Mind Returns to Full Creation when Atonement Is Accepted

“Your mind does make your future, and it will turn it back to full creation at any minute if it accepts the Atonement first. It will also return to full creation the instant it has done so. Having given up its disordered thought, the proper ordering of thought becomes quite apparent. (T-5.V.8)”

This quotation is, I think, very important to the theology of A Course in Miracles, and it may be easily overlooked. We do “make” our future by projecting from within, but our better nature, once we accept Atonement, is to “create” our future in the real world, the one that isn’t all illusion. This real world comes into being as we approach Awakening.

Our minds have had disordered thought, in that our thought has really been insane. All of us are afflicted with insanity to one degree or another. The insanity starts leaving as we follow along the pathway to return home to God. But not by death. We return home to God by fulfilling the purposes for which He created us. We fulfill the function of salvation, forgiveness, happiness—for all of these are actually one.

Our minds will work right to create a new future when we have given up our insane desire to control reality (as we perceive it). We do not at first perceive true reality, but illusions. And it is these that we give up as we follow the pathway of Atonement.

ANN GLOVER O’DELL – AN EXPERIENCE OF TRANSFORMATION SUSTAINED

Ann Glover O’Dell has a powerful story to tell, one that we all would benefit from hearing.

More than 30 years ago, she experienced a powerful transformation that students/teachers of A Course in Miracles would call Awakening, and students/teachers of A Course of Love would call Christ-consciousness. She has spent much of the past years pondering the ramifications of what has happened to her. She underwent a powerful change of personality, from a driven individual to one who recommends simply “being.”

Ann has a web site that I recommend to you:

http://anngloverodell.wordpress.com

Her book, based on her experience, can be found by clicking on simply the word “book” on the left-hand side of her web site. The book is available to you at no charge as a pdf file. The first half of the lengthy manuscript details the experience of transformation that enveloped her in, largely, three significant days. The latter half of the book is scholarship, based on wide reading that sought to bring form and order to her experience.

There are other parts to her web site: poetry, meditations, journal entries, and a blog of newly published material that introduces her philosophy of living.

Ann is a personal friend, in my town, whom I have known for nine years. Only in the last year, though, have we become closer, and I found out about the remarkable passage that she has made. I recommend her book and her web site without reservation.

Share the Atonement when So Prompted

“My part in the Atonement is not complete until you join it and give it away. (T-5.IV.6)”

Jesus says repeatedly in A Course in Miracles that he is in charge of the Atonement, that his resurrection was the event that started the Atonement principle (not the crucifixion). He does not express any understanding for the skeptics among us about how his resurrection might have been a true happening. He never downplays his resurrection also. He simply assumes that, somehow, in some way, the resurrection happened, and it started the whole movement of Christianity that transpired from then on.

How do we “give away” the Atonement? We share. We don’t share indiscriminately, because we are not called to proselytize. We are told, in one vivid point, that sometimes a smile may be all that another person is ready to accept. Salvation has come for that moment.

Thus we accept the Atonement for ourselves; that is “joining” it. Then we give it away in whatever manner the Holy Spirit prompts. And when we are on the beam, we may give it away without even being aware of a special prompting. We will just act in line with Jesus’s plan, his plan of Atonement or correction to the ways of the world.

Become a Miracle Worker

“The sole responsibility of the miracle worker is to accept the Atonement for himself. (T-2.V.5)”

This sets up reality for us. Our sole responsibility is to accept Atonement. And then we will become miracle workers by definition. What more could we ask?

We often think that we have to say and do many things to be “justified” in God’s sight. This is the idea that faith without works is dead, an idea from the New Testament. We will want to do the good works, when we have accepted Atonement, but we are not obligated to scurry about and seek to be do-gooders. The obligation that we have is somewhat milder; we seek to do good because we have seen the light. We know that this world needs us, and we seek to do for the people in it everything that we reasonably can.

It simplifies our lives to think that we have a “sole” responsibility. What joy! Just one thing to do! Would we want reality to be any different?

I think not. We get confused when we see too many “should’s” and “ought’s” before us. We don’t know which way to turn.

Turn only one way today: toward Atonement. Let the meaning of “undoing” wash over us. We need to undo the egoic notions that have preoccupied us in this life and for eons previously. This is not wishful thinking; it can happen, once and for all, today.

And we will be all the better for it, the best. This is not perfection as the world views perfection, but a loving gentleness that will embrace us and allow us to give unceasingly to this world.

The world calls to us. But we need do only one thing to prepare for this calling: Accept the Atonement.

And all will be well.

CHAPTER 3: ACCEPTING ATONEMENT FOR ONE’S SELF

Pain Can be Avoided

“The acceptance of the Atonement by everyone is only a matter of time. This may appear to contradict free will because of the inevitability of the final decision, but this is not so.
You can temporize and you are capable of enormous procrastination, but you cannot depart entirely from your Creator, Who set the limits on your ability to miscreate. An imprisoned will engenders a situation which, in the extreme, becomes altogether intolerable. Tolerance for pain may be high, but it is not without limit. Eventually everyone begins to recognize, however dimly, that there must be a better way. T-2.III.3)”

God had to set limits on our ability to miscreate, or His universe(s) would be in jeopardy. This does seem to limit free will, but who in his right mind would depart from reality to find refuge in illusions, especially illusions that give pain and suffering? We don’t know the right things to do; we make all kinds of trouble for ourselves in our illusory world. Would God let that type of insane situation continue forever for his beloved children?

