Thought is Not the Problem: More Notes on Tara Singh’s “Love Holds No Grievances”

In “Healing Relationship” in Love Holds No Grievances, Tara Singh talks about forgiveness as a process of becoming responsible for what is going on internally. The problem is never “out there,” but inside.

Relationship is the site of learning how to forgive in this way.

Relationship has no opposite to it . . . Relationship is not subject to duality. Neither is truth subject to duality. In relationship there is no conflict (Love Holds No Grievances 58).

It is a new way of being. If we so much as perceive an other, then we are not in relationship, because we are confused and are still seeing only separation. We are taking the body’s perception of division and difference literally, and letting that mistake drive our thinking (which in turn drives our actions). “Where there is another, there is not relationship” (Love Holds No Grievances 59).

Sometimes we say, the problem is thought. If I could only think differently . . . But thought is not the problem either. Thought happens. Brains produce thinking, often very finely-grained thinking. Emily Dickinson poems are beautiful, prisms are beautiful and thought produced them both.

No, the problem is our relationship to thought. It is the way we take thought literally, the way we think there is some all-knowing direction or infallible intelligence behind it. And we imagine that direction, that intelligence, is in our head, guiding our actions.

We have to go beyond thought. We have to stop being obsessed with it. The law by which the brain produces thought is the same law that makes your toe nails grow. Do you want to ask them about the nature of reality?

There is direction and intelligence behind the brain, yes. That direction and intelligence reflects a lawful order. But thinking itself is disordered, riddled with bias, and generally unreliable. It takes skill to know how to think clearly and not to just follow one’s thoughts wherever they lead. Prisms aren’t accidents and neither are Emily Dickinson poems.

And to realize the thoughts we think with God – which is to realize the only reationship that is – is of another level altogether. Even Emily Dickinson poems pale before the light of God’s love for us in Creation.

. . . when you do not think like God, you are not really thinking at all. Delusional ideas are not real thoughts, although you can believe in them. But you are wrong. The function of thought comes from God and is in God. As part of His Thought, you cannot think apart from Him (T-5.V.6:12-16).

To have the intention to think with God is to come to an order of stillness and creativity, of freedom, that is natural and inherent but from which we have become painfully alienated. And because we are alienated, we cannot be in relationship. Every decision and every action is run through the ego’s filters and translated according to its interpretation which is always grounded in scarcity, survival and competition.

Tara Singh is so clear and lucid! If you perceive the other as separate from you – separate interests, separate objectives, separate needs, separate everything – then you will not know the other. You are stuck at the level of ego – its opinions, its judgments, its deceptions and distractions. It’s masks and halls of mirrors all the way down.

And there is – thank Christ there is – another way.

. . . everything is one and within the one there is relationship. If we understood that, then we would probably know what love is. Love would know what relationship is, for they are both the same (Love Holds No Grievances 60).

Therefore, the work of healing is to become responsible for our own self – our interior state, which is our relationship with the ego or the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit teaches us how to see beyond the appearance of differences and the illusion of choice in order to reach a state beyond judgment and evaluation. That state is compassionate and intelligent; that state is cooperative and communicative. That state knows the relationship between tide and moon, between sunlight and maples trees, and black bears and forests.

To come to that state means to become honest about what is not working within us. It is to notice that we are being deceptive and dishonest – with ourselves. We always evaluate the other person or situation for what we can get from it, what needs to be protected or defended, what’s a good deal, who has the advantage, et cetera. We are experts at not holding ourselves accountable and choosing relationships that support our denial.

You may believe that you are responsible for what you do, but not for what you think. The truth is that you are responsible for what you think, because it is only at this level that you can exercise choice. What you do comes from what you think (T-2.VI.2:5-7).

That’s all on us. It has nothing to do with the other. That is the invitation Jesus made long ago – to leave that way of being and instead relate to one another and to life differently, as children of a loving God. And they crucified him. But we still know his name. And he is still here in all these different ways, including the way of A Course in Miracles, trying to teach us to see beyond the appearance of differences, find the one love, the one truth, the one life. The message doesn’t change.

