Any Meaning in Nothingness?

ACIM Workbook Lesson 1 – for Saturday, January 1, 2011

Affirmation:  “Nothing I see in this room means anything.”

Selected Passage:

“Notice that the statements [in the lesson] are not arranged in any order, and make no allowance for differences in the kinds of things to which they are applied.  (WB3)”


This is the initial step in the Workbook for Students, though it is stressed elsewhere that only time separates the student from the teacher.  Here we do not, upon first reading A Course in Miracles, understand this lesson.  Later on we find out that projection makes perception (what we project outward from ourselves determines the “dream” of our perception).  And in the beginning we are not projecting reality at all, but a misguided and confused dream that often frightens us.

So nothing that we look at means anything, because it is based on our ego’s (the ego is still strong in us) misperceptions.  We do not yet have vision, which will only come as we are guided by the Holy Spirit into more pleasant dreams (“the happy dreams the Holy Spirit sends,” which come before the real world and God’s reaching down to us and granting us our Awakening).


Dear Father/Mother,

As I begin again to go through the Workbook, may I make the strides in understanding that only You can accomplish in me.  I cannot make progress on my own, for I am wholly dependent upon You.  May I reach for vision today, in this very first lesson.  May I understand that as long as the ego is in command, my perception is flawed.

Thank You.  Be with me throughout this new year, a year that I envision as one of joy, peace, and holiness–in Your company.



Conclusion to “Treatise on the New”

“Make no mistake that what is asked of us is everything.  What is asked is our total willingness to abandon the old, our total willingness to embrace the new.  But also make no mistake that what is given to us is everything.  All the power of creation is released unto us.  Let us begin.  (The Treatises of A Course of Love:  ‘A Treatise on the New,’ 12.36)”

Affirmation:  “embrace the new”


This is given by Jesus at the conclusion of “A Treatise on the New.”  We are ready to move into the Dialogues, which are meant to be a sustained conversation with Jesus in which we are seen as equals.  Unlike ACIM, he does not describe himself as our elder brother.  He does not describe himself as our teacher.  He is our companion on our life’s journey, and he remains there for us always.

In ACIM, we are bade to imagine that he takes our hand as we walk along, and we are told that this will be no “idle fantasy.”  May we believe this promise today.  We are not alone.  Not only is Jesus with us (which may take a suspension of disbelief), but also mighty companions whom we don’t know on this plane (an ACIM tenet).  If we knew what is available to us by way of help, we would never fear again.

May we never fear again, beginning today.


Dear Father/Mother,

I feel excited about the “new” that Jesus has promised, and for which he has prepared me.  May this upcoming year be a good one, and may I know that You are there for me always.

Thank you for the “Treatise on the New.”  And thanks to Mari Perron for channeling this writing.  May we share with our brothers and sisters, as they are ready to accept.


The Long Journey Is Over

“You have arrived!  The long journey that brought you here is over.  (The Treatises of A Course of Love:  ‘A Treatise on the New,’ 12.15)”

Affirmation:  “long journey – over”


What a marvelous statement from Jesus!  And yet it is the highest way of viewing his words.  We can still lapse.  We can still have moments when we are not the sustained, elevated Self of form.  Indeed, the Dialogues themselves are written so that we can travel farther along the journey.  There are two levels to A Course of Love, just as there are two levels of A Course in Miracles (the former my interpretation, the latter the interpretation of scholar/writer Kenneth Wapnick).

But we do not have to struggle as we have.  We can have Heaven on earth.  Jesus promises this elsewhere.  And may we take him at his word.

Remember, from ACIM, that this has been a “journey without distance.”  We have always had the potential to be realized,  to realize ourselves as Awakened beings.  It is only now that this potential is being actualized in more and more of our brothers and sisters, and in ourselves.


Dear Father/Mother,

I hope that, in some sense, I have arrived.  I recognize the long journey, but the way has sometimes been hard, and I do immediately know what joy lies all around me.  Help me to see and feel the joy today.

I ask for Your help as I assimilate the fact of arrival.  Help me even to know what “arrival” means.  Be with me throughout the day, and help me always to acknowledge Your loving presence.


In What State Do We Now Abide?

“You eagerly awaited each learning challenge in the hopes that it would bring you to the state in which you now abide.  (The Treatises of A Course of Love:  ‘A Treatise on the New,’ 12.14)”

Affirmation:  “I abide now where I have wanted to abide.”


This passage echoes a theme of ACOL.  We have read, and read, and read so more–and now we must realize that we really do not have to read to come into fuller understanding of God.  Of course, in our contemplative time, we may still want to read familiar passages to prompt our reflections and bring us ever closer to the divine spark within.  But we do not have to seek new and different readings.  We can rest in what we have already read.

We have arrived.  What a glorious promise this is!


Dear Father/Mother,

Let me rest awhile in the knowledge that You have promised that I have “arrived.”  If that is not yet true, may I rest in surety that I will eventually abide where You have promised.

May my contemplative time bring me ever closer to You.  May I not be tempted to run hither and yon in an attempt to reach Awakening.  You will decide the time, and You make no mistakes.


