Thus Was Fear Born

“The complex set of criteria needed to create a world of separation was, in the instant of creation, anticipated and provided in a form consistent with creation’s laws.  While this world was created with love, as all of creation was, it was also created to provide the desired experience.  Thus was fear born, for a separate self is a fearful self by its nature.  How could it not be?  (A Course of Love, 19.2)”

Affirmation:  “I would avoid a ‘separate self’ today.”iris-1914-17 - monet

Reflections:

1 – Not Separate

If we realize that we are not really separate at all, perhaps, this passage seems to say, we will not experience fear.  It is the belief that we are alone that makes the fear, and who would not be fearful with such a belief?  If we turn to God and His helpers consistently, then we will not feel alone.  We will know that we live in a benevolent universe, and we will experience the peace that such a universe will give us.  And what more would we seek?

2 – Elevated Self of Form

We need to ask for this blessing of an end to the separated state.  When we experience the elevated Self of Form ( as described farther on in A Course of Love), we will know that we, though in physical form, presumably separate from others, are not really alone.  We will know that we chose physical expression for our experience of reality, but we did not choose to actually be alone.  We have many companions in this world and the world beyond, and it is wise for us to remember this.  The knowledge will give us comfort and a deep sense of security.

3 – Tiny, Mad Idea

God responded to our tiny, mad idea (from A Course in Miracles) with the world of separation.  It is said that we, on some level, made this world.  And then the separation began, extending over millions of years, for others were attracted to physicality as well.  So fear was born where it had been not.

4 – Solitary?

It seems sensible to think that we are solitary creatures when we are encased in physical bodies.  And that is the role that we are playing.  But it is a facade, an illusion.  We are actually still at home in God, and we can know this at any time by asking to have a divine experience.  Why not do so today?  It will make all the difference, for once again we will know that we are One with the All, and we will feel secure in the Love that the All emanates.

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

I would know today that I am not isolated in a world of form.  I have many helpers, and You are at the top of the list.  I would recognize that separation is an illusion brought on by the fact that w are encased in physical bodies.  But we are not separate from one another nor from You.

Be with me today for a tranquil day.  Thank You for the affirmations from the Bible that I say frequently, for they are very calming.  Thank You for the many ways that You help.

And I ask for Your help as I seek to overcome my lingering belief in separation.

Amen.

How to Dispel Pain

water lily pond with bridge - monet

“Think not that you react to pain of any kind with the love from your real Self that would dispel it.  The Self you have taken out of the learning loop is the Self of love.  (A Course of Love, 18.24)”

Affirmation:  “May I respond to my loving Self, dispelling pain.”

Reflections:

1 – Love

Is this passage really telling us that if we respond to the Self/Christ who is within, we will be free of pain, for this Self is loving?  Love is the answer, according to what Jesus is saying here.

2 – Are We All Able to Dispel All Pain?

A pessimistic response to Jesus’s words would express doubt, and indeed I do not believe that all of us are strong enough to dispel all pain.  And not all of us are really in contact with the true inner Self.  This is the Self that we know when we are living Christ-consciousness.

3 – Emotional Pain

Personally, I can understand how emotional pain would be more easily dispelled.  The emotional pain can more easily be controlled by one’s thoughts, and we are at least in some control of these.  We may need to calm down, though.

4 – Physical Pain

But what about physical pain?  Can we really dispel this?  Perhaps we can lighten and eventually eliminate our sense of pain.  Certainly our secular biofeedback methods have done much to lessen severe pain for those who have sought such help.  Most do not seek such help, though, and this passage does say that if we listen to the love that is within us, we will find that the pain is dispelled.

5 – Jesus

Jesus says many things that sound difficult for us to understand.  He is speaking on an ideal level, and he is hoping that we will be close enough to love to have this freeing response.  Certainly the truth that love will dispel pain is welcomed.  To the degree that we can open our minds and believe, we will have the faith that will make this assertion correct in our own experience.  We are not, though, all of us ready for this ideal solution, and while this is a more negative reaction, it seems close to the truth.

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

Help me not to be overly pessimistic about Jesus’s statements.  If he says that love from the real Self will dispel pain, then let me open my mind to that real possibility.

Today is a day that many will suffer pain.  May some few read the passage for today, and feel their pain lessen.

Amen.

Determining the Distinction between Pleasure and Pain

“Determination of pleasure and pain is made with the judgment of the separated self who not only believes it is the body, but that it is at the body’s mercy.  The body has no mercy to offer the separated self.  It is only a learning device.  (A Course of Love, 18.23)”

images - van gogh
Affirmation:  “May I avoid judging pleasure and pain today.”

Reflections:

1 – Awaking of Christ-Consciousness

The ideas in today’s passage are echoes of A Course in Miracles.  All in all, A Course of Love is more forgiving of the body, seeing, ultimately, that an elevated Self of form is a legitimate way to live.  We can enjoy this way of living on this earth, and this is when the Christ/Self has been actualized in us.  This is the Awakening or the Christ-consciousness embodied.

2 – Separation

But in the passage above, we are still recognizing a delusional separation from God.  We did not, as we have said repeatedly, actually separate from God, for we are part of Him and thus can only fantasize that we have separated.  In this fantasy our whole world evolved.  And we lost the felt presence of God.

3 – Pleasure

But let us rise to the occasion, recognizing that we want something better (re ACIM).  We want to know God’s happiness, not the pleasures of this world.  We will have pleasure, but it will be more than pleasure, because pleasure is fleeting and never satisfies very long.

4 – Body = Learning Device

The body as a learning device is best used to communicate with others, with out brothers and sisters.  To use it as a way to get out way is a misuse, if our way would be detrimental to another.  So let us be gracious in our understanding of the body, and not try so hard to decorate it with jewelry and fancy clothes.  We may want to be presentable, but the real beauty comes from within.

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

I would see the difference between pleasure and pain today, but I would seek joy–God’s joy–rather than simple pleasure, which is fleeting.

Be with me as I see Your will for my life today.  May my decisions be sound, based on guidance and common sense.

Amen.

What Makes This Existence So Chaotic and Erratic

Starry Night over the Rhone - van gogh

“That you keep yourself from desiring anything fully here is what makes this existence so chaotic and erratic.  A mind and heart in conflict is what keeps you from desiring anything fully and thus from creating.  (A Course of Love, 18.14)”

Affirmation:  “Desire fully or not at all.”

Reflections:

1 – Comparison of ACIM and ACOL

This idea is new, not found in any form in A Course in Miracles.  Perhaps this is because the delineation is made in A  Course of Love between the mind and the heart.  We did not hear much about the heart in ACIM, but the mind’s need to dislodge the ego was paramount.

2 – Desire Fully

When we desire fully, we are not in chaos, doing erratic things.  Of course, we need to be certain that we are desiring rightly.  And this  can come only when  glimpses of the Christ/Self within are guiding us.  We must desire because we know that we are after something worthwhile.  Nothing else will do.

3 – Uncertainty

When we are unsure of ourselves, we act in erratic fashion, and we create chaos and drama because we don’t seem to know any better.  God can take away that lack of certainty.  We have all too often been afraid to desire fully, because we thought we might desire amiss.  Ask, and then we can be sure.

4 – Living Harmoniously

When the mind and heart are one in purpose. we live harmoniously, even in this world.  This world does not seem so difficult as before we made this fusion of mind and heart.  When in conflict, stop and think about why:  Is the mind out of sync with the heart?  Do you want something intellectually but not emotionally?  Here we will find the answer to our dilemma, the answer to the end of chaos.

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

May I move beyond just following my heart, into following both my heart and mind in wholeheartedness.  I would desire fully that which You wish for me, and that is salvation.  I know it, but sometimes I don’t realize it fully.  Help me to realize myself fully today.

