You Are Not Really Capable of Being Tired, but You Are Very Capable of Wearying Yourself

music-in-the-tuileries-gardens-1862 - manet“You are not really capable of being tired, but you are very capable of wearying yourself. (T47)”

Affirmation: “I am not really capable of being tired”

Reflections:

1 – Two Concepts

Prior to studying this passage, we may feel that our concepts of “being tired” and “wearying” ourselves mean the same. They do not. Being tired suggests an outward invasion upon our bodies, something that is “done” to us. We can easily recognize, though, that wearying ourselves is an internal matter; we are doing this unto ourselves.

2 – Example of a Child

Of course, we may feel that we are more prone to wearying ourselves because we have gotten tired from outside factors. And this may be true. When a child, a young child, is sleepy and tired from much activity, he/she is likely to become quite rambunctious, as an outward display of the big push to keep going. Few children want to sleep when that time comes. So the wise mother or father puts the child down to sleep when the child has become cranky–if that crankiness is believed to be the cause of the upset.

3 – We Do This unto Ourselves

We need to do the same for ourselves. Few of us get enough sleep, busy as we are with stressful jobs and demanding families. We also push ourselves beyond our limits. And when we do so, we get tired. Now Jesus says that this “tiredness” is a misnomer, that we are actually wearying ourselves by our behavior.

4 – Preachers and Missionaries

Certainly it is true that there are accounts of great preachers who have preached for days on end without weariness. And there are accounts of missionaries are served for decades with demanding schedules without weariness. E. Stanley Jones is a missionary who fits this mold. He told openly of his great weariness and illness, to the point that he must quit the work; but then he had an experience of grace in which he turned the whole over to God, and from then on he was not flagging in spirit. And he retained vigor for a long, long life of service.

5 – Can We Compare?

Are we like these men and women of God? Can we claim the desire not to weary ourselves? And never to be tired, or what we call “tired”?

6 – Very Different Concepts

The two concepts of tiredness and weariness can be seen as very different. Projection makes perception, and being tired would be a conceivable invasion from beyond ourselves if we could actually be influenced by the world’s actions. The theoretical foundation of
A Course in Miracles makes clear that the world does nothing to us; we only think that it does. We are doing this unto ourselves. With this realization, we are solely in the driver’s seat.

7 – Reflect Quietly

In the workaday world, this philosophical interpretation of the influence of the world may seem far from the truth. Only in our quiet moments of reflection is it likely that a glimmering of the truth of this teaching of ACIM will become apparent. When we stop long enough to be introspective, we can see that we are wearying ourselves as we go about our daily activities. A simple change of mind can make the most onerous tasks seem more palatable. And we will recognize, in our quiet moments, that we can be strong and not tired, however much we actually do. Frequently a change of attitude is all that is needed. But this change is spiritual, and we may need a miracle to see its realization. Pray for that miracle.

Prayer:

Dear Father,

May I realize the truth that wearying myself is something that I do to myself. It can be undone by a quiet moment of reflection.

Thank you that the world does nothing to me. I only thought that it did. And this includes the thought that I am tired. May we learn that being tired is not actually done by the world to us, but wearying ourselves is done to ourselves by ourselves.

Amen.

Only Those Who Give Over All Desire to Reject Can Know that Their Own Rejection Is Impossible

manet - fifer“Only those who give over all desire to reject can know that their own rejection is impossible. (T48)”

Affirmation: “give over all desire to reject”

Reflections:

1 – Rejection Is of the Ego

Rejection is of the ego, and once we relinquish the desire to reject our brother, we too know that our Self cannot be rejected by God. This may be hard to incorporate into our self-image. We may have played rejection records–going around and around on an illusory turntable–for years. Some of us never quite get over the first rejection from a romantic interest in high school. But knowing that rejection is of the ego, we can soothe our troubled memories.

2 – God Never Rejects

Knowing this is a great release. We cannot be rejected by God! What a glorious incentive to give up the ego. Knowing that God does not reject may seem cold comfort in our low moods. We may not feel the warmth of His presence as we do at other times. We may wish for a human being to return our love, and that reciprocation just may be lacking from our lives.

3 – What to Do in Romantic Rejection

What do we do then? What if a special someone has rejected us, and we cannot seem to get beyond the hurt? We can know that love does not ever leave us–just sometimes it comes in other forms than the romantic package that our culture has led us to see as the greatest blessing. Actually the romantic love of our culture is defining a special relationship, and A Course in Miracles counsels us that this is of the ego, not read at all. Even when we are in a relationship, we are counseled to turn that specialness into the holy. That is the only way to find lasting peace. That is truly the only way to love authentically.

4 – Worst Experiences

All of us have known rejection. We may remember these incidents as among the worst of our life. But we do not have to be wounded irreparably. There is a way out. Once we have started to turn away from the ego, our perceptions are cleansed, and we at that time know less rejection from others. This is a principal motivator of ACIM. And once motivation has been increased, we are well on our way to the Atonement.

5 – Disappointments

Rejection from others, or our own personal rejection of self or others, can be one of the main disappointments in life. Once we truly realize that it is ourselves who have initiated any rejection, even when it seems to come from others, we are healed. “Projection makes perception,” as ACIM tells us. We had a hand in our own rejection. And we can choose again. Indeed, we must choose again–if we are to be healed.

Prayer:

Dear Father,

May we realize that in rejection, we are in the driver’s seat. We have made this situation, however much we may try to blame others. Help us especially not to blame You.

I thank You for the time that healed my own experiences with rejection from others. I thank You that now my significant relationships are in the process of being turned into holy relationships. May I do my part to see this process continue and to be completed, in Your good time.

May we cease to contemplate rejection in any form. When this is accomplished, we will be well on our way to Atonement, a lasting Atonement.

Amen.

Dream of Your Brother’s Kindnesses Instead of Dwelling in Your Dreams on His Mistakes

impressionist paintings“Dream softly of your sinless brother, who unites with you in holy innocence. And from this dream the Lord of Heaven will Himself awaken His beloved Son. Dream of your brother’s kindnesses instead of dwelling in your dreams on his mistakes. Select his thoughtfulness to dream about instead of counting up the hurts he gave. Forgive him his illusions, and give thanks to him for all the helpfulness he gave. And do not brush aside his many gifts because he is not perfect in your dreams. He represents his Father, Whom you see as offering both life and death to you. (T-27.VII.15)”

1 – What We Dwell Upon

We can choose what we dwell upon. We don’t have to replay the bad things in our minds. We can remember the good times, and the good things that our brother has done for us—and said to us.

2 – Safety

If we drop from our studied concentration the things that we resent, we will have walked a long way toward recognizing that we are safe.
“Love holds no grievances. When I let all my grievances go I will know I am perfectly safe. (W-68)”

3 – Viewing Our Brother/Sister

A Course in Miracles asked us to view our brother as he appears to us. We are to see his form, his physical body, and contemplate what about that form so attracts us. This emphasis on the physical is characteristic of A Course of Love, the channeled writing that follows ACIM. We are not to denigrate the physical, something that we have often been led to do in the past in order to advance spiritually. We are here on this earth in form, and it behooves us to turn toward, rather than away, from that which we see all around us. If we let go of our grievances toward these forms, these physical embodiments of our brothers and sisters, then we will feel perfectly safe on earth. We will know that nobody harms us except with the permission of our greater Self, the Christ within.

4 – Our Brother’s Gifts

We are not to brush aside our brother’s gifts because he does not appear perfect to us. We are to dwell on his kindnesses, all of the many things in our relationship that has brought great meaning to us and great joy. The passage, above, ends with a curious rejoinder to reflect on the fact that our brothers represents our Father—God—to us, whom we see as offering both life and death. Of course, we know that such an interpretation lacks something. God does not, after all, offer death but a lifetime in eternity. Death is another of the many illusions in which we are caught in this world and the one beyond. But if our brother represents God to us, then we can see why our special relationships need to transform into holy. We can see why our relationship to our brother is the means that A Course in Miracles uses to bring us to Awakening. We are seeing God in our brother, but not in an idolatrous way. We are seeing God in a form that we can recognize.

5 – Personal Experience

Other people can lead us to God, and not by proselytizing us. (We would not be open to that; it would drive us farther away.) We can see the example that they set, and we can rejoice. I myself was brought to a mystical understanding of what prayer can mean by a college professor of mine. He had changed in the two years since I had seen him, a calmer man, a more self-assured man who did not vacillate in moving toward and away from life.

When I exclaimed, “You’re solid as a rock! How did you get that way?,” he replied with one word, “Prayer.”

Oh, what a difference that one-word sermon has made in my life! I knew that I wanted what I saw he had developed in his personality. I wanted the peace that gives a solidarity to the human personality.

6 – Joy

So dwell in your thinking on that which gives you joy about your brother. If you have had disagreements with him, let those drop from your mind. The disagreements will fuel resentment, surely the least loveable of characteristics. Think instead of the good that has come between you. And in this thinking is even the most dysfunctional relationship moved to healing.

Affirmation: “I will see the good things that my brother does today.”

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

Help me to remember today the good things that people have done to me. Let me drop from my mind any resentments or antagonisms or hates that have occurred to me over the years. Help me to know that I find safety in this world, I know that I am safe, when I have dropped entirely any and all grievances.

Be with us today. Help us to be grateful for the many right things that have happened to us over the years.

Help me to reach out to others when they are open to it. Don’t let me to make decisions about them that rightfully are not mine to make. Help me to be tolerant.

Amen.

