An End to Suffering?

pennsylvania-impressionist-impressionism-art-artist-george-gardner-symons-landscape-with-houses-original-size-20-x-25
“Could suffering really gone on for countless ages simply due to your inability to birth the idea of an end to suffering?

“Has not a part of you always known that suffering does not have to be even while you have accepted that it is? Let us now put an end to this acceptance through the birth of a new idea. (Treatises of A Course of Love: Treatise on the Personal Self, 8.12 – 8.13)”

Affirmation: “I may have pain, but I will not suffer today.”

Reflections:

1 – Eckhart Tolle

The passage for today develops an idea that Eckhart Tolle has propounded at length (The Power of Now; A New Earth). Eckhart is a modern-day spiritual teacher who is not affiliated with a particular religious tradition, but has quoted from A Course in Miracles, and is noted especially for the radical transformation he underwent around age 30, a number of years ago.

2 – Pain-Body

Eckhart notes that the “pain-body” emerges from time to time (different for each person), and that when this pain is sought, we all too often turn that pain into suffering. He says that this does not have to be the case. In physical bodies, we will experience pain, but we do not have to turn this pain into suffering.

3 – Jesus

Jesus and Eckhart agree in this regard. A Course of Love, in this passage, indicates that suffering might have been discontinued in our world if we had only realized that this was a possibility.

4 – A New Day

And we are now ready for a new idea: The end of suffering as we have known it. We will still have pain from time to time, but we do not have to activate the pain-body (given divine help), and we do not have to turn pain into suffering.

5 – Divine Help

What a blessing these ideas are! The ideas seem too good to be true, yet if Jesus has said it, then I personally find the ideas to be true. We need help, obviously, and divine help will be on the way.

6 – What Can We Do?

Practically, what can we do to eliminate the suffering? We can pause a moment and ask for help when we realize that a situation is getting out of hand, especially if someone, someone close to us, is baiting us. We can say a prayer. And we will be answered, for we are asking in God’s will. He would not have us suffer, and he would not have us activate Eckhart’s clarification of the pain-body. We do not have to invite pain.

7 – New Idea

A new idea is dawning on our world. We are living in the time of Christ now, and the blessings that will be ours are manifold. Let us set aside our doubts, and realize that we can live in a world that is better than has been previously. But for the better to emerge, we need to commune with God. And, in line with A Course of Love, we need to hold Jesus’s hand as we walk through this world.

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

I would hold Jesus’s hand today as I walk through my world communing with You. I am happier when I commune with You. This ought to tell me something. You want us happy, and our struggles are to be overcome so that we can experience happiness. I would not suffer today. I would rise above any pain.

Help me to keep a rational head. I know that confusion can be generated by too much analysis, because I have long be guilty of too much analysis—and analysis is of the ego nearly always. The ego approves of our analysis of it, for this reaffirms the ego’s importance. I would see the insignificance of the ego today.

And I would walk through my world in peace.

Amen.

Change that Even Angels Could Not Bring About

hass - pennsylvania impressionist“How difficult it is to believe that you need not change the world but only your own self. How difficult to imagine that this one change could bring about all the changes you would imagine that even an army of angels could not bring about. While such a thought remains inconceivable to you it will not come to be. (Treatises of A Course of Love: Treatise on the Personal Self, 8.8)”

Affirmation: “I need change only myself today.”

Reflections:

1 – Comparison to Traditional Christianity

The passage for today actually suggests a similarity to traditional Christianity, the personal salvation that will reach and change the world. But it is not the social gospel. We must change ourselves first through a personal commitment to God, and, in traditional Christianity as in A Course of Love, this commitment extends to Jesus as our leader and savior.

2 – Change Ourselves

If we can change ourselves, we will walk a new earth. This is a tenet of A Course in Miracles as well as ACOL. We will see things differently, entirely differently. We project that which is within, and when the within is informed by the Christ Self, that projection changes accordingly. And we dream the happy dreams the Holy Spirit brings (from the Workbook of A Course in Miracles), at least until Awakening beckons. And then we are in the real world, a concept that is never defined very precisely, but which we can intuit is a shining world awash with joy.

3 – No Idle Fantasy

How can we change ourselves? It could be argued that we are in the driver’s seat on this one, but we have plenty of assistance. Jesus himself will assist us. We need only imagine that he is holding our hand as we walk along the pathways of this world. And this will be no “idle fantasy.”

4 – Changing the World

We imagine that we need to change the world, but we will be curiously inept until we change ourselves. Other people, the ones we are trying to help, will see through us, knowing that our hearts are not right. And they will be helped only superficially, if at all. When we change our hearts to be in league with God, we will know success as we seek to change the world.

5 – Mari Perron

Mari Perron, the scribe of A Course of Love, seems to me to be particularly interested in seeing changes in our world. This is perhaps a difference between Mari and Helen Schucman (the scribe of A Course in Miracles). Their times were different, and Helen kept her involvement with ACIM a secret; even the channeling was not mentioned at her funeral. Mari is actively speaking for A Course of Love, to great benefit to our world.

6 – Personal Salvation vs. Salvation of the World

This question of personal salvation vs. salvation of the world is a controversial one. Here A Course of Love says definitively that no lasting change will occur in this world until we ourselves are changed first. Then our efforts, and only then, will bear fruit.

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

All too often I want to make a greater change in this world than I am capable of doing. I know that only when I change myself will any action in the world bear fruit. This is the message of ACIM and ACOL, as well as traditional Christianity. It is a step removed from the social gospel, but changes do occur in this world when our own hearts are right. And we will be zealous then in making those changes.

Thank You that there is no conflict in changing myself and changing the world. But I must change myself first, and that is not my doing only. You are there every step of the way; You make the changes, with my consent.

Thank You for the joys that You are giving me every day. Thank You for being there for me. And thank You for the smooth path on which I walk. Even struggles take on a different hue when I realize that You are there for me in the midst of them.

Amen.

Bitterness Retains Cycle of Suffering

image_redfiled_blossom_2_full
“Bitterness is the cause of this inability to make a new choice and what keeps the cycle of suffering in motion. (Treatises of A Course of Love: Treatise on the Personal Self, 8.7)”

Affirmation: “I would leave bitterness behind today.”

Reflections:

1 – Self-Pity

Here Jesus takes up bitterness again. We are filled with self-pity when we are bitter (personal interpretation, not found in ACIM or ACOL). May we leave self-pity with its attendant bitterness behind today. May we fail to get discouraged with our lot in life. After all, we chose it, and we can choose again; indeed, we must choose again.

2 – Comparisons

When we feel bitter, we set ourselves up for disappointment in our daily lives. We think that others have it better than ourselves. While this may appear to be true, we cannot really know the state of someone external to ourselves. They may appear to have everything we have dreamed about, but how much pain and suffering really are held within?

3 – Physical Beauty

Physical beauty is often seen to be a way to give us what we want. And we think that those who have more beauty are happier than are we. Studies have found, though, that those with more physical attractiveness may actually suffer from low self-esteem, more so than more average-looking individuals. We don’t know what another experiences, even when we think that we know them well. So let us not guess that there is a reason for our bitterness, when actually our bitter feelings just may be partaking of the universal insanity in which we are caught.

4 – Blessings

Leave bitterness behind today. Blessings are easily counted when we give it half a try. And let us give counting blessings a full try today.

