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  1. 1. From Zero to Infinity in an Instant: Reflections on A Course in Miracles Alan Steinle © 2012 by Alan Steinle. All rights reserved.
  2. 2. Contents Essays............................................................................................................................. 3 From Zero to Infinity in an Instant ................................................................................ 3 You Can Reflect Heaven Here .................................................................................... 5 Are You Special?......................................................................................................... 6 Forgiveness ................................................................................................................. 7 Heaven and the Dream of Separation ......................................................................... 8 The Turning Point ........................................................................................................ 9 Another Way.............................................................................................................. 11 Love and the Call for Love......................................................................................... 12 Minesweeper ............................................................................................................. 13 We Are the Same ...................................................................................................... 14 The Return to Heaven ............................................................................................... 16 Yes or No?................................................................................................................. 17 Seek But Do Not Find................................................................................................ 18 Communication.......................................................................................................... 19 Heaven Is the Goal.................................................................................................... 20 The Biggest Mistake .................................................................................................. 20 Poems........................................................................................................................... 21 An Eternal Spring....................................................................................................... 21 Inner Power ............................................................................................................... 23 The Wings of the Spirit .............................................................................................. 23 Miracles ..................................................................................................................... 24 The Light Does Not Condemn You............................................................................ 29 Your Salvation Is Not Far........................................................................................... 30 The Real World.......................................................................................................... 32 No Other Will ............................................................................................................. 32 The Thief ................................................................................................................... 33
  3. 3. Essays From Zero to Infinity in an Instant We worship an idol (though we know it not) because we want to have more of something. And in order for one person to have more of something, another must have less by comparison. If the universe is finite, and if physical things represent ultimate reality, then physical goods cannot be shared. Rather, we must compete for them. This is similar to the “zero-sum game” in economics theory. According to Investopedia, the zero-sum game is “a situation in which one participant's gains result only from another participant's equivalent losses. The net change in total wealth among participants is zero; the wealth is just shifted from one to another.” Of course, this ignores the fact that physical things can be made and destroyed. However, we know from experience that life in this world is usually a struggle to obtain physical things, and the world thinks that if one person has many physical things, this prevents others from having them. This type of thinking is a large part of what A Course in Miracles wants to reverse. In fact, even buying and selling are nonsensical to the spirit: The idea of buying and selling implies precisely the kind of exchange that the Soul cannot understand at all because its supply is always abundant and all its demands are fully met. --A Course in Miracles: Original Edition According to A Course in Miracles, we can only make one mistake: For there is but one mistake; the whole idea that loss is possible, and could result in gain for anyone. If this were true, then God would be unfair; sin would be possible, attack be justified and vengeance fair. --A Course in Miracles God does not will that part of His creation have more than another part. He gives everything to everyone. However, as long as we see ourselves as limited physical beings, we won’t know ourselves as the unlimited love that we are. The Son of God [God’s creation] is limitless. There are no limits on his strength, his peace, his joy, nor any attributes his Father gave in his creation. --A Course in Miracles The “holy instant,” in which the past and future have no hold on us, is God’s solution to our dreams of limitation and lack, and our desire for vengeance for not getting what we think we deserve.
  4. 4. The holy instant is the opposite of the ego's fixed belief in salvation through vengeance for the past. In the holy instant it is understood that the past is gone, and with its passing the drive for vengeance has been uprooted and has disappeared. The stillness and the peace of now enfold you in perfect gentleness. Everything is gone except the truth. --A Course in Miracles For in the holy instant, free of the past, you see that love is in you, and you have no need to look without and snatch love guiltily from where you thought it was. --A Course in Miracles How long will it take the holy instant to save the world? If you are tempted to be dispirited by thinking how long it would take to change your mind so completely, ask yourself, "How long is an instant?" Could you not give so short a time to the Holy Spirit for your salvation? He asks no more, for He has no need of more. It takes far longer to teach you to be willing to give Him this than for Him to use this tiny instant to offer you the whole of Heaven. In exchange for this instant He stands ready to give you the remembrance of eternity. --A Course in Miracles The holy instant works when one teacher of God does not agree to see his brother’s mind as separate from his own. No mind is sick until another mind agrees that they are separate. And thus it is their joint decision to be sick. If you withhold agreement and accept the part you play in making sickness real, the other mind cannot project its guilt without your aid in letting it perceive itself as separate and apart from you. Thus is the body not perceived as sick by both your minds from separate points of view. Uniting with a brother's mind prevents the cause of sickness and perceived effects. Healing is the effect of minds that join, as sickness comes from minds that separate. --A Course in Miracles What occurred within the instant that love entered in without attack will stay with you forever. Your healing will be one of its effects, as will your brother's. --A Course in Miracles Once we see ourselves as one united spirit, and the holy instant brings this truth to our awareness, we will no longer see ourselves as small, weak, and vulnerable. The Oneness of the Creator and the creation is your wholeness, your sanity and your limitless power. This limitless power is God's gift to you, because it is what you are. If you dissociate your mind from it you are perceiving the most powerful
  5. 5. force in the universe as if it were weak, because you do not believe you are part of it. --A Course in Miracles In conclusion, the world believes in scarcity, lack, and, loss. If these things are true, then life is inherently unfair and we are justified in being angry, defending the little that we think we have, and attacking those who try to take the little that we think we have. A Course in Miracles teaches that a thought reversal is needed so that we will recognize what we are--unlimited love. The means to accomplish this thought reversal is through the practicing of forgiveness and non-judgment. In this way, the past and future can be relinquished and the holy instant accepted. At the moment the holy instant is accepted, we will recognize that we are one with God and His creation, and the light of this knowledge will extend into infinity. Beyond the body, beyond the sun and stars, past everything you see and yet somehow familiar, is an arc of golden light that stretches as you look into a great and shining circle. And all the circle fills with light before your eyes. The edges of the circle disappear, and what is in it is no longer contained at all. The light expands and covers everything, extending to infinity forever shining and with no break or limit anywhere. Within it everything is joined in perfect continuity. Nor is it possible to imagine that anything could be outside, for there is nowhere that this light is not. --A Course in Miracles Contents You Can Reflect Heaven Here In this world you can become a spotless mirror, in which the Holiness of your Creator shines forth from you to all around you. You can reflect Heaven here. --A Course in Miracles What do we really want? Do we want joy or misery? Of course we want joy, right? Then why do we do so many things that cause misery? God created us pure and guiltless, but we have chosen to see ourselves as guilty. Then we place this guilt upon others and attack them because we view them as guilty. We choose to see ourselves and others as sinful. Therefore, we want to separate ourselves from others to hide our own guilt or to punish others for their guilt. At the same time, we cannot bear to be alone. We are a contradiction of desires and are therefore insane. The choice to hold on to guilt and sin is the choice to be unhappy. How do we get rid of sin and guilt? Surely, we cannot get rid of sin and guilt by claiming that we are sinful and guilty and reinforcing this idea. If God created us as eternally holy and guiltless, and if God judges us as being guiltless, then we are pushing away God’s gifts and God’s truth about what we are when we deny this. We still value guilt because
