the image you have made of yourself, the character in your story of the world, but this is not you. This “person” does not exist outside the boundaries of your world. And your attempts to change him while he seems to play your role only strengthen your belief there is something wrong with you; that you have changed your God created Self and become what you now imagine your body’s eyes can see. You have never changed God’s Creation. Forgive this character for he is only made from strands of fear and guilt, thoughts you cannot justify in Truth. Let the love that is hidden by your self-rejection be allowed to emerge and express Itself.
Forgive and accept the only one you have ever really condemned and you will discover no one is unlovable. You will see it is you who is the presence and expression of God’s Love. So however you identify yourself, find no reason not to accept and love that self.
You have agonized over identifying yourself as a body. I encourage you to let this go. In this moment it does not matter whether you imagine you have a body or not. But it does matter that you love and accept whatever self you see. To know yourself, the one thing that you cannot be without is the feeling of Loving. It is what expresses the essential nature of Who and What you Are. It is what restores the memory of our Oneness, for Love embraces All that it sees and erases any symbol of separateness that may remain. Finding yourself is accepting the Love within you that yearns for the experience of connecting to All that was created with you. You ARE Love. You have bottled up within you this Love that wants to extend and embrace everyone it sees. Free it now to express itself without any of the restrictions your perception would impose. Nothing will then seem missing.
A perfect trust in the love of God would free us from all our thoughts of fear. But in this “world,” perception, of duality we seem to live alternately in both; a kind of peninsula between trust and despair. We fear that totally trusting in God’s Will and His Plan for our awakening, we would have to sacrifice what we have come to believe will make us happy and keep our bodies safe. We fail to see that this “person” we would keep safe and make happy is only a character in a story we are telling about “sin and separation;” a tale of being guilty and unworthy. It is not hard to see why we would not trust this unlovable character to God’s Plan for our awakening. It is only too plain why we would expect sacrifice and pain to be asked of us. Yet if it is peace and joy we want, we must find the Child of God that feels deserving and is available to accept them. This deserving Child will not be found in a world made to deny his existence. Our choice is clear, yet so very difficult to accept. We must decide, is the world a physical place? Does our belief give rise to this world we see, or does our belief come from our experience of it? Will it be the character or the dreamer who awakens from the dream? There will be no perfect trust in God or in His Plan while thinking this world expresses His Will and must be fixed to keep us safe. Death of the body will remain a symbol of the loss of life and our trust in God will still be frail. Love the self you see. Love your brother as if he was the most holy Child of God. Make room in your mind for a loving world to appear and try not to be surprised at its coming.