There is no separation in life, only relationship. It’s easy to say but the work – the reason we study the Course – is to bring it into application, to live it. And that is hard. It is hard because it is a correction. The way is given but we have taught ourselves for thousands of years to resist the way. We think resistance is love, we think hate is love, we think fear is love. There is another way but it takes willingness to see it, and it takes courage to follow where it leads – away from the past and into the present.

In the present moment you are related to the planet, to the earth, to Heaven. You are related to everything and to every living creature in the world. It’s a different state. It doesn’t know division. It is not distorted; it is not fragmented. You are whole. And in that wholeness you look through the eyes of holiness and love (Love Holds No Grievances 67).

Correction is hard and nobody can do it but us. We have to dedicate ourselves to the correction. We have to heal the mind that believes in separation; forgiveness is the healing of the mind that believes the perception of separation is real. It takes time and discipline, and the effects of our learning and practice aren’t our concern. What changes or doesn’t change outside of us – a new love, a healthier body, a bigger house, a more responsive sangha, whatever. That may happen and it may not. It doesn’t matter.

The point is that we could see peace instead of this (W-pI.34.h), and that is about how we related to both perception and thought. The work is to make the internal correction, to shift from taking thought and perception literally and instead offering them to God as a means of teaching us what relationship is.

And then – when we see through the eyes of holiness and love, when we see through the eyes of peace – we can be in relationship with the other because we are no longer relating at the level of the body. We are no longer playing the old game of separation. We have seen the truth, and the truth has set us free, together.


  1. I agree, truly inspired Sean and something I will read daily.

    I realized today that the only thing that separates yourself as in YOU from our self as in ME is Y and space.

    1. Thanks, Lew. Have you read Buber’s “I and Thou?” It’s been so helpful to me over the years in thinking about this “relationship” that is really just one. Y and space indeed . . .


  2. Ah Sean – thought … stop .. little letters with spaces between. …. separation … symbols of symbols …. I am doing this to myself ….. become aware … breathe … ah yes … let go …. Be … in timeless moments – when so I choose. Peace like a river flows. πŸ™

    1. There it is Anne . . . I LOVE that river of love . . . thank you for being here. I am grateful for you πŸ™πŸ™


  3. The brain does not produce thoughts, they arise out of consciousness. No thought we think we think is our “own”. There is no person. There are no personal thoughts. Release yourself from being the “thinker” and simply be the awareness in which all thoughts arise. Let them arise and perhaps ask, “Who or what benefits from this thought?” Often, the answer is the ego. So, let the thought go. It doesn’t even need forgiveness. Just gentle release. Thoughts are not true or real. The person who thinks them isn’t true or real. Only awareness, the One Awareness. Atonement moving in itself, as itself.

    1. Thank you, Amy.

      The language you are using here is closer to neo-advaitic languaging (Spira, Hartong, et al) than ACIM, which takes a service and relationship-oriented approach to nonduality. It’s not for everyone. I find that approach clearer and more helpful, largely because of its emphasis on application.

      The neo-advaitic logic always feels quasi-dogmatic. Somebody says “thoughts are not true or real” but then USES thought to contradict the thoughts of another. Isn’t that just the same old lovelessness of “I get it and you don’t?”

      I think there is another way πŸ™‚


  4. Sean what you are saying is that there is no one out there doing this,I’ve not seen this in the depth you reveal it and didn’t know now I do. Thank you Sean

    1. Thanks for reading and sharing Sean – yes – one life, one love and in that oneness is relationship – very beautiful. Thanks for being here.


  5. Thanks, Sean,

    The past few days have been a roller coaster for me. The Anniversary of the death of my Mother, who died far too long ago far too young. Followed directly by a significant Birthday, all enveloped with several ongoing situations involving significant and unwanted financial expenditure!! And I think I’m coming down with a cold…

    So many strong thoughts. So many contradicting feelings and emotions. And yet so many opportunities to explore my relationships with people, the past, my health, control, money et al. What a test in applying the course.

    1. Thanks for reading and sharing, Martin. Yes, that is the practice – to bring attention to all the apparently disparate elements of our living, and to be in relationship with all of them. Realizing the truth of “the secret to salvation is I am doing this to myself” (T-27.VII.10:1) and that only defenselessness will make us truly safe and happy (W-pI.153.h) is a big lift. Reading and studying Tara Singh was helpful to me in terms of realizing in a felt way that the Course was meant not only to be understood but applied – as you are doing. It was a gift, truly. Thanks again for sharing.


