Chapter Twelve: The Problem of Guilt
VI. Finding the Present
45 To perceive truly is to be aware of all reality through the awareness of your own. But for this no illusions can rise to meet your sight, for all reality leaves no room for any error. This means that you perceive a brother only as you see him now. His past has no reality in the present, and you cannot see it. Your past reactions to him are also not there, and if it is to them that you react now, you see but an image of him which you made and cherish instead of him. In your questioning of illusions, ask yourself if it is really sane to perceive what was now. If you remember the past as you look upon your brother, you will be unable to perceive the reality that is now.
46 You consider it "natural" to use your past experience as the reference point from which to judge the present. Yet this is unnatural because it is delusional. When you have learned to look upon everyone with no reference at all to the past, either his or yours as you perceived it, you will be able to learn from what you see now. For the past can cast no shadow to darken the present unless you are afraid of light. And only if you are would you choose to bring this darkness with you, and by holding it in your minds, see it as a dark cloud that shrouds your brothers and conceals their reality from your sight.
47 This darkness is in you. The Christ revealed to you now has no past, for He is changeless, and in His changelessness lies your release. For if He is as He was created, there is no guilt in Him. No cloud of guilt has risen to obscure Him, and He stands revealed in everyone you meet because you see Him through Himself. To be born again is to let the past go and look without condemnation upon the present. For the cloud which obscures God's Son to you is the past, and if you would have it past and gone, you must not see it now. If you see it now in your delusions, it has not gone from you, although it is not there.
48 Time can release as well as imprison, depending on whose interpretation of it you use. Past, present, and future are not continuous unless you force continuity on them. You can perceive them as continuous and make them so for you. But do not be deceived and then believe that this is how it is, for to believe that reality is what you would have it be according to your use for it is delusional. You would destroy time's continuity by breaking it into past, present, and future for your own purposes. You would anticipate the future on the basis of your past experience and plan for it accordingly. Yet by doing so, you are aligning past and future and not allowing the miracle, which could intervene between them, to free you to be born again.
49 The miracle enables you to see your brother without his past and so perceive him as born again. His errors are all past, and by perceiving him without them, you are releasing him. And since his past is yours, you share in this release. Let no dark cloud out of your past obscure him from you, for truth lies only in the present, and you will find it if you seek it there. You have looked for it where it is not and therefore have not found it. Learn, then, to seek it where it is, and it will dawn on eyes that see. Your past was made in anger, and if you use it to attack the present, you will not see the freedom that the present holds. Judgment and condemnation are behind you, and unless you bring them with you, you will see that you are free of them.
50 Look lovingly upon the present, for it holds the only things that are forever true. All healing lies within it because its continuity is real. It extends to all aspects of consciousness at the same time and thus enables them to reach each other. The present is before time was and will be when time is no more. In it is everything that is eternal, and they are one. Their continuity is timeless, and their communication is unbroken, for they are not separated by the past. Only the past can separate, and it is nowhere.
51 The present offers you your brothers in the light that would unite you with them and free you from the past. Would you, then, hold the past against them? For if you do, you are choosing to remain in the darkness that is not there and refusing to accept the light that is offered you. For the light of perfect vision is freely given as it is freely received and can be accepted only without limit. In this one still dimension of time, which does not change and where there is no sight of what you were, you look at Christ and call His witnesses to shine on you because you called them forth. And they will not deny the truth in you because you looked for it in them and found it there.
52 Now is the time of salvation, for now is the release from time. Reach out to all your brothers and touch them with the touch of Christ. In timeless union with them is your continuity, unbroken because it is wholly shared. God's guiltless Son is only light. There is no darkness in him anywhere, for he is whole. Call all your brothers to witness to his wholeness, as I am calling you to join with me. Every voice has a part in the song of redemption, the hymn of gladness and thanksgiving for the light to the Creator of light. The holy light that shines forth from God's Son is the witness that his light is of his Father.
53 Shine on your brothers in remembrance of your Creator, for you will remember Him as you call forth the witnesses to His creation. Those whom you heal bear witness to your healing, for in their wholeness you will see your own. And as your hymns of praise and gladness rise to your Creator, He will return your thanks in His clear answer to your call. For it can never be that His Son called upon Him and remained unanswered. His call to you is but your call to Him. And in Him you are answered by His peace.
54 Children of light, you know not that the light is in you. Yet you will find it through its witnesses, for having given light to them, they will return it. Everyone you see in light brings your light closer to your own awareness. Love always leads to love. The sick who ask for love are grateful for it, and in their joy, they shine with holy thanks. And this they offer you, who gave them joy. They are your guides to joy, for having received it of you, they would keep it. You have established them as guides to peace, for you have made it manifest in them. And seeing it, its beauty calls you home.
55 There is a light which this world cannot give. Yet you can give it, as it was given you. And as you give it, it shines forth to call you from the world and follow it. For this light will attract you as nothing in this world can do. And you will lay aside the world and find another. This other world is bright with love, which you have given it. And here will everything remind you of your Father and His Holy Son. Light is unlimited and spreads across this world in quiet joy. All those you brought with you will shine on you, and you will shine on them in gratitude because they brought you here. Your light will join with theirs in power so compelling that it will draw the others out of darkness as you look on them.
56 Awakening unto Christ is following the laws of love of your free will and out of quiet recognition of the truth in them. The attraction of light must draw you willingly, and willingness is signified by giving. Those who accept love of you become your willing witnesses to the love you gave them, and it is they who hold it out to you. In sleep you are alone, and your awareness is narrowed to yourself. And that is why the nightmares come. You dream of isolation because your eyes are closed. You do not see your brothers, and in the darkness you cannot look upon the light you gave to them.
57 And yet the laws of love are not suspended because you sleep. And you have followed them through all your nightmares and have been faithful in your giving, for you were not alone. Even in sleep has Christ protected you, ensuring the real world for you when you wake. In your name He has given for you and given you the gifts He gave. God's Son is still as loving as his Father. Continuous with his Father, he has no past apart from Him. So he has never ceased to be his Father's witness and his own. Although he slept, Christ's vision did not leave him. And so it is that he can call unto himself the witnesses that teach him that he never slept.