  6. 6. we are afraid of the truth. We are afraid that the truth will attack us, so we try to hide in darkness. The alternative to the illusion that we are guilty is true vision and unified knowledge. When we collectively learn to reflect the love of our Creator to all of creation we will find joy. This love and joy is not something that we can currently comprehend because there is nothing in our experience that is similar in quality or strength. Forgiveness is the undoing or reversal of the illusion of guilt. Forgiveness realizes that all apparent harm that we do to each other is not real. In other words, we cannot hurt or destroy what is real, although we can destroy physical things and we can choose to feel sorrow when these temporary things are destroyed. We are all united by our Creator, and we are all characterized by the love that we and our Creator are. We cannot dissolve our feelings of guilt by placing them on another person, and we cannot find salvation and joy alone. We are either all guilty or we are all guiltless. When we choose to see all of creation as guiltless, and all of our sins as having no real effects, we will express real love and find true joy, and we will be eternally grateful to our Creator for what He is and what He has created. Contents Are You Special? Deep inside we believe that we have contradicted the will of God, that we have committed an unforgiveable sin. Therefore, we are crazy with the fear that we have somehow lost the acceptance and love of God. We go to great lengths to hide this fear and get rid of the guilt that results from the belief that we have sinned. One way that we deal with the guilt is to put it on other people. Since the guilt is too heavy to carry alone, we pass it around and attack others for the faults that we believe we see in them. We believe that we can find relief from this guilt by seeing ourselves as different from the guilty ones. Somehow, we are better than those others. We are special. We might feel special because we work hard. We might feel special because we can get what we want without working hard. We might feel special because we have good looks. We might feel special because we can obtain pity for our poor looks. We might feel special because we have a lot of money, a nice car, and a nice home. We might feel special because we have none of these things. We might feel special because we believe certain things. We might feel special because we believe nothing. We might feel special because we are liberal. We might feel special because we are conservative. We might feel special because we are part of a big group. We might feel special because we are part of a small group. But we want to feel special. We want to believe that we have the password, the special formula, the special something that will win back God’s acceptance of and love for us. However, God’s love is about inclusion and oneness. If we see ourselves as more deserving of God’s love than others, we break this union and prevent ourselves from experiencing God’s inclusive love. God’s love is like an eternal sun in its brilliance and
  7. 7. life-giving nature. However, we can choose to block this sun from our lives by allowing dark clouds to form over our heads. These clouds are the belief that we have committed an unforgiveable sin, that we have irreparably offended God. And we cannot bear the thought that someone else could be sinless and have God’s approval while we have to live without God’s approval. We have made a cycle of sin, guilt, fear, and attack. We feel that we have sinned and that God can no longer accept us. We feel fear and we attempt to transfer our guilt onto others in order to get rid of this guilt. Then we attack others because we feel that they deserve our judgment. Then we feel we have sinned against God for attacking and judging others. And the cycle keeps repeating. How do we exit this cycle, this seemingly infinite loop of despair? All we need to do is realize that we cannot contradict God’s will, that we are not more powerful than God. God created and sustains eternal, guiltless beings who share his nature of love. His will is our will. Sometimes we are confused about what we are, but none of this confusion can affect the reality of what we are and what we will always be. While we are in a dream, we can choose to believe that the dream is real. However, when we awaken from the dream, we realize that the dream can be forgotten and that it has no effect on reality. When we awaken, we will realize that all of our illusions and errors can be undone, that God loves all of us equally, that there is no need to be special in order to earn God’s love, and that love eternally unites all of us in God. Contents Forgiveness The following essay summarizes some of the ideas in the “Song of Prayer,” which can be found in the book A Course in Miracles. You can only forgive yourself, for it is only your “sins” that you see in another. It seems that another is sinful, but if this were the case, how could you ever be free from being harmed by him? You would be his prisoner forever. However, you can release yourself and your brother together when you offer true forgiveness. As long as this world seems to be your home, there will be illusions and errors. However, if you look at the world through Christ’s eyes, you will see that your mistakes can be overlooked and that eternal peace will be yours. Forgiveness that has been corrupted by the world can be called “forgiveness-to- destroy.” This type of “forgiveness” focuses on guilt and sin. This type of “forgiveness” overlooks real love because it sees salvation in guilt. “Forgiveness-to-destroy” is death, and it hates everything that it sees because it reminds it of death. “Forgiveness-to- destroy” appears in many ways, but it has one goal: to make different and to separate what God created equal and whole. The following are some of the more common forms of “forgiveness-to-destroy”:
  8. 8. The Patronizer. In this type of “forgiveness,” one person sees himself as better than the one he “forgives.” Thus, he separates himself from the brother whom he hates, for he sees sin and death in him. The Wallower. In this type of “forgiveness,” one person claims to share in the sin of another. In this case, people often compete with each other to see how deeply they can delve into their sins, which they believe deserve to be punished by a vengeful God. Thus, people attempt to separate themselves from each other and from a God whom they see as fearful and distant. The Martyr. In this type of “forgiveness,” one person patiently accepts the results of the sin of another. The martyr separates himself from the one who seems to be abusing him, and reinforces the ideas that sin is real in the other person and that God requires sacrifice. The Bargainer. In this type of “forgiveness,” one person offers forgiveness to another if the other person will give him what he wants or needs. The person who gives in this way is mocking true giving and in the attempt to control another becomes a slave himself. What is the alternative to “forgiveness-to-destroy”? We simply need to be open to a new way of looking at the world and a new way of forgiving. The way we practice “forgiveness” does not work. We need to be willing to look at the world through the eyes of Christ and not interfere with his plan for salvation. We are not asked to figure it all out ourselves or to make great efforts. All we need is a “small willingness” to let God’s will be done. He will do the rest. Christ has forgiven you, and in His sight the world becomes as holy as Himself. Who sees no evil in it sees like Him. For what He has forgiven has not sinned, and guilt can be no more. Salvation's plan is made complete, and sanity has come. Forgiveness is the call to sanity, for who but the insane would look on sin when he could see the face of Christ instead? --A Course in Miracles Contents Heaven and the Dream of Separation The following statements summarize some of the main ideas of the book, A Course in Miracles. Anything that is not eternal is an illusion. Time is an illusion. The body is an illusion. Guilt is an illusion. Sin is an illusion. Sickness is an illusion. Forgiveness is the final illusion because it realizes that illusions are not real and that they can be overlooked.
