Here is the answer to every problem that confronts you today and tomorrow and throughout time. In this world, you believe you are sustained by everything but God. Your faith is placed in the most trivial and insane symbols; pills, money, “protective” clothing, “influence,” “prestige,” being liked, knowing the “right” people, and an endless list of forms of nothingness which you endow with magical powers.
All these things are your replacements for the Love of God. All these things are cherished to ensure a body identification. They are songs of praise to the ego. Do not put your faith in the worthless. It will not sustain you.
Only the Love of God will protect you in all circumstances. It will lift you out of every trial, and raise you high above all the perceived dangers of this world into a climate of perfect peace and safety. It will transport you into a state of mind which nothing can threaten, nothing can disturb, and98 nothing can intrude upon the eternal calm of the Son of God.
Put not your faith in illusions. They will fail you. Put all your faith in the Love of God within you, eternal, changeless and forever unfailing. This is the answer to whatever confronts you today. Through the Love of God in you, you can resolve all seeming difficulties without effort and in sure confidence. Tell yourself this often today. It is a declaration of release from the belief in idols. It is your acknowledgment of the truth about yourself.
Twice today, morning and evening, let the idea for today sink deep into your consciousness. Repeat it, think about it, let related thoughts come to help you recognize its truth, and allow peace to flow over you like a blanket of protection and surety. Let no idle and foolish thoughts enter to disturb the holy mind of the Son of God. Such is the Kingdom of Heaven. Such is the resting‐place where your Father has placed you forever.
Lesson 49 “Godʹs Voice speaks to me all through the day.”
It is quite possible to listen to Godʹs Voice all day without interrupting your regular activities in any way. The part of your mind in which truth abides is in constant communication with God, whether you are aware of it or not. It is the other part of your mind that functions in the world and obeys the worldʹs laws. It is this part which is constantly distracted, disorganized, and highly uncertain.
The part that is listening to the Voice of God is calm, always at rest and wholly certain. It is really the only part there is. The other part is a wild illusion, frantic and distraught, but without reality of any kind. Try today not to listen to it. Try to identify with the part of your mind where stillness and peace reign forever. Try to hear Godʹs Voice call to you lovingly, reminding you that your Creator has not forgotten His Son.
We will need at least four five‐minute practice periods today, and more if possible. We will try actually to hear the Voice reminding you of God and of your Self. We will approach this happiest and holiest of thoughts with confidence, knowing that in doing so we are joining our will with the Will of God. He wants you to hear His Voice. He gave It to you to be heard.
Listen in deep silence. Be very still and open your mind. Go past all the raucous shrieks and sick imaginings that cover your real thoughts and obscure your eternal link with God. Sink deep into the peace that waits for you beyond the frantic, riotous thoughts and sounds and sights of this insane world. You do not live there. We are trying to reach your real home. We are trying to reach the place where you are truly welcome. We are trying to reach God.
Do not forget to repeat todayʹs idea very frequently. Do so with your eyes open when necessary, but closed when possible. And be sure that you sit quietly and repeat the idea for today slowly whenever you can, closing your eyes on the world, and realizing that you are inviting Godʹs Voice to speak to you.
The idea for today simply states a fact. It is not a fact to those who believe in illusions, but illusions are not facts. In truth there is nothing to fear. It is very easy to recognize this. But it is very difficult to recognize for those who want illusions to be true.
Todayʹs practice periods will be very short, very simple, and very frequent. Merely repeat the idea as often as possible. You can use it with your eyes open at any time and in any situation. It is strongly recommended, however, that you take a minute or so whenever possible to close your eyes and repeat the idea slowly to yourself several times. It is particularly important that you use the idea immediately, should anything disturb your peace of mind.
The presence of fear is a sure sign that you are trusting in your own strength. The awareness that there is nothing to fear shows that somewhere in your mind, not necessarily in a place which you recognize as yet, you have remembered God and let His strength take the place of yours. The instant you are willing to do this there is indeed nothing to fear.
If you are trusting your own strength, you have every reason to be apprehensive, anxious, and fearful. What can you predict or control? What is there in you that can be counted on? What would give you the ability to be aware of all the facets of any problem, and to resolve them in such a way that only good can come of it? What is there in you that gives you the recognition of the right solution, and the guarantee that it will be accomplished?
