1 – Transformation
“Love will transform normal, ordinary, life into extraordinary life. Loving exactly who you are and where you are in every moment is what will cause the transformation that will end your desire to remove yourself from life. (Dialogues of A Course of Love, Day Eight)”
2 – Jesus
Jesus had earlier, in these 40 days and 40 nights, talked of the need that some of us feel to remove ourselves from life while we metaphorically travel to the mountain top with him. He says that such removal is absolutely unnecessary, and is actually undesired (by him) and undesirable. If we love right where we are, we will have no need to feel that we want to separate from normal, ordinary life. We will be more than satisfied in the present, with Jesus leading the way to the mountain top.
3 – Love
How do we know when we have transformed life by love? We do not really need to ask this question, for when we have actually made the transformation viable, we will be happier than we have ever been before. We will know that this was where we were heading. We will know ecstasy, at least sometimes (though prolonged ecstasy would be debilitating to our bodies).
4 – Love Deeply
How do we love that deeply? We pray to love more deeply; it is just that simple. The prayer to love more deeply is in the Will of God, and He will provide. When we are consumed by our love, we will feel a warmth and a gentle ease that will assure us of God’s Presence, here, now, right in ordinary life.
5 – Rushing About
What a blessing this is! We get in such a rush sometimes, barreling over ourselves to reach God—when He is within us, just waiting quietly for us to realize His Presence. When we rush through life, we miss so very much—and, most of all, we miss God. He can still reach us from within, but it is harder for us to feel Him.
6 – Hard?
We don’t need to make things hard for ourselves. We need only get quiet, calm down, relax, take the easy course—and life with God as a present Reality takes form. This is the Will of God, as well as His pleasure with us. This will bring us the love that we have heretofore felt only in fleeting moments that fell away all too soon.
7 – Acceptance Clarified
“But here is the point that needs clearing up. This is not about acceptance of what you do not like. Do you really think you are being called to accept ‘normal life?’ Called to accept those conditions that have made you feel unhappy? No! You are being called to an acceptance of new conditions! (Dialogues of A Course of Love, Day Eight)”
8 – “Don’t Like”
We do not have to accept what we don’t like. This would be acquiescence in the face of negatives that we don’t want to accept. And we wouldn’t get the boon that we hoped to have by acceptance. We realize that we don’t like certain conditions; we just accept that we don’t like them. This “don’t like’ is in itself a form of acceptance. And it will take us farther along the pathway. Much farther than reluctant acceptance of that which we don’t like, simply because we think that this uneasy acceptance is required of us.
9 – New Conditions
The new conditions come as we ascend the mountain top with Jesus. These new conditions include a greater desire to be quiet and calm—not to make drama in our everyday lives. These new conditions are the joy of living, the day-to-day happiness, the relaxation and easy work that we do now. No work needs to be hard, when we are in the pattern of acceptance. We will enjoy what we do, however busy that might be. We are not meant to remove ourselves from life in some superficial desire to be lazy.
10 – Power
“All power to effect change comes from acceptance—not acceptance of the way things are, but acceptance of who you are in the present. Not through acceptance of the way you want to be but of the way you are now. (Dialogues of A Course of Love, Day Eight)”
11 – Accept Self
We need to accept ourselves, flaws and all. We have a certain perfection of being that is independent of the perfection that we are eventually called to. If we don’t like a certain trait, we just turn away from it, giving it no power because of resistance. What we resist, on the other hand, becomes stronger in the resistance.
12 – Perfect?
I believe that we are intended to become perfect in all respects, but we don’t have to be perfect to realize Awakening, or Christ-consciousness. Anger is such an example. Remember that Jesus showed anger with the activities of the moneychangers in the temple during his last week on earth. Would we believe that he didn’t have Christ-consciousness? Of course not. This is a very real example that allows us to accept ourselves as we are, even though we learned in A Course in Miracles that anger has no justification.
13 – Who We Are
We need, therefore, to accept who we are in the present. We need to cease our relentless seeking, always wanting something more by way of salvation. That something more will come to us when God is ready for us to have—and not a moment sooner. We cannot “achieve” enlightenment, or Awakening, though we can move in that direction by the early seeking that we do. At this point in A Course of Love, though, we need to do less seeking and more accepting. Jesus makes this point over and over. We can do something more, but will that really help us at this point?
14 – Intolerant of Illusions
“Remember that you have been told that your real Self will be intolerant only of illusions and that this intolerance will take the form of seeing only the truth rather than attempting to combat illusion. Thus when you see others gossiping, you are called to see only the truth of who they are—to see beyond the illusion, what would seem to be the ‘fact’ of their gossip—to the fear that feeds it, and beyond the fear to the love that will dispel it. (Dialogues of A Course of Love, Day Eight)”
15 – Gossip
Jesus uses gossip as an example in Day Eight. He says that we don’t like it, sometimes because we have been the brunt of gossip. We aren’t, however, to denounce the purveyor of gossip as a bad person; it is just a mistake, we feel, and then we turn aside from it without giving it power by resistance. These individuals who gossip are fearful in their lives, fearful because their ego has sway at that point. We can love in spite of the gossip, for we will nearly always find that the person who is conveying gossip about us has done something nice for us at some time. Jealousy, or a wish for the type of life that we have, is often a factor in gossip. And have not all of us been guilty of jealousy at some point, some time wanting what another has in life?
