Lesson 75:

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Idea:

“The light has come.”

The light has come. You are healed and you can heal.
The light has come. You are saved and you can save.
You are at peace, and you bring peace with you wherever you go.
Darkness and turmoil and death have disappeared. The light has come.

Today we celebrate the happy ending to your long dream of disaster. There are no dark dreams now. The light has come. Today the time of light begins for you and everyone. It is a new era, in which a new world is born. The old one has left no trace upon it in its passing. Today we see a different world, because the light has come.

Our exercises for today will be happy ones, in which we offer thanks for the passing of the old and the beginning of the new. No shadows from the past remain to darken our sight and hide the world forgiveness offers us. Today we will accept the new world as what we want to see. We will be given what we desire. We will to see the light; the light has come.

Practice:
Longer practice periods – devoted to looking at the world that our forgiveness shows us. This is what we want to see, and only this. Our single purpose makes our goal inevitable. Today the real world rises before us in gladness, to be seen at last. Sight is given us, now that the light has come.

We do not want to see the ego’s shadow on the world today. We see the light, and in it we see Heaven’s reflection lie across the world. Begin the longer practice periods by telling yourself the glad tidings of your release:

“The light has come. I have forgiven the world.”

Dwell not upon the past today. Keep a completely open mind, washed of all past ideas and clean of every concept you have made. You have forgiven the world today. You can look upon it now as if you never saw it before. You do not know yet what it looks like. You merely wait to have it shown to you. While you wait, repeat several times, slowly and in complete patience:

“The light has come. I have forgiven the world.”

Realize that your forgiveness entitles you to vision. Understand that the Holy Spirit never fails to give the gift of sight to the forgiving. Believe He will not fail you now. You have forgiven the world. He will be with you as you watch and wait. He will show you what true vision sees. It is His Will, and you have joined with Him. Wait patiently for Him. He will be there. The light has come. You have forgiven the world.

Tell Him you know you cannot fail because you trust in Him. And tell yourself you wait in certainty to look upon the world He promised you. From this time forth you will see differently. Today the light has come. And you will see the world that has been promised you since time began, and in which is the end of time ensured.

Shorter practice periods, too, will be joyful reminders of your release. Remind yourself every quarter of an hour or so that today is a time for special celebration. Give thanks for mercy and the Love of God. Rejoice in the power of forgiveness to heal your sight completely. Be confident that on this day there is a new beginning. Without the darkness of the past upon your eyes, you cannot fail to see today. And what you see will be so welcome that you will gladly extend today forever.

Say, then:

“The light has come. I have forgiven the world.”

Should you be tempted, say to anyone who seems to pull you back into darkness:

“The light has come. I have forgiven you.”

We dedicate this day to the serenity in which God would have you be. Keep it in your awareness of yourself and see it everywhere today, as we celebrate the beginning of your vision and the sight of the real world, which has come to replace the unforgiven world you thought was real.

Marianne Williamson:
With this exercise, you simultaneously give praise for the light and release the darkness. You declare the power of forgiveness to release you from all effects of fear, as you claim the ultimate reality of love.

“Again ~ nothing you do or think or wish or make is necessary to establish your worth.”

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Lesson 74:

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Idea:

“There is no will but God’s.”

Today’s idea can be regarded as the central thought toward which all our exercises are directed. God’s is the only Will. When you have recognized this, you have recognized that your will is His. The belief that conflict is possible has gone. Peace has replaced the strange idea that you are torn by conflicting goals. As an expression of the Will of God, you have no goal but His.

There is great peace in today’s idea, and the exercises for today are directed towards finding it. The idea itself is wholly true. Therefore it cannot give rise to illusions. Without illusions conflict is impossible. Let us try to recognize this today, and experience the peace this recognition brings.

Practice:
Longer practice periods -repeat these thoughts several times, slowly and with firm determination to understand what they mean, and to hold them in mind:

“There is no will but God’s. I cannot be in conflict.”

Then spend several minutes in adding some related thoughts, such as:

“I am at peace.”
Nothing can disturb me. My will is God’s.”
“My will and God’s are one.”
“God wills peace for His Son.”

During this introductory phase, be sure to deal quickly with any conflict thoughts that may cross your mind. Tell yourself immediately:

“There is no will but God’s. These conflict
thoughts are meaningless.”

