Your Holy Mind Is Altar unto God

“Your holy mind is altar unto God, and where He is no idols can abide. The fear of God is but the fear of loss of idols. It is not the fear of loss of your reality. But you have made of your reality an idol, which you must protect against the light of truth.” (ACIM, T-29.VII.9)

There are several strains of meaning in this quotation, making it hard to follow. But the loss of idols is a real fear for us, because we have made many of our loves into idols. We thought that we had a special relationship that would solve everything for us, for we were ripped out of ourselves for the love that we felt. But we had made an idol, because the relationship was special, not holy. And only when it becomes holy are we on the right track.

“Idols are but substitutes for your reality. In some way, you believe they will complete your little self, for safety in a world perceived as dangerous, with forces massed against your confidence and peace of mind.” (ACIM, T-29.VIII.2)
We all want safety. Being safe is one of our greatest desires, out of all possible desires. And when this safety is not forthcoming, we make idols that will, we think, protect us from ourselves.

The idols will never do this. Our world is not dangerous, though it becomes so in our own, misguided, perception. We need to realize that peace of mind is part of our inheritance from God.

God is right there for us, always. Always and forever. And when we cease fearing Him, we will not need intermediaries, such as the Holy Spirit, to keep us safe. We will have direct access to God, for we have willed it so. It is God’s Will, as well, and in that our safety is secured.

Dream Your Own Dreams

“Call not to him to meet you in the gap between you, or you must believe that it is your reality as well as his. You cannot do his part, but this you do when you become a passive figure in his dreams, instead of dreamer of your own.” (ACIM, T-28.IV.5)

This quotation is a beautifully written comment meant to lead us to solidarity and love with our most significant other. All others are our brothers, but our most significant other has a particular place in the theology of A Course in Miracles. We are led to understand that in our joining with another, we jump ahead light years from where we stand. Our way is assured, our way to Awakening. We are told that contemplation (as in meditation) is a way for others, that it is a tedious way, though it too will succeed in the end. But we save time by loving our brother (or sister), our most significant other.

Not all students/teachers interpret the “brother” concept in just the way described above. Some believe that everyone is our world, being our brother (or sister), is actually meant as a beacon to bring us home. I tend to read these passages as a particular other, though, one that was most special to us but who transformed into the holiest of others to us. Our special relationship became holy, in a transformation that may have disturbed almost its very essence.

We are dreaming this dream, ACIM makes clear. We are caught in a dream with our brother or sister, and our actions come out of that dream. If we treat each other badly from time to time, still we are doing the dreaming. And we can change the dream to something else—first, benign; and then loving.

Let’s make the effortless attempt today to see our most significant other as our way back home. This is the shortcut that A Course in Miracles asks of us. And it will be no surprise that Awakening reaches us sooner for the gesture.

Illusions

“No sacrifice is possible in the relinquishment of an illusion recognized as such. Where all reality has been withdrawn from what was never true, can it be hard to give it up, and choose what must be true?” (ACIM, T-26.III.7)
We don’t have to struggle to give up our illusions. They are very easy to give up, once we recognize that they have brought us images of sacrifice and pain, pain that often turned to suffering. The giving up of illusions represent a milestone on our journey.

“Illusions are illusions and are false. Your preference gives them no reality. Not one is true in any way, and all must yield with equal ease to what God gave as answer to them all.” (ACIM, T-26.VII.6)
We have some illusions that we like, and these are the hardest to give up. But if we are clinging to what has no true reality, we will be disappointed sooner or later. Why not entertain the idea that now is the time to walk into true reality?

“This is how all illusions came about. The one who makes them does not see himself as making them, and their reality does not depend on him. Whatever cause they have is something quite apart from him, and what he sees is separate from his mind. He cannot doubt his dreams’ reality, because he does not see the part he plays in making them and making them seem real.” (ACIM, T-27.VII.7)
We made this dream in which we live, and in the making, we got what we wanted. This may seem hard to believe when we realize that some of our dreams are actually nightmares. And we can give up those nightmares as easily, and perhaps more easily, than pleasant dreams.

Do so today.

“The gap between reality and dreams lies not between the dreaming of the world and what you dream in secret. They are one. The dreaming of the world is but a part of your own dream you gave away, and saw as if it were its start and ending, both.” (ACIM, T-27.VII.11)

This explains how to outer world can seem real when it is actually just a dream as untrue as inner imaginings. We made this world, made it easily because the matter is actually illusory. This can be hard to envision, but the sooner we contemplate the truth of this assertion, the better our outer “reality” becomes. The happy dreams brought by the Holy Spirit will overwhelm us with blessings.

“What grieves is not myself. What is in pain is but illusion in my mind. What dies was never living in reality, and did but mock the truth about myself.” (ACIM, W-248)

“This illusionary world is full of things you have told yourself and been instructed that you have to do, but that you do not want to do. The more your life consists of such things, the smaller your reality becomes. All that would join with you and become part of the real world of your creation remains beyond your reach.” (ACOL, 5.18)

We don’t have to do those things that we detest. If we don’t want to do them, we need to ask why these things are a part of our “truth.” What do we gain by keeping them in our lives?

Of course, all of us have responsibilities that ought not to be shirked. Others depend upon us, especially our significant others, our spouse and our children, our aging parents. But we can change our minds in the midst of resistance, and then our resistance changes to an embracing of our legitimate responsibilities.

This then becomes a part of our real world. And we are living in illusion no longer.

“Whether you believe the virgin birth was reality or myth matters not as myth and reality have no concrete distinction in the illusion within which you live. In other words you live as much by myth as by truth and myth often more accurately reflects the truth than what you would call real. This is not a call, however, to embrace myth, but to embrace the truth.
Jesus does not answer definitively whether or not the virgin birth occurred. He leaves his message open to any and all, regardless of their beliefs about this possible miracle.