I would desire fully those things in this world that are good and true.  I would turn aside, without emotion, those things that are bad for me.  May I encourage my brothers and sisters to follow Your way in everything.  The pathway that You point out is so joyous, and following Your guidance, moment-by-moment, is undoubtedly the more joyous of all.

Amen.

Body = Learning Device Given by Loving Creator

monet - pond with lily pads

“While you have been taught that you are not your body, it is impossible for you to deny the body here.  Yet you can change the function you have ascribed to it, and so its way of functioning.  If you do not see it as the result of a fall, as a curse, as a punishment from God, or as your home, a dwelling place that keeps you separate, then you can begin to see it as what it is, a learning device given you by a loving creator.  (A Course of Love, 18.6)”

Affirmation:   “I would choose a body today that functions perfectly.”

Reflections:

1 – Do Not Deny the Body

A Course in Miracles indicates that to deny the body, even though it is illusion, is a particularly unfortunate way to react.  Here we feel its physicality, and we know when we feel well or ill, when we feel euphoria or pain.  But we can change the function that we see that it has, to catch another fish as bait (also said by the poet John Donne), and see instead that it is a tool of communication when we are in relationship one to another.  Without seeing a body, individuals would perhaps not respond so well to the help that can be given by another who is also in physical form.

2 – Elevated Self of Form

There are many negative ways that we can view the body, and some are spelled out in the passage for today.  But the best way is to see it, now, as a learning device.  As A Course of Love continues, we will see that the time of learning is said by Jesus to have ceased, and we will see that the elevated Self of form is the definition of our body.

3 – The Body Is Real in the Illusion

We need to be conscious of what we recognize as needs exemplified by the body.  When we push too hard, the body becomes overtired.  And if we keep pushing, ignoring the warning sign of pain, we will usually suffer some illness.  So, while we are here, the body is very real, even in dreams, in illusions.

4 – Temporary Dwelling Place

And we would do well not to deny that which is our temporary dwelling place.

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

I would take care of my physical body today, knowing that, even though illusion, it hurts when illness invades.  And if I strike my hand against an obstacle, the physical pain is real.  So I do not deny that the physical is important to me.  Help me to treat my dwelling place gently and with respect.

Be with me today as I go out into the world and meet my brothers and sisters.  They, at least some of them, will respond only to another physical body, and they will not be frightened by me, seen in a form that is familiar.  Perhaps a vision might provide insight that I cannot provide, but visions are sometimes frightening to their recipients.  I can do much, with Your help, by just being in physicality.

Help me to know that beyond this physical body is one that is truly real, but I will not go there today.  I will be contented with living in the physical, and I will hope for the sustainability of the elevated Self of form, when You are ready for me to have that blessing.

Amen.

Believe that You Can, and You Can

“See you now why those who judge cannot enter heaven?  Judgment proceeds from the belief in sin and the irreversibility of all errors.  If you do not believe you can reverse or ‘turn back’ to the state in which you existed before the original error, then you never shall.  (A Course of Love, 17.12)”

Affirmation:  “May my beliefs dovetail with the good.”

Reflections:Landscape with House and Laborer - van gogh

1 – God Protects Us

There is subtle intrusion here, from Jesus, of the importance of belief in living our lives.  If we don’t believe that something is possible, then it will not find a place in our experience.  If we do believe (turning the statement on its head), then we will experience that for which we ask, provided that it is good and right for ourselves.  For God protects us still.

2 – Three Prohibitions

In A Course in Miracles, we are bade to avoid attack, avoid judgment, and avoid making plans against contingencies to come (unless prompted by the Holy Spirit).  To avoid these things is to invite heaven (an interpretation, not stated in ACIM).  Surely to do these things is to fall away from salvation, and our lives, likewise, will start falling apart.

3 – Judgment

In the passage for today, Jesus especially points out the dangers of judgment.  And, in doing so, he echoes the New Testament, as many of us know.

4 – Original Error

The original error was the presumed separation from God, the rise of the ego, and the loss of that sense of joining with God and all others.  This, according to ACIM, was a “tiny, mad idea” at which the children of God forgot to laugh.  And in the forgetting did it become possible for the impossible to seem to happen.

5 – Erase the Evil

We do need to realize that all of this misfortune can be erased.  We do not have to presume a separated state any longer.  When we allow God to speak to us from within (or the Holy Spirit, as described in ACIM), then the Christ/Self can rise to the forefront of our lives.  And our lives will get immeasurably better.

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

Please be with me today as I seek to implement the law of attraction, which is what this passage for today is saying.  I do choose to hope only for those things that You would have for me, because You see the whole picture, and I see in part.  Be with me to implement–not to “effort” to have, for this would be thinking amiss.  If my heart tells me that I am to have something, then I am more likely to be on the right beam.

If I do not feel internally that I can manifest something, then trying to manifest that thing (whatever it might be) is wrong.  I would not go wrong today.  Help me to follow You, as always.  And may my words help others who might chance to read this blog.

Amen.

How to Receive Constant Help

“What it [A Course in Miracles] says is that the unknown is benevolent.  What it says is that what you cannot anticipate can be anticipated for you.  What it says is that you could be receiving constant help if you would but let it come  What it says is that you are not alone.  (A Course of Love, 17.8)”
paintings-by-claude-monet- close-up water lilies
Affirmation:  “May I receive constant help today.”

Reflections:

1 – Personal Experience

When I was little, I was not sure that the universe was benevolent.  This was when I had learned just enough science to be made confused with my religion.  (My religion was traditional Christianity.)  I used to lie in bed and ponder questions about the universe.  Was God just superstition?  Was hell real?  Was the center of the universe a terror?

2 – Scary Thoughts

These are scary thoughts for a 12-year-old to have.  But now we have A Course in Miracles and A Course of Love to reassure us that all is well, and we can proffer this knowledge to our children.  There is nothing to fear.  God is here, and God will help.

3 – Constant Help

Receiving constant help is a tremendous blessing, and all that we have to do to receive this constant help is to be open to it.  Actually, I think we do not even have to know that we are receiving the help from a benevolent universe to be blessed by good fortune.  The rain and sun are there for good and bad alike, and ACIM notes that we are all innocent of wrongdoing; we only have made mistakes.

4 – The Future

When we cannot anticipate the future, and we fear that it will be bad, then we can know that help is walking ahead of us to smooth the way.

5 – Reassuring Passage

These three facets of the passage–benevolent unknown, anticipation by helpers, and the fact that we are not alone–make this one of the most reassuring passages in A Course of Love.  And this is just the beginning of many such reassuring passages in ACOL.

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

I thank You everyday that I no longer have to fear that I am all alone in the universe.  I thank You that I know that You are a constant help to me.  And Your offer of help is a free offer; I don’t have to do anything to deserve Your help.  A free offer!  Such a blessing!

May I drop into the past the scary thoughts that I had as a 12-year-old child.  Thankfully, I had only four years of the scary thoughts before You warmed my heart one night in a religious meeting.  Thank You for that happening, remembered now from my 16-year-old self.  Be with me today, in future warmth also.

Amen.

Overcoming Fear of the Unknown

“You shy away from thoughts of a consciousness beyond that which you are aware of because of fear.  And yet you know you cannot claim that you are aware of all that exists within the universe, or even that you fully know your own self.  What is fearful about the unknown is simply that it is unknown.  Coming to know what was previously unknown to you can remove the fear, if you will let it.  (A Course of Love, 17.3)”

renoir - womenAffirmation:  “May my fears of the unknown end today.”

Reflections:

1 – Our Consciousness

We do have a consciousness beyond what we have known previously, at least as far back as we can recall.  We fear the unknown, and this greater consciousness is unknown and therefore fearful to us.  But this circumstance does not have to arise, or, if it does arise, it can be addressed by communing with God.  So much is resolved when we pray.  Let us not give short shift to this necessity in us as children of God who need to communicate with Him.

