In Abuse, Choose to Love but Not Condone

“Abuse is but improper use—use on a scale that makes the insanity of use obvious to both the user and the usee, and so has its proper place in our discussion here. Look at patterns of abuse, in everything from drugs and alcohol to physical or emotional mistreatment. These, like the larger examples of your daily life gone awry, are but demonstrations of internal desires taken to a greater extreme; only these, rather than being reflected by the group, are reflected within the individual.” (ACOL, C:9.44)

Jesus is using the word “abuse” here not just in the narrow context of child abuse or even domestic abuse, but in the larger context of our emotions gone wayward. We hurt ourselves also when we abuse others, and so victimhood is not the only concern (though it is a major one). Our society is coming to understand abuse when there is an outside victim, and is denouncing it, sometimes including legal judgments against the perpetrators. But our society is looking for a victim, and in the larger sense of A Course of Love, all are victims (or none are victims). We feel sympathy, rightly, for the one(s) hurt, and A Course of Love specifically counsels compassion, saying that no one individual is responsible for the wrongs done to him or her. This is a major step forward in New Age thought, for all too often our literature has just stopped with the truth that we create our own reality, and blaming the victim for the mess in which he/she finds himself/herself has become a popular pastime—silently, if not overtly.

So we do feel compassion for the one “wronged” in abuse in our society, but we also need to feel compassion for the perpetrator, for he/she is lost in egoic battles, attack, anger, falsehood, and the like. Quite literally he/she knows not what he/she does. This quotation from the New Testament is given new meaning in A Course of Love by Jesus. He spells out this mention from the Bible, and he explains the context. Truly ACOL goes a long way toward explaining the puzzlements that confused us from Jesus’s life on earth.

So: We need to turn aside from abuse of any kind, but we need to feel compassion not only for the one wronged, but also for the one who committed the wrong. We have to save both of them. It is we who will create a new world, and if we don’t do something for the abuse we see all around us, we will never actually make substantive changes in our world at all.

Choose the loving reaction, and by this act we will rain down thunderbolts on the heads of those who are creating havoc by their misguided actions. This does not mean that we passively condone; we don’t condone at all. But we realize that each is a child of God, and deserves to know that he/she is making mistakes—surely, big mistakes. But nothing that can’t be righted within a world that is set aright again.

Finding the Relationship that Heals

“Use, in any form, leads to bondage, and so to perceive a world based on use is to see a world where freedom is impossible.” (ACOL, C:9.43)

When we use another for our own ends, we do ourselves and them a great disservice. We, this passage would tell us, are in bondage as well as they. And freedom is impossible.

We need to be of service to each other, of course, but this is different from “using” another. We have often, in egoic terms, looked out on our world and tried to imagine what we might gain from another. Our special relationships are virtually always based on this fallacious way of thinking.

In special relationships, we look around for people who have exceptional traits, traits that will complement our own. Often these traits are superficial attractions, often physical appearance. As the special relationship proceeds, we are caught in more and more ways by our ego. We seek to have what our special other has, to consume rather than to give. And this never works very well.

The fact that special relationships are meant for “use” rather than “service” is often not noticed by the individuals involved. But we notice the great drama that occurs in the context of these relationships, the highs and the lows. The highs entrap us, so that we don’t want to let go, and, importantly, we often do not want either to transform the relationship into something better. That something better is a holy relationship with service at is center. Service to the other, which also gives to ourselves, for giving and receiving, as I have noted, is described in A Course of Love as being equal.

We want to fall into expressions of love, and this in itself will transform the special in our relationships into holy. This is not simply saying “I love you” at the right times. This is a fundamental change of outlook. A choice of the selfless in which the Self is truly found. And the Self is the Christ in us.

So don’t look for the ways that we can use each other. This will never work well, and it won’t work at all for very long. The way to a lasting and transformed relationship is to love without any thought of what we can get in return. And this takes “use” out of the equation.

Ask today, in prayer, what we might do to transform all of our special relationships into holy ones. That is the aim for all, ALL, of our relationships.

And it will be no surprise that we are healed.