“Mary is called upon now as the myth to end all myths for in this example life alone is the key to the riddle provided.” (ACOL. 8.11 – 8.12)

Mary gets a lot of attention in A Course of Love. She is said to have lived a life of “being,” not “doing,” and this is said to be the wave of the future (not an exact quote). She was an example life, just as was Jesus.
When we contemplate the myth/truth of Mary, we come closer to understanding why the Atonement happened at all. Not the crucifixion, but the resurrection. This was Jesus’s most important contribution, and never does he say in A Course in Miracles or A Course of Love that the resurrection never happened. We are left to wonder “how.” And in the wondering, we rise above doubt and embrace truth as we see it.

“To realize the difference between truth and illusion is not to call one right and the other wrong but to simply recognize what they are. This is an important distinction that must be kept in mind as we proceed so that you are not tempted to judge those living in illusion or their reality. Their reality does not exist. Believing in the reality of illusion will never make it the truth.” (ACOL, Treatise on the Personal Self, 11.13)

Many are still living in illusion. All are living in illusion until the truth dawns. And then things are never the same again. We are freed to live in reality.

We are not to judge others. This is traditional Christian thought, of course, and Jesus says the same in the Treatise on the Personal Self, in ACOL. If we give up our judgments, we will be removing one barrier to coming Christ-consciousness.
Need we not to make this choice today?

The Prodigal’s Return, by Ivor Sowton

I wanted to let you know of the A Course of Love USA Facebook group if you haven’t already heard of it. The group is centered on the audio recordings of the “first receiver” or channel of A Course of Love, Mari Perron, reading the chapters of ACOL. Currently the group is discussing via Facebook posts their own response to hearing Chapter 9. The group is open to any sincere student of this Course, so look it up and join in for some wonderful support, encouragement, and co-creation in Unity and relationship.

Chapter 9 is The Prodigal’s Return. It is one of the longest chapters in the whole work, probably because of its centrality to the entire thrust of Jesus’ essential message in A Course of Love. “You are the prodigal sons and daughters welcomed constantly to return home to your Father’s safe embrace.” (9.29)

The chapter begins with Jesus helping us differentiate between true feelings of the Heart and our emotions. Our true feelings are like a beacon Home, for they already know of giving and receiving pure love. But our emotions are twisted distortions of these true feelings, because our body-identified egos “speak the language of the separated self rather than the language of your heart.”(9.2)

I can feel what He is talking about here more deeply now. I can see myself constantly trying to grasp or cling to the things I think I’m lacking in my life, trying to use them to fill that gaping Void inside.

There is a deep discussion of use and abuse in this chapter. Abuse is seen as simply a more extreme case of the mercenary use we have all tried to impose on our world. The first thing we try to use is our own bodies, which Jesus clearly states that we made up in order to stay separate from each other! And we follow up on this miscreation by then setting up the body as our master rather than our servant, so we can say “my body made me do it!” I can really feel this in myself now. Better late than never!

In keeping with the title of Jesus’ new dispensation to us in A Course of Love, it is the Heart in us that can see through the separation ruse and start to draw us back Home. We have an internal guidance system in our own hearts—our very center. So in spite of the ego’s attempt to hijack these feelings into fear, trying to get us to “control or protect” the very little we think we deserve, we have a chance now to see this fear for the illusion it always was.

This requires great self-honesty. I actually love the strong language Jesus employs here in calling our separated state a nightmare world, because it does not allow me to use denial or deception as I did before. As a prodigal son I have no joyful present or future if I’m still trying to beat out the competition in that grim scenario of the survival of only the fittest. We’ve settled for that nonsense so very long, and we have to get good and tired of it before we look any deeper, it seems!

It’s like I’m finally willing to stop running and trying to hide from God. And Jesus gives me a very big Shoulder to lean on as I do the inquiry He asks of me in this chapter. He gives so much encouragement! Here’s one example: “Child of God, you need no imaginary (ego) friend when you have beside you he who is your friend always and he who would show you that you have no needs at all.” (9.31)

It seems so important now to stop and honestly appraise my life with the help of that Mighty Friend. Like the image in A Pilgrim’s Progress , all I really have to do is drop my burden of all that ego baggage at the Lord’s feet. I had thought I needed all that stuff—achievements, status, security—but I finally saw that with the ego in charge none of this was fulfilling at all!

The chapter goes on to circumvent some common reactions to our dawning realization of prodigality, like suddenly feeling huge guilt or shame, or by seeking to bargain with God as if He is our banker: “You would prove to God that you can “make a go of it” before you would ask Him for His help.”(9.34) These common reactions prevent us from forgiving ourselves, which is just another ego ploy.

Gradually we realize that we’re all in the same boat here! “All your vast wanderings will be seen for what they are. All that you desired will be revealed as only two desires, the desire to love and the desire to be loved. Why wait to see that these desires are all that call you to the strange behavior that you display?”(9.48)

Indeed, why wait!?
-from Ivor Sowton

Illusory Past Is Gone

“If you believe the holy instant is difficult for you, it is because you have become the arbiter of what is possible, and remain unwilling to give place to One Who knows. The whole belief in orders of difficulty in miracles is centered on this. Everything God wills is not only possible, but has already happened. And that is why the past is gone. It never happened in reality. Only in your mind, which thought it did, is its undoing needful.” (ACIM, T-18.IV.8)

We do not prepare ourselves for the holy instant. The holy instant comes to us as a gift, free, of the Holy Spirit. And the bestowal is a miracle which we do not seek to “deserve.” We cannot deserve a miracle; miracles are shifts from horizontal to vertical perception that allows us access to God Himself. Jesus decides when these miracles come to us, and he, in turn, alerts us as to what miracles are ripe for us to perform. We think, in our ignorance, that there are orders of difficulty in miracles—but illusions aren’t hard to change, once the perceiver is recognized. And we are the perceiver.

The past was made up of illusions, and we don’t have to cling to illusions. We can give them up as easily as we made them up.

Let’s give up illusions of a frightful past today, knowing that we have this action in our power. Ask for help, if need be, and you will find help surround you. True reality then will follow on the heels of the victory of giving up illusions.

