Manual for Teachers: Characteristic: 4.X. Open-Mindedness
1. The centrality of open-mindedness, perhaps the last of the attributes the teacher of God acquires, is easily understood when its relation to forgiveness is recognized. Open-mindedness comes with lack of judgment. As judgment shuts the mind against God’s Teacher, so open-mindedness invites Him to come in. As condemnation judges the Son of God as evil, so open-mindedness permits him to be judged by the Voice for God on His behalf. As the projection of guilt upon him would send him to hell, so open-mindedness lets Christ’s image of innocence and light be extended to him. Only the open-minded can be at peace, for they alone see reason for it. And only they experience it.
2. How do the open-minded forgive? They have let go all things that would prevent forgiveness. They have in truth abandoned the world, and let it be restored to them in newness and in joy so glorious they could never have conceived of such a change. Nothing is now as it was formerly. Nothing but sparkles now which seemed so dull and lifeless before. And above all are all things welcoming, for threat is gone. No clouds remain to hide the face of Christ. Now is the goal achieved. Forgiveness is the final goal of the curriculum. It paves the way for what goes far beyond all learning. The curriculum makes no effort to exceed its legitimate goal. Forgiveness is its single aim, at which all learning ultimately converges. It is indeed enough.
In this world open-mindedness is considered to be a virtue. We value being open to new ideas and opinions. We respect those who openly acknowledge that they do not know it all, those who recognize that they cannot see the whole picture no matter how advanced they may appear to otherwise be.
But how far are we willing to go with being open-minded? Are we willing to open our minds wide enough to let go of every meaning we ever projected onto the world? That is what the advanced teachers of God have done. Not only have they forsaken trying to control their outer world, but they have also renounced control over the meanings they see in the world. As a result, they have left the world as they knew it, and have stepped into a new realm of total open-mindedness. Though this may be a new experience for you, and an unusual one, you will not be left feeling out-of-place or uncomfortable for long. Remember:
They have in truth abandoned the world, and let it be restored to them in newness and in joy
so glorious that they could never have conceived of such a change. Nothing is now as it was
formerly. Nothing but sparkles now which seemed so dull and lifeless before. And above all
are all things welcoming, for threat is gone.
The advanced teacher generally does not reach this profound openness overnight. It usually comes, in fact, nearer the end of his journey. The Course states that open-mindedness is “perhaps the last of the attributes the teacher of God acquires.” (M-4.X.1:1) The reason is that through it, he is able to once and for all let go of all that bound his perceptions together: the ego’s idea that sin lurks within the bodies and forms “out there.” He learns that all that appears “out there” is not real. All that the body’s eyes see is not real: only what is seen with Christ’s vision is real. He accepts that there is another way of looking at things. In the light of true forgiveness nothing will look the same. And he knows that nothing in this world will ever be true. (See Workbook Part II.3. What is the World?)
Open-mindedness, then, is the gateway to true forgiveness, and true forgiveness signifies that enlightenment has been reached because knowledge follows upon its wake. The teacher of God has been forgiving up until now. In fact, by our standards, he has been phenomenally forgiving. Yet only when he becomes truly open-minded does his forgiveness become complete (and thus obsolete), because only here does it become all-encompassing. Now he can raise the dead. Now he can “heal the world without a word, merely by being there.” (P-2.III.3:7) And now he is ready to step off the wheel of time altogether, for having at last dropped his sword of judgment, he is ready to be in the Presence of God without fear, and to be embraced forever by the holy Arms of God.
MANUAL FOR TEACHERS
1. Open-mindedness comes with lack of judgment. Not with lack of good judgment, but lack of judging AT ALL. As you condemn, judge, are filled with selfishness, greed, guilt, and ideas of fear and threat, forgiveness is blocked and therefore so is open-mindedness.
2. As condemnation judges the Son of God as evil, so open-mindedness permits him to be judged by the Voice for God on His behalf. “This is my Son in Whom I am well-pleased.”
3. So the open-minded have let go all things that would prevent forgiveness and they are at peace.
4. The open-minded have abandoned the world, and let it be restored to them in newness and light.