  9. 9. The separation is the belief that minds are separate from God and from each other. The separation is also an illusion because it is not eternal. Minds that believe in the separation are asleep because these minds try to make the illusions and fantasies of separation real. Minds need to have their errors brought to the truth, so that their illusions will disappear. Minds that are asleep need to be awakened, not punished. However, this awakening can be disorienting and disturbing because the light that awakens them is sometimes seen at first as something threatening and dangerous from the dream. A miracle is something that shortens the time needed for creation to awaken. Oneness (or wholeness, unity) and sickness (or brokenness, disunity) cannot both be true or real. Oneness claims that creation is essentially whole. Sickness claims that creation is essentially disconnected. When one person accepts unity without qualifications, and overlooks all sicknesses and illusions, this unity will spread throughout all of creation, and creation will awaken from the dream of separation. The body can be used to reinforce the idea of separation, in which each mind is limited to a separate body, or the body can be used to communicate love and forgiveness, which lead to awakening. Since the body is also an illusion, the body has no place in heaven (eternity), and the body will disappear with all other illusions when illusions are brought to the truth. The purpose of God’s creations in the world is to work to heal the separation. The purpose of God’s creations in heaven is to create limitlessly and to extend God’s love. Heaven (eternity, infinity) is the awareness of perfect unity. It has nothing to do with time because it is eternal. Heaven is reality. In heaven are perfect peace, complete knowledge, undisturbed truth, and continual love. Contents The Turning Point This passage from A Course in Miracles summarizes how individuals, societies, and planets fundamentally change: The acceptance of the Atonement by everyone is only a matter of time. This may appear to contradict free will because of the inevitability of the final decision, but this is not so. You can temporize and you are capable of enormous procrastination, but you cannot depart entirely from your Creator, Who set the limits on your ability to miscreate. An imprisoned will engenders a situation which, in the extreme, becomes altogether intolerable. Tolerance for pain may be high, but it is not without limit. Eventually everyone begins to recognize, however dimly, that there must be a better way. As this recognition becomes more firmly established, it becomes a turning point. This ultimately reawakens spiritual vision, simultaneously weakening the investment in physical sight. The alternating
  10. 10. investment in the two levels of perception is usually experienced as conflict, which can become very acute. But the outcome is as certain as God. Spiritual vision literally cannot see error, and merely looks for Atonement. —A Course in Miracles “The acceptance of the Atonement by everyone is only a matter of time.” In other words, everyone will be “saved.” That is, everyone will find himself. Everyone will be reunited with God, love, and truth. The atonement is a unification process as well as the outcome of this unification process. The outcome or result of this process is the reunification of all of God’s creation in love. To accept the atonement means to relinquish one’s selfish orientation that seeks to benefit only one’s individual, separate self. To accept the atonement means to give up one’s egotistical mindset that seeks to split off parts of God and give love and approval only to special individuals. The Course says that everyone will eventually accept the atonement, or accept all- pervading love. This is true because everyone is a part of God and no one can exist apart from God. God is love, and we, being of God, are essentially love also. When we try to limit love, we feel pain. Being of God, our will is the will of God. When we deny this, and attempt to will against God, we feel extreme discomfort. However, this attempt to will against God is powerless to create any real effects. We are always safe because we are always in God and cannot really will against God, cannot really “sin.” We can make errors in thinking, but all of these errors disappear the moment we overlook or forgive them. It takes enormous effort to try to will against our own will, meaning, against God’s will. Why do we attempt this? We have become afraid of love and afraid of truth. We believe that truth will attack us or that God will punish us. However, eventually we find that our imprisoned wills (our bonds made by selfishness) cause us more pain than the terror and expected pain of facing God, love, and truth. It is at this place that we reach a turning point. In the Bible, this place is called repentance. To repent basically means to turn around or to change your mind. In the Bible, prophets continually encouraged individuals and societies to repent. However, if the individual or society had not reached their specific turning point (the point at which the pain caused by selfishness is greater than the fear of God, love, and truth), then the prophet’s words are not heard, and they fall on deaf ears. If an individual, society, or planet is not ready to turn around, or repent, then there is little use in telling them to change. However, when certain conditions occur, repentance becomes inevitable. The prophets of the Bible referred often to events at the end of the current age of the earth. They said that the events of that time would be unprecedented. When people think about the end of the world, they often are filled with fear. However, it may be that the events associated with the end of the world seem fearful because they are a change from our ordinary, expected life. It may be that extreme or painful situations are needed in order to get people to wake up and to reach a turning point in their lives. These extreme situations should not be seen as a punishment but as an opportunity to repent and to see things in a new way. God does not want you to suffer.
  11. 11. God wants you to have joy. In fact, these extreme situations were created by us together with God because we know that they will be for our benefit. “This [turning point] ultimately reawakens spiritual vision, simultaneously weakening the investment in physical sight. The alternating investment in the two levels of perception is usually experienced as conflict, which can become very acute. But the outcome is as certain as God. Spiritual vision literally cannot see error, and merely looks for Atonement.” Look past error wherever you found it before. Look past pain, which is temporary and therefore not real. Look toward your salvation, which is inevitable. Look forward to all- pervading love, which is your birthright and identity. Look forward to peace and truth, which you will certainly have. Contents Another Way There are two emotions: fear and love. If we hold on to guilt, sin, and fear, we will transfer this fear to others and receive fear from them. What we give is what we receive. What we cherish is what we try to find. The “ego” is the part of us that tries to keep us separate from others and separate from God. The ego tries to keep us separate by making us fearful of others. However, fear is nothing compared with love. Fear is a small wrinkle in the fabric of the universe, a wrinkle that does not really exist. Love is the reality, a reality that is eternally undisturbed. There are some things that keep us unaware of love’s reality. One of them is the belief that we are a body. This belief causes much stress and grief. If we are a body, then we will die, and all of our efforts will come to nothing. If we believe that we are a body, then we are between a rock and a hard place. We have to do everything to maintain the body for as long as possible while knowing that our efforts will end in defeat. Can anyone completely believe that he is a body and still have the will to do anything? Some people try to believe that science will find a way to make the body last forever. Other people simply try to put death out of their mind. Still others are attracted to everything that is related to death and they feel that they can become comfortable with death by being close to it all the time. However, as long as a person identifies with a body, he will feel discomfort. Another way of viewing the body is to think of the body as a useful vehicle. A vehicle can be used for adventurous journeys. It can be used for leisurely Sunday drives. Or it can be used to take us to the corner store. But in the end we abandon the car for the comfort of home, where we can finally relax in peace and safety. In the same way, the body can have many functions. If we see the body as merely a temporary vehicle, we will not make the mistake of overvaluing the body and then hating the body for what it cannot do for us.