Share and Share Alike

“In the mad world outside you nothing can be shared but only substituted, and sharing and substituting have nothing in common in reality.” (ACIM, T-18.I.9)

We need to share with each other. Both A Course in Miracles and A Course of Love emphasize this. No longer isolated, we share and share alike. We give up the notion of independent living, and we join with others in our lives to whom we offer love, and from whom we receive love.

Substitution is an attempt to make one body fulfill a role that another might also fill. If we can’t get one body to do what we want, we substitute by finding another who will fulfill our desires.

This is madness. It is also unfair to our brothers and sisters. We don’t want to love them in substitution for some other special relationship; we want to love them in holy relations that are in no way substitutes for an unholy alliance based on specialness.

Reality does not substitute one for another. Reality accepts the people in our world as given us by God for a higher purpose. And when all of our special relationships have been transformed into holy ones, we will recognize that previously we never knew reality at all.

This World Is Enveloped in Madness

“For truth brought to this could only remain within in quiet, and take no part in all the mad projection by which this world was made. Call it not sin but madness, for such it was and so it still remains. Invest it not with guilt, for guilt implies it was accomplished in reality. And above all, be not afraid of it.” (ACIM, T-18.I.6)

We have been mad for eons. We have been lost in insanity, and to a great extent (before Awakening) we still are lots in insanity. What a way to live! How do we get out of it?
We don’t get out of it by fearing it, but fear and its defenses of resistance only make the fear greater. If we feel guilt about this choice of madness, we will think that we are living reality—though we won’t be.

This quotation, once again, emphasizes that projection makes perception. We are projecting from within to see an illusory world outside of us. And this illusory world makes what we have seen within first.

This is no way to live.

“Faith in the unreal leads to adjustments of reality to make it fit the goal of madness. The goal of sin induces the perception of a fearful world to justify its purpose. What you desire, you see. And if its reality is false, you will uphold it by not realizing all the adjustments you have introduced to make it so.” (ACIM, T-21.II.9)

We continue with the theme of projection. “What you desire, you see.” And we have wished it to be so, as desire does make for wishing.

We need to realize that regardless of how vicious our dreams of reality really are, we are lost in illusion. Our dreams don’t make a true reality. Our dreams only scare us, if they are frightening dreams, and encourage us, if they are joyous dreams. But never will a dream be true in any sense of the word.

“What can He [God] know of the ephemeral, the sinful and the guilty, the afraid, the suffering and lonely, and the mind that lives within a body that must die? You but accuse Him of insanity, to think He made a world where such things seem to have reality. He is not mad. Yet only madness makes a world like this.” (ACIM, W-152)

God is not mad, and if we think that he created the world that we see, then we, in some part of our minds, either blame Him as cruel or see Him as mad. There are no other choices in how we view God.

It is part of the theology of A Course in Miracles to believe that on some level we, out of madness, made this world in which we dwell. We cannot understand this on the literal level. Certainly not. But we can rise above this mad world by rejecting, gently, the projections that are making it cruel in our perception. We can give our God a good day by gently approaching that day with the communion with God that we need.

Then our projections take on a gentle air. We don’t see a world that needs fixing nearly as often.

We are getting closer to home. And home is where we long to be.

We Are Not Isolated Specks of Darkness

“As long as you perceive the body as your reality, so long will you perceive yourself as lonely and deprived. And so long will you also perceive yourself as a victim of sacrifice, justified in sacrificing others.” (ACIM, T-15.XI.5)

A Course in Miracles sees the body, as all parts of the world (including self), as illusion, and thus not as true reality. ACIM says that we will see ourselves as “lonely and deprived” as long as we believe that we, our real essence, are in this physical form. And sacrifice will be a part of this “reality,” something that we surely don’t want.

We find ourselves very lonely when we think that our total essence is encased in an independent body, separate and apart from our brothers and sisters. We think that we have to navigate this world all by ourselves, and this is essentially disheartening.
It is also untrue. As we have pointed out previously, we are not meant to be isolated specks of matter in an alien world. We are meant to share, and share abundantly, with others. This gives us a locus of control that is not self-centered. We are in this together with others. And we benefit from the shared reality of others with ourselves. We know that we are never alone. We don’t think that we have to suffer pain alone. We know that others will help us out.

If we feel that we are victim, we will in turn victimize others. It is just that simple. And so wrong. We need to realize that in this world there are truly no victims, that we live a reality that we made, and that we can inhabit a more benign world when we have turned our decision-making over to the Holy Spirit (or, as described in A Course of Love, the inner Christ Self).

Let’s get away from this victim mentality today. And reach out to others along our way. We can have no better day than we offer to others. Share and share alike, and what we share is returned to us.

“While you believe that your reality or your brother’s is bounded by a body, you will believe in sin. While you believe that bodies can unite, you will find guilt attractive and believe that sin is precious.” (ACIM, T-19.III.7)

This is the reason that we think of sin at all: bodies. Only minds/hearts unite, in truth. Our physical bodies just “join,” and in this joining there is no ineffable mystery, when we are joining in physicality.

We don’t have to rue the physical. And physical bonding is a way to reach toward heaven. But it is never enough. One is not satisfied when all that one seek is made of the body.

“The body is an isolated speck of darkness; a hidden secret room, a tiny spot of senseless mystery, a meaningless enclosure carefully protected, yet hiding nothing. Here the unholy relationship escapes reality, and seeks for crumbs to keep itself alive.” (ACIM, T-20.VI.5)
The body IS isolated, and it is the home of the unholy alliance as well. This in itself ought to make us doubt the efficacy of a purely physical relationship.

“Only mistakes have different forms, and so they can deceive. You can change form because it is not true. It could not be reality because it can be changed. Reason will tell you that if form is not reality it must be illusion, and is not there to see.” (ACIM, T-22.III.7)
Jesus returns to the theme of illusion in this quotation. We inhabit illusory bodies, and then we seek to make reality out of them.
This attempt will always fail.