      1. I’m not ashamed to admit that over the past few days I have had some moments of emotional and psychological breakdown. Allowing myself to fall back on the words and teachings of the course, I’ve come to an appreciation that these are mental stumbling blocks. Like walking down the road and tripping on a rock, losing balance, or even falling down and hurting my knee. But with some awareness, these moments, like a mild stumble, are recoverable. There might be a delay between the reaction and the awareness, but that coming to awareness, however delayed from the event seems to be important.

        Suddenly my anger about forking out a large handful of cash on my car is seen as my relationship with my savings and my fear of a future in economic poverty. There’s some specialness in my expectation that my car shouldn’t go wrong. That’s for someone else’s car. Is my mechanic taking advantage of me? etc etc. I can see this another way!

        I have bought a copy of Tara Singh’s ” Nothing Real Can Be Threatened”. I’m interested to find out his teachings on the course.

        1. Thank you, Martin. I hear all of this – this is very much my own experience.

          For me, the practice is to not resist but to open to the whole gestalt of the moment – how it looks, how it lands emotionally, the narratives it brings forth, the conditioning and programming that are apparent, the conditioning and programming that are NOT apparent but still operative . . .

          . . . and to be effectively nonviolent with respect to all of it. To simply allow it all to occur, giving attention to the fact that there is something – what ACIM calls the self as God knows the self – that does not need to become involved, invested, attached.

          It’s like there’s a river and we can watch the river without getting pulled away by its currents.

          And then slowly in that practice the peace that surpasses understanding – the quiet natural happiness that does not come and go – claims us as its own.

          I think it’s easy to SAY this and hard to practice it but, for me, the practice is what allows the crisis to subside – where “crisis” is that temptation to take everything personally, i.e., this body/this life/this context. I know some folks have lightning bolt experiences and that’s great! But for me and for most of the fellow students with whom I am in communion, it’s gradual and slow, a dawning, and we are here to support one another, lean on one another, etc.

          There is no cause for shame anywhere in the system, Martin. I appreciate your clarity here very much.


  6. β€œIf we so much as perceive another, then we are not in relationship because we confused and are still seeing only separation.”
    Does that not mean that I do not deny what my bodies eyes are showing me (the decision making aspect of mind) but my interpretation of what I am seeing is now under new guidance, that of the Voice for God that came with me into my dream?

    1. Thank you Nan. I am not sure that I follow your question – I apologize.

      Bodies perceive separation, and bodies include brains. So the body and most of what we refer to as “thought” both produces and reinforces separation. When you’re hungry and I eat a sandwich, you’re not satiated. If you go for a swim, I don’t get wet.

      This never changes! We just learn to see it differently. But “see it differently” isn’t the answer either. It’s just a new way of relating to the old error, one that takes it less literally.

      For me – as for Singh and others – the salient characteristic of this “new way of seeing” is transformed relationship, where the focus shifts from getting to giving and then from giving to simply identifying as. It is a deep structural shift over which “I” – as “Sean” or “Nan” – do not have and could not have and do not desire to have – control.

      There is a lot of joy in this, as it is basically “an experience of Gods Love that ends my doubting,” as a wiser soul than I once said πŸ™‚

      Please forgive me if I misunderstood or mistook your question.


  7. The cardinal rule of ACIM is that you never make the error real. The question then is to asks me what that means to me. Over the years that answer has changed. Has the final answer been achieved? Not sure, and not sure it even matters. What ever is happening in the world, and in my world as well, it is love that is being expressed or calls for the love I don’t think I have. The love appears this way or that way, but its always love, sometimes in very distressing disguises. Both are symbols for there is only love and that is not easily swallowed by so many. For me the goal is to not discriminate in my perceptions. All my perceptions are illusory but and its a big but, I believe in them therefore they are in need of my forgiveness. It’s kinda like I don’t feel I need to put love and light anywhere I need to see it already there. The appearance of something other than love is a ruse. It is never healing a lack of love it is healing the perception of lack despite appearances. Just read that and fell in love with it. No more sending light and love, its already there. My desire is to see it under, over, around all else.

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