If there is one conflict area that seems particularly difficult to resolve, single it out for special consideration. Think about it briefly but very specifically, identify the particular person or persons and the situation or situations involved, and tell yourself:

“There is no will but God’s. I share it with Him.”
“My conflicts about _____ cannot be real.”

After you have cleared your mind in this way, close your eyes and try to experience the peace to which your reality entitles you. Sink into it and feel it closing around you. There may be some temptation to mistake these attempts for withdrawal, but the difference is easily detected. If you are succeeding, you will feel a deep sense of joy and an increased alertness, rather than a feeling of drowsiness and enervation.

Joy characterizes peace. By this experience will you recognize that you have reached it. If you feel yourself slipping off into withdrawal, quickly repeat the idea for today and try again. Do this as often as necessary. There is definite gain in refusing to allow retreat into withdrawal, even if you do not experience the peace you seek.

Shorter periods – undertaken at regular and predetermined intervals today, say to yourself:

“There is no will but God’s. I seek His peace today.”

Then try to find what you are seeking. A minute or two every half an hour, with eyes closed if possible, would be well spent on this today.

Marianne Williamson:
All suffering derives from the belief in a reality that contradicts the will of God. In asserting that there is no will but God’s, you begin to see fear as mere illusion, and love as the only true reality.

“Next time you’re down on your knees, why don’t you just stay there? Why don’t we stay in the realm of the answer, rather than always returning to the realm of the problem? Why not seek some level of awareness where we don’t create these problems for ourselves all the time? Let’s not just ask for a new job, a new relationship, or a new body. Let’s ask for a new world. Let’s ask for a new life.”

 

Lesson 73:

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Idea:

“I will there be light.”

Today we are considering the will you share with God. This is not the same as the ego’s idle wishes, out of which darkness and nothingness arise. The will you share with God has all the power of creation in it. The ego’s idle wishes are unshared, and therefore have no power at all. Its wishes are not idle in the sense that they can make a world of illusions in which your belief can be very strong. But they are idle indeed in terms of creation. They make nothing that is real.

Idle wishes and grievances are partners or co-makers in picturing the world you see. The wishes of the ego gave rise to it, and the ego’s need for grievances, which are necessary to maintain it, peoples it with figures that seem to attack you and call for “righteous” judgment. These figures become the middlemen the ego employs to traffic in grievances. They stand between your awareness and your brothers’ reality. Beholding them, you do not know your brothers or your Self.

Your will is lost to you in this strange bartering, in which guilt is traded back and forth, and grievances increase with each exchange. Can such a world have been created by the Will the Son of God shares with his Father? Did God create disaster for His Son? Creation is the Will of Both together. Would God create a world that kills Himself?

Today we will try once more to reach the world that is in accordance with your will. The light is in it because it does not oppose the Will of God. It is not Heaven, but the light of Heaven shines on it. Darkness has vanished. The ego’s idle wishes have been withdrawn. Yet the light that shines upon this world reflects your will, and so it must be in you that we will look for it.

Your picture of the world can only mirror what is within. The source of neither light nor darkness can be found without. Grievances darken your mind, and you look out on a darkened world. Forgiveness lifts the darkness, reasserts your will, and lets you look upon a world of light. We have repeatedly emphasized that the barrier of grievances is easily passed, and cannot stand between you and your salvation. The reason is very simple. Do you really want to be in hell? Do you really want to weep and suffer and die?

Forget the ego’s arguments which seek to prove all this is really Heaven. You know it is not so. You cannot want this for yourself. There is a point beyond which illusions cannot go. Suffering is not happiness, and it is happiness you really want. Such is your will in truth. And so salvation is your will as well. You want to succeed in what we are trying to do today. We undertake it with your blessing and your glad accord.

We will succeed today if you remember that you want salvation for yourself. You want to accept God’s plan because you share in it. You have no will that can really oppose it, and you do not want to do so. Salvation is for you. Above all else, you want the freedom to remember Who you really are. Today it is the ego that stands powerless before your will. Your will is free, and nothing can prevail against it.