Devotion to a Brother or Sister Cannot Set You Back

cezanne - bowls of fruit
“The Bible says that you should go with a brother twice as far as he asks. It certainly does not suggest that you set him back on his journey. Devotion to a brother cannot set you back either. (T52)”

Affirmation: “Devotion to a brother cannot set me back”

Reflections:

1 – Masculine and Feminine Gender in ACIM

A “brother” in A Course in Miracles always includes brothers and sisters, and it means a companion, another person in this world who needs our compassion. (A Course in Miracles was scribed in the sixties, and inclusive gender language had not yet become inherent in our writing. This aspect of ACIM has become controversial, especially among younger students/teachers.) A brother or sister is someone in the world who may need us in ways that we can answer, or who may need us in ways that we cannot answer. ACIM recommends tolerance of differences, but in no way does ACIM imply that one is to disregard one’s own better instincts in order to cater to a brother or sister. We may walk farther along a pathway, due to the tolerance that we are encouraged to adopt, but we do not do anything to lengthen the journey that our brother or sister has set upon. After all, all of us are on a “journey without distance” (from ACIM), and we do not actually have to “go” anywhere at all to find our way to the spark of divinity which is within.

“The journey to God is merely the reawakening of the knowledge of where you are always, and what you are forever. It is a journey without distance to a goal that has never changed. (T-8.VI.9)”

2 – Go the Extra Mile

It is important to note here that we are to follow the biblical injunction of going the distance with our brother. We are to go the extra mile. But we are not encouraged to send our brother searching alone for his (or her) pathway; we are to help him in the best way that we know how. This best way may not always be apparent. Sometimes we can help best by stepping back, and only smiling at him (or her); this is stated in the Manual of ACIM We are bade to pay attention to what our brother is ready for. And this may not be readily apparent, and so we need to think carefully before we act. If we ourselves cannot be hurt by a brother (and we cannot be), then we have nothing to fear from him–even when he misunderstands us. We may need to absence ourselves from him in such cases, though. Though A Course in Miracles does not say so, sometimes absence from the picture is a loving thing to do. We are not the right person for every other person, because we differ radically in our personalities (from the Manual of ACIM). Our personalities are quite distinct.

3 – No Lost Ground

Also important to this passage is the fact that our devotion to our brother cannot cause us to lose ground. Our pathway, according to ACIM, is found in our devotion to our brother, rather than through long periods of contemplation. Our way, according to the Course, is forgiveness, which leads to love, of our brother. Forgiveness of our brother will lead us to Awakening. So will contemplation, though Jesus states that this other way can be tedious, and we are encouraged to follow our way, which A Course in Miracles spells out in abundant detail.

4 – We Don’t Lose by Helping

If it seems that we have walked farther along our metaphorical pathway than our brother, know that if he/she has been “given” to us, then our companionship with him/her will not set us on a longer pathway home. Each of us is given certain others to whom we can fulfill a teaching role, and this occurs even if we are new students of A Course in Miracles. As soon as we have answered the call, these others will begin seeking us. We will know internally which new faces surrounding us really need us in some way that we can fulfill. And this may take patience. Not everyone is ready at the point of introduction. But if we stay in close touch with the Answer (the Holy Spirit), we will be led in how to conduct a given relationship. Our own desires for special relationships will fall away as we seek to make each encounter holy. And our ongoing special relationships will turn holy (though this may not be without pain).

5 – We Are Here for Each Other

What better way can we spend an eternity than to “be there” for our brothers and sisters? In A Course in Miracles, this is both our primary purpose and our means of salvation leading even unto Awakening. Forgiveness of our brother and sister is the means that we use. Remember that we do not pardon real offenses; our brother and sister are innocent creatures who are doing the best that they can. They may misinterpret the signals that we give, and, if so, it is for us to pull back. But forgiveness remains the central means that we move from fear to love in ACIM. And forgiveness means that even when we get our signals crossed with a brother or sister, we are encouraged still to be loving to that individual. Knowing what to do, and when, takes great skill, and we can never succeed in this tricky business without the guidance that the Holy Spirit prompts.

Prayer:

Dear Father,

May I be the best companion to my brother. This will mean that I am there for him when he needs me. I will walk along the pathway with him.

May I recognize that devotion to my brother cannot cause me to lose ground in the quest for salvation. Devotion to my brother is the way spelled out in A Course in Miracles. Thank you for these words of encouragement and advice.

Amen.

When You Are Afraid, Be Still and Know that God Is Real

paris street - rainy day“You are part of reality, which stands unchanged beyond the reach of your ego but within easy reach of spirit. When you are afraid, be still and know that God is real, and you are His beloved Son in whom He is well pleased. (T55)”

Affirmation: “When you are afraid, be still”

Reflections:

1 – Comfort

This is a comforting passage to recall in times of fear, and, especially, if we feel that we have wronged a brother. God loves us still, and all mistakes are correctable. We are His beloved Son (or Daughter) in whom He is well pleased. What a statement that is! In fact, it compares God’s love for us with the familiar passage from the New Testament, in which Jesus received God’s blessing as His beloved son. We do not usually think of ourselves in this light. We do not usually compare ourselves to Jesus, especially when in the grip of the ego–for the egoic interpretation would have us reach toward pride, a characteristic that even the ego knows is to be avoided. The whole attitude encompassed in the passage for today would seem to be arrogant to the ego, but actually our spirit knows that we can still be humble and accept such words as these from Jesus.

2 – The World We Made Is an Illusion

There is a theoretical aspect to this passage as well: the image of “reality,” as opposed to the world that we made, which is actually, as seen by the A Course in Miracles, an illusion. The ego lives in this world of illusion, and so naturally if we are listening to the ego, we will believe that we have wronged a brother, and we will be afraid accordingly. The ego feeds upon such imaginings. We do not really understand the assertion in ACIM that we made (not created) this world in which we live. This is a theological underpinning that is beyond our scope. Yet if Jesus says it, I can recognize that there is something here that speaks to me though I do not understand it. I can recognize that my mind can indeed weave illusions, and, according to Jesus in ACIM, that is exactly what my mind has done. And all our minds. We are caught in a mass hallucination (an interpretation, not stated in ACIM).

3 – Insane World

Actually we cannot truly wrong a brother in his (or her) reality, and when we move beyond the ego to the spirit, we know this. Note that reality is within “easy” reach of spirit. This reminder we may need often, as we go about in an insane world. God never leaves us alone, though; we are always shadowed by His inner essence in ourselves, and we always have the Holy Spirit for guidance. Individuals of faith have long recognized the spark of divinity that is within us all, and that is what is meant here. We can reach to true reality, though we may get only glimpses for a long while. When Awakening dawns, we walk a new earth in the real world.

4 – Fear

It is comforting to know that we can be still and ease the fear. An advanced individual does not normally feel the fear that most of us do. But until we become that advanced individual, we still need the comfort that only God can provide.

4 – Be Still

Stillness will quell fear. This is important to remember. We need to realize that we do not have to let our worried and frantic minds exacerbate conflict. We can cease the turmoil by a turning inward, buttressed by prayer.

Prayer:

Dear Father,

When I am afraid, help me to realize that You are there for me. I do not have to retain the emotion of fear; I only need to realize that You will lead me out of that emotion.

I am within easy reach of spirit. Let me always remember this. And thank you.

Amen.

Wholly Satisfying Nature of Reality

bridgepontoise2pissarro
“Fantasies become totally unnecessary as the wholly satisfying nature of reality becomes apparent to both giver and receiver. (T15)”

Affirmation: “the wholly satisfying nature of reality”

Reflections:

1 – Eckhart Tolle

Eckhart Tolle (The Power of Now) says a good bit about his own Awakening and his joy in the immediate experience of the reality he knows now. His reality is now wholly satisfying, and, as he once said, no thought has made him unhappy since the shift into Awakening.

2 – At What Point Is Reality Satisfying?

Certainly if one has awakened, in the sense of enlightenment–what we are headed for, being prepared through A Course in Miracles–we will know the wholly satisfying nature of reality. We would under those circumstances feel little need to drop into fantasies, though I can imagine that a reflective, moving panorama of the world would elicit reveries that reflect a happy state of consciousness. Indeed, Eckhart tells of just such a state in The Power of Now. The outside world–as well as the inner–seemed fresh and new, and he was awed by what he saw and otherwise experienced. But is it right to call this reaction “fantasy”? I think not. Fantasies seem, in the teaching of ACIM, to be an example of miscreations of the mind, an idle wandering that is not actually idle at all. ACIM says that form is created on some level all the time. Now we cannot understand this, but we can imagine what is meant. And it behooves us to watch our minds and not drop into idle thoughts, thoughts that are actually not idle at all–as Jesus tells us. ACIM notes that the concept of idle thoughts is mistaken, because of the forms that are created. We are lost in miscreations of a mind ruled by the ego.

3 – Life as Easy and Joyous

We learn through A Course in Miracles that we will leave fantasies behind when we see how satisfying reality really can be. Of course, this is not the reality that most of us find ourselves a part of now. But, as we walk the pathway pointed out by the Course, we will find that life becomes increasingly easy and joyous.

4 – No Need for Escape Thoughts

With life now easy and joyous, we will feel no need to escape into fantasies. We will thank God for the new ease that we have found, now that we follow His dictates instead of trying, in vain, to depend solely upon ourselves.

Prayer:

Dear Father,

Fantasies are seductive, but ultimately unsatisfying. As we follow A Course in Miracles, we see the world turn into a wholly satisfying place. We have no need for fantasies then.

May we turn to the Holy Spirit for guidance as we seek to enter the real world, the one where fantasies are not needed.

Amen.

Fear of the Destruction of Your Thought System

van gogh - autumn tree“Your starting point is truth, and you must return to your Beginning. Much has been seen since then, but nothing has really happened. Your Self is still in peace, even though your mind is in conflict. You have not yet gone back far enough, and that is why you become so fearful. As you approach the Beginning, you feel the fear of the destruction of your thought system upon you as if it were the fear of death. (T51)”

Affirmation: “Your starting point is truth”

Reflections:

1 – Difficult Philosophical Backdrop

This is a difficult passage; it hints at a philosophical backdrop for the Course.