  12. 12. While we overvalue the body, we tend to fear death and we hate others for making us feel vulnerable to death. Everyone becomes a possible enemy because everyone has the ability to harm our body. We have come to treasure the body and separation over the spirit and communication. The body’s means of communication can also make us feel separate. When we choose to see sin instead of innocence and mistakes instead of love, we become defensive and often try to cut off communication with various people. As we try to cut off communication, we create complex systems and ways of dealing with others. Our societal systems have adapted to our need to be separate. We are able to conduct business with money. We don’t need to even see the person that we are doing business with. We never even know the people who use the products we manufacture. We don’t have to show appreciation, and when we do say, “Thank you,” it is often very mechanical. We have locks on all of our doors. We get what we think we need to make us happy or to maintain our body, and we let others take care of themselves. We show affection only when we think we can get something from another person. Is there another way? When we let go of our fear--our fear of death, our fear of communication, and our fear of God--we will experience the love that we really are. This process of letting go of fear is a process that is shared by everyone. By its very nature, it is not a process that one person can accomplish alone. When this process is accomplished, we will no longer see sin and guilt and fear. Instead, we will be love and peace and joy. We will give up seeing--an act in which there is a distance between the one who sees and what is seen--and we will embrace being--a state in which communication exists in unbroken wholeness. Contents Love and the Call for Love There are two types of expressions: (1) love and (2) the call for love. Every loving thought is eternal. It is never lost and it benefits everyone. Every call for love is a call for help, a call for healing. In this world, calls for love reveal that healing is needed. Fear, anger, and attack are calls for love. Those who believe in sin call for love but do not know how to find it. Those who believe in sin feel the fear of being punished for their sins. They feel that they have sinned and that they are trapped by their sin. This leads to anger about the unfairness of their situation. Then they place their feelings of sin and guilt on others and attack others mentally, verbally, and physically to try to make themselves feel better. But this does not work. It merely makes the attacker feel guiltier, and the cycle of sin, fear, guilt, and attack continues. How do we get out of this cycle? We must learn that what we now think of as unforgivable sin is merely a mistake in thinking that can be corrected. When we seem to see sins in ourselves or others, we need to realize that we are only calling for love.
  13. 13. When we attack others, we are really attacking ourselves. This world is a world broken by fear, anger, and attack. When we see others as the same as ourselves and we stop judging ourselves and others, healing will occur. As we heal our sense of separation, we will realize that fear and anger are never justified. Fear and anger are just the results of mistaken thinking. We will realize that only eternal things are real and that we do not need to worry about things that change and disappear. As we reverse our way of thinking—from judgment and attack to compassion and forgiveness—we will begin to find peace. When we are drowning in the waters of pain, it is difficult to find faith in a better type of existence, but there is a patient and strong hand reaching out for us, and it will pull us out of the swirling nightmares that we have created for ourselves. All mistakes will be corrected, all vision will be cleansed, and all dreams of fear and conflict will end. In our time-dream, conflict and death seem to win. However, when we see things from a larger perspective, when the world no longer seems broken, we will experience the love and joy that are our eternal state. This eternal state of love and joy is more certain than the death and decomposition of our physical bodies, and when we shift our focus from physical dreams to eternal reality, we will find peace at last. Contents Minesweeper These words are from the song “Fortress Around Your Heart” by Sting: As I returned across the lands I'd known I recognized the fields where I'd once played I had to stop in my tracks for fear Of walking on the mines I'd laid This is a song about relationships. In relationships, we often do or say things--or fail to do or say things--and other people can take offense or feel hurt by the things that we do or fail to do. These things we do can cause our relationships to deteriorate so much that we don’t want to be around each other anymore. The hurtful and selfish things we do are like mines that we lay in the hearts and minds of others. We are often afraid to rebuild or restore a relationship because of these mines that we have laid. The mines could explode in our faces when the other person returns the hurt that we have given him or her. So, because we are afraid, we build walls of silence or distance to keep other people out. This is from the same song: And if I have built this fortress around your heart Encircled you in trenches and barbed wire Then let me build a bridge For I cannot fill the chasm And let me set the battlements on fire
  14. 14. In this part of the song, one person wants to restore the relationship. The “fortress around your heart” represents the walls between people. The “battlements” are the defenses that people build to protect themselves from each other. “Let me build a bridge” is an attempt to cross the field of mines and rebuild the lost relationship. In this world, we are strangers to most people, and we are close to very few, if any, people. What if you found out that you could not find happiness unless you made peace with everyone in the world? Would happiness be worth the effort? Would you be willing to forgive your enemies, that is, would you be willing to overlook or ignore all of the perceived wrongs that you think have been committed against you? The book A Course in Miracles asks, “Do you prefer that you be right or happy?” If we claim that we must be right about how others have hurt us, and that others deserve to be punished or shunned, then we will never find happiness. However, happiness is possible once we release all of our resentment and hold nothing against other people. (By the way, the author of this essay is not completely happy yet, either.) Happiness is within our power, but are we willing to do what happiness requires? As in the game “Minesweeper,” we can play the game over and over again until we “win” it. We cannot fail, in the long run, to clear all of the mines of hurt and resentment that we have placed in the world. It is too painful to keep resentment or hold grudges forever, and we will eventually give them up. In the present, we fear retribution or repayment for what we think we have done wrong. This fear is merely the fear of our own shadow. We fear that what we have done to others will be done to us, and this is true because there is no “other” person and what we do to “others” we do to ourselves. Imagine how we would feel if we forgave everyone completely and thus received complete, unconditional forgiveness for ourselves! Contents We Are the Same These words are from the song “Kiss Me,” by Tom Waits: You look at me I look at you There’s only one thing I want you to do … Kiss me like a stranger once again I want to believe that our love’s a mystery I want to believe that our love’s a sin I want you to kiss me like a stranger once again What is Mr. Waits really saying in this song? Isn’t he singing the praises of what A Course in Miracles calls the “special relationship”? The special relationship is,
