“Open-mindedness comes with lack of judgment. As judgment shuts the mind against God’s Teacher, so open-mindedness invites Him to come in. (M16)”
Open-mindedness is said to be the last of the traits which a teacher of God takes unto himself/herself. I wonder about that, whether it is true for all people. I have personally found other traits to be harder to acquire. Open-mindedness makes a smooth pathway in the walk ahead. When I am mellow, open-mindedness seems an easy way to go. When I am stressed, open-mindedness seems impossible, for I lapse into judgment.
1 – Non-Judgmental
Open-mindedness suggests a non-judgmental stance, and certainly judgment is a problem for many of us, perhaps most of us on the spiritual pathway. Hugh Prather says as much, in a little book entitled, The Little Book of Letting Go. He indicates that those on a spiritual pathway are perhaps more insufferable than those who have never given much thought to spirituality.
2 – Personal Experience
This attitude, expressed by Hugh, is a stern warning. I have thought back over some of the religious individuals whom I have known, and, like Hugh says, I have identified three deeply religious men (two of whom are ministers) who have particularly big egos. They are difficult to be around, because judgment is also a big part of their emotional makeup.
3 – Sanctimoniousness
We really don’t want to be like this. Sometimes I think that I would rather be around people who are not particularly religious, because they are more comfortable people with whom to associate. There is none of the sanctimoniousness that religious people sometimes exude.
4 – Judgments
These, in themselves, are judgments. I wonder how much others might agree with these thoughts. I myself struggle with judgments when I am confronted with seemingly irrational anger and attack. What did I do to cause this, I ask in vain. Probably nothing. The anger and attack are just manifestations of the depth of insanity into which all of us have fallen. We have to climb the ladder back up to sanity, but we do have help from guidance. It helps sometimes just to identify anger and attack, directed at ourselves, to be just madness or insanity. Then we are in a better position just to forgive without judging.
5 – Avoid Judgment
Judging should always be avoided.
6 – Peace
“Only the open-minded can be at peace, for they alone see reason for it. (M16)”
Affirmation: “When I am open-minded, I can be at peace.”
Open-mindedness and tolerance for the thoughts and actions of others are closely aligned. It is good to find out in the Course that open-mindedness will allow us to be at peace. Who would not want to know how to be at peace?
7 – Definition
What does open-mindedness mean? Basically, it is the contrasting way to say that we do not judge each other. We need a positive expression, rather than the more negative “do not judge.” And “open-mindedness” is given us in the Course. It is always better to state a truism in positive terms rather than to muddy our minds with the negative.
8 – Peace
We will be at peace when we embrace open-mindedness. Do we want this? Of course, and the Course specifies exactly how to make peace of mind ours.
9 – Forgiveness
“How do the open-minded forgive? They have let go all things that would prevent forgiveness. They have in truth abandoned the world, and let it be restored to them in newness and in joy so glorious they could never have conceived of such a change. (M16)”
This passage is a great promise and promises a great joy. To have the world restored to us in newness is a blessing, a boon, that all of us would want.
10 – Let Go of Judgment
What things do we need to let go that prevent forgiveness? Primarily judgment, I think. We need to avoid the memory of wrongs done to us. We need truly, as they say, to forgive and forget, remembering that we live in an illusion and nothing bad has, in truth, happened. Our brother/sister has been living in madness, saying and doing things that hurt us. He/she would not say or do those things if they knew better. We sometimes cannot teach them any better, and to do may be arrogance. We don’t have to make the way to Heaven plain (an ACIM tenet). We are not better than they, forgiving out of a sense of superiority. We are not superior in any way. Only time separates us from our brothers and sisters on the spiritual pathway, and time does not really exist.
11 – Spiritual Pathway
The spiritual pathway is its own reward. Others do not have to change for us to be at peace. We may have to distance ourselves from an abusive relationship, but we still can forgive even the heinous wrongs. We do this for ourselves as much as for the other person, who may not even know of our forgiveness. We simply walk a better path, a joy-strewn path.
12 – Seeing the World Anew
To see the world anew is what we really want. It can be done, and, when we are calm and harmonious, seeing the world anew seems the easiest thing out there. Stress is, to my mind, the great boogieman. We don’t need to let stress get to us, although sometimes this seems unavoidable. Anger and attack can be left behind, as many hours out of the day as possible. Our lives will be immeasurably better for walking the primrose pathway.
13 – Sparkling
“Nothing but sparkles now which seemed so dull and lifeless before. And above all are all things welcoming, for threat is gone. No clouds remain to hide the face of Christ. Now is the goal achieved. Forgiveness is the final goal of the curriculum. (M16)”
We frequently feel anger, and we attack, when we are threatened. One family member in my past was particularly vicious when threatened, and I understood this even as quite a small child, long before I discovered A Course in Miracles. Recognizing what had happened, the fact of feeling threatened, meant that the insanity of it did not touch me very deeply. I knew that in her better moments, the love for me was very deep. I could forgive, even as a quite young child.
14 – Forgiveness
The passage above ends with the a truth that we need to understand about A Course in Miracles. Forgiveness is the final goal of ACIM. We do not, in these books, go beyond that. A Course of Love does take us beyond, though, and some feel that this trilogy is a sequel to ACIM, that Jesus had more to teach us. The idea is that we seemed to have dislodged the ego, but didn’t have anything with which to replace it, leaving us still searching. In A Course of Love, we end the search. We are enough. It is time to end the search. We do not have to remain endless seekers.
15 – Single Aim
“Forgiveness is it single aim, at which all learning ultimately converges. It is indeed enough. (M16)”
Learning converges with forgiveness. A Course of Love goes beyond learning, though, and it would be good for us to review some of those lessons. (See the “History of the Blog” in “About Miracles Each Day,” and then refer to the Archives to get the right month and year for previous postings.)
16 – ACIM and A Course of Love
I wonder if Jesus changed his mind between A Course in Miracles and the scribing of A Course of Love. Was forgiveness not enough? I wonder deeply. Certainly we need to realize that we want an end to the endless searching for something more. Otherwise, we are never truly at peace. Jesus would have us be at peace.
Help me to be open-minded and tolerant of the words and actions of my brothers and sisters. May I not fume in private at anything that they say or do.
I long for Your peace. Thank you for giving me one more way that Your peace can come to me.