To Live the Life Dreamed Of

Manet-Portrait_Berthe_Morisot_with_Violets
“The only difference between the life you are living and the life you want lies in your willingness to express who you are. (Treatises of A Course of Love: Treatise on the Nature of Unity and Its Recognition, 3.1)”

Affirmation: “I would seek to know who I really am today.”

Reflections:

1 – Self-Expressive

We need a certain freedom to be self-expressive in this world. We will live the life that we have dreamed of when we let ourselves go and not try so hard to conform to dictates from others that find no place in our heart.

2 – Our Childhood

Many of us grew up trying to conform to the wishes of our elders, usually our parents. Others rebelled against their intentions, but still this was a reaction of “no,” and doing the exact opposite was still an influence from elders.

3 – Guidance

How exactly do we live the life that we want? We follow guidance from God. The inner Self/Christ will know, just know, what to say and do. Our will and that of our God are identical. He speaks for us (a tenet of A Course in Miracles, speaking of the Holy Spirit). God would have us express who we really are, but we are such confused beings on this issue. We wonder, “Who am I?” And we ask this question in a thousand ways and more. Yet inside we know the answer. Only the ego prevents our emergence into the Self/Christ that will blossom one day.

4 – The Past

We need to stop living the constricted life that is based on the past. We need to start afresh each day, turning to God each morning for the marching orders for the day. He will not be harsh or stern with us; He will love us. And we will benefit greatly from our times of communion with Him. Living the life that expresses who we are is not hard at all. It is going against the truth of who we are that is contrary to God’s will and our own will.

5 – Starting Over?

Now, many of us can get some rather crazy notions in our heads, in an impulsive way, about throwing over the life that we have so carefully built and starting all over. Lest this direction be your bent, think again. Impulsively throwing overboard our loved ones for a life of “freedom” is not what being who we are is really about. We need each other, and God has given each of us significant others for whom we are chosen people. Impulsivity is not living who you are. Insufficient thought before change is made is a detriment to the right change. So think carefully, with the heart, before chucking it all to be “free.” There is not greater freedom than the joy that we get from attending to the needs of our loved ones.

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

I ask for Your guidance today. It is easy to want to be independent and free, freed of ties. But I would not live thus. My significant others are given to me for a purpose. And I am given to them. The blessings that we enjoy together come from You. I know that independence is best lived when it is actually interdependence.

May we leave behind the chains from our past, our childhood. We need to forgive our families, for they did the best that they could. Even if it was imperfect.
I too am imperfect. And I thank You that Jesus can heal those imperfections of mine if I will give him half a chance.

I would give him a chance today.

Amen.

Have You Heard a Call?

manet - a day in paris“Why would we begin a Treatise on Unity by talking of treasure? To pave the way for talking of calling. What is it in you that recognizes talents that lie fully realized within? The practical mind is not the source of such imagination. The practical mind makes of imagination a fantasy. It is the heart that sees with true imagination and the heart speaks to you in terms that are consistent with the idea you currently hold of hearing a call or having a calling. (Treatises of A Course of Love: Treatise on the Nature of Unity and Its Recognition, 2.1)”

Affirmation: “May I listen to my heart today.”

Reflections:

1 – Definition

A calling in the religious/spiritual sense is normally thought of as God placing His hand on one’s heart, and asking one to devote a lifetime to spreading the Gospel. Many individuals feel themselves called to the ministry, and they feel that they themselves have no choice in the matter. God has asked, and He is not to be refused.

2 – Refusing the Call

The Old Testament story of Jonah is the story of a man who tried to refuse a calling. And with dire consequences. He gets swallowed up in a sea monster and there spends, strangely, three days before the monster spits him out on dry land. Then and only then does Jonah go preach in Ninevah. Most callings are not so severe, but this story is meant to illustrate that there is no going against God’s will once He has placed a hand upon one.

3 – Personal Experience

I once heard a missionary lecture to young people (myself being one of them) about the call that she had felt to be a missionary. I sat there in wonder, drinking it all in, and I said to myself, “I hope God doesn’t call me!” I think that God’s call is normally something that is akin to the individual’s personal talents and personal bent. He would not ask for the impossible. And later on, at age 22, I did feel a calling that was much more to my liking, though not something that, over the 14 years that I followed that “call,” always well-received by me. Yet I was not asked to go abroad and be a missionary, something that would not, in all likelihood, have been suited for the personality that God had implanted in my being.

4 – Proselytize?

Jesus does not ask us to proselytize with A Course of Love. He does not ask us to try to convert others to our way of thinking. This is an important point to be noted, for it is concept that might easily be misconstrued. Jesus just makes the teaching available, to be shared with those who find a welcome place in their hearts. He says, similarly, in A Course in Miracles, that some may be ready for only a smile. So there is no license to devote one’s life to converting others to our way.

5 – Jesus’s Words

If another is interested in what Jesus says, though, that is another matter, and we would do well to share, letting guidance choose our words for us. Then and only then we do carry our a calling to the very best of our abilities. And we are certain not to run ahead and try to direct the course of our sharing. We speak softly and let God’s holy guidance do the remainder.

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

Thank You for the concept of a calling, but may we never make the mistake of believing in a call that is actually non-existent. So often the ego turns wily, and we think that we are to passionately “save” another, but Jesus has better ways to work. Often the one sure way to turn a person off is to try to save his/her soul in an aggressive way.

May I listen for guidance in the matter of a call. Always the call is something that would be fitted to the personality that You gave me and that I developed. It is never an appeal to the ego, and I would not have the ego mislead me today.

May I follow any legitimate call that comes into my heart and mind.

Amen.

Without Struggle or Effort

Dejeuner-canotiers - renoir“Ego desires cause one to think of a grand piano. Thoughts joined in unity hear music. Ego desires cause one to think of an elaborately framed painting. Thoughts joined in unity see beauty. You are used to thinking that if you do not have a tangible goal, such as that of music lessons or the purchase of a piano, you will never reach the goals associated with those tangible steps. Thoughts joined in unity create without goals or planning, without effort or struggle. (Treatises of A Course of Love: Treatise on the Nature of Unity and Its Recognition, 1.13)”

Affirmation: “I would hear music today.”

Reflections:

1 – Effortless Thinking

We perk up when someone, especially someone like Jesus, tells us that there is a way to live without struggle or effort. If we join our thoughts in unity, we will know that blessing of effortless thinking. But what does “joining our thoughts in unity” really mean?

2 – Unity

A Course of Love indicates that if we share our thoughts, our deepest thoughts with our Christ/Self, deep within our minds, and we share our thoughts with God, and with our brothers and sisters, then we are living in unity (an interpretation of ACOL). We are also living in relationship. In unity, the One is emphasized; in relationships, the differentiated mass of One is emphasized. The One and the differentiated mass are both of God, and there is truly no difference between them. There is just a difference in the way we are thinking and talking of them.

3 – Christ-Consciousness

May we hear music today. May we not struggle to pay for the piano, or to take music lessons, but let us rest in the assurance that all will come to us when we are ready. And that especially includes Christ-consciousness.

4 – Planning

We are not instructed to form comprehensive goals or to plan rigidly for the future. We do not, according to A Course in Miracles, need to plan at all, unless we are instructed, at the time, by the Holy Spirit. ACOL goes a step farther, for this work tries to tell us that the impetus to know what to do comes from the inner Self/Christ. We just know. And we are the better for it.

5 – Just “Knowing”

Just “knowing” is tricky at first. How do we just know? Largely this comes from feelings, or intuition. We do not judge what to do, because we are incapable of seeing the whole picture (from the Manual of A Course in Miracles). We cannot know all factors that impinge upon past events, circumstances, or goals; we cannot see all facets of the present; and we certainly cannot discern the future without help from God. We need to realize that the way of God is, in fact, easily distinguishable once we become attuned to listening to intuition. Of course, there are other ways that guidance comes to us, and I have an article in this blog entitled, “The Gift of Guidance,” which may shed some light on the question. (Search the blog under gift and guidance and hales.)

6 – Picture Frames

If we choose to give up elaborately weaving picture frames, we will know more. This image, by the way, is a direct correlation with one from A Course in Miracles. We need to realize that a picture, lightly framed and in light, will show the best image (from the Text of ACIM). This we can look at in certain fashion. And for this we do not need elaborate goal-setting and planning.

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

I would see the picture today, not the picture frame. And I would hang all the pictures of my life in slender frames, framed in light. I would turn aside from jewel-encrusted, massive picture frames that obscure the real point–the picture itself. Thank You for this lovely image from A Course in Miracles.

May I walk through life in a relaxed, happy fashion. This is within my power, when You are with me, and I listen to You as You guide me. I would be finished with fear. As soon as fear crops up, let me turn it over to You and be done with it. The day is worth rejoicing. Thank You.