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

I would just enjoy my lot in life today, not comparing myself to anyone at all, and certainly not deciding that another has it better than I. I would leave any bitterness behind today, for bitterness would keep me from You. It would say that maybe You blessed another more than I, and You give equally from Your storehouse—different blessings, but all are meant to share equally, though some blessings are easier to recognize than others.

I would move forward toward You today. And this means that I am comfortable with the blessings that You have given me. I don’t always have to beseeth You to give me “more.” I can rest content. And I will do so today.

If I constantly wail for more, I am not grateful for what You have given. You will give more, as I am ready to receive. And gratefulness for the present is a prerequisite for more in the future. That is Your way.

Amen.

Negate the Choice to Suffer

pennsylvania impressionists“What happens when you believe the choice to suffer, as well as the choice to leave suffering behind, has always been found within? Who then are you to be angry with for all that has occurred? Do you blame yourself and your ancestors for the history, both ancient and recent, that you think you would have given anything to change?. . .And do you not thus attempt to see it [suffering] not and then blame yourself for looking the other way? (Treatises of A Course of Love: Treatise on the Personal Self, 8.6)”

Affirmation: “I would leave suffering behind today.”

Reflections:

1 – Eckhart Tolle

We do not have to suffer. Such a current spiritual advisor as Eckhart Tolle (The Power of Now and A New Earth) says the same as Jesus, and he was influenced by A Course in Miracles. Certainly as long we embody the physical, we will know pain, but we do not have to turn that pain into suffering, for suffering is mental. Do you believe that? Note that emotional pain is always suffering, but physical pain is just that—pain. And we would feel pain when we must, but suffering, never.

2 – Blame

We do not need to blame our parents and our upbringing for the lacks in our lives. And we do not need to blame ancestors from farther back in regard to our genetic disposition. We have chosen this life, and we have chosen its lacks. Now Jesus would have these lacks removed, very easily and with virtually no effort on our part.

3 – Choose Once Again

The reason that we suffer is found within, not in any ancestral reason. And we can just as easily choose again. Indeed, we must choose once again (from A Course in Miracles).

4 – Mental Turmoil

Know that a quiet contemplation of suffering will ease the suffering, as well, very often, as the pain. Know that mental turmoil is aggravated by our own choices. Know that there is a way out.

5 – Commune Inwardly

And find that way today in communion with that which is within, the Christ Self informed by God Himself.

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

I would begin the day again if I think that I suffer over anything. I do not have to suffer, though in this physical world I will, from time to time, experience pain. I do not have to turn pain into suffering. And I vow not to do so today.

May I commune with You when the way seems hard. And thank You for giving me a smooth pathway most recently. May I not chaff under restrictions if that pathway turns harsh again. I have the secret—praying to You. Your smile lights my life and calms my turbulent emotions. And then, with no overwrought emotions, I don’t exacerbate the pain, turning it into suffering.

Help me to walk Your pathway, my prayer always.

Amen.

Shaking Up Our World

folinsbee - pennsylvania impressionism“You have chosen many doors to the same house and but thought them to offer different things, only to find that the house you entered was still the same house, the house of illusion. You took your self into these many rooms and in some you were even capable of representing your true self. This representation of the true self within the house of illusion was like an explosion happening there. (Treatises of A Course of Love: Treatise on the Personal Self, 7.6)”

Affirmation: “I would not participate in an explosion in a house of illusions today.”

Reflections:

1 – Exit

We need to depart from the house of illusion. I have mentioned this, in different words, many times in this blog. The house of illusion is what we have been caught in for eons. And it is now time to exit.

2 – Return to Illusion?

We may think that we can save others, lost in illusion, by going back into this house of illusions. Yet this is a falsehood. We need to beckon from without, not join others in their illusions. We need to exit ourselves before we can be of any effective use to others.

3 – Glimpses

Of course, we have done some good works when we have been lost in illusions, because illusions are never total. We have seen glimpses of the real world for a long time now. But glimpses are not enough now. We need to ask for a more constant dwelling in the house of reality, the real world. And God will answer us at the time that we are ready.

4 – Explosions

We did represent our true self in the house of illusion, but by so doing, we made explosions there. And this was disturbing, not only to us but also to our brothers and sisters. And explosions rocked the boat. As they were meant to do.

5 – Set the Right Example

Our brothers and sisters will see that there is a better way if we live right, if we set the right example. But deciding to do so is arguably difficult, because deciding to do so is based on good intentions, which often fail us. So turn to guidance to see how and in what way to reach others. Don’t make elaborate plans to proselytize, because this is not the way to go. Many are not yet ready. But when our brothers and sisters see us happy and well, many will be led to ask us what is different in our lives. Then we can tell them. And in the telling we will be witnessing.

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

I would not witness today to those who are not ready, but I would also never turn down a chance to witness to those who are ready to hear. I need Your help in this. Be with me today as I walk along the pathway that You have set for me; please keep me on this right pathway.

I would not fall back into illusions today. This is a return to maya, to the ego’s traps. I would walk ahead to the real world, in as fast a pace as I can. But I would not trip over my own feet. I would walk carefully and gently, finding companions along the way who need me. And I need companions also. It is a two-way street.

Be with me today as I seek to do what I recognize as my will, being identical to Yours for me.

Amen.

Meaningful Existence

pennsylvania impressionism
“The only thing within the human experience that made you incapable of representing who you are in truth was the ego. The only thing within the human experience that deprived the human experience of meaning was the ego. With the ego gone, you are perfectly capable of representing the truth of who you are and returning to an existence that is meaningful. (Treatises of A Course of Love: Treatise on the Personal Self, 7.5)”

Affirmation: “I would choose a meaningful existence today.”

Reflections:

1 – The Ego Is Gone

This passage says, once again, that for those of us who have read this far in A Course of Love, and taken its tenets unto ourselves, the ego is gone. We are The Accomplished. If we find this hard to believe, we are only being human. And we can always backslide. So the ego remains a temptation best left alone, and that follows for all the eternity that we have ahead of us.

2 – Ego Constantly Being Undone

The ego never meant us well. The ego was always a mad idea. And the ego was always being undone. If we were especially egoistic, we knew flights of joy that were undone by tears of pain that often turned to suffering. We paid for all the joy that we beheld.

3 – Living, Not Existing

Now we would live a meaningful life, and it would be an existence that is truly “living.” We would be rid of the ego by turning aside from it gently, for to resist the ego is to make it strong. The ego, according to ACIM, is strong in strife.

4 – Truth

Jesus says a great deal in A Course of Love about the “truth.” We would do well to remember, though, that we are fallible beings who may not recognize the truth when we see it. Likewise, we may think that we are viewing truth when we are actually seeing falsity. So it behooves us to contemplate our decisions well, to let guidance form our decisions. We would always mess things up, if left to our own devices without divine guidance.

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

I know intellectually that I am better off without the ego, but still I fear that it rears its ugly head. Help me to be through with all this foolishness today. I would not do egotistic things, and I would not make decisions from an egoistic foundation. I would follow Your way, which substitutes love in every situation.