God, in my estimation, intervenes because he realizes that his children are lost in insanity. We departed from Him (or thought we did), in a “tiny, mad idea” about which we forgot to laugh. (This is from A Course in Miracles.) This tiny, mad idea started the chain of circumstances in which we find ourselves now. And we are in a dire place indeed. The Holy Spirit, God’s Voice, will guide us back to sanity if we will only listen. That is all we have to do: follow the promptings that come to us with courage, sure that Someone is making the right decision for us.

Our will is imprisoned because we are not following life according to the plan that God set up when He created us. In departing from that plan, we have found only misery, and the Holy Spirit would undo all the tragedy for us. Our free will, followed by us, will come to the conclusion that there is another way to live, surely a better way than the way that we have lived in the past. And in using free will to choose again, we use free will rightly. God surely must smile.

To Follow the Holy Spirit’s Guidance Is the Essence of Atonement

“To follow the Holy Spirit’s guidance is to let yourself be absolved of guilt. It is the essence of the Atonement. It is the core of the curriculum. The imagined usurping of functions not your own is the basis of fear. (M-29.3)”

If we follow the nudges and hunches that come to us, what we used to call “intuition,” and now we recognize as the Holy Spirit, we will realize that we are not placing ourselves, any longer, in control of our lives. This may sound terrifying at first, but it is the essence of Atonement, as Jesus says in this quotation. We have absolutely no reason to feel guilty if we are following a higher command. We know that we are not making the decisions that may get us into trouble with ourselves or with anybody else. We don’t get in trouble, actually, when we follow the Holy Spirit—even when we first imagine that things seems to be going awry.

We learn also in the Manual that the promptings that we follow may put us in what we believe to be an embarrassing situation. Yet Jesus says that this conclusion of ours is based on a shabby self-perception. We don’t have any reason to be embarrassed, even if the ways of this illusory world might seem to say that we do. The higher plan will take care of all contingencies.

It isn’t our function to choose what to do, to judge what to do. Our judgments can’t take into account all circumstances—past, present, and future—that would impinge on any decision. And somehow we recognize this. And we feel fear, for we know that we may be making a terrible mistake when we follow the judgments of our finite, egoic minds. This is why we feel fearful; we are judging what to do, and we know, in our depths, that when we choose what to say or do, we are judging awry.

This sounds extreme, does it not? I say, “Try it.” Listen to the gentle promptings from within, and be brave enough to follow. The proof is in the living out of the Holy Spirit’s guidance. This living out will make clear that this new way of living is the best way, the only way to find our way home to God.

Heaven Is Here Now

“Atonement might be equated with total escape from the past and total lack of interest in the future. Heaven is here. There is nowhere else. Heaven is now. There is no other time. (M-24.6)”

This is a personal favorite from ACIM. Heaven is here. Yes! We don’t have to wait for an afterlife. We can create the Heaven that we want, once we have ceased making illusions. We “create” Heaven, as co-creators with God; but we “make” illusions when we are in our egoic minds.

And we aren’t so interested in the future, either here or in another world. We live very much in the Now.

Time is simultaneously Now. Time itself is an illusion meant to allow us to experience things. But we can slow down our pace sufficiently, and calm ourselves down, and enjoy the present. Many people find this experience very hard to come by in our over-pressured and over-complicated world.

Take mindful moments as we move through our days. We will become enamored of the most mundane things. The ordinary will soon become extraordinary, and the things that used to drive us up a wall will lose their power over us.

In Atonement We See in the Outer World What Finds a Place in Our Hearts

“Atonement corrects illusions, not truth. Therefore, it corrects what never was. (M-2.2)”

This is a central theme touched on earlier. The world that we see before Awakening is a projection; we are told repeatedly in A Course in Miracles that “projection makes perception.” We see in the outer world what finds a place in our hearts to see. We don’t see truth; we don’t see reality.

But when we accept Atonement, we are ready to move from illusions that we have projected onto what we see with our physical eyes. We have real vision, which is not something that the physical eyes see, but which is an inner light. This vision is often the face of Christ, though not always, and perhaps not even primarily.

So illusions are being corrected when we accept Atonement. And illusions were always illusions, and therefore never really existed at all in God’s truth and God’s reality. Not in the real world, as ACIM calls it.

We need to realize how pivotal Atonement really is to our peace of mind. We will never know joy and the absence of suffering until, on some level, we have cleared our minds of illusions, and live the real world that Jesus points out to us.
The real world comes quickly once illusions have been discarded, once Atonement has been accepted for real.

Atonement Cures the Sick by Taking Away the Guilt

“Atonement does not heal the sick, for that is not a cure. It takes away the guilt that makes the sickness possible. And that is cure indeed. (WB-140)”

Atonement takes away guilt, and A Course in Miracles indicates that it is our guilt that causes our sicknesses. This does not mean that if we get rid of all the guilt, we will necessarily be healed of all afflictions; this would be magical thinking. Some illnesses persist, and we need not blame our sicknesses on our “failure” to achieve a guilt-free existence. That would be very close to blaming the victim, which is an inaccurate way of reading ACIM.

When we take away the guilt, though, we are less likely to experience new sicknesses. And what we have may decline and eventually disappear. This will seem a miracle, and indeed it is. Jesus speaks in an ideal mode when making these assertions; we are very fallible, and we may not be able to rise to his ideal.

The cure comes when we do get rid of the guilt. Our minds are cured, and that is cure indeed. Physical symptoms may persist; indeed, may never go away. But with a healed mind, we can deal with anything. Our way is clear; we live successfully even in the face of debilitations and handicaps.