2 – The Universe

There is much that we do not know about the universe and even about ourselves.  And the only reason that it is fearful is because it is unknown.  When we pray to be shown, through our heart, what about our self we do not know, we will be free of the fear.  And once we know, we are at home in God.

3 – The Self/Christ

We do not want to shy away from thoughts of our greater consciousness, for the greater consciousness, the Self/Christ, is our way home.  So we shoot ourselves in the foot when we let our egoic self loose to arouse fear.  May we avoid this reaction today and everyday.

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

I would not fear the unknown, as I did when I was a child.  We are no longer children, and we do not have to fear the dark, the unknown.

May I reach out to You in communion today, and may I reach out to Jesus as my companion.  He has promised to come to all of us in response to one unequivocal call.  I make that call right now.  And I ask him to guide my hand as I type.

May all of us have a good day today.  May we cease to struggle so much, for life, regardless of our difficulties, is meant to be joyous.  I reach for that joy today, without pushing or straining against my day.

And may I sense Your presence all the day through.

Amen.

We Cry Out for Healing Today

“Your choice to separate from God is but a separation from your own Self, and this is truly the separation that needs to be healed to return you to God.  (A Course of Love, 17.2)”

Affirmation:  “May I join with my Self today.”vincent-van-gogh-portrait-of-peasant-detail-resized-600.jpeg

Reflections:

1 – Personal Self

We are often moody.  Why?  We are living in the personal self, the little self that is still occupied with and identified with the ego.  The ego does not wish us well.  It welcomes conflict, because conflict keeps the ego alive and thriving.

2 – Relax into Our Hearts

There is a better way to live.  We can relax into our hearts, when we are down, and still the mind.  The final pages of the Workbook of A Course in Miracles are filled with reflections that some view as meditation.  These reflections, as well as the trilogy of A Course of Love, are particularly appropriate to consider our Self, the real inner being that is the Christ.  And when we turn to the inner being, we are reconciled to ourselves and to God at once.

3 – Glimpses of Revelation

We will sometimes fail to make this transition, for the glimpses of revelation are brief in the beginning.  But gradually, as we continue our pathway, the glimpses lengthen, and our time with the Self expands.  Then we are truly being returned to God, and posthaste.  We are not alone with the ego any longer.

4 – Ineffable Peace

When we have returned to our Self, we will know peace, an ineffable peace, far more often than we will experience any other emotion.  Indeed, Jesus says in A Course in Miracles that we will be “perfectly calm and quiet” all the time.  Drama of the ego will have faded away, and we will be glad of the fading.

5 – Listen Quietly

May we return to the Self today.  We cannot do this alone.  But we can ask for help, and, if we listen quietly, we will hear.  Invite God’s peace into your heart today.  He will not disappoint.

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

I would do whatever I can today to return to my Self, the Christ in me.  I cannot do this without help, and I ask for Your help.  May the glimpses of revelation that I have known come again today, and may those glimpses lengthen in time.  I can eventually look forward to living in the Self all the time.  I welcome that day, though I know that the decision is Yours, and I respect this from the bottom of my heart.

Be with me today.  Keep me from anxiety.  If I am truly living as separated from You, I will have anxiety.  I will not have anxiety when I choose to heal the separation, the separation that has never been real anyway.  You have always been there for me, deep within me–as well as outwardly.  May my perceptions be cleansed into knowledge, Your true knowledge.  May I project outwardly only the harmony and peace that You encompass within me.

Be with me today as I sort out these complexities.  Salvation is simple, and when I get too much into complexities, I am speaking from my ego.  Correct this in me today.  Thank You.

Amen.

Return of Heaven

“If you cannot claim at least a small amount of love for your own Self, then neither can you claim your power, for they go hand-in-hand.  There is no ‘common good’ as you perceive of it, and you are not here to assure the continuance of society.  The worries that would occupy you can be let go if you but work instead for the return of heaven and the return of your own Self.  (A Course of Love, 16.26)”

vangogh

Affirmation:  “May I claim some of my love personally.”

Reflections:

1 – Power

“Power” is not a negative word as Jesus uses it.  We need to claim our power, and in this claim do we regain heaven and our Self.  This Self, as we have mentioned repeatedly, is the Christ within.  And when we work in tandem with our unseen helpers, we will know this Self sooner rather than later.

2 – Don’t Proselytize

We are not to proselytize.  We are here to offer help and sustenance to those who look to us for some small bit of guidance.  But we are not to reach out to those who are not asking and/or are not ready for the message of salvation as we teach it.  Nor are we told to do great things in society.  This is a personal gospel, in that when we have accepted the tenets of  A Course of Love, we will naturally reach out into our various parts of society and make a difference.  But we will not seek to evangelize.  Everyone learns at his/her own rate and in his/her own time.  It is not up to us to say who is ready for only a smile.  We will be guided what to say and what to do.  We need not fear to overstep.

3 – We Fret

So many of us are worriers.  We think that God is somehow great enough to be our Creator, but not to take in  hand the problems that engulf us, and to lead us to solutions.  And so we fret.

4 – Worry

This fretting is a false doctrine.  It is the “pound of flesh” (from William Shakespeare) that we all seek to sacrifice to ensure a happy ending.  We somehow think that if we worry enough, we will have done our part, and then we will ensure that the ending will be positive for us.  This reasoning is the height of insanity.  God created us, and He knows our needs.  He will answer all our needs, though not all of our wants–for many of our wants are misguided wishes.  Genuine need is met, and often by miraculous means.  Let us turn aside from our fears, for fear it is, and let the love of others and ourselves prepare us to receive God’s revelations.  He will reach down to us (metaphorically) and answer us with heartfelt knowledge that solves the problems and eliminates the fears.

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

I would let God solve any and all problems that I have, but not by my own abdication.  He will give me the power to know how to act, what to say or do.  It is only when I stay close to God that my days go well.  And I, like everybody else, would like a good day.

Be with me as I seek to welcome out the Self within.  This in itself will move me closer to heaven on earth.  Be with me as I seek to do Your will, which is also my own true will.  Help me to help others who need me also.

Amen.

Letting Go of Mind in Favor of Heart

“Letting go of what your mind would tell you in favor of what your heart already knows is but the purpose of this Course.  (A Course of Love, 16.11)”

Affirmation:  “Let go of the mind and welcome the heart’s knowledge.”

Reflections:van gogh - field5

1 – Proof

Why do we need to turn to our hearts, increasingly?  Our minds, informed by weakened (but not absent) egos, demand proof for God that no mind can ever have.  Even those of us who think that we have an “intellectual” faith are misguided.  No mind can understand God.  But our hearts can, for our hearts know in a sense that defies explanation, while the mind craves for explanation.

2 – Purpose of ACOL

Herein, in this passage, Jesus defines the purpose of A Course of Love.  He knows that we have dislodged the ego by studying, first, A Course in Miracles, but we may not yet have understood what is to replace the ego.  It is the Self, the Christ, in all of us, and we do know enough, through our hearts, to let this miracle take place.  We do not, though, know the hour nor the day, and that is as it should be.  God Himself makes the determination for our Awakening, our Christ-consciousness, when we are ready, and He alone can tell when we are ready.

3 – Dreams

A Course in Miracles say that we will not be terrified by the light coming on, for we will have been prepared by happy dreams that the Holy Spirit brings (from the ACIM Workbook).  Jesus says that otherwise we would awake with a scream of mortal terror, so accustomed we are to our dreams in this world.  But we do not have to fear.  God will find a way to awaken us gently, and to replace all of our dreams of terror with happy dreams, and then with Awakening.