Of yourself you can do none of these things. To believe that you can is to put your trust where trust is unwarranted, and to justify fear, anxiety, depression, anger, and sorrow. Who can put his faith in weakness and feel safe? Yet who can put his faith in strength and feel weak?
God is your safety in every circumstance. His Voice speaks for Him in all situations and in every aspect of all situations, telling you exactly what to do to call upon His strength and His protection. There are no exceptions because God has no exceptions. And the Voice Which speaks for Him thinks as He does.
Today we will try to reach past your own weakness to the Source of real strength. Four five‐minute practice periods are necessary today, and longer and more frequent ones are urged. Close your eyes and begin as usual by repeating todayʹs idea. Then spend a minute or two in searching for situations in your life which you have invested with fear, dismissing each one by telling yourself,
“God is the Strength in which I trust.”
Now try to slip past all concerns related to your own sense of inadequacy. It is obvious that any situation which causes you concern is associated with feelings of inadequacy, since otherwise you would believe that you could deal with the situation success fully. It is not by trusting yourself that you will gain confidence. But the strength of God in you is successful in all things.
The recognition of your own frailty is a necessary step in the correction of your errors. But it is hardly a sufficient one in giving you the confidence which you need and to which you are entitled. You must also gain an awareness that your confidence in your real strength is fully justified in every respect and in all circumstances.
In the latter phase of the practice period, try to reach down into your mind to a place of real safety. You will recognize that you have reached it if you feel a deep peace, however briefly. Let go all the trivial things that churn and bubble on the surface of your mind, and reach down and below them to the Kingdom of Heaven. There is a place in you where there is perfect peace. There is a place in you where nothing is impossible. There is a place in you where the strength of God abides.
Repeat the idea for today often. Use it as your answer to any disturbance. Remember that peace is your right because you are giving your trust to the strength of God.
Todayʹs idea holds the key to what your real thoughts are. They are nothing that you think you think, just as nothing that you think you see is related to vision in any way. There is no relationship between what is real and what you think is real. Nothing that you think are your real thoughts resemble your real thoughts in any respect. Nothing that you think you see bears any resemblance to what vision will show you.
You think with the Mind of God. Therefore you share your thoughts with Him, as He shares His with you. They are the same thoughts, because they are thought by the same Mind. To share is to make alike, or to make one. Nor do the thoughts you think with the Mind of God leave your mind, because thoughts do not leave their source. Therefore your thoughts are in the Mind of God, as you are. They are in your mind as well, where He is. As you are part of His Mind, so are your thoughts part of His Thoughts.
Where, then, are your real thoughts? Today we will attempt to reach them. We will have to look for them in your mind, because that is where they are. They must still be there because they cannot have left. What is thought by the Mind of God is eternal, being part of creation.
Our three five‐minute practice periods for today will take the same general form that we used in applying yesterdayʹs idea. We will attempt to leave the unreal and seek for the real. We will deny the world in favor of truth. We will not let the thoughts of the world hold us back, and we will not let the beliefs of the world tell us that what God would have us do is impossible.
Instead, we will try to recognize that only what God would have us do is possible. We will also try to understand that only what God would have us do is what we want to do. And we will also try to remember that we cannot fail in doing what He would have us do. There is every reason to feel confident that you will succeed today. It is the Will of God.
Begin the exercises for today by repeating the idea to yourself, closing your eyes as you do so. Spend a fairly short period in thinking a few relevant thoughts of your own, keeping the idea in mind as you do so. After you have added some four or five thoughts of your own, repeat the idea again, and tell yourself gently: “My real thoughts are in my mind. I would like to find them.” Then try to go past all the unreal thoughts which cover the truth in your mind, and reach to the eternal. Under all the senseless thoughts and mad ideas with which you have cluttered up your mind are the thoughts which you thought with God in the beginning. They are there in your mind now, completely unchanged. They will always be in your mind, exactly as they always were.
Everything that you have thought since then will change, but the foundation on which they rest is wholly changeless. It is this foundation toward which the exercises for today are directed. Here is your mind joined with the Mind of God. Here are your thoughts one with His.