Christmas and A Course of Love, by Ivor Sowton

I walked the world to in order to reveal a God of Love (Third Treatise, 5.6)

It is remarkable how huge Christmas is in the human psyche. All over the Western Hemisphere, Europe, much of Africa, Australia, the Pacific Islands and major parts of Asia billions of people celebrate Christmas as the high point of the spiritual calendar. Even those who generally pay only lip service to Jesus or Christianity or even spirituality in general celebrate Christmas, with a build-up of at least two weeks before December 25th, leading to a crescendo of gift-giving and big gatherings of family and friends–usually the biggest concentration of such gatherings in the whole of the calendar year.

What is the power here that so motivates even a highly technological, consumer-oriented society to so break out of the usual modus operandi so dependably year after year, decade after decade, century after century?
Obviously something in the whole Christmas gestalt is deeply archetypal, deeply meaningful, and broadly applicable to a vast majority of people in these parts of the world. Even avowed atheists celebrate social Christmas–that is, gift-giving and celebratory gatherings.

I used to volunteer in a State Hospital, which in my state means the poor and indigent come there for the mandated free minimal care as determined by the government, called “medical necessity.” The word there among the nursing staff was “there’s no such thing as a death-bed atheist.” I saw it myself. Dying people were holding crucifixes, or asking for the Chaplain, or wanting the care staff to pray with them. Jesus was very frequently evoked. The small hospital chapel was frequently peopled by family members, sometimes making end-of-life decisions for their relatives in hushed, reverential tones, before a beautiful painting of Jesus, Hofmann’s “Jesus at thirty-three”, my favorite. There were always beautiful donated fresh flowers. Most notably, Christmas in the hospital was absolutely huge, with carols broadcast for weeks, children’s choirs coming in, church volunteers bringing gifts, etc. The most sacred time of the year in the Hospital calendar by far.

A Course of Love (ACOL) is for me and for most people reading this a very current portal through which the source of all this Christmas hullabaloo–Jesus himself–sheds light on the importance of his advent and continuing mission for us here on Earth. He says “I walked the Earth in order to reveal a God of love,” and then he states that that message was appropriate then AND now–that is, this message is universally relevant.
We do so need to feel that God is really a God of love; that’s the bottom line. Some kind of great Being showed up 2014 years ago, born in very humble circumstances, living only a short time among us, but completely changing the course of human history forever in a most positive way. No, suffering in the outward appearance of the human drama didn’t seem to disappear then or since, but we had something to orient to now, something to call upon to become uplifted , some great context in which to find spiritual meaning in our lives. Like a great beacon that appeared then and continues to shine now, shining light from our own depths, as it were–from that universal, deepest level of the human psyche, Jesus Christ represents our Oneness with each other to us in a way we can feel, even when we can’t understand it intellectually.

In Jungian psychology that deepest archetypal level of the human psyche is indeed shared by all of us. This is why we don’t want to be judging “others” harshly, because there are no “others” at that deepest level, where we really do take all of our thoughts and feelings about everybody and everything as self-attributions. It’s like the popular saying “what goes around comes around.” So if I judge you, my own psyche feels bad–about me!
So from this very deepest level that Christ light is shining, all the time–that light of Universal Love through which we can once again come to know a God of Love. Carl Jung repeatedly noted in his work with the dying that their dreams were full of continuity themes, as if to say that the Eternal in us had taken over in “the dying”, delivering them from finite life in a finite body. At that Eternal level, a God of Love can be felt again, because if we’re immortal, a lot of our fears are obviously obsolete.

Further, once we actually learn that we are all one at that deepest level, we finally become convinced that love is the only way. I say finally convinced because we have to work through layers of self-hatred before accepting that great Love, apparently. For in this view we wouldn’t be judging anybody else unless we first had enough self-loathing to need someone else to be so wrong.

And it is Jesus who is teaching us here in ACOL how to reclaim access to this deepest level of our psyches and bring in the Love Divine. And it is Jesus who represents the bursting forth of that deep Internal Light into our actual perceived daily lives. Of course Jesus is not the only Great Master to represent this Light, as he often says in the ACOL. But for many of us he is That One.

So thank-you Jesus, for having come here to us–once in time, and always in effect.

Merry Christmas to all!

Seek to Find Christ’s Face and Look on Nothing Else

“And how long will this holy face be seen, when it is but the symbol that the time of learning now is over, and the goal of the Atonement has been reached at last? So therefore let us seek to find Christ’s face and look on nothing else. (WB-essay-6)”

We are reaching the time of the end of learning, because its goal has been attained. This is the learning of the means of salvation, of course, not learning in the outside world—education and so forth.

The holy face is the face of Christ, which we learn in this process to see in all other people. Until we see the face of Christ in all others, we are still in the learning stages. And often, even when we succeed briefly, we do not sustain this manner of looking. When we see Christ, we are being loving and forgiving. We are bade in this quotation to look on Christ’s face and on nothing else.

The goal of the Atonement is correction of past thinking and past behaviors. Correction, nothing more. It does not mean that correction will be paired with punishment, for God does not punish His children. But we can know that we have, however momentarily, reached the goal of Atonement when we see Christ in our brothers and sisters.

This experience of seeing Christ’s face is a peak experience, not meant to last. But it heals as it happens. And we are never quite the same again.

Accept Atonement to Accept the Truth about Ourselves

“Today accept Atonement, not to change reality, but merely to accept the truth about yourself, and go your way rejoicing in the endless Love of God. (WB-139)”

We want to accept Atonement, because to do so will make us happy, very happy. We accept ourselves as we are, and we leave rejoicing in the love of God. We can imagine that He Himself is happy for us as well. Our channels of communication to God are open once again, and we can metaphorically realize that we have healed part of God’s loneliness. (Jesus has elsewhere said that God is lonely when the minds he created do not communicate with Him.)