4 – Awakening and Christ-Consciousness

Awakening and Christ-consciousness seem to be equated (the former from ACIM, the latter from ACOL).  In the meantime, for those of us who await, we can reach out to our brothers and sisters, and we can, under the guidance of Jesus and his helpers, reach a better state of mind and heart, one that will welcome a new day.  When we have been healed, we will be in a position to heal others.  An unhealed healer cannot heal (from ACIM); it is an oxymoron.

5 – Wait Patiently

Be with us today as we wait patiently in this imperfect world.  We made this world, and it is one of seeming separation.  We would not live this way.  We would join with others in unity as One, and in relationship to the many, and we will know the better way that Jesus seeks to point out to us in ACIM and ACOL.  May we study well, and reach our Awakening/Christ-consciousness sooner rather than later.

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

Help me to listen to my heart today.  When disappointments come, help me to take them in stride.  When difficulties arise, help me to resolve them.  When all seems lost, help me to realize that You are always there, showing me the way.

Be with me as I listen to my heart today.  I am weary of ego-inspired goals, and I would be done with all such foolishness.  Let my heart guide me today, with Your help.

Thank You.

Amen.

Overcoming Suffering

Suffering and sin comes from specialness, and so it is but specialness you must leave behind.  And there is a way to do so, a way that will not harm any of those you love even while betraying all they would hold dear.  (A Course of Love, 15.11)”

Affirmation:  “I would leave specialness behind today.”Reproduction-oil-paintings-Vincent-Van-Gogh005

Reflections:

1 – Specialness

Our brothers and sisters very often choose specialness rather than recognizing that in this separation, all is lost.  They do not really want to be separate from us, though they may think that they do.

2 – Likewise, for Us

Likewise, for us.  We may have studied A Course in Miracles and A Course of Love long and hard, but still when the weakened ego beckons, we choose specialness.  We just must choose again.  We also do ot want to be separate from our brothers and sisters.  We are all One, and it is time indeed that we recognize this.

3 – Can We Leave Suffering Behind?

Certainly we would leave suffering behind if we could do it.  And leaving behind specialness, in all its forms, is the way out of suffering.

4 – All Are Equal

We need to realize that we are all actually equal in God’s sight.  While out talents may seem to differ in this world, eventually all will be shared.  While some temporarily have more and some, less, this is indeed temporary.  And it is up to us to assist those in need while our hearts tell us the right thing to do.

5 – Knowledge

Our brothers and sisters hold specialness dear.  But it is not for us to do so.  If we persist, we will endanger all of which we have knowledge.  And it is God Who gives us the knowledge.

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

I would renounce specialness for all time now.  This specialness is of the ego, and I would leave the ego behind.  We suffer because of our belief that we are “special.”  And we truly are not.  All of us are equal in Your sight.

If You would have it so, take this desire for specialness from me today.  Thank You.

Amen.

Banding Together against Fear Makes Fear Real

“Loyalty stems here from your faith in fear and all from which you need protection.  To belong to a loyal group, a family or community of supporters, is seen as necessary for your safety.  While many of you do not have this, you strive for it, and its attainment has been the cause of much suffering in your world.  This banding together for support against fear simply makes fear real, and the seeming cause for loyalty essential.  (A Course of Love, 15.8)”

Affirmation:  “I would seek God’s protection only.”

camille-monet-and-her-son-jean-in-the-garden-at-argenteuil-renoir-large - renoir

Reflections:

1 – Growing Older

When we grow older, often we harbor secret fears that we will die alone and friendless.  We think that we need to bind ourselves to family or friends as a way to hold off the darkness.

2 – Fear of Being Alone

These fears only reinforce the basic fear of being alone.  And this fear is what the ego has done to us.  We thought that we wanted separation from God, independence when we were strong and healthy, but when bad days come we want protection above all.  Is this any way to live a life?  A life in fear of what may come?

3 – Faith

Neither A Course in Miracles nor A Course of Love says much about faith.  Faith is simply assumed, for we are told in ACIM that the Universal Inspiration, the Holy Spirit, will protect us; and we are told in ACOL that Christ-consciousness will offer all that we might want in this life and the life beyond.  We are meant to commune with God.  We are told that we have taught ourselves the unnatural habit of not communicating with our Creator, and He knows that His children sleep, and need to be awakened (ACIM paraphrases).  He knows that His channels are closed (ACIM tenet), and He would reopen communication with us as willing recipients of His guidance.

4 – The Future

Do not waste one moment in fear of what the future brings.  God has never failed to provide, regardless of what dangers we have lived through, or what disasters we have experienced.  Sometimes those of us who have suffered the most are actually the most grateful to God for the life that they have lived.  So know that He is always watching over us, as little children are told.  We have not outgrown the need to know that God Himself looks out for us and looks over us.

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

It sounds counterintuitive to say that we don’t need to bank together for safety.  But You are the only safety that I need, the only safety that I want.  Help me to know that I will always be safe, regardless of how alone I might be.  You are there.  And that is all that I need to know.

Be with us as we form true bonds with other people.  These will be bonds of service, not use of other people.  We do not need to form bonds out of fear of the unknown, but because we love one another.  And that is all that we need to do–just love one another.  And then Your protection is readied.

Thank You.

Amen.

Specialness vs. True Self

“While you desire specialness for yourself, your true Self will remain hidden and unknown, and since this is a Course that seeks to reveal your true identity, specialness must be seen for what it is so that you will desire it no longer.  You can have specialness or your true Self, but never both.  (A Course of Love, 15.3)”

Still Life with Bottle and Lemons on a Plate - van goghAffirmation:  “I would deny specialness in favor of my true Self.”

Reflections:

1 – Egocentric Specialness

Specialness is an egocentric desire to be better than other people (or, occasionally, the reverse–worse than others).  For whatever reason, we think that if we are different, rather than the same, we will merit more in this life.  We think that being special means that we have more than others–always “more.”  But this reasoning is fallacious.

2 – Specialness in Other People

We need to recognize that nobody welcomes specialness in another person–except as that specialness seems to give to the other something that he/she wants.  We look for certain special things in our chosen life partner, but we often find that this specialness is a mirage, and then we may drift away, only to seek again a specialness that will never last.

3 – Competition

In our peer relationships, we do not want another to excel in the competition.  We want to be better.  But does that make us more loved?  I think not.  Cooperation in a common goal means that all peers are equals, and equals we are indeed in God’s eyes.  All of us have been given everything, ultimately.  But on this earth, this is not so, and so we often find ourselves envious of the goods of another.  We do not love in such a state of mind, and love is the great need of all of us (as always).

4 – Self/Christ

We need the true Self, which is the Christ within.  When we really consider these words, how could we desire anything other?  We do not receive knowledge of the Self when the go reigns.  Everything sought by the ego ultimately turns to ashes and dust in our hands.  All of the ego’s playthings are temporary.  But when we turn from the desire to be better than our brother/sister, we are primed to know the Self that we all share, for we are all One.  Then we know that true boons of this world, as well as the world beyond.  We have indeed found our way home.

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

I would drop specialness today for all time.  Competition just wore me out, when I tried it, and try it I did for years.  Finally, in the last 20 years or so, my desire for cooperative living has won out over specialness.  Thank You for this insight and the willingess and ease with which I have been able to accomplish it.  Only You did that.

Thank You for the understanding that cooperation works much better than competition.  There is no way that competition, over the long haul, can bring anything but misery.

Help me to resist specialness in all its forms.  I would choose a right sort of humility, and I would choose to avoid arrogance.  I can do what You lead me to do, when You help me.  Only then, when You help.

Amen.

Better View of Life

“This is the view of life you cannot imagine bringing about, or bringing joy in its coming.  But this is what you must begin to imagine if you desire to accept love’s coming instead of to reject it once again.  For your refusal to give up specialness is your refusal of the Christ in you and a refusal of love itself.  (A Course of Love, 14.31)”

Affirmation:  “I would give up specialness in love today, replacing it with the holy in love.”