“You learn your concept of using others from the reality you have made in which you use the body that you call your home and identify as your own self.” (ACOL, C:9.32)
We ought not to find ourselves in other people, taking from them what we think we don’t embody. And all of us have done this. In fact, it is the principal thing operating in a romantic relationship that seems to hold out the promise of “everything” to us. We are seeing in the other what we think we lack, and we reach out and try to grab.

This will never work long-term. Only when we realize that the romantic relationship is destined to become holy, not special, are we on the right road.

“Your Self and God will be but memories to you while your reality remains that of the physical experience and the personal self.” (ACOL, Treatise on the Personal Self, 13.2)

We are remembering when we reach back to the Self and God, for once we knew what both of these entities meant. We need only recover what we have lost, and all will be well. While we seek release only in the physical experience, we won’t remember accurately. We will be lost in a personal, “little,” self that is a pale shadow of the Self who we really are.
And we deserve better. Jesus would have us experience better. And we can do so when we reach the elevated Self of form, a form that embodies the Self as well as physicality.
There is not better way to recognize that form has always deceived than to be lifted up to the real Self. Then the form has a glorified purpose. Then and only then are we on the right track.

The Detour into Fear

“The separation is merely a faulty formulation of reality, with no effect at all. The miracle, without a function in Heaven, is needful here. Aspects of reality can still be seen, and they will replace aspects of unreality. Aspects of reality can be seen in everything and everywhere. Yet only God can gather them together, by crowning them as one with the final gift of eternity.” (ACIM, T-13.VIII.3)

Our presumed separation from God has caused us all the grief. We could have taken physical form without this fall from grace, but we somehow made a tiny, mad mistake and forgot to laugh at the idea (from A Course in Miracles). We have not really separated, of course, because we are a part of God and cannot do so and live—and we live eternally. But we can imagine that we have separated from Him, and in the delusion come all the ill of humanity.

“Thus, the son’s participation in the idea of separation seemed to bring about a completely reshaped life, a destiny different than that which had already been written. Yet this participation could not but proceed from the original idea and could not proceed in reality but only in the external aspect of life that preceded it. The idea of separation changed nothing in reality, but became a drama acted out upon a stage so real that it seemed to be reality.” (ACOL, 12.22)

We are, like Shakespeare said, characters in a dream, writing and carrying out a drama in which we star. There is nothing wrong with play-acting, but we have hurt ourselves in the process of following illusions. We don’t realize that we are in a make-believe situation; we take it all so seriously. And that is part of our problem. We are in a “drama acted out upon a stage so real that it seemed to be reality.”

Let’s try to be cognizant of the drama so that we will be in a preparatory state to awakening from this insane play.

“To know what you now know, and remain aware only of the reality of the separated self, would not sustain Christ-consciousness in form.” (ACOL, Dialogues, 3.16)
We need to reach beyond just the separated state, for awareness of a mistake is not sufficient to get us out of that mistake. We need to reach out to God, immanent in ourselves as the inner Christ Self. We also need to see Christ in others, for we are not separate from them anymore than we are separate internally.

“This created the separate and the unloved in your perception, and your perception created an unreal reality of the separate and unloved, often referred to as hell or hell on earth.” (ACOL, Dialogues, Day 16, 16.15)

Are we really living in a hell on earth? In some respects we are.

But we can walk out of this hell by following guidance of the Holy Spirit (ACIM) or the Christ Self (ACOL). Our days will be brighter. We will be happier. And we will come, eventually, to know separation no longer. For it has always and alone been illusion. Our own delusion about reality.

Live Happy Dreams

“To fragment truth is to destroy it by rendering it meaningless. Orders of reality is a perspective without understanding; a frame of reference for reality to which it cannot really be compared at all.” (ACIM, T-17.I.4)

This is a somewhat obscure quotation with deep meaning about the idea that reality has different layers for us to try to comprehend. We have become so insanely complicated in our egoic trap. Our reality reflects our thinking, because projection makes perception (an ACIM tenet), and so it goes. We think that we will get lost in this complex world of ours, and that is frequently a self-fulfilling prophecy, for we do get lost—lost in world where we don’t give God the primacy that He deserves.

When we try, in our egoic confusion, to separate out layers of the complexity that we only in error think “reality,” we are lost indeed. We are trying to fragment truth, for there are elements of the true even in our confusion. But we don’t separate right; we twist up our minds until we are sometimes ready to scream. What can we do instead? For this is not true reality.
We can step back and reassess. We know that reality is benign, loving, in harmony, and at peace. And, if we stop to think (which we will), the world that we see is often anything but loving and peaceful. We need to simplify what we are perceiving. We need to ask what needs to be cast aside as irrelevant. But don’t get conflicted in doing so, for conflict is a major part of the problem. Just rest in God’s Presence, certain that there is a Rescuer Who will come to our aid.

When we walk further along the pathway, we become less likely to experience such abject confusion. We find that we dream the “happy dreams the Holy Spirit brings” (from the Workbook of ACIM), and we live lives that are simply “happier.” When we look back from this vantage point, we will wonder why we fretted and worried so, why we pushed ourselves to achieve in an egoic sense. Much of the past will seem incomprehensible to us. And in knowing a better reality, we will try not to backslide. We will try, as A Course of Love says, to sustain the “elevated Self of form.”

Give Up Isolation as a False Idea

“You communicate with no one, and you are as isolated from reality as if you were alone in all the universe. In your madness you overlook reality completely, and you see only your own split mind everywhere you look.” (ACIM, T-13.V.6)

Reality is not isolated, a theme that I have emphasized in this blog. We can derive great comfort from hearing that we are not meant to be fiercely independent, separate from each other in splendid isolation. We are meant to lean on each other, to share, to join. We are not going to be able to live independently all the time anyway; life will pull the rug out from under us at pivotal points, and we do not need to rue this experience. We may chastise ourselves, thinking that we are too “weak” at such times. But this is a misnomer. We are never meant to go it alone. We don’t have to do so. Nothing in life or in our experience demands this of us.