Amen.

Peaceful Resting Place

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“You may well be feeling a sense of relief in having learned that who you are right now is a being of perfection, and you may find in this a somewhat peaceful resting place to dwell in for a time. (Treatises of A Course of Love: Treatise on the Nature of Unity and Its Recognition, 1.4)”

Affirmation: “I would rest in peace today.”

Reflections:

1 – Reassuring

Jesus is very, very reassuring to us who are reading this Treatise today. He says that we, regardless of our mistakes and regardless of how much we still would like to right about ourselves, are in actuality “beings of perfection.” This phrase refers to the Self/Christ who is within, a truth that he makes clear in other places in A Course of Love trilogy. Our personal (or “little”) selves partake of the ego, and know not of perfection, but their time is limited. The personal self will be lifted up into Christ-consciousness, and we will then make choices about which personality traits we want to retain. If, for example, we want to be free of anger, we will simply resolve so to be, and this will come to pass.

2 – Choose How to Be

The last assertion above may sound farfetched, but Jesus makes this point clearly elsewhere in ACOL. We choose how we want to be, and the lesser parts of ourselves just drop away. We are perfect at our deepest, inward state. We drop off the chaff that clings to our outer selves when we move into Christ-consciousness. We may drop off the chaff gradually, or there may be a sudden transformation, with a great sudden lessening of suffering. Either way, we will move into a better world.

3 – Too Long Fear-Ridden

We need this “somewhat peaceful resting place.” We have lived too long in a fear-ridden world, believing ourselves to be inferior beings before God. We have thought too little of ourselves. We are, even as our personal selves, children of God. And He loves us in all of personal imperfections. The inner core is still as He created us, perfect before Himself. And it is this truth that Jesus wishes us to dwell upon, in peace, today.

4 – Beings of Perfection

We have not had a sense of relief about ourselves. We have both thought too highly of ourselves (as the ego thinks), and too little (as the Christ/Self thinks). We have felt ourselves to be lesser beings, and here Jesus is telling us that we are beings of perfection. Quite a difference! And if the ego is still viable in us, the ego will, temporarily, have a field day. But we will be dashed downward, for the ego takes away as soon as it gives.

5 – Respite

Let us enjoy this respite. We have not come as far as we think. Jesus will guide us by the hand to a better and a new life.

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

I thank You for this peaceful resting place, before we go on farther along the pathway. I am not perfect, and it is reassuring to know that I don’t have to be. I can make up my mind to change the personality traits that I don’t like, and in a miraculous way those traits will be changed.

Thank You for the blessings of this day, and there are many. Thank You for holding my hand when the going has been tough, and I ask that the going be smooth now. I depend on Your presence for my better feelings.

Amen.

Material Treasures Are of the Ego

170px-Girl_with_a_HoopAs this treatise is not concerned with material treasure, we will not explore the dimensions of physical treasure except to say that the feelings that cause one to think that any physical thing is capable of being a treasure or being treasured are of the ego. We will instead assume that you have moved beyond these ego concerns and explore the realm of internal treasures. (Treatises of A Course of Love: Treatise on the Nature of Unity and Its Recognition, 1.3)”

Affirmation: “I choose only internal treasures today.”

Reflections:

1 – Law of Attraction

This passage takes a stand diametrically opposed to the emphasis that is sometimes placed on attracting physical treasures by the Law of Attraction. Certainly we do know, from observation, that physical treasures may be attracted, but does our pleasure in them remain for very long? We drop them, as a child drops a favorite toy, and go on to the next material boon. And we remain dissatisfied at our core, even though momentarily we have received the best of a thing that we thought we wanted.

2 – Internal Treasures

Internal treasures do not fade in their blessing to us. We do not become dissatisfied over time when we hold the internal deeply within ourselves. The internal does not turn to ashes and dust in our hands because we have neglected the intangible treasures of God–the peace, harmony, joy, serenity, ecstasy that is ours when we have sought our treasures in heaven. The New Testament makes this same point in telling us not to lay up for ourselves that which does corrupt, but to lay up treasures in heaven.

3 – Attracting the Material

It is clear to me that the Law of Attraction can attract material things of this world. And God wants our material needs to be satisfied. But He wants more beyond this for us, His beloved children. He wants us to be satisfied in our souls, and material blessings, however good, cannot, ultimately, satisfy the soul. Some individuals in our world who have the least material blessings do indeed have rich intangible treasures that give them a joy that is unknown to most of us. Those who minister to the sick and dying know a serenity that can give great joy in the midst of sorrow, for they know that they are fulfilling a need for their brothers and sisters.

4 – Material Reward

There simply is no correlation between happiness and material reward. Certainly material want can bring much pain, but not all with little material blessings endure the pain that more affluent people do. The dark night of the soul is not limited to the materially bereft.

5 – Our Birthright

The internal treasures that Jesus assures us are our by birthright will give us a life beyond our wildest dreams. We will know joy. We will know peace. We will know even ecstasy. And we will know that we have heaven here on earth and we are at home.

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

I would bless those of my brothers and sisters who still seek for their treasure in the material, but I would be interested in having my loved ones recognize that there are greater joys in the intangible. May all of us satisfy our physical needs, but may we realize that internal and lasting happiness cannot be acquired by accumulating material blessings.

May we use the Law of Attraction wisely. We do have physical needs, and may these be satisfied. But may we also use this Law to attract the intangible. What we think about the most may appear. And may that thought be good.

Amen.

Slight Twinge of Annoyance / Intense Fury

monet - water and boats“You will become increasingly aware that a slight twinge of annoyance is nothing but a veil drawn over intense fury. (W-21)”

Affirmation: “May I be angry with no one today.”

Reflections:

1 – Nighttime Dreams

This assertion, one of the more well-known from A Course in Miracles, does not seem credible on first reading. But actually our egoic minds delude us. We may dream at night far more hostilely than we think in the daytime. And so nighttime dreams of anger can clue us to the fact that we can be intensely furious when we think that we are mildly upset.

2 – No Gradations in Emotions

Why would this passage be true? Jesus does not give credence to gradations in emotions. In some ways, he thinks in black and white. And we may be used to this from his reactions in the New Testament. So what he says here has a certain ring of authenticity.

3 – Why?

Why would we really be furious when we think that we are only mildly annoyed? The ego wants it all for itself. The ego doesn’t really think in gradations, but it knows that we won’t accept extreme anger for ourselves, and so, in its wily way, the ego softens its attitudes. If this makes the ego sound independent, it does indeed function in this way quite often. But it is merely a part of our belief about ourselves, and we can choose to let it wither away. Indeed, we must choose this.

4 – Fury

How do we “lose it”? Do we lose it often? This shows that Jesus’s statement is indeed true. When we are tired, we are likely to express more fury than at any other time. Or if something else has already upset us (something that is never the “real thing” that is upsetting–an ACIM tenet). We can recognize, when we contemplate, that intense fury is actually veiled when we get upset. And we are the worst for it.

5 – Love

May all of us turn to the love within, the love that will eliminate these bouts of fury.

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

I learned in my maturity that I never get angry unless I am stressed. Many others are surely like this as well. But isn’t stress with me, still? And don’t I try to veil the anger that sometimes visits at inopportune times? I would be finished with this expression of the ego. No more.

May I invite the serenity that displaces the ego and put Your love in the center of my life. Then and only then will I no longer feel or show extravagant displays of negative emotion. Be with me as I seek to leave all this foolishness behind. I would not do this to myself, as I would not do it to my closest companions.

Amen.

No Idle Thoughts

1873 Dance School - degas
“There is no more self-contradictory concept than that of ‘idle thoughts.’ What gives rise to the perception of a whole world can hardly be called idle. Every thought you have contributes to truth or to illusion; either it extends the truth or it multiplies illusions. You can indeed multiply nothing, but you will not extend it by doing so. (W-16)”

Affirmation: “May I stop my mind wandering today.”

Reflections:

1 – Mind Wandering

I have been guilty of mind wandering, and this mind wandering does form illusions that, on some level, have a form of their own. These are idle thoughts that are actually not “idle” at all. We need to stop such displays whenever they occur. Just saying “Stop!” can do more than might be thought.

2 – Essence of Salvation

Jesus would not have us destroy our good mind with images of illusions. We live in a dream, at least until the real world is seen, but to us this world is quite real already. How can we navigate through this world best? We need to ask for guidance. We cannot do it alone, nor should we. The best advice that Jesus gives is included in the Manual, when he recommends giving up judgment to follow the guidance that comes to us. This alone will save us. It is the essence of salvation.

3 – Misuse of Time

Perhaps we all might recognize that mind wandering and “idle” thoughts are a misuse of our good time. We need to live well in this world, and we usually only succeed in scaring ourselves when we indulge in such fantasies. May we drop this foolishness from our repertoire of emotions today.