I would live a meaningful existence today, an existence that is truly “living” rather than merely “existing.” Help me to do this. I am so dependent upon You these days. I have chosen that way of living, and You have responded. I know that Your presence sustains me, even when I am saying affirmations that keep my temper under control. I would be rid of temper today. I would say “gentle,” and “What would Mary do?” I would stop and take a timeout if I am overwrought. There is no better way to come unto Your presence.

Thank You for being there for me. Thank You for giving me the blessing of a happy life, and may I serve You in ways that You would direct. This does not mean slavish obedience, because my real will is always Yours. We are not separate, and I thank You that, through Your help, I have come to know this.

May I reach out to others today who cross my path. May I be a blessing in Your world.

Amen.

Bitterness Is to the Heart What the Ego Is to the Mind

pennsylvania-impressionist-impressionism-painting-by-roy-c-nuse-along-the-river-1930-original-size-20-x-16“You may believe that bitterness is just another word, another label for the evil you have always been convinced existed in the hearts of some, but even being that it is just another word, it is one chosen to introduce an idea of such fallacy that it rivals only the ego in its destructive potential. Bitterness is to your heart what the ego has been to your mind. It is the one false idea that has entered this holiest of places, this abode of Christ, this bridge between the human and the divine. (Treatises of A Course of Love: Treatise on the Personal Self, 6.5)”

Affirmation: “I would drop any bitterness from my heart today.”

Reflections:

1 – Drop Bitterness

Bitterness is not stressed in A Course in Miracles, but it rivals the ego in A Course of Love. Here we learn that bitterness is to the heart what the ego is to the mind. And to learn such a lesson means that we ought to drop bitterness entirely. We ought not to hold anything against anybody. We ought to forgive entirely.

2 – A Raw Deal

Why are we sometimes bitter? I think that it is largely a matter of self-pity. We think that life has given us a raw deal, not a fair shake. We think that we ought to have had it better. But is this reasoning sound?

3 – Hard Knocks

Not at all. We may believe that we planned our lives before we were born (though this is not a concept in ACIM or ACOL). Certainly we know now that we have a loving Father who wishes us only well-being. And so the hard knocks of life are there to teach us something. And certainly the hard knocks would not be so hard if we were less stubborn. Our biggest enemy, as many have said, is our own self. We made our own difficulties, and then we project outward on others who surround us.

4 – Insanity

This is insanity. We would not blame another for our own difficult times. We would recognize perhaps that there is something that we cannot understand on this earth, and we would realize that there is a better way to live. This better way is what ACIM and ACOL are trying to teach us.

5 – Madness of This World

May we adopt a smooth walk through this world today. And may we know that the hard knocks are there for a reason, however obscure we may find the way to be. It may just be the madness of this world, and we ought never to underestimate how far into madness we have gone (from ACIM). We will be happier, and life will smooth out very well, when we have come to understand more. Ask God for the answers, and see if those answers don’t begin to come ever more frequently.

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

I would seek some answers today. Why is life sometimes so tough? Is it all just madness borne of the ego and of bitterness? Is there a larger reason that I sometimes struggle? I choose not to go from one crisis to another. I choose to live, with You, in harmony, peace, serenity, calm, tranquility. Help me to live this better way today and every day.

May I do for others what I would like for them to do for me. May I realize that giving and receiving happen in concert, that one leads inexorably to the other. And may I rejoice, with You, at my happiness over the many blessings that You give to me. You want Your children happy. Being happy is a worthy goal. May I remember this always.

Be with me today as I walk through this sometimes insane world. But I would not have it insane today. I would choose only happy dreams, and I would ask for glimpses of a reality beyond what I normally see.

Thank You.

Amen.

The Question of Atonement

edward-willis-redfield-solebury-home-pennsylvania-impressionism-1920
“The point of the story [crucifixion and resurrection], however, was not one of sacrifice but one of gift giving. The greatest gift of all was given, the gift of redemption. The gift of redemption was the gift of an end to pain and suffering and a beginning of resurrection and new life. It was a gift meant to empty the world of the ego-self and to allow the personal self to live on as the one true self, the one true son of God. (Treatises of A Course of Love: Treatise on the Personal Self, 5.7)”

Affirmation: “I would focus on Jesus’s gift today.”

Reflections:

1 – Resurrection

We often misunderstand the benign lesson of the Atonement, Jesus’s death on the cross, followed by his resurrection. Nowhere in either A Course in Miracles nor A Course of Love is the resurrection doubted as an historical event. But there are various ways of interpreting, including the possibility that Jesus occupied his ethereal body when he was seen after the resurrection.

2 – The Cross

Jesus said in A Course in Miracles that we miss the point when we look to the cross, that he was showing that love is present when he did not defend himself, but said nothing. He says, also in ACIM, that we are to look to the resurrection for our understanding of the Atonement.

3 – Sacrifice

Certainly sacrifice was embedded into the Jewish world. Sacrifices of animals were routinely required at the temple. And so when Jesus came as the Son of God and made the supreme sacrifice, we saw a punishing God who could only be appeased by the death of his only Son. Traditional religious services today stress this idea. But is there another way to interpret what happened?

4 – Circumstances of Jesus’s Day

Jesus says that there is, for he does not see his Father as punishing in any way. He sees God as wholly benign and loving. The choice to go to the cross is Jesus’s own, in my opinion, born of the circumstances of his day. That it may have been divinely ordained, though, I do not doubt. And the fact that for generations there has been a story in the sacrificial lamb means that Jesus read us well. He knew what we thought that we needed to be reconciled to God.

5 – “I Was Not Punished because You Were Bad”

Now he is giving us a new story, a new Atonement story. We are not to see God as punishing him in any way. “I was not punished because you were bad,” Jesus says in the opening pages of the Text of A Course in Miracles. And so we don’t have to feel guilty, and guilt is what has made us mad.

6 – A New Life

So let us see another way of viewing the Atonement. It was the lesson that we are reconciled to God through the example that Jesus gave of not resisting evil. He rose to a new life, as can we all.

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

Thank You for what I read years ago about Jesus’s observation, in all likelihood, of the sacrifices of his day in the temple. All of this shaped his mission. But God did not require his death, of this I am sure. It was a plan that worked, though. And I thank You for that.

Help me to look beyond the crucifixion to the resurrection, and may my intellectual doubts not becloud the issue. May I contemplate the likelihood that it is Jesus’s ethereal body that was seen after his resurrection.

Amen.

Fill the Emptiness Within

impressionists_03 - pennsylvania“While few of you have ever before reached the emptiness caused by the complete absence of the ego, just as few of you have never felt some sort of absence. All the lessons you have drawn to yourself in your lifetime have worked toward this absence in the hopes of filling the emptiness with the fullness of the truth. (Treatises of A Course of Love: Treatise on the Personal Self, 5.1)”

Affirmation: “I would fill my emptiness with truth.”

Reflections:

1 – Truth

Truth is a slippery concept, but when we follow the truth that Jesus sets forth, we are on solid ground. So many of us think that we have the ultimate truth, so many in our world. And others of us think that the truth expounded by others is actually a pack of lies. Let us try to do better today.

2 – Wait to Be Filled

We are not suffering when we are empty. We are simply waiting to be filled, and filled with the truth as we perceive it. This must include doing no harm to others or to our personal self, however much we may think we perceive that we are right in retaliating for wrongs committed against ourselves.