What a blessing this actually is! We now know, if we take to heart this quotation, that we are joined to one another. We are differentiated in relationship, but we are in unity as One. And so we are actually joined one to the other.

We need to communicate with each other. We don’t need to stay in madness, with a split mind of separation and unity vying for ascendancy. The mind is split, all of our minds. The Holy Spirit (as A Course in Miracles would say) or the inner Christ mind (as A Course of Love would say) are “struggling” to take over, thereby freeing us. But there are probably still elements of the egoic, separated mind that vie for ascendancy.

But we know enough now that we don’t want the ego to try to run our lives. This ego is actually the “devil” or “Satan” that we have feared. But as a product of our own thinking, the ego does not require our fear of it. It is just best turned aside from. Not in resistance, for that will make the ego strong, because defense makes what it would defend against. Instead, just know that we need a whole mind, split no longer between unity and separation. The way is clear. Just sense our joining one with another, and our ego will be undone. Immediately, though it may arise from time to time, over and over, until banished for good in Awakening or Christ-consciousness.

PART 2: WHAT IS TRUE REALITY? WHAT REALITY IS NOT

Illness Is Evidence of Unreality

“He [god of sickness] is the belief that you can choose which god is real. Although it is clear this has nothing to do with reality, it is equally clear that it has everything to do with reality as you perceive it.” (ACIM, T-10.III.11)

A Course in Miracles sees sickness as unreal, as an illusion, as evidence that we are not “in reality.” Most importantly, ACIM does not “blame the victim,” though. We are to have compassion for ourselves as well as others when we or they are under the weather. If we can just see this evidence of illusion as illusion, we will not be so likely to exacerbate pain into suffering.

Not all of us can avoid this exacerbation all the time. Doing so is the “ideal” reading of A Course in Miracles, and on the practical level, we see plenty of evidence that many of us do get sick, and on a regular basis. In addition, sainthood is no preserver of good health. We see no evidence in ACIM that those who are “closer” to God have an immunity from the ills of the human condition.

Knowing that even good people have illnesses can help us to see that we are in no position to blame the victim. We can’t see the whole picture; that is because of our finite minds. The Christ Self within each of us is not omniscient. The Christ Self is just following true reality as far as this Self can muster.

So, seeing illnesses as unreal, as lacking true reality, means that our real Self has not suffered. Nothing awry has gone wrong with the inner Self. We are still safe. But, as long as live on earth, we will be subject to its ills. And we need compassion to get us through the rough spots.

Don’t be tempted to blame the victim, because we “create our own reality,” as is said in New Age circles. This type of mentality avoids the hard issues of suffering that nobody has an answer for. The best we can do is simply to see this suffering as not touching the real Self. The illusory “little” self can get into all kinds of trouble, though. And when this happens (and it will happen, inevitably, to many of us) we need to ask for the patience to endure, and, most importantly, not to be tempted to turn our pains into suffering. To do so adds an emotional component to the pain that can be avoided, and ought to be, whenever we can muster the impetus to avoid this emotional component.

No Longer Isolated, We Are One In Relationship

“Relationship is the invisible reality only expressed in form.” (ACOL, Dialogues, Day 14, 14.9)

We are individuals meant to be in relationship one to the other; we don’t have to imagine that the best way is to be isolated, alone, independent, doing it “our way.” We are meant to share with others this existence on earth. We were created for each other. That is why there are so many of us.

So: Relationship is the reality, expressed in form. If we didn’t have our physical bodies, our forms, we would be less inclined to imagine that we ought to remain concretely separate. Since we do have form, but we know that we are really One in unity with the All, then it is in relationship that our identity is best expressed.

This assertion, in the quotation above, is a milestone in our attempts to understand what Jesus is saying in A Course of Love. If we can understand unity (we are One) and relationship (we are nevertheless many), then we will have solved a great puzzle. And we won’t stand independent and isolated, by choice, any longer. We will know that we were created for each other.

Our World Has No Boundaries

“Through this transparency, the reality of the One Self being also the many, or the all, is apparent. The spaciousness of love, the lovely complexity of form, the awesome majesty of nature, all are visible within the One Self because of the invisibility of the one boundary-less Self of form.” (ACOL, Dialogues, Day 13, 13.6)

This quotation is part of the theology of A Course of Love, and it needs some context. We are said, once we reach Christ-consciousness, to live in a “spacious self.” This spacious self, encompasses areas outside of ourselves, enfolding others, whether they be exhibiting positive or negative traits. But others are not badly influenced by this enfoldment; they are helped by it, for we are all One Self, One with God. Our Self is therefore “boundary-less,” even though we have form, physical bodies.

We see many other bodies that don’t all look as we do, and this is part of the “complexity of form.” But we don’t make judgments, as did the ego, about these other bodies that are diverse. We welcome such complexity, some diversity, yet knowing all the while that we are really One with others, One with God, and One in our innermost being, the inner Christ Self.

Don’t let the theology throw you. Jesus doesn’t require that we understand with our thinking mind. He wants us to experience with our open heart. And in the openness of heart, we will come to experience and to understand.

And that is all that is required.

Sense the Vibes

“Imagine the air around you being visible and your form an invisible space within the visible surroundings. This is the reality of Christ-consciousness. Consciousness may seem to be embodied by form but the reverse is true and has always been true.” (ACOL, Dialogues, Day 12, 12.2)

The assertion in this quotation may seem very strange indeed. But there is a Oneness to reality that we often miss. The Self that we are exists out in the open; inside, we all too often miss the mark, especially if we haven’t yet opened to the inner Christ. Our little bodies don’t keep the Self apart from our environment. Intuitively we know this, for do we not sense “vibes” that are seemingly outside of us? Of course, we all do sense these vibes, though we may not, until later on, put much credence in them.

Now is the time to put credence in vibes. We will live much better, for these psychic attunements are evidence that we are opening to a larger reality.