We do not want to change reality; we want to remove the illusion from the “reality” that we see. True reality is just that—true. And it is unalterable from the truth. Only illusions fall by the wayside when we are tired of them.

We may think that we are tired of illusions for many years before we are ready to finally give them up. We cry to be saved, but internally, in our hearts, we say, “not yet.” It takes a long time to realize that the world has nothing to give us that we want.

Decide for Atonement, and reality will rise up to take the place of illusions of a “better” world. There is no improvement in illusions. The happy dreams that the Holy Spirit brings when we accept Atonement pave the way for the Awakening that we all want.

The Holy Spirit Gives Life and Beauty to Relationships

“In these loving thoughts is the spark of beauty hidden in the ugliness of the unholy relationship where hatred is remembered; yet there to come alive as the relationship is given to Him [Holy Spirit} Who gives it life and beauty. That is why Atonement centers on the past, which is the source of separation, and where it must be undone. For separation must be corrected where it was made. (T-17.III.5)”

We see here A Course in Miracle’s emphasis on changing our special relationships into holy. Here Jesus calls our special relationships “unholy,” and this is a stunning indictment. He would not have us be lost in ruminations and recriminations of the past. But Atonement centers on the past, because that is where the problems are. Now, in the present, we can always change—and Jesus would have us do so.

The presumed separation was in the past, eons in the past—but we have not yet gotten over this illusion. We did not, could not actually separate from God, though we thought that we could. As has been said many times, we are part of God, and so separation is factually impossible.

But in illusion anything can seem possible.

We give our unholy relationships, the ugliness of it all, to the Holy Spirit to correct for us. And He does so, not long off in the distant future, but here, now, when we ask—if we are sincere.

We aim to be sincere.

Atonement Restores Heaven to Us

“The Atonement was established as the means of restoring guiltlessness to minds that have denied it, and thus denied Heaven to themselves. (T-14.IV.9)”

We think that we have done a lot of bad things, things unforgivable. We have done bad things, but not in the real world. We have made those mistakes in an illusory world, and thus they have no more substance than a dream. They are a form of dream, in fact; that is the other way that Jesus talks about our walk in this world.

The Atonement restores guiltlessness by letting us realize that we have never sinned. Our mistakes in illusion are just mistakes. And so we are not damned in any sense at all, other than our own insanity of guilt.

We would enjoy Heaven on earth. This is indeed possible when we refuse to deny Heaven any longer. Heaven is awaiting our response.

Let us make that better response today.

Atonement Dispels Illusions

“The purpose of Atonement is to dispel illusions, not to establish them as real and then forgive them. (T-13.X.6)”

When we dwell on what our brother has done that seemed to harm us, we are failing to overlook his mistakes; we are making the illusory, real. And this failure to overlook is our mistake. If we make something real by dwelling on it, it becomes harder to overlook. It is, of course, still illusory, but it doesn’t feel like this to us. And so we have trapped ourselves.

Don’t make this mistake today. Turn to correction in the form of the Atonement to dispel illusions. Don’t obsess about anything bad that has ever supposedly been done to us. Don’t make real that which is an illusory concept.

We cannot be hurt. We need to show our brothers that we cannot be hurt. If we show a wounded face to them, then they will feel guilt (meaning more insanity) for what they have “done” to us. And we are failing to be a genuinely good witness for the Atonement.

Turn to what is truly real today. Don’t get lost in illusion. The way back is easy when we realize that we have been living illusions for all of our days. The way back becomes a joyous walk when we follow guidance of the Holy Spirit in making our choices the joyous ones.

The Atonement Is the Final Lesson We Need Learn

“The Atonement is the final lesson he need learn, for it teaches him that, never having sinned, he has no need of salvation. (T-13.in.4)”

The “he” is an individual, a person, who believes in separation from God and wants a remedy that will take away all guilt and offer absolution from mistakes. This is the extreme reading in A Course in Miracles, in which we know that all the wrong that we have ever done, out of allegiance to the ego, was simply an illusion. Being an illusion, it is not unforgivable, and, importantly, Jesus asserts that it is only a mistake, not a sin. Being a mistake, it can often (though not always) be rectified by later action on our part. We have pardon.

To have no need for salvation is to understand the true meaning of the well-known phrase of a “journey without distance.” We find our way back from what we never left, but thought we did. That place is in God’s Arms, fully in communication with Him, fully in the joy of His Presence.
And this “final lesson” of the Atonement does pave the way for Awakening, which is our ultimate end in A Course in Miracles. We may not all reach it, but we all have the potential to reach it. We need realize that we need do nothing, that it is all done for us, when we leave off the guilt that has taken us into insanity. We leave off the egoic notions, and we find our way home in peace.

This is our journey without distance. May we all takes steps toward the joyous end of Awakening today.

When You Need Love, by Ivor Sowton

Here’s Jesus speaking in the Second Treatise of a Course of Love (ACOL):

Giving is not only about choosing what good and helpful parts of yourself to share with the world. It is also about giving the world an opportunity to give back. It is about recognizing the constant and ongoing exchange that allows needs to be met. It is trusting that if you have a need for money, or time, or honesty, or love, it will be provided.

This wonderful message of trust is in the context of giving and receiving as one.