  15. 15. fundamentally, a person’s attempt to steal another self because the person hates his own self. One person sees another person as more special than himself, and then the first person attempts to possess the other self exclusively for himself. Thus, the special relationship is based on low self-esteem or self-hatred, and the special relationship produces guilt because one person believes that he has stolen something. When one person finds that the other person cannot fulfill his desire for a new, more special self, the result is hatred for the other person. Then, the first person tries to find another special relationship and tries to maintain the illusion that he can be fulfilled by this new special relationship. In the special relationship, “love” is really hate—hate for one’s apparently insufficient self and hate for the other person who cannot really make the first person feel special or better. The following words are also by Tom Waits. The song is called “Bad As Me.” You’re the head on the spear You’re the nail on the cross You’re the fly in my beer You’re the key that got lost … No good you say Well that’s good enough for me You’re the wreath that caught fire You’re the preach to the choir You bite down on the sheet But your teeth have been wired … And you’re the same kind of bad as me “You’re the same kind of bad as me.” However, if we are all the same, then we are all neither good nor bad, for good and bad are opposites that require differences and comparisons to exist. As A Course in Miracles says, The opposite of love is fear, but what is all-encompassing [love] can have no opposite. And, Those who know that they are all the same need not salvation. We still need salvation because we see others as different from ourselves. We are still attracted to the guilt of the special relationship and to the possibility of stealing something from another to fulfill or save ourselves. However, salvation is not something we can find by stealing from those who seem to be different from ourselves. A holy relationship, in contrast, is a relationship in which people see each other as equals and
  16. 16. do not try to steal from each other because they know that they need nothing. They only seek to share their happiness with others. As A Course in Miracles says, To have, give all to all. This statement contradicts the logic of this world. In this world, we are taught that in order to have, we must keep. But thoughts, which are where reality begins, are increased by sharing. When we give away our ideas, they spread to other minds and they are reinforced in our own mind. And when we are ready to leave our bodies, we will join in spirit, share our thoughts, and be as God created us. We will reach this goal of union by overlooking all perceived errors and by seeing all of our brothers as equal to ourselves. We will realize that love is what we are and that we need nothing, for we will all share God’s gifts equally. Contents The Return to Heaven Let’s do a thought experiment. Think about one person who makes you feel uncomfortable. Maybe this person has done things to you that you perceive as hurtful. Or maybe this person has done things to hurt your friends or associates. Whenever you think of this person, you feel fear, anger, or hate. You would never accept this person as your friend on Facebook, you would never invite this person into your home, and you might even have thought about killing this person. Now suppose that you were told that you would have to live with this person for eternity. Suppose that you were told that you would not have real peace until you made peace with this person. What if the one who told you these things was correct? Would you say that this is not fair? Would you hold onto your resentment because you believe that your judgment and condemnation of this person is just and right? Would your desire to prove yourself right and your desire to condemn the other person be stronger than your desire for peace and happiness? A Course in Miracles says that God’s creation is living in the illusion of fragmentation, that this illusion is a self-made hell, and that God’s creation can leave this hell and enter heaven only by spiritually reuniting. Physical bodies are the symbols of this fragmentation or separation. However, when minds become one, physical bodies can no longer separate the parts of God’s creation. The spiritual reunification of God’s creation is the salvation of the world. Since God’s creation is united in reality, God’s creation will simultaneously leave the illusion of separation when the wish for separate existence and the fear of union is given up. Let’s return to our thought experiment. From the previous paragraph, we can see that we cannot return to heaven without our “brother,” the person that makes us so uncomfortable. When we have forgiven our “brother,” that is, when we have realized that nothing that our brother did (and nothing that we have done) can damage reality,
  17. 17. we will return to the awareness of heaven. Fortunately, this forgiveness is not something that we have to do with our own strength. All we need is a little willingness for healing, and the Holy Spirit will direct our thoughts and actions to achieve this healing. All things point toward the reunification of God’s creation and to the realization of heaven. We can delay this reunification for a long time, but we cannot permanently block it because it is God’s will. Eventually, even our worst enemy will become our friend and our circle of friends will extend into infinity as we laugh about how we took ourselves and our “enemies” so seriously. Imagine the joy of not having any enemies and of not feeling like the targeted enemy of others! Contents Yes or No? All things work together for good. There are no exceptions except in the ego's judgment. --A Course in Miracles “All things work together for good.” If this is true, then there are some other things that follow from this statement: All things work together for good. A. Everything that I do works together for good. i. Everything that I am proud to have done works together for good. ii. Everything that I regret having done works together for good. B. Everything that you do works together for good. i. Everything that you have done that I approve of works together for good. ii. Everything that you have done that I would condemn you for works together for good. Do all things work together for good or not? Yes or no? We are used to judging some things as good or bad, fortunate or unfortunate, lucky or unlucky. We are used to judging ourselves and other people for things that we do or don’t do. Why do we judge? It is because we feel guilty. When we feel guilty, we judge or attack ourselves and others for things that we perceive as bad. Since we cannot bear to feel guilty alone, we look for lacks in others and attempt to place guilt on others as well. We feel guilty because we identify with our “ego,” which attempts to live apart from God. We feel guilty because we believe that, by trying to live apart from God, we have broken God’s perfect spiritual wholeness that he created. However, this separation from God is an illusion. We are “dreaming” that we are separate and alone. In reality, we have never left God. Salvation must reverse the mad belief in separate thoughts and separate bodies, which lead separate lives and go their separate ways. One function shared by
  18. 18. separate minds unites them in one purpose, for each one of them is equally essential to them all. --A Course in Miracles What is salvation but a change of mind? Once you saw what another person did, and you interpreted it as being bad. After salvation, however, you will see how all things work together for good, and you will interpret all actions in another way. All actions will be seen as part of God’s plan to awaken his creation from the illusion of separation. Salvation is not something that we can achieve alone. It is something that requires the joining in purpose of God’s creation. How long will we choose to feel guilty and to judge, when God’s love and joy are waiting for us? Contents Seek But Do Not Find A Course in Miracles (ACIM) says that the command of this world is “seek but do not find.” Why don’t we find what we want or need in this world? The following ideas may sound strange to you, but they might help us to come closer to the truth of our situation. ACIM says that God is love, and that God creates by extending himself. Therefore, we are also love, being God’s creation or extension. God’s creation of love is one, and we are all connected. If we are love, and we are one, then how did we get to be in such a frustrating and unsatisfying world? ACIM says that at one point we had the insane idea that we had taken God’s power and gone against his will. We believed that we had sinned against God and we forgot to laugh at this crazy, ridiculous idea. This idea is ridiculous because God, being who he is, is all-powerful, and God’s will and our will are one. Since we began to believe in sin (meaning, error that cannot be corrected), we began to fear that God would punish us and we tried to hide from God. ACIM calls this our “detour into fear.” This world is our attempt to hide from God and become separate individuals. However, in the attempt to become separate, we became more fearful because we now believed that we had really and permanently destroyed the unity of God’s creation. Since we took this detour into fear, we believe that we are separate, and the fear that we feel blocks the love that we are. Since we are eternal and we are love, we will never be completely satisfied with this world of separation, time, and fear. How do we leave fear and return to love? As ACIM says, this is a group project. Since we are one in reality, every effort we make to become more aware of the love that we are affects everyone else. To become more aware of the love that we are, we need to forgive (meaning, overlook) all of the errors we think we see in ourselves and in others. Once the forgiveness of God’s creation is complete, this world will disappear, and we will experience the love and joy that are our nature and right. Until then, we will think that happiness will come as a result of external things that happen to us, and we will seek