Reflections:

1 – ACIM and ACOL

Here A Course of Love echoes much that has been emphasized in A Course in MiraclesACIM postulates that special love turned to holy, in relationships, is our way home.  In the process of turning special to holy, we learn how to forgive.  And in the forgiveness, we recognize that the others in our lives have always been either calling for love or  loving.  Even their anger and attack are reconsidered as calls for help, or love.

2 – Special to Holy

We do not lose anything by turning our special loves into holy ones.  This may be what we fear, for much romantic love is actually specialness, and that is why the romantic love can quickly turn to indifference, or even hate.

3 – Leave Behind

Let us have none of this nonsense.  We are better than this.  We are God’s children, eager to do His will.  And would we turn our back on any of His children, even those who seem to have turned away from us?

4 – Forgiveness

We will never know peace until forgiveness finds a place in our hearts.  We forgive as much for ourselves as for another.  This is the ultimate secret of why forgiveness is so important.  We cannot proceed to Atonement with God until we have gotten our hearts right in love that we actually do feel for others, the love that may be hidden over by hate.

5 – Hate

Give up a refusal to love today.  Nothing anybody has done to you is worth the anguish of hate.  Know that not everyone is able to love as freely as we would desire, and this is not a failing.  All have free will, and are given the means to turn to whomever they choose.  They too may know rejection.  It does not matter.  Our hearts will soften, in forgiveness, and we will have taken giant leaps ahead on our pathway back to God.  Forgive for yourself as well as of the other.

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

I would focus on love today, love undiminished by any negative emotion.  Help me to do this.  I know that this is what You want for me.

I would not ever let hate hold a place in my heart.  Hate normally comes from being hurt badly, and I am fortunate not to have been hurt that badly.  May my brothers and sisters who have known the depths of hurting, be healed.

Amen.

Once There Is Love, It Is Forever

“Let us ask instead how loving all as one can bring harm?  If you love all the same, what loss is there to anyone, including the one you would choose to make special?  All that is lost is specialness.  (A Course of Love, 14.31)”

Renoir-La-LectureAffirmation:  “I would choose to love all in my life.”

Reflections:

1 – Betrayal?

There is little in this passage with which to disagree, if the passage is understood in its fullness.  Certainly parents love all their children, and what love is given to one is not normally taken from another.  Yet when it comes to our significant other, our brother/sister, we often think that if we love someone who was once “special” to us, then we are betraying our brother/sister, the one in our life now.  This is not so, but the explanation does take a little consideration.

2 – Love Is Forever

Any love, once experienced, never fades entirely.  Once there is love, it is forever.  Even the playwright William Shakespeare says this.  And certainly the love that is expressed in our scriptures is meant to be a forever thing.   We transform the specialness of our relationships into holy, and in a holy relationship, there is no room for jealousy.  We bind ourselves with a tight bond to the significant other in our life, but we do not put blinders on, to eliminate all thought of the other loves that we have known.  This is reality, and there is no reason to feel guilt in reality.

3 – Lose the Specialness

We would lose the specialness that, all too often, tries to cling to our loves.  Specialness can turn to hate, and to indifference, whereas genuine love remains itself–heartfelt love that knows no ending.  May we experience this heartfelt love for others today, and may we turn to God within in our experience.  There is no room for specialness in a world that can become beautiful by the love we harbor for all living creatures.

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

I would come to realize ever more deeply today that love is all one, though we have different kinds of love for the individuals in our lives.  We never outgrow a love that has once been in our lives.  We never dismiss it entirely.  And we will reconcile on another plan, as A Course in Miracles tells us.

Thank You for this reassurance.  May we love, and love greatly, for this is our way out of fearful and anxious thoughts.  This is our way home to You.  And I would go home to You today.

Be with me as I seek to know You ever more deeply.

Amen.

When Memory Returns

“You who do not know how to trade your separated state for that of union have still done so when you have loved freely and without fear.  In this state your memory returns to you of who you are, and you are innocent and joyous and one with love itself.  (A Course of Love, 14.28)”

Affirmation:  “I will recall today the love that I have experienced at any time in my life.”

Reflections:van gogh - trees4

1 – Loving Freely

We have, each of us, known someone or something that we have loved freely.  We may have to reach back very far, if we have gone deeply into insanity, but if we reach back far enough, we will each know that we have known love given and received.  We were without fear at such times of genuine love.  Nothing fazed us; nothing impeded us.  We were so overcome with the emotion of love that we forgot that we had anything to fear.  And, indeed, we did not have anything to fear.

2 – Return in Memory

It is to such times that we ought to return in memory, to lead us to accept such love for all times.  When we recall the lack of fear (and anxiety) that we felt, we will be reassured that this fearless state is a state that we want.  We do not have anything to fear, once we have given up grievances.  We will know, once we have done this, that we live in a safe world.  Regardless of what may happen, and many bad things do happen in our difficult world, we are safe in God’s love.  Even if we lose our physical lives, there is eternity to experience.  There is an Other Side.

3 – Innocence

When we are innocent, we know that we have not sinned, but merely made mistakes.  No human being fails to make mistakes.  But all can and will be forgiven when we love enough to ask for forgiveness.  We must forgive ourselves, and perhaps we need to ask restitution, but the state of innocence is our true state, and we will recognize this idyllic experience when we have known deep love.  Love truly i s the Answer, but this statement has been made so many times as to sound trite.  It is anything but trite.

4 – Presence of God

Ask to experience the feeling of God today.  He is within, and He will show Himself when we are willing to let go and let Him return to us as our Creator, whom we have actually always loved.  We just seemed to lose Him a little while.

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

I would love freely today, so that I may regain my sense of innocence, free of fear.  I would cease the anxious thoughts that arrest me when I need to function better.  Help me to function well today.

Love erases fear, and when I have returned to the memory of love, all will be well with me.  Help me to return to love today and everyday.

Amen.

Overcoming Loss of Love

“You who have given everything to be alone and separate fear most of all that which you have given everything to attain.  For what is loss of love but confirmation of your separate state?  What is loss of love but being left alone?  (A Course of Love, 14.21)”

Van-Gogh-Night-CafeAffirmation:  “I would reestablish love in my life today.”

Reflections:

1 – Sacrifice

We think that we want to be independent, alone and separate, and the only thing that this gives us is fear.  We have sacrificed everything for that which we actually do not want!  Does not this sound like insanity?  And, indeed, Jesus calls this insane thinking in A Course in Miracles.  We have, under the influence of a part of ourselves called the “ego,” sacrificed our rightful place in the kingdom as well as the love that we so desperately really want.

2 – Salvation

Can this be righted?  Of course!  This righting is what salvation is all about.  When we know that we want to be One in sharing with others, One in relationship to them and One within ourselves, with God, we are back on the right track.  There is no other way to live happily.  We must give up this senseless pursuit of independence that would neglect the others in our world.  We are not meant to be alone; we are meant to share in unity and relationship with the All.

3 -Still Resist?

Why do we still resist?  What do we think that we will give up?

4 – Rebellion

I think that there still is what can only be called adolescent rebellion in us.  Indeed, this is just what Jesus calls it, in a comparison that he makes in A Course of Love.  He says that we are like adolescents who have to separate from their parents to define their own identity.  But, in an interpretation, I would go on to say that this is not desirable with our heavenly Parent–God–is the One from whom we desire separation.  We are a part of God; He is in all of us, for He is the All.

5 – Separation

We are not meant to walk on this world as separate beings apart from each other.  We weep when we try this insanity.  This insanity can never bring us peace.  Give it up today, and return to the fold of God.

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

My blog today sounds a lot like traditional religion, traditional Christianity even.  And it is, but with a twist.  We are One with You, and as such we have a right to walk with You.  This is, I think, what Jesus is trying to tell us in such beautiful words.  May we listen, perhaps for the first time, today.