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

Thank You for guiding me to the understanding that following Your guidance is the only way to live a life well. And I do try, though often I fall on my face. Help me to pick myself up and try again. Always to try again.

May I understand and act on the guidance that comes to me as it unfolds. May I never substitute ego-oriented thoughts, emotion-drive thoughts, instead of what is really best for myself as well as everyone I touch. May egoic thought die in me. Thank You for having the patience to show me the way when I am capricious and headstrong. Such attitudes have no place in my communion with You. I know this, and I pray to act upon this knowledge today and every day.

Amen.

Little Edges of Light / Great Rays

edgar-degas-art44519“You will begin to understand it [image making or seeing] when you have seen little edges of light around the same familiar objects which you see now. That is the beginning of real vision. You can be certain that real vision will come quickly when this has occurred.

“As we go along, you may have many ‘light episodes.’ They may take many different forms, some of them quite unexpected. Do not be afraid of them. They are signs that you are opening your eyes at last. They will not persist, because they merely symbolize true perception, and they are not related to knowledge. (W-15)

Affirmation: “Thank You for the moments when I saw little edges of light.”

Reflections:

1 – Intriguing Passage

A previous posting on this subject has been revisited many times. But what do the “little edges of light,” the light episodes, really mean?

2 – Personal Experience

We are in a heightened emotional state when we see these lights around familiar objects. In my case, when I saw them, colors also seemed brighter than usual. I was amazed by what my eyes were showing me. In a famous garden, the experience has remained with me most of my adult life. A Course in Miracles had not yet been published, and I had no guidance.

3 – One-Time Experience

It is true that this experience came, for me, only once and did not persist. Because seeing the edges of light seemed so significant to me at the time, when I discovered ACIM more than ten years later, I was enthralled to find my experience detailed therein.

4 – Great Rays

I also once felt the Great Rays, but this was when I was reading A Course in Miracles for the first time. I was walking outside in my parents’ back yard, and suddenly the bright sun seemed to be pouring down rays upon me. I was frightened and returned to the house, and called a friend whom I knew to be religious and thought would be sympathetic. Because he had not read ACIM, he had no ready explanation. But by that time I did, for I was, as I said, reading ACIM at the time.

5 – Perceptual Experiences

These episodes did not last, and they do not have to be clung to for reasons of faith. They are perceptual, and Jesus says that perception does not last. Even miracles do not last, for they too are perceptual. And perhaps these two episodes in my life were examples of miracles. I have thought so.

6 – True Vision

Do not be frightened if something similar happens to you. And also don’t be hung up on “understanding” what has transpired. Jesus has told us all that we need to know in today’s passage. These light episodes are the sign that we are coming to true vision.

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

Thank You for the explanations that Jesus gives us for light experiences. These intriguing passages from A Course in Miracles are obviously something that we want to understand. But maybe on earth we can’t understand completely. There is a mystery there. Thank You for that mystery.

I thank You for these experiences in my own life. May others also have similar experiences that will bring them closer to You.

Amen.

Indescribably Happy

pennsylvania-impressionist-impressionism-painting-by-kenneth-nunamaker-over-looking-the-delaware-from-center-bridge-1928-original-size-22-x-24“If you could accept the world as meaningless and let the truth be written upon it for you, it would make you indescribably happy. But because it is meaningless, you are impelled to write upon it what you would have it be. It is this you see in it. It is this that is meaningless in truth. (W-12)”

Affirmation: “I would be indescribably happy today.”

Reflections:

1 – Preconceptions

How do we let go of our preconceptions about this world? We have written our own meaning upon it. That is all. We need to accept that the world itself is meaningless, and then let the truth be written upon it for us.

2 – Passive

This attitude is essentially passive. But we do contemplate, read, study, and pray. And in these actions we come to understand more fully what this world really means. We do not add our own meaning to it; we accept what comes to us in such moments of reflection, essentially waiting for God to speak to us.

3 – God

And He will. We all too often think that God is remote from us, but instead He is the deepest part of our being. When we turn within, we will find Him. And we will also find the answers to our questions.

4 – Solution Is with the Problem

Remember that the solution to the problem is always with the problem–at the very moment. And frequently we get an answer immediately. Unfortunately, when our emotions are turbulent, we cannot always hear the answers. We don’t get the solution, and so we need to calm down, relax, commune with our deepest nature, and then take the steps that come to us, intuitively.

5 – Problems

When we contemplate in the most serene way, our answers come to what is troubling us. And if the answers don’t come, perhaps this is a problem that God is holding out to us as a learning exercise. Ask, instead, what this problem is meant to teach us? And the answer will dawn, sooner rather than later.

6 – The World

We do not stay with the idea that the world is meaningless, for to believe this would be demoralizing. We let God write its meaning upon our hearts, and then we are at peace.

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

The solution is with the problem. Thank You for that knowledge–a great blessing! When problems come up, if I remember to listen to guidance, the answer does come. Invariably. But my emotions must be calm for the guidance to come through. Help my emotions to be calm today.

I would be indescribably happy today. There is no better way to follow You, and no better way to live in this world. Happiness is a worthy goal, for we are of much better use to others when we are happy. And happiness is a witness to what salvation offers. May I never forget this.

Be with me today as I seek to pray for others whom I know are in crisis. Praying to You works, a very practical technique for healing.

May this day, as all days, be good.

Amen.

Glass in which the Ego Sees its Face Is Dark Indeed

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“If you cannot hear the Voice for God, it is because you do not choose to listen. That you do listen to the voice of your ego is demonstrated by your attitudes, your feelings and your behavior. Yet this is what you want. This is what you are fighting to keep, and what you are vigilant to save. Your mind is filled with schemes to save the face of your ego, and you do not seek the face of Christ. The glass in which the ego seeks to see its face is dark indeed. (T-4.IV.1)”

Affirmation: “I would hear the Voice for God today.”

Reflections:

1 – Holy Spirit

A Course in Miracles is written for the time of the Holy Spirit, the Voice for God, the Universal Inspiration. A Course of Love is written for the time of the second coming of Christ, though in this trilogy no predictions are ever made about a physical second coming of Jesus. Now that we are taking a look, again, at part of ACIM, we need to realize that there is great importance in listening for the Voice. Do we actually hear anything? Probably not. If we did hear something, we probably would fear for our sanity.

2 – Guidance

But the guidance of the Holy Spirit comes in promptings, feelings, intuition. The guidance comes in a chance word overheard from friends or even strangers. The guidance from a word written in a book that we are reading. And there are innumerable other ways that the Holy Spirit speaks. (“The Gift of Guidance,” available in this blog as a lengthy article, identifies ten common ways that the Holy Spirit speaks to us. Click on “Articles and Book Reviews” in the bar at the top of the screen.)

3 – The Voice

At this point in reading ACIM we are still listening to our ego. We don’t know anything else to do. The idea that there is a Voice that can accurately tell us what next to do is foreign to us. It means relinquishing our own judgment, and we find this difficult, because the world has focused on educating our judgment to try to make sound decisions in this world. ACIM takes the opposite tack.

4 – No Harm

It is important to know that guidance, the Voice, the Holy Spirit, will never counsel us to say or do anything that is harmful to ourselves or to others. So we need to test our this guidance until the guidance becomes a reliable guide for us. The ego is wily, and we can sometimes interpret the voice of the ego for the Voice of the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit is quiet; the ego is raucous. The Holy Spirit is gentle; the ego is insistent. We will not be forced in any way by the Holy Spirit. It is always our decision to follow Him.

5 – Pathway

And the decision to follow becomes easier as we see how much more smoothly our pathway becomes.

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

May I listen to guidance today. I say this to You a lot, and I do mean it. I find that my life flows much more smoothly with the helps that You give me. Thank You.

May my brothers and sisters have a good day today. And may I as well. The day is starting off brightly, and I have hope. Thank You for that hope.

Amen.

False Persona

pennsylvania impressionists - river road
“I can be entrusted with your body and your ego only because this enables you not to be concerned with them, and lets me teach you their unimportance. I could not understand their importance to you if I had not once been tempted to believe in them myself. Let us undertake to learn this lesson together so we can be free of them together. I need devoted teachers who share my aim of healing the mind. (T-4.I.13)”

Affirmation: “I would seek to heal the mind today.”

Reflections:

1 – Undo the Ego

A Course in Miracles seeks to undo the ego, undo that part of ourselves that is a false persona. The body is normally a big part of the ego’s system of thought, for the body is the ego’s home. We need to recognize early on that Jesus can take over both ego and body, and in so doing, we will save ourselves much conflict. We will not be concerned anymore with that which is actually unimportant.

