Special Love or Real Love

The ideas in this essay are abstract, but the truth is abstract because it applies to everyone. Statements about specific details are not important. What is important is finding the truth that can solve all of our problems at the same time.

All of the world’s problems came from our feelings of guilt. Actually, the whole visible world was produced and is maintained by our feelings of guilt.

Originally, we knew ourselves as a holy and guiltless spiritual presence, at one with all that is. Although we are still guiltless spirit, we now perceive ourselves as separate, guilty bodies and do not remember our state of guiltless love and joy.

While we were in our state of guiltless love and joy, we had the idea of sin. And because we were free to think and do anything, this idea of sin had the power to block from our awareness our innocence and joy. Because we began to believe in sin and guilt, the world we see was made to express and experience these ideas. Because we now believe we are guilty, we want to get rid of this guilt to make ourselves feel better. One way that we try to get rid of guilt is by forming “special relationships” and by attempting to obtain “special love.”

“Special love” is really a contradiction in terms, because real love does not see differences but instead loves everyone and everything equally. Special love separates one part of the world and tries to gain acceptance and love from this special part of the world. Because we feel that we are guilty, we search for someone who will tell us that we are special and important. Without feelings of guilt, we would never attempt the impossible and try to find union through exclusion.

Because we feel guilty, we “sacrifice” our self on the altar of the relationship and attempt to replace our guilty self with the other special self that we have found. However, when we try to steal this special self and take it as our possession, this makes us feel even guiltier, because we feel that we have nothing of value to give in return. Therefore, special relationships continue the cycle of guilt and continue the belief that we are sinful and guilty.

Another side effect of our feelings of guilt is the desire to attack ourselves and others for our perceived guiltiness. If we did not feel guilty, we would not condemn ourselves or others, for we can only see sin in others if we see the same sin in ourselves first.

We cannot get rid of guilt by ourselves because the thoughts of sin and guilt have become a habit and a cycle. We need someone who is not locked into this cycle to tell and show us that we are guiltless. We need the help of someone who does not share our belief in sin and guilt. When we listen to this voice, sometimes called the “Holy Spirit,” we will gradually learn that we have never sinned and that we are still guiltless.

The “Holy Spirit” (the spirit of oneness) teaches us to forgive ourselves and others—to forgive everyone equally. The only way to get out of the mess that we are in is to forgive, or to overlook everything that we think is a mistake. This way, we will not even see sin in ourselves or anyone else.

Special relationships make us feel fearful, selfish, jealous, and even guiltier. On the other hand, holy relationships bring us closer to the awareness of oneness, real love (which is spiritual union), peace, and joy. We are all sick until we are all well. No one can be completely joyful while one of us is separated from the whole. That is why we must all work together and help each other to forgive. We are all working together on this project of regaining our awareness of heaven. We are already within the heaven of real love, but we need to practice forgiveness in order to cleanse our minds of the remaining feelings of guilt.

You might say, “But I really am guilty, for I have done many bad things, and I have hurt many people.” In response, the Holy Spirit says, “What is real is eternal and cannot be destroyed or hurt. Only mistaken thinking can cause anyone to suffer. Are you ready to choose to forgive, let go of the belief in sin and guilt, and return to your home in heaven, which you have never really left?”

A Myth of Eternity and the World

Imagine this: There is a small point of light. You are that light. The light that is you begins to expand and grow brighter and brighter. You are light, love, joy, and knowledge. These attributes are you and you are all of them. In your light, your knowledge is complete. You know everything there is to know. In your love, which is your union with all of creation, your joy continues to increase. Your love and joy continue to expand into infinity. Your mind is filled with unspeakable gratitude to your Source, your Creator, and your mind is filled with the thought, “Thank you, thank you, thank you.” You know your Creator completely because He made you like Himself. In your joy, you desire only to extend your joy, so you create like your Creator by extending your attributes into infinity. In the light that is you, you are free to express all thoughts and ideas without limit. Your play is unlimited, free, and joyful. You know that you were created as an eternal being. You don’t need to look out of a body’s eyes on a small part of the universe. You don’t need to hear with a body’s ears only sounds in a small, limited space. You are unlimited light and joy. Within this sea of love and joy, a thought comes to you: I will do something my Creator has not done. In fact, I will contradict his will. The next instant, a frown appears on your metaphorical face. Then you wink, and are filled with uproarious laughter, laughter that reverberates throughout the entire universe. You realize that you had made a tremendously funny joke, and you cannot limit the joy that you created. Your joy extends to infinity and all of creation shares your joy. All of creation realizes that creation is eternal, that life shares one will, and that the Creator cannot be contradicted. This knowledge is what keeps all of creation in complete security and happiness. You continue to praise and thank your Creator and you continue to create by extending yourself into infinity.

