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If form is illusion, is it pointless to seek out the beauty and "goodness" of nature (i.e. sunsets)?

As seems to be shared by many, it has been difficult for me to reconcile the ACIM teachings with everyday life in the world. If we are to believe that all of these circumstances in the world of form do not really exist, then are all the values we have associated with the pleasant and the unpleasant invalid wastes of time and energy? Is it as pointless to allow one's self to be occasionally seduced by pleasure and beauty as it is to collapse into fear? Are they both traps? Or are these lovely experiences a glimpse of the even more splendid stuff on the other side?

Are we to believe that the feelings we get from watching the sun set and such are merely distractions? I used to think they were gifts from God, sometimes even signs that all is well. Do I have to abandon that notion since it is not true? Or could it be true in some way that would not compromise The Truth?

Thanks for sharing what is on your heart. You are dearly loved and fully appreciated. Your questions get to the subtleties of the mind training required for Awakening, because in dreaming, things are not as they seem to be.

Everything that appears in this world of dreams is given its meaning by the mind of the dreamer. And the dreamer is asleep and dreaming of forms aplenty, unaware of the Abstract Light of Mind Awake. The sleeping dreamer believes in both love and fear, dissociates these feelings, projects the split onto the dream, and perceives a world of opposites as "reality." Thus beautiful and ugly, good and bad, sunny and rainy, clear and foggy, unpleasant and pleasant, etc. seem to be real descriptions of real sights and sounds and smells and conditions in the dream. There are even "spiritual" paths that tell students to "accentuate the positive" and "eliminate the negative," as if it is possible to tell them apart.

The one right use of judgment in Awakening I call discernment. How does one feel? Is one happy, peaceful, joyful? Are one's perceptions stable and consistent? The experience one has is a barometer of the stability of one's perception. In order to be consistently peaceful, mind training is required. This involves the relinquishment of judgment, releasing the belief that one is actually capable of judging anything at all. Each step inward is more and more humbling, until the mind reaches a point at which it can honestly say: "I do not know what anything is for." Yet this is the point at which the mind can experience the meaning of forgiveness.

Be gentle with yourself on this inward journey. Accept the symbols that come to you with gladness and appreciation. Let the Holy Spirit use the symbols to remind you of the Inner Beauty that is far beyond appearances. Let the colors and the sights and smells and sounds wash through your mind as reminders of the Vastness and Glory of Being! Discover the Beauty of the Holy Spirit's Purpose. Without judgment are all things equally acceptable. Without judgment one can see the Big Picture, the Tapestry of the Cosmos. Without judgment there is nothing "outside" the mind and everything is therefore included. Without judgment nothing can be rejected and there is only harmony. Without judgment conflict and competition are no more. And without judgment One is happily, simply, Being, and in this Being is everyone and everything included.

The alternative to judgment is acceptance. There is another way of looking upon the world, and this new, fresh Perspective is worth the mind training that seems to precede It. As self-concepts are laid by, so are the expectations and the stress. Behold the world anew and see a forgiven world without agendas and controls and rules. As one is lighthearted, one perceives a lighthearted world. Notice the synchronicities and the melody and the orchestration of the Big Picture, and observe it all with Supreme Detachment. There is a Joyful Passion in beholding all things with Detachment.

Who One is, the Christ, is truly Gorgeous. The opening to this State of Being is worthy of the attentiveness to mind training and the opening to the Holy Spirit's Purpose. True Beauty dawns as Content of Mind, and as this transformation occurs all the forms light up and are seen as the same. It takes faith to keep attentiveness to mind training and to be open to miracles. The miracles stabilize and clear one's perception and are truly worth the effort and practice. I am joined with you in miracles and know that every bit of willingness to allow the miracle into awareness is something to rejoice about! As you proceed, the ego's emphasis on form will be eclipsed and transcended by your alignment with the Holy Spirit's Content.

In Flowing Love always,