When we obsess over anything, it controls us and robs us of the miracles God has prepared us to receive. We gain spiritual growth and power when we begin to realize that the one certainty we have about the past is that it is gone. To live in love is to live in the present. The ego mind would have you live in the past.
Begin to let go of the past as you work on Lesson 8.
My mind is preoccupied with past thoughts.
This idea is, of course, the reason why you see only the past. No one really sees anything. He sees only his thoughts projected outward. The mind's preoccupation with the past is the cause of the misconception about time from which your seeing suffers. Your mind cannot grasp the present, which is the only time there is. It therefore cannot understand time, and cannot, in fact, understand anything.
The one wholly true thought one can hold about the past is that it is not here. To think about it at all is therefore to think about illusions. Very few have realized what is actually entailed in picturing the past or in anticipating the future. The mind is actually blank when it does this, because it is not really thinking about anything.
The purpose of the exercises for today is to begin to train your mind to recognize when it is not really thinking at all. While thoughtless ideas preoccupy your mind, the truth is blocked. Recognizing that your mind has been merely blank, rather than believing that it is filled with real ideas, is the first step to opening the way to vision.
The exercises for today should be done with eyes closed. This is because you actually cannot see anything, and it is easier to recognize that no matter how vividly you may picture a thought, you are not seeing anything. With as little investment as possible, search your mind for the usual minute or so, merely noting the thoughts you find there. Name each one by the central figure or theme it contains, and pass on to the next. Introduce the practice period by saying:
Quote of the Day
In order to love purely, we must surrender our old ways of thinking. For most of us, surrendering anything is difficult. We still think of surrender as failure, as something you do when you've lost the war. But spiritual surrender, although passive, is not weak. Actually, it is strong. It is a balance to our aggression.
— Excerpted from A Return to Love: Reflections on the Principles of A Course in Miracles
Published on January 01, 2008