Now, when we are feeling challenged, most of us tend to slip back into ego at least somewhat. Those who do NOT backslide under over-stress are either highly evolved or (and/or?) have been practicing forgiveness sincerely!– and now see it come to their rescue as a strong and reliable part of themselves. This is why it’s so important to have an ongoing forgiveness practice as Jesus recommends–all the time. Even in the small things–maybe especially in the small things!, for this is how we build that capacity to see things in a more positive light when not feeling totally overwhelmed.

A major trust of both ACOL and ACIM (A Course in Miracles) is toward greater trust in God and the goodness of Life. As the great Master He is, Jesus leads us through many hidden layers of resistance to this trust-building.

So when we feel really over-stressed, most of us slip back into ego-based fear positions of control/protect, as outlined in the first sections of ACOL. That is, we tend to blame someone for this great calamity that shouldn’t be happening! We try to control things by attacking the bad guys back, or by withdrawing further into our ego isolation, like the dragon protecting the treasure from EVERYONE! If things get really bad, we can become desperate and fall into the black hole of complete emotional isolation, where we actually feel completely alone in all the universe!

This is when we can entertain the notion that an angry God threw us out of Heaven because we are so bad we deserve only Hell! This is why Jesus has to work so hard at trust-building. ACIM is masterful in helping us grow beyond being locked in victim role to a vengeful Divinity, a vengeful God driving us from the Garden of Eden, complete with angels wielding flaming spears, no less! We gradually learn to take responsibility for being here. We learn that it wasn’t God who threw us out, but that that it was WE who left voluntarily, through the exercise of our God-given free will.

ACOL is part of the new dispensation of Jesus’ work in the world, in my estimation. After having laid the necessary groundwork in ACIM to free us sufficiently from sin-consciousness (which is all about black holes!), Jesus in ACOL goes on to open up a lot of new acceptance for the individual state in which we find ourselves here in this world.

The previous assumption for most of us, once having accepted responsibility for having left unity-consciousness on our own, was that the separation experiment was all a big mistake–a colossal failure on our part. Like Yuddhistira in the Mahabharata of Classical Vedic India, we have gambled away our Kingdom, and now we have to deal with the consequences!

But the ACOL helps us to see that our desire to experience individuality was not a mistake (and certainly not a sin!), but that the problem came when we lost connection with God and with all the other individuals we had become as we left–first as the One Divine Offspring and then collectively, as the sense of separation hardened up. We are led to a vision of individuality as an innocent creative desire, which, if reunited with our connection to the Divine becomes part of Creation itself rather being than inimical to it. It says that the problem is not in the incarnation as an individual, but instead in the loss of connection with God and with all the “other” individuals. When that connection is restored we are freed to assume the elevation of form, or the redemption of individually, now finally freed from all sense of isolation.
But how do we feel that love when we need it? As Jesus says in the opening quote, if we are in a flow of giving and receiving as one, we will be capable of recognizing our need for love (or money, or time, or honesty–how beautiful!) then we will successfully ASK FOR HELP when we need it!

I have a good friend who is an intuitive healer. In his work with clients, he said that the real challenge is to wait while the person airs out their negative story (who did what to whom!). He said that he is convinced that what we all really want and need for our healing and well being (however we each envision that) is to feel LOVED AND LOVING, that is, fully worthy of being loved by God and by everyone else in our lives AND by being aware of a flow of love through us to family and friends and all beings in general. As in the Beatles’ song,”all you need is love!”

It’s a point well taken. How do we get beyond our petty grievances and just get back in the River of Divine Love when we’ve been temporarily caught in a stagnant eddy of ego fear? How do we drop our ego story and remember we’re all One?

As my dear mother often said, “when in doubt, pray!” That is, can we be humble enough, when we suddenly feel all alone, to 1) acknowledge our perceived loss of connection to Source, 2) stop browbeating ourselves or someone else for this, and 3) drop down into our open heart, inviting that Wholeheartedness to run things again, as God intended.

Jesus is alive, as He reminds us gently and repeatedly in ACOL, and His mission is to help us get back into miracle-mindedness, where giving and receiving are One again. Call to Him. He will help us, as we will help others when we are stronger.

It is trusting that if you have a need for money, or time, or honesty, or love, it will be provided. ( ACOL, 2nd Treatise, 7.15)

Acceptance of Atonement Is the End of Separation from God

“The acceptance of guilt into the mind of God’s Son was the beginning of the separation, as the acceptance of the Atonement is its end. (T-13.in.2)”

We need to avoid guilt, but we cannot do this until we have accepted the Atonement. Guilt is what has driven us insane, and until we find a way—the Atonement—to silence guilt’s nasty comments in our minds, we will forever be in a state of unrest.

We thought that we had done the unforgivable in God’s sight: We had left Him. And this prompted our guilt. Only when we know that we are in communication with Him, as our Self, will we know peace. And we will return to communication with God when we have accepted the Atonement wholeheartedly.

The correction of the Atonement puts us back where we have really been all along, in God’s Arms, in grace that has never actually left us. That is why A Course in Miracles says that the way back is a “journey without distance.” There is no distance between God and us; we are a part of Him, as we need to really understand. Only our communion with our depths has been disrupted, and this only in illusion—when we took our place in making an illusory world where we thought that God could not follow. We thought to make a world that we would like better than what God had created, but we quickly found pain in that world. And no wonder. We had taught ourselves the very unnatural way of failing to communicate with our Creator. We were undone. And so a way back had to be created by God.

And it was: the Atonement. Jesus proved to us that we are eternal beings living part of an eternal life. We die only to resurrect, and so we really do not die at all. That is part of the illusion, part of the pain. We suffer when we fear our presumed end in death. Such foolishness! Death is like walking through an open door.