2 – We Are Actually Returning

We are told that we are actually “returning,” even though we have never actually left Heaven. This returning leads us to the Beginning, before the ego, in its madness, was made. This is part of the theology of A Course in Miracles, and we in all likelihood cannot expect fully to comprehend all the ramifications. We are “returning,” but we see ourselves as heading forward in time. Yet time is an illusion, and in the beginning we were with God. That is what I think that “return” really hints. We made the ego, and in the beginning it did not exist; we existed in love. And so, naturally, to the ego, its own destruction is terrifying. And as we move back, as we return, the ego–a part of our belief about ourselves–sees that its ending is sure. This, of course, is very terrifying. Indeed, we can gauge the amount of ego still in us by the fearful nature of our thinking as we study the Course.

3 – Living an Illusion

“Nothing has really happened.” Here is the point made again that we are living an illusion, and should any of us really fear an illusion? This world, until we move into the real world (also part of the Plan), is an illusion, and all of our busy doings in it are based on an illusory belief system. The ego would have us believe that we cannot function in this world without its control. But, indeed, we have found that we function poorly with its control.

4 – Our Willingness

So, at this point, ACIM asks us to take a leap of faith (though it does not call it that). We must recognize that the life we will lead without the ego will be preferable to the life that we lead with it. True to the history of the field of psychology, we need to develop an ego as we grow up, but, according to ACIM and A Course of Love, we need to give up that ego to progress spiritually as an adult. We need to be willing to walk this pathway, knowing that the end is sure, and knowing that we will not come to harm. This is not easy to see, because until we get into ACIM, the only basis of our world view has been the ego’s dictates. We think (in part because psychology has so instructed us) that we need a strong ego in order to be a strong person. Yet if we will loosen our hold on our egos ever so slightly, we will find that the opposite happens. We are stronger growing in God’s grace, giving up judgment to the Holy Spirit, and following His guidance as to what we say and do. The benefits are many, but at the very beginning of our journey, we need to suspend disbelief in the benevolence of the ego. It does not wish us well. It has never wished us well. And the time is now to give it up.

Prayer:

Dear Father,

As I study the Course, I may become fearful. This is because my ego senses its elimination.

Help me to realize that this fear can be abated by Your strength. Help me to realize that the elimination of the ego is what I really want.

Be with my brothers and sisters as they take a leap of faith into the dark, as they trust that they will function better without the ego. The ego wants proof of this assertion, and only a little willingness will supply that proof. I know that very little is actually asked of us. May we give that very little, and the joys of our new living experience will assure us that we have made the right choice.

Amen.

Distress that Rests on Error

“If pardon were unjustified, you would be asked to sacrifice your right when you return forgiveness for attack. But you are merely asked to see forgiveness as the natural reaction to distress that rests on error, and thus calls for help. Forgiveness is the only sane response. It keeps your rights from being sacrificed. (T-30.VI.2)

1 – Pardon

Pardon is always justified, in the ultimate sense, because we live in an illusory world. So nothing has really happened to us when we are attacked. We are living a dream. Only the love that we feel is real in a real world. And in this world we more often, perhaps, experience undesirable things such as attack. Why, then, since the attack hurts our personal selves, our little selves, are we called upon to forgive?

2 – Forgiveness

Forgiveness helps us. When we fail to forgive, we are pointing one finger of blame at the other person or persons, but three fingers point back at us. And this is no way to live. We can forgive or pardon, therefore, because we first recognize that nothing has happened, being an illusion, but, more importantly, the person who is attacking us is actually calling for help. He or she is experiencing distress that is based on error, sometimes for things that we ourselves have done to him or her.

3 – Listen to Your Heart

Our hearts will always tell us to answer a call for help by running to the side of the person who is calling out to us. If doing so at a particular time would not be smart, we can wait, but sooner or later we will always be asked to answer that call for help. And in the answering, the forgiveness of the attack from him or her becomes easy. When we reach out to help another, we don’t hold anything against that person. We recognize his or her need, and we move to answer it.

4 – Personal Experience

“Distress based on error” is a enlightening concept. I have thought of this phrase often in the years since I began studying A Course in Miracles. Certainly when we live closely with another, there will be times when that person, as well as ourselves, will be overwrought. And being overwrought is a form of distress. The person is agitated and stressed, and when one is stressed, anger often follows as a result of the stress. Indeed, as I told mentioned previously in this blog, I never get angry unless I am stressed. Other people often have the same ego dynamic. And so we ought to recognize that what we know about ourselves may be shared by others with the same ego dynamics. Yes, it is not good to attack, but in this flawed egoic world, we may attack and we may know attack from our brothers and sisters. If we have enough love in our hearts (and all of us do), we will not hold against another what he or she cannot help at the time.

5 – Extend the Pardon

So extend the same pardon that you would want if you were distressed. There is no better way. Forgiveness is the hallmark of ACIM. And love closely follows. But never forget that the distress to which we are subjected need not be taken inward. We know enough now to know that anger and attack are never justified. We do not stuff downward our own anger and attack, but neither do we vent it. We take ourselves apart and commune with God until we are quiet once again. Then will all be well.

6 – Mari Perron

Mari Perron, the scribe of A Course of Love, believes that when we have walked further along the pathway, the pathway that ACOL points out, we are no longer living in illusion. Certainly ACIM’s “real world,” seen upon Awakening, is reality based in love and forgiveness. Thus this is not illusory. But when we are studying ACIM, many of us have not yet walked far enough toward Awakening to be catching glimpses of the real world. We may truly be caught in an egoic illusion, or maya (an Eastern concept). And at such times, we must have the will to apply forgiveness or pardon when we are attacked. The other person knows no better—yet. The time will come when he or she, and well as ourselves, will know better. And then the glorious truth of who we are will open up to us. We are Sons and Daughters of God, the Christ Self within (from ACOL). And we will, in that state, freely offer pardon to all our brothers and sisters, as well as to ourselves.

Affirmation: “Forgiveness is the natural reaction to distress that rests on error.”

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

Sometimes I am confronted with people who seem to react irrationally. I can get myself all bent out of shape trying not to offend them. But if a person is truly neurotic, all of my thoughts are not helpful. They have gone deep into insanity, and for the moment may not be open to rationality.

I do not want to lose myself in the ego’s madness. I do not want to be troubled by things that I cannot help. It takes great learning to know when and where to help if the situation is difficult. The best that I can always do is to depend on You for guidance.

And I do so today. Thank You for the green light that will come on when it is time for me to act.

Amen.

Fantasies Are a Means of Making False Associations and Attempting to Obtain Pleasure from Them

vangogh_cafe1888“Fantasies are a means of making false associations and attempting to obtain pleasure from them. (T15)”

Affirmation: “May I not indulge in meaningless fantasies.”

Reflections:

1 – Fantasies Are Untruths

Many of us are prone to this unreality. We are bade to leave fantasies behind, as they are untruths that do not lead to the real world. The “false associations” are just that–lies that we tell ourselves. And would we not do well to stop lying to ourselves?

2 – Personal Experience

I once spent a an unhealthy amount of time in fantasies, not just for trying to get “pleasure” in my fantasies, but because the fantasies seemed to me to be a type of dream in which I could learn something. I wanted to learn more about my life and how I fitted into my overall picture of living. I wanted to know how I fitted in with the other people whom I knew and whom I wished to know. So I let my mind rove freely in reverie, which is a kind of fantasy.

3 – Continued. . .

Of course, I derived pleasure from these reveries as well, or I would not have continued so long in them. They were particularly prevalent, as the fantasies are for many people, when in high school I discovered boys. My first boyfriend, when I was 16, was a rich source of material for fantasy. But was this healthy? And is it healthy for anybody? I think not.

4 – Fantasies from Vivid Dreams

Later on, I had vivid dreams that seemed to me to tell me something more about my life than daily life could tell. And I enlarged on these nighttime dreams by “listening” in reverie. I do not discount that some of this fantasy may have been an attempt to make contact with the knowledge of the Holy Spirit. But in this passage for today, Jesus does not recommend such meanderings in the thought process. He will later tell us that we are much too prone to “mind wandering,” and that every thought creates form at some level.

5 – Creation of Form

While we cannot understand this form creation, we can see that we are on dangerous ground. And we can pull back.

6 – This World

When we live totally in this world, it is almost inevitable that we will find ourselves lost in fantasies. These fantasies are a way of coping in a world that seems far too cruel to allow us to live easily. But there is another way, a better way. And the Course always says the same thing: Turn to the Holy Spirit for guidance. He will lead us out of an illusory present into a real world that will bring happiness.

7 – We Do Not Have to Learn through Pain

We may still know pain, though Jesus assures us that we do not have to learn through pain. In our world, though, pain as a means of learning is more common than any other way. In the pain, we turn to God. We do not have to learn this way, but if it happens to us, we would be foolish not to take the new pathway that God points to–away from the pain. Fantasies then have no meaning in a world made anew by turning to spirit for answers and finding the wholly satisfying nature of true reality.

Prayer:

Dear Father,

I have indulged in fantasies when the world seemed too cruel. Fantasies were an escape. May, instead, I welcome Your teaching that will free me from unreal concepts of the world. Then I will find joy instead of sorrow.

May I leave fantasies behind as I follow the Holy Spirit into the real world, a world of forgiveness and joy.

May my brothers and sisters in this world also see the value of leaving behind an illusory world of fantasy. Perhaps the more we leave behind fantasy, the more ready for the real world we may become.

Amen.

Perfect Love Casts Out Fear

vangogh_selfportrait1889“Perfect love casts out fear.
If fear exists,
Then there is not perfect love.
But
Only perfect love exists.
If there is fear,
It produces a state that does not exist. (T14)”

Affirmation: “Perfect love casts out fear.”

Reflections:

1 – Syllogisms

Jesus seems fond of syllogisms. There are a number in the Course, but this is phrased in perhaps this most beautiful way of all of his syllogisms.

2 – Perfect Love

How is it possible to live in perfect love? We are aware of how often we fall short of this ideal. And this makes us feel that there is no hope for progress toward Awakening. By ourselves, we cannot live in perfect love. But with the help of the Holy Spirit, we can move closer to satori, which is a glimpse of Awakening. These glimpses can come more and more frequently as we walk the pathway. We will be so warmed by these satori that we will know that our walk is not in vain.