Practice:
Therefore, we undertake the exercises for today in happy confidence, certain that we will find what it is your will to find, and remember what it is your will to remember. No idle wishes can detain us, nor deceive us with an illusion of strength. Today let your will be done, and end forever the insane belief that it is hell in place of Heaven that you choose.

Longer practice periods – recognize that God’s plan for salvation, and only His, is wholly in accord with your will. It is not the purpose of an alien power, thrust upon you unwillingly. It is the one purpose here on which you and your Father are in perfect accord. You will succeed today, the time appointed for the release of the Son of God from hell and from all idle wishes. His will is now restored to his awareness. He is willing this very day to look upon the light in him and be saved.

After reminding yourself of this, and determining to keep your will clearly in mind, tell yourself with gentle firmness and quiet certainty:

“I will there be light. Let me behold the light that reflects
God’s Will and mine.”

Then let your will assert itself, joined with the power of God and united with your Self. Put the rest of the practice period under Their guidance. Join with Them as They lead the way.

In the shorter practice periods, again make a declaration of what you really want. Say:

“I will there be light. Darkness is not my will.”

This should be repeated several times an hour. It is most important, however, to apply today’s idea in this form immediately you are tempted to hold a grievance of any kind. This will help you let your grievances go, instead of cherishing them and hiding them in darkness.

Marianne Williamson:
Today you are using the power of your will to call forth a better life. You are consciously declaring that darkness is not your will and that the love on the other side of your worldly illusions is the world you wish to see. You are asserting your independence from the voice of the ego and claiming your right to the realm of the miraculous.

“Love casts out sin or fear the way light casts out darkness. The shift from fear to love is a miracle. It doesn’t fix things on the earth plane; it addresses the real source of our problems, which is always on the level of consciousness. The only real problem is a lack of love.”

Lesson 72:

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Idea:

“Holding grievances is an attack on God’s plan for salvation.”

While we have recognized that the ego’s plan for salvation is the opposite of God’s, we have not yet emphasized that it is an active attack on His plan, and a deliberate attempt to destroy it. In the attack, God is assigned the attributes which are actually associated with the ego, while the ego appears to take on the attributes of God.

The ego’s fundamental wish is to replace God. In fact, the ego is the physical embodiment of that wish. For it is that wish that seems to surround the mind with a body, keeping it separate and alone, and unable to reach other minds except through the body that was made to imprison it. The limit on communication cannot be the best means to expand communication. Yet the ego would have you believe that it is.

Although the attempt to keep the limitations that a body would impose is obvious here, it is perhaps not so apparent why holding grievances is an attack on God’s plan for salvation. But let us consider the kinds of things you are apt to hold grievances for. Are they not always associated with something a body does? A person says something you do not like. He does something that displeases you. He “betrays” his hostile thoughts in his behavior.

You are not dealing here with what the person is. On the contrary, you are exclusively concerned with what he does in a body. You are doing more than failing to help in freeing him from the body’s limitations. You are actively trying to hold him to it by confusing it with him, and judging them as one. Herein is God attacked, for if His Son is only a body, so must He be as well. A creator wholly unlike his creation is inconceivable.

If God is a body, what must His plan for salvation be? What could it be but death? In trying to present Himself as the Author of life and not of death, He is a liar and a deceiver, full of false promises and offering illusions in place of truth. The body’s apparent reality makes this view of God quite convincing. In fact, if the body were real, it would be difficult indeed to escape this conclusion. And every grievance that you hold insists that the body is real. It overlooks entirely what your brother is. It reinforces your belief that he is a body, and condemns him for it. And it asserts that his salvation must be death, projecting this attack onto God, and holding Him responsible for it.

To this carefully prepared arena, where angry animals seek for prey and mercy cannot enter, the ego comes to save you. God made you a body. Very well. Let us accept this and be glad. As a body, do not let yourself be deprived of what the body offers. Take the little you can get. God gave you nothing. The body is your only savior. It is the death of God and your salvation.

This is the universal belief of the world you see. Some hate the body, and try to hurt and humiliate it. Others love the body, and try to glorify and exalt it. But while the body stands at the center of your concept of yourself, you are attacking God’s plan for salvation, and holding your grievances against Him and His creation, that you may not hear the Voice of truth and welcome It as Friend. Your chosen savior takes His (God) place instead. It (your chosen savior) is your friend; He (God) is your enemy.

