The Embrace, by Ivor Sowton

I once had the great good fortune to be with Mari Perron, scribe of A Course of Love (ACOL), in a small group setting. As I suppose is natural, the group had questions about the process of receiving ACOL from Jesus and what that was like.

Mari graciously took these questions in stride. But then, as more of these “safe” questions continued, Mari seemed to take charge and volunteered: “But you know a real turning point for me was the chapter entitled “The Embrace.”

The dictation of A Course of Love had seemed a huge challenge at first, but had evened out after the early chapters into much more of a sense of flow. But then gradually efforting seemed to creep back in. By then the developing ACOL was at Chapter 16 or so. After that the chapters in ACOL were increasingly difficult for her, with more sense of tension and strain, like: “I have to do this.” After all, there was by this point a lot of direct instruction from Jesus to us the readers, and certainly also to Mari as the “first receiver”! Perhaps it was becoming more and more daunting, with a sense of a very high bar having been set for our learning.

Then, incredibly, the Voice stopped! The dictation of Jesus to scribe stopped! Mari knew from her relationship with Jesus that the work now called A Course of Love was not over, not complete!

Days of great angst passed. Then weeks with silence from Jesus! Truly a dark night of the Soul! Finally the completely unexpected! Mari was gazing at a beautiful plum on a beautiful plum tree in beautiful sunlight when such a wonderful bursting open of the heart spontaneously exploded forth! The absolutely gorgeous, pivotal chapter 20, “The Embrace,” soon followed, full flow restored!

It may be that we as listeners to Mari’s experiences here have to receive her revelation (for so I believe it truly is) in a way that we can personally access and apply in our own lives. Broadly speaking, we can say that the world became holy for Mari and for us now also, to the extent we can open ourselves to that kind of Union. The Divine was dancing in the surround! The mundane had been redeemed, now clearly seen and felt to be sacred, rather than perceived and felt to be separate from us (ACIM tenets).

And the Divine arms that cradle us in “The Embrace” bring so much needed comfort and reassurance:

This is a call now to move into my embrace and let yourself be comforted. Let the tears fall and the weight of your shoulders rest upon mine. Let me cradle your head against my breast as I stroke your hair and assure you that it will be all right. Realize that this is the whole world, the universe, the all of all in whose embrace you literally exist. Feel the gentleness and the love. Drink in the safety and the rest. Close your eyes and begin to see with an imagination that is beyond thought and words. (20.2)

So if you or I am feeling alienated, alone, frightened and cut off from Grace, let us remember the Embrace and be healed. The Embrace is personal. It can help us where we think we are, as who we think we are at present. This is so necessary, don’t you think?

In my online transpersonal therapy with students of A Course in Miracles (ACIM) and ACOL, (I see the two works as a continuum), I just try to facilitate that opening of personal relationship, that acceptance of the embrace FOR THEMSELVES. That is, the opening will be very personal for them. It will happen the only way it can happen for them—tailor made, you might say. Jesus is the guide in that process. Of course there are other guides, but we who have been drawn to Jesus’ current work in the world through ACIM and ACOL can settle down into discipleship with him personally and grow as much and as fast as is right for us.

But again, the essential message of the Embrace is that it is ours NOW. It’s the open heart in wholeheartedness. Jesus states in ACOL that the heart exists where we assume ourselves to be. So if we assume we live in ego world, frightened and alone, our world will FEEL like that, icy cold and bereft of comfort. But if we find our own way to FEEL the Embrace, then we will feel omnipresent divine love.

In Chapter 9 of the ACIM Manual For Teachers Jesus also reassures us that our own personal training is always highly individualized. Just right for us. Our own path will unfold in a beautiful way for us with his help. Not too fast or too overwhelming. But at the same time we can now always remember and remind ourselves that the Embrace is there for us NOW. As Jesus says “Who could be left out of the Embrace? And who from within the Embrace could be separate and alone? (20.18)

May we all come to feel the Embrace more and more, and more and more make our home there.

Let your heart remember that you are holy and that the world is sacred. (ACOL,C 20.23, pg. 140 in the Combined Version)

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