The distance between Heaven and hell, between everlasting life and death, is measured by the strength of our belief that sin is real. Accept this single thought: outside our story of guilt the thought (and experience) of sin does not exist, and Heaven and earth become one. Without a sense of guilt there is no gap between Love and what is loved.
You are not a body. The world is not a physical place. It is a mental experience. We find in it whatever conforms to, and supports the mental image we have of our self. If you think that sin is real, you will find a world that attacks and kills you. If you think there is something wrong with you, you will be sick and have hardships. If you see yourself as a loving person you will find a world that supports and loves you. There is nothing in the world we do not put there. Our will is the same Will from which Creation arises. Whether it extends the truth of our innocent Oneness, or the illusion of sin and separation, it controls our awareness, confining it to that which we have chosen to believe is “true.” Fortunately, choosing to believe in illusions does not change the Truth. A separate will held apart from the Whole Will affects only the experience of the separated self that has appeared.
If we would change the world we see, we must first change the self-image of the one who sees it. If you want to change your experience you must change the cause of it. But first and foremost, we must decide if we deserve and want to be loved and happy. And that is a choice we must make for the whole of our Self. You cannot choose to be loved while others are unlovable. The world is a mirror for how you see yourself. When you have the faith in your brother that you have in God you have allowed trust to take the place of fear in your mind and so your world is now a safer place. Forgive him his beliefs that cannot affect his Truth and you have removed a mental block to Oneness in the Mind that joins us all. Yet, while sin still seems real, forgiveness is our acknowledgement we are willing to love and to be loved. But forgiveness, like the love it seeks, is indivisible. If you would be free it must embrace everyone appearing in your mind.
There already is another world to replace the one that is home to sin. It is a forgiven world that Love has made. It is a state of mind that is free of guilt and all its consequences. But to be “there,” we must share the Vision from which it comes. First, it is required that we want this change, this world of love to replace what we have made in order that we recognize it is our will that shapes this world, as it is our Will, joined with God’s, that makes Love whole, with nothing to oppose It. Now loving is as appealing, as “delicious” as our ego’s desire to judge. Now can the image of our self be changed. From this place of loving we can find a self and see a world whose only purpose is to love.
Everyone, everywhere is looking for the same thing. The one we call a “terrorist,” the one who seems his victim, and the one our perception tells us has a loving heart, are all our brothers and the Son of God. Each of us, from different perspectives of our common belief that separateness is real, reach out to our own version of Who God Is to be reassured that we are loved. Whether we climb the corporate ladder, pursue a spiritual path or wage war on one another, at our core we are all the same, children of a common Father, desperate to know we can be loved.
We now feel lost, not knowing what we want or how to get it. We have habitually made our brother responsible for what we seem to lack. But our attack on him only drives us further from our goal. We do not see it is only his love for us and our love for him that will satisfy our feeling there is something missing in us. But the Love we seek cannot be found in some of our brothers while it is still denied in others, for this Love, this DNA of our Being, is absolutely indivisible. This Love is what we really want, but while we judge and confuse our brother with his story we will not recognize that the Love we want is what we have withheld from him.
You will not be sure that you are loved while there is someone you cannot love. Your need to love goes unfulfilled if there is somewhere it cannot go. Trust the power of forgiveness to your God Self. Consciously invite all those you have ever feared or judged into your presence. Ask to see the Christ or Buddha where these brothers had seemed to be. Then feel God’s Peace and Joy fulfill you as you feel the Love you share with Him bring everyone together.
To actually love anyone, you must love everyone because the nature of Love is indivisible. The ego has many substitutes for love, attempts to compensate for its belief in sin and separation. But none of them will fulfill you for each holds out the possibility your “sin” might be real. It is a principle of Love that where It is there is nothing to oppose It. There is nowhere It begins and nowhere It is not present. It is the feeling that expresses Life and infinitely extends creation, insuring it cannot be changed or lost.
To love is a need we all share for we are born of Love and It defines the nature of our Being. Loving is our function when we are “awake” to what is true. When we have denied our function, we literally have become afraid of Life as God created It and live in dreams, imagining we are separate from our Source of Love. And while Love seems missing, all of Its “alternatives” appear to justify our belief that It is gone. But there is no “place,” no thought anywhere in all of Mind where there is Life that Love is missing. It only goes unrecognized when seeing just Its parts, for Love is whole and undivided.
If you would feel loved, truly loved, you must accept that It is What you are. It must possess you and so embrace all that you see. It is the joy that comes from This that satisfies our need to love and live God’s Life.
In reality God’s Name is the Name for everything for He is the Source of everything. It is only our belief that sin is real and the subsequent need for differences and separateness that compel us to reduce what is whole and complete to minute parts and identify them with different names. We think that to have and know our “self,” It must be different from other selves; those we can make more guilty than ourselves. But forgiveness teaches there is no sin because we cannot change what God created from His perfect Love. Why is such good news so hard to accept? Maybe it would help if we began to practice calling everyone by their real name.
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.