I would choose love over fear, and when the anxious thoughts come, I would simply let them wash over me without drowning me.  Much of this may be of the body, but my mind and heart are not yet strong enough to see all of the body’s thoughts as illusion.  May I recognize illusion when I experience it.  Sooner rather than later.  And may my walk with You bring me the quiet joy that You mean me to have.

Thank You.

Amen.

Nothing but Love Can Be Cause of Joy

“For at least one brief moment, this was true love, for nothing but love can be the cause of joy, nor offer a haven of safety in an insane world.  (A Course of Love, 14.13)”

Affirmation:  “I choose love today.”vangogh_sunflowers1888

Reflections:

1 – Love Deeply

If we wish to be free of fear in all its forms, we need to love deeply.  Experiencing the peace that only love gives can prove this fact for us.  We can sense the love first as a feeling, a glorious feeling of joy and limitlessness, and then we will notice that we are free of the anxiety that has dogged our steps.  This is a true miracle, and its presence shows the place that revelation also has in our lives.  For this is a message from God to us; we could not effect this change from anxiety to non-anxiety on our own.  We could not leave fear behind, except that we love–and love deeply.

2 – Uncontrolled Anger

When we slip and let attack enter because of our uncontrolled anger, the peace that we were feeling will be abandoned.  We will know anxiety once again, and recovering our peace of mind may be slow.  Let us not slip today.  Let us invite the love that will banish fear, banish anxiety.

3 – Worry

Worry too is a form of fear, and we all have had many worries over the course of our lifetimes.  We do not have to keep the habit of worry; it too can be abandoned.

4 – How to Abandon Worry

And the way to abandon the spirit of worry is to substitute love of others, keeping in mind that we too must have a humble love of self.  The best way to eliminate worry is to substitute the feeling of love of God.  And in loving God, we are also loving the Self who is in our brothers and sisters, and well as ourselves.

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

I would move ever closer today to the cessation of anxiety.  And in the passage for today, Jesus gives me the key:  love, ever-deeper love.  May I hold fast to this idea today.

Be with us as we eliminate the “what if’s” from our lives.  This is a foolishness that cannot be denied unless we welcome love.  We would leave behind worry with its “what if’s” today.  Be with me as I do so.

Help me to realize that the guidance that I need is given at the point of need, not usually ahead of time.  If the guidance were given ahead of time, we would always be out of the present, and being in the present is the way to live a heartfelt life.  We would live in the present today, practicing for all our tomorrows.

Thank You for always being there for me.

Amen.

Memories

“While you will not realize it at first, because you have no experience but only memory of feeling yourself in such a way, you will eventually realize that the memories you recall of the spirit of others include memories that are your own, memories that are of your own Self.  For no spirit exists that is not part of you, or you of it.  (A Course of Love, 13.8)”

Affirmation:  “My brothers and sisters are one with me.”

Amazing-Van-Gogh-Paintings-dining roomReflections:

1 – Our Spirits Are One

We, our Selves, have no experience, at least now, of the fact that our spirits are one with others.  We do have memories of a time when we knew this.  And this time reaches backwards to a time beyond time, beyond hope of remembrance, except that God intervene.  This idea is alluded to also in A Course in Miracles.  But there it says that the time is past all hope of remembrance, and here we are told that the memory can return.  So there is some conflict between the two ideas.

2 -Unite with Our Spirit

How might we understand this conflict?  Our remembrance, as described in ACIM, is part of our experience, and ACOL clearly says that we can remember the experience of oneness with others.  But there is a part of us, in our spirit, that does lock away the memory.  And  when we come closer to a union with our spirit in everyday life, we will have memories that have heretofore been excluded from us.

3 – Self/Christ

Our Self is the Christ that we all share, and when God has reached down and lifted us up (a metaphor), we will know Awakening (as called in A Course in Miracles) or Christ-consciousness (as called in A Course of Love).  No spirit is alone.  All are part of the one Christ spirit, and that is how we can understand our kinship with Jesus.

4 – Jesus

Traditional Christianity avoids the issue of whether we can have what Jesus had–the Christ embodied, although the New Testament clearly points to the fact that he indicates that there is nothing that he has that we will not one day have as well.  ACIM and ACOL make this similarity conclusive; we are one with Jesus, once we, like him, have walked the whole pathway back to God.  And, because he walked it first, he will help us, and he will clear our imperfections that otherwise we would not be able to alter (an ACIM tenet).

5 – A Great Promise

What a great promise today’s passage offers to us!  May we not forget to offer our gratitude to God for such a glorious plan of salvation.

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

I would welcome memories to my mind today.  I know that it is possible to recall that which has been hidden to me until today, because Jesus says so in this passage, and I trust him.  May I put aside all temperamental thoughts and actions that would negate this great promise, this great blessing.  Be with me as I seek to walk Your way today.

Help us to recognize that the memories that we hold of others include ourselves.  We are not alone in this.  There is a definite joining of minds, and therefore spirits, one with another.  May I sense this today.  And may I give up all attack thoughts, for these are separating, and they, as well, will be felt by the people whom I encounter.

Be with our walk today, as always.  And thank You.

Amen.

Trust

“All that is required to gather this new evidence is to trust in your own heart.  Are you willing to believe what your heart would tell you?

“This exercise should take no time nor break your stride or the flow of your conversation.  All it asks you to do is to become aware of spirit and to allow this awareness to abide within you.  (A Course of Love, 13.6 – 13.7)”

Affirmation:  “May I trust in my own heart today.”

Reflections:Van-Gogh_Bedroom_Arles

1 – The Mind

If we stop giving our mind so much attention, if we put our mind into neutral, we are then more likely to listen to the spirit within.  We are also more likely to pay attention to the spirits of others, rather than the personality that is so dominated by the mind when it is in egoic mode.  When we pay attention to the spirit in ourselves and in others, we are attuned to our hearts.  And that is a very good place to be.

2 – Turn to the Heart

Jesus would have us turn to the heart increasingly.  That is the primary theme of these first pages of the original volume of A Course of Love.  (Later, he will emphasize the union of mind and heart, into “wholeheartedness.”)

3 – Intellectual Truths?

The heart does not demand intellectual truths.  The mind, when it is dominated by the ego, does so often want intellectual truths.  But the ego is never satisfied; no proof is ever sufficient.  And so we bring our intellectual doubts to the table of God, and we doubt Him.

4 – Heed the Heart

This is no way to live.  If the heart seems to be telling us something, we would do well to heed what it is saying.  We intuitively know that God exists, and that He loves us, and when we live this faith, we live truly–we don’t simply walk through our days like automatons.

5 – Use the Day Wisely

May we spend today looking for the spirit in ourselves and others, and may we pay attention to what our heart is trying to say to us.  If we can sustain this endeavor, we will indeed have used the day wisely.

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

Help me to trust my heart today.  It will soon be time to meld the mind and the heart into wholeheartedness, but for today I will listen to my heart.  I will see what it has to tell me, and I will heed.

This does not mean that I will do foolish things.  We do not need to let emotions run amuck.  That would not be worthy of ourselves or our concept of God.

Be with me today as I seek to be ever mindful of Your blessings.  You have given me much.  Help me to give back.

Amen.

Memory Recollection

“These are but exercises in memory recollection, and the more you practice them the more true memory will return to you.  Do not apply any effort to these exercises, particularly not that of recalling spirit.  Just let  impressions come to you, and when they make you feel like smiling know that you are feeling memory return.  (A Course of Love, 13.3)”

Affirmation:  “May my true memory be keen today.”

