Monthly Archives: April 2015

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.

Advertisements

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.