2 – The Body

It is important to note that the body is deemphasized in A Course in Miracles more so than in A Course of Love. By the time we have read, several times usually, A Course of Love, we have relinquished the ego. But we have seen from our reading that in the awakened state of mind, our physical bodies are still with us. We occupy the “elevated Self of form,” but we do not emphasize the body anymore as an ego device. We simply use the body, as it was intended, as a communication device (from ACIM). When we have relinquished the ego, we naturally do not place undue, egotistical pleasures on the body. The body cannot sustain such thoughts. We will always be dissatisfied after a moment of supposed glory in our own beauty or handsomeness. We will like our clothes, and then we will be dissatisfied. Living in the ego is a matter of living in conflict.

3 – Devoted Teachers

We are being encouraged to become devoted teachers, and there is a whole book, the Manual for Teachers of ACIM, that is designed to give us guidance. Only time separates student and teacher, and often the roles are reversed. All of us teach all the time, and we are teaching what we are (from the Manual). We are trying to teach salvation, mostly by example, but also by words. We will not be effective either as students or teachers if we cling to the ego and the body as its home.

4 – Holy Spirit

We need to get beyond ego and body. A Course in Miracles, when studied, will tell us how. Whether or not we take its advice to heart is a matter of motivation only. We will learn what we consider important. And The Holy Spirit, as described in ACIM, will guide us along the way. We will not be left to our own devices.

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

I would move beyond the ego today and every day. There is no need for a false persona, and with Your help, my Self will assert and all will be well with me. I pray for this new direction today.

May I replace the ego with the Self. May I leave the personal or “little” self behind. I would choose enlightenment if it were up to me to decide. But You make that decision. Guide me to follow the pathway to Your choice for me of Awakening.

Amen.

Your Worth Is Not Established by Teaching or Learning

degas - ballet“Your worth is not established by teaching or learning. Your worth is established by God. As long as you dispute this everything you do will be fearful, particularly any situation that lends itself to the belief in superiority and inferiority. Teachers must be patient and repeat their lessons until they are learned. I am willing to do this, because I have no right to set your learning limits for you. Again,–nothing you do or think or wish or make is necessary to establish your worth. (T-4.1.7)”.

Affirmation: “My worth is sure, established by God.”

Reflections:

1 – Conditional Love

Children who have been subjected to conditional love, and that includes most people (young and old), are not likely to grow up to have a sense of worth that is recognized as separate from achievement. Only children and first born children are especially susceptible to the false idea that they must “do” to establish their worth. Indeed, many feel that they will not be loved if they do not measure up to the ideal that their parents have inculcated in them. If good grades are encouraged, a child may feel that he/she will not be loved unless those good grades are brought home. And there are many variations on this theme of unworthiness, or of worth that has to be proved by deeds.

2 – Do / Think / Wish / Make

What a welcome change the passage for today can make in the minds of those who first come to A Course in Miracles, and especially for those who read the Text first. (Note: There is not prescribed order in reading the three volumes of ACIM.) “Nothing you do or think or wish or make is necessary to establish your worth.” Jesus uses four verbs in this sense, as though he wishes to cover all the territory of our false thinking about worth.

3 – Fear

Farther on, Jesus indicates that if we cling to trying to measure up to be worthy of God, everything that we do will be fearful. And fear is of the ego. Here he is beginning to set down the limits of what the ego can do for us. And the limits are enormous; in fact, innumerable. The ego has led us down a false path, and we will be the better for it only if we learn how to turn aside from the ego. The ego is here defined as a part of our belief about ourselves (from the Text), but it is the coalition of false values. The ego is constantly being undone, because we cannot have both Awakening (toward which we are headed) and listen to the ego. The ego will always mislead.

4 – Emphasis

Jesus repeats these words about worth to emphasize, I think, their importance to the undoing of our thought system. To my way of thinking, this particular passage is one of the more important in all of ACIM, because it goes to the heart of our self-image. We are children of God, and we are already worthy because of that status.

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

Thank You so much for this lovely, lovely passage. It is one of the most helpful, for me, in all of A Course in Miracles. I learned that I don’t have to achieve to be loved. I learned that You accept me just as I am, Your child. Thank You for the knowledge of this great blessing.

May I fret no more about conditional love. That is all in the past, and the conditional love was from individuals who only meant well, wanting me to live up to my potential. May I forgive completely and totally.

Be with my brothers and sisters who are struggle under conditional love. You love all of us, completely unconditionally. We don’t have to “measure up.” We are alright. You are transforming the mistakes into the pathway that You would have us walk.

Thank You.

Amen.

Miracles

cezanne - jas de bouffan - pool
“Ask me which miracles you should perform. This spares you needless effort, because you will be acting under direct communication. The impersonal nature of the miracles is an essential ingredient, because it enables me to direct its application, and under my guidance miracles lead to the highly personal experience of revelation. A guide does not control but he does direct, leaving it up to you to follow. (T-1.III.4)”

Affirmation: “I will ask what miracles to perform today.”

Reflections:

1 – Selecting Miracles to Perform

This passage for today is a return to A Course in Miracles, and we will focus on ACIM for the next several days. In this early passage in the Text, Jesus is asserting his authority as our guide. He tells us that we ought simply to ask (internally) what miracles we ought to perform, and we will be told. Elsewhere we are told that consciously selected miracles are apt to be misguided, and so it is necessary to follow his guidance. Then, we are also told, we will be led into experiences of revelation.

2 – Revelation

Others will not understand our experiences of revelation, should we try to describe these experiences. They are very personal to us, in the same way that dream symbols are frequently unique to ourselves (at least according to Jung). But this is not solely an illusion, as dreams as seen to be in ACIM. The miracle still is of perception, and thus of the personal self, and because it is of perception, the miracle will not last (an ACIM tenet).

3 – Perception vs. Knowledge

But revelation is never defined as being of perception, though whether or not it is might be open to question (an interpretation, not stated in ACIM). Revelation reveals the end to us, the end that I believe A Course of Love spells out. We are heading beyond the personal or “little” self (ruled by the ego), and toward the Self/Christ, within, who will guide us once we are awakened (living in Christ-consciousness). Revelation, being intensely personal, could not be described adequately, even if we tried. Visions or hallucinations may be seen as miracles, and they too do not last, for they are perceptual.

4 – Unrecognized Miracles

Most miracles will, at first, not be recognized as such (an interpretation, not stated in ACIM). Others may benefit from miracles that we do about which we have been totally unaware. We will just sense that there is a right action that we ought to take, we will take it, and others will benefit. We ourselves will benefit as well. And, later on, we will look back and proclaim, “That was a miracle!”

5 – Salvation

The way of salvation is indeed miraculous.

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

I ask You and Jesus what miracles to perform today. May I follow guidance always, never trying to do my personal will alone–for this would be misguided all too often. I would love the ones whom I see, with whom I make contact.

Thank You for this interlude of peace. May the peace extend to other times, other places. I am aware of feeling intensely grateful for my many blessings. You have been extraordinarily gentle with me as I have walked through this lifetime. May my future smooth out even more. I have need for harmony and joy as I walk ahead. May these blessings come to me, as well as to others whom I encounter.

Thank You for leading me to understand more fully about miracles. I would work miracles today, those that You and Jesus indicate, and I would do so in a joyous spirit. I have the intuition that indeed this prayer will be answered, and answered today.

Amen.

Peace

“Peace, in whatever way you find it, in whatever expression it takes, no matter what words you use to describe it, is your answer to God and God’s answer to you. Peace is the inheritance I left you. Peace of body, mind and heart. Peace is the realm of miracles, the condition of the wholehearted, the prerequisite to the art of thought, the description of heaven, the abode of Christ. Peace has come to you and you to Peace. (Treatises of A Course of Love: Treatise on the Art of Thought, 10.14)”

Affirmation: “Peace today.”

Reflections:

1 – Rest

Jesus leaves us in a Treatise on the Art of Thought with a lovely expression of what peace really means. We need to read through the passage again and yet again, and then rest in the peace that the very words instill in us.

2 – Silence

There is little to say. Let us contemplate these beautiful words, and with these words in our minds, let us just be silent.

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

Thank You for the Treatise on the Art of Thought. I do believe that Jesus channeled the A Course of Love, and I hope that I am not wrong about that. I do not want to mislead anyone. Thank You for my readership on this blog.

Be with me today as I live Your peace. And may my brothers and sisters also live in peace.

Amen.

Peak Experiences

“Let us separate experiences you might call peak experiences from experiences of extremes that served as learning devices. Peak experiences often follow occasions of happiness or trauma, but they do not happen within them. Peak experiences are what you can look forward to rather than back upon if you but choose the Peace of God. (Treatises of A Course of Love: Treatise on the Art of Thought, 10.11)”

Affirmation: “I look forward to peak experiences.”