Commune with our Maker today. Ask the Holy Spirit how to do this. And He will answer. God Himself, we are told in ACIM, is lonely when the minds He created do not communicate with Him. This is probably a metaphorical way of speaking, but it is nevertheless instructive to us, for we can understand the concept.

Don’t delay. Commune with God.

The Purpose of Atonement Is to Find Our Way Back to What Was Never Lost

“The Atonement is but the way back to what was never lost. Your Father could not cease to love His Son. (T-12.VIII.8)”

We did not really separate from God except in illusion. As part of Him, we could not separate and live, and we are creations given eternity. But we have thought that we separated, and the illusion is very beguiling. When we accept the Atonement that Jesus completed, we know that we never really left God’s side, His Entity. We find our way home, to what we never really lost. And that is the purpose of all of Atonement. To find our way home, finally.

God remains loving to us. Because of His Nature, He could not be otherwise than loving. And so we didn’t really lose anything in the illusory separation of which we have been a part. We have found our way back.

Note the greater peace and calm that we enjoy now. Sure, we still have our overwrought moments, but these no longer define us. We are not lost in dramas very often, and this is one of the blessings of having accepted the Atonement for ourselves.

God didn’t forget about us when we thought we had left Him. He remains constant, a constant Presence Who will always be faithful to His creations. And, in our better moments, we recognize our Oneness with Him, and we are at peace, experiencing calm.

Atonement Saves the Past in Purified Form Only

“The purpose of the Atonement is to save the past in purified form only. (T-5.V.7)”

We all have things that we regret. We all have fallen short of our ideal for good behavior, good thoughts, and, all in all, good living. Jesus offers a remedy for us in this sentence: the Atonement.

Studying the mistake does not lead us to the good. We need to remember those times in the past, the “purified form” of the past, when we thought, said, and did the right things. These are what we can really assimilate; these will lead us home.

When we have met correction in the form of the Atonement, we move forward into a new day, keeping with us only what we admire about our past. If we are still trapped in the ego, our admiration will not be a good directing force; we will need to call on the Holy Spirit to call to mind what there really was in our past that has been worthy of admiration. And He will respond. He wants us home as much as we want to go.

So this is a worthy purpose of the Atonement, to bring to mind for the forever future just what has been purified from the past.

We don’t need to regret the past. We can step away from it by focusing on how we do want to act in the future. And the Holy Spirit will offer us the guidance to know what to do and when. His guidance is sure, far better than our own feeble attempts to master our lives. We look to the resurrection to know that Jesus has done his part. Now we are to follow his lead, and learn how to walk where he leads by dwelling in our thoughts on what we have done right.

Remember: Studying the mistakes does not work. Listening to the good, right things does.

Atonement Gives the Power of a Healed Mind

“The Atonement gives you the power of a healed mind. . . . (T-5.IV.7)”

A healed mind is where we are headed. And the Atonement gives just that. Is it any wonder that we want Atonement, even when we think that we don’t understand it very well?

We do understand Atonement, but it has been layered over with illusions in our mind, illusions that kept the truth from us. Jesus is in charge of the Atonement, giving us the means to find our way back to God. With a healed mind, we can say and do many things that are impossible when we are living with an unhealed mind, an egoic mind.

Ask today to have the power that will be ours when we have a healed mind. This is not an impossible request. We can and will be healed in time, but we do not need this time. The healing can take place spontaneously, when we see, in a moment of insight, the blessing that is ours without egoic interpretations of life and living.

This power is like living with the wings of an eagle, a statement made in A Course in Miracles. We will take off in our lives when we stop letting our energy be sapped by neurotic tendencies, tendencies that always are self-centered and consumed by egotistical ways of thinking.

Be healed today. It is God’s Will. It is also our own, but, perhaps unbeknown to us, God Will is our real will. The Holy Spirit chooses for us. He knows what we really want. And the healing that Atonement, reconciliation, brings is therapeutic in the extreme. We will live happy lives, secure in the knowledge that God’s way is our way, His Will, our will. We will be Home at last.

Atonement Leaves the “Sins” of the Ego Behind

“Leave the ‘sins’ of the ego to me [Jesus]. That is what Atonement is for. But until you change your mind about those whom your ego has hurt, the Atonement cannot release you. While you feel guilty your ego is in command, because only the ego can experience guilt. This need not be. (T-4.IV.5)”

Atonement is to leave the “sins,” or mistakes, of the ego behind. Jesus says to leave this to him, a welcome prospect because we get so very tangled up in dealing with the ego at any time. When we don’t “change our minds” about others whom we have hurt (largely through anger and its result, attack), even Jesus cannot help us. This is because we are feeling guilty about the anger and attack, and guilt is hell (said elsewhere in A Course in Miracles).

The main thrust of ACIM is to dislodge the ego, freeing the mind to return to God and ourselves to be healed from the illusions. Atonement is the means, and this “undoing” (a definition of Atonement) was done by Jesus, he says, in the resurrection (not the crucifixion, as traditional Christianity says). When we are free of the ego, we are really home free. We have made it back to God, and we no longer harbor dreams. We are safe in an unsafe world. Our perceptions have been cleansed. We no longer project destruction, seeing this world as an illusion that is unreal.

We need to leave the guilt behind, and to do so, we need to cease attacking our brother. Attack will disturb the “undoing” every time, for we will feel guilty, and when we feel guilt, we are once again mired in the ego.

Let’s leave these concepts behind today—the ego, guilty, the attack. Let us accept the Atonement has a fait accompli and walk into this world holding Jesus’s hand.

