Changing Our Mental Filters
Excerpted from Tears to Triumph by Marianne Williamson
Surrendering thoughts that are not of God means surrendering thoughts that are not of love. Each of us has a spiritual immune system—a system that exists to heal the injured psyche just as the physical immune system heals the physical body—but it takes conscious effort to activate its power. It’s not always easy to surrender our lovelessness, especially when we’re in emotional pain. Yet in order to heal, we must. Spiritual healing is work in the sense that it isn’t passive, but active. It is a medicine we co-create with God.
This medicine is a miracle. It is a shift from primary identification with the suffering self to identification with the spiritual self. This mental illumination lights the fire of God within us, a fire that will burn in time through every thought that causes us pain. It guides us to a reinterpretation of everything that has occurred in our lives, replacing a mental filter that ensures our pain with a mental filter that ensures our deliverance from pain. It does this by guiding us into the radicalism of forgiveness and love.
Miracles are thoughts, and thoughts produce everything. Thought is the level of cause; the world as we know it is the level of effect. A miracle is a shift in perception from fear to love, changing an effect in our lives by changing the thinking that caused it.
Most of our suffering is due less to our circumstances than to our thoughts about them. In fact, the world is merely a projection of our thoughts. Everything we go through is filtered through either the mind of love or the mind of fear; love creates peace, and fear creates pain. Fear is not a thing in and of itself; rather, it is the absence of love. Since the thought system that dominates the world is one that repudiates love, it is a prison in which we are bound to suffer. The only way to escape our suffering is to rise above the thought system that creates it.
The pain we experience while living in this world should not be denied, of course, but it can be transcended. Miracle-minded thinking does not suppress our emotions; rather, it brings them up so we can place them on a path to true healing.
Healing occurs when we identify our painful feelings and then place them in His hands, praying that the thoughts which produced the feelings will be realigned with His. Releasing a situation to God means releasing our thoughts about it, that they might be changed on a causal level. That which is placed on the altar is then altered.
It would be a violation of our free will for God to rearrange our thoughts without our consciously having asked Him to do so, but once we ask, our prayers are answered.
Our suffering having been surrendered, an alchemical healing process begins immediately. Situations are miraculously transformed as our thoughts are divinely shifted. Where we’ve been holding on to bitterness, we are guided to the ways of forgiveness. Where we’ve been holding on to the past, we’re gently shown new possibilities in the present. Where our general outlook has been negative, we begin to see things through a more positive lens. The point is that once we are willing to see things differently— to conspire with a God who, in the words of A Course in Miracles, “outwits our self-hatred”—then the healing begins.
Your consciousness is illumined, at first perhaps just slightly, but the tiny crack of light you allowed into your mind will expand into a miraculous blaze. A softening in a relationship will become inevitable; every book that would help you falls at your feet; a friend who might have helpful insight just happens to call. Realizations about how your own behavior might have been different start to occur to you.
A spiritual perspective does not deny your pain, or any aspect of your human experience. It simply denies its power over you. It gives you the strength to endure when the tears are falling, and the power to invoke miracles that lie beyond.