Any problem in life is a matter of definition: how do I want to see it? That again depends on how I want to see myself. Sometimes I experience a state of mind in which I do not see problems anymore whatsoever, because I’m feeling free and at peace. This gives me a completely different view of myself.
Now, what is real here? Is my freedom real, or is being hemmed in by all kinds of problems real? Since these situations are mutually exclusive, they cannot both be real. Either problems are real and then freedom doesn’t exist, or freedom is real and problems are an illusion.
The mind is very powerful. Whatever I choose to believe will determine my perception and the experiences that result from it. This also pertains to seeing myself as helpless and blaming outside circumstances. If that’s what I believe, my experiences will bear it out: “Didn’t I say so?” When I’m unhappy I’m being judgmental and clinging very much to being ‘right’ rather than happy.
So, problems exist because of my choice at this very moment. It’s no use, therefore, to try solving problems without changing what I want.
For that same reason no problem can ever be solved on my conditions. Laying down my conditions means I’m not changing my choice that is causing the problems.
If I look at this in a moment of peace, which gives me the clear insight of freedom, I can see that any condition is a limitation, which is a conflict with reality, and therefore a cause of problems.
Reality is limitless, undivided, totality. Totality is not a sum of parts. There’s really no such thing as a part of reality, because leaving out anything whatsoever would make reality untrue and therefore nonexistent. Parts belong to a fragmented way of thinking that has no sense of totality at all. Totality is absolute and incomparable, not relative like the construct of time and space. However, it only takes a moment of inner peace and stillness of mind to get a true notion of totality.
A realistic approach should therefore always take the whole into account. Anything less doesn’t mean anything in reality, and that wouldn’t be practical, would it?
That means a practical approach cannot do much with limited ideas, unless they are inspired by what is forever whole: the one and only mind that encompasses everything. These realistic ideas can easily be recognized among the multitude of crazy ones because they remind me of my timeless reality and instill inner peace. Peace is the hallmark of reality.
There’s nothing but mind in reality. Because it’s all there is, no single concept could ever do it justice, but it has no need for concepts because it knows itself directly and totally. The timeless thoughts it creates are an expansion of its totality. They cannot be anything less than what it is, otherwise they wouldn’t be real. We are those thoughts.
In sharp contrast to this we all seem to be caught as helpless creatures in an earthly experience. To explain this situation a bit in our limited view, we might say the fragmented world that we take for real exists as an idea in only a tiny ‘part’ of the mind that for an infinitesimal moment has lost awareness of its completeness. In our temporal frame of mind we experience this moment as a life of suffering on earth, but in reality it was immediately corrected and the whole world of separation that was supposed to be its outcome simply never happened. We are living a bad dream in an illusion of time and space and for thousands of years sages and saints have gently been telling us to wake up now.
We have been so afraid of what may come next that even waking up from a nightmare is something we resist. That’s okay. We will not awaken faster than we want to. Truth will not be forced upon us, because we are not really in danger – only very tired of our own fearful fantasies.
Any matter of thought is very malleable. Ideas change from moment to moment. Nothing is fixed in the fragmented realm of illusions. Reality, on the other hand, being total never changes, and therefore there’s nothing to be afraid of, as nothing can happen that’s not already there, perfect and peaceful for eternity.
Our worldly thought system, or ego, wants us to believe that we are separate and vulnerable bodies in a merciless physical universe. As we have seen, this is a completely distorted, topsy-turvy, view of reality, yet everyone, whether religious or not, firmly believes in it. However, we are not part of totality, we are totality. So it’s only One who is momentarily deluded and only One who needs healing. Overlooking a chaotic world of illusory differences and divisions, all made in the same momentary lapse of awareness, simplifies our task enormously.
The ideas that form our experiential world are the illusory product of a deluded mind that believes in the reality of division and separation. Because ideas never leave the mind that created them, the ideas of a deluded mind can only wallow in its madness and chase each other in their dream world, accomplishing nothing in reality.
It takes only one tiny idea to limit my awareness of limitless reality thereby blocking the ‘peace that passes understanding’, which is my natural heritage. That’s why there’s essentially only one problem, the mother of all problems, and that universal problem has been solved the very moment it came up: the idea of separation from God, Who Is Love, the only reality.
This illusion of separation – or ego – which in reality is totally impossible, is the only problem, because it causes the One who forever shares God’s power to feel helpless and powerless. As a result, sickness, pain and a myriad of other problems are the ego’s way of proving that it’s damn right about the nature of reality. Having become ego-stricken I may cry: “Don’t take away my sorrow, because it makes me feel special! What else have I got? What will be left of me when I don’t even have my own thoughts anymore?” This, really, is my defense against the Truth – I am the Truth, eternal and limitless, and nothing can change that.
