What keeps the world in chains but your beliefs? And what can save the world except your Self? Belief is powerful indeed. The thoughts you hold are mighty, and illusions are as strong in their effects as is the truth. A madman thinks the world he sees is real and does not doubt it. Nor can he be swayed by questioning his thoughts' effects. It is but when their source is raised to question that the hope of freedom comes to him at last.
Yet is salvation easily achieved, for anyone is free to change his mind, and all his thoughts change with it. Now the source of thought has shifted, for to change your mind means you have changed the source of all ideas you think or ever thought or yet will think. You free the past from what you thought before. You free the future from all ancient thoughts of seeking what you do not want to find. The present now remains the only time.
Here in the present is the world set free. For as you let the past be lifted and release the future from your ancient fears, you find escape and give it to the world. You have enslaved the world with all your fears, with doubts and miseries, your pain and tears, and all your sorrows press upon it, and keep it a prisoner to your beliefs. Death strikes it everywhere because you hold the bitter thought of death within your mind.
The world is nothing in itself. Your mind must give it meaning. And what you behold upon it are your wishes, acted out so you can look on them and think them real. Perhaps you think you did not make the world, but came unwillingly to what was made already, hardly waiting for your thoughts to give it meaning. Yet in truth you found exactly what you looked for when you came. There is no world apart from what you wish, and herein lies your ultimate release. Change but your mind on what you want to see, and all the world must change accordingly.
Ideas leave not their source. This central theme is often stated in the text, and must be borne in mind if you would understand the lesson for today. It is not pride that tells you that you made the world you see, and that it changes as you change your mind. But it is pride that argues you have come into a world quite separate from yourself, impervious to what you think, and quite apart from what you chance to think it is.
There is no world! This is the central thought the course attempts to teach. Not everyone is ready to accept it, and each one must go as far as he can let himself be led along the road to truth. He will return and go still farther, or perhaps step back a while and then return again. But healing is the gift of those who are prepared to learn there is no world, and can accept the lesson now. Their readiness will bring the lesson to them in some form which they can understand and recognize.
Some see it suddenly on point of death, and rise to teach it. Others find it in experience that is not of this world, which shows them that the world does not exist because what they behold must be the truth, and yet it clearly contradicts the world. And some will find it in this course, and in the exercises that we do today.
Today's idea is true because the world does not exist. And if it is indeed your own imagining, then you can loose it from all things you ever thought it was by merely changing all the thoughts that gave it these appearances. The sick are healed as you let go all thoughts of sickness, and the dead arise when you let thoughts of life replace all thoughts you ever held of death.
A lesson earlier repeated once must now be stressed again, for it contains the firm foundation for today's idea. You are as God created you. There is no place where you can suffer, and no time that can bring change to your eternal state. How can a world of time and place exist if you remain as God created you?
What is the lesson for today except another way of saying that to know your Self is the salvation of the world? To free the world from every kind of pain is but to change your mind about yourself. There is no world apart from your ideas because ideas leave not their source, and you maintain the world within your mind in thought.
Yet if you are as God created you, you cannot think apart from Him, nor make what does not share His timelessness and love. Are these inherent in the world you see? Does it create like Him? Unless it does, it is not real and cannot be at all. If you are real the world you see is false, for God's creation is unlike the world in every way. And as it was His Thought by which you were created, so it is your thoughts which made it and must set it free, that you may know the Thoughts you share with God.
Release the world! Your real creations wait for this release to give you fatherhood, not of illusions, but as God in truth. God shares His Fatherhood with you who are His Son, for He makes no distinctions in what is Himself and what is still Himself. What He creates is not apart from Him, and nowhere does the Father end, the Son begin as something separate from Him.
There is no world because it is a thought apart from God, and made to separate the Father and the Son, and break away a part of God Himself and thus destroy His wholeness. Can a world which comes from this idea be real? Can it be anywhere? Deny illusions, but accept the truth. Deny you are a shadow briefly laid upon a dying world. Release your mind, and you will look upon a world released.
Today our purpose is to free the world from all the idle thoughts we ever held about it, and about all living things we see upon it. They can not be there, no more than we. For we are in the home our Father set for us along with them. And we who are as He created us would loose the world this day from every one of our illusions, that we may be free.
Begin the fifteen minute periods in which we practice twice today with this:
"I who remain as God created me
Would loose the world from all I thought it was.
For I am real because the world is not,
And I would know my own reality."
Then merely rest, alert but with no strain, and let your mind in quietness be changed so that the world is freed along with you.
You need not realize that healing comes to many brothers far across the world as well as to the ones you see near by, as you send out these thoughts to bless the world. But you will sense your own release, although you may not fully understand as yet that you could never be released alone.