Why am I sharing these abstract ideas about eternity? Reality is beyond anything that we can say, isn’t it? Yes, but words can point us towards the truth, even if they cannot fully represent the truth. The previous paragraph is a metaphor, or myth, that can point us towards the truth. Eternity is unbroken, unlimited joy. However, we can be blind to eternity while we are in time. In fact, the previous paragraph basically explains how A Course in Miracles says the visible world was made. The whole world of perception that we now share was made from the idea that we had contradicted the will of God. Our whole timeline occurred in the instant that we metaphorically frowned. The next instant, we shared the joy of our joke. However, when we “frowned,” we made a world of perception and time, a world of separation in which real love, joy, light, and knowledge cannot exist. Even though eternity is not affected by this world of time, we still get to experience this world of time. The good news is that nothing we do here can destroy our eternal reality. The bad news is that we can experience time for as long as we wish and we can delay our return to the light as long as we want.

The instant that we entered time, we actually believed that we had contradicted the will of our Creator. We believed that we had “sinned.” That is why we feel guilt deep within ourselves, and this guilt is what keeps the world going on in its separated form, with separate bodies and separate thoughts. Our Creator answered our separation and guilt by creating the “Holy Spirit.” The Holy Spirit gently encourages us to forgive ourselves and to awaken to our reality in the light. In reality, we are not guilty of anything, because our excursion into time has no effects on eternal reality. However, since we believe we are guilty, and we continue to judge and attack ourselves, we need to forgive ourselves to reverse our thoughts of guilt and purify our minds. Once all of the parts of this world have completely forgiven themselves, everything here will re-enter the light and this world of perception will cease to exist. It is all about what we think. What we choose to think has power–the power to make unreal worlds, or to extend eternity. The thoughts that we share with our Creator are the ones that we can extend into infinity. The thoughts that we try to think apart from our Creator have the power to make inconsequential worlds of perception, and while we believe in these separate worlds, we will see them. The question is this: How long do we want to stay in this world of separation, guilt, fear, and pain? It is only a matter of time until we return to the light. We can delay this return as long as we want, but time has an appointed end, and we will re-enter the light to our great joy. This essay gives us the big picture. In a future essay, I might discuss more details about our work to make the end of time come more quickly. Let me know if you would like to read more essays about this topic.

“Non-judgment Day Is Near”

The following story is from the Bible. It is about some religious leaders who caught a woman engaged in adultery. At that time, their society had a law that such people should be killed by having stones thrown at them.

The scribes and the Pharisees brought a woman who had been caught in adultery, and placing her in the midst they said to him, “Teacher, this woman has been caught in the act of adultery. Now in the Law Moses commanded us to stone such women. So what do you say?” This they said to test him, that they might have some charge to bring against him. Jesus bent down and wrote with his finger on the ground. And as they continued to ask him, he stood up and said to them, “Let him who is without sin among you be the first to throw a stone at her.” And once more he bent down and wrote on the ground. But when they heard it, they went away one by one, beginning with the older ones, and Jesus was left alone with the woman standing before him. Jesus stood up and said to her, “Woman, where are they? Has no one condemned you?” She said, “No one, Lord.” And Jesus said, “Neither do I condemn you; go, and from now on sin no more.” (John 8:3-11 ESV)

Now, there are some questions we could ask about this story. If Jesus did not condemn her at that time, and he told her not to sin anymore, what would happen if she did sin again? Did Jesus believe she would never sin again, or was he waiting for her to sin so he could condemn or judge her for her actions? Did Jesus have a “three strikes and you’re out” approach to sin? Or, did Jesus represent God when he said, “Neither do I condemn you”? Is God a God of condemnation, or not?

Different societies have different rules about morality, and good and bad, and right and wrong. However, the people in these societies have one thing in common: they all feel guilty and practice self-condemnation. Even if people are not religious, they feel that something is wrong with their inner self.