Reflections:

1 – Better Future Ahead

We can look forward to peak experiences because A Course of Love makes many promises that presage a better future for us, better experiences ahead. We ought to consider well the assertion in this passage for today that peak experiences follow occasions of happiness or trauma, but they do not happen within them. So perhaps we are bringing something of our contemplation of the event that prompted the peak experience that follows the event. We experience the emotion, and then we, in our minds, carry the emotion into an assessment that constitutes a peak experience.

2 – Personal Experience

I do know that only in retrospect have I frequently called an event a peak experience. There has to be some time delay. But many of us, perhaps, have not realized that peak experiences follow the emotion. Peak experiences are a great blessing, and I have known several in my lifetime, but they were spaced out in time and relatively infrequent. I would like to recognize more as time passes, and I think that this will be possible, now that I am more attuned to the concept of peak experiences.

3 – Drop Extremes

We do need to drop the extremes that have been used as learning devices. The time for such learning devices is passing, as we read through A Course of Love. Extremes are of the ego, and we have left extremes behind, with the ego. Remnants of the ego may still prevail, of course, but by now in our study the ego has been weakened considerably. We best serve when we are perfectly calm and quiet all the time (from A Course in Miracles). Right now we may not recognize what blessings are ours when we let go of extremes, let go of drama, but we will come to know–first in glimpses, and then as a steady state of mind and heart.

4 – Mists before the Sun

We need to choose the Peace of God. When we do, in earnest, many of our problems will dissipate as mists before the sun. We have peak experiences ahead of us, because we have chosen the Peace of God. We no longer want drama, extremes of emotion, as these only take us away from that ineffable Peace. May we follow the pathway to an enlightenment, a Christ-consciousness, that will engulf us sooner rather than later. And when we leave anger and attack behind, I believe that Awakening will follow quickly. These words that I am using–enlightenment, Christ-consciousness, Awakening–all mean the same thing. May all of us walk together in the sunlight, blessed by the presence of God, Who (metaphorically) lifts us up when He knows that we are ready for the blessing of Awakening.

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

May I ask for and receive a peak experience today. I realize that part of the experience comes from my personal self, part from my Self. I would know You, and peak experiences, I believe, are one way that we better communicate. Thank You for the several experiences in my life that I have, in retrospect, called “peak.” I have also called several of these “holy instants.” And so they have been.

Thank You for the holy instant that I knew when I first realized that prayer was the answer for me, because of the witness from another that I received. May prayer answer all things, not some, but all. Communing with You is a great blessing, and feeling Your presence sets right my day.

May all whom I touch today know Your presence as well as Your saving grace. Thank You for being with me today, and I ask that You be with my brothers and sisters as well.

Amen.

Does God See Suffering?

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“This is what has been meant by the many references that have been made to God not seeing suffering. God exists with you in peace. When you feel peace, you feel the Peace of God. There is no other peace. There is no other God. Whether you believe it now or not, I assure you, within the Peace of God is all the joy of what you have known as the human experience and none of the sorrow. (Treatises of A Course of Love: Treatise on the Art of Thought, 10.8)”

Affirmation: “God is with me in peace.”

Reflections

1 – Personal Interpretation

My interpretation to the assertion that God does not see suffering is that, to Him, what He sees he reinterprets, seeing the pain not as suffering, but as a call for help. I think that he always recognizes a call for help. There is a difference of opinion among students/teachers of A Course in Miracles in whether or not God is outside the illusion in which we are immersed, and thus does not know about us. This idea would say that God has sent us out to play, as children, and He does not care what games we play, because He knows that all our the games that we play are dreams, maya, or illusions.

2 – God

I feel, based on what I have experienced, that God is right here, knowing about every part of our experience. He does not become perturbed (for that is a perception) about our trials; he just acts to give us comfort in the midst of them. I have felt such peace, in my better moments of prayer, that I have no doubt that I have touched the edge of God’s garment (a metaphor). To live without thinking that God counts the very hairs of our head would be a demoralizing way for me, personally, to live. And we are promised in the New Testament that the very hairs of our head are numbered.

3 – Part of God

Of course, A Course in Miracles and A Course of Love are non-dualistic systems of thought, and so we are recognized as a part of God. He is within all of creation, but all is One, and so this is not really a pantheistic belief, one in which there are gods in everything. The fact of the One, and the belief that the One is totally in each part, is to my mind best exemplified by a hologram. From within, we project the world without. There is nothing outside of us (from the Text of ACIM).

4 – Theology

These are mostly theological studies, and I hasten to add that Jesus fears that theology will divide us. He says in ACIM that there can never be a universal theology, but a universal experience is not only possible but necessary. Take nothing unto yourself in these ideas, the ideas not specified in ACIM and ACOL, unless they find a place in your heart.

5 – A Comfort

Let however you view God be a comfort to you.

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

Thank You for Your reassurance to me that You are right here with us. This is my personal belief, and I realize that others may view You differently. But I feel Your presence as an almost constant, and so I do not have, ever, to feel alone.

Be with me for me to turn aside from attack and anger always. I do not need to make my significant others pained by my reactions. May I live the peaceful life that leaves out stress, for I never become angry unless I am stressed.

May I live with You in harmony today. And may I make this resolution for each day in my future.

Amen.

Giving Up Nothing

Paul-Cezanne-Landscape-25122“Are you being asked to give up extremes? Yes. You are being asked to give up all that would take peace from you. But as you have been told before, you will be giving up nothing. (Treatises of A Course of Love: Treatise on the Art of Thought, 10.7)”

Affirmation: “I would choose peace today.”

Reflections:

1 – Eckhart Tolle

Eckhart Tolle in Stillness Speaks has a great deal to say about what is described in the passage for today. We are giving up drama, giving up extremes. And it is important to note that in so doing we are actually giving up nothing–nothing of any value. We are choosing God’s Peace over extremes, over drama.

2 – No Drama

Eckhart indicates that he does not have drama in his primary relationship. We can see his peace by listening to him on CD, CDs which are widely available. He has the light touch, the essence of an awakened individual. He also has a sense of humor, for he does not take himself too seriously. This too is a mark of an individual freed from the egoic mind.

3 – No Extremes

So we do want to ask ourselves very sincerely if we are ready to give up drama, to give up extremes in our daily lives. A friend of mind once doubted that being “perfectly calm and quiet all the time” (from A Course in Miracles) was the best way to be, whether or not it was the way that she wanted to be. I did not remonstrate with her, but I think that experience of calm and quiet makes the decision for us. We are happier when the extremes are gone, for then the ego is gone–and gone for good.

4 – Nothing Given Up

We are giving up nothing. We must come to understand this, or we will not be willing to give up drama or the extremes. And this understanding may come only gradually.

5 – Be Patient

Be patient. We will see that “perfectly calm and quiet” all the time is a desired state of mind and heart. We will know joy, and we will know ecstasy. These will become part of the calm and the quiet, and we will know that we are making the decisions that Jesus would ask of us.

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

Thank You for letting me know that I will be giving up nothing when I give up extremes, give up drama. May I make this choice for all time today. May I give up extremes, give up drama. And may I walk home to You.

Thank You for the books which I read that help me. Thank You for the testimony of individuals who have already walked the pathway home to You.

And may I walk the entire pathway sooner rather than later.

Amen.

Hell Exchanged for Heaven

“Is heaven worth enough to you to give up hell?  (Treatises of A Course of Love:  Treatise on the Art of Thought, 10.5)”

Affirmation:  “I would choose heaven today.”

Reflections:

1 – Meaning?

What does this passage mean?  What will we experience when we choose heaven instead of hell?

2 – No Ego

We will no longer choose anything from a egoic frame of mind.

3 – Peace

We will make our decisions when within the Peace of God.

4 – Calm and Quiet

There is a real change, but life does not become a dramatic event any longer, and we need to become certain that “perfectly calm and quiet all the time” is what we want (from A Course in Miracles) all the time.  Not all of us are ready to give up dramatics.  And giving up drama may be a gradual thing.  We realize that we are more joyous without the drama, and so we simmer down and accept a quieter existence, a quieter living.

5 – Mindfulness

Mindfulness can help us, and Jesus affirms this elsewhere in A Course of Love.  If we pay attention to the details of just what we are doing, not elaborating upon it to try to give it meaning, but simply to experience the mundane in our world, we will be experiencing mindfulness, and we will come closer to the Peace of God all the time.  This means that we are living Christ-consciousness, sometimes unawares.

6 – Heaven Here and Now

Who would choose hell when he/she sees a way to heaven?  Nobody, except someone who is masochistic.  And we do not mean a heaven that is after death, but a heaven right here, right now.

7 – We Can Choose

Surely all of us would choose heaven, if we knew that we have this opportunity.  And A Course of Love is proving to us that we can choose heaven over hell at every point.  There may be some time involved in making the transition, or the realization of all-inclusiveness of the lesson (from the Manual of A Course in Miracles) may come suddenly.  Most are giving a slowly evolving training program (also from the Manual), and then the blessing is ours.

