A Place of Retreat / A Place of Safety and of Rest

1 – Freedom

“Freedom from want, freedom from lack, freedom from repression, are what we will now enjoy together on our mountain top retreat. We have not removed ourselves from life in any way, and yet we have reached a place of retreat, a place of safety and of rest, a place away from ‘normal’ life and the lack of freedom you have experienced there. (Dialogues of A Course of Love, Day Nine)”

2 – Blessings

What a blessing this quotation promises! We have all known a lack of freedom in our everyday lives. We have so much that presses us on all sides.

3 – No Worrying

But there can be an end to such thinking. We can walk through a normal day without worrying about relationships, work, love. If we are attuned to the Christ within, we will know how to let go of those things that impinge upon us. This does not mean that we give up on relationships, work, love—but we transform these everyday issues into something meaningful to ourselves. We walk through the day with nourishment from our everyday issues, even when they are difficult. We know intuitively what to do and what to say, guidance, and this guidance makes all the difference. We no longer wander in a fog of discontent. We are happy, regardless of whatever outside of us seems to rue our day. We don’t let anything rue our day.

4 – Mountain Top

These 40 days and 40 nights with Jesus on the mountain top are magical, but in a good sense—not in the sense of irrationality. We know that we will learn much, even though we are not learning in the way that the ego learned for eons. We are learning in a new way, an effortless way—and we will be much the better for it. Life does not await our recalcitrant spirit; life awaits our running forth to meet it.

5 – Arrival

“Allow yourself, now, to experience your arrival, your return to your true home, your return to your Self. Laugh. Cry. Shout or wail. Dance and sing. Spin a new web. The web of freedom.

“In other words, express your Self” (Dialogues of A Course of Love, Day Nine)”

6 – Happy

Jesus seems happy as he speaks these words to his scribe, Mari. He wants us to be happy as well. Happy and released. What joy to know that we can be free in everyday life. Our wills are no longer imprisoned, for we have let go of the ego, and in the letting go have all things been given to us. Once we learned in A Course in Miracles that our will and that of the Holy Spirit was actually identical, that He speaks for us, we were well on our way to better days. We know that if we follow our guidance, we will live better lives. He makes the decisions “for us” that we were too confused to make. And those decisions lead to inner peace. And freedom.

7 – Confidence

“You who do not feel confident in your feelings, who do not feel confident in your ability to respond, who do not as yet feel the freedom of the new, allow yourself now, to do so. Allow freedom to reign, for it is your allowance, your choice, your permission, that will make it so. The only one who can stop you now is yourself. The only permission you ever needed was your own. (Dialogues of A Course of Love, Day Nine)”

8 – Freedom

We only needed our own permission to be free. Of course, we had to learn to follow guidance to be free, for with imprisoned wills in the egoic mind, we led sad lives indeed.

9 – Joyful

Now all of this lamentable mess is gone for good. Why would we not be joyful? Why would we not shout and sing and dance? We might not want to do such in the company of other people, but most of us have at least some solitude from time to time. I encourage you to seek out that solitude today, and to express your joy through your body. Follow Jesus’s advice to let your inner spirit out to play. The play is the result of learning made evident in the whole Self Who we embody now. The play is the way that things ought to be on a daily basis. Effortless living. What a blessing this is!

10 – Certainty

“Certainty of mind and heart has been realized by many. The expression of that certainty in form has not. (Dialogues of A Course of Love, Day Nine)”

11 – Elevated Self of Form

We want to occupy the elevated Self of form, something that hasn’t yet happened on a grand scale. This elevated Self of form embodies a state known by several names—Christ-consciousness (called such in A Course of Love); Awakening (called such in A Course in Miracles); enlightenment (called such in the Eastern religions). The concept is the same, and Jesus says that he is ready for us to reach this state on a sustainable basis.

12 – Sustainability

We want to reach certainty, and we want to sustain certainty. Jesus seems to lament the fact that more of us have not sustained certainty. He seems bent on leading us to that state through his 40 days and 40 nights with us. Perhaps this is why we have come; surely it is.

13 – Ideal Self

“Let’s begin this day with a consideration of the idea that you may have an inaccurate idea of an ideal self. . . .The image of the ideal self you hold in your mind, no matter what form it takes, is still an image, and must now be done without if you are going to realize freedom. (Dialogues of A Course of Love, Day Nine)”

14 – Persona

We often have a persona that we display not only to others, but also to ourselves. We almost never let ourselves drop the masks that we wear. That is because we have an image of an ideal self that we think we need to accomplish. Is this idea true?

15 – Mirage

An ideal self is still a persona, is still a mirage. And we need to drop the persona if we are to allow other people to see us as we really are. Perhaps we think that we will not be accepted if we share who we really are. For some of our brothers, this might be true. We cannot allow this to stop us. If we avoid anger and attack, two things that have been recommended elsewhere by Jesus, we will be better accepted. This does not mean that we will be making a persona that is untrue. This does not mean that we will be making an “ideal” self (for we could not do this if we tried).

16 – Who We Really Are

It means that we will be true to who we really are. Who we really are. Do we even know what this means?

17 – Consider

Take a moment to consider what is being said. Just let the masks drop, the persona melt away. Just consider being the Self that you intuitively recognize from within. This is enough to ultimately get us home, home to Christ-consciousness. When God will take that step is unknown to all of us, but it is inevitable once we have started out on the pathway home. It is God’s Will for us. Of this we can be sure.

18 – False God

“To work toward, or to have as a goal, the achievement of an ideal image is to have created a false god. (Dialogues of A Course of Love, Day Nine)”

19 – Concept of an Ideal Self

If we are tempted to keep our concept of an ideal self alive, we will have to know that we are making a god. None of us wants that. So it behooves us to study how to avoid making a concept.