So consciousness is outside of our physical bodies, our physical form. We are a solid mass of physicality in our bodies, but we exist in the ether. We are not isolated, encased in bodies. When we think about this a little, we will be reassured.
Despite what the ego used to tell us, we don’t really want to be so independent of each other. We know, somehow, somewhere, that we are mean to be in concert with one another. This sharing of being is what life is really all about, what life is about when it is truly lived.

Let’s truly live life today, sharing and in concert with one another.

The Prodigal’s Return, by Ivor Sowton

A Course of Love (ACOL) is a transmission from Jesus to Mari Perron, the “first receiver” of this new course, scribed in three years around the turn of this century. She published the work in three volumes during the years since. It is now in one combined volume in a beautiful, newly released edition by Take Heart Publications, available on their website and in all the major bookstores, including Amazon/Kindle.

Mari will have a table at the upcoming A Course in Miracles (ACIM) Conference, A Present Love, April 17th-20th in New York City. Also at the table will be her Take Heart publishers, Glenn and Muffy Hovemann. I know some of you will be there; please come to their table!

Mari and Take Heart Publications have also set up a wonderful Facebook Group called “A Course of Love USA,” centered on her new audio recordings of ACOL. Currently the group is listening to and commenting on chapter 9 of ACOL, The Prodigal’s Return.

Here’s a quote from that wonderful chapter that jumped out at me:

“It is the relationship inherent in meeting another’s need that makes the meeting of the need a thing of lasting value. It is your willingness to say, “Brother, you are not alone” that is the benefit of such situations, not only to your brother but also to you. It is in saying, Sister, you are not alone” that spiritual hunger and thirst is met with the fullness of unity. It is in realizing that you are not alone that you realize your unity with me and begin to turn from fear toward love.” (9.27)

To speak honestly now about my own experience of life right now, I do indeed feel like the prodigal son in this chapter. That is, in my deepest feelings I am aware of a tremendous loneliness and isolation, which I no longer want. I feel that Jesus is personally offering me a way out.

That way out is to realize, first in my mind–since I seem so trapped there so much of the time!–that actually all other people ALSO tend to feel deeply alone and isolated, at least in their ego natures.

Then I can be willing to reach out to them; and then my heart starts to open to them, and the artificial barriers between us begin to dissolve at last.

The nitty gritty of this joining with my brothers and sisters seems to involve overlooking outward differences. For instance, my brother might be thinking he needs “X”, and I might be thinking I need “Y,” but if I can risk taking Jesus at his word here, I may be able to realize that what my brother and I both ACTUALLY need is to feel the Love of God–the embrace spoken of so beautifully in chapter 20. In realizing that we are one in that need, my brother and I have joined in Christ.

This, then, is the return of the Prodigal Son/Daughter, who is us.

Feel Your Heart’s Leanings

“Now this power is available to assist you in accomplishing the final joining, the joining that will end duality and return you to wholeness—to who you truly are—in the reality in which you truly exist.” (D:Day29.3)

We are joining with the inner Christ, the Self with a capital “S.” Is this so hard? I think not. We begin to look within for our answers, we begin to look within for our guidance, and we don’t sway back and forth between egoic leanings and true leanings, the latter being leanings that are encouraged by the Self.

Much is said in A Course of Love about being who we truly are. The final parts of the Dialogues, the concluding book, say this, over and over. Being who we are is not any harder than joining with the inner Self. But it does take some practice, because we are so used to living a persona that satisfied the ego. We have to realize, once and for all, that we have left the ego behind now. We are living better, we hope. We are thinking better, we hope. The world, including our world but not limited to it, depends on our moving beyond the ego to loftier concerns.

Joining with the Christ Self may take some praying, some communing with God. Jesus says in ACOL that the miracle is the prayer. And miracles are not specific, but all-embracing. We think so much in specifics, a habit left over from the ego, and to think specifics is often wrong-minded. Enlarge the scope of your mind to include the heart, and watch the specificity drop away. It will.

And we will have a better day for living in a heartfelt manner.

“This is no more complicated than ending the rift between mind and heart. You have accomplished that and you can accomplish this—in your reality. As you realize by now, all this talk of accomplishment is merely about bringing forward what already exists into the reality in which you exist. Another way of saying this is bringing who you are into wholeness, which can be interpreted both as bringing all that you are into existence and as bringing all that you are into existence in union.” (ACOL, Dialogues, Day 29, 29.3 – 29.4)

This quotation says it all in succinct fashion. But it takes some rereading. We are joining mind and heart into wholeness, what Jesus calls “wholeheartedness.” We can accomplish this; it is within our power. We are trying to move toward union one with the other, and one with our inner Self. The two are not contradictory or even diverse in meaning, for we are One with ourselves as well as One with others, including the God who encompasses everything that exists.

We need this union. We will be bereft until we have it, even though we may not now recognize what is missing. When we join with our significant others, don’t we feel a blessing? Don’t we recognize that we are coming home? It is just this way with the inner Self. And we are now The Accomplished (from ACOL), which says that we can and ought to make this transition into true reality.

Every Day Better in Every Way as We Walk into Wholeness

“This change is predicated on all the changes that have come before it, including, and most particularly, on that which was most recently spoke of, that of apprehending the new reality of wholeness. It is not wholeness that is new, but the reality of wholeness that is new. The reality of being able to experience the variability of separation from within the state of wholeness is what is new.” (ACOL, Dialogues, Day 18, 28.8)

Have we really left separation behind? Yes, we have, though in the beginning of sensing wholeness, we will still know some of what is in the house of illusion, and that is the “variability of separation.” A Course of Love indicates that we are in the house of truth, but outside the house of illusion—because the house of truth encompasses the All, the house of illusion as well. We don’t try to go back in and pull out those who are still trapped within the house of illusion; that is not our task, our role. We witness from the house of truth. And that is all.

Wholeness is a blessing that ought to be sought, for our sight is much keener when we are seeing the whole. What does wholeness mean? It seems to me to be the last step on the pathway to Christ-consciousness, surely the greatest wholeness of all. If we see in totality, we see accurately, but this does not mean that we are still always lost in illusions of what true reality really means. We have moved beyond that, and we have indeed made great progress to have done so.