3 – No Retaliation

We are not right in retaliating, in any sense or at any time. This is something that we must incorporate into our very being, for Jesus says in A Course in Miracles that attack and anger are never justified. This assertion has been much misunderstood, for we have often felt that we must repress and suppress to follow this dictate. Nothing could be farther from the truth. We do sublimate, in that we replace the attack and anger with a higher value. And that higher value always partakes of love, a loving attitude.

4 – Anger and Stress

I never get angry unless I am stressed, and that may be the situation for you as well. So the way to return to a stasis is to calm down, and the way to calm down is frequently prayer. We get quiet, and settle down our overwrought emotions, and we walk a green earth again. There is no better way.

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

I would walk calmly today. I am all too prone to get keyed up when doing many things in this busy world. But quietness gives You to me, and I would have You today.

Guide me to help others in any way that would be good today. Let me love with my whole heart. May my mind settle down and my overwrought emotions grow calm. May my heart speak to my mind, and may my Self speak to both.

Thank You for your help as I walk through this day.

Amen.

What Would Mary Do?

van gogh - wheatfield with crows
“I repeat, and will do so again and again, that the ego self is gone from you. Whether you fully realize this or not matters not. This A Course of Love has accomplished. Now the choice is before you to do one of two things. . .to proceed toward love or fear. If you proceed with fear you will assemble a new ego-self, an ego-self that perhaps will seem superior to the old, but which will nonetheless still be an ego-self. If you proceed with love, you will come to know your Christ-self. (Treatises of A Course of Love: Treatise on the Personal Self, 4.8)”

Affirmation: “I would leave fear behind today.”

Reflections:

1 – Fear

Fear is our great enemy, but if we dwell on this fact too long and deeply, we will scare ourselves, making the ego strong. And the ego is strong when one is fearful. Let us leave behind this state of affairs today.

2 – When Baited

Let us proceed toward love. This means that we need to make a decision about how we will react when we are baited by those closest to us. We must determine what we will say and do, ahead of time, or we are likely to attack or otherwise react with anger.

3 – Personal Experience

I have found that the easiest way to handle a difficult conversation is to say a reminder, just the word “gentle,” followed by the question, “What would Mary do?” By “Mary,” I mean the mother of Jesus, a woman given great importance in A Course of Love (though not in A Course in Miracles). This immediately puts me in a conciliatory state of mind. I tried the phrase, “quiet control,” but I found that it tended to put me in an uptight attitude, just the reverse of what I wanted.

4 – Communion with God

You will find other words, or perhaps none, just a communion with God. Many of us do need words that help us in times of difficulty.

5 – Proceed toward Love

I would proceed toward love always with those closest to me. And this movement will take me into the Christ/Self, sooner rather than later. We need to move toward the Christ Self, because if the ego is gone, which Jesus says it is, we need to have a replacement in mind to whom we can turn.

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

Thank You for giving me the words, “What would Mary do?,” when I am stressed, in a difficult conversation, when I am being baited. There is no reason that I can’t keep my cool, except a lack of discipline. And You would have me be gentle with all those with whom I come in contact.

I would proceed toward love today, away from fear. I have tried this many times, but perhaps not strongly enough, because anxiety dogs my steps from time to time. I would make a determination today to slow down and relax, to meditate when I can.

I never get angry unless I am stressed. May I remember this today.

Amen.

Effortless Ease in Learning A Course of Love

monet - sunrise“This is not a self-help course but just the opposite. This course has stated time and time again that you can not learn on your own and that resigning as your own teacher is the only way to learn a new curriculum. This course will not call you to effort of any kind.. . ..It merely calls you to sanity by calling you to let go of illusion in favor of the truth (Treatises of A Course of Love: Treatise on the Personal Self, 4.1)”

Affirmation: “I will resign as my own teacher today.”

Reflections:

1 – Effortful Excursions

Jesus would have us recognize that the many effortful excursions that we have been on in our lives have been diversions. We didn’t recognize the insanity of the illusion in which we find ourselves. So we can not really help ourselves, try as hard as we may. We need guidance from our Self, and this guidance is informed by glimpses of the truth that Jesus is here conveying to us. There is no other valid way to learn.

2 – Not Self-Help

We have often heard that A Course in Miracles is a self-study course. Jesus says categorically that A Course of Love is not a “self-help” course, and I think by implication he would feel the same about ACIM. Self-study is a study of insanity, at least before we have experienced Awakening or enlightenment, or, as called in ACOL, Christ-consciousness.

3 – Read Leisurely

We do not need to be expending effort as we learn now. We read in a leisurely fashion, but always mindful that we are reading something that can change our lives dramatically. ACOL calls for less intensive study than ACIM. It is just not possible to retain the credo if we work at it too hard. Rereading in a leisurely fashion works best. And then the words will engrave themselves on our hearts.

4 – Memorizing Difficult

I have found it frustrating that the words of ACOL do not memorize as easily as the words of ACIM. I think that this has something to do with the fact that ACIM is iambic pentameter blank verse, a form of poetry (except in the very beginning of the Text). But the words of ACOL will be memorized as more time is spent with the volumes. And more time is needed, at least until we reach the 40 Days and 40 Nights of the Dialogues.

5 – Leave Insanity Behind

Let us leave behind our insanity today. We have been lost in illusions, and they have imperiled our way. May the way be smooth from now on. And communion with God will make it so, with Jesus, thus far, as our guide.

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

I would do nothing effortful today, and that blessing will come about because I vow not to plan my day. I will look ahead a couple of hours, but no more. And thus far today, that determination has stood me in good stead.

May we realize that we don’t have to work hard to incorporate the blessings of A Course of Love. We do find that reading ACOL can be easy. We do not have to intensely study, and indeed it is counterproductive to do so. Help me to remember this blessing today.

Be with me throughout the day. May the day go smoothly for my brothers and sisters everywhere, and may the day go smoothly for me as well.

Amen.

Definition of the Ego

caillebotte - paris street
“The Self that I recognize as You, is not other than who you are, but who you are. All that was ever other than who you are was the ego. The ego is gone. The ego was simply your idea of who you were. This idea was a complex set of judgments, of good and bad, right and wrong, worthy and unworthy, a list was endless as it was worthless. (Treatises of A Course of Love: Treatise on the Personal Self, 3.10)”

Affirmation: “My ego is gone.”

Reflections:

1 – Ego

If only it could be so—that the ego is truly gone from me! I see glimpses of time in which I do feel the truth of this statement, but I also know that my ego rears its despicable head far more often than I would wish, making me tend toward egotism. I would not have it thus. I would be the Self that Jesus recognizes, and that Self only. I need help when I make assertions such as this, though.

2 – Help

How might I get help? We know that Jesus asserts in A Course in Miracles that he will hold our hand as we walk along, no “idle fantasy.” Traditional Christianity, especially the inspirational writing based on traditional Christianity by Norman Vincent Peale, asserts the same.

3 – Jesus by My Side

I often have some trouble imagining Jesus by my side, for I do have a mind that would have doubts about how he might be anyplace, anytime. But it is enormously comforting at night, when I have a bout with insomnia, to think of him standing by the bed, comforting me. If it is all imagination, my thinking nevertheless slows down. I feel comforted, and is that not what all of us would wish in the middle of the night when we are discomforted?