We will try today to stop these senseless attacks on salvation. We will try to welcome it instead. Your upside-down perception has been ruinous to your peace of mind. You have seen yourself in a body and the truth outside you, locked away from your awareness by the body’s limitations. Now we are going to try to see this differently.

The light of truth is in us, where it was placed by God. It is the body that is outside us, and is not our concern. To be without a body is to be in our natural state. To recognize the light of truth in us is to recognize ourselves as we are. To see our Self as separate from the body is to end the attack on God’s plan for salvation, and to accept it instead. And wherever His plan is accepted, it is accomplished already.

Practice:
Our goal in the longer practice periods today is to become aware that God’s plan for salvation has already been accomplished in us. To achieve this goal, we must replace attack with acceptance. As long as we attack it, we cannot understand what God’s plan for us is. We are therefore attacking what we do not recognize. Now we are going to try to lay judgment aside, and ask what God’s plan for us is:

“What is salvation, Father? I do not know.”
“Tell me, that I may understand.”

Then we will wait in quiet for His answer. We have attacked God’s plan for salvation without waiting to hear what it is. We have shouted our grievances so loudly that we have not listened to His Voice. We have used our grievances to close our eyes and stop our ears.

Now we would see and hear and learn.
“What is salvation, Father?”
Ask and you will be answered. Seek and you will find. We are no longer asking the ego what salvation is and where to find it. We are asking it of truth. Be certain, then, that the answer will be true because of Whom you ask.

Whenever you feel your confidence wane and your hope of success flicker and go out, repeat your question and your request, remembering that you are asking of the infinite Creator of infinity, Who created you like Himself:

“What is salvation, Father? I do not know.”
“Tell me, that I may understand.”

He will answer. Be determined to hear.

One – two shorter practice periods an hour will be enough for today, since they will be somewhat longer than usual. These exercises should begin with this:

“Holding grievances is an attack on God’s plan for salvation.”
“Let me accept it instead. What is salvation, Father?”

Then wait a minute or so in silence, preferably with your eyes closed, and listen for His answer.

Marianne Williamson:
Whenever you hold a grievance about a person or a situation, you cover the miracle impulse and blind yourself to light. In doing so, you block God’s plan from working in your life. By giving up grievances, you stop attacking God’s plan for salvation and allow it to heal your life instead.

“God is not the author of fear. You are.”

Lesson 71:

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Idea:

“Only God’s plan for salvation will work.”

You may not realize that the ego has set up a plan for salvation in opposition to God’s. It is this plan in which you believe. Since it is the opposite of God’s, you also believe that to accept God’s plan in place of the ego’s is to be damned. This sounds preposterous, of course. Yet after we have considered just what the ego’s plan is, perhaps you will realize that, however preposterous it may be, you do believe in it.

The ego’s plan for salvation centers around holding grievances. It maintains that, if someone else spoke or acted differently, if some external circumstance or event were changed, you would be saved. Thus, the source of salvation is constantly perceived as outside yourself. Each grievance you hold is a declaration, and an assertion in which you believe, that says, “If this were different, I would be saved.” The change of mind necessary for salvation is thus demanded of everyone and everything except yourself.

The role assigned to your own mind in this plan, then, is simply to determine what, other than itself, must change if you are to be saved. According to this insane plan, any perceived source of salvation is acceptable provided that it will not work. This ensures that the fruitless search will continue, for the illusion persists that, although this hope has always failed, there is still grounds for hope in other places and in other things. Another person will yet serve better; another situation will yet offer success.

Such is the ego’s plan for your salvation. Surely you can see how it is in strict accord with the ego’s basic doctrine, “Seek but do not find.” For what could more surely guarantee that you will not find salvation than to channelize all your efforts in searching for it where it is not?

God’s plan for salvation works simply because, by following His direction, you seek for salvation where it is. But if you are to succeed, as God promises you will, you must be willing to seek there only. Otherwise, your purpose is divided and you will attempt to follow two plans for salvation that are diametrically opposed in all ways. The result can only bring confusion, misery and a deep sense of failure and despair.

How can you escape all this?
Very simply. The idea for today is the answer. Only God’s plan for salvation will work. There can be no real conflict about this, because there is no possible alternative to God’s plan that will save you. His is the only plan that is certain in its outcome. His is the only plan that must succeed.