The Quest for Right Relationships

“Your quest for what is missing thus becomes the race you run against death. You seek it here, you seek it there, and scurry on to the next thing and the next. Each person runs this race alone, with hope only of victory for himself. You realize not that if you were to stop and take your brother’s hand, the racecourse would become a valley full of lilies, and you would find yourself on the other side of the finish line, able at last to rest.” (ACOL, C:9.40)

“If you were to stop and take your brother’s hand.” Yes! Here A Course of Love is saying the same thing that A Course in Miracles does. In ACIM, we are encouraged to realize that our way home is in a holy relationship with our brother. And this method, for Jesus, has not changed. We find our way back to God by loving our brother (or sister).

We are constantly looking for salvation alone, fruitlessly. But even Ruth Montgomery’s Guides said that we have to take our brother’s hand, that we cannot find our way back to God in a solitary and lonely search. Yet we still try, and it is such a pity! We need only acknowledge our relationship, in sharing, in joining with all, to know the ultimate in salvation, the enlightenment process itself.

Jesus’s language in this passage is so very beautiful. “The racecourse would become a valley full of lilies.” He invoked herein the same image as A Course in Miracles as well. Jesus likes lilies, and we do, too. Our Easter lilies are a case in point.

So what do we do now? We simply and humbly make a decision that we will join with our brothers and sisters in the walk homeward. We will no longer seek to be solitary seekers. Our seeking does have an end, we will learn in A Course of Love, but in the Course proper, we are not yet at that point.

Join today with the significant others in your life. Let their turmoil and troubles be your own as well, but not to disturb your peace, for this turmoil is illusory. Never forget that this world is an illusion—at least until we reach the real world toward which we are heading. And then, it is very likely that the real is intangible, being of God, Who has no form.

The best thing that we can do today is to determine that we are One with our brothers and sisters as well as One with God. God, being within, is always available for our communion with Him. He never does forsake us, as traditional Christianity has often said. Be humble today. Ask what we should do next. And it is very likely that that next action will be a gift to our brothers and sisters, the others in our world. There is no better way to spend a day, for giving and receiving are one, and what we give to others is returned to us many times over.

Focus on the Love that Remains

“Seeking what you have lost in other people, places, and things is but a sign that you do not understand that what you have lost still belongs to you. What you have lost is missing, not gone. What you have lost is hidden to you but has not disappeared nor ceased to be.” (ACOL, C:9.39)

There is a tenet in A Course of Love that the relationships that we have known are never really lost to us, that even if separated by distance or even death, we have an ongoing connection. A Course in Miracles says something very similar; it says that all who meet are destined to meet again, for it is intended that all special relationships will eventually turn holy. If we can believe these two ideas (and I believe we can, of course), then we need not fret when there are endings in our lives. Those we have loved are never really lost to us, in part, perhaps, because (as we know) love is eternal.

Thus what we have lost in people, places, and things is not really gone, though it may be missing at any given point in time. Love is not gone, and nearly always love is present, still, in some form that we can appreciate. The forms change, but the eternity of love felt by God’s children does not change.

Of course, we can get stubborn. If we are still clinging to special relationships (even though ACOL says that special relationships must end), we may not be satisfied with anything holy that enters our lives. We may insist, angrily, that we want what we want. And then we are not at peace.

The smart thing is to take love where it is to be found. Holy love lets the other go, leave entirely, without pain or suffering. After all, we know that we are protected and that we are never alone and lost to a remedy. Although another person cannot substitute for the lost person, we can gracefully see the other go—if only because we know that somewhere, somehow, there will be a reconciliation.

This attitude may take a great deal of faith, but it constitutes true love. We do not wish someone to stay with us who wants out. And all the universe will rush to our side with remediation, if we are not too stubborn to accept the love that still abides with us—despite a loss.

A young person, feeling special love for the first time, and then finding rejection, will not easily see this point of view. It takes more maturity to see the whole picture. But an eternal love exists, as this passage implies, and we would do well to focus our eyes on the love that remains in our lives.
We have no other choice, really. And then we open ourselves to new joy, not renewed stubbornness at refusing to let go.