The-Fisherman - renoir

Reflections:

As people grow older, they lament the fact that memory often declines, even when there is no real pathology.  But there is a greater memory that everyone lacks, until, that is, we listen to what Jesus is saying.  We need to let impressions, especially intuitive impressions, come to us as they will.  When we are guided in this way, the daily irritations subside, and we smile more.

What is “true memory”?  It is the choice of all of us to join with others to be at peace in God.  When this happens, we are guided by the Christ-consciousness that is within.  We know what to do or say at the moment that the need arises.  Not a minute sooner, and not a minute afterwards.  We have heard previously of this phenomenon, in the Bible.  But this was the prompting of the Holy Spirit.  And in this era, we are moving into the time of Christ.  The Christ/Self within will guide us, just as surely as did the Holy Spirit.  We only have to ease our minds, choose to avoid being uptight, and we will find that memory is enhanced immediately.  We all know that when we freeze up, we can remember very little.

What would it be like to feel like smiling all the time?  Would not this be a blessing indeed?  Yes, it would.  And we are promised, in this passage, that such can be our fate.

Let us offer ourselves, again today, to God.  May He guide us with a sure hand.  And may we know from whence our help cometh.

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

I would smile today, with a keen memory.  And the only way that I can do that is to turn to You.  You are the best way that I have ever learned to walk aright.  There is no other way to walk aright.  Help me to remember You throughout today.  And protect me from anxiety.  When I am anxious, I cannot recall those things that You would have me recall.  And I would recall the blessings that You have so graciously given me.

Amen.

Experiencing Love Removes Fear

“This is a simple exercise, and enjoyable too.  It but calls for you to ask one thing:  Ask yourself what you already know of the spirit of the person you observe.  You will be amazed at the knowledge you already have and the joy it brings you to remember it.  (A Course of Love, 13.2)”

paintings-by-hilaire-germain-edgar-degas- balletAffirmation:  “Let me observe my significant other today.”

Reflections:

1 – Feel Love

Certainly it is clear from A Course of Love that feeling love for another alleviates fear.  And this understanding may be the reason that Jesus recommends this helpful little exercise.  When we reach out to another in love, and we really feel the connection, we are saved from the anxiety that sometimes threatens to engulf us.

2 – Notice Our Significant Others

May we take a few moments, from time to time today, to notice our significant others.  To really see them in their spirits, which are pure.  We can overlook much that has distressed us (an ACIM tenet).  We would not feel joy when we think of the spirit of another unless that spirit were truly good.  And all spirits are good.  We just have to remember that, and to recognize that in this world we normally cannot live without some conflict.

3 – A Green Earth

If we thank God for these insights, we will walk a green earth today.  We will be joyous.  We will be appreciative for the blessings of our loved ones.  And we will never let fear dog our steps today.

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

May I know the tranquility that comes from love today.  May I recognize that fear brings on all that which I do not want.  And love pushes fear out.  Always.

If I love my significant others enough, I will be free of fear.  Is this not wonderful motivation?

Be with me today as I seek to carry out the simple exercise in this passage.

Amen.

Separation Is a Mirage

“The Father did not prevent the idea of separation from taking place. . . .But just as your ideas do not take on a life of their own even though they at times seem to, this idea as well had no ability to be more than what it was, except for as the son chose to participate in it.  (A Course of Love, 12.21)”

Affirmation:  “I choose to heal the ‘separation’ from God.”

Reflections:Edgar_Germain_Hilaire_Degas - ballet dancers

1 – The Choice

We made the choice to believe that we were separate from God; this passage makes that clear.  Of course, we could not really separate, but we could imagine that we had done so, and in the imaging our fantasies and illusions became very real indeed (at least to us).  We have suffered greatly by this presumed separation, for it is not natural to fail to communicate with our Creator.  We have played at atheism and agnosticism, but these are such dismal choices.  And in them we never find the satisfaction that we are seeking.

2 – Our Hearts

If we have intellectual doubts, perhaps it is time to turn to our hearts and to ask what feels right to them!  Our hearts do not need the intellectual assents that our minds do, and it is to our hearts that Jesus appeals in A Course of Love, especially in these opening pages of the first volume.

3 – Seeking

Even though we may turn to our hearts, we still may not be satisfied, and, if this is the case, we need to keep seeking.  If we seek, we will find.  We may not believe that we have chosen “not to believe,” but indeed we have.  And when we turn repeatedly to that which we do not understand, a warm feeling will occasionally engulf us, a warm feeling that is surely God Himself.

4 – Heal the Separation

When we heal this separation, we will be on our way to a much happier life.  I speak of the “presumed” separation.  Our egos will be frail by now, and we will not seek pleasures that turn to dust in our hands.  Our priorities will have gotten straightened out.

5 – Jesus’s Promise in ACOL

The best that we can do does include not obsessing over our lack of faith.  Just let the thoughts come and go, try to live in the present, and our inner Being will be better able to speak to us.  This is the Christ/Self within, and this is the promise that Jesus makes to us in A Course of Love.

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

I would pray today to know what to do, and when.  I would ask to be guided to do my part in ending my belief in separation from You.  I know that this is a mirage, but it is a mirage in which I believed for a long time.  Let us get beyond that misfortune today.  With Your help.

Help me to reach out to others whom I see today.  We are all in this together, and we need each other.  May each of us spend what time seems needful in communion with You.  This calms us down and removes fear, a very practical outcome of communion.

May we not beat ourselves up over this matter of separation.  What has not occurred can have no effects.  And separation from You is absolutely impossible, for I am a part of You.  You dwell within each and every one of us.

Amen.

The Meaning of Atonement

“But one was needed to, of his own free will, join his will with his Father’s for it to be done for all.  This is all correction or atonement means, and all that is in need of your acceptance.  Join your brother who made this choice for all and you are reunited with the Christ in you.  (A Course of Love, 12.14)”

The_Starry_Night_van gogh
Affirmation:  “I choose Jesus today.”

Reflections:

1 – Jesus

Jesus is here speaking of himself as the one who, of his own free will, joined his will with his Father’s, and thus did it for all of us–for all of us are one.  This understanding of atonement is in some respects very like traditional Christianity, though without the emphasis upon the crucifixion.

2 – In ACOL, Accept Jesus

Jesus said in A Course of Love that we must “accept” him, and this is a different interpretation than he gave in A Course in Miracles.  He does not, importantly, say that A Course of Love is the only way to God, but if we are to follow its teaching as our way, we are expected to follow Jesus.  The difference in ACIM is that in the Manual he acknowledged many different teachers, for God would not leave anyone without a way back to Him.  This is not conflict, just a difference in emphasis.  And the alteration probably will not disturb many students/teachers of A Course in Miracles.

3 – For All of Us

We only need to accept that one, Jesus, has walked the pathway before us, and that, when he walked it alone, he did it for all of us.  When we join to Jesus, we are reunited with the Christ in us.  The absolute nature of this assertion can easily be overlooked.  Is there not something more that we need to do, we might ask?  No, there is not.

4 – Home in God

Look to Jesus, and, as in traditional Christianity, we are home in God.

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

I have not always felt comfortable with Jesus.  I believed too long that he was a righteous judge who would find me unsuitable for the Kingdom.  His mercy was long lost to me.

But now I know better, and I thank You for the blessing of changing my mind about Jesus.  I no longer see him as a judge, but as a companion along my way.  I do not understand how he can be with just anybody at any time, but I do accept enough of mystery to know that there are natural laws of which science knows nothing.

I am grateful for the opportunity of which I avail myself to talk to Jesus, silently.  In the middle of the night, when I awake and can’t get back to sleep, I imagine him nearby.  I neither see nor hear anything, but very often I am shortly back to sleep until the morning light dawns.  Thank You.

Amen.

We Are One with All

“This one brother can unite you with all whom you perceive as others, for all others are one with him as well as you.  This is the one joining that needs to occur to bring about all the rest.  (A Course of Love, 12.9)”

Fishing in Spring - van gogh
Affirmation:  “I love all my brothers and sisters.”