3 – Fear

And we must let fear fall by the wayside. How do we do this? My greatest way is to pray, heartfelt prayer. I am especially likely to become fearful when I awaken in the middle of the night, sometimes after a bad dream or even nightmare. I feel anxious, and I do not always even remember that prayer is what I need (though prayer is an obvious answer). When I get out of bed, get a drink of water, breathe deeply a few times, then return to bed, my next step is simply to ask God (or the Holy Spirit) for help. God cannot resist a request for help, and He comes immediately. The help usually comes by way of remembered conversation, reading, or my own earlier musings. These words come to mind unbidden. And they comfort in the extreme. If I am lucky, I will drift back off to sleep. But if I don’t, I tell myself that there is a reason that I am awake, praying. I recall from the New Testament that Jesus often went away from his disciples and prayed deeply. Can we not follow his example?

4 – Unreality

Here, in the exposition of the difference between love and fear, A Course in Miracles goes to the heart of the unreality in which we live. We live in illusions, not the real world, at all–at least most of us. (The real world comes near the conclusion of our pathway back to God.) When we live in illusion, we know that all of our brothers and sisters are innocent; nothing has actually happened, except in illusion, and so how could we and others not be innocent of actual happenings of wrongdoing? We are all worthy of forgiveness, and this matter of forgiving one’s brother is the way to salvation, from the viewpoint of ACIM. We do not pardon real happenings. Everyone is doing the best that he/she can, given understanding at the moment. All of us try.

5 – Self

Our illusions mean that we do not have to fear what comes, because our real Self has not been touched.

6 – Bad Dreams

Perfect love and fear are completely incompatible. This is what this passage is saying. Because most of us still feel fear upon occasion, we are lost in dreams–and not the happy dreams of the Holy Spirit. There is a danger that we will feel depressed upon reading these words. But elsewhere Jesus cautions us not to lose heart. If the way seems long, once begun the way back is always found in the end. If the way seems long, we are to take heart and to know that we will find our way back, ultimately.

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

In reality, only perfect love exists. But we frequently feel fear, and so we are not experiencing the real world on a consistent basis. When I feel anxious, I know that the best antidote is to pray to You. You set all things right–not some, but all. And in that assurance is my anxiety always eased.

May we experience the real world. If this seems a long way off, may we in the interim experience the happy dreams the Holy Spirit brings.

Amen.

Anger Is Never Justified. Attack Has No Foundation.

cezanne - bowls of fruit“Anger is never justified. Attack has no foundation. It is here escape from fear begins, and will be made complete. Here is the real world given in exchange for dreams of terror. For it is on this forgiveness rests, and is but natural. (T-30.VI.1)”

1 – Personally, Single Most Important Point

I have found the title to this post, the quotation that it embodies, the single most important point for me to apply in daily life throughout my more than 30 years of studying A Course in Miracles. The assertion flies in the face of conventional psychology, which fears suppression and even repression of negative feelings, believing that this suppression and repression are but a ticking time bomb if left in the psyche. So we are implored to get out anger out by telling it to our significant others. Explaining where we are coming from. Venting.

2 – Suppression

Do these means of handling anger—expressing, explaining, venting—really speak to the problem? It is probably very true that we risk our own mental health when we force downward, in our interior, the negative feelings that are tempted to bubble out. But ACIM does not ask this. It explains, in other passages, the essential innocence of our brother/sister. And the fact that nothing has actually happened in the illusion in which we live. He/she has not hurt our essence, which is beyond his/her reach. We are safe, once we have given up all grievances (from the Workbook). And we know that we are safe.

3 – Innocence

We are asked to forgive what has not happened, not to pardon real occurrences.

“But first, lift up your eyes and look on your brother in innocence born of complete forgiveness of his illusions, and through the eyes of faith that sees them not. (T-19.IV.D.8)

4 – Concrete Reasons, Not Blind Faith

We are not often asked to see things in the light of faith in ACIM. We are given concrete reasons for our beliefs, rather than to fall back on mysteries of faith, things that we cannot understand. But here we are to appeal to faith in the complete forgiveness of our brother, to see that he has retained his innocence and has merely made mistakes—not committed sins against us.

5 – Forgiveness

Jesus knows that when we look around us and see the consequences of “sin,” we will have a hard time in this matter of forgiveness. Yet we need not have such a hard time. When we realize that our brother’s inner Self is Christ Himself, we will esteem him rather than denounce him (from A Course of Love). And all will be well with us, for we will forgive ourselves as well.

6 – Trapped

We are trapped when we don’t forgive another for the presumed wrongs that he/she has committed against us. For in our essence, the Self within, the Christ we too are innocent, a truth that we cannot believe as long as we are holding something against another. Forgiveness is, after all, a two-way street. And that which we give, we will receive. We will hold our brother’s or sister’s sins against ourselves when we fail to forgive him/her. There can be no other dynamic going on here, for in our depths we know that he/she is innocent.

7 – Anger

We don’t need anger to satisfy the overwrought emotions of our egoic mind. We don’t need attack to keep from burying down negative emotions that will come to haunt us later on. Jesus has shown us the way out: forgiveness. We overlook the error; we simply forgive. We don’t make real the error by dwelling on it, for who can forgive what he has made real in his/her own thinking?

“The ego’s plan is to have you see error clearly first, and then overlook it. Yet how can you overlook what you have made real? By seeing it clearly, you have made it real and cannot overlook it. This is where the ego is forced to appeal to ‘mysteries,’ insisting that you must accept the meaningless to save yourself. (T-9.IV.4)”

8 – Foolishness

Let us drop this foolishness from now on. We don’t dwell on error and then overlook it. We release on it right away, and then the mistake is not compounded in our own mind. We forgive what has not occurred in reality.

9 – Smooth Walk

And then our walk is made smooth in front of us.

Affirmation: “I will turn aside from anger and attack today.”

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

I have long known that I never get angry unless I am stressed. But this knowledge has not kept me from getting angry and verbally attacking from time to time. I am shamed by this behavior, and I ask You to change me. I know that You can, and immediately. I ask for that miracle now, right now.

May I do nothing to reflect discredit upon You. And when I get angry, I am witnessing wrongly. May I witness well for You. You deserve this, of course. What more can I say?

Amen.

Salvation = Game that Happy Children Play

Starry-Night - van gogh
“Realize that this game of chance [tension between desire and accomplishment] is a pattern of the old thought system that needs to be replaced by certainty. If you have enjoyed the game of chance, play a real game and have fun doing it. Do not bring this attitude into your new thought system or your new life. If you are tired of the old, be willing to be done with the old. (Treatises of A Course of Love: Treatise on the Personal Self, 22.15)”

Affirmation: “There is no challenge in reality.”

Reflections:

1 – No Challenge to the Advanced Teacher of God

The passage for today indicates that there is no challenge—to the advanced teacher of God (from A Course in Miracles). To my mind, the tension between desire and accomplishment IS challenge. And we do not want to reinforce this attitude. We want to be done with the old.

2 – Guidance

According to the Manual of A Course in Miracles, there is no challenge to the advanced teacher of God because he/she follows guidance. He/she chooses for all humankind at the same time as choosing for the self. He/she makes no mistakes (be careful for this, for we oscillate in and out of favor), because his Guide (in ACIM, the Holy Spirit) is sure. He/she knows that his/her decisions are based on knowledge that is far beyond anything that he/she can comprehend alone.

3 – Certainty

If we are tired of playing this game of chance, in that some things turn out well and others don’t, know that we can be through with this particular game. Instead, let us play the happy game of salvation, a “game that happy children play” (from ACIM). Let us choose what we say and do with the certainty that has been denied us previously. We can know certainly only by following guidance, and, with A Course of Love, this guidance is the word coming from the inner Self, Christ. We make no mistakes when we are on the beam with this. But we have to realize that we are not perfect in this world, and mistakes will still happen. This keeps us humble, and this also keeps us listening to the inner voice of guidance.

4 – Glimpses of the Real World

Are we weary of this world? There is a way out, and it is not death. We can, most of us, catch glimpses of the real world before Awakening turns out life aright all the time. The first turning is by grace of God, but there are things that we can do to increase glimpses once they have begun. Prayer, study, and communion with God—all increase the likelihood that these glimpses will increase qualitatively and quantitatively.

5 – A Prayer

May we know more today than yesterday, and may we know more tomorrow than today. Always, though, living in the present.

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

I would be cognizant today of taking part in a real game, not a game of conflict and disaster. I would see salvation as a game that happy children play, knowing that the lighthearted touch is best.

Be with me to clue me in to the right way to proceed. And thank You for Your presence, which always brings a feeling of warmth and a feeling of being loved.

Amen.

God’s Will Identifies My Real Desire

van gogh - sunflowers
“What you desire now is the Will of God because it is your true desire, your will and God’s joined as one. (Treatises of A Course of Love: Treatise on the Personal Self, 22.14)”

Affirmation: “I desire God’s will, which is the same as my real will.”

Reflections:

1 – Guidance

An echo of A Course in Miracles, this passage for today emphasizes why we ought to listen to guidance or intuition, or whatever way in which we understand God’s Voice reaching us. If we are following ACIM, this way will be the Voice of the Holy Spirit. If we are following A Course of Love, this way will be the inner Christ leading us home. In actuality, because All is One, I see no effectual differences between these two. We can appeal to the triune God to see how this might be: Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.

2 – Choice

The realization that God chooses for us (or the Holy Spirit chooses for us) is the realization that we want no alternate will. He chooses the way that will make us the happiest, and happiness is a laudable goal. He also chooses the path toward Awakening, or Christ-consciousness, or enlightenment, or salvation (there is no real difference in these terms).

3 – God’s Will

For those of us, myself included, who have wrestled as Jonah did with God’s will, we can now recognize that the wrestle is a false issue. God does not bend us to His will if we are unwilling. But, in effect, He says, “Choose this way, for it will make you happiest.” The Holy Spirit in ACIM chooses very small details of our everyday life, setting up the flow of events and circumstances so that we have good days. Even when times are tough, still is this true. The times will not be experienced as tough when we stay close to guidance and God. We will sail through as though there were no barriers to our happiness.