A Warm Heart Is a Gift of Grace

“As long as you do not want to be forgiven you will not feel the gentle touch of forgiveness upon you and your world. While there is no need in truth for this forgiveness, as there is no truth to this big change that you believe you have undergone, your desire to be forgiven is a first step away from your belief that you can fix things by yourself and in so doing earn your way back into your Father’s home. Being willing to be forgiven is the precursor of atonement, the state in which you allow your errors to be corrected for you.” (ACOL, C:9.35)

Forgiveness is said in this passage actually to be unnecessary. While we believe that it is necessary, however, we will not take steps toward receiving the atonement until we have opened ourselves to this forgiveness. And we do want the atonement, which is the undoing of all that has gone before, including especially egoic consciousness. Jesus has led the way to the atonement. Would we not be foolish to refuse the forgiveness that will make every pathway toward the atonement smooth and easy?

We cannot correct our own errors. This may seem a radical statement, but if we recall how many times we have tried to correct errors, only to have the same mistake crop up again and again, we will see the validity of what Jesus is telling us. We will be gently and easily led to remove a mistake-prone inclination. But we would be egoic indeed if we thought that we were making ourselves better all the while. And we are trying to diminish the ego in ourselves, not build it up.

We cannot fix things ourselves and thereby win back the Father’s home, heaven. But we can open ourselves to change and thereby become the recipients of our inheritance, which includes heaven. Our inheritance has been waiting for us for eons. And now we are on a smooth pathway, heading for what we have wanted most in all the world. We must not jinx the matter now. We must not try to take things in our own hands, for we would surely foul it up.

Jesus will guide us gently and in an encouraging manner. He is doing just this in A Course of Love, a course that doesn’t demand a studious attitude, for its words are entering our heart. Call upon him now, today, this moment. See if a warmth doesn’t overtake you.

This warmth is the gift of grace to which we have all been heading since time began. We simply didn’t recognize it until now.

Wonders Felt by the Heart

“Child of God, you need no imaginary friend when you have beside you he who is your friend always and would show you that you have no needs at all. What you truly are cannot be used, not even by God. See you not that it is only in illusion that you can use others who are like yourself?” (ACOL, C:9.31)

Jesus is here talking about himself, not as an imaginary friend but as a real entity taking us by the hand and leading us to ultimate salvation. He has often in A Course of Love indicated that he is with us, guiding us. He apparently clones himself, outside time and space, to be anywhere that he wishes, with anyone, simultaneously.

We will have to believe even in the face of our disbelief. We will have to realize that there are wonders possible in this universe that we cannot comprehend. Jesus’s omnipresence is one such mystery. But if his assurances give us comfort, should we not make the tiny effort to understand and to believe?

We are encouraged in ACOL not to use others, but to serve them. Our service to others is the important point. Never do we get anything lasting out of trying to “use up” the value of another, to our own benefit. This is an egoic urge, a very selfish one, and one of which we need to be forewarned. In this world, previously, we have often “used” others to our own benefit. We have offered conditional love, predicated on getting something from another. And then, when we get the something that we want, we think we love in return.

Such is not love, but use. We have diminished the worth of our exalted brothers and sisters by turning them into agents of our need. But we learn that we have no needs, that our needs have all been met and are being met. So why do we continue to seek to use others? And why do they comply?

It is a matter of wanting love. We learn in ACOL that giving and receiving are one, and in learning this, we are sure that service is our best response to others. When we serve them, we set ourselves up to receive the best that they can offer. But we have not “used” them to gain. It is an even exchange.

We don’t use Jesus when we accept his free offer of help, of guidance in this world, of him being with us in this world. He offers to serve us, and we accept, knowing that in turn we will serve others. And the mission that Jesus is upon becomes clear to us in this equal exchange.

We love and are loved in return, but not in a conditional sense. The love is freely offered, and then given in return, and we are free of egoic using of another free individual. Our minds and hearts are in the right place, finally.