The book A Course in Miracles teaches that God’s creation made a “detour into fear” when it accepted the idea that it could contradict God’s will, and “sin.” Ever since that moment, God’s creation has been driven mad by the ideas of sin, guilt, and fear. Sin is what God’s creation believes happened in the past, guilt is the “proper” feeling of the sinner in the present, and fear is about the fear of future punishment.

The salvation of the world consists in undoing (or forgiving) the ideas of sin, guilt, and fear. Either God is real or sin is real. They cannot both be real because they contract each other. Either God is all-powerful and all-good, or sin has destroyed God’s will and goodness and God does not exist. If we think of sin as an illusion in a bad dream, then the idea of God can be what remains real. If we see sin as real, then God becomes an illusion.

The book A Course in Miracles teaches that God knows that his creation is still like Himself–holy, guiltless, sinless, and eternal. However, God’s creation has accepted sin as real and is now in a dream-like state and having nightmares of future punishment. God’s creation feels guilty, so it punishes itself and expects God to hand out the final punishment at the end of the world.

The way out of this mess is to realize that God’s will cannot be contradicted in reality, sin does not really exist, and God has no need to condemn His creation at all. God’s creation needs only to forgive or overlook all ideas of sin and accept God’s judgment that His creation is still holy and guiltless. Non-judgment day is getting nearer because the suffering caused by the belief in sin and condemnation is becoming so intense that an alternative way of thinking is being sought. The alternative to self-condemnation is self-forgiveness. When forgiveness of self has been completed, God’s creation will wake up and realize that it is, and has always been, safe in heaven.

The Fear of Love

Recently, I was discussing with someone whether we will have bodies after we die. His opinion was that we will have bodies. He thought our bodies would keep us from “freaking out” or from becoming extremely uncomfortable. He thought that our bodies would help us retain our individual identities.

A few days ago, a friend told me that he thought this world could not be any better than it is.

Let’s consider these two ideas: (1) we need a body or some kind of physical form to be comfortable, and (2) the world cannot be any better than it is. Don’t these two ideas come from the fear of love? Love is spiritual union. We are afraid of this spiritual union because we fear that we will lose our self-identities when we unite with the Whole. In bodies we can pretend that we are separate from others and that we can be protected from love, protected from spiritual union. While we think that the world cannot be any better than it is, we “protect” ourselves from the better reality of heaven, where love and union rule.

The reason that we fear love is that we know that love wants to understand and know us completely. We fear this understanding, this exposure of who we really are. However, if we knew that our basic, essential nature is love, we would not be afraid. God is love, and we are also love (as the creation of God, or the extension of God). However, we are confused about what we are. We look at our actions in a body, and we judge ourselves for not meeting our expectations and for not meeting the expectations of others. Others also judge us for not meeting their expectations. We believe that we are sinful, guilty bodies.

However, our limited bodies and our limited lives in this world have no effect on reality, no effect on eternal heaven. Therefore, we simply need to realize that we are not sinful, guilty bodies. We need to “forgive” ourselves and realize that we are still as God created us. We are still unlimited love.

God does not judge us, for God knows us only as love. In order to decrease our fear of spiritual union, and decrease our fear of heaven, we need to know ourselves as God knows us.

We will not be happy or satisfied until we realize that we are unlimited love and unlimited knowledge. To enter heaven is to be who we really are. We are unlimited love and knowledge. We will never be completely satisfied while we are limited by bodies, while we live in an imperfect world, and while we are afraid to know and be known.

Forgiveness is the door to heaven and the door to our true selves. Forgiveness is not unjust or unfair. Forgiveness is just and fair because it only sees what is true and real. Forgiveness overlooks errors because they are not true. Our “sins” are only temporary errors that disappear when we meet the eternal truth.

“You never ever loved me”

“The end of dreaming is the end of fear, and love was never in the world of dreams.” –A Course in Miracles

“Love was never in the world of dreams.” We are currently in a world of fearful dreams. Therefore, we do not know real love. What we call love is often only a temporary decrease in our feelings of worthlessness. We become temporarily happy and excited when another person likes to be around us, and sometimes we become addicted to this feeling and call this feeling love. According to A Course in Miracles, however, love is something that is whole, complete, unchanging, and inclusive. It does not ask for anything, but rather it gives everything to everyone. This is the love of God.