For this kind of practice only one thing is necessary; approach it as you would an altar dedicated in Heaven itself to God the Father and God the Son. For such is the place you are trying to reach. You will probably be unable as yet to realize how high you are trying to go. Yet even with the little understanding you have already gained, you should be able to remind yourself that this is no idle game, but an exercise in holiness and an attempt to reach the Kingdom of Heaven. In using the shorter form for applying todayʹs idea, try to remember how important it is to you to understand the holiness of the mind that thinks with God.
Take a minute or two, as you repeat the idea throughout the day, to appreciate your mindʹs holiness. Stand aside, however briefly, from all thoughts that are unworthy of Him Whose host you are. And thank Him for the thoughts He is thinking with you.
Today we are continuing with the idea for yesterday, adding another dimension to it. You cannot see in darkness, and you cannot make light. You can make darkness and then think you see in it, but light reflects life, and is therefore an aspect of creation. Creation and darkness cannot coexist, but light and life must go together, being but different aspects of creation.
In order to see, one must recognize that light is within, not without. You do not see outside yourself. Nor is the equipment for seeing outside you. An essential part of this equipment is the light which makes seeing possible. It is with you always, making vision possible in every circumstance.
Today we are going to attempt to reach that light. For that purpose, we will use a form of practice which has been suggested once before, and which we will utilize increasingly. It is a particularly difficult form for the undisciplined mind because it represents a major goal of mind training. It embodies precisely what the untrained mind lacks. Yet the training must be accomplished if you are to see.
Have at least three practice periods today, each lasting three‐to‐five minutes. A longer time is highly recommended, but only if you find the time merely slipping by with little or no sense of strain. The form of exercise we will use today is the most natural and easy one in the world for the trained mind, just as it seems to be the most unnatural and difficult for the untrained mind.
Your mind is no longer wholly untrained. You are quite ready to learn the form of exercise we will use today, but you may find that you will encounter strong resistance. The reason is very simple. While you practice in this form, you leave behind everything that you now believe, and all the thoughts which you have made up. Properly speaking, this is the release from hell. Perceived through the egoʹs eyes, it is loss of identity and a descent into hell.
If you can stand aside from the ego ever so little, you will have no difficulty in recognizing that its opposition and fears are meaningless. You might find it helpful to remind yourself from time to time that to reach light is to escape from darkness, whatever you may believe to the contrary. God is the Light in which you see. You are attempting to reach Him.
Begin the practice period by repeating todayʹs idea with your eyes open, and close them slowly, repeating the idea several times more. Then try to sink into your mind, letting go every kind of interference and intrusions by quietly sinking past them. Your mind cannot be stopped in this unless you choose to stop it. It is merely taking its natural course. Try to observe your passing thoughts without involvement, and slip quietly by them.
While no particular form of approach is advocated, what is needful is a sense of the importance of what you are doing, its inestimable value to you, and an awareness that you are attempting something very holy. Salvation is your happiest accomplishment. It is also the only one that has any meaning, because it is the only one that has any use to you at all.
If resistance rises in any form, pause long enough to repeat todayʹs idea, keeping your eyes closed unless you are aware of fear. In that case, you will probably find it more reassuring to open your eyes briefly. Try, however, to return to the exercises as soon as possible.
If you are doing the exercises correctly, you should experience some sense of relaxation, and even a feeling that you are approaching, if not actually entering into light. Try to think of light, formless and without limit, as you pass by the thoughts of this world. And do not forget that they cannot hold you to the world unless you give them the power to do so. Throughout the day, repeat the idea often, with eyes open or closed as seems better to you at the time. Do not forget. Above all, be determined not to forget today.
Lesson 43 “God is my Source. I cannot see apart from Him.”
Perception is not an attribute of God. His is the realm of knowledge. Yet He has created the Holy Spirit as the Mediator between perception and knowledge. Without this link with God, perception would have replaced knowledge forever in your minds. With this link with God, perception will become so changed and purified that it will lead to knowledge. That is its function as the Holy Spirit sees it. Therefore, that is its function in truth.