We are after true reality, and the reality of wholeness is new to us. This creation of the new is a major theme of A Course of Love. We would leave behind our leaden feet as we walk sprightly on, with Jesus holding our hand. He will do so, though no one on earth can imagine how that might be. Perhaps he clones himself; perhaps souls that are very advanced can do such things. Seeing and sensing Jesus have been reported by many in traditional Christianity, and so this assertion (which occurred in A Course in Miracles) does seem more plausible than not.

The means are there for us. We need only ask for help. And then the reality of wholeness will be a surety for us. We will not wander, aimless and alone, in a forest of malcontent. Every day will get better, an improvement over the one before.

Walk into a New State of Being

“A new state of being is a new reality. It is linked with your notion of who and where you are, for who you are and where you find yourself, and experience yourself, are your reality.” (ACOL, Dialogues, Day 29, 29.7)

Which of us would not sometimes want a new reality? A new “you”?

I venture that this receding mirage is in a dream in all of us. And the surprising thing is that here A Course of Love says, Jesus says, that this new state of being is a new reality, a new reality that we are can have, indeed are entitled to.
What a blessing! (I say that so often in this blog, for there are so many blessings in our reading of ACIM and ACOL.) This new reality will be one, according to ACOL, of the heart—or the heart and mind joined in twain, wholeheartedness.

This wholeheartedness is such a comfort on rainy, gray days. And even a sunny day can take on the dreariness of a gray day if we are not cognizant of our many blessings. We can have this new reality. I don’t think that the new reality comes just as we awaken; I think that it comes prior to that. In A Course in Miracles, we hear of the “happy dreams that the Holy Spirit brings,” and we are comforted. In A Course of Love, we are bade to listen to the inner Christ Self, and to be comforted thereby. (We have been told that we are living now in the time of Christ, that the time of the Holy Spirit is past.) Would it not make sense that the Self could and would comfort even before Christ-consciousness descends upon us.

I am a case in point, because I have not yet awakened. I sometimes wonder how I can help others if that is my situation, but when we are in the same boat, that help comes easily. I know where you are coming from. And some of that is frustration, for we want it all—not in an egoic sense, but right in line with divine wishes for us. Yet if we have not yet awakened, there is a reason, just one that we don’t yet know. And we can reach out and speak to those in a similar situation. We can be patient, learning through observation, vision, and revelation (from ACOL).

You Are Never Alone

“You must forgive reality for being what it is. Reality, the truly real, is relationship. You must forgive God for creating a world in which you cannot be alone.” (ACOL, 6.1)

We thought that we wanted independence, autonomy. We thought that it was right and good that we stand on our own feet and make our own lives, to “do it my way.” But has this made us happy? And happiness is a function for us, as described in A Course in Miracles. Our “splendid isolation” has brought us nothing but grief. There must be another way (as Bill said to Helen, shortly before ACIM was channeled).

It is a startling idea to read that we must “forgive God for creating a world in which you cannot be alone.” We don’t realize that we have, in a sense, blamed God for the failure of our egos to establish our happiness as independent creatures, creatures not even needing God.

But it is also reassuring to know that we don’t have to struggle in isolation. We were never meant to be alone. We were meant to be sharing individuals in a caring world. This is our inheritance when we see aright. This is where we are heading as a world. To get there may take a very long time, but once begun, the end is sure.

So this definition of true reality tells us that it is relationship. Our holy relationships one to the other, I might add. This is what we will enjoy when we have given up the primacy of special relationships, relationships that are actually filled with the fear that we will be left alone and isolated. In the holy world, filled with our holy relationships, we are never alone. Others are there for us, and God Himself becomes Someone Who is not fearful to us, and so we can touch His Essence as well. Our inner Christ Self is joined to God, and with this sure foundation we walk a good earth.

Eternal Easter, by Ivor Sowton

Here is a quote from the Third Treatise of A Course of Love (ACOL), in which Jesus further defines resurrection, the central theme of Easter:

“Resurrection or rebirth must be total to be at all…We are writing a new first page, a new Genesis. It begins now. It begins with the rebirth of a Self of love. It begins with the birth of Christ in you and in your willingness to live in the world as the Christ-Self.” (14.13, 14.14)

Here we have themes of resurrection as being reborn into a much much greater state of awareness and of agency than we had before. And it’s not an automatic thing–we have to consciously choose it. We don’t just live out our earthly lives and then die and vault into Heaven, according to Jesus in ACOL; though God is spoken of by Jesus as the most loving Force and Source there is, He has given us free will, and will not renege on that gift. So it is we who have to CHOOSE that greater existence ourselves–now or later.

Thus Easter is eternal because it represents a truly timeless potential for all us humans.

And it seems to me that Easter is also eternal because all humans that we have ever known about throughout history have contemplated death and what it means for our lives here on Earth. Anthropology tells us that much of the very earliest evidence of humans working together is around ceremonial burials, replete with artifacts suggestive of continued life for the departed in some other realm.

All parents I know of, including my wife and I, have had to field some amazing questions from our kids (when they were young I mean) about death and dying. “But where did Grandma go?,” asks your little one after Grandma’s death. And as a parent, you most likely didn’t brush your child off with an early dessert or something; instead you probably felt deeply called to handle the question with a lot of compassion and love, for you could see that your child was really serious with her honest and completely relevant question. So many of us responded in a very sincere and age-appropriate way as best we could at the time, saying something like “her body got all worn out and so her Spirit went to another place that’s really beautiful.” One parent I heard of illustrated the whole concept to their child by putting on a glove and saying “this glove is like our body, and when we die we take off the glove. Our hand is like our Spirit: it keeps on going but it looks a lot different (brilliant, huh?).

So in Jungian terms, we are talking about one of the deepest archetypes there is, obviously. It is a universal concern for all of us.

And into that deep archetypal field is born this amazing tradition of the crucified Jesus dying– for sure– and then just as surely (for believers at least) RESURRECTING, that is,actually reappearing many times to many close people after his death in a an identical, solid form, just like he had never died!