Nourishment & Rest for Our Spirit

“My words call you to the eternal, to nourishment and rest of the spirit rather than the body. That your sights are set on the care of the body alone is another example of choosing an opposite for replacement.” (ACOL, C:9.22)

All of us long, all too often, for comfort of the physical body. And here Jesus encourages us toward something more—comfort of the spirit. The spirit knows invulnerability far more than the body, for the body and its thoughts and feelings can be subdued by fear. The spirit cannot be subdued by fear, for the spirit is the part of us that is joined to the Christ Self. The spirit and the Christ Self are One, and herein is the appeal to the heart made complete.

When we choose an “opposite” for “replacement,” meaning the body, we are seeing in contrasts. This seeing in contrasts was a method that the Holy Spirit used in His time, but we have now moved beyond the time of the Holy Spirit and are in the time of Christ, where a direct knowing is the norm. Previously the contrast enlightened us, but now we know without proof, for we are listening and feeling with the heart. We don’t need proof when we draw in the heart.

Jesus calls us to the eternal, and this eternal can include a new vision for the body (though he does not say so in this passage). This new vision for the body is the Christ-conscious physical form of the Self that Jesus later on calls “elevated.” This means that we can live in physical form for eons, if we so choose. We might come to understand that it will take many of us choosing to live in physical form on this earth to lead the billions back to God. The billions who still live in separation, an illusory separation (of course), but separation indeed. In A Course in Miracles, Jesus said that the separation occurred over millions of years, and that millions more might be needed to heal the separation. And if so, many of us need to be embodied, on earth, to effect this change.

Our brothers and sisters need us here in this world. We can do much good, though A Course of Love is not a call to proselytize. The people in our world will signal when they are ready to hear our truth. Then and only then do we have the golden zipper removed from our lips, and we are free to share what we have come to know.

Fear Blocks the Vision of Our Heart

“This need not be, for you are not separate! The relationships you seek to end your loneliness can do so if you but learn to see relationship differently. As with all your problems in perception, fear is what blocks the vision of your heart, the light the Christ in you would shine upon the darkness.” (ACOL, C:9.18)

We only think that we are separate from other people. This has been what the ego has taught us, as it also taught us that we must be competitive for limited resources. The resources are not limited! There is enough to go around if we wisely allocate, something that in this difficult world we often don’t do at all. Thinking that we are separate has fueled the competition in which we normally find ourselves embroiled. And believing that we need to beat out the other guy is just plain insanity masquerading as the truth.

When we see relationship differently, we cooperate rather than compete. And A Course of Love says that much indeed is relationship, that relationship is how we know God, even. We cooperate with God, of course, if we are attuned to Him. And, as a part of Him, it behooves us to go ahead and cooperate, not shrivel in fear.

We often don’t do all that we ought to do with our days because of our neurosis, a neurosis that is often fueled by fear. If we are to establish a new identity while reading ACOL, we need to understand that egoic fear has no place in our developing identity. We need to realize that we indeed have nothing to fear at all. Jesus says in The Way of Mastery that the FDR quotation, “The only thing that we have to fear in fear itself,” is 98 percent right. We might come to understand that we don’t even have to fear, fear. It is a non-issue when our new identity has been thoroughly established, a condition that Christ-consciousness will bring upon us—securing our invulnerability for all time.

We aren’t to test out our invulnerability though in a way that would tempt fate. We are not about “proving” anything. But we are seeing the vision in our heart, the vision that fear would block.

Ask to have fear removed today. Ask to see clearly this new vision of which Jesus so eloquently speaks. We may not get a positive Answer all at once, but we are preparing the way for the end of fear. And the coming of a new vision that will enhance our contribution in this world.

Eliminating Fear from Our Lives

“Fear always lies one step beneath the surface of a situation because it lies one step beneath the surface of your self. Peel back the first level of what your eyes allow you to observe and you will find fear lurking there.” (ACOL, C:9.15)

This passage indicates that we are controlled by fear. This is the situation when we are living in, or just emerging from, an egoic present. We need to walk further along to escape from the fear, because the fear lurks just below the surface of our little self, the self that has blessed the ego.

Our situations seem fearful because we are fearful. How could it be otherwise? Our projections make our perceptions, as A Course in Miracles tells us. Now A Course of Love uses other words to say the same thing. We will make very little progress as long as we don’t face, then accept the fear, float past it, and then let time pass as we walk yet further along our paths. These tips come from a book on anxiety disorder by Claire Weekes.

