Saturday, November 22, 2008

It is Always, Simply and Profoundly, a Matter of Awareness

Yesterday morning I woke up around 8 o’clock and faced the rather pleasant prospect of allowing the morning to unfold as it would because I had no particular agenda. I sat down with a cup of coffee and read the day’s Lesson. Everything was moving slowly, as I just sat quietly, looking out the window watching the pine branches swaying in the wind, listening to the wind chimes, seeing the first feathery flakes of snow falling, tentatively.

Then a Thought came to mind, “”Read something, randomly, from the Manual for Teachers.” I opened to, What is the Peace of God? I read it very slowly, lingering over each paragraph, sitting quietly between each one.

Then I came across this astonishing passage.

Forgive the world, and you will understand that everything that God created cannot have an end, and nothing He did not create is real. In this one sentence is our course explained. In this one sentence is our practicing given its one direction. And in this one sentence is the Holy Spirit’s whole curriculum specified exactly as it is. (M-20.5:7-10)

When I looked back at the words forgive, world, create, and the Holy Spirit, I was inspired to read the first paragraph of each of these four instructions on a theme of special relevance, as stated in the Introduction to Part II of the Workbook:

1. What is Forgiveness? 3. What is the World? 11. What is Creation? 7. What is the Holy Spirit?

1. What is Forgiveness?

Forgiveness recognizes what you thought
your brother did to you has not occurred.
It does not pardon sins and make them real.
It sees there was no sin. And in that view
are all your sins forgiven. What is sin,
except a false idea about God's Son?
Forgiveness merely sees its falsity,
and therefore lets it go. What then is free
to take its place is now the Will of God.

3. What is the World?

The world is false perception. It is born
of error, and it has not left its source.
It will remain no longer than the thought
that gave it birth is cherished. When the thought
of separation has been changed to one
of true forgiveness, will the world be seen
in quite another light; and one which leads
to truth, where all the world must disappear
and all its errors vanish. Now its source
has gone, and its effects are gone as well.

11. What is Creation?

Creation is the sum of all God's Thoughts,
in number infinite, and everywhere
without all limit. Only love creates,
and only like itself. There was no time
when all that it created was not there.
Nor will there be a time when anything
that it created suffers any loss.
Forever and forever are God's Thoughts
exactly as they were and as they are,
unchanged through time and after time is done.

7. What is the Holy Spirit?

The Holy Spirit mediates between
illusions and the truth. Since He must bridge
the gap between reality and dreams,
perception leads to knowledge through the grace
that God has given Him, to be His gift to
everyone who turns to Him for truth.
Across the bridge that He provides are dreams
all carried to the truth, to be dispelled
before the light of knowledge. There are sights
and sounds forever laid aside. And where
they were perceived before, forgiveness has
made possible perception's tranquil end.

In the beginning of this essay, I said that a Thought came to me, and I capitalized Thought because the Thought was from God. It all comes down to awareness. In each moment, where is my awareness? Am I aware only of God’s Voice, the Holy Spirit speaking to me all through the day, or am I aware only of the incessant chatter of my separated mind?

It is always, either/or, on or off, wholeness or separation, Heaven or the world, Everything or nothing, Thoughts or thoughts, Love or fear, Real or unreal.

It always comes down to my awareness. When I am aware only of the peace of God, so be it, I am grateful for the grace of God, experiencing what is Real. When I am aware of fear, I ask the Holy Spirit for help to forgive my fear thoughts, so that I can be aware, again, of the peace of God, letting go of the unreal.

Forgive the world, and you will understand that everything that God created cannot have an end, and nothing He did not create is real.