Have you ever experienced this kind of love in this world? Have you ever experienced love that does not change in this world? I doubt it. We might become angry or disappointed when we are unable to find this kind of love in the world, but we should understand that we are not currently able to either give or receive it. The key to finding the love that we are is to remove the fear that has blocked our awareness of love.

 “Fear arises from lack of love. The only remedy for lack of love is perfect love. Perfect love is the Atonement.” –A Course in Miracles

The Atonement is something that we will all accept in order to become aware of the perfect love that we are. The Atonement is the rejection of our illusions about ourselves, and the acceptance of the truth about ourselves. We have the illusions that we are a body, that we are sinful, that we will die, and that we must attack others or defend ourselves in order to be safe. Once we forgive ourselves for having these illusions about ourselves, we will know ourselves as perfect love. Then, we will know heaven and oneness.

Sin, or lack of love, is only a mistaken belief. It is the belief that what hurts one person can be good for another person. In other words, sin or evil is the belief that one person can benefit from the loss of another. These ideas are mistakes, or illusions. Eventually, we will realize that if one person loses, we all lose in some way, since we are all connected. The Last Judgment is our own final judgment that this mistaken belief about loss and benefits is a mistake.  We will let these illusions go and accept only what is true and good. Until then, each war, conflict, or competition serves to teach us that no one can gain while someone else is losing. For, while we attack others, we must fear that the world will take revenge. If we practice forgiveness, on the other hand, we help reduce the fear in the world and we get closer to the Atonement, or the awareness of perfect love.

 “You never ever loved me” –Leonard Cohen, from the song “Anyhow”

This quote is a statement of disappointment that one person could not find the love that he or she wanted from another person in this world. This is a common problem in this world because, at this time, we are not aware of perfect love. However, we do have a weak memory of heaven and the perfect love that we left behind. We will never be satisfied until we recover our awareness of this perfect love. Although we might try to find this love in other people or in new experiences, we will not know this love until we give up our illusions and find this love within ourselves, the love that we are.

You Can Reflect Heaven Here

In this world you can become a spotless mirror, in which the Holiness of your Creator shines forth from you to all around you. You can reflect Heaven here. —A Course in Miracles

What do we really want? Do we want joy or misery? Of course we want joy, right? Then why do we do so many things that cause misery?

God created us pure and guiltless, but we have chosen to see ourselves as guilty. Then we place this guilt upon others and attack them because we view them as guilty. We choose to see ourselves and others as sinful. Therefore, we want to separate ourselves from others to hide our own guilt or to punish others for their guilt. At the same time, we cannot bear to be alone. We are a contradiction of desires and are therefore insane. The choice to hold on to guilt and sin is the choice to be unhappy.

How do we get rid of sin and guilt? Surely, we cannot get rid of sin and guilt by claiming that we are sinful and guilty and reinforcing this idea. If God created us as eternally holy and guiltless, and if God judges us as being guiltless, then we are pushing away God’s gifts and God’s truth about what we are when we deny this. We still value guilt because we are afraid of the truth. We are afraid that the truth will attack us, so we try to hide in darkness. The alternative to the illusion that we are guilty is true vision and unified knowledge. When we collectively learn to reflect the love of our Creator to all of creation we will find joy. This love and joy is not something that we can currently comprehend because there is nothing in our experience that is similar in quality or strength.

Forgiveness is the undoing or reversal of the illusion of guilt. Forgiveness realizes that all apparent harm that we do to each other is not real. In other words, we cannot hurt or destroy what is real, although we can destroy physical things and we can choose to feel sorrow when these temporary things are destroyed.

We are all united by our Creator, and we are all characterized by the love that we and our Creator are. We cannot dissolve our feelings of guilt by placing them on another person, and we cannot find salvation and joy alone. We are either all guilty or we are all guiltless. When we choose to see all of creation as guiltless, and all of our sins as having no real effects, we will express real love and find true joy, and we will be eternally grateful to our Creator for what He is and what He has created.

Are You Special?

Deep inside we believe that we have contradicted the will of God, that we have committed an unforgiveable sin. Therefore, we are crazy with the fear that we have somehow lost the acceptance and love of God. We go to great lengths to hide this fear and get rid of the guilt that results from the belief that we have sinned. One way that we deal with the guilt is to put it on other people. Since the guilt is too heavy to carry alone, we pass it around and attack others for the faults that we believe we see in them.