4 – Listening Internally

So the Holy Spirit (in ACIM) chooses “for us” (from ACIM). His way is the one that we would choose if we understand all circumstances, past and present, as well as future. Of course, it is impossible for us to know all of this, and this is why we need an informed Guide. We need to give up our personal judgments, which are always false, and listen to an inner voice.

5 – The Pathway

We will walk the pathway with surety when we follow that inner voice.

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

I would listen to inner knowledge, knowing that I am guided every step of the way—if I listen correctly. May I recognize that I can still make mistakes, even big mistakes, but I pray that I will follow instead, Your way, accurately.

Be with me as I go about my day. Help me to correct my wrongs. Give me the grace to see Your way in everything. There is no better way to live an egoless existence than to follow You moment by moment.

Amen.

Bored? Tired of the Way Things Are?

van gogh - landscape“This [your wandering attention] has been necessary so that the realization will come to you that you are ready to leave the personal self and the concerns of the personal self behind. You have needed to become bored with what has been, tired of the way things were, uninterested in matters of a personal nature. (Treatises of A Course of Love: Treatise on the Personal Self, 22.10)”

Affirmation: “I would leave the personal self behind in favor of the Self today.”

Reflections:

1 – Transition

Elsewhere we learn that the personal self does not really get left behind (the way that is described by Jesus here), but is transcended into the Self who is the Christ within. How do we make this transition?

2 – Bored with the Ways of the Personal Self

Jesus says that the way has been paved for us in A Course of Love when we recognize that we have become actually bored with the ways of the personal self. We don’t want things to be as they have always been. We don’t care so much what happens to the personal self, and by this it is likely that Jesus means the personal self as embodied by the ego (an interpretation, not stated in A Course in Miracles or ACOL).

3 – Bored with the ACOL Discussion?

We can even become bored with the discussion in ACOL that we are reading, and, believe it or not, I think that this is a good sign. We are once again examining the ego, and examining the ego, when encased in it, is praised by that same ego. This focus on ego dynamics proves to the false self (the ego) that it is important and worthy of study.

4 – Madness

Nothing could be further from the truth. The ego is dysfunctional, a persona that is mad or insane. And all of us have experienced insanity for eons, not knowing any better, and not being able to extricate ourselves from the insanity.

5 – Eckhart Tolle

We can do so now, but it takes great learning and much patience (paraphrases from the Text of ACIM). Eckhart Tolle, a spiritual teacher who experienced Awakening some 30 years previously, has said that more and more of us are reaching Awakening, that he hears of this in his mail and in encountering individuals in his work just all the time. He feels that he is at an epicenter of what is happening, not that this appeals the ego in him (which is dead), but that his own commentary and teaching make him a logical contact for those who wish to understand more of what is happening to them.

6 – Flowering

May this be true! May many of us “flower” in this way, the way of Christ-consciousness or Awakening. Eckhart feels that unless humankind makes the shift soon, we are doomed, and he cites the huge murder of countless innocent people in the Twentieth and Twentieth-First Centuries as evidence of the doom that may await us.

7 – Home

I would not be so pessimistic, but I would try to be realistic. God is at work in our world, and He will lead all those who are ready, lead us home. And we will not have long to wait.

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

Thank You for another good day. Thank You for this good period. It helps to have smooth days and days without major troubles of any kind. The smoothing out of my days comes when I stay close to You, and help me always to remember this.

Thank You for the inspiration that comes to me in my reading and listening to audio books. Thank You for the words of wisdom that friends say, sometimes without fully realizing how much their words will impress on my heart. Be with me, and guide my speech as well.

All of us need You. We need to be aware of how great that need really is so that we are never tempted to go it alone. For going it alone never works well. We are not meant to walk this world in encased bodies, separate and apart from You and others.

Amen.

Have You Felt a Call about A Course of Love?

water-lilies - monet
“[W]hile I have said that no one is called to leadership and while I have surely meant this and do not call for leaders to amass followers, I do not mean to dissuade any of you who feel a call to represent this course and the teachings of this course with your lives and work. Those who feel this call are surely needed. (Treatises of A Course of Love: Treatise on the Personal Self, 22.2)”

Affirmation: “I would answer the call today.”

Reflections:

1 – Personal Experience

Have you felt a call about A Course of Love? I did so, and though it took me a few years to fully respond, I did eventually do so, and I hope I did so in an egoless state of mind. ACOL has not met with the same enthusiasm that A Course of Miracles enjoys, yet I find the material to be a logical sequel and fully helpful. The first, ACIM, sought to dislodge the ego, but many stayed stuck in that dilemma: Had the ego been dislodged? And, if so, what comes next? Do we just patiently wait for Awakening? Is that enough?

2 – Dilemma

I think that Jesus saw the dilemma of students/teachers of A Course in Miracles, and so sought to expand upon his teaching in A Course of Love. And, yes, there are other works that are believed to be channeled by Jesus. I do not make a judgment about those other works. I focus on A Course of Love, because this trilogy speaks to me as the next step in assimilating Jesus’s message of the Christ Self and the elevated Self of form, the next step when we have ultimately relinquished the ego, once and for all.

3 – Relinquishment

This is not easy to do. Jesus makes remarks in ACOL about our egos being gone, but those of us who are still rereading ACOL may find times when the ego is very much still with us. I do not think that we ought to dwell on such times, nor should we chastise ourselves that we are not perfect in relinquishment. It is enough to start the day over, a technique detailed in ACIM. And relinquish the ego again.

4 – The Egotistical

It is helpful to be sure that nothing we attempt to do is done for egotistical reasons, though the term “egotistical” is not all that is meant by the ego. It may be enough for now to refrain from doing those things that appear egotistical. And always commune with our Maker for the ways best to relinquish, to see the ego wither away. When we stay close to God, many things in our daily lives have a way of smoothing out.

5 – Not Perfect

We do not have to be perfect in relinquishment to answer a call to spread the word about A Course of Love. If we were required to be perfect in this work, none would be available to teach. We just have to be careful (and I tell this to myself) that we don’t claim more than is truly ours. I acknowledge to myself that I may be mistaken in an interpretation. I acknowledge fallibility.

6 – Try Again

And then I pick myself up and try again.

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

Thank You for a good day, not a perfect day, but a good day. Many of us have a multitude of blessings that we never acknowledge until a problem arises that causes the loss of something that we have failed to hold in gratitude. May we remember gratitude this day. May we never fail to remember gratitude.

Be with my brothers and sisters in this world. May we communicate well, in tolerant ways that bespeak nothing of the ego that we would disown. May every day see some part of the ego lose its hold on us.

Thank You for your help.

Amen.

The Time of Christ

monet's garden“While this has been called the time of Christ, it is obviously no longer the time of Jesus Christ. My time came and my time ended. The time when a single baby born of a virgin mother could change the world has passed. (Treatises of A Course of Love: Treatise on the Personal Self, 21.21)”

Affirmation: “I meditate on Jesus’s place in this world today.”

Reflections:

1 – Jesus Clarifies

Jesus clarifies for us today: He says that this is the time of Christ, but not the time of Jesus Christ. He is saying that the example that he set a couple of thousand years ago is for an earlier time, though we can still learn from this era. One person, even such as he, cannot change this world any longer. He anticipates that many of us will move to make changes that we are led to make by our own internal Christ Self.

2 – Christ Does Not Just Mean Jesus

Also intuited in this brief quotation is the fact that “Christ” does not just mean Jesus. Of course, we have known this, because repeatedly I have referred to the Self/Christ or the Christ Self, and many other current day writers have done the same. “Christ” is an umbrella term for the individual manifestations of God in human beings who are living salvation, living Awakening or Christ-consciousness. And we do not have to sustain the elevated Self of form to live, intermittently, this Christ Self. Indeed, in the beginning, most people see only glimpses of the Self, glimpses that are carefully contained for a while, perhaps a long while.

3 – Personal Experience

I myself have had two extended periods of such glimpses: one when I was 23, for ten weeks over a relaxed summer; and the other when I was 34 to 35, for six months in an altered state of consciousness. I did not sustain either time, and both were many years ago. The second period was while I was first reading A Course in Miracles, and I suspect that I was one of those who was asked to change life experience almost immediately. I moved to another state in the US, and there lived and worked for that six-month period. Later, I returned to home grounds, and proceeded with my life—but a life that would not be the same after this experience.

4 – Continued. . .

Why have I not sustained Awakening? I try not to ask this question, for it suggests that I have somehow failed. I know that such an interpretation is not the whole answer, and so I focus on what I learned in those two altered states of being. In the first and in the second, I was anxiety-free, and so I had left fear behind. Would that this were still possible! But I try to be patient, and to recognize that the elevated Self of form is not often sustained, and I may do more good by detailing my experience of “glimpses” than if I had actually experienced all that Jesus holds out to us as promise.

5 – Listen

So we listen to the Christ Self within. I can imagine that many times we are free of stress and free of fear/anxiety. At such times the ego withers away from our perception. And each such time can be sustained for a while. The fact that we don’t sustain this wonderful state keeps us humble. We realize that we cannot merit this form of heaven, of home. God takes the initiative of reaching down to lift us up when He deems that we are ready. And that first step, we must remember, is His and His alone.

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

Thank You for this day, this day of joy. May tomorrow be a harbinger of good times ahead as well. I ask for patience as I run the race that I am set upon. Help me to fulfill Your way in my daily life. Help me to be tolerant and kind. May I be ever more loving.

Guide me each moment, even when I forget. Thank You for Your Presence which fills my life from time to time. Daily life would not be same if You withdrew. Thank You for staying near.

Amen.

A Persona

Garden_at_Sainte-Adresse - monet
“As was said at the beginning of this treatise, by the time the learning of this treatise is complete, the personal self will continue to exist only as the self you present to others. It will be a representation only. (Treatises of A Course of Love: Treatise on the Personal Self, 21.18)”

Affirmation: “May my personal self be a true representation of who I am.”