4 – The Christ Self

What sort of Self is this whom Jesus recognizes? It is the universal Christ Self, the one that he shares with us. We do not have to let the ego interfere with this concept. The ego would tell us that we are off center, that this cannot be. But I do have enough belief in what Jesus has said in these channeled writings (ACIM and A Course of Love) to believe that he means business. He affirms that our ego is dead, and that the Self is very much alive. And so I choose to believe that this will be the case as soon as I am ready. He affirms that all of us reading A Course of Love are ready, and so perhaps it is my own failing that I quibble a bit about this. There is no way to know for sure until Awakening has come to us. We know then, though Awakening can be periodic rather than sustained. Jesus would have us to sustain this Self, the elevated Self of form.

5 – The Physical

And we will know for sure that a physical being in this world can live in God’s grace, that we do not have to lament the physical. The physical is a blessing, a chance to enjoy adventures that could be ours in no other way.

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

I can see my ego gone when I realize that it has simply been my view of what I have been, my egoic persona. My view of who I am has changed, and for that I am grateful. But I still make missteps, and I still fall prey to the ego. I would be gone with all of this foolishness, sooner rather than later.

Help me to truly know that the ego was a bad delusion. I would walk Your way always. And I need help to do so. Please send that help to me today.

Amen.

The Road to Hell Is Paved with Good Intentions

van gogh - wheatfield with crows“While you continue to see the call of this course as a call to goodness, you will surely fail. (Treatises of A Course of Love: Treatise on the Personal Self, 3.10)”

Affirmation: “Being good is not my ‘goal’ today.”

Reflections:

1 – Good Intentions

Jesus makes it easy on us. We don’t have to make extravagant attempts to be “good” to fulfill his requirements in this course. Why? We would surely fail. Good intentions, we have always been told, are not enough. And it is good intentions that prompt us to be “good” (an interpretation, not stated in ACIM or ACOL).

2 – Failure

Jesus makes the comparison between a failure to stick to a diet and the failure to be consistently good. We always fail to live up to our ideal.

3 – Change

Later on, Jesus says in the Dialogues that we will simply make a decision to change some trait about ourselves, because it is a mistake, and then we will simply see that trait disappear. Thus he does not feel a call to have us seek goodness in and of itself. He is not even calling us to be perfect, which seemed to be a biblical injunction. In ACIM, Jesus points out that he stands at the end of the pathway to correct all mistakes that we could not correct. Let this be enough for us. Jesus will stand by us. He will do for goodness what we cannot do.

4 – No Lament

The certainty of failure as we seek to be “good” is not a cause for lament. It is a statement of fact. And hidden in the assertion is the truth that we do not have to try to be good. This goodness will come about naturally as we walk further along the pathway. Of course, if the ego gets involved, we will fall away from the correct walk. But Jesus also says, further along in this chapter, that the ego is gone now. What a delightful thing to hear!

5 – Reread ACOL

If the ego is indeed gone, we are following Jesus’s way in A Course of Love. Don’t be sure, though. The ego is wily, and sometimes we have to read and reread ACOL to get its message. But get its message we will, and then we are assured a happier walk through the earth.

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

I was not so good yesterday, and so the message for today speaks to me as well as to my readers. Thank You for the timing of this message. It is true, so true, that my good intentions are not enough, for surely that is of the ego, and I will surely fail. May I start each day over when I get on the wrong path. Help the events of my day to stay on an even keel, with nothing going awry.

Thank You for Jesus’s help, even though I struggle with the assertion that he can be anywhere, anytime—just by my call, my unequivocal call.

Be with me so that this day goes better than the one yesterday. And may I learn from my mistakes, never to repeat the same ones. I appreciate that you call my misdeeds just “mistakes,” and not “sins.” I would see nothing attracting in a mistake, and I might be tempted to repeat a sin.

Thank You for the insights that A Course of Love gives to me.

Amen.

What Has Caused Unhappiness?

van gogh - plain
“While society would seem to have done so much to cause your unhappiness, and while you have in turn blamed it as much as it blamed you, you never blamed anything quite as much as you blamed yourself.

“This is the vengeful self we eliminate now. (Treatises of A Course of Love: Treatise on the Personal Self, 3.5 – 3.6)”

Affirmation: “I would forgive myself today, letting go of any vengeful self.”

Reflections:

1 – Forgiveness of Self

How hard it is to forgive ourselves for what we have NOT done to ourselves. We blame ourselves for our pain, especially when we are not able to keep pain from turning into suffering. We still harbor thoughts that we were responsible, in some nefarious way, for the separation from God (the illusory separation). And so we blame ourselves most of all.

2 – Projection

Yet this blame is projected unto others, and harms our relationships all around. What misery we concoct for ourselves! We need to end this insanity.

3 – Vengeful Self

Jesus would have us turn aside from the vengeful self. And he offers the antidote today. We do not need to assign blame, lest of all to others and ourselves. We dipped into madness for a long, long time–all of us. And we are finding our way back to sanity and the real world now. What better way to spend our time?

4 – Self-Blame

So we blamed others, “society,” but we, most of all, blamed ourselves for our predicament. And then we found it hard to forgive either others or ourselves. This kind of thinking needs to go. It must be forsaken once and for all, if we are to make any progress at all.

5 – Better Way to View

Turn now to your better judgment, informed by guidance. Does it not seem that there is a better way to look this world in which we are embedded? Is not it really a benign world, waiting for us to paint our meanings upon it? Decide today to paint no perilous dramas on this world. Decide for a perfectly “calm and quiet” (from ACIM) day.

6 – End Result

And such can be our experience.

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

I would be happy today. The first thing that I need to do, with Your help, is to make this determination. Then I need to calm down so that serenity comes to me. Then I will be immune to anger and its all-too-often attack. Be with me today to see that I walk the straight and narrow.

Thank You for the increased happiness that You have given me for very many years now. I also owe a debt to Jesus for his channeled words in A Course in Miracles and A Course of Love. My happiness has increased exponentially since discovering ACIM many years ago. Thank You for this.

May we, together, choose happy hours in our happy day. May we reach out to others, bringing them happiness as well. While we cannot make another happy, we certainly can and do make them miserable when our thoughts, words, and actions go awry.

I would have nothing go awry today, and, with Your help, a good day is ensured.

Amen.

No Matter What the Cost

sainte-victoire-lauves - cezanne“The ego-self’s only desire was for you to ‘grow up’ into its version of an independent being. . .no matter what the cost. (Treatises of A Course of Love: Treatise on the Personal Self, 2.12)”

Affirmation: “I would be independent only with God giving me guidance home.”

Reflections:

1 – Independence

We like to feel that we are independent, and Jesus, just earlier than this passage for today, indicates that previously we have seen ourselves as rebellious adolescents. This is not far from the truth, but it is time, perhaps, to let the image go. We are adolescents no longer, but The Accomplished, however much we may resist this assertion as a malady set forth by the ego. It is not egoic thinking to realize that we have learned much in the course of studying A Course of Love. Jesus is ready for us to recognize that our seeking needs to end, for otherwise we will be on an endless treadmill.

2 – Ego

The ego-mind’s version of independence is deplorable. We thought that we would use our right judgment to make all decisions independent of any Higher Power. But we can’t know enough to make wise decisions; we can’t know all features of the past and future, let alone the present. So we are stymied if we don’t accept God’s guidance. We will make little headway.