  19. 19. happiness but we will not find it. Thank God that our return to love (our salvation) is something that will surely happen. Contents Communication God and God’s creation are in a state of unbroken communication and knowledge. However, we, as God’s creation, can be unaware of this natural state of communication with God. God is love, and we, as the extension of God, are also love. However, at one point we believed that we had successfully attacked and hurt God, and we began to feel sinful and guilty. This belief in sin includes the idea that there is a will separate from God’s will. If God’s creation can really act in opposition to God, then God can be weakened and overthrown. However, if God and His creation share one will, then the idea of sin against God is merely a mistake, a mistake that can be easily corrected. The belief in sin, guilt, and fear made the ego possible. The “ego” is the desire for separation. The ego believes that separation and attack make the individual strong. The ego also believes that union and love are signs of weakness. Therefore, the ego uses the “communication” of the body to prevent real communication. The ego uses the body and its words and actions to block real communication. The ego promotes confusion, deception, and attack to keep God’s creation splintered into apparently different beings and wills. The body is the symbol of this apparent separation. The ego believes that private thoughts and wills are possible and desirable. However, God’s creation is not happy while it follows the ego’s directions. God’s creation can only be happy when it knows itself as God created it. God’s creation can learn to know itself by deciding to follow God’s guide, the Holy Spirit, rather than deciding to follow the ego. God’s creation can know itself by giving up judgment and accepting forgiveness. Judgment is an attempt to attack creation. Forgiveness realizes that nothing God created can be destroyed or even changed. Therefore, the belief in sin, guilt, and fear are completely unjustified since no one can destroy God, eternity, or love. God creates by extending himself. God and his creation are love and always will be, but we, as God’s creation, can be unaware of this fact. The continual communication of God and creation is a source of eternal joy. We can return to the awareness of this state of joy by ceasing to judge. When we stop judging, we become free from the fear of being judged. When we are no longer afraid of being judged, we can begin to communicate freely, without the need to confuse and deceive and promote separation with our words and actions. The body is a tool of the mind. The body can be used to disrupt communication, or the body can be used to promote communication. However, once we realize that the mind does not need the body to communicate, the body will be laid aside, and creation will be joyfully reunited. Then creation will know itself as love and experience the bliss that is its natural state. This is a state of innocence and strength, not a state of guilt and weakness. Contents
  20. 20. Heaven Is the Goal Heaven is the goal. Heaven is the awareness of creation's oneness with itself and with the Creator. In this world, we see separate bodies. In these bodies, we are attracted to the guilt of the “special relationship.” The special relationship is a relationship in which two people seek to love only each other and exclude the rest of the universe. However, it is impossible for love to be limited, and when we try to limit love, we feel fear and guilt. When we are in a limited and limiting relationship, we begin to hate the one that we are supposed to love. This world was made by the desire for separate wills and thoughts and by the desire for special love from a special person. However, oneness does not know of separation or specialness. It knows of only union and sameness. The alternative to the special relationship is the holy relationship. The holy relationship is a special relationship that has been transformed and freed by love to embrace all of creation. The holy relationship is not limited to the body, but rather allows all of creation to be joined in the circle of oneness. As long as we value what this world offers, which is the opposite of what heaven offers, we will return to this world. Once we have learned that what we really want is what heaven offers, we will come to this world only to help others learn to value what heaven offers. This world, which we made with our desire to be separate, can be a classroom in which we learn to see and value differently. The healing of creation is our true purpose in this world. Limited by time, we cannot see the big picture, but if we learn to listen to the guidance of the “Holy Spirit” rather than the guidance of the “ego,” then we can speed up the healing of creation. Since we are all connected, our healing occurs together. In order to heal, we must change our way of looking at things. This change can be disorienting at first because we must give up our previous fixed worldview of separation before we can accept a new worldview of oneness. Sometimes, it takes discomfort to motivate us to look for a new way of life. This discomfort will, in the end, be seen as a blessing because it led us to choose what we really want. What we want is heaven. In other words, we want to know our oneness with each other and with our Creator. This, and only this, will allow us to be aware of love and lasting happiness. Contents The Biggest Mistake Our sense of inadequacy, weakness and incompletion comes from the strong investment in the “scarcity principle” that governs the whole world of illusions. From that point of view, we seek in others what we feel is wanting in ourselves.
  21. 21. We “love” another in order to get something ourselves. That, in fact, is what passes for love in the dream world. There can be no greater mistake than that, for love is incapable of asking for anything. --from the preface to A Course in Miracles “Love is incapable of asking for anything.” In other words, love is not needy. Love does not need anything. Love is self-sufficient and only seeks to give of itself and thus increase joy. Love joins with love for the joy of joining. Love sees that giving is the same as receiving since we are all connected. However, we have made a big mistake about what love is. We feel unworthy, so we seek external validation or affirmation. We call this external affirmation “love.” We do whatever we can to fill the emptiness in our hearts. We look for others who can convince us that we are worthy or good or valuable. We look for others who will do or say things that make us temporarily feel better, and we become “addicted” to these people. After a while, though, we begin to doubt that these other people are sincere about what they tell us. We again doubt that we are worthy or valuable or good. And sometimes these other people get tired of doing and saying things that fill our emptiness, and we leave them to look for others who can fill our “needs.” Sometimes, two people can attempt to fill the emptiness of each other for a long period of time. However, such a relationship is built upon the maintenance of illusions, bargaining, and self-sacrifice. They maintain the illusion that they have needs, they bargain by trading actions or words, and they believe that they must partially sacrifice their own self-interest in order to get what they want. But this is not love. Love does not know of pain, sacrifice, or bargaining. These things come from fear, not love. In this world, we are like bottomless pits of needs. Like babies, we think we have a continual need for physical, mental, and emotional support. In contrast with these pits of needs, our true nature is to be mountains of trust, confidence, and love. In reality, we have no needs. In order to return to our true nature, our thinking must be reversed, or turned inside-out. This thought reversal will come about when enough people give up judgment and try to overlook (or forgive) mistakes. If love is not needy, what is love like? Real love must be experienced to be known, but a general outline of what love is, and is not, is given in Lesson 127 of the Workbook for Students in A Course in Miracles. Contents Poems An Eternal Spring This poem is about the darkness of unforgiveness and the eternal spring brought about by forgiveness.
