Effortless and Joyful and Effective, by Ivor Sowton

Jesus in A Course of Love (ACOL) leads us into an increasingly huge vision of who we are in truth and what the future can be like for us. Here’s from the Dialogues of ACOL (Ch. 13):
Join with your brothers and sisters in Christ and sharing becomes effortless and joyful and effective.

Effortless, joyful, and effective! So much is implicit here.

There is harmony, to start with! I mean look at the international news, so full of various forms of misery humanity is imposing upon itself so willfully through wars and sanctions and threats and provocation; there seems no harmony even available to some of these situations–seemingly hardwired vindictiveness runs rampant.

Disharmony also plagues our personal lives, for who doesn’t have right at this moment at least a few relationships which are fraught with some kind of painful negativity? These are our special relationships. If they stay the way they are now we’re stuck! So, big picture or little picture disharmony would both be the continued but completely unnecessary repetition of the old, when we could be in the new, says Jesus. All this disharmony is likened to self-imposed illness, poverty, dissing others:

This is precisely why you must choose not to keep the life of discomfort caused by perceived illness, the life of scarcity caused by perceived lack, the lack of stature caused by perceived disrespect. It is only by your choice that you will keep such things and only by your choice that these things will leave you. (T 3: 14.7)

So we really could be both seeing and creating much more harmony, even within an historical context of “some have been and will continue to be resistant.” These new possibilities will be joyful and effective, too, at least for us in our experience here; that is, in conflicted situations, we would be part of the solution and no longer part of the problem. This would spark that same Spirit in others, so that increasing numbers of us really lighten up with a capital L! Via la difference!

The mechanism of the new is often spoken of as true joining with others, who then become part of us. To me this huge identity shift has to be respected as so revolutionary that its unfoldment has to be in charge of Jesus himself, or God, or your Guru–you know what I mean? This is because we all start with a lot of ego identification, meaning that we experience separation right now in varying degrees, and cannot wrench ourselves out of that state, but need Someone beckoning to us from a much greater state, often referred to by Jesus as the House of Truth.

When we are truly settled in the House of Truth we are joined with others in unity and relationship, and there is only harmony. Effortless, joyful and effective! Even now, in many ways we are called to act from this new consciousness, which is actually not new but had been just temporarily forgotten. Our greater identity antedated the ego separation, and, being eternal, is just waiting our remembrance. By envisioning it more and more we become it more and more:

You who have followed me beyond the walls of illusion are now called to begin the act of revealing and creating anew the life of heaven on earth. (T-3: 9.6)


The Atonement Is the Perfect Lesson

“The Atonement is therefore the perfect lesson. It is the final demonstration that all the other lessons I taught are true. (T-3.I.7)”

This is Jesus talking, at least as believed by most of us who follow A Course in Miracles. When we accept Atonement as he describes it in ACIM, we know that he speaks aright. And we recognize that his means for salvation is correct. We know, in our inner being, that we are saved for a higher purpose, and we go about seeking to share, within reason, that higher purpose, listening, always, to the Holy Spirit for advice on what to do. Our part in Atonement is always being told to us, and it is not an odious part. We don’t have to struggle and work hard; the part that we take is perfectly fitted to our talents and abilities, as well as our experience in this world.

Jesus may be speaking in these words also about his earthly life, but he doesn’t make it clear to us. The lessons that he teaches in A Course in Miracles are yet to come, because this quotation comes from the very beginning of the Text. It therefore seems reasonable that he is talking about what is given in the New Testament about his life. His lessons were frequently parables, because people were not yet able to understand anything further (and often they did not understand the parables). His lessons in A Course in Miracles are sometimes dense, and appear complicated to the uninitiated, but once one has studied the whole of ACIM, the simplicity of the central concepts becomes apparent.

The way is smooth, the lives that we live, improved. Atonement works, as defined by Jesus. We forgive, we listen for guidance from the Holy Spirit, and we stay close to God as we understand Him. In this we have the correction that we have needed to have previously in our lives.

Miracles and the Atonement and Us

”I am the only one who can perform miracles indiscriminately, because I am the Atonement. You have a role in the Atonement which I will dictate to you. (T-1.III.4)”

Jesus makes the decision about which miracles we ought to perform. This is under his guidance. Strangely, he doesn’t place this responsibility under the Holy Spirit, but under he himself. And he holds our hand as we walk along.

Because Jesus is in charge of the Atonement, we know from him what he would have us do. Here the Holy Spirit also helps, making our way smooth and easy. We are assured that our tasks will be gentle, easy, that we will not have tough labors to carry out. This in itself is so different from the difficult way that our ego has governed us previously. We struggled so, thinking there was no other way to live our life. And we were so wrong. So very wrong.

Ask Jesus, in our minds, what role he would have us play in the Atonement. I don’t know how he is able to clone himself to answer everyone’s needs, but he has said many things that seem incomprehensible. We need to ask, and when the answer comes, we will be reassured about what its source has been.

All of us has a role in the Atonement. And that role will include miracles that Jesus has encouraged us to do. But we don’t make our own decisions about miracles that we think are needed. We don’t know enough to do that; it is not our purpose or role. We look to Jesus for the nod that tells us what to do. Consciously selected miracles are apt to be misguided. So we let the inner essence of ourselves decide, with Jesus, what to say and do, what miracles to perform.

Then all is well.