In God you cannot see. Perception has no function in God, and does not exist. Yet in salvation, which is the undoing of what never was, perception has a mighty purpose. Made by the Son of God for an unholy purpose, it must become the means for the restoration of his holiness to his awareness. Perception has no meaning. Yet does the Holy Spirit give it a meaning very close to Godʹs. Healed perception becomes the means by which the Son of God forgives his brother and thus forgives himself.
You cannot see apart from God because you cannot be apart from God. Whatever you do you do in Him, because whatever you think you think with His Mind. If vision is real, and it is real to the extent to which it shares the Holy Spiritʹs purpose, then you cannot see apart from God.
Three five‐minute practice periods are required today, one as early as possible and another as late as possible.The third may be undertaken at the most convenient and suitable time which circumstances and readiness permit. At the beginning of the practice period, repeat the idea to yourself with your eyes open. Then glance around you for a short time, applying todayʹs idea specifically to what you see. Four or five subjects for this phase of the exercise are sufficient. You might say, for example:
“God is my Source. I cannot see this desk apart from Him.”
Although this part of the exercise period should be relatively short, be sure that you select the subjects for this phase indiscriminately, without self‐directed inclusion or exclusion. For the second and longer phase of the exercise period, close your eyes, repeat todayʹs idea again, and then let whatever relevant thoughts occur to you add to the idea in your own personal way. Thoughts such as:
“I see through the eyes of forgiveness,”
“I see the world as blessed,”
“The world can show me myself,”
“I see my own thoughts, which are like Godʹs,”
or any thought related more or less directly to todayʹs idea is suitable. The thoughts need not bear an obvious relationship to the idea, but they should not be in opposition to it.
If you should find your mind wandering; if you begin to be aware of thoughts which are clearly out of accord with todayʹs idea; or if you seem to be unable to think of anything, open your eyes, repeat the first phase; and then try the second phase again. Do not allow any protracted period to occur in which you become preoccupied with irrelevant thoughts. Return to the first phase as often as necessary to prevent this.
In applying todayʹs idea in the shorter practice periods, the form may vary according to the circumstances and situations in which you find yourself during the day. When you are with someone else, for example, try to remember to tell him silently:
“God is my Source. I cannot see you apart from Him.”
This form is equally applicable to strangers and to those you know well. Try, in fact, not to make distinctions of this kind at all.
The idea should also be applied throughout the day to various situations and events which may occur, particularly those which distress you in any way. For this kind of application, use this form:
“God is my Source. I cannot see this apart from Him.”
If no particular subject presents itself to your awareness, merely repeat the idea in its original form.
Try today not to allow long periods of time to slip by without remembering todayʹs idea, and thus remembering your function.
Lesson 43: God is my Source. I cannot see apart from Him.
Lesson 42 “God is my strength. Vision is His gift.”
The idea for today combines two very powerful thoughts, both of major importance. It also sets forth a cause and effect relationship which explains why you cannot fail in your efforts to achieve the goal of the course. You will see because it is the Will of God. It is His strength, not your own, that gives you power. And it is His gift to you, rather than your own, which offers vision to you.
God is indeed your strength, and what He gives is truly given. This means that you can receive it any time and anywhere, wherever you are and in whatever circumstances you find yourself. Your passage through time and space is not random. You cannot but be in the right place at the right time. Such is the strength of God. Such are His gifts.
We will have two three‐to‐five‐minute longer exercise periods today, one as soon as possible after you wake, and another as close as possible to the time you go to sleep. It is better, however, to wait until you can sit quietly by yourself at a time when you feel ready, than it is to be concerned with the time as such.
Begin the longer practice period by repeating the idea for today slowly, with eyes open, looking about you. Then close your eyes and repeat the idea again, quite slowly. After this, try to think of nothing except thoughts which occur to you in relation to todayʹs idea. You might think, for example:
“Vision must be possible. God gives truly.”
“Godʹs gifts to me must be mine because He gave them to me.”
Whatever thought that is clearly related to the idea itself is suitable. You may, in fact, be astonished at the amount of course related understanding some of your own thoughts contain. Let them come without censoring unless you realize that your mind is merely wandering, and you have let obviously irrelevant thoughts intrude. You may also reach a point where no thoughts at all seem to come to mind. If such interferences occur, open your eyes and repeat the thought once more while looking slowly about; close your eyes, repeat the idea once more, and then continue to look for related thoughts in your mind.