3 – Suffering

We accepted many costs associated with the reign of the ego. We suffered. But though we may still know pain, being finite beings in a physical body, that pain does not now have to turn into suffering. We can rise above.

4 – Only the Ego’s Independence Is Deplorable

Be sure that independence is not bad–just the ego’s version of independence. And growing up to all of our powers, our Self’s powers, is what Jesus would have us do now. We think too little of him if we do not follow this wholly welcome advice.

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

I would drop the ego today. I have made this declaration repeatedly, but always the ego tends to sneak back in. I must make my resolution stick. Help me to do so.

A big part of my succeeding in leaving the ego behind will hinge on my relationships to my significant others. My brothers and sisters are my way. And I would be good to them today. Help me always to be good to them.

I would listen to guidance today. It has never failed me, when I have been tranquil enough to catch the right drift. But I would not act in an emotional way, which can confuse my mind. Help me to be rational and peaceful, not overwrought. And then my decisions will be right on the beam. Thank You.

Amen.

Tiny, Mad Idea

cezanne - bowls of fruit
“It is impossible for you to imagine this holiness [of the Self] with the concepts of the thought system you heretofore have relied upon. This thought system has allowed only the acceptance of a reality within certain parameters, for it has not allowed you to imagine being able to take steps ‘back’ to the God you believe you left in defiance, or the self you believe you abandoned there. (Treatises of A Course of Love: Treatise on the Personal Self, 2.11)”

Affirmation: “I can believe that to separate from God was a ‘tiny, mad’ idea.”

Reflections:

1 – Madness

Earlier I suggested some “reasons” for a presumed separation from God, “reasons” set forth by individuals other than Jesus. Elsewhere, near this passage, Jesus indicates that we don’t have to look for a reason, though we have done so for eons. And maybe there was no reason other than madness. The “tiny, mad” idea is set forth early in the Text of A Course in Miracles, and this ACIM passage goes on to say that we “forgot to laugh.” And so the mad idea became possible of effects, without a cause. If this reasoning is sound, then we need look no further for reasons for a fall of humankind. There is no reason except madness.

2 – Guilty?

In today’s passage, we are almost seen as feeling guilty for this lapse, this separation. So we don’t look further for its cure. But there is a reason to look for the cure. And in that reason we move from the ego-self, to the personal self (also a persona) that is informed by the Self/Christ from within.

3 – God Is Not Angry with Us

If we can believe that we did not leave God in defiance, and especially if we can believe all that ACIM and ACOL have told us about God, we know that He is not “angry” with us. He has never condemned us, and so He also has no need to forgive us. What a glorious promise this is! We are redeemed, when we have walked the pathway back. The “journey without distance” (from ACIM) is as though we stand at the end of the pathway, looking back, and the carpet rolls up in retrospect.

4 – We Relive the Past

Jesus indicates that we do indeed stand at the end of the journey, that all that we experience now is in the past. We simply look back, reliving, a journey in which we are retracing our steps. The “tiny, mad” idea met with a Solution (the Holy Spirit) at the very point of the inception of the mad idea.

5 – Leave the Ego Behind

So let us decide today that we are through with all this egoic madness. We are, in fact, through with it, if we believe Jesus’s assertion that we are reliving the past. And so today is just as good as any day to take ourselves lightly as we retrace our steps.

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

I would leave behind this tiny, mad idea of separation today. I did not leave God out of defiance, though I may have believed this for a very long time. And now is the time to return. I am ready, from a personal standpoint. But good intentions are not enough. I need You. Be with me as I make this transition into sanity.

Thank You.

Amen.

You Did Not Separate from God Out of Defiance

[Y]ou believed that every step in the advancement of your separated state was a step away from God and your real Self. This belief was based in logic, but the logic of the illusion in which you believed you chose to separate from God out of defiance and a desire to be one with God no longer. This could not be further from the truth and is the cause of all your suffering, for contained within this belief was the belief that with each successful step toward independence came a corresponding step away from God. (Treatises of A Course of Love: Treatise on the Personal Self, 2.5)”

Affirmation: “I can be independent and yet one with God.”

Reflections:

1 – Fall from Grace

We for a long time have believed, almost in the marrow of our bones, that we fell from grace by willfully separating from God. And that this fall made the suffering which we have known. We have lamented this lapse of ours, this lapse in good judgment, and we have sought to return to God.

2 – More Benign Separation

But might not there be a more benign way to view the separation, seeing it as separation even as it is also seen as ultimately illusory?

3 – Ruth Montgomery

Ruth Montgomery’s Guides told her (in automatic writing) that we were sparks sent out from God to experience all that we might wish to experience, returning eventually to God as enlightened beings who had known what it was to explore. It seems likely to me that this interpretation holds something akin to what Jesus tells us in A Course of Love. Of course, he does not use the same terms, but the concept is very similar.

4 – A Choice by God

In the interpretation which Ruth gave us, we were sent out from God by Himself. He chose for us to depart from Him. We did not fall from grace. We found a way to develop independence and to gain experience of good and evil. This is part of the doctrine of the “fortunate fall.” And so not so unlike traditional theologies of Christianity.

5 – Do Not Lament the Past

Jesus is about to say that we ought not to lament what has transpired in illusion and in the past. We can move forward in the sunlight today. He will be out Guide, until the our own Christ Self steps forth. And our own transformation into Christ-consciousness happens. (Remember that Christ-consciousness is elsewhere called the Awakening–in ACIM–and enlightenment–in Eastern faiths.

6 – Do Not Lament the Separation

So do not lament the separation. But know that it can be overcome without giving up any at all of our treasured independence, as long as that independence is informed by our heart as trusted guidance. As long as the ego-mind is in the ascendancy, we will not trust guidance, and we will seek to use our own judgment to make decisions. By now we have in all likelihood recognized some of the fallacy involved in such thinking, but remnants may still remain. As long as we know that we cannot know all the facts–past, present, and future–in anything at all, we will be led gently to put our faith in a deeper truth available to us, frequently, as intuition.

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

I would pray today, I would pray a great deal. You know that I need to do so. And the blessings that I pray for others, I find, come back to me. While this does not sound very selfless, it is Your way. You bless us in proportion to how much we ask for blessings for others. But this is personal interpretation, or personal experience, and I do not know if it is always Your way.

May I move closer to Christ-consciousness today. I am patient, in my better moments. The glimpses You have given me, the guidance that You give me moment-by-moment, is indeed a joyous happening. And I would wish for my significant others, today, the same joy which I feel. And that joy is great indeed.

Thank You for holding me tightly to Yourself.

Amen.

Treatise on the Personal Self

van gogh - pasture“The choice to represent your Self in form was a choice for separation but not because separation itself was desired as you have assumed. This is the assumption you have accepted in much the same way you have accepted your free will as that which allows you to be separate from and independent of God. Once this assumption was accepted, the duality of your existence became paramount, became the only means (Treatises of A Course of Love: Treatise on the Personal Self, 2.3)”

Affirmation: “There is a good way to view the separation, and I seek to find that way today.”

Reflections:

1 – ACIM vs. ACOL

We have, most all of us, been taught that the separation from God was a bad thing. We were also taught, in A Course in Miracles, that this separation was an illusion, that we could not separate from God because we are part of Him. Now Jesus is expanding upon ACIM to let us know in A Course of Love that a separate form and the independence that it implies do not always mean that we leave out God.