Reflections:

1 – Persona

The personal self does not leave us, because all of us need a persona to present to the world. But now, if we believe this treatise, we can present an accurate version of who we really are. We do not have to present a persona that is falsified by our own sense of inadequacy. This personal self, for us now, is a representation only. And by that, I think that Jesus means that it is not the whole of who we are. A representation means that the self presents a version of itself that is not reflective of the whole, because that would be impossible. No one can see the whole of who we are. We cannot even see it. But it is there, and it is the Christ Self, the Self living in Christ-consciousness, once this blessing has descended upon us.

2 – Christ-Consciousness

Christ-consciousness is the term used in A Course of Love to replace the word, Awakening, from A Course in Miracles. Another word, meaning the same, is enlightenment. And in the Bible, salvation is used. Christ-consciousness and Awakening, though, are the final step in a long process, a step that many of us cannot yet reach. God takes that final step for us, for we do not “achieve” enlightenment. We are merited by the grace of God. But to reach this pinnacle, we have to understand certain things. And these things cannot be learned in the usual meaning of that word. They are glimpses of a higher reality, a satori (an Eastern term). The glimpses ultimately end in the sustaining of Christ-consciousness.

3 – Eckhart Tolle

Does this happen often? No, but it is happening more frequently than ever before, for the world needs enlightened beings or we are doomed. Eckhart Tolle, who himself has experienced enlightenment (The Power of Now; A New Earth), says that individuals contact him frequently to have him explain the things that are happening to them, the things that come almost unbidden. Eckhart relinquished his self because of intense mental suffering when he was about 30 (some 30 years ago now), but A Course in Miracles indicates that we do not have to learn through pain. Learning through rewards is more lasting.

4 – Gentle Awakening

So we can hold out for a gentle Awakening, as promised in ACIM. We would avoid the scream of mortal terror (from the Text of ACIM) that would precede Awakening, unless we have been prepared. And ACIM and ACOL are preparing us. Let us listen well.

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

I would present a persona to the world that tries, as best it can, to be an accurate reflection of who I am. And I hope that that representation is worthy. Be with me to change me in ways that I need to change, to more accurately reflect the Self who is within.

May I see the satori, the two of them, that I have lived through expand into a larger concept of sustainability. Like everybody else who reads this, I too want a sustained Awakening. Help me to be patient, if patient is what I need to be. And may I not delude myself into thinking that I have awakened when in fact I have not. That would be a false representation of myself, and I would not have that.

Amen.

Our True Identity

“Now monet - water lilieshowever, you are being called to accept your true identity even while you retain the form of your personal self. As your true identity is that of a Self who exists in unity and the identity of your personal self is that of a self who exists in separation, this would seem impossible. Even while your belief system has changed and you believe that you exist in unity, all the things we have enumerated above will act to challenge these beliefs unless you are able to see them in a new light. (Treatises of A Course of Love: Treatise on the Personal Self, 21.17)”

Affirmation: “I would seek the elevated Self of form today.”

Reflections:

1 – Elevated Self of Form

This passage, above, highlights, in different words, the call that Jesus will make to us later on—the call to embody the elevated Self of form. In other words, we understand that we are One, in unity with All, including our brothers and sisters, but we retain the physical body, and that is identified so far with the personal or “little” self. To effect this change, we need to see life in a new light. We need to alter our beliefs to realize that we can embody the physical while keeping our hearts and minds on a higher plane.

2 – Christ Self

Our true identity is the Christ Self within, and we are called to accept this identity even while we embody the physical that has always been ours. We do not truly exist in separation, and we truly never have. But we have thought that we existed in separation, and so that became our “reality.” Now we are asked to relinquish this belief in favor of something far better as well as far greater. Our shift in perception (the definition of a miracle in A Course in Miracles) will truly embody the best change that we have ever known.

3 – Separate from Others?

We have always, when caught by the ego, believed that we were separate from each other as well as separate from God. This was always false, but we made it true for ourselves because we wanted it to be true. We thought that we lost something if we merged with God, following His will. We did not know that our real will is the same as His. But now we do know this. And we have, many of us, tested it out in daily experience. We know that when we follow intuition that we know to be true, guidance, that our lives turn out better. We know that our lives evolve more smoothly. And so we have the proof that heretofore we have lacked. Yet we got this proof by testing it out in daily experience. We followed guidance, as we perceived it, and when we perceived guidance rightly, we benefitted.

4 – Not Impossible

Don’t any longer think that what Jesus is asking of us is impossible. I trust him enough to believe that if he says we can do it, we can do it. We can embody the Christ Self, i.e., we can remain true to the Self within even as we continue to occupy a personal self that has become (in words described later in the Dialogues) a “spacious” self that no longer just “observes,” but who informs and is informed by the Whole of what we have found.

5 – Knowledge

This transition is not complex, though explaining it becomes a bit too complex. Just rest in the knowledge—and it is knowledge—that we can embody the elevated Self of form, and that Self is the Christ Self in physicality.

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

I would live mindfully today, letting the Self within shine forth. I would pay attention to the specific things that I do, knowing that living in the moment is the best preparation for embodying and sustaining the elevated Self of form

Help me to do this, for I know that I need Your help to effect change in the way that I go about my day. I would embody presence, which is a quiet realization that You are there with me. I would embody stillness, knowing that meditating upon what You guide me to think, say, and do will get me home more quickly than any other way—in fact, the only way to get me home.

May I do right by my brothers and sisters today. May I do right most especially by my significant others, for they are most affected by what I do. Guide all of us to do the will that is Yours, the will that we all share as what we truly want.

Amen.

The Time to Be Intolerant

The-Red-Boats-Argenteuil-by-Monet-2C-Claude-2C-France-4737-30210
“This will sound intolerant to you. It is a stance intolerant of illusion. You must no longer see illusion for it is no longer there! This is how you must live with it. You must live with it as you once lived with the truth. You must find it unobservable! It must become a concept only. (Treatises of A Course of Love: Treatise on the Personal Self, 21.9)”

Affirmation: “May I fail to observe illusions today.”

Reflections:

1 – Jesus

Intolerance is usually abhorrent to Jesus. But here he uses the word in a new way, a way that is actually a positive concept. We are to fail to observe illusions any longer. We will just not see them!

2 – Tolerance

This means that the illusory nature of much of the thinking of this world will fall from us. We will stand aside from it, not giving it any mind. This does not mean that we will avoid the people who are speaking illusion; we will be tolerant of them, as tolerant as we can be. (And this tolerance of others is an important point.) But we will know that much that is being said is gibberish. Not worth a moment’s notice. And so it will not be there for us any longer.

3 – Living in This World

How will we live in this world with such an attitude? Jesus knows that we lived in a world of illusions without giving any credence to the truth. So why not reverse this now, now that we know better?

4 – What Do We Have to Lose?

Why not indeed? What do we have to lose? Only our belief in the illusion that the ego can give us something that we want. And the belief that others have, still. We do not, though, set ourselves apart as though we were better, because we have this knowledge. Only time separates believers. And time is an illusion. All will eventually come to know.

5 – Trust

Trust today that what Jesus bides us do is possible, even probable in the world as we live it now. We have walked farther along the pathway, and today’s passage affirms that walking has gotten us what we need and want. A sensitivity to the truth, and, paradoxically, an intolerance to illusions (though not to the people who believe in illusions).

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

I would live with the truth, not illusions, in my heart and mind today. I would walk smoothly, without boredom, anger, lassitude, or other negative attributes. Help me to do this; assist me.

Be with me as I seek to develop an intolerance to illusions. But may I never develop an intolerance to my brothers and sisters who believe in illusions. I would not hate the “sinner,” though I know that this is not sin but only mistakes.

Help me to have a good day. I need You.

Amen.

Bring Love to Every Circumstance

monet - bridge“Remain who you are and continue to live by the laws of love in every circumstance, and you bring love to every circumstance. Be neither dismayed nor discouraged by those who do not see and have no willingness to offer. Just know these aren’t the ones given you to bring to love and trust that none will remain forever lost to his or her own Self. (Treatises of A Course of Love: Treatise on the Personal Self, 20.17)”

Affirmation: “I ask to reflect only love today.”

Reflections:

1 – Poor Example

We make a poor example of our faith, and we reflect poorly on A Course in Miracles and A Course of Love, when we do not live in love. It is easy to let anger take over when someone baits us, or when we are threatened, or when we are simply stressed and have had all that we think we can take. But the answer is not to live this neurotic mess. The answer is to turn to the best that we know, which is love.

2 – Timeout

Take a timeout! That is the best advice. If we can’t escape the temptation, then get quiet. Just don’t say anything, unless that will antagonize your significant others even more. Usually we can turn aside a negative comment by a positive one of our own. If we don’t let the pain-body (as Eckhart Tolle describes in A New Earth) take over. The pain-body is our almost out-of-touch reactions to negativity, a need that the ego has to sound off from time to time. And we are very out of control when the ego is in charge.

3 – Be Present

How do we refrain from letting the pain that is within find an outlet? We can get very present, very poised. And don’t react at all to what someone else is saying. Try not to react, even, to what you are thinking. Just look within, to the inner Self, though we may not have actualized that Self in the way that Jesus hopes we will eventually. He hopes for us to arrive at Christ-consciousness, and we can ask for a glimpse of that bright moment when things are going awry for us.

4 – Live in Love

We need to live in love, for ourselves as well as others. We need to recognize that the good that we do lives on in other people. One quiet thought, expressed, will have waves of influence on other people, to say nothing of ourselves. We live in love when we express the best that is in our nature. And we know that even before the blessing of Awakening, or Christ-consciousness, has descended upon us.

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

I would live in love today, regardless of whether or not there is any baiting going on around me. I do not have to retaliate; I can stay quiet, I can pray, and I can answer softly. I know that I always feel worse later if I reply angrily to any supposed attack. The attack can always be reframed as distress based on error, and, knowing this, I can forgive.