20 – Stillness

A few moments of stillness with a look within will set us on the right pathway. It takes work to make a persona—no work at all to be our real Self. Keep this in mind, and avoid struggling to have this as a persona. We want the real Self.

21 – Ego

“As with most goals of the time of learning, it was an ego-centered goal, a carrot of fulfillment the ego but dangled before you in the place it called the future. As with all messages of the ego, it but says that who you are is not good enough. (Dialogues of A Course of Love, Day Nine)”

22 – Wrong Way to Live

This “ideal” state is a wrong way to react. We don’t want a false god. We don’t want to live amiss, and living amiss is what we will do if we reach for what we perceive to be an ideal. In the first place, we cannot know what an “ideal” would be. We are too much influenced by the ego in such a transaction.

23 – Relinquish the Ego

Most of us who study A Course in Miracles have been well-tutored in the fact that we need to step aside from the ego. Relinquishing the ego and forgiving our brother were significant emphases of ACIM. We need now to realize that the attempt to reach the “ideal” persona will engage the ego again, something that we desperately want to avoid; the ego will never get us where we want to reach—Christ-consciousness or Awakening.

24 – Live in the Now

We also need to live in the present, and the ego would dangle an ideal state as one always placed in the future. We err when we live in the past and the future, for that is itself is an impossibility, a mirage that gets us nowhere fast. Live in the Now. We will never be that ideal self, impossible as it is, for the ego will always convince us that there is one more thing that we need to do—one more and then one more still. It was in the attempt to let us know that we are OK exactly as we are that Jesus is channeling A Course of Love. This is blasphemy to the ego, but we are rapidly leaving the ego behind—just turning away from it and all of its hollow promises.

25 – Give Up Images

“Your freedom is contingent upon your ability to give up your images, particularly the image you hold of an ideal self. It is contingent upon your ability to accept that you are your ideal self. Yes, even right now, with all your seeming imperfections. (Dialogues of A Course of Love, Day Nine)”

26 – Ideal Self

Yes! This quotation gives us the crux of the matter. With the ego gone, we have become that which we sought to become. And we need to rest in that realization. We ARE the ideal self that we sought to become, even though all of us recognize that we still have imperfections. Jesus’s answer to these imperfections, stated in A Course of Love, is simply to turn aside from that which one would change. If one reacts with anger all too often, simply made a decision to let the anger go. The decision will affect all future actions. Anger is used as Jesus’s example with concentrated emphasis; this is because anger had been considered off limits to those of religious persuasion by A Course in Miracles.

27 – Serve

So, if we are the ideal self that we sought to become, what more do we do? We serve others, and in the serving of others, we nourish ourselves. We love and are loved in return. We rest in God’s grace, secure in the knowledge that a Higher Power is always there to rescue us from mistakes and to set us on the high road again.

28 – The Work

“For if you believe that we are proceeding to some predetermined ideal state, we will not succeed in the work we are doing here together. If you believe this, you will not accept your Self as you are. If you do not accept your Self as you are, you will not move from image to presence. If you do not move from image to presence you will never realize your freedom. If you do not realize your freedom, you will not realize your power. (A Course of Love: Dialogues, p. 142)”

29 – Learning

This passage emphasizes the fact that we have been trying, through the past time of learning, to build an ideal self, which we believe would then express. But we want to express our Self without the goals of the forsaken ego, without trying to be other than what we really are. It is in our expression of our freedom to be as we really are that we express our Self, the elevated self of form.

30 – Express Ourselves

We are encouraged to express ourselves on this Day Nine in any way that feels appropriate–laugh, cry, shout, wail, dance, sing, and so forth. Any way is alright. All are blessings of the time of the coming Christ-consciousness. We are taught not to place any faith in our inaccurate notion of an ideal self, because this fiction was of the time of the ego, the time of learning. We are all different, and diversity in this world is a gift of God. We are meant to give up this fiction of an ideal self, or else we will not be able to express our real Self. We will not accept ourselves just as we really are, and that acceptance is what is called for.

31 – Freedom of Expression

We are not like the young child that we once were–the young child who felt free to express himself or herself in a carefree manner. Freedom of expression has become diminished in ourselves, and we must welcome it back if we are to move forward. We must debunk the fiction of an ideal self, and realize that this was only an idol, now an idol that we would leave behind. We will achieve confidence to express our real Self when we leave this false image of an ideal self behind.

32 – Alive

“You express the beauty and truth of who you are by being alive. It has only been your inability to accept this that has caused your grief and pretensions. (Dialogues of A Course of Love, Day Nine)”

33 – Striving

“You might ask now what is wrong with desiring to have the freedom to strive to be more and to do more. . . .You have just completed a monumental learning challenge and so your natural pattern would be to keep going now, to use the momentum of this learning success to achieve another. (Dialogues of A Course of Love, Day Nine)”

34 – Challenge

“This pattern will be easily replaced, however, as your acceptance of yourself as you are, the real challenge of this time, begins to grow and to build your confidence. (Dialogues of A Course of Love, Day Nine)”

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

Help me to accept myself without the ego. Be with me as I relax into the “play” that Jesus suggests for this day. I know that only through consciousness of You will I have the presence of mind to be at ease.

Thank You for these many words of Jesus. He is my guide, and I am very grateful.

I don’t readily accept Jesus as an equal; that goes against my thinking, as I have not yet assimilated A Course of Love. Help me to see what Jesus means by this assertion that he is our companion and our equal. I know that the Christ Self is in all of us, just waiting to come out. But my moments of Awakening are inconsistent still; I have not yet sustained Awakening. Help me to know what and how to think about this issue—today. I know that You often answer prayers immediately, and I ask for such an answer now.

Amen.

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