The nerves of our physical bodies have become sensitized to fear. The stress has gotten to us, and we cannot be at peace for very long at all. We know what to do, but we conveniently forget. This will never do for long.

We can use our fear to come closer to God. If we are anxious, we are likely to pray more often for a surcease to our anxiety. And we may try meditation as a way to calm our minds.

These practical ways do help, but the most efficacious is to listen to the heart, as encouraged in A Course of Love. What is the fear lurking underneath the anxieties? What in our lives need to be changed in order to walk a smooth pathway?

Test out your own solutions to fear and anxiety. Talking to a sympathetic person can help, but we need ultimately to depend on the Self within to be let loose from bondage by the egoic, little self. Until we let the inner Christ Self take over and run our lives, year in and year out, we will remain one short step from our fears.

Jesus Takes Us by the Hand and Leads Us

“Now you seek to know how to escape what you have made. To do so you must withdraw all faith from it. This you are not ready yet to do, but this is what your heart will now prepare you for. As you are prepared, you walk alongside he who has waited for you with a single purpose instead of along¬side the conflicting desires you chose to let lead you to this strange world. You travel lightly now where before you walked in chains. You travel now with a companion who knows you as you are and would show your Self to you.” (ACOL, C:9.9)

A Course in Miracles contains a promise from Jesus that he will come to us upon hearing “one unequivocal call” from us. A Course of Love now makes the same promise, just in different words. The “he” in this passage is Jesus himself, ready and willing to walk beside us on the path that we are taking. Jesus “knows you as you are.” He accepts that place where we are. And he seeks to show the inner Christ Self to us. Jesus has waited for this moment that we take now, the moment to let him direct our course. And we will not be disappointed in the result.

The promises of Jesus are arresting in the extreme. I have long noted his assertion in ACIM that he will take us by the hand and lead us. To do so, he must be outside time and space, cloning himself as often as he needs. This is miraculous to our eyes and ears, but perhaps the most supreme good sense to those who walk on the Other Side. We probably have already acknowledged to ourselves that we can’t take this walk alone, that just listening to our heart is not enough to do it for us. We need help, and there is no disgrace in acknowledging this. Jesus is with us to offer that help. He becomes what we need in this hour of our need.

But we do listen to our hearts, and this is a primary theme of A Course of Love. We need to withdraw our faith from this troubled world dominated by the ego, though we don’t always know how to go about doing this. But, with Jesus with us, we walk lightly on. Troubles fall away, books fall into our hands, companions show us who guide us to the next step. There is no agony to it. There is no confusion. We have chosen rightly, and when we choose Jesus, that is the most right decision of all.

Seek to Make Peace Lasting

“The body could not help but be thus, as it was made with dual purposes in mind. It was made to make real and then glorify a separated self, and it was made to punish that separated self for the separation. Its creator had in mind what is reflected in the body: self-aggrandizement and self-effacement, pleasure and pain, violence and gentleness. A desire to know everything but only through its own effort, a desire to see everything but only through its own eyes, a desire to be known but only through what it would choose to share. Alongside these desires it is easy to see how a world such as that of the body developed.” (ACOL, C:9.7)

We made the world that we see with egoic eyes. Our physical body, an illusion (of course), falls in line with the requirements of a life that is lived apart from God. This separation, though illusory, does in fact encourage self-aggrandizement as well as self-effacement, for the highs and lows of drama are an ever-present aspect of living in the world that we have made. One moment we are buoyed by some egotistical response to praise, and then we think, no, I don’t deserve this, for I am little more than dust beneath my feet. The ego swells only to retreat in confusion.

Our desire to live separately from God meant that we wanted to do everything from our own effort, to make our way through a world that God seemingly was excluded from. But this is unnatural. Failing to communicate with our Creator is unnatural. It is also very discouraging, for we fail and fail repeatedly when we seek to go it alone. This is the real reason that we fall so hard for a significant other with whom we want to form a special relationship. Recognizing, however dimly, that we are not meant to go it alone, we seek another body to walk with us.