We believe that we can find relief from this guilt by seeing ourselves as different from the guilty ones. Somehow, we are better than those others. We are special. We might feel special because we work hard. We might feel special because we can get what we want without working hard. We might feel special because we have good looks. We might feel special because we can obtain pity for our poor looks. We might feel special because we have a lot of money, a nice car, and a nice home. We might feel special because we have none of these things. We might feel special because we believe certain things. We might feel special because we believe nothing. We might feel special because we are liberal. We might feel special because we are conservative. We might feel special because we are part of a big group. We might feel special because we are part of a small group. But we want to feel special. We want to believe that we have the password, the special formula, the special something that will win back God’s acceptance of and love for us.

However, God’s love is about inclusion and oneness. If we see ourselves as more deserving of God’s love than others, we break this union and prevent ourselves from experiencing God’s inclusive love. God’s love is like an eternal sun in its brilliance and life-giving nature. However, we can choose to block this sun from our lives by allowing dark clouds to form over our heads. These clouds are the belief that we have committed an unforgiveable sin, that we have irreparably offended God. And we cannot bear the thought that someone else could be sinless and have God’s approval while we have to live without God’s approval.

We have made a cycle of sin, guilt, fear, and attack. We feel that we have sinned and that God can no longer accept us. We feel fear and we attempt to transfer our guilt onto others in order to get rid of this guilt. Then we attack others because we feel that they deserve our judgment. Then we feel we have sinned against God for attacking and judging others. And the cycle keeps repeating.

How do we exit this cycle, this seemingly infinite loop of despair? All we need to do is realize that we cannot contradict God’s will, that we are not more powerful than God. God created and sustains eternal, guiltless beings who share his nature of love. His will is our will. Sometimes we are confused about what we are, but none of this confusion can affect the reality of what we are and what we will always be.

While we are in a dream, we can choose to believe that the dream is real. However, when we awaken from the dream, we realize that the dream can be forgotten and that it has no effect on reality. When we awaken, we will realize that all of our illusions and errors can be undone, that God loves all of us equally, that there is no need to be special in order to earn God’s love, and that love eternally unites all of us in God.

Forgiveness

The following essay summarizes some of the ideas in the “Song of Prayer,” which can be found in the book A Course in Miracles.

You can only forgive yourself, for it is only your “sins” that you see in another. It seems that another is sinful, but if this were the case, how could you ever be free from being harmed by him? You would be his prisoner forever. However, you can release yourself and your brother together when you offer true forgiveness. As long as this world seems to be your home, there will be illusions and errors. However, if you look at the world through Christ’s eyes, you will see that your mistakes can be overlooked and that eternal peace will be yours.

Forgiveness that has been corrupted by the world can be called “forgiveness-to-destroy.” This type of “forgiveness” focuses on guilt and sin. This type of “forgiveness” overlooks real love because it sees salvation in guilt. “Forgiveness-to-destroy” is death, and it hates everything that it sees because it reminds it of death. “Forgiveness-to-destroy” appears in many ways, but it has one goal: to make different and to separate what God created equal and whole. The following are some of the more common forms of “forgiveness-to-destroy”:

The Patronizer. In this type of “forgiveness,” one person sees himself as better than the one he “forgives.” Thus, he separates himself from the brother whom he hates, for he sees sin and death in him.

The Wallower. In this type of “forgiveness,” one person claims to share in the sin of another. In this case, people often compete with each other to see how deeply they can delve into their sins, which they believe deserve to be punished by a vengeful God. Thus, people attempt to separate themselves from each other and from a God whom they see as fearful and distant.

The Martyr. In this type of “forgiveness,” one person patiently accepts the results of the sin of another. The martyr separates himself from the one who seems to be abusing him, and reinforces the ideas that sin is real in the other person and that God requires sacrifice.

The Bargainer. In this type of “forgiveness,” one person offers forgiveness to another if the other person will give him what he wants or needs. The person who gives in this way is mocking true giving and in the attempt to control another becomes a slave himself.