2 – Gnostic Influence

In ACOL, the physical form is championed much more than it was in ACIM. There was much Gnostic influence in A Course in Miracles, and the maya (illusion) in which we are caught seemed to imply that we would be better off without physical form at all. But A Course of Love ends, in the Dialogues, with a new being for us: an elevated Self of form. And this is seen as desirable, a new experience for humankind. The Self is the Christ Self, the Self who has been lurking inwardly, waiting for emergence at our new being.

3 – No Dualism

We do not actually live in a dualistic universe. What does that mean? That there are boundaries among various worlds and concepts, including most precisely the body and the mind. But repeatedly in ACOL we are told that unity is our way, that everything is One, and that that One exists in disparate parts with which we are to be in relationship. And that One is God. There are not gods everywhere, but one God immanent throughout all that exists, whether seen or unseen.

4 – Separation

So we ought to seek to make our separation meaningful, and that sense of meaning comes from knowing that we can be as independent as we wish, but that the best life is one in which we accept guidance from the Unseen, God. Our judgments pale in comparison to knowing what to say or do next. Our inspired ways become the way that life becomes joyful to us.

5 – One = All

And then separation loses its negative aspects. We are One in relationship to All.

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

I would realize today that my personal self is part of the whole, part of You. And this monism is a cause for rejoicing. Thank You that You are here for me, and thank You that You have always been here for me, even when I didn’t recognize the blessing that this is.

May I enjoy my physical body in this world. I do not have to lament that I live on this earth. There is a way to find You even here. And I ask to find You today and every day.

Amen.

Can Jesus Be Anywhere, Anytime?

Jardin Mirbeau aux Damps - pissarro
“Forget not who you truly are, but forget not also to be in joy in your experience here. Remember that the seriousness with which you once looked at life is of the ego. Drape your persona in a mantle of peace and joy. Let who you are shine through the personal self who continues to walk this world a while longer. Listen for my voice as I guide you to your purpose here and linger with you in this time to end all time. (Treatises of A Course of Love: Treatise on the Nature of Unity and Its Recognition, 13.6)”

Affirmation: “May I listen for the voice of Jesus today.”

Reflections:

1 – Jesus

Only fairly recently have I taken Jesus at his word that he is here with us, given “one unequivocal call” (from A Course in Miracles).

2 – Norman Vincent Peale

Previously I was much influenced by the many books by Norman Vincent Peale in the last century. He told many stories of sensing the presence of Jesus in times of great need, stories that included himself as well as recounted tales from other people. I was especially impressed by one story of a secular business leader who was coming to the end of his life and had little faith, finding himself out of control and fearful. His minister (not Dr. Peale) recommended that he talk to Jesus as though he were a business partner, drawing up a chair by his sick bed, and surmising what Jesus’s responses might have been. Later on, it became clear that Jesus became for this former tycoon much more than a business partner, but a tender and gentle healer. When he died, one hand was outstretched from his bed to the chair that was always drawn up beside the bed. And his face was peaceful.

3 – Law of Physics?

Can we not see that there must be some law of physics not yet discovered that allows Jesus to be just anywhere, at any time? He has walked further back to God than any of us, and, according to such psychics as Edgar Cayce, he is our leader here. Not all individuals choose him as a leader, but we are among those who do, as evidenced by the reading that we seek out.

4 – Insomnia

I have found it a great comfort in the middle of the night, when awake (for sometimes I have insomnia), to realize that there is nothing to fear, though the night is dark, the hours before dawn stretching a long way. I know that everything will look better in the morning. But when I imagine that I am not alone, for I have asked for divine companionship, the anxieties that used to plague just disappear in the mists of the night air outside my window.

5 – Carry Life Lightly

We do not need to live this life in a serious vein. Jesus himself could be serious, but according to biblical accounts, he also relaxed in the company of his disciples and enjoyed social interaction as well, even with those who were despised by the authorities of the day. Life is carried more easily if it is not carried with an air of seriousness. The lighthearted touch is the benign touch. And the healing touch. The seriousness that we have all known, at least from time to time, has been of the ego. So let’s resolve to let that part of our persona dissipate now.

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

I need the hand of Jesus today. I need this hand very much. I have much new to be grateful about, and I thank You for those new aspects to my life. That these blessings come after prayer, or asking, is obvious. May I always remember that prayer brings about miracles in a way that nothing else can or does.

May Jesus walk with me today, in lightheartedness and no seriousness that is unnecessary. Thank You for Your reassurances that all is well, that there is nothing here that You can’t handle.

Amen.

You Have a Persona

Le-Repos-2 - manet“While the personal self is the subject of the next treatise, this is my invitation to you, specifically, to enter into a holy and personal relationship with me, specifically. While you are here, you have a persona. While this persona is no longer an ego self but a Christ self, it is still a persona. (Treatises of A Course of Love: Treatise on the Nature of Unity and Its Recognition, 13.3)”

Affirmation: “May my persona mean only good today.”

Reflections:

1 – Relationship with Jesus

Just before the passage for today, Jesus calls upon us to form a personal relationship to him. He is more exacting in A Course of Love than he had been in A Course in Miracles. He indicates further on in ACOL that he IS the way, and we need to realize this. It is indeed true that if we have come this far, he is the way that we ourselves have chosen. In A Course in Miracles, though, he indicated only that we could gain much more if we took him as a personal friend, but he could still help us even if we did not choose to develop a personal relationship.

2 – Jesus as Our Guide

We don’t have to discount the many people of this world who choose another pathway. We do know that there are many teachers (an assertion from the Manual of ACIM), and that each teach a different form of the universal curriculum. But at this point in A Course of Love, Jesus would have us make a deliberate choice for him as our guide. Much later on in the Dialogues, he resigns as our teacher and sees himself as an equal to ourselves.

3 – Bad Example

We do have a persona here, and it behooves us to make that persona attractive to this world. What can we do as individuals on a spiritual pathway if we are constantly having run-ins with the people we encounter? We present a bad example of what our spiritual readings are teaching us. And none of us would have it so.

4 – No Idle Fantasy

So let us choose that personal relationship with Jesus today. We do not have to maintain that close a tie, if we do not gain anything from such a choice. But give him a chance. And see if you are not surprised, when you imagine walking along in this world, holding the hand of Jesus. He said in ACIM that this would be no idle fantasy.

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

I would choose Jesus as my guide today, once and for all. He does not want to dictate to me what to do, but he does want me in close touch with God. He will help bring about a better day for me. And for other people. We all benefit from listening to his guidance.

I would set a good example today. This may be easier said than done. Help me to walk the fine line between being coerced in my daily activities and choosing a compliant attitude that allows me to get along well with others. None of us needs to have interpersonal difficulties in daily life when we stay close to You.

Amen

Tending Your Garden

la-prominade-75 - monet“This holy relationship is what you are called to cultivate as a gardener cultivates her garden. The gardener knows that although the plant exists fully realized within its seed, it also needs the relationship of earth and water, light and air. The gardener knows that tending the garden will help it to flourish and show its abundance. The gardener knows she is part of the relationship that is the garden. (Treatises of A Course of Love: Treatise on the Nature of Unity and Its Recognition, 12.10)”

Affirmation: “I will spend time tending my garden today.”