Remember, though, that active searching is not appropriate for todayʹs exercises. Try merely to step back and let the thoughts come. If you find this difficult, it is better to spend the practice period alternating between slow repetitions of the idea with eyes open, then closed, then open, and so on than it is to strain in order to find suitable thoughts.
There is no limit on the number of short practice periods which would be most beneficial. The idea for today is a beginning step in bringing thoughts together and teaching you that what you are studying is a unified thought system in which nothing is lacking that is needed, and nothing is included that is contradictory or irrelevant. The more often you repeat the idea during the day, the more often you will be reminding yourself that the goal of the course is important to you, and that you have not forgotten it.
Todayʹs idea will eventually overcome completely the sense of loneliness and abandonment which all the separated ones experience. Depression is an inevitable consequence of separation. So are anxiety, worry, a deep sense of helplessness, misery, suffering, and intense fear of loss.
The separated ones have invented many “cures” for what they believe to be the “ills of the world.” But the one thing they do not do is to question the reality of the problem. Yet its effects cannot be cured because it is not real. The idea for today has the power to end all this foolishness forever. And foolishness it is, despite the serious and tragic forms it may take.
Deep within you is everything that is perfect, ready to radiate through you and out into the whole world. It will cure all sorrow and pain and fear and loss because it will heal the mind that thought these things were real, and suffered out of its allegiance to these beliefs.
You can never be deprived of your perfect holiness because its Source goes with you wherever you go. You can never suffer because the Source of all joy goes with you wherever you go. You can never be alone because the Source of all life goes with you wherever you go. Nothing can destroy your peace of mind because God goes with you wherever you go.
We understand that you do not believe all this. How could you, when the truth is hidden deep within, under a heavy cloud of insane thoughts, dense and obscuring, yet representing all you see?
Today we will make our first real attempt to get past this dark and heavy cloud, and to go through it to the light beyond. There will be only one long practice period today. In the morning, as soon as you get up if possible, sit quietly for some three to five minutes with your eyes closed. At the beginning of this practice period, repeat todayʹs idea very slowly. Then make no effort to think of anything. Try, instead, to get a sense of turning inward, past all the idle thoughts of the world. Try to enter very deeply into your own mind, keeping it clear of any thoughts that might divert your attention.
From time to time you may repeat todayʹs idea, if you find it helpful. But most of all, try to sink down and inward, away from the world and all the foolish thoughts of the world. You are trying to reach past all these things. You are trying to leave appearances and approach reality.
It is quite possible to reach God. In fact it is very easy, because it is the most natural thing in the world. You might even say it is the only natural thing in the world. The way will open if you believe that it is possible. This exercise can bring very startling results even the first time it is attempted, and sooner or later it is always successful. We will go into more detail in connection with this kind of practice as we go along. But it will never fail completely, and instant success is possible.
Throughout the day use todayʹs idea often, repeating it very slowly, and preferably with eyes closed. Think of what you are saying; what the words mean. Concentrate on the holiness which they imply about you; on the unfailing companionship which is yours; on the complete protection that surrounds you.
You can indeed afford to laugh at fear thoughts, remembering that God goes with you wherever you go.
Today we will begin to assert some of the happy things to which you are entitled, being what you are. No long practice periods are required today, but very frequent short ones are necessary. Once every ten minutes would be highly desirable, and you are urged to attempt this and to adhere to this schedule whenever possible. If you forget, try again. If there are long interruptions, try again. Whenever you remember, try again.
You need not close your eyes for the exercise periods, although you will probably find it more helpful if you do. However, you may be in a number of situations during the day when closing your eyes would not be appropriate. Do not miss a practice period because of this. You can practice quite well under almost any circumstance, if you really want to.
Todayʹs exercises take little time and no effort. Repeat today ʹs idea, and then add several of the attributes which you associate with being a Son of God, applying them to yourself. One practice period might, for example, consist of the following:
“I am blessed as a Son of God.I am happy, peaceful, loving and contented.”
Another might be something as follows:
“I am blessed as a Son of God. I am calm, quiet, assured and confident.”
If only a brief period is available, merely telling yourself that you are blessed as a Son of God will do.