That is truly a miracle, at least for me! But Jesus then and Jesus now so clearly taught that we can and really should be reborn into the unity of the love and peace of God, with all of us feeling That and being That. Then, as if sensing that he was losing us, Jesus gave us an Intermediary–the Holy Spirit–as a living Presence that could help us spiritually to grow toward that Oneness at our own rate. Further–and for me most importantly, Jesus then promised each of us personally “And I will never leave you comfortless.”

For me, A Course in Miracles, (ACIM), has Jesus speaking to us collectively much more currently, in our time, giving us the reachability a lot of us needed in Jesus now, in our lives as we were experiencing them.

And then in A Course of Love, an even further and very welcome update, to allow for all the exponential growth of our species, which has reached or surpassed critical mass.

So Jesus is still with us, thank God! Which makes for eternal Easter!

May you be blessed with That in this Holy Season, in whatever way you receive Jesus and his great message into you life.

Take the First Step into Shared Consciousness

“Take the first step outside of the known reality of your conscious awareness, the learned reality of your separate consciousness, and into the realm of shared consciousness.” (ACOL, Dialogues, 8.12)

We are not meant to be independent, as much as that flies in the face of the conditioning that our culture has given us. Our culture welcomes the gradual growth of young people, believing that when we as a young adult are standing on our own two feet, independently, we have arrived at a certain level of maturity. And we make our own judgments. Both the thoughts of mature independence and the thoughts of personal judgment are erroneous, if we believe anything that Jesus is telling us in A Course in Miracles and A Course of Love.

We are not meant to be separate from one another in independence that increases our isolation; we are to share with others in a shared consciousness that we do not, as yet, even fully comprehend. We have psychic attunement with each other, and this is a sign of our shared consciousness. We don’t make our own decisions, our own judgments; we listen to guidance—in the case of ACIM, from the Holy Spirit; and in the case of ACOL, from the inner Christ Self.

This shared consciousness, once we are aware of it, will mean much to our progress in a new reality, a true reality. We are herein invited to take the first halting steps into that new awareness, this new business of sharing with others. Our minds, under egoic influence, want to be separate, and believe that a shared mind is infringement of our liberty. We need to think again. How nice would it be to know that others are there for us, in our deepest understandings, as given us not only by our mind but also by our heart?

We don’t have to stand in “splendid” isolation. We are not meant to be alone. Our brothers and sisters are given us in this world for a purpose, and that purpose is the communion of their spirits with our own. We have less to worry about when we know that we are not required to be isolated in independent living. We need each other. In our heart of hearts, we know this already, and now we can act on it, knowing that we are moving into grace when we do.

Living Our Christ-conscious Self

“We discuss being what you represent in truth. We discuss the elevation of form. And what we have discussed thus far is the acceptance of form as what it is. This is the new reality you have desired. To live as who you are in form.” (ACOL, Dialogues, 5.19)

Jesus describes in A Course of Love that it is entirely possible to live in this world in our bodies as our real Selves. He calls it occupying the “elevated Self of form.” This is a condition that is ego-less, in that we are not living the little, or personal, self that is ruled by the ego—but instead living as our Christ-conscious Self, the inner Christ Self whom we all have in our depths.

At one point Jesus talks about this situation as a new choice, never made before in our world, and he says that he will not predict the future, that he does not have the means to know what we will do with this new embodied Christ-conscious Self in form (in body).
This new choice is probably welcomed by many of us, for we are used to the physical body and have difficulty imagining ghost-like embodiments, such as we might enjoy after death. We like our bodies. We don’t like our separated state, embodying an ego that doesn’t mean us well and leads us into suffering.

The good news is that when we eliminate the blocks to love’s awareness, we can come into our own as Selves. We can be Christ-conscious, which is another way of saying Awakening or enlightenment. This new state, never before sustained, is the aim at which A Course of Love moves. A new identity. And all of us need to give up attack, give up judging, give up planning (unless guided to do so), and give up fear/anxiety. These are barriers to the new reality.

Do Not Blame the Victim!

“No victim is to blame for the violence done to them. No sick person is to blame for the illness within them. But you must be able to look at and see reality for what it is. Just as we are telling you that new beliefs and ideas will lead to a new reality, old beliefs and ideas let to the old reality, a reality that will still exist for some even after it changes completely for you.” (ACOL, Treatise on the Personal Self, 19.12)

This is Jesus’s definitive answer to the question of “blame the victim.” Intuitively, we have known that to blame the victim is wrong, but perhaps, with all the talk about our “creating our reality,” we lost touch with the idea that to blame the victim is misguided. We are heading into a new reality, a reality without victims. The old reality had victims, sometimes desperately so. But we need to realize that the new reality will leave aside such desperate means to an end. Our ego will have fallen away, and with it the harshness of everyday life.

What does it mean to say that we heading into a new reality? Our new reality will be salvation personified. We will know what it means to live by the intuitive guidance that comes from our inner Christ Self. We will not think of this guidance as somewhat external to ourselves, as we (erroneously) thought of the Holy Spirit. We will know that the new way that we live is coming from our essence, and that this essence is in a bonding with God, for we are a part of Him.

True reality brooks no delay in coming. It is important that we remove the blocks to Christ-consciousness, or Awakening, so that we can get on with the business of this new reality. The world needs us to remove the blocks keeping us from attaining our real potential. The world is in desperate straits. Let us act today to stop judging, stop attacking, and stop making meaningless plans.
Leave behind fear, for that was a symptom of egoic living. Walk onward, along our paths, and know that Jesus is there with us. He is there with all of us. We cannot understand this, but I personally do believe it. He can clone himself into as many parts as are needed, with his entire essence being in each part. An example of a hologram.

So we walk forward with a clear mind about what “creating our reality” really means. We don’t harbor dark thoughts that the sick did this unto themselves. This frees us to be compassionate. And we need compassion, along with love, more than anything.