Reflections:

1 – Holy Relationship

The holy relationship is a relationship not only with others, but also with the Self. We reach inwardly and outwardly. And we tend what we find there. What exactly do we do?

2 – Meditative Work

There are ways that we can enhance our relationship to our Self as well as with our brothers and sisters. Earlier, Jesus mentioned meditation, yoga, affirmations as ways to grow in grace (though he did not use that term “grace”). Tending the garden is an ongoing process that in itself is meditative. Think of the gardener who loves the work of a physical garden. Do he/she not feel rejuvenated by the work that is done in the garden? It is the same here in the realm of the mind and heart, the wholeheartedness that Jesus has set forth. We do not struggle to tend. We just relax in the meditative expanse of our days.

3 – Ego

The ego would try to tend the plants without relationship (from ACOL). The ego would believe that relationship is not primary, and that the personal self is all that is important. When we are selfishly hung up on the ego, we are not mindful of our Self or of others. Sometimes someone will wonder if we actually “like” people, perhaps including ourselves. We may be so hung up on personal problems that we think that the only one we can care about is ourselves: It is enough just to keep ourselves going, and we can’t mind other people as well. They are seen as a distraction.

4 – Special Relationships

This set of mind, that relationship is unneeded and even impossible, given our state of mind, is just where the ego would have us be. The ego thinks that holy relationships, especially, are beside the point. The only relationship which the ego thinks of any benefit to the personal self is the special relationship. And we know where this leads. To pain and sometimes suffering.

5 – Special into Holy Relationships

But when we turn our special relationships into holy ones, we tend our garden in the process. This metaphor of the garden is particularly dear to the heart of Jesus, we must intuit. Later on, in the Dialogues of A Course of Love, he devotes a whole chapter to the concept. Here he is just getting started with the topic.

6 – Neurosis

Try to think today of ways that you can leave neurosis behind, and with neurosis, the ego. Try to become acquainted with the Self today. Leave time for others, for the holy relationships that we are developing with our brothers and sisters. The time of today will be well spent, and we will have followed Jesus’s advice to tend our garden.

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

I would tend my garden today, especially my relationship to my Self and my significant others. If others are stressed, I would remain calm, secure in the Self, leaving the ego behind. Help me especially to be patient today.

This day can go smoothly if I remember You. You are my Rock, my assurance that what I do with Your blessing will turn out alright.

Help me to think and to do with Your blessing today.

Amen

Replacing the Ego Is a Miracle

paintings-by-hilaire-germain-edgar-degas-7
“While you have learned much here, you may be thinking that your ego is still very much with you, and wondering, if you have not yet replaced it, how this miracle will come about. This replacement is indeed a miracle and the very miracle you have been prepared for within this course of learning. (Treatises of A Course of Love: Treatise on the Nature of Unity and Its Recognition, 11.17)”

Affirmation: “I would see the miracle that replaces the ego today.”

Reflections:

1 – Recognizing Miracles

We are used to the word “miracle,” but we are not used to recognizing in our own lives when we have experienced miracles. We dismiss them as coincidences or just lucky breaks. But if we start paying attention to such incidents in our own lives, it is very, very possible that we will see an increase in the number and the depth of such experiences–and these will be miracles that we are coming to recognize as such.

2 – Read ACOL

How will we replace in the ego in ourselves? One distinct means that Jesus recommends in this passage is the reading of A Course of Love, the learning therein which will be ours. We do not intensely study ACOL, for that would be counterproductive, but we are encouraged to read it repeatedly until its words become our own. We can even, effortlessly, memorize large chunks of it, and when we need solace, the memorized passages will pop into our minds to comfort us.

3 – Cessation of Ego Mind

We are being prepared for a cessation of the ego mind. While it will not be destroyed, it will be greatly diminished, so that it will not disturb our equilibrium. We are being prepared for the miracle of Christ-consciousness. In a short while in our reading, we will go to the mountaintop with Jesus (from the Dialogues of A Course of Love), and there for 40 days and 40 nights, we will finally learn how to ascend. (The 40 days and 40 nights have previously been considered; see the About page at the top of this blog.)

4 – Get Out of the Mire

May the miracle come sooner rather than later. Jesus needs us to learn, in his way, soon. This world needs us, and we will not fulfill our potential as long as we are mired in the ego-mind.

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

I would get out of the mire today, the mire of the ego mind. I have taken steps in that direction, but always I have taken a backward step after a forward one or two. Has there been progress? Only You can say. I hope that there has been progress, and in my better moments I think that there has been.

The world does need us, but not as proselytizers for whom our brothers and sisters are not ready. I need to touch the lives of individuals who are ready for the message of ACOL. I need to touch the lives of individuals who are ready for the message of A Course in Miracles. I cannot make the determination of who is ready, but You can. Guide my words today.

Thank You.

Amen

From Ego Self to Christ Self

degas - dancer2“The alternative is replacing belief in an ego self with belief in a Christ self. Total replacement. As long as you hang on to both identities the world will not change and you will not know who you are. You may think you know, and you may waste much time in perceived battles, valiantly fighting for good to win out over evil. But this is not the new way and the lack of value from this type of effort can surely now be seen. (Treatises of A Course of Love: Treatise on the Nature of Unity and Its Recognition, 11.16)”

Affirmation: “I will contemplate my Christ self today.”

Reflections:

1 – Move Away from the Ego Self

We need to move away from the ego self into allowing (and that is the salient word) the Christ self. We don’t have to worry that we are not ready. We are ready as soon as we start our contemplation. While we may not know Awakening now (and maybe not for a long time), we can–in all likelihood–catch glimpses of this new self. And we will be the better for it. We will drop our conflicts and our complexes. We will drop our anger and our attack. And we will see peace where conflict, complexes, anger, and attack had been.

2 – Pipe Dream?

We cannot live in two different worlds simultaneously. We need to realize that we would not hold on to the ego self any longer. While this may seem a pipe dream, it is anything but. It is the way of the New, and the Treatise on the New (previously considered–see the About page, above) spells this out for us.

3 – Real World

We drop the egoic world by becoming more mindful of the real world (an interpretation, not stated in A Course in Miracles or A Course of Love). Mindfulness is recommended in ACOL, though not in ACIM. We are living in the time of Christ as we study ACOL, and that time means that mindfulness, meditation, yoga, and affirmations are all ways that we can draw closer to God. Jesus gets very specific with us in his helps.

4 – Drop Battles

We do not need to worry about whether or not good will win out over evil. It will. We do not need to engage in various battles in our own minds or in our world about the relative validity of truth or falsity as a way of life. Or of good over evil. These battles are false ways of engaging with our world. And false ways of engaging with ourselves.

5 – Guidance

The best way to live in this world is to know God through guidance, and this guidance comes most of the time through our heart. We know, without knowing how we know. And when we act on that guidance, that advice, our world becomes smoother out and all is well. We are home, even while on earth, in this world.

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

I choose today to walk a smooth pathway. I choose to invite glimpses of the Christ Self who is within all of us, and I choose to invite that presence into my life today. I would not say that this can’t happen, because I know that it can. I will prove my invitation by trusting in God, living a serene and tranquil day.

Be with me as I seek You. I would not presume more than I feel, but I would not have my ego say that these dreams of mine are pipe dreams.

Take me home for a little while today.

Amen