Reflections:

1 – Join with One = Join with All

When we come to truly join with one brother or sister, we have joined with all, for all are one.  We have learned how to love that special one (in a special relationship now turned holy–a concept from A Course in Miracles), and we can easily see the value and the way of transforming that love of one to all others.

2 – Love

It is not an ACIM or ACOL tenet, but we are actually loving another with the love that is inside of us.  The fact that the Self/Christ is within makes this so.  We love to the degree that the shades of illusion have been removed from our eyes.  We love to the degree that is not covered over by the insanity of our minds, the strong presence of the ego.

3 – The Ego

If the ego seems to be a devil figure, this is not an ACIM or ACOL tenet, but the concept to my own mind does follow logically.  But there is a difference.  Because the ego is a part of our belief about ourselves, it will be transformed but not extinguished when we come into our own, when the Self/Christ has been recognized and sustained as a way to live.

4 – All Unique

So loving one brother or sister can teach us to love all.  But this does not mean that we can substitute one individual for another.  We are all unique, and we elicit love of different sorts, depending on the facets of our personality that are reflected, as in a mirror.  (These are interpretations, not stated in ACIM or ACOL.)  Just as we recognize that we love our children, for example, differently but equally, we can transfer this knowledge to all others, for, as stated in the passage, we are all one.

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

Thank You for this good day.  At times I have truly felt myself to be One with the people whom I have met, especially those whom I already know.  But I have also felt a warmth toward all others I have encountered in my travels about.  Thank You for this blessing.

May I remember to express gratitude for the good things that happen, as soon as they happen as possible.  May my remembrance be keen in this regard.

We are all One, and when we realize this, the whole world seems to open up.  Thank You for the clarity of my world today.

Amen.

Love Others and Thereby See the Self

“Re-establishing your relationship with your brother is what will show your Self to you.  You have one brother who wears but many faces in your perception of who he is and, while you know him not, you cannot know yourself.  (A Course of Love, 12.9)”

van-gogh-finalAffirmation:  “I love my brother.”  

Reflections:

1 – Forgiveness of Our Brother/Sister

This passage from A Course of Love highlights the way of salvation from A Course in Miracles:  forgiveness of our brother (or sister).  Forgiveness is not mentioned in this brief passage, though, but we can know that in order to re-establish our relationship to our brother, we must forgive him for the various transgressions that we think he has committed against us.  Forgiveness is the only sane response, because these transgression are not real in actuality (being illusion in an illusory world), but, more important, these transgressions are a call for help and love.

2 – Adverse Happenings

If we reframe all the things that happen to us in this world that are adverse, we can recognize that those from our brothers and sisters that hurt us were actually their own calls of love.  We would rush to their side with aid (if they are open to our aid).

3 – See Our Self

When we re-establish our appropriate relationship to our brother, A Course of Love goes a step farther in recognizing the blessings that will come to us:  We will see our Self, perhaps (probably) for the first time.  This Self is the Christ within, and in this world the combination of divine and human that is within becomes established in the physical world as the elevated Self of form.  There is no higher goal for us in this world, but, of course, we must wish for this blessing for all others as well, and we must do our part to make that goal a reality for them as well.

4 – Perception

We see many sides of our brothers and sisters in our perception of them.  That is because perception is so variable, being projected from within our own self.  And our brother does seem to have a multifaceted personality, some parts of which we like and some parts of which we don’t like.  We too are variable to him/her.  Part of this variability is just the reflection of different moods in ourselves and our brothers and sisters.  Bad moods do not mean that the person is bad, only feeling down or depressed, or acting out attack or anger because the inside of the person is hurting so much.

5 – Insane Behavior

The good news is that we don’t have to figure out what makes another act as he/she does.  We just recognize the attitude or behavior as insane, when it is anything but loving, and then we forgive.  We do not forgive reality, for we are not seeing reality.  We forgive illusion, and we forgive for ourselves as well as for the other.

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

Naturally we are going to get upset with our brothers and sisters as we walk through this world.  They will sometimes make mistakes that involve us or our loved ones.  Help me to handle such times in an appropriate manner.  I realize that this may mean speaking up, but help me to know that anger does not have to rise to the surface.  But, if it does, You will see that my attitude is adjusted.  I would only love my brothers and sisters who make mistakes, even serious ones.

Be with me today as I settle down from a difficult yesterday.  We are very human, and our Christ/Self as the divine does not always appear obvious to us.  As time goes by, may more and more of our time be spent in glimpses of Christ-consciousness.  May we live the life that You would have us lead.

I know that You have already forgiven me for any misdeeds that I made yesterday.  I will always fall short if You do not pick me up.  Do pick me up and allow me to try again.

Amen.

How to Overcome Uncertainty

“Uncertainty of any kind is doubt about your self.  This is why this Course aims to establish your identity, for from it all the rest will come.  (A Course of Love, 12.8)”

camille-monet-and-her-son-jean-in-the-garden-at-argenteuil-renoir-largeAffirmation:  “My identity is my Self.”

Reflections:

1 – How Often?

How often are we uncertain?  I would venture to guess that this state of mind happens very frequently.  We don’t know which way to turn.  If we have been students of A Course in Miracles, we know to turn to the Holy Spirit for guidance.  Now that we are studying A Course of Love, we know to turn inward to the Christ/Self within.  But do we yet believe that the inner self is really the inner Self/Christ?

2 – Christ Within

Probably not.  And that is what brings on the doubt.  We don’t really believe that we are good enough to hold Christ within us.  It is true that he is hidden from us when we are obstreperous, attacking, and angry–but we are (are we not?) learning to move beyond such undesirable states of mind and heart.  We are listening to our heart, something that we have done sporadically all of our lives.  We are listening to our heart if we are following the recommendation of ACOL.

3 – Perfection

The doubt that we are good enough to hold the Christ inside will fall away as we accept the good news that Jesus is telling us.  He assures us that we do not have to be perfect.  We only need to identify which character traits we would relinquish, and then it is done for us.  The intention is all.  And then the doubt will fall away.  We know that all of our brothers and sisters, likewise, hold Christ within.  We are not unique.  This assurance will help us to realize that we are not lost in grandiose dreams.  We are instead encouraged to accept the grandeur of our being, the grandeur that God welcomes us as His children, eventually as co-creators with Him.  And when the Self who is within, the Christ who is within, is accepted fully, we will not have any sense of false humility, not any false humility that is actually arrogance that we cannot be as good as God has created us.

4 – Accept Others

When we establish our identity as the Self/Christ that we are within, we will reach out with more acceptance of other people.  We frequently act badly because of a poor self-image, and this poor self-image will vanish in the glory of recognizing who we really are.  Then our Self will move to create the elevated Self of form, and we will not be quite so ready to denigrate the physical in our lives.  Yes, the physical is an illusion, but the illusion is quite solid to us, and to deny this fact is a particularly unfortunate type of denial.

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

May I move closer to a full acceptance of the Christ/Self within me, as he/she is within all of us.  May I not feel that to think this way is arrogance, but actually not to think this way is arrogance.  Would we deny what we are learning about who we really are?  Who Jesus is teaching us that we really are?

Jesus has told us that we are the same as he.  And yet we find this difficult to accept.  May we seek forgiveness for our stubborness, a forgiveness that we need to grant ourselves, for God does not condemn and therefore does not need to forgive us.  We do not need to condemn ourselves either.  

Be with me today as I ponder these deep truths from A Course of Love.  There is little doubt that I can attract whatever I wish, and today I wish for Your mercy.  Be with me as I seek to reach for the stars, even as all of us reach for the stars.  This is not arrogance or grandiosity, but the sanest sense.  Thank You for leading Jesus to guide us to this knowledge.

Amen.