As long as I do not honestly accept that the only problem has been solved, I’ll keep encountering it in many different forms, not only in my own life but in that of others as well. All and everyone’s problems are only symptoms of the same mental illness: the imagined separation from God. It’s no use to concentrate on individual problems if I want to find a real solution. Curing symptoms is not the way to heal the sick. This makes perfect sense, as all minds are really just one undivided mind.
The intricacies of madness cannot be explained or understood in terms of reality, unless we accept the Holy Spirit’s view that there are really only two possibilities: when it isn’t love it can only be a call for love. Love is the only reality, so everything can really only be seen in terms of love.
Under the ego’s spell I use my experience of having problems as armor against the truth, making a perfect case of circular reasoning: “Because I have problems, separation must be real.” It’s just because I still believe in separation that I feel helpless and have problems.
However, everyone is capable of a peaceful moment of surrender to the Truth, in which there are no problems, pains or discomforts that matter anymore. That can be a real mind opener. But there’s no peace without surrender: unconditional surrender to the Truth, which cannot be forced or won over, only allowed to enter freely, because it’s already everywhere, except in my awareness.
It wouldn’t be practical to ignore reality and only deal with imagined situations, would it? The most practical thing to do at any time is to accept the Truth totally and unconditionally, if only for a moment, just to touch base with reality and feel fully at peace again. Insight will only come in moments of peace.
I discovered that I don’t have to wait for a great crisis anymore to break my resistance to reality, which has the effect of stilling my panicky mind. By consciously choosing to surrender unconditionally in a difficult moment, I’ve found great freedom and joy in not being limited by my own thoughts. This acceptance takes me out of my imagined problem area and changes my outlook on the world and myself.
Since the world is not what it seems, and certainly is not reality, there’s really nothing ‘out there’. That’s just a fearful fantasy and it’s a complete waste of space, time and energy, which can better be used for the purpose of healing the mind.
As all is mind, everything in this world depends on how I wish to see it. It all depends on the will, nothing happens just by coincidence beyond my will. An idea is nothing by itself, it cannot exist outside the mind that created it. I do have the power to change my mind. Therefore I am responsible for what I believe to be real, and as a result perceive and experience in this world.
Changing my mind means that I’m willing to work from a different level of mind than usual. It means giving up my precious views, definitions and judgments about everything, including myself, and choosing to surrender to what is forever true, but of which I have no idea, yet. It means giving the control of my ‘separate’ mind to the totality of mind, the Holy Spirit, Who is still in full communication with the one and only reality that is God.
In order to experience the Truth, which is timeless and without limits, I have to let go of my ideas about reality, which are limiting, and therefore untrue. It’s only my resistance that keeps the awareness of being One with God hidden from my mind. It’s like groping about in the darkness of my own shadow, with my back stubbornly turned to the light.
Resistance to the Truth is of the ego, which is the thought system of separation that I’ve allowed to take hold of my mind. Yet, I’m in no way obliged to identify myself with it any longer. I can choose to have faith in the Truth and let go of every thought of separation. Every time I just have to become aware of it, decide that I don’t want it, and offer all that madness to the Holy Spirit Who, out of Love, cannot but transform every loveless thought into something that is healing to the mind. This is the work to be done, and most of it is being done for me.
Surrender is something even a baby can do, so it really is very simple, but not always easy. The ego is not capable of surrender. And a mind steeped in the illusion of separation prefers not to be innocent and happy, but rather sadly sophisticated and proudly cynical – pride being really just despair in disguise. However, this can be seen as another call for love and that will be enough to let the suffering mind be healed.
The One that I surrender to is not outside myself, of course, only beyond the grasp of the self-limiting ego. Therefore, any fear that might be connected with this is not my fear but only something the ego induces me to feel, in order to keep me under its control. It means that I have to be aware of my will. I choose whether or not to let go of all limiting ideas, in order to let Truth rush in and fill the vacuum of my awareness.
I am needed to make God complete, because we all are created as His expansion, which is the Kingdom of Heaven. His Will is my will, we share the same mind, the same reality, the same love and happiness.
Solving the only problem means solving everyone’s problems, forever. It cannot be otherwise. It’s only natural. “Seek ye first the Kingdom of Heaven that is you, and all else will be given you” means going straight to the heart of the matter and tackling the only problem that is the cause of everyone’s unhappiness. What could be more practical?
- A Course in Miracles (ISBN 0-9606388-8-1). More information about this wonderful book for self-study can be found at the website: http://www.acim.org/
- Gary Renard’s The Disappearance of the Universe : Straight Talk About Illusions, Past Lives, Religion, Sex, Politics, and the Miracles of Forgiveness.
- The book by Gary Renard is a great help in understanding the teaching of A Course in Miracles.