Heal the Inner Altar

“For perfect effectiveness the Atonement belongs at the center of the inner altar, where it undoes the separation and restores the wholeness of the mind. (T-2.II.2)”

Atonement is what we need, more than anything. All of us recognize this, however dimly, though sometimes we have trouble wrapping our minds around what Atonement really means. This developing problem is due, in large part, to the fact that our traditional Christianity looks to the crucifixion, first, and only then, later, to the resurrection. The crucifixion is seen as a shedding of blood that God required of a perfect Son in order to remove the taint of sin from all of us.

This interpretation, Jesus says in A Course in Miracles, is not accurate, and, so, if we believe the Jesus who channeled ACIM, we will see that Jesus looks to his resurrection as the defining moment in Atonement. Nowhere in either A Course in Miracles nor A Course of Love does Jesus say that the resurrection didn’t happen. Of course, we may wonder exactly how he could have been resurrected, and Jesus does not stop us from wondering. He lets us decide for ourselves.

But there is great clarity around the idea that the message of the crucifixion was wholly benign, that Jesus presented himself as innocent, and totally defenseless, and he did not attack back in any way whatsoever. In this, he developed the pattern for us not to attack in circumstances that would be far less extreme than his own.

Here, in this quotation, Jesus is noting that the inner altar has become defiled, not from sin, but from mistakes that are wholly correctable. And God would have us look to the true innocence of our inner altar. This inner altar is in the same place, we may presume, as the inner Self. And this inner Self is our Christ Self, which we wish to keep as pure as it has always been. We do not want our inner altars to remain defiled.

We want the separation healed. And looking to the inner altar as a place of purity will be a healing thought. Then our minds are healed, and we rejoin the great crusade to bring others to God. Our minds are no longer split between the ego and love. They are just consumed by Love, which is God. We are a part of God, always, and now we are in communication with him, with open channels, once again. God does not need to think that His channels to us are closed. The separation has been healed, along with our minds.

All Are Chosen, by Ivor Sowton

In a Course in Miracles (ACIM) and A Course of Love (ACOL), Jesus serves as the Teacher of teachers, with the implication that we are to become teachers (this is particularly apparent in the Manual for Teachers in ACIM). We are to teach not in a lecturing type of way, but by demonstrating ego-free responses.

Now obviously we can only demonstrate ego-free responses if we are ego-free at the time! This is another example of our Master Teacher of teachers bringing us to major crossroads and then standing at the far side of the heavenward direction and saying, “Follow me.” If a person is able to follow him through this tremendous crossroad, she will then be a Teacher of God (ACIM) to those who have not yet reached that crossroad as well as those tarrying there.

It is wonderful that in the ACIM Manual for Teachers Jesus acknowledges that actually even Teachers of God are wobbling in and out of the ego-free state often. But they are able to catch themselves at temporarily choosing the ego again and re-open themselves to the miracle through prayer, bringing Atonement. Then the grace of God can be received and flow through to the other people involved.

In our actual experience in our lives here we are most probably not “full-time Teachers of God” yet. But we have grown sufficiently through divine grace and incredible teaching from the Teacher of Teachers that we do actually now know that our ego pole is negative. But we have also been shown clearly that forgiveness is the way beyond ego, and we are increasing able to forgive ourselves (primarily!) and others (secondarily).

One great aid to spending less time in our ego pole is the phrase “all are chosen.” This is the title of Chapter One of “A Treatise on the New” in ACOL.

All are chosen. Jesus leads us in that amazing chapter to the unavoidable conclusion that God is available to all of us all the time, and that, further, as we move into the time of Christ, more and more children born into this time will grow up able to see the ego and not wanting it. In 1.26 it says “Those born into the time of Christ will settle for nothing less than the truth and will soon begin earnestly looking for it. Even the ego-self will be perceived clearly by these, and they will not want it for their identity but only will accept it until another identity is offered.”

So the newest generation will be more open the choosing God which is truth and just waiting to make that choice directly. How wonderful for them and for our world–to have so much more spiritual opportunity for God-realization and for living more in Unity. And what does that mean for us older ones? Jesus in the same chapter does say that in the time of the Holy Spirit, which the older of us grew up in, the approach to God was primarily indirect, through contrast. We learned by choosing love over fear, kindness over attack, good over evil. There was implicit conflict between opposites here. So we moved directionally toward unity consciousness, but the influence of the separate ego-consciousness was so dominant that it was hard for us to live all the time in Revelation, the ongoing ego-free state. We were calibrated more for the indirect approach.

In the Second Treatise Jesus therefore directly addresses the need to forgive God for allowing such a state that we find ourselves in! It’s like we are frightened by how much free will we’ve always had, and maybe wishing that God had given us less of that choice to rush into separation state! Then Jesus tells us that it would also behoove us to forgive the world we made for being a place “that has taught you to want to be other than who you are.” So we grew up thinking that we needed to build ourselves up, make something of ourselves, get ahead, compete with other egos for scarce resources, etc.

But now we are in a time of more spiritual opportunity to be more divinely aware more of the time. And the newly born or those soon to be born will be even more favorably gifted with predisposition toward the truth.

I really don’t think that Jesus is saying here that the world will suddenly vault into Heaven, all of us instantly and permanently enlightened at the same time. But he is saying more will choose God and more will choose God directly, with less need for an ego pole. What a blessing!

If we can remember that all are chosen at all times then it will be easier for us. All are chosen because God never throws anybody out of Heaven, and never barred the door either! We can take huge reassurance that God has and is always choosing us–that we could be in a Heavenly state of awareness anytime and eventually all the time. And that further everyone else is also chosen also, completely resolving for us the sin consciousness the ego pole wants to use to reserve goodness just for us and ours but no one else.