Practice:
Let us practice recognizing this certainty today. And let us rejoice that there is an answer to what seems to be a conflict with no resolution possible. All things are possible to God. Salvation must be yours because of His plan, which cannot fail.

Two longer practice periods – begin by thinking about today’s idea – realize it contains two parts, each making equal contribution to the whole: 1) God’s plan for your salvation will work, and 2) other plans will not. Do not allow yourself to become depressed or angry at the second part; it is inherent in the first. And in the first is your full release from all your own insane attempts and mad proposals to free yourself. They have led to depression and anger; but God’s plan will succeed. It will lead to release and joy.

Devote the remainder of the extended practice periods to asking God to reveal His plan to us. Ask Him very specifically:

“What would You have me do?”
“Where would You have me go?”
“What would You have me say, and to whom?”

Give Him full charge of the rest of the practice period, and let Him tell you what needs to be done by you in His plan for your salvation. He will answer in proportion to your willingness to hear His Voice. Refuse not to hear. The very fact that you are doing the exercises proves that you have some willingness to listen. This is enough to establish your claim to God’s answer.

Shorter practice periods – tell yourself often that God’s plan for salvation, and only His, will work. Be alert to all temptation to hold grievances today, and respond to them with this form of today’s idea:

“Holding grievances is the opposite of God’s plan
for salvation. And only His plan will work.”

Try to remember today’s idea some six or seven times an hour. There could be no better way to spend a half minute or less than to remember the Source of your salvation, and to see It where It is.

Lesson 70:

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Idea:

“My salvation comes from me.”

All temptation is nothing more than some form of the basic temptation not to believe the idea for today. Salvation seems to come from anywhere except from you. So, too, does the source of guilt. You see neither guilt nor salvation as in your own mind and nowhere else. When you realize that all guilt is solely an invention of your mind, you also realize that guilt and salvation must be in the same place. In understanding this you are saved.

The seeming cost of accepting today’s idea is this:
It means that nothing outside yourself can save you; nothing outside yourself can give you peace. But it also means that nothing outside yourself can hurt you, or disturb your peace or upset you in any way. Today’s idea places you in charge of the universe, where you belong because of what you are. This is not a role that can be partially accepted. And you must surely begin to see that accepting it is salvation.

It may not, however, be clear to you why the recognition that guilt is in your own mind entails the realization that salvation is there as well. God would not have put the remedy for the sickness where it cannot help. That is the way your mind has worked, but hardly His. He wants you to be healed, so He has kept the Source of healing where the need for healing lies.

You have tried to do just the opposite, making every attempt, however distorted and fantastic it might be, to separate healing from the sickness for which it was intended, and thus keep the sickness. Your purpose was to ensure that healing did not occur. God’s purpose was to ensure that it did.

Practice:
Today we practice realizing that God’s Will and ours are really the same in this. God wants us to be healed, and we do not really want to be sick, because it makes us unhappy. Therefore, in accepting the today’s idea, we are really in agreement with God. He does not want us to be sick. Neither do we. He wants us to be healed. So do we.

Two longer practice periods today –  ten to fifteen minutes each – you decide when to undertake them, but decide in advance when would be a good time to lay aside for each of them,  then adhere to your own decisions as closely as possible.

Begin these practice periods by repeating the idea for today, adding a statement signifying your recognition that salvation comes from nothing outside of you. You might put it this way:

“My salvation comes from me. It cannot come from
anywhere else.”

Then devote a few minutes, with your eyes closed, to reviewing some of the external places where you have looked for salvation in the past;–in other people, in possessions, in various situations and events, and in self-concepts that you sought to make real. Recognize that it is not there, and tell yourself:

“My salvation cannot come from any of these things.”
“My salvation comes from me and only from me.”

Now we will try again to reach the light in you, which is where your salvation is. You cannot find it in the clouds that surround the light, and it is in them you have been looking for it. It is not there. It is past the clouds and in the light beyond. Remember that you will have to go through the clouds before you can reach the light. But remember also that you have never found anything in the cloud patterns you imagined that endured, or that you wanted.

