II. SECTION 10. What is the Last Judgment?
Lesson 314 I seek a future different from the past.
- From new perception of the world, there comes a future very different from the past. The future now is recognized as but extension of the present. Past mistakes can cast no shadows on it so that fear has lost its idols and its images and being formless, it has no effects. Death will not claim the future now, for life is now its goal, and all the needed means are happily provided. Who can grieve or suffer when the present has been freed, extending its security and peace into a quiet future filled with joy?
- Father, we were mistaken in the past, and choose to use the present to be free. Now, do we leave the future in Your Hands, leaving behind our past mistakes, and sure that You will keep Your present promises, and guide the future in their holy light. 
Last year, I wrote how I thought of the metamorphosis of the butterfly as I read lesson 314: I seek a future different from the past. This year as I reviewed the lesson, the transformation process from an egg, to caterpillar, to chrysalis, to beautiful, winged creature still filled me with a sense of wonder and appreciation. Butterfly metamorphoses from an egg to what it really is in a matter of four months to a year. A natural development, much like most of our body’s processes, butterflies make no conscious effort as this miracle transpires – as far as we know it can do nothing to hurry or delay itself along the way.
How foolish the butterfly which would identify with its past stages of development! Depression, misalignment, and despair would surely fill the silly insect’s mind. Judging itself by previous stages of development, it would find no particular joy or meaning in life and wonder why it had ever been born. Unlike many of us, we can assume that the butterfly in its egg stage does not judge itself and its brother eggs on how lazy, dumb, and useless they are. When the eggs hatch, the tiny caterpillars which emerge surely do not begrudge their ravenous appetites for the exorbitant amount of calories they need to get to the next stage. During the chrysalis stage, there is no self-recrimination for what looks like a lazy, unproductive time before they reach full development. When fledging butterflies finally emerge from the cocoons that encased them, they are liberated from their past stages. It would be a rare butterfly that would seek a future like its past. Unwise indeed to scrutinize its stages of development wondering what it could have done differently to arrive at maturity in a briefer amount of time.
With a new perception of time, our future, freed from the past, is the blissful, present moment carried forward. We do not bemoan our separate histories; it does not cause us fear or condemnation. Jesus reminds us that our past has no substance! It can have no effect upon us. Through our trials and errors, our mistakes and unloving behaviors, we learned what we needed to learn. While in ignorance of separation, we judged ourselves and our fellows from our outward appearances and conduct, we remained as we were created in our Father’s eyes. When He gives us His perception of ourselves, we can let our stubby caterpillar selves behind; we can shed the sticky cocoons that limited our mobility and freedom and spread our wings of liberation and joy.
When we seek a future different from the past, often times there are people in different stages of their development which we would mistakenly think of as “the lost.” We want to hurry up their process, we want to get them saved. Even though we are blessedly willing to look at our own past as stages in our spiritual reawakening, we may preach or quote bible verses or our course teachings in an effort to hurry them along. This is not only unnecessary, but it can also prove to be harmful and delay, rather than speed up, their awakening.
Conversely, people who are not yet on a spiritual path, may be confused about ours. They may try to renew your interest in things that we have left behind. They may accuse us of thinking we are better than they are. They may get downright hostile and withdraw from us. Or we may find ourselves no longer interested in spending much time with them. This is no cause for alarm. Remind yourself of the butterfly – they fly only because they have chosen a future different from their past. While they have no need to worry and fret over their old buddies who have not yet made that decision, neither are they required to hang around moping over the ones they must temporarily leave behind. When we seek a future different from our past, we are promised that in the end, we are all one and the same. This is the certainty of God and we can trust in Him.
We are free only as we loose ourselves from our past. We do this by revisiting the past only for illustration and fond memories. We do not linger there! We do not judge ourselves from there! As we live in the present, the joy and peace of our liberation is extended into our future. Our past stages have accomplished what they were meant to accomplish. We are not to judge it or accept the judgment of others who would hold us to a past that is left behind. Oh, let it go. That was then and this is now, we can say if others try to steal our joy and remind us of what stinkers we were in the past. We can laugh because it simply cannot hurt us anymore.
Father, we choose to use the present to be free from the mistake of holding on to and judging our past. Now, we leave the future in Your Hands, leaving behind our past judgments and condemnation, our anxieties and cares. We put our trust in You! We choose a future different from our past because we have come to love You rather than fear You. We have come to see that the dreams of separation and sin we cherished were obstructing the holy light You created us to be. Let us be guided by Your holy Light for we belong to You. In the name of Jesus, with Whom we are one. Amen.
 A Course In Miracles. Workbook for Students. Lesson 314. Foundation for Inner Peace, Second Edition (1992). p. 457.
Audio credit: the friar patch at www.eckiefriar.com