So as we go through life and work through difficult special relationships, we can remember that all are chosen. We are, they are–all chosen! We can never permanently lose God. We can remain indirect through exercising our free choice, in which case we put ourselves in the school of hard knocks–conflict/contrast, only gradually realizing that kindness and forgiveness are the way to Heaven, or we could open up to the direct experience of that love quickly–even much more quickly.

Here’s Jesus in 1.5 of All Are Chosen:

A question has been asked and a response is awaited. Are you willing to be chosen? Are you willing to be chosen of God? All are asked. What is your answer?

CHAPTER 2: PURPOSE OF ATONEMENT

Miracles

“A miracle is a correction introduced into false thinking by me. It acts as a catalyst, breaking up erroneous perception and reorganizing it properly. This places you under the Atonement principle, where perception is healed. Until this has occurred, knowledge of the Divine Order is impossible. (T-1.I.37)”

We all want miracles, but miracles are important simply because they correct our perception. Correcting our perception leads us to an understanding of what is so important about Atonement. We need to see differently. Above all else we need to see differently.

We cannot know what God has in store for us (the “Divine Order”) unless our perception is healed. And healed perception leads to knowledge, for knowledge is God’s gift to us. Only He can bestow knowledge, for only He has the knowledge.

So we seek for miracles in order to see rightly. To see with vision, which doesn’t involve the physical eyes at all. We are not seeing strange things inwardly, though; we are seeing the reality at its utmost. We are seeing clearly for the first time since the separation.

A miracle does act as a catalyst, breaking up erroneous perception, and this is its link to Atonement.

May all of us seek for the real benefit of miracles today.

Atonement Is the Correction of Perception

“This is not a course in philosophical speculation, nor is it concerned with precise terminology. It is concerned only with the Atonement, or the correction of perception. The means of the Atonement is forgiveness. (C-in.1)”

This quotation explains why there are differing definitions for Atonement in A Course in Miracles. Jesus is not concerned with specifics, carefully equating similar terms whenever he can.

Here Jesus’s definition for Atonement is the “correction of perception.” We know that perception is what we use in this world to find our way about. It is not knowledge, which comes from God. This perception is made by projection from within each individual.

Since the ego still rules very many of us, it is the ego that projects the perceptions that we make. And it is this perception that needs correction.

The means of correction of perception is forgiveness. In particular, we reach out to our significant others, our brother, and in the forgiveness that we extend, we find love.

What better formula could there be for a new world to be seen by corrected perception?

Forgiveness = Salvation = Atonement = True Perception

“Forgiveness, salvation, Atonement, true perception, all are one. (C-4.3)”

This single sentence is an example of how Jesus combines ideas to form a whole—a unified whole. If we can see that forgiveness = salvation = Atonement = true perception, then we will be well on our way to accepting the Atonement that Jesus prepared for us 2,000 years ago in his resurrection. He would see us with healed minds, walking this world by holding his hand (in our imagination).

Forgiveness is our way home, forgiveness of our brother. This is the path pointed out by A Course in Miracles.

Salvation is granted us by request. We may not see outstanding miracles; it may be a quiet time for us. But salvation is ours for the asking.

Our true perception prepares the way for knowledge, which comes only from God. When our eyes see truly, we don’t focus on what the physical eyes have seen. We focus on the things of God. And we will not be disappointed by this affirmation to see differently.
Atonement is our study now. And when we see that forgiveness, salvation, true perception all point the way, we will know God’s truth.

Atonement and Healing Mean the Same

“Healing and Atonement are not related; they are identical. There is no order of difficulty in miracles because there are no degrees of Atonement. It is the one complete concept possible in this world, because it is the source of a wholly unified perception. (M-2.1)”

So healing equals Atonement! How obvious! Healing is a central concept of A Course in Miracles, and the undoing that Atonement comprises does indeed lead to healing in this world. This world knows perception, not usually knowledge (which is reserved for the “real world”), and a unified perception will mean that the mind is no longer split between the ego and your right mind.

“No degrees of Atonement” means that it is an all-or-nothing concept. We are either healed completely or not at all, though in time we will know a lessening of the ego, usually, over weeks, months, or even years.

We want to have a unified perception of this world, for this means that we are heading into Awakening, or enlightenment—when God deems us ready. There are things that we can do that will hasten God’s action. We cannot, though, dictate to Him. But we can leave behind judging, attacking, making plans against contingencies to come (unless these plans are endorsed by the Holy Spirit). And these three actions will move us closer to the ultimate choice in God to reach down and lift us up to Awakening.

Atonement Means the Undoing of Errors

“Atonement means correction, or the undoing of errors. (M-18.4)”

This definition is an amplification of what was said elsewhere, that Atonement means “undoing.” Here the concept is amplified to mean that we are undoing errors. Errors are also defined, most of the time, as “mistakes,” and this word is conceptualized in place of “sins,” which is not used. Errors or mistakes are seen in A Course in Miracles as something that we would hasten to correct (or “undo”), whereas sin, if it were possible, would have an attracting feature to it, making us want to commit the “sin” again and again.

So we are seeking, when we confront Atonement, to correct our mistakes. And in so doing we are on the way home to God. Our presumed separation from God has been healed.

Atonement thus becomes an umbrella term for what A Course in Miracles is all about, for correcting mistakes is essential to our pathway home. We do not have to puzzle over the word Atonement again. We can simply see it as the correction that we have been needing, the time when we are justified in our own eyes, for God Himself has never, we are told in ACIM, condemned us, and so he does not forgive.