16 – Charmed Life
We particularly need to be aware that others will sometimes see us as “living a charmed life,” because our understanding has allowed our projection to make perceptions that are very good indeed. The world itself is an illusion, and our lives become better once we realize such things as this. We have had a guide in the Holy Spirit as we have created our lives, and thus we have made lives that work better than someone who has never learned these things. So live and let live, knowing that others are looking to us, also, for guidance. They, too, would like to live charmed lives.
17 – Anger
“If anger arises in you now, it does not mean that you will react in whatever way anger once called you to react and it does not mean that something is wrong with you or that you are not spiritual enough! It simply means that you are involved in a situation or relationship that has called forth that feeling. It is in the expression of that feeling that who you are is revealed, not in the feeling itself. (Dialogues of A Course of Love, Day Eight)”
18 – ACIM
Here we are talking of anger again; Jesus uses this example repeatedly in A Course of Love. It must be that anger is a hot spot for many of us, and perhaps Jesus knows how we have struggled with his words in A Course in Miracles. In ACIM he declares that anger and attack have no foundation in truth and are not justified. But Jesus would know that premature suppression of anger does what it would remove. We find ourselves engaging in behavior that is worse than it was before we had this instruction!
19 – Jesus’s Attitude toward Anger in ACOL
So Jesus takes, in A Course of Love, a more tolerant attitude toward anger. He does not, note, say that it is a good thing. He recommends that we be accepting of our anger as we are of everything else in our lives. We have that certain perfection even now.
20 – Don’t Suppress Anger
He would have us refuse to express anger, which we can do without suppressing it. We can refuse to express anger to our brother/sister, for how could expressing anger help him/her? He/she will feel betrayed, perhaps, for each is doing the best he/she can, given his/her understanding at the time.
21 – Acceptance
“Now, however, it is crucial that you come to acceptance of yourself–in the present, as you are–for only by doing so will you come to full acceptance of who you are and be able to allow the Self of unity to merge with the self of form, thus elevating the self of form. You will also, only in this way come to true expression of the elevated Self of Form. (A Course of Love: Dialogues, p. 136)”
22 – Accept the Present
The title for Day Eight, “Accept the Present,” is particularly apt. Virtually everything in the chapter explains this assertion in some way. We need to accept the present of being in normal life as we spend this time on the metaphorical mountain top. We do not need to separate ourselves from our brothers and sisters, for they are the only way to the love that will give us unity with them. We also do not need to separate ourselves from our normal living routines.
23 – Passivity?
We are not called, however, to accept what we do not like. We are not called to any passivity. We are called to total acceptance of our Self. Once we have accepted the Self, sometimes it will take some time for conditions to change, and sometimes conditions change immediately. This is one of our blessings. Change will not come without first having acceptance of our Self.
24 – Feelings
We should accept our own feelings. Distancing ourselves from our feelings is not only dishonest; it will prevent us from further movement forward. We are called to unity with our brothers and sisters through love. We cannot err when we follow our feelings–for these feelings have now been cleansed. If, however, we have not accepted all that Jesus holds out to us, we must be wary of feelings that take us away from the Self that we want to be, the Self of Christ-consciousness. Then and only then do we need to be wary of following our feelings. (This latter point is an interpretation, not a tenet of ACOL.)
25 – Thinking and Feeling
“Remove all thinking that says that you can err in following your feelings. (Dialogues of A Course of Love, Day Eight)”
26 – Harbinger
This statement is a harbinger of greater things to come in the 40 days and 40 nights. It is also a statement that intuition works best for us, even when we are tempted to ignore that intuition. We can have better lives when we follow our guidance, and that guidance frequently comes by way of feelings.
Help me to accept myself as I am, knowing that You do. I chastise myself so often, and I think so often that I am not worthy. Jesus would have me to drop these thoughts and the actions that result from them. I am not perfect, but I must accept that You accept me as I am.
If there are things about myself that need to be changed, please give me the grace to change easily. I understand that I have made real progress, and that the elevated Self of form is something that I can attain. I am apt to forget this. Help me to remember this. And thank You for the blessing of the Christ-consciousness that You hold out to me.
Thank You for this good day. May the days ahead string, like pearls on a string, into a beautiful necklace of good feelings brought about by love of others as well as a settled good love for myself. Until I can love myself, I am hindered in loving others. I have not always recognized this truth, but thank You for showing it to me now. Be with me as I walk into the evening of this good day.