When we think of someone as open-minded, we often think of them as being more accepting, tolerant, unbiased, and more receptive to new ideas. Open-mindedness, according to A Course in Miracles, is a quality that can best be understood as it relates to forgiveness; an attribute acquired through lack of judgment. The Dalai Lama said that “Love is the absence of judgement.” To be open-minded, then, is to be open to Love, and a willingness to extend Love without judging who or what deserves our expression of Love.

Just as judgment pinches us off from the Source of Love within us, so we think we can’t feel It; just as it shuts our mind and heart against the Light of Love, so we are sure we don’t see It; open-mindedness invites the Light of Love to come into our awareness, and through us to shine into every area of our life as we begin to more clearly see Life as its created to be. A Course in Miracles tells us that the open-minded have let go of all things that would prevent forgiveness. They have (in truth) abandoned the world (or their view of the world), and let it be restored to them in newness, in joy so glorious they could never have conceived of such a change. Everything that had seemed so dull, lifeless and hopeless sparkles because no clouds remain hide Face of Christ.

To be “open-minded” is be strong in our Spirit—Strong enough to be accepting, tolerant, unbiased, and receptive to new ideas of our self, others and life; strong enough to listen to the Voice of our Inner Being that forever whispers “let it go, let it go.” The Light Hope within us, that feeling of hopefulness despite appearances, can give us the inner strength to forgive self and others—not only when we feel a little guilty about our reaction to some situation; not only when we’ve had a little disagreement with someone and got our feelings hurt. But even when we have felt so much guilt and hurt forgiveness of our self and others seems impossible.

Sometimes when the idea of hope is mentioned, some students of Science of Mind assume hope isn’t a good thing because Ernest Holmes wrote in The Science of Mind that “hope is a subtle illusion.” But he also wrote in The Science of Mind that “Hope is good; it is better than despair.” We can look at hope from “both sides”—as a subtle illusion when it’s a lifetime attitude and as a springboard to empowerment when it is a temporary choice.

Ernest Holmes was speaking of prayer, and our thoughts between prayer, when he spoke of hope as a subtle illusion because praying with out fingers crossed, and living with the daily mantra, “I hope-I hope-I hope,” is, as he put it, an unconscious compromise with doubt. Hope, when it’s all we emit into consciousness in prayer, or when we think about a resolution to problem between prayer, is wishy-washy. It’s like saying, “I certainly hope it’ll be ok, but we’ll have to wait and see.” And, yet, what we are going to see no matter how long we wait is the result of the doubt-filled, “maybe-maybe not ‘ thoughts we’re sending out. We might as well say, “We’ll have to wait and see the results of what I’m thinking now.” But by the time we see what we are thinking “now” in form and expression in our life, the problem we’ve continued to dwell on is a whole lot harder resolve.

That is why it is always a good thing to catch our thoughts early, before they manifest, by noticing how they are making us feel. If we’re not feeling good, we’re not thinking good. The emotions and feelings we experience are the result, our body response, to the vibrations of thoughts we are thinking in any given moment. Feelings of hopefulness and feelings of despair are indicators of thoughts we are choosing to dwell on. How we’re feeling about anything—our physical body, relationships, finances, accomplishments, abilities, etc.—indicates what type of thoughts we’re having on that subject, and nothing good can come to us from thoughts that cause us not to feel good.

We could think of hope as moving us out of the rabbit hole of negativity that doesn’t feel good and onto ground level where the Light can get to us and we feel better. Hope is midway on the emotional scale; entry level into the realm of positivity. We may not be able to soar with one leap into the high vibrations of Joy, Appreciation, Empowerment, Freedom, and Love that are at the top of the emotional scale. But we can be ready-to-be-ready to fly through our willingness to move up the emotional scale just a little bit to a place of hope.

If we want to become a deliberate creator of our life experiences, if we want a healing, if we want to manifest our dreams and desires, we need to decide that how we feel (anytime) is the most important thing to us because it is an indication of what we are calling to us. Our vibration matters because the Spiritual Law of the Universe, the Law of Attraction, i.e. like attracts like, is always attracting things to us—forms, expressions, experiences that match our vibration. We can’t turn It off and indulge in a pity party that won’t leave a hangover!

Our thoughts are prayers. How we feel is an indication of what we’re praying for, i.e., the thoughts we are emitting into the Creative Energy of the Universe. It can’t be fooled by a false smile or words we don’t believe. There can be no compromise with consciousness.

The good news is our emotions, like a compass, can point us straight towards the fulfillment of our deepest desires. If we’re feeling good, we are in a high vibrational place and allowing all the good of life to come our way. If we’re just feeling hopeful, that’s okay. We’re halfway there because we’re out of the rabbit hole! Hope as a transitional feeling places us on the positive side of life. It lifts us out of the darkness of negativity and into the Light, and as It does we gain positive momentum and feel better and better. Then it’s easier for us to feel those emotions that rise above hope: optimism, positive expectation, enthusiasm, eagerness, happiness, passion, and finally that high flying place where Joy, Appreciation, Empowerment, Freedom, and Love reside. It’s in everyone of us to feel.

As practice becoming aware how we are feeling, and if the best we can momentarily feel is hopeful, a new world will open up for us in that Light of Hope where we can begin to deliberately choose better feeling thoughts that cause us to feel strong in our Spirit. Strong enough to listen to the Voice of our Inner Being that forever whispers words of forgiveness, “let it go, let it go.”