8 – Choose Every Morning

Don’t turn aside from the blessing today.  We can choose heaven, on a daily basis.  We can make this choice every morning.  And if the day goes awry, we can always start the day over again (also from the Manual of ACIM).

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

I would choose heaven over hell today.  I would release those feelings that pain me, and walk into the sunlight with You.  I know that heaven is Your choice for me.  May I make that choice as well.

Be with me for a good day.  And may I fret over nothing.  May I never rue another day.  Thank You for guiding me to Your way.

Amen.

Joy without Sorrow

Dance Rehearsal in theStudio of the Opera

“You used your free will to choose the human experience.  Now are you willing to use it to choose the Peace of God instead?  Can you wholeheartedly choose peace?  Can you choose peace long enough to become accustomed to joy without sorrow?  (Treatises of A Course of Love:  Treatise on the Art of Thought, 10.5)”

Affirmation:  “I would choose peace today.”

Reflections:

1 – Relax

This passage identifies a shortcut to Christ-consciousness, and it is an easy route, without effort, for we just relax into the peace that God wishes for us.  We no longer seek drama, and if we inadvertently do make drama in our lives, we turn aside from this drama as soon as we recognize the mistake we have made in letting peace fall by the wayside.  We would know joy without sorrow, and to do so we must let go of the ego.  We must turn aside from the ego, not in resisting it, but in simply making that simple turn away.

2 – Peace of God

How much we do we want joy without sorrow?  Probably very much, and it is only our ignorance about where to begin that causes us any problems.   We need to use our free will to choose the Peace of God.  Free will is never taken from us by God, but we use free will to turn back to Him.  And then we know His Peace.  We know joy without sorrow.  And, we are farther along toward Awakening/Christ-consciousness.

3 – Simple Guidelines

The Treatise on the Art of Thought gives us simple guidelines for making progress toward Christ-consciousness.  Indeed, all of the three volumes of A Course of Love do the same.  We read them with an abstract mind, for to read them with an intense mind will not work.  We absorb the meaning, not through intense study, but through observation of “what is.”  And thus we come to understand what is required of us.

4 – Key

We hold the key.  And we make great strides when we simply choose to have the Peace of God in our minds, hearts, and spirits.

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

Following You, I will have joy without sorrow.  What a glorious promise!  Thank You.  You do want me to be happy, and happiness is not an inferior goal.  I can contribute best to this world when I am in a joyous frame of mind.  If my religion doesn’t give me cause for joy, why would anybody else want to listen to what I say or do what I do?

Once again, I turn aside from the ego.  There is no other way.  I won’t try to resist the ego, which will just make it stronger.  What one resists, persists.  I would just gently turn aside, turning away from the ego and in the direction of You.

May I drop fear and anxiety from my repertoire of emotions.  If I continue as I did when younger, then these long-held emotions will stay with me.  But I want a break with the past, a break that will put harmony and peace on the throne and dislodge fear and anxiety.

With Your help. I can and will feel harmony, peace, joy–all the intangibles that You hold in such abundance.

Amen.

Masculine and Feminine

renoir - man and woman“As the ego has become threatened and allowed the coming of guidance, males and females both have begun to work with the parts of themselves over which the ego has the least control.  For males this has most often meant a turning away from the intellectual realm, which was ruled by the ego, to the realm of feelings.  For females this has most often meant a turning away from the feeling realm where their egos held most sway, toward the intellectual.  (Treatises of A Course of Love:  Treatise on the Art of Thought, 9.12)”

Affirmation:  “I would listen to guidance today, to speed Christ-consciousness.”

Reflections:

1 – Men vs. Women

An instructive passage, this one makes a distinction between how men vs. women will approach the coming of salvation and Christ-consciousness.  And, of course, some men and some women are already blended between the intellectual and the feeling.  Men may turn more toward the feeling side of their natures, and women may turn more to the intellectual.  But there are no hard-and-fast rules.

2 – Where Does the Ego Rule?

We need to think about what parts of ourselves are held less by the ego.  Where does the ego still rule, more often than not?  If it is in the mind (the intellectual), we need to turn to the heart (feelings).  If it is in the heart (feelings), perhaps (in an interpretation), we do not have to turn aside totally from the heart–because ACOL has led us to the heart–but we need to think more of the mind (the intellectual).  In my opinion, this second option is far less common, for our minds has generally always held sway.  Jesus seems to say this in the first volume of A Course of Love, when he asks us to turn to the heart rather than to the mind.  And, as we know, he ultimately counsels a blending of heart and mind to what he terms “wholeheartedness.”  This blending is what we are ultimately seeking.

3 – Ego Undone

But in the meantime, we take the easy route.  We choose to turn to that side over which the ego has held less influence.  And then we expand throughout our minds and hearts, so that the ego is totally undone.

4 – Easy?

Is it easy to undo the ego?  It is not easy, but it becomes easier as we progress.  We realize that in the nature of things, the ego is constantly being undone.  No egoic joy is not paid for by tears of pain.  And we recognize that we don’t want to live like this.  Ever again.

5 – Jesus

So we do as Jesus encourages.  We add our own feeble efforts to God’s stronger efforts to undo the ego.  We encourage every glimpse of the Self that we experience.

6 – Walk Smoothly

And then we are walking, smoothly and effortlessly, along the path to greater freedom, let loose from the ego’s stranglehold.

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

May I have a good day today.  When stress comes, may I know how to turn aside from all agitation.

Be with me as I consider my balance of the masculine and the feminine.  And may I let the ego go.

Amen.

Christ-Consciousness

monet - iris4

“As I awaited my death, I was given the gift of knowing what would come to be through my resurrection.  This I tried to pass on in the simplest of terms.  I tried to make it known that while I would die and resurrect into a new form, you would also, that this new form would exist within you, that you would become the Body of Christ and giving and receiving would be complete.  (Treatises of A Course of Love:  Treatise on the Art of Thought, 9.9)”

Affirmation:  “I would resurrect in a new form, the elevated Self of form.”

Reflections:

1 – A Glorious Promise

In this passage, Jesus is saying to us that nothing that he experienced is closed to us.  We do not have to die in a crucifixion, but his resurrection is our own as well.  We too will resurrect, and sooner rather than later.  The time is upon us now.  What a glorious promise this is!

2 – Perfection?

We do not have to perfect ourselves for this blessing to befall us.  Jesus, according to A Course in Miracles, will correct all mistakes that we cannot correct.  And, in A Course of Love, he tells us that if we decide that we don’t want anger anymore, it will just fall from us.  We will make the changes in our personality that we want to make.  And nowhere does he say in ACOL that we have to be perfect to “merit” Christ-consciousness.  Even the Dalai Lama admits to getting angry sometimes.

3 – Body of Christ

What does it mean to become the Body of Christ?  I think that this characterization means that we are to be one with Christ, including but not limited to the man Jesus.  Giving and receiving will be one.  As we give to others, we receive.  And when we give the gift of love, we are giving of our fullness.

4 – Eckhart Tolle

Eckhart Tolle notes that his correspondence is replete with accounts of the coming of Awakening to people in many parts of the world.  He sees himself as at an epicenter, in that he has described his Awakening in several books, and people naturally write to him when they experience something similar.  The time seems ripe now for more and more of us to experience Awakening.  This is not only in line with what Eckhart says, but also indicated by Jesus in A Course of Love.  ACIM dislodged the ego, but we need to replace it with something, and that something is the Self/Christ.  The ego-oriented personal self is dying away in many, many of us.  But we need to do our part to eliminate egoic and egotistical thinking from disturbing our minds and hearts.  We need to realize that all of us are equal in the eyes of God, and this is not a new concept.  But, perhaps, it is a concept that only now we are fully ready to accept.

5 – Small Strides Daily

So let us become the Body of Christ, making small strides each day.  When glimpses of Awakening come to us, let us retain the feeling and prolong the experience.  Eventually the glimpses will smooth into a continuity that will assure us that we are well on the way to an ultimate transition to Christ-consciousness.  Some of us see this suddenly, but most are giving a gradual learning process (from the Manual of ACIM).

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

I would walk slowly, as You lead, to a greater future than I have yet known.  May I live the kind of life that You wish for me.  May I love and serve You.  May I find joy in the companionship of my brothers and sisters.  And may I know salvation in its fullness.

Thank You for the steps toward Awakening that Jesus has outlined in ACIM and ACOL.  I may not be ready, but You have given me glimpses, and for this I thank You.  May I do nothing to dishonor You.  May my days be well-filled, doing the deeds that You would have me do.  May I make the choices that You would recommend.  And may I share what You teach me as best I can.

Thank You for showing me Yourself by means of the felt sense of Your presence that comes over me.  I would walk in Your way, living by Your rules, and I would have no anxiety for the morrow.

