L e s s o n 138
Heaven is the decision I must make.
1 In this world, Heaven is a choice because here we believe there are alternatives to choose between. We think that all things have an opposite, and what we want we choose. If Heaven exists, there must be hell as well, for contradiction is the way we make what we perceive and what we think is real. Creation knows no opposite. But here is opposition part of being "real."
2 It is this strange perception of the truth that makes the choice of Heaven seem to be the same as the relinquishment of hell. It is not really thus. Yet what is true in God's creation cannot enter here unless it is reflected in some form the world can understand. Truth cannot come where it could only be perceived with fear, for this would be the error truth can be brought to illusions. Opposition makes the truth unwelcome, and it cannot come.
3 Choice is the obvious escape from what appears as opposites. Decision lets one of conflicting goals become the aim of effort and expenditure of time. Without decision, time is but a waste and effort dissipated. It is spent for nothing in return. And time goes by without results. There is no sense of gain, for nothing is accomplished; nothing learned.
4 You need to be reminded that you think a thousand choices are confronting you when there is really only one to make. And even this but seems to be a choice. Do not confuse yourself with all the doubts that myriad decisions would induce. You make but one. And when that one is made, you will perceive it was no choice at all, for truth is true and nothing else is real. There is no opposite to choose instead. There is no contradiction to the truth.
5 Choosing depends on learning. But the truth cannot be learned but only recognized. In recognition its acceptance lies, and as it is accepted, it is known. But knowledge is beyond the goals we seek to teach within the framework of this course. Ours are teaching goals to be attained through learning how to reach them, what they are, and what they offer you. Decisions are the outcome of your learning, for they rest on what you have accepted as the truth of what you are and what your needs must be.
6 In this insanely complicated world, Heaven appears to take the form of choice rather than merely being what it is. Of all the choices you have tried to make, this is the simplest, most definitive, the prototype of all the rest, the one which settles all decisions. If you could decide the rest, this one remains unsolved. But when you solve this one, the others are resolved with it, for all decisions but conceal this one by taking different forms. Here is the final and the only choice in which is truth accepted or denied.
7 So we begin today considering the choice that time was made to help us make. Such is its holy purpose, now transformed from the intent you gave it, that it be a means for demonstrating hell is real, hope changes to despair, and life itself must in the end be overcome by death. In death alone are opposites resolved, for ending opposition is to die. And thus salvation must be seen as death, for life is seen as conflict. To resolve the conflict is to end your life as well.
8 These mad beliefs can gain unconscious hold of great intensity and grip the mind with terror and anxiety so strong that it will not relinquish its ideas about its own protection. It must be saved from salvation, threatened to be safe, and magically armored against truth. And these decisions are made unaware to keep them safely undisturbed, apart from question and from reason and from doubt.
9 Heaven is chosen consciously. The choice cannot be made until alternatives are accurately seen and understood. All that is veiled in shadows must be raised to understanding to be judged again, this time with Heaven's help, and all mistakes in judgment which the mind had made before are open to correction as the truth dismisses them as causeless. Now are they without effects. They cannot be concealed because their nothingness is recognized.
10The conscious choice of Heaven is as sure as is the ending of the fear of hell when it is raised from its protective shield of unawareness and is brought to light. Who can decide between the clearly seen and the unrecognized? Yet who can fail to make a choice between alternatives when only one is seen as valuable, the other as a wholly worthless thing, a but imagined source of guilt and pain? Who hesitates to make a choice like this? And shall we hesitate to choose today?
11 We make the choice for Heaven as we wake and spend five minutes making sure that we have made the one decision that is sane. We recognize we make a conscious choice between what has existence and what has nothing but an appearance of the truth. Its pseudo-being, brought to what is real, is flimsy and transparent in the light. It holds no terror now, for what was made enormous, vengeful, pitiless with hate demands obscurity for fear to be invested there. Now it is recognized as but a foolish, trivial mistake.
12 Before we close our eyes in sleep tonight, we reaffirm the choice that we have made each hour in between. And now we give the last five minutes of our waking day to the decision with which we awoke. As every hour passed, we have declared our choice again in a brief quiet time devoted to maintaining sanity. And finally we close the day with this, acknowledging we chose but what we want: