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“I see only the past.”
The truth is Love is ever present. By seeing the present through the filter of the past, we cannot see the Love that is always there. All our judgments are based upon the past. When we let the past go, we let judgment go. We let illusions go.
The recognition that our habit has been to see only the past is fundamental to forgiveness. Unforgiveness, holding a grievance, is simply holding the past against the present. When we have let go of the past entirely, there will be no grievances. We will have opened the door to the experience of Heaven. We stand at the gate that is open. Without the past there are no barriers and we can move with joy into the safe and loving arms of God. This is the gift that comes with recognizing that on our own we see only the past. This lesson, in just five words, offers us the gift of Heaven. It is worth practicing the exercise and opening our hearts and minds to its teaching. In the Text Jesus tells us, “Look gently on your brother, and behold the world in which perception of your hate has been transformed into a world of love.” (T-26.V.14:5)
In the eternal now, we are in Heaven. In the eternal now, we are still as God created us — whole, perfect and complete. In the eternal now, there is no time. There is no distance. As we learn to let go of our belief in time, we are freed from the chains of the ego. We are freed from believing in a past or a future. We learn to recognize that there is no past or future, only the eternal present.
As I practice this lesson today, it is helpful for me to look at the past as simply a false idea to be undone, a mistaken thought that means nothing. As I go through my day, it is helpful for me to practice recognizing how I am bringing the past to the present. It is helpful for me to practice taking the false ideas that I now see to the Holy Spirit to be undone for me. It is helpful to practice recognizing when I am bringing the past into the future. It is helpful to practice seeing how this hides my awareness of the eternal present.
As I continue to practice, I will remember that only God is. Love is, in the eternal present. Past and future are nowhere and nothing in truth. Remembering this takes constant vigilance in handing over my thoughts to the Holy Spirit. I cannot undo this alone. I have much help.
A helpful reference for this lesson from the Text is found in Chapter 26, Section V, paragraphs 13-14 on page 552. In this section Jesus reminds us that every day of our life is just a repetition of the instant we chose to hallucinate separation rather than be awake to the truth of our oneness with God. He says, “And all of time is but the mad belief that what is over is still here and now.” (13:4) As we realize that the past is really over and our grievance against Love’s oneness cannot be repeated over and over in reality, we see the importance of practicing this lesson with diligence.
I cannot be afraid to look at my past. Some of it is buried in my subconscious, out of sight. My life only looks calm on the surface. The rooms of my life are fairly orderly, but open the closets and they are a jumble of thoughts I think I keep hidden from sight because they are messy. I don’t like the messy simply because it is, well — messy. I like the orderly, beautiful, peaceful. But the messy sometimes comes out of the closet into my seemingly orderly room. I remind myself that it tumbles out of the closet for me to look at so I can see its nothingness — its meaninglessness, and let myself be healed of it. It does not tumble out for me to feel shame or guilt at living a less than perfect life, one full of mistakes.
Life is much like cleaning out closets. One never knows what one will find at the back, maybe something stashed there for eons of time. We have accumulated so many mistaken perceptions we think are real, necessary, and even valuable. But everything in the closet is of the past. I don’t need it anymore. With the help of Holy Spirit, I can open the doors wide, letting in plenty of light, and stand steadfast in the knowledge that none of it can hurt me or affect me, the real me, in any way.
This need not be a particularly difficult task if I am mindful that Holy Spirit will do all the work if I am willing. Today I am willing to look at old thoughts and ideas with Holy Spirit and let go of all that does not serve Love and Peace, all the while learning more about remembering who I really am. Today I am willing to let my all of my mind, what I think I see and what my mind wants to save in a dark place, be healed by Holy Spirit. Today I am willing to be untroubled by all that I see from the past.
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How to Read References for Quotes from A Course in Miracles
Below are example references to specific sentences using the notation of the Second & Third Editions of A Course in Miracles published by the Foundation for Inner Peace:
T-26.IV.4:7 = Text, Chapt. 26, Section IV, paragraph 4, sentence 7.
W-pI.169.5:2 = Workbook, Part I, Lesson 169, paragraph 5, sentence 2.
M-13.3:2 = Manual for Teachers, Question 13, paragraph 3, sentence 2.
C-6.4:6 = Clarification of Terms, Term 6, paragraph 4, sentence 6
The above numbering system
of the Second & Third Editions is © Copyright 1992,
The Foundation for A Course in Miracles.
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