  22. 22. What can forgiveness bring Except an eternal spring? Forgiveness brings lasting peace The kind that does not cease It brings meaning to a world of chaos It brings growth to thoughts of loss It brings safety to a view of danger It brings calmness in a time of anger It brings answers to all your whys It brings a certainty that never lies But unforgiving minds hold on to fear They never let real love come near They are full of sadness and of woe They will not let their resentment go They have no hope of a painless time They have no assurance of rest sublime They are blind, yet see many dangers They have friends, yet act like strangers They are full of doubt and of confusion They see, but perceive only illusion They are afraid of every waking sound They are more afraid of quietness profound They are afraid of the darkness of the night They are more afraid to see the light They see in the future only their damnation They see only their sins with no cancellation They seek to live, but wish they were dead They live for the moment but are full of dread Unforgiving minds dwell in despair How to be free, they are not aware They see their judgment as a fact in stone Which they cannot alter or even postpone They do not seek to change and do not repent They do not free others but always resent They do not question their thoughts of habit And are afraid to change the world they inhabit They only see what they expect to perceive New ideas about life they will not receive Since you taught yourself that sin is real Teach yourself forgiveness in order to heal For forgiveness is used to undo
  23. 23. All errors and make your life new Sin melts before mercy's light And pardon does real joy ignite You are the light of the world The purifier of all hatred hurled As long as people believe in retribution Forgiveness will be your contribution For pardon turns an enemy into a friend So that life on earth does not end For if revenge had had its entire way Society would not have lasted to this day As long as darkness does surround Forgiveness will all the more abound But when we have one error truly waived The world will on that very day be saved And forgiveness will not need to exist For truth will come and errors not persist And when we forget sin and begin to sing We will see the onset of an eternal spring Contents Inner Power This poem is about resentment and its relinquishment. Inner resentment tears apart your soul And on those around you takes its toll But your pardon releases And sin's burden decreases When you forgive and make the world whole Contents The Wings of the Spirit This poem is about leaving the world after our purpose here is complete. If there is for spirit a reason To stay in this world for a season Is it not to reveal to another spirit The voice of reason until it can hear it? For reason says that the world here is base It cannot be a spirit's resting place
  24. 24. For a spirit cannot be at peace While it must its material home lease In a world where bodies always change And all of the elements rearrange Can a spirit find security In birth, growth, and maturity? For then the spirit must find and await The death that is its unquestioned fate But if a spirit looks past physical things It will find that it really has wings That can take it beyond material stuff When of this world it has had enough But before it leaves the world in haste It does not its physical life waste It will attempt with all that it knows To convince others wherever it goes Not to see death as a fearful end But as a dear and welcome friend And when more spirits have found That they are not chained to this ground They will take off and fly up as one Like a flock of birds towards the sun And all the world will disappear With all the stress, sorrow, and fear And the loss of the world will not pain them For it will only serve to unchain them And all errors and mistakes will be righted When all of creation is forever united Contents Miracles This poem puts the fifty miracle principles into verse. 1 All miracles are the same Glad expressions of love's flame Although diverse to the body's eyes They do not vary in degree or size 2 Miracles in themselves mean not a thing Unless we know from Whom they all spring 3 The love that inspires these natural deeds Is the real miracle, from which all proceeds
  25. 25. 4 Miracles proceed from God's gift of life And serve to remove all of our strife And God does precede you wherever you go To reveal all that you ever need to know 5 True miracles happen without any of our planning For we are too busy with allowing and banning With God's power, miracles will become routine Although their effects are sometimes unseen 6 Miracles are natural and to us they belong And when they are absent it means something is wrong 7 Miracles are really a God-given right But first we must be cleansed by His true light 8 In eternity we are always whole and entire But in time we feel the need to acquire A miracle in time gives to those who seem to lack But the giver always gets some good thing back 9 The world's laws are by a miracle reversed And the giver does not need to be coerced For to supply another's temporary need Increases joy all around and eliminates greed 10 Miracles are not given to you to perform So another's beliefs will to yours conform These words just serve to underscore That this is not what miracles are for 11 When we have accepted love from our Creator By communicating through our quiet prayer This love is expressed through a miracle revealed For love that is shared cannot be concealed 12 Miracles are thoughts that can take two routes The lower thoughts make the physical fruits While the spiritual is created by higher thought The level on which the eternal is wrought 13 Miracles serve to change the world of time In the present they are rebirths sublime Which go back only to undo the past So that the future will be free at last
  26. 26. 14 Miracles are witnesses to truth eternal From inner conviction to effects external Without conviction, men resort to magic Which is mindless, destructive, and therefore tragic 15 Miracles should be performed every day Until the time when time melts away For time is simply our current learning tool And it will end when we graduate from school 16 Miracles teach that the one who does provide For another does not his own strength divide But the lives of both, in fact Are richer by the giver's act 17 Miracles rise above the body's realm And let the Spirit take the helm In this way healing is achieved And invisible power is received 18 A miracle is the most you can give someone And this gift of love cannot be outdone For your love for each other and your worth Are confirmed by this miracle on the earth 19 Miracles confirm that minds are one For they require the unity of God's son Miracles are eternity's confirmation For the sonship is the sum of His creation 20 Miracles help us to recognize That the healing power in us lies Not in our bodies but in our spirit Where truth comes when we don't fear it 21 A miracle is forgiveness's true sign When receiver and giver in you align You receive from God all that is good And give it to another as you should 22 Miracles are sometimes fearful to your sight Because you believe you can hide from the light You think that what cannot be seen with human eyes Does not exist and that miracles are all lies 23
  27. 27. Miracles see levels in new relations For sickness comes from confusing these stations And healing results from seeing things anew With a perspective that notes only the true 24 All that is real is created by light Everything else is a dream of the night Since you made sickness and you also made death These nightmares have only the weight of a breath And when you decide that they no longer have use They'll fade like a vapor when you watch it diffuse 25 Miracles add links to the chain of forgiveness And this chain guides all creation to coalesce And when all time is encompassed by this chain's scope The Atonement will be complete, creation's one hope 26 The Atonement undoes all of our fear An undoing that miracles help to bring near 27 A miracle given from God through me blesses everyone For the forgiveness I receive is withheld from no one 28 Miracles are the means to achieve a fearless state And revelation is the end for which we all wait 29 Miracles are a way to praise God through affirmations By honoring the perfection of all of His creations A miracle sees that when a creature links his identity With a body and not with spirit he loses all serenity 30 A miracle looks on spirit and corrects perception To communicate by direct transmission and reception 31 Miracles should bring about gratitude A truly thankful view and attitude For miracles reveal what you really are As God's child you are holy and without mar 32 Miracles are really all intercessions That I inspire through your expressions For miracles purify all of your perceptions By transcending your bodily misconceptions For you are perfect in your spiritual state And physical laws cannot this fact negate 33
