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Excerpted from Inspired by Miracles by Dan Joseph. Copyright © 2001 by Quiet Mind Publishing, LLC. Excerpted by permission of Quiet Mind Publishing, LLC.  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.

"The real challenge in this process is to turn the dark thoughts over to God instead of locking them back away in their cubbyhole."

  Dan Joseph, Inspired by Miracles, Part 2

I may decide to "take a look" at my thoughts toward a handful of people whom I havenít seen in twenty years. As I begin to think of those people Ė and honestly identify my thoughts toward them Ė I may find a significant amount of resentment or anger stored away. As I give over those resentful thoughts to God, and let Him exchange my grievances for miracles, my overall sense of peace is increased.

The Course wants us to open up every cubbyhole Ė open every relationship to God. Although this process may seem overwhelming (after all, most of us have thousands of these "relationship cubbyholes"), I find that the practice forms a momentum. The first dozen, or hundred, compartments that we open may require a reasonable amount of effort. But then our minds become comfortable with the process, and things begin to flow more smoothly.

This, in my opinion, is one of the most powerful practices in the Course. By identifying and releasing the "stored grievances" in our minds, we create a wide opening for Godís miracles to flow in. The practice requires honesty Ė even some courage. But the results can be felt in a very practical way. I often feel an increased sense of peace by allowing just one cubbyhole to be cleaned out by God.

To summarize, there are two main points that Iím building on in this chapter. The first is that our dark thoughts are the primary blocks to miracles. The second point is that grievances are among the most common forms of dark thoughts. As we open up our grievances to God, and let Him replace them with miracles, our minds are healed. This will be my focus for the current chapter.

Before moving on, Iíd like to share an observation from my work with this type of practice. I occasionally find that there is some discomfort that arises when I first open a door on a locked-away relationship.

Someone may come to mind whom I havenít thought of in years Ė someone whom I have some grievances against. I immediately feel uncomfortable, and want to slam shut the door on that compartment. But if I take one more step, and say, "God, I have some dark thoughts toward this person. I didnít realize it until this moment, but I donít want to lock those thoughts away. Please take them, and replace them with your miracles," I am taking a powerful step.

The real challenge in this process is to turn the dark thoughts over to God instead of locking them back away in their cubbyhole. If we bury them away, says the Course, they wonít suddenly be resolved. They will simply be hidden. If we want our minds to be healed, we need to give God permission to wash these thoughts away, and give us a new perception instead.

Having said that, Iíd like to present an exercise that builds on these ideas. This exercise is one of the most challenging in this book. As I mentioned earlier, youíre welcome to work with these exercises in whatever way is personally meaningful. I will, however, try to be as comprehensive in my presentation as possible.

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