Since all illusions of salvation have failed you, surely you do not want to remain in the clouds, looking vainly for idols there, when you could so easily walk on into the light of real salvation. Try to pass the clouds by whatever means appeals to you. If it helps you, think of me holding your hand and leading you. And I assure you this will be no idle fantasy.

For the short and frequent practice periods today, remind yourself that your salvation comes from you, and nothing but your own thoughts can hamper your progress. You are free from all external interference. You are in charge of your salvation. You are in charge of the salvation of the world. Say, then:

“My salvation comes from me. Nothing outside of me can hold
me back. Within me is the world’s salvation and my own.”

Marianne Williamson:
Today’s lesson helps you to do the inner work of accepting responsibility for your salvation. As you come into agreement with God, you realize His will and your will are the same and that your salvation and the world’s salvation are in you.

“For many people, God is a frightening concept. Asking God for help doesn’t seem very comforting if we think of Him as something outside ourselves, or capricious or judgmental. But God is love. We were created in His image, or mind, which means that we are extensions of His love. This is why we are called the Sons of God.”

Lesson 69:

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Idea:

“My grievances hide the light of the world in me.”

No one can look upon what your grievances conceal. Because your grievances are hiding the light of the world in you, everyone stands in darkness, and you beside him. But as the veil of your grievances is lifted, you are released with him. Share your salvation now with him who stood beside you when you were in hell. He is your brother in the light of the world that saves you both.

Practice:
Let us make another real attempt to reach the light in you. Let us devote several minutes to thinking about what we are trying to do. We are literally attempting to get in touch with the salvation of the world. We are trying to see past the veil of darkness that keeps it concealed. We are trying to let the veil be lifted, and to see the tears of God’s Son disappear in the sunlight.

Begin the longer practice period with the full realization that this is so, and with real determination to reach what is dearer to us than all else. Salvation is our only need. There is no other purpose here, and no other function to fulfill. Learning salvation is our only goal. Let us end the ancient search today by finding the light in us, and holding it up for everyone who searches with us to look upon and rejoice.

Quietly – with your eyes closed – try to let go of all the content that generally occupies your consciousness.
Think of your mind as a vast circle, surrounded by a layer of heavy, dark clouds. You can see only the clouds because you seem to be standing outside the circle and quite apart from it.

From where you stand, you can see no reason to believe there is a brilliant light hidden by the clouds. The clouds seem to be the only reality. They seem to be all there is to see. Therefore, you do not attempt to go through them and past them, which is the only way in which you would be really convinced of their lack of substance. We will make this attempt today.

After you have thought about the importance of what you are trying to do for yourself and the world, try to settle down in perfect stillness, remembering only how much you want to reach the light in you today,–now! Determine to go past the clouds. Reach out and touch them in your mind. Brush them aside with your hand; feel them resting on your cheeks and forehead and eyelids as you go through them. Go on; clouds cannot stop you.

If you are doing the exercises properly, you will begin to feel a sense of being lifted up and carried ahead. Your little effort and small determination call on the power of the universe to help you, and God Himself will raise you from darkness into light. You are in accord with His Will. You cannot fail because your will is His.

Have confidence in your Father today, and be certain that He has heard you and answered you. You may not recognize His answer yet, but you can indeed be sure that it is given you and you will yet receive it. Try, as you attempt to go through the clouds to the light, to hold this confidence in your mind. Try to remember that you are at last joining your will to God’s. Try to keep the thought clearly in mind that what you undertake with God must succeed. Then let the power of God work in you and through you, that His Will and yours be done.

Shorter practice periods: you will want to do as often as possible in view of the importance of today’s idea to you and your happiness, remind yourself that your grievances are hiding the light of the world from your awareness. Remind yourself also that you are not searching for it alone, and that you do know where to look for it. Say, then:

“My grievances hide the light of the world in me. I cannot
see what I have hidden. Yet I want to let it be revealed to
me, for my salvation and the salvation of the world.”

Also, be sure to tell yourself:

“If I hold this grievance the light of the world will be hidden
from me.”

if you are tempted to hold anything against anyone today.

Marianne Williamson:
Instead of hiding behind your grievances, this exercise will train you to be lifted above the darkness of the ego mind into light of the world that is in you. By living in the light, you are joining your will to God’s will and realizing that they are the same.

“Love does not conquer all things, but it does set all things right.”