Jesus Is in Charge of the Atonement

“I am in charge of the process of Atonement, which I undertook to begin. T-1.III.1)”

This quotation simply places Jesus at the center. He is our way, just as we learned in the New Testament. We do not know when Jesus “began” the Atonement, but we know that he culminated the first part in his resurrection, a miracle that we can’t begin to comprehend (and Jesus does not spell it out for us in A Course in Miracles, though he never denies it).

And Atonement is a process, of this we can be sure. We add our parts to the Atonement, making a chain that will be unbroken, a chain that allows salvation for all. All will eventually find our way back, though it may take millions of years (Jesus says this). But as long as the process has started, we can rest easy, because the end is certain.
All return to God. All end the dream of separation, the illusory mad idea of a reality in which we have erroneously believed.

Do we have part in the Atonement, or did Jesus do it all? We do have a part, in that we have a part in salvation, and salvation and Atonement are very linked in our faith. Jesus’s part is to be our leader, at least for those of us who have agreed to see him as leader. He makes a choice to bring us all home to God, and we ourselves know that this is our crying need.

We owe a lot to Jesus. And he says that he will hold our hand on the way back to God.


Jesus Cancels Errors that We Cannot

“My part in the Atonement is the cancelling out of all errors that you could not otherwise correct. When you have been restored to the recognition of your original state, you naturally become part of the Atonement yourself. (T-1.III.1)”

Here Jesus specifies that he cancels out the errors that we can’t. What a gift! And how very reassuring this word is. We don’t have to be perfect; Jesus is perfect for us. He rectifies what we could not. He finds a way to restore us to God and to our Self, and this Self is our original state, before illusory separation entered our picture.

We will, once this restoration has been effected, take our part in Atonement. We will reach out to others in a sharing that is as comprehensive as it is all-loving. We have a part to play, and we will be told (by the Holy Spirit) what that part is. We do not have to thrash about in mystery, lost in a fog. We will receive explicit instructions when we are ready to listen to guidance. And having accepted Atonement for ourselves, we will be open to receiving all the guidance that the Holy Spirit is wont to make.

The Atonement Is Healing of All Forms of Sickness

“The offer of Atonement is universal. It is equally applicable to all individuals in all circumstances. And in it is the power to heal all individuals of all forms of sickness. (M-22.6)”

This quotation may seem hard to believe, because we have known saintly people who had emotional or physical illnesses that were never cured, regardless of their saintliness. Jesus says elsewhere in the Manual that to doubt healing because of the presence of continuing symptoms is not the way to go. The healing will be received when one is ready. In the meantime, we don’t try to repeat healing ceremonies or to imagine that the healing has not occurred because we see these lingering symptoms. The all-inclusive nature of healing is a healing that Jesus sees as inevitable. And God would brook no compromise in this pristine view of healing. We ask for healing, and it comes—despite physical evidence to the contrary. Only time separates, now, the request for healing and its culmination in a healed mind and body.

Perhaps an individual chooses now to leave this world. Most lay down the body through some illness. Is this a problem? Not as Jesus sees it. We give up the body when its usefulness is done, nothing more. We do not lose; we step into eternity.
All individuals have access to Atonement. It is a universal call. And it applies to all. God’s ways may seem mysterious, but they are that only in our own limited understanding. The truth of Atonement, a call to everybody, everywhere, stands over and above any doubts that we might have about its all-inclusiveness.

Jesus’s statements about Atonement and healing are in what might be termed the “ideal” interpretation of A Course in Miracles. We are not yet ready to see all forms of sickness disappear, including but not limited to physical healings. Sometimes we are not yet ready to see emotional healing. But we can know, on some level, that when we accept Atonement, this healing has come to us.

These are not easy statements. Jesus, though, accepts no compromise. Let us walk as far along into his interpretation as we can. We have not “failed” if we remain ill. We have just, so far, walked as far as we can. Jesus is concerned about our minds, and our minds may be healed even though our illusory bodies still show symptoms.

This is not a contradiction.

Holy Relationships

“It is extremely difficult to reach Atonement by fighting against sin. . .A holy relationship is a means of saving time. One instant spent together with your brother restores the universe to both of you. You are prepared. Now you need but to remember you need do nothing. (T-18.VII.4-5)”

We love our significant relationships, and when these are cleansed to become holy, rather than special, relationships, we have found the one person given to us to love. In our love of him, we find it in our heart to forgive entirely, and in the forgiveness do we speedily reach Awakening. We need “do” nothing. All is given to us in the fact of our holy relationship, spending instants of time in league with our brother and with God.

We can’t win by fighting against sin. We have, in the first place, only made mistakes, because there is no unforgivable sin. We find this hard to believe, of course, in part because of other teachings that we have taken to heart. But Jesus in A Course in Miracles makes it easy for us. He says that we are always forgiven for our mistakes. We rectify what we can, of course, and this is only common sense. But there are some mistakes that only Jesus can rectify, and he has said that he stands at the end of the pathway to salvation to resolve what we have found impossible to resolve.

If the universe is restored to us, we know reality. We are enlightened. We have Awakened. And for all this, we need only walk the pathway to salvation by holding our brother’s hand. This fact alone saves time, unlike years and years of what can be tedious contemplation. This means, with our brother, works. When we feel that we love purely, we have forgiven. And God will act immediately to lift us up to Awakening.