May today go smoothly for all of my brothers and sisters. They are filled with pain, sometimes, that I cannot comprehend. Knowing that, I can do no better than to offer solace—but reinforcement. Help me to walk the fine line between solace and reinforcement.

Thank You for help. You have never failed me. The times that I have had to wait for an answer have been few and far between. Thank You for the swiftness of Your responses.

Amen.

If Our Heart Is in the Right Place

Edgar_Degas_DEE028N“These calls go out from love to love. It is not the words of your mouth that will be heard or the language of your mind that will be responded to. It is the love within your heart that will sound the call. And when it is heard and your brother or sister reaches out to you, all you need ask for is a little willingness. All you need do is open the door through which love can enter. (Treatises of A Course of Love: Treatise on the Personal Self, 20.16)”

Affirmation: “I will ask for a little willingness for others to listen to the love in my heart.”

Reflections:

1 – If Our Hearts Are in the Right Place

If our hearts are in the right place, we will manifest love. And if they are in the wrong place, nothing that we try to do will turn out right. When we are on the beam, on the beam of love, then all that we need ask of others who encounter us is that they open their minds and hearts with a little willingness to see the love. And we can join with Jesus in asking that they be blessed by our encounter.

2 – Ego

Be certain that this type of behavior does not call to the ego. Be certain that the impulse to love is genuine, and the call to others to respond to us is likewise genuine in love. There is much chance here for the ego to once again gain a toehold, for it sounds very nice to say that others will respond to us, to the love that we emanate. And that makes us feel good, or at least it makes the ego feel good, which is the false sense of self that has perhaps been reinforced.

3 – Oscillation

Let us leave behind the foolishness of the ego forever. We were not made happy by anything that ever called to the ego in us. We had flights of joy, but these flights were balanced by drops into despair and unhappiness. Always there was an oscillation. And we know that we don’t want this pain and suffering any longer.

4 – Love Thy Neighbor as Thyself

So love others, with the selfsame love that we give ourselves. For if we don’t love ourselves also, with a pure love, not of the ego, we can’t give to others. We wouldn’t know what to give. It is just that simple. These are paraphrases of words of Jesus in the New Testament. And it is true that much of what Jesus says now was presaged in the New Testament. Not to mention A Course in Miracles.

5 – Be Good to Yourself

Be good to yourself by loving yourself and others with a pure love, an egoless love. The joys will continued indefinitely then. And we will be well on our way Home.

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

I hope to offer love to those who surround me, even when these individuals seem remote. Help me to do what I can, and then let You do the rest, dropping any questioning about the encounter from my mind and heart.

May I love others with an egoless love. When I am tempted to reinforce the withering ego, may I know that this is not what I would have. A weak ego will soon dissipate. And I want my ego to dissipate so that I can feel Your presence in an ever-expanding way.

Thank You.

Amen.

Observe the Laws of Love

Ballet-Rehearsal,-1873 - degas
“Will those you love still suffer? Many may. But not with your help. Will many more, with your help, see an end to suffering? Many will. Will an end to suffering be what you work toward? No. This is not your work. This is not about your effort. This is about your observance. Your observance of the laws of love. Your observance is to remain with cause rather than to stray to effect, the manner of living practiced by those who have birthed the idea that cause and effect are one in truth. (Treatises of A Course of Love: Treatise on the Personal Self, 20.13)”

Affirmation: “I will observe the laws of love today.”

Reflections:

1 – Suffering Is an Effect

We are not, as our work, to seek to end suffering, because suffering is an effect, and we are not to stray to effect. But we are to live love, and in that pursuit of love will our mission be effected. We will seek the “observance” of love, and in that we will find peace and happiness. We will not reinforce the suffering of others, or of ourselves, by focusing on suffering. We will turn aside from the suffering, not in rejection, but in knowing that there is a better way, a way to learn through rewards. This does not mean that we will be blind to the tears of others, or of ourselves, but we seek to create the reality that we want, and we do not want suffering. To focus on suffering is to create that reality.

2 – Remain with Cause

We are to remain with cause, and the observance of love is a cause. The effect of failing to observe love may well be suffering, though this is in an interpretation, not stated in A Course in Miracles or A Course of Love.

3 – Cause and Effect

It is easy to get lost in discussions of cause and effect, but let us not do so today. Let us realize that love is the great cause of all good, and the absence of love brings an effect that is often suffering. We would not focus on this, for it not this that we want.

4 – Do Not Resist

Be there for each other. May all of us do this. May we be gentle with ourselves when we stray from our path and fall into suffering. May we be accepting of ourselves in such an instance, and then may we gently (also) turn aside from the suffering—not rejecting it, for this is resistance, and resistance creates that which it would resist. The best way is to turn to God (or the Holy Spirit, if following ACIM), and to commune with Him for a surcease of the suffering. He did not cause it, but He will help us to overcome. And then pain, perhaps, will remain, but the pain will have lost its sting.

5 – Observe Love

So observe love, and see what good comes of this. The benefits are great, and blessings, abundant.

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

All will be well when I am consistently focused on love. What a traditional idea this is! But still of the essence of spirituality. Thank You for guiding me to this realization.

May I avoid reinforcing suffering, either in myself or in others. May I gently turn aside from suffering, though I do not turn aside from those who are suffering. It is not my purpose to try to end the suffering, but it is my purpose to offer solace without focusing on the suffering. Focus on living, and living in love, and the suffering is very likely to dissipate or to diminish markedly.

Be with those whom I love today. And may I turn some of that love on myself, for what I receive I am in a better position to give—for giving and receiving are one.

Amen.

Real Meaning of Miracles

paintings-by-hilaire-germain-edgar-degas-star-l'etoile“Miracles are not the end, but the means, of living by the truth. Miracles are not meant to be called upon to create specific outcomes in specific circumstances. They are meant to be lived by as the truth is meant to be lived by. Not because you desire an outcome, but because it is who you are and because you realize you can no longer be, live, or think as other than who you are in truth. (Treatises of A Course of Love: Treatise on the Personal Self, 20.11)”

Affirmation: “I would live the miracle today.”

Reflections:

1 – Mistaken?

We have heretofore had a mistaken idea about miracles, even though A Course in Miracles exists with a title that incorporates the word. We have believed that miracles are specific outcomes to specific circumstances, and when miracles are meant to be lived as a way of life in the real world.

2 – Replacing the Ego

Perhaps we were not ready previously. We were not living by the truth, even though we might have thought that we were. After all, our egos convinced us that by studying ACIM we were well on our way to true salvation. Even though ACIM was written to dislodge the ego, if we did not have anything, or know anything, to replace the ego, we often were at a loss. And we made no progress, though the preliminary steps were in place.

3 – ACOL’s Change

A Course of Love changes all of that. We truly know what it means to live the miracle, not just to pray for a serendipitous happening that might be a miracle, or that we might call a miracle. We know that living the truth is living outside illusions. We know what the real world is all about. And we have left the ego behind, at least insofar as possible. This egoless mind may still present problems for us, for the ego is wily and does not diminish easily, and may have a resurgence when we least expect it to return. We must be guarded then, so that this abominable occurrence does not arise.

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

Help me to speak well and to do well today. I would reject illusions, even when those illusions seemed happy to me. They never pleased me for long. And I would live the truth as I live the miracles that are behind the truth. I would listen to You today, the Miracle Who lives behind All.

Help me to incorporate this new meaning, for me, of miracles. It is hard to let go of the idea that a miracle leads to a specific outcome and is in the fact of the matter, an occurrence that brings an awe in Your presence. Actually to understand that living miracles is ongoing living of the truth and not illusions is a very freeing idea. And thank You for this knowledge. You lead me constantly to greater freedom, because my will is no longer constantly imprisoned.

May this day be a good one. May You help me to do what I can to smooth the pathway of my brothers and sisters, as well as I ask for help in smoothing my way. I am grateful to You for the help that always come when I get myself out of the way and ask.

Amen.

Do Nothing to Reinforce Suffering

11491843-renoir-paintings“Why think you it is loving to believe in suffering? Do you not begin to see that in so doing you but reinforce it? What you might even call the ‘fact’ of it? Can you not instead ask yourself what harm could be done by offering a new kind of observance? (Treatises of A Course of Love: Treatise on the Personal Self, 29.8)”

Affirmation: “I would lay all belief about suffering aside today.”

Reflections:

1 – We Create Our Own Reality

This passage for today is another example of the truth that we create our own reality. When we give attention to suffering, even when we are sympathizing with those who are suffering, we are causing that suffering to grow. When we turn aside from suffering, we diminish suffering. We fail to reinforce it, and it falls away of its own weight.

2 – Solace

Can we really believe this? Let’s try it and see. This approach does not mean that we will be cruel to those who believe in suffering and who are in the midst of suffering. We would empathize and give solace to such a person. But we won’t exacerbate the phenomenon of suffering by focusing on it, because focusing on it in fact does reinforce, and therefore make it harder to overlook.

3 – Overlooking

We saw this dynamic in the example of anger and attack. When we focused on our brother’s shortcomings (as we perceived them), they grew in our minds and we could not easily overlook them. Yet this overlooking is just what we are called to do in A Course in Miracles. We make real the anger and attack, and then we really cannot overlook it. And we are trapped by our own negative emotional reaction.

4 – Real Suffering

It is similar with suffering, and real suffering (as opposed to pain) is primarily mental, emotional. We build on the pain that we see, and this makes the primacy of negative response. We do no one any good by commiserating loudly. This simply makes the suffering real in our perception and makes it harder to overlook, as we have said.

5 – A Disservice

So today do not lend your emotional upset to the upset that you see in another who is suffering. Do not be unmindful of what you are seeing, but neither exacerbate the feelings by focusing on them. To do so is to do a disservice to your brother or sister, lost in the moment in suffering.

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

When I see suffering today, I will offer my sympathy to the other, but I will not focus on that suffering and therefore make it greater. I will not reinforce, but instead turn another’s focus outward and away from the emotional turmoil that he/she is generating. I will offer solace, but not make the suffering larger by focusing on it unduly.