What is the alternative to “forgiveness-to-destroy”? We simply need to be open to a new way of looking at the world and a new way of forgiving. The way we practice “forgiveness” does not work. We need to be willing to look at the world through the eyes of Christ and not interfere with his plan for salvation. We are not asked to figure it all out ourselves or to make great efforts. All we need is a “small willingness” to let God’s will be done. He will do the rest.

Christ has forgiven you, and in His sight the world becomes as holy as Himself. Who sees no evil in it sees like Him. For what He has forgiven has not sinned, and guilt can be no more. Salvation’s plan is made complete, and sanity has come. Forgiveness is the call to sanity, for who but the insane would look on sin when he could see the face of Christ instead? –A Course in Miracles

Heaven and the Dream of Separation

The following statements summarize some of the main ideas of the book, A Course in Miracles.

Anything that is not eternal is an illusion. Time is an illusion. The body is an illusion. Guilt is an illusion. Sin is an illusion. Sickness is an illusion. Forgiveness is the final illusion because it realizes that illusions are not real and that they can be overlooked.

The separation is the belief that minds are separate from God and from each other. The separation is also an illusion because it is not eternal. Minds that believe in the separation are asleep because these minds try to make the illusions and fantasies of separation real. Minds need to have their errors brought to the truth, so that their illusions will disappear. Minds that are asleep need to be awakened, not punished. However, this awakening can be disorienting and disturbing because the light that awakens them is sometimes seen at first as something threatening and dangerous from the dream. A miracle is something that shortens the time needed for creation to awaken.

Oneness (or wholeness, unity) and sickness (or brokenness, disunity) cannot both be true or real. Oneness claims that creation is essentially whole. Sickness claims that creation is essentially disconnected. When one person accepts unity without qualifications, and overlooks all sicknesses and illusions, this unity will spread throughout all of creation, and creation will awaken from the dream of separation.

The body can be used to reinforce the idea of separation, in which each mind is limited to a separate body, or the body can be used to communicate love and forgiveness, which lead to awakening. Since the body is also an illusion, the body has no place in heaven (eternity), and the body will disappear with all other illusions when illusions are brought to the truth.

The purpose of God’s creations in the world is to work to heal the separation. The purpose of God’s creations in heaven is to create limitlessly and to extend God’s love.

Heaven (eternity, infinity) is the awareness of perfect unity. It has nothing to do with time because it is eternal. Heaven is reality. In heaven are perfect peace, complete knowledge, undisturbed truth, and continual love.

Love and the Call for Love

There are two types of expressions: (1) love and (2) the call for love. Every loving thought is eternal. It is never lost and it benefits everyone. Every call for love is a call for help, a call for healing. In this world, calls for love reveal that healing is needed. Fear, anger, and attack are calls for love.

Those who believe in sin call for love but do not know how to find it. Those who believe in sin feel the fear of being punished for their sins. They feel that they have sinned and that they are trapped by their sin. This leads to anger about the unfairness of their situation. Then they place their feelings of sin and guilt on others and attack others mentally, verbally, and physically to try to make themselves feel better. But this does not work. It merely makes the attacker feel guiltier, and the cycle of sin, fear, guilt, and attack continues.

How do we get out of this cycle? We must learn that what we now think of as unforgivable sin is merely a mistake in thinking that can be corrected. When we seem to see sins in ourselves or others, we need to realize that we are only calling for love. When we attack others, we are really attacking ourselves. This world is a world broken by fear, anger, and attack. When we see others as the same as ourselves and we stop judging ourselves and others, healing will occur. As we heal our sense of separation, we will realize that fear and anger are never justified. Fear and anger are just the results of mistaken thinking. We will realize that only eternal things are real and that we do not need to worry about things that change and disappear. As we reverse our way of thinking—from judgment and attack to compassion and forgiveness—we will begin to find peace. When we are drowning in the waters of pain, it is difficult to find faith in a better type of existence, but there is a patient and strong hand reaching out for us, and it will pull us out of the swirling nightmares that we have created for ourselves.

All mistakes will be corrected, all vision will be cleansed, and all dreams of fear and conflict will end. In our time-dream, conflict and death seem to win. However, when we see things from a larger perspective, when the world no longer seems broken, we will experience the love and joy that are our eternal state. This eternal state of love and joy is more certain than the death and decomposition of our physical bodies, and when we shift our focus from physical dreams to eternal reality, we will find peace at last.

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