“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 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:
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.
“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.
“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.
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 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.
“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.