Amen.

Our Internal Self

Cezanne----Fruit-And-Jug-On-A-Table---0“Yet you have not remembered that the first union is of mind and heart.  The first union is union with the Self.  This union with the Self is resurrection or rebirth.  All are capable of this life-giving union.  All are capable of birthing the Self.  (Treatises of A Course of Love:  Treatise on the Art of Thought, 9.7)”

Affirmation:  “I will seek to birth the Self today.”

Reflections:

1 – Enlightening Passage

This is an enlightening passage.  We first unite within ourselves, the mind and the heart into wholeheartedness, and then we move to the union with the Self within.  And this is resurrection or rebirth.  The words are clear, the meaning clear.  We do not have to do anything special by way of meritorious deeds.  We can all birth the Self.

2 – Christ-Consciousness

We can all birth the Self!  But will we recognize this when we have done so?  I think that the knowledge that we are birthing the Self comes upon us gradually, in snatches, even as birthing the Self is seen in snatches (an interpretation, not stated in A Course of Love).  I do know that Christ-consciousness, or Awakening, is most often seen in snatches, in glimpses.  And the birth of the Self, the rebirth of our entity from just the personal or “little” self is akin to Christ-consciousness or Awakening.  And Jesus says further on in the trilogy of A Course of Love that nobody has yet sustained the elevated Self of form.  But we are on the cusp of a reformation.  We are on the cusp of more and more individuals birthing the Self/Christ.

3 – What Can We Do to Birth the Self?

Is there anything that we can do to hurry the process?  Yes and no, and these ideas are interpretations, not stated in A Course in Miracles or ACOL.  We can commune with God on an almost constant basis, though constancy is not demanded of us, and may be beyond us.  We can study ACIM, but we can read ACOL as though we were reading a story.  (There are distinct differences in the way that the two trilogies are best read.)  And we can look to answering the needs of our brothers and sisters, in relationship to them, holy relationship to them.  ACIM indicates that our way home is through relationship to our brother.  ACOL indicates that our way home is through unity and relationship, adding the fact of unity or union.

4 – Union

The fact of union is perhaps an elusive concept.  But we join; we do not separate ourselves in any way from the universe or from God or from others.  We will be less inclined to go it alone when we have had our heart warmed by God’s love.  This time of tenderness is well-described in ACOL.  We may cry easily.  Certainly we will cry when listening to a poignant story of others’ plights.  This is what the time of tenderness does for us.  It readies us for the birth of Christ-consciousness (an interpretation, not stated in ACOL).

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

I would seek to begin today to let go of stress and to engage calm, for only in a peaceful mind and heart can the Self the birthed.  We cannot run around helter-skelter and expect to know peace.  Help me to talk to myself, to talk myself down, when I have let the world intrude on my inner being.  I would follow You, and You do not welcome an agitated mind.

Be with me as I walk through today and all the days to come.  Thank You for Your felt presence.  This feeling of Your being there for me is an enormously comforting and calming state.  

Thank You.

Amen.

Elevated Self of Form

sainte-victoire-lauves - cezanne2“[W]e are talking now, in a certain sense, of an elevation of form.  While this is actually an elevation beyond form, it must begin in the reality of where you think you are.  In other words, it must begin with form.  You cannot await some changed state but must create the changed state you await.  (Treatises of A Course of Love:  Treatise on the Art of Thought, 9.3)”

Affirmation:  “I would choose an elevation of form today.”

Reflections:

1 – Do Not Give Up the Physical

Here Jesus is introducing the concept that will be elaborated upon later as the “elevated Self of form.”  We do not give up the physical, but we elevate it.  A Course in Miracles, in contrast, downplays the physical as illusory and perhaps therefore as less important to us.  Yet even though we live in a dream (until we experience the real world), the dream seems very, very real to us.  And Jesus is aware of that, very much so, in A Course of Love.

2 – Living Christ-Consciousness

The two works, ACIM and ACOL, have a continuity, though.  The elevation is actually an elevation “beyond form,” and that is the state that is described more frequently in ACIM.  We are told that we will experience the real world only briefly (but we are not told what “briefly” means) before God will reach down and lift us up in Awakening.  Awakening in ACOL is called Christ-consciousness, but the concept is the same.  And we are let in ACOL to see that we can live Christ-consciousness on this plane as the elevated Self of form.

3 – The Body

What a blessing this is!  We are all too happy with our physical bodies, and we are not so sure that we want heaven if we have to give them up.  (There are exceptions to this idea among human beings.)

4 – We Create the Change

We are told that we must create this changed state.  We do not wait for something to happen to us, but we are conscious co-creators with God in welcoming the elevated Self.  In ACIM, the word is that we wait, quietly, for God to act.  There appears to be a change, possibly because of our evolution, in what ACOL teaches.  We are needed to hold ourselves in readiness, but we are also to act when we see what we are to do.  And Jesus is spelling out what we are to do in the subsequent pages of the trilogy of A Course of Love (including the Treatises and the Dialogues).

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

I would create the elevated Self of form sooner rather than later.  I realize that perhaps I can do something, that because of progress in time with A Course of Love, I am able to effect some change.  Help me to understand if I am, instead, to leave everything to You.

Be with me today as I walk through this world.  The elevated Self of form will heal me from anything that is currently wrong.  Thank You in advance for this blessing.

Amen.

Mary

rouen cathedral

“Illusion is the death you need but arise from.  Arise and awaken to your resurrected self!  There is no longer a god-head to follow into paradise.  Take not the example of any of these and know instead the example of woman, of Mary, Mother of God.  (Treatises of A Course of Love:  Treatise on the Art of Thought, 8.9)”

Affirmation:    “What would Mary do?”

Reflections:

1 – Mary in ACOL

Jesus does not mention Mary in A Course in Miracles.  But she plays a pivotal role in A Course of Love.  She is said to emphasize the life of “being” as opposed to the more active life of Jesus, which was “doing” (from ACOL).

2 – The God-Head

I think that the description in the passage of the god-head is meant to encourage us not to see God as an external figure who will usher us, after we die, into heaven (if we, presumably, have so merited).  These ideas are partially derived from traditional Christianity, which has a theology of a God Who stands outside His creation, His handiwork.

3 – ACIM and ACOL Differ

A Course in Miracles and A Course of Love are different in philosophy.  We are all enclosed in God’s umbrella Self.  There is nothing outside.  Indeed, as in a hologram, there is nothing outside ourselves (the latter from the Text of ACIM).  For the whole is in each part.

4 – Theology

But, again, do not let theology delay you.  If these ideas feel foreign to you, you do not have to believe them to experience the value of A Course in Miracles and A Course of Love.

5 – Mary

Mary incorporated in herself the more passive elements of God, the “being” rather than the “doing.”  She gave birth to Jesus, and nowhere in A Course in Miracles or A Course of Love does Jesus deny the Virgin Birth.  Yet we are not required to take any particular beliefs that are theological unto ourselves if we have doubts.  We are encouraged that Jesus takes us where we are, and guiding us by holding our hands, he leads us onward.

6 – Mari Perron

Mary is a great icon of the Roman Catholic faith.  Her mention is ACOL may in part have been that Jesus channeled the trilogy through Mari Perron, who is herself Catholic.  As with all channeled works, Jesus speaks first to the one who is receiving the material.  But Helen Schucman, who scribed A Course in Miracles, was also Catholic (though Jewish), and Jesus does not mention Mary in ACIM.  Perhaps we are ready to see men and women as equally important to the furtherance of salvation.  And so Mary takes her place, in ACOL, beside Jesus.

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

May I spend much time today just “being” instead of doing.  May I reflect on the part that Mary played in the life of Jesus, and may I learn from her.

Be with me today through thick and thin.  You have always been there for me, even when I sensed nothing of Your presence.  I would sense Your presence today.  May I walk in Your way, as always.

Amen.

Tiny, Mad Idea Undone

woman with a cat - renoir“[W]ith my resurrection, which was accomplished for all, the meaning of life, the reality of life, changed, though you have known this not.  The great experiment in separation ended with the resurrection, though you have known this not.  For the resurrection and life are now one and the same.  (Treatises of A Course of Love:  Treatise on the Art of Thought,

Affirmation:  “I would choose life today.”

Reflections:

1 – Resurrection Ended Separation

Jesus has repeatedly referred to our imagined separation from God as illusory, that we cannot really separate from God at all, for we are part of Him–He is within us.  In A Course in Miracles, he refers to the separation as a “tiny, mad idea” about which the Son of God “failed to laugh,” and thus effects were born.  He continues to say in ACIM that we would laugh at such a foolish idea if it had not gained credence to us (a paraphrase from ACIM).   Now Jesus says that his resurrection ended the separation, once and for all.  We just have not known this.