Eradicate Learning in Separation – Choose Sharing in Unity

“. . .[B]e vigilant of your thought patterns so that you eradicate the idea of learning in separation and replace it with the idea of sharing in unity.  (The Treatises of A Course of Love:  ‘A Treatise on the New,’ 12.10)”

Affirmation:  “no learning in separation. . .instead sharing in unity”


1 – Learning in Separation

We did learn in separation, and this explains in part the self-centeredness that we knew in our phase of learning.  But when we reach out to our brothers and sisters, we are sharing in unity.  And this is the right place to head.  Never neglect those individuals to whom we are close.  Do not withdraw unto one’s self.  This in itself would be enough for the ego to gain another foothold.

2 – Unity and Relationship

“Sharing in unity” is akin to the oft-repeated assertion that in the time of Christ we are to share in “unity and relationship.”  “Unity and relationship” are hallmark words in A Course of Love, and they are used so frequently that we may forget exactly what they mean.  Basically, these words mean that we are “One in the many” (an interpretation, not stated in ACOL).  As One, we are in unity, and in the “many,” we are in relationship to our brothers and sisters.

3 – Creating a New World

Unity and relationship, the One in the many, are the twin ways that we will create in a new world, a world which we inhabit by the sustained, elevated Self of form.  This Self of form is the physical form that we know now, but it is moved by revelation from God, direct and normally unmistakable.


Dear Father/Mother,

Help me to refrain from the learning that separates, instead opting for the sharing in unity that I can experience with my brothers and sisters.  Learning, I recognize, is often separating, but I am less clear about sharing with my brothers and sisters.  Help me to understand more fully today.

If I make missteps today, please remedy them for me.  Not everyone I meet is ready to understand A Course of Love.  Help me to offer only what my brother or sister is ready to accept.


Sustainable Dialogues

“Once these dialogues are sustainable without need of the written word, the written word will be less necessary.  (The Treatises of A Course of Love:  ‘A Treatise on the New,’ 12.7)”

Affirmation:  “sustainable dialogues – written word less necessary”


1 – How Many Times to Read ACOL?

There is a chance that those who have read A Course of Love through once (or even more than once, several times) may feel that it is wrong to go back to these volumes.  We may think that we are “learning,” when that has been counseled against.

2 – We Need to Reread ACOL Intensively

I think this is a misreading.  While it is true that in the Forty Days and Forty Nights on the mountaintop (from the Dialogues), Jesus says that his intention is not for us to make this journey repeatedly, it is also true that the chapters are dense with meaning.  And one or even a few readings will not make them our own.  We need actually to memorize some of the words, to keep their pristine glory in our minds.

3 – The Role of Contemplation

How are we to “learn” if it is not through reading?  I think that contemplation, a form of meditation, is in order here.  Others might call this prayer (though ACIM and ACOL do not discuss prayer very much, probably because it is assumed).  God will speak to us through revelation, we are reassured, but there must be a time set aside to receive messages.  And this normally comes through contemplative time, though it may also come through chance words spoken by our brothers and sisters.  Indeed, anything in our world can be a way to receive God’s revelation.  But we must be careful that what we are receiving is actually true guidance from God.  There must be a sureness about what we are receiving.  And we must also recognize that our egos can reassert themselves and lead us astray when we least desire to be led astray.

4 – Understanding from God

May our understanding rise to knowledge, as God Himself reaches down and blesses us with revelation.


Dear Father/Mother,

You know that I have always read much.  But I have also contemplated much.  I ask for Your guidance about the proper balance of these two ways of coming to knowledge (rather than just perception).  You grant the knowledge and the revelation.  Let me always be aware of Your presence.

As this year draws to a close, and my reading of ‘Treatise on the New” draws to a close, may I retain the concepts as I move forward in my “journey without distance.”



“Learning has had to do with what is perceived.  No longer learning has to do with what is revealed.  Learning has had to do with what is unknown.  No longer learning has to do with what is and can only be known through revelation.  (The Treatises of A Course of Love:  ‘A Treatise on the New,’ 10.11)”

Affirmation:  “‘no longer learning’ means that we know from revelation”


1 – Revelation from God

Revelation is only from God (an ACIM tenet).  This passage suggests that we have now been made ready to receive God’s revelations, and that we do so by leaving behind our search through learning (unless we choose to continue learning, which is also alright, according to Jesus in ACOL).

2 – The Role of Learning

Many of us enjoy learning and therefore will not readily leave it behind.  Teaching and learning are two of the ways that we reach our brothers and sisters.  So there are no hard and fast rules in salvation.

3 – Teaching and Learning

Jesus does indicate elsewhere that those who leave learning behind will go on to create.  Actually teaching is a form of creation, and so the “teaching and learning” that ACIM describes is not far from the truth.  We are reaching our brothers and sisters when we do teach (and learn), and we are also creating a new world through Jesus’s blessing.

4 – Learning through Revelation

Learning through revelation is the easiest and simplest way to learn.  It is effortless, and as long as we are open to God, this type of revelation, once we are ready, will come.  We do not have to reach for it.  But only God can decide when we are ready for revelation.  Revelation is only from God to us, never the reverse.


Dear Father/Mother,

May I stand ready to receive Your revelation today.  May I hold myself in readiness.  May the revelation that You wish to bring me come.

Thank You for being there for me, as always.  I have not always known that You are there, emotionally, but intellectually I have always known.  Help me to “feel” Your presence today.