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.
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.
God does not forgive because He has never condemned. And there must be condemnation before forgiveness is necessary. Forgiveness is the great need of this world, but that is because it is a world of illusions. Those who forgive are thus releasing themselves from illusions, while those who withhold forgiveness are binding themselves to them. As you condemn only yourself, so do you forgive only yourself.
Although God does not forgive, His Love is nevertheless the basis of forgiveness. Fear condemns and love forgives. Forgiveness thus undoes what fear has produced, returning the mind to the awareness of God. For this reason, forgiveness can truly be called salvation. It is the means by which illusions disappear.
Todayʹs exercises require at least three full five‐minute practice periods, and as many shorter applications as possible. Begin the practice periods by repeating todayʹs idea to yourself, as usual. Close your eyes as you do so, and spend a minute or two in searching your mind for those whom you have not forgiven. It does not matter “how much” you have not forgiven. You have forgiven them entirely or not at all.
If you are doing the exercises well, you should have no difficulty in finding a number of people you have not forgiven. It is a safe rule that anyone you do not like is a suitable subject. Mention each one by name, and say: “God is the Love in which I forgive you, (name)”
The purpose of the first phase of todayʹs practice is to put you in the best position to forgive yourself. After you have applied the idea for today to all those who have come to mind, tell yourself: “God is the Love in which I forgive myself.” Then devote the remainder of the practice period to offering related ideas such as: “God is the Love with which I love myself.” “God is the Love in which I am blessed.”
The form of the applications may vary considerably, but the central idea should not be lost sight of. You might say, for example: “I cannot be guilty because I am a Son of God.” “I have already been forgiven.” “No fear is possible in a mind beloved of God.” “There is no need to attack because love has forgiven me.”
The practice period should end, however, with a repetition of todayʹs idea as originally stated. The shorter applications may consist either of a repetition of the idea in the original or in a related form or in more specific applications if needed. They will be needed at any time during the day when you become aware of any kind of negative reaction to anyone, present or not. In this event, tell him silently: “God is the Love in which I forgive you.”
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.
If guilt is hell, what is its opposite? Like the text for which this workbook was written, the ideas which are used for these exercises are very simple, very clear, and totally unambiguous. We are not concerned with intellectual feats nor logical toys. We are dealing only in the very obvious, which has been overlooked in the clouds of complexity in which you think you think.
If guilt is hell, what is its opposite? This is not difficult, surely. The hesitation you may feel in answering is not due to the ambiguity of the question. But do you believe that guilt is hell? If you did, you would see at once how direct and simple the text is, and you would not need a workbook at all. No‐one needs practice to gain what is already his.
We have already said that your holiness is the salvation of the world. What about your own salvation? You cannot give what you do not have. A Savior must be saved. How else can he teach salvation? Todayʹs exercises will apply to you alone, recognizing that your salvation is crucial to the salvation of the world. As you apply the exercises to your own world, the whole world stands to benefit.
Your holiness is the answer to every question that was ever asked, is being asked now, or will be asked in the future. Your holiness means the end of guilt, and therefore the end of hell. Your holiness is the salvation of the world, and your own. How could you to whom your holiness belongs be excluded from it? God does not know unholiness. Can it be He does not know His Son?
A full five minutes are urged for the four longer practice periods for today. Longer and more frequent practice sessions are encouraged. If you want to exceed the minimum requirements more rather than longer sessions are recommended, although both are encouraged.
Begin the practice periods as usual, by repeating todayʹs idea to yourself. Then, with closed eyes, search out your unloving thoughts in whatever form they appear; uneasiness, depression, anger, fear, worry, attack, insecurity, and so on. Whatever form they take they are unloving and therefore fearful. And so it is from them that you need to be saved.
Specific situations, events or personalities you associate with unloving thoughts of any kind are suitable subjects for todayʹs exercises. It is imperative for your own salvation that you see them differently. And it is your blessing on them that will save you and give you vision.
Slowly, without conscious selection and without undue emphasis on any one in particular, search your mind for every thought that stands between you and your salvation. Apply the idea for today to each one of them in this way:
“My unloving thoughts about ____ are keeping me in hell. My holinessis my salvation.”
You may find these sessions easier if you intersperse the applications with several short periods during which you merely repeat todayʹs idea to yourself slowly a few times. You may also find it helpful to include a few short intervals in which you just relax and do not seem to be thinking of anything. Sustained concentration is very difficult at first. It will become much easier as your mind becomes more disciplined and less distractible.
Meanwhile, you should feel free to introduce variety into your application periods, in whatever form appeals to you. Do not, however, change the idea itself in varying the method of applying it. However you elect to use it, the idea should be stated so that its meaning remains that your holiness is your salvation. End each practice period by repeating the idea in its original form once more, and adding:
“If guilt is hell, what is its opposite?”
In the shorter applications, which should be made some three or four times an hour and more if possible, you may ask yourself this question, repeat todayʹs idea, or preferably both. If temptations arise, a particularly helpful form of the idea is:
This idea contains the first glimmerings of your true function in the world, or why you are here. Your purpose is to see the world through your own holiness. Thus are you and the world blessed together. No‐one loses; nothing is taken away from anyone; everyone gains through your holy vision. It signifies the end of sacrifice, because it offers everyone his full due. And he is entitled to everything, because it is his birthright as a Son of God.
There is no other way in which the idea of sacrifice can be removed from the worldʹs thinking. Any other way of seeing will inevitably demand payment of someone or something. As a result, the perceiver will lose. Nor will he have any idea why he is losing. Yet is his wholeness restored to his awareness through your vision. Your holiness blesses him by asking nothing of him. Those who see themselves as whole make no demands.
Your holiness is the salvation of the world. It lets you teach the world that it is one with you, not by preaching to it, not by telling it anything, but merely by your quiet recognition that in your holiness are all things blessed, along with you.
Todayʹs four longer exercise periods, each to involve three to five minutes of practice, begin with the repetition of the idea for today, followed by a minute or so of looking about you as you apply the idea to whatever you see:
“My holiness blesses this chair.”
“My holiness blesses that window.”
“My holiness blesses this body.”
Then close your eyes and apply the idea to any person who occurs to you, using his name and saying:
“My holiness blesses you, (name)” W(61)
You may continue the practice period with your eye closed; you may open your eyes again and apply the idea for today to your outer world if you so desire; you may alternate between applying it to what you see around you and to those who are in your thoughts; or you may use any combination of these two phases of application which you prefer. The practice period should conclude with a repetition of the idea made with your eyes closed, and another, following immediately, made with your eyes open.
The shorter exercises consist of repeating the idea as often as you can. It is particularly helpful to apply it silently to anyone you meet, using his name as you do so. It is essential to use the idea if anyone seems to cause an adverse reaction in you. Offer him the blessing of your holiness immediately, that you may learn to keep it in your own awareness.
Listen to Lesson 37 ‘My holiness blesses the world’