2 – Christ Self

Now we do know it, as seen in this passage.  But exactly what does this mean?  It means that we too can join in the resurrection, that we too are eligible to assume our place as a Christ spirit.  This is the Self/Christ within about which so much has been said in this blog.

3 – A Resurrected Life

Our lives are now resurrected lives:  “For the resurrection and life are now one and the same.”  What will it mean to live a resurrected life?

4 – Miracle Readiness

We will be in miracle-readiness all the time.  We will recognize miracles when they occur, something that we have previously not usually recognized.  We will be at one with our brothers and sisters, who, like us, are resurrected with Jesus.  We are all life, and all life, animate and inanimate, is God.  No longer do we see God as outside His creation, observing His handiwork in the earth.  All of everything is an individuation (or a differentiation) of God.  We are not outside Him in any sense whatsoever.

5 – Theology

This is part of the theology of A Course in Miracles and A Course of Love, though the words that I have used are not part of either trilogy.  Do not let theology delay you.  Jesus says in ACIM that a universal theology is impossible, but a universal experience is not only possible, but necessary.

6 – A Universal Experience

We would ask for that universal experience on an ongoing basis.  And we are now ready to live the resurrected life, as Jesus did.  He has prepared the way for us.  And as individual parts of God, yet part of the whole, we are ready to thank Him for the length of the pathway that we have already walked.  It is because we have walked far that we are now receiving these blessings of knowledge (not perception).

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

I would let the illusory separation end for me today.  I would join, as Jesus bids, in his resurrection.  Help me to give up the folly of the “tiny, mad idea” and walk into the sunlight today.

I would experience salvation fully.  Help me to say and do the things that You want of me, and may my cooperation and my faith in You sustain me.  I would not fight You ever again.

Amen.

Time of Second Coming of Christ Is Here

renoir - crowd scene

“I [Jesus] have said that contrast is a favored teaching device of the Holy Spirit.  But I have not yet said that the time of the Holy Spirit is ending even though I have stated that the time of the second coming of Christ is here.  (Treatises of A Course of Love:  Treatise on the Art of Thought, 7.4)”

Affirmation:  “I welcome the time of the second coming of Christ.”

Reflections:

1 – Guidance in a New Era

This passage will be of especial interest to students of A Course in Miracles, for ACIM was focused on following the Holy Spirit for guidance, very specific guidance in daily life.  The Holy Spirit was defined as the Universal Inspiration (from ACIM).  How do we get guidance in this new era?

2 – Holy Spirit

I think that we look to the Christ within, the Self/Christ that is one with God.  This Self can be misunderstood by our personal (or “little”) self, but if we are vigilant, we will choose aright when we look within.  If we listen to our hearts and minds in merger for wholeheartedness, we will not feel bereft to hear that the time of the Holy Spirit is ending.  He was with us for 2,000 years, beginning with Pentecost (described in the New Testament).  His role, Jesus seems to be saying, is ending because we have moved beyond Him.

3 – Second Coming of Christ

When the second coming of Christ is upon us, we will see and know much that we only dimly recognize now.  We will be able to contrast the past with the present, and we will welcome a future that is better in all respects to what preceded it.  We will love with a greater love, and we will respond from a full heart.  Our brothers and sisters will truly be soul mates–all of us (an interpretation, not stated in ACOL).

4 – A Welcome

Let us welcome the time of the second coming of Christ, even though, of course, we do not as yet fully understand what such a time can bring us.  The contrast between the old and the new will be instructive to us.

5 – Better World

And we will live in a better world.  A heaven on earth.

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

Thank You for the assurance that the time of the Second Coming of Christ is upon us, though nowhere does Jesus promise that this means a physical return.  He is silent on that question.  And so we must wonder:  Will the Second Coming be metaphorical, or will it be a fleshly being?

I do not have to torture myself with these questions.  The Answer will be as right as the question.  

May all of us come to understand, as time goes by, what the Second Coming really means, and may we thank You for that understanding.

Amen.

Miracle-Mindedness

impressionism- manet

“[W]hat happens when this oneness is accomplished is that divine memories arise to replace perception.  This is miracle-mindedness.  The accomplishment of this state of being is what you are here for.  It is your return to your Self.  It heralds the return of heaven through the second coming of Christ, the energy that will bridge the two worlds.  (Treatises of A Course of Love:  Treatise on the Art of Thought, 6.9)”

Affirmation:  “I seek oneness today.”

Reflections:

1 – Divine Memories

There is much of importance summarized in this short passage for today.  We do want divine memories to replace perception, for divine memories include memories of the real world, and the real world is not one seen through perception.  Perception is always inaccurate, to one degree or another.  It is true that miracles themselves are perceptual (from A Course in Miracles), but they are the highest form of perception.  And when we have reached miracle-mindedness as a constant state, we will know our Self/Christ.  And we will embody the elevated Self of form.  We will have reached Christ-consciousness.  And heaven will be with us, for which we do not have to die.

2 – Promises

These are genuine promises made in the Treatises of A Course of Love.  And when believed, these promises are enormously liberating.  We know that we can experience heaven on earth, even before we in fact do experience it.  We also see snatches, glimpses, of heaven on earth before this state is continuously experienced.

3 – Time of Christ

We are, according to the trilogy of ACOL, in the time of the second coming of Christ.  The books never identify if there is to be a physical embodiment of Jesus again.  The spiritual entity of Jesus is with us, though, for certain.  He comes in response to one unequivocal call, a statement from A Course in Miracles that I have often quoted in this blog.  I have found it to be true.  Not that I have seen a vision, but that I have experienced the calm that comes from imagining that Jesus is near.  And does he not immediately calm the heart as the first step to all healing?  Distraught people do not usually believe that healing is possible, and belief in healing is necessary, if we can believe the New Testament, and I believe that we can.

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

I would replace my perceptual memories today with divine memories.  This is a step toward the sustaining of Christ-consciousness.  And You are there for me, as is Jesus.  Never let doubts come to me.  May I have no dark night of the soul.  And, if trouble comes, may I always know to Whom to turn–You.

We are living in the time of Christ.  This is a great blessing.  This world does not seem yet to recognize this, for this world is very troubled.  But the healing of our world will come, and I believe sooner than we think.

Be with us today for a good day.  I ask this so often, because a string of pearls, like good days, is a beauty to behold.  Help me to know Your guidance today, and to follow it unflinchingly.

Amen.

Pray from Fear into Inner Peace

cezanne.jas-buffan-pool“To pray out of fear is not to pray at all, because such prayer chooses not the union that is the prerequisite.  To pray out of fear is to ask from an unreal state of lack for what is seen as missing or desired.  In contrast, true prayer, formed in union, is a means of creating, recollecting, or recalling a divine memory and transforming that divine memory into a present moment experience.  (Treatises of A Course of Love:  Treatise on the Art of Thought, 6.6)”

Affirmation:  “I will choose to avoid fearful prayers.”

Reflections:

1 – Fearful Turmoil

When we are in fearful turmoil, our emotions are so engaged that it is hard to sense God’s presence.  We are not in union with God, because we cannot feel His presence.  This is the so-called foxhole prayer, i.e., “There are no atheists in foxholes” (a reminder of World War I).  We need in some way to alleviate the fear, and I have found that prayer, in fact, does alleviate fear.  I can pray myself to sleep when I am anxious.  Is there a problem with my experience vs. the words of Jesus in this passage?

2 – Personal Experience

I think not, because I am calmed by the prayer, a calming that precedes receiving an answer (an answer that is sometimes just blissful sleep).  I do not go to sleep fearful, and I do not remain fearful as I pray.  The fear just drops away, and I pray from a relaxed state of mind and heart.

3 – Divine Memory

The latter half of this passage is difficult to understand.  What exactly is a “divine memory”?  I think that Jesus is calling on our Self/Christ at this point.  When we experience the Self/Christ, we are healed from a divine perspective, for the Self/Christ is our part of the God within (an interpretation, not stated precisely in A Course of Love).

4 – When to Pray

We need to begin praying when we are afraid or fearful, but–and this is the important point–we will not remain afraid or fearful.  We will, in nearly all cases, immediately begin calming down, for we will be recalled to trust in God.  We need never cease to pray because we think that we are too overwrought.  God will create the holy instant that will bring us peace.

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

Thank You for guiding me to know that praying to You in the middle of the night, when I can’t sleep, is a very practical way to induce a return to sleep.  I think that You welcome this communion, for our private times together heal and calm me.  Thank You for letting me adopt practical use of prayer for a very human need of sleep.

Thank You for leading me to realize that the best prayer is not one of fear.  The prayer may begin with anxieties, but the prayer will take me out of the anxieties into peace.  Thank You for this blessing.

If I can reach divine healing today, it will be because You have led me every step of the way.  Fort this leading, I am very grateful.

Amen.