This are lofty ideals. There is a fine line between offering solace and perpetuating the suffering by focusing on it. Help me to know and to carry out the difference. My thoughts are with You as I go about my day, seeing some who suffer. May their suffering be eased into simply pain, or even recovery, taking out the emotional as well as physical basis for complaint. May I be a comfort to those I love.

Amen.

What Do You Want to Do with Your Life?

Beautiful-Art-Paintings-By-Renoir
“Illusion has at its base a false cause and so no effects that exist in truth. Now your every thought and action will have effect and the choices that lie before you will be choices of where your thoughts and actions will have the greatest effect. (Treatises of A Course of Love: Treatise on the Personal Self, 20.1)”

Affirmation: “I am living in reality now, in truth.”

Reflections:

1 – Mari Perron

This passage for today helps to explain why the scribe of A Course of Love, Mari Perron, believes that once we have walked the pathway, we are not lost in illusion any longer. Now our thoughts have effects, for our thoughts are lived in truth, in reality, in the real world. So we must choose where our thoughts and actions will have the greatest effect. What do we want to do with our lives?

2 – Happiness and More

Maybe we want to be happy. Is that laudatory? Yes, it is, but it may not be enough. Jesus calls to us to lead other people to him, the selfsame call that has followed people through the ages. How might we lead others to Jesus without proselytizing, which we have been told is not desired? We can lead by an informed example, but we must be careful that the ego does not rear its ugly head when we seek to be a good example.

3 – Being Religious

I sometimes think that religious people have a greater calling to lead a good life than anybody else. Who would want to emulate us if they see our clay feet? If we are dishonest, then we dishonor the God whom we serve. And we will not draw others to us. They will see through us, and they will see that we do not walk the talk.

4 – Guidance

Choose today how we would follow Jesus. Let us make decisions about how we will live, knowing all the while that good intentions are never enough. We need guidance, and let us first ask for that guidance when we seek to know what we want to do with our lives.

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

I seek your guidance today. What specific ways would You have me live my life today and every day in the future? What goals would You give to me? I try to be Yours. And I need Your assistance in knowing how to go with the flow in everyday life.

Help me to truly give up on the ego. I cannot follow You well if I am consumed with how everything is affecting my personal self. I would live the way that my Self would indicate, and for that I need to respond without ego to the people and places in my life.

Be with me today. Take fear from me, for surely fear is an indication that I am still kowtowing to the ego. I know that Jesus has said in A Course of Love that the ego is gone. Give me that reassurance today, as surely as I seek to drop egotism from my repertoire of emotions.

Amen.

Ordinary People Leading Extraordinary Lives

pennsylvania impressionism - ruby lane“What will make this choice so attractive will not be martyrs and saintly souls stricken with every calamity and yet remaining to tell those who would listen about the glory of God. What will make this choice so attractive are ordinary people living extraordinary and miraculous and observable lives. (Treatises of A Course of Love: Treatise on the Personal Self, 19.16)”

Affirmation: “I would choose that extraordinary life today.”

Reflections:

1 – Negativity

There is a bit of negative thought in this passage, even from Jesus. He seems to realize that those of us who hear testimonies from people who are leading tragic lives, and yet praising God, find that those testimonies fall a little hollow on a heart too long removed from God. We do not want to suffer tragic lives, and if this is prerequisite for finding God, maybe we would decline.

2 – To Reach God Easily

But here Jesus is saying that the lives of ordinary people who live with God can and do become miraculous lives. Extraordinary for ordinary people. And this phenomenon will lead others to God easily. They will want to emulate what these people have.

3 – How to Find God

Let us be one of those people today. May we realize that, while tragic lives can nevertheless be a powerful witness for God, we do not have to look there for our inspiration. We can realize happiness and lead extraordinary lives in everyday life. We do not have to walk through shadows to find God.

4 – Do You Believe This?

Do you believe this? We think of the martyrs of the Early Church, and those who over the years went to their deaths rather than recant their faith. Surely their message is good. But we are not often in danger of our lives when we profess our faith. So we find it hard to identify.

5 – Courage

May we know that most of us will not be asked to follow Jesus’s example to the death. Most of us are too cowardly to walk that pathway. Salvation does require courage, though, and we will walk a happier path if we walk with courage. And then the extraordinary lives that we will model will become evident to all whom we encounter.

6 – Jesus

That is what Jesus holds out to us in this passage for today.

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

Thank you for this promise that I need to be courageous, but not overwhelmingly so, to reach salvation. I would be an ordinary person living an extraordinary life. And so would I see this in my brothers and sisters. Be with all of us to effect this change.

Is it good to be ordinary? Certainly the ego is not pleased with the decision to so live. But I am not appealing to the ego today. I am appealing to You to request some of that extraordinary living that we all seek to have. May the ego drop away as I, once again, bid it go. May the extraordinary that is promised do nothing to enhance a false image of myself. And may I embody the ordinary self that You say is beneficial now.

Amen.

Don’t Proselytize

landscape - pennsylvania impressionism“It has been said from the beginning that your role will not be to evangelize or to be convincing. You cannot argue the case of truth in the courtroom of illusion.

“While this would seem to leave some without hope, it will leave no one without choice. (Treatises of A Course of Love: Treatise on the Personal Self, 19.15 – 19.16)”

Affirmation: “I would speak my truth today, but without pressure on another.”

Reflections:

1 – What about Others?

If we aren’t to lead others to our way by convincing of “our” truth, what does that leave for them? Will they have no way out? Will they find another way out?

2 – Skeptics

There is a fine line between telling one’s truth, or the truth as one sees it, and trying to convince a skeptic of the truth of one’s statements and one’s point of view. Anyone who has ever spent time with a skeptic knows that the surest way to turn him/her off is to try to preach to that person.

3 – Jesus

And Jesus knows this, which is exactly why we are bade not to try to convince others of a truth that perhaps those other individuals are not yet ready to see. Not only that, but their way may ultimately be quite different from the form of the curriculum presented in A Course in Miracles and A Course of Love.

4 – What Is It Left for Us to Do?

So what do we do if someone in our inner circle is a skeptic, and is suffering in his/her unbelief? Prayer is very powerful. So is living our message, walking our talk (and, in this case, we are bade not even to talk). Eventually the significant other will see that we are somehow different and will make inquiries. This is what we hope for. It may not always happen.

5 – Atheist turned Believer

I have a friend who moved her husband from atheism (as avowed when they dated) to agnostic to a confirmed believer in the Other Side. All without doing any preaching at all, or at least so she told me. What a way to go! Certainly in living out one’s faith there are moments of teaching that come unbidden. And that is exactly what my friend took advantage of. And, slowly but surely, over the course of more than 25 years, her husband developed a settled good will toward those things that are beyond full knowledge.

6 – Live the Faith

So do not be tempted to share the happy newfound knowledge too soon. Others will not yet be ready. Live the faith, and see if in that living out the proselytizing doesn’t come about without a word from you. The convincing will come, but of a Higher Power than we are.

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

I know that others who are disbelievers and are preached to by well-meaning friends and family are actually pushed to be stronger in their disbelief. We turn them off. May I avoid doing so today. May the slow but sure way of convincing come unbidden, except by prayer. And may those who seek to know be convinced by the words that are spoken when they are sought.

I wish for a good day. I wish to avoid taking on too much, because I am calm and at peace now, and that is a danger sign that I am prone to take on too much and will become overwhelmed. Be with me as I seek to reduce stress in my life by doing less. You don’t want “do-ers,” in that we are constantly trying merit heaven. You want a still, calm peace that will envelop the others around in the peace that is Yours to give, to them and to me.

Amen.

Return to Illusions? No!

pennsylvania-impressionist-impressionism-painting-by-george-sotter-autumn-gold-1930-original-size-22-x-26-bucks-county“You will be tempted to return to the house of illusion to gather those within and bid them join you in the reality of the truth. But in this time of Christ, a new time, a time without parallel or comparison, this will not be possible. (Treatises of A Course of Love: Treatise on the Personal Self, 19.15)”

Affirmation: “I will bid others to come, but from the house of truth.”

Reflections:

1 – Explanation

This passage takes some explanation if not familiar with the concepts from A Course of Love. Jesus indicates that many are still in the House of Illusion, which a house which is contained within the House of Truth. Some have ventured from this unstable House of Illusion outside its borders, into the House of Truth—reality, or the real world (an interpretation, not stated in A Course in Miracles or ACOL). If we are outside the House of Illusion, in the House of Truth, we might be tempted to turn again and go back into illusion, if only to bid others to step outside. But Jesus says that it doesn’t work that way. We stay in the House of Truth, and from that vantage point, beckon those still in the House of Illusion to step outside, into the House of Truth.

2 – Confusing?

This may all sound quite confusing, but if one visualizes the concepts, it becomes much easier.

3 – Time of Christ

We are now in the time of Christ, and we do not reenter the House of Illusion once we have emerged from it. This is a welcome thought, because backsliding is a theological concept that has worried many sincere believers. Now Jesus says that our backsliding is not to be a worry for us; we are permanently, in this era of the time of Christ, in the House of Truth.

4 – A New Age

What a joyous word this is—coming from Jesus, who heralds the dawn of a new age. May we take him at his word and not try to reenter a place of pain and suffering, the illusions in which we had been lost, for eons, amid the chaos of the ego. May we step into the real world, and from there it is but a short step into Awakening—when God decides that we are ready (from ACIM).

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

With Your help, I would not return to illusions. I know that Jesus says in this passage for today that we cannot return to illusions in this time of Christ. Many sincere believers have thought otherwise in other eras. May I adopt the thinking of this passage, and be wise in the ways of the new era.

May I not forget those who are still in the House of Illusions. From truth, may I beckon to others, still trapped, to come outside, into truth. May I understand rightly what truth really is. May I be certain that if others are hurt, I have not found truth.

Be with me as I walk into the time of Christ. And may Christ-consciousness comes upon me when You choose. Guide me. Lead me. Love me.

Thank You.

Amen.