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Excerpted from Teach Only Love by Gerald Jampolsky. Copyright 2000 by Gerald Jampolsky. Excerpted by permission of Beyond Words Publishing, Inc.  All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher. HTML and web pages copyright by SpiritSite.com.

"When we do not feel loved or lovable, we usually make the mistake of trying to gain control over the external circumstances we believe are causing our unhappiness."

  Jerry Jampolsky
Teach Only Love
, Part 1

"Yesterday was awful; today is terrible; and tomorrow will be even worse." That is the way my family looked at life when I was a boy. I suspect there may also have been a little of this attitude around when you were growing up. From generation to generation, we have all been steeped in the belief that the past predicts the future and that a mature person of good judgment carefully considers the lessons of the past when laying his plans. But A Course in Miracles points out that the past has only one lesson to teach us:

This Instant is the only time there is.

The belief that the past provides the true laws of life enters our minds in an even more subtle way than through our direct attempts to control what is to come. We constantly think about the future and expect it to be like the past. Our fantasies and idle thoughts attempt to project in the future what we remember having liked in the past and to see eliminated what was difficult and painful.

When we think in this way we are not looking ahead in a practical and reasonable manner, but we are merely making a mental state that is composed almost entirely of fear. We believe that the general turn of the events in our lives is not to be trusted, and so we view everyone and everything either as an enemy or at least as potentially dangerous. This attitude, in turn, makes us feel unworthy of love. It makes us feel guilty and helpless and ambiguous about everything. It results in our attempt to control reality, and so the only talents we develop are manipulative ones.

This, of course, is the very mistake I myself have made so often. I tried to present myself to the world in a way that was quite different from how I was feeling. Inside, I may have been scared about what was going to happen, but outside I wore the costume of a man who was in control and to be respected. As is true of anyone who wears a mask, I felt isolated and misunderstood.

When we do not feel loved or lovable, we usually make the mistake of trying to gain control over the external circumstances we believe are causing our unhappiness. Because this goal can only be fulfilled in the future, the present moment is devalued. Even a dismal future over which we have some control seems preferable to this moment. And happiness, which requires that our full attention be on the present, becomes fearful. If some degree of happiness should occur, anyone with this attitude would immediately become suspicious of it. Whenever we are afraid, we think we see value in keeping the present free of all love and enjoyment. Fear stimulates an unconscious desire to be unhappy in order that we may focus on, and control, the future.

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