  28. 28. Because you are love, miracles honor you And perceive the light in whatever you do Miracles remove illusions and set your mind free Nightmares are gone and you recover your sanity 34 Miracles restore the mind's full power So that there is no reason at all to cower Miracles atone for all your apparent lack So nothing can hurt you nor even attack 35 Through miracles your love is always reflected Though you cannot always see what is affected 36 Miracles reveal that your mind Is with God's truth truly aligned 37 A miracle is a correction For your false perception The atonement principle becomes your guide To restore knowledge as healing is applied 38 The Holy Spirit sees both illusions and creations And separates the truth from the fabrications 39 The Holy Spirit shows that error is unreal For the light that comes does darkness repeal 40 A miracle sees all brothers united as one For unity is the reality of God's only son 41 Miracles see in creation only a wholeness And lack is overcome with a certain boldness 42 Miracles give strength to dispel isolation And remove the illusion of deprivation 43 Miracles arise from a state of readiness When the mind is given a certain steadiness 44 Miracles reveal an awareness from inside That Christ's Atonement has all things supplied 45 A miracle may be hidden but never is lost You might not know whose path it has crossed A miracle may reach out to countless men Though you may not know how, where, or when
  29. 29. 46 Miracles are a form of communication Only surpassed by direct revelation A miracle is only a temporary aid For communion with God is where hope is laid 47 All miracles help us to learn That time itself is not our concern For miracles reduce our need for time So we advance faster to the sublime 48 With a miracle we can time modulate But revelation does not to time relate 49 A miracle sees no differences between mistakes But works until all minds the Spirit awakes 50 The miracle comes from the last judgment's wake When you compare with creation all you did make For the last judgment is only your final decision To keep only the true as seen with your new vision Contents The Light Does Not Condemn You This poem deals with several themes from A Course in Miracles. To escape from the guilt, fear, and pain That continually attack your weary brain You must take one small step ahead And leave for an instant all your dread While you hold on to your guilt and blame You will not your inheritance of joy reclaim To regain what is your sure right Bring all your thoughts into the light At first you will fear to admit The mental errors you commit You will condemn yourself for each Dark area that the light does reach But finding the light does not condemn you You will bring your errors to what is true And the truth will quietly dispel each illusion
  30. 30. And release you from all your dark confusion And the judgment that you fear to face And the rejection for which you brace These are only the outward projections Of your unforgiven imperfections But the gift of forgiveness is something That in the end is viewed as nothing For what you really are Your errors cannot mar Your real self is eternally whole And you will your Creator extol When you find this to be true And see yourself anew So on the day that the light comes And this light all your darkness plumbs Release your fear of condemnation And accept with joy God's affirmation For God created you as His perfect child Although you thought that He reviled You for each of your imperfect thoughts And all your broken shoulds and oughts The truth is that mistakes cannot Dim God's love or place a blot Or stain upon your eternal soul Which even now does remain whole And now your soul awaits the day When your mouth does not betray What is really in your heart and mind When all your thoughts have been refined For communication is your given right And when creation does with joy unite All your dreams of darkness and of pain Will be forgotten and will not remain Contents Your Salvation Is Not Far
  31. 31. This poem tackles several themes from A Course in Miracles. Though mistaken you have often been You have never committed a mortal sin For a mortal sin would condemn you to hell With no release, as you seem to know well But all your errors can be undone By the Holy Spirit, one by one You must learn yourself to forgive If you would really intend to live For the guilt that you would make true Will always come back to haunt you And you cannot attack another with hate Without fearing the world will retaliate But truly there is only one of us here And when you deny this you live in fear Bodies are the symbols of separation As are the lines between each nation When you realize that you cannot be saved alone You will understand that your body is on loan For your body only serves to teach you That through a body no one can reach you But since our minds are already united All illusions of the body will be righted And illusions are what you will keep As long as you desire to remain asleep But if you do not fear to share what you are You will find your salvation is not far But if you try to keep for yourself a small part You will close the door and lock your heart For when you try to gain and keep a little piece You attempt the impossible and have no peace The truth is that you have what you are And all that you have is never far For everything in the universe is yours For God gives it all to whom He adores And you are His created and beloved child On whom He has always gently smiled And if you desire to always increase Your feelings of love and joy and of peace
  32. 32. You will not see yourself as limited to form For what is real you don't need to reform For real is what you will see, feel, and be When you leave your illusions and let them go free Contents The Real World This poem puts into verse the description of the real world from the Manual for Students. The world that you see brings fear to your mind For what you looked for is what you did find You sent out messengers guided by terror That faithfully returned as dread's bearer You made this world as an attack on God But this world of matter is just a facade It is a symbol of your wish for separation Thought to be real, but without substantiation But this world, with its belief in sin, Will truly be transformed from within Forgiveness is the means of salvation For when the mind makes no accusation The "real world" will arise A new symbol before your eyes This symbol signifies the dream's end For the idea of sin, man will transcend This symbol stands for love's return And man will all of his fear unlearn This symbol means the end of time When man enters eternity sublime But the real world, this symbol of peace, Will also end, and its activity cease The last step, taken by God, guides us in As heaven is remembered and all found within Contents No Other Will This poem states that our will and God’s will are one. When I fail to forgive When I'm afraid I won't live When my mind is conflicted
  33. 33. When my heart is afflicted When I fear my mistakes When the solid earth quakes When I am afraid of what I've done When I think that happiness won't come I need only be calm and still There is no will but God's will It is God's sure promise and guarantee Joy will be the outcome of all we see We can delay this final good result We can continue to attack and insult But it is as sure as God's will is one That God's will on heaven and earth is done And God wills nothing but joy for his creation And to raise it from its present lowly station Do you think that your wish at some dark hour Could cancel God's will and awesome power? Rather, be thankful that your dark wish is frail Your effort to replace God will, in the end, fail For when you come to the end of your way You will return to God and hear him say, "Indeed, you have never left your home with me Though you have been unaware and could not see And now you can forget your dream of sin You are my holy son and always have been And now you realize that our will is one For my presence and joy you cannot outrun" Contents The Thief This poem deals with the “special relationship.” The soul that does itself despise Looks for another to tell it lies This soul seeks to throw itself away And to steal another self as prey And this unhappy soul's heavy guilt Is the base on which its ties are built The special relationship is an attempt To get rid of festering self-contempt But how can this soul's guilt cease to burn When it offers the other nothing in return
  34. 34. And how can this guilt be eliminated When love and theft have been equated The specialness that this soul demands Is not something that God understands For God sees his creation as united And with this union He is delighted For His creation is guiltless and pure Though illusions have made this obscure All guilt and fear have as their cornerstone The illusion that God's will can be overthrown The soul that thinks it can displace the Lord And can in reality make endless discord Is simply mistaken about what is real For what can change with time is simply unreal If one soul could another soul befriend And exclude all others, God would end But God and His creation are one in love And do remain as close as hand in glove But those who still look for special love Remain blind to the light shining from above The special relationship is this world's lure Which does the world's continuance briefly ensure But when this bond is seen as guilt's protection Illusions will fade and this bond know rejection Through its exclusiveness, this attempted tie Seeks heaven but does heaven totally deny So what will become of the would-be thief Who looks for specialness but finds no relief From the guilt and fear and all the illusions That result from attempted union through exclusions This soul will realize that this world really has naught And heaven is had by giving up the nothing he sought Contents

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