There is often much disappointment in such a choice. Only when the special is transformed into the holy does our harried mind and heart, egoic still, find some measure of peace. And if we are paying attention to the personal self, the little egoic self, we won’t find a very long peace even then, for the drama will seem to pursue us. Only when we open our understanding to the way that our heart leads, and we open our mind to the inner Christ Self residing at the center of our being, will we know a lasting peace. This is what A Course of Love seeks to teach; this is what A Course of Love effects in its readers.

So communicate with the inner Christ Self, a part of God Himself. Don’t be satisfied to enjoy a momentary peace that passeth understanding. Seek to make that peace lasting. The world that the heart will open us to will surprise even the most sophisticated. We will be living in a new and different world, for our perceptions will have been cleansed. Knowledge of God’s way will infiltrate our being.

Perfectly Calm and Quiet All the Time

“Emotions speak the language of your separated self rather than the language of your heart. They are the forward guard of your defense system, always on the lookout for what might hurt or slight the little you that they deem under their protection, or the other little selves you deem under yours.” (ACOL, C:9.2)

Our emotions often deceive us, for our emotions often speak the language of the separated self. This separated self, also known as the personal or little self, will transform into a better personal self, the one that we will present to others, when we have moved beyond egoic preoccupation. It is when the emotions are under the sway of the ego that such dramatic highs and lows pull us under.

Contrariwise, our heart impels us toward calm and peace, a tranquility that is not of this world, but God’s world. Here the emotions don’t dash us against stones that lie under our feet. The emotions lift us up, for calm and peace are still. Some who experience this calm and peace for the first time think that they are depressed, because they feel little emotion. The tranquility takes some getting used to. We are not actually depressed, but we think we are because the dramatic shifts in mood have caused an addiction to riotous living, living of highs and lows.

If we don’t hasten back to some drama that threatens to engulf us, we will grow to like the new calm. We would not choose to be other than perfectly calm and quiet. But in the beginning we don’t know how fortunate we are to have a heart that speaks a serene language. We think that we are not truly living if we are without the drama.

We are living, and a better life indeed. We will no longer dread what our days will bring us, for highs always prompted lows, and the lows were very difficult indeed to handle. A calm, tranquil spirit invites the peace that passeth understanding, and none who experience this peace will wish for it to end. When it does end, we can know that it will come again. And because of this, we are blessed indeed.

We would do well to avoid being defensive about the life that we live. This is a primary theme of A Course in Miracles, and here Jesus emphasizes the same idea. Defense makes what it would defend against, and until we give up defense of the egoic personal self, we won’t know the peace that this passage for today offers us. God grants to us the peace that passeth understanding when we are wise enough to accept it without murmur. This means that our pseudo love affair with drama is ceasing.

Live the Day as a Thing of Joy

“This is the truth of your existence, an existence in which your eyes deceive you but your heart believes not in the deception. Your days are but evidence of this truth. What your eyes behold will one day deceive you while what your heart beholds will the next day see through the deception. And so one day lived in your world is misery incarnate and the next a thing of joy.

“Rejoice that your heart is not deceived, for herein lies your path to true remembering.” (ACOL, C:8.29-30)

We have highs and lows in this world. A good day, a bad day, a day full of drama so that there are both highs and lows in the same day. This is what Jesus understands so well. When we look with our physical eyes, we often see something bad. But, he says, looking with the heart gives a different and much better view to our living. When we are deceived into thinking that all is lost, we wake up the following day with a better viewpoint. And this following day we are listening to our heart. The heart holds the key. A Course of Love emphasizes the heart repeatedly.

What can we do to ensure a good day? The day that begins right has an advantage over one in which we struggle to get out of bed. It is always possible to start the day over if things go badly, but time is saved if we get off to a good start from the beginning. Getting out of bed right away is a tip of mine for a better day. To lounge around is to invite speculation about one’s life, and when one is in a fog from heavy sleep, the speculation often turns negative.

Mornings are frequently the worst time for anyone who battles depression, and a mild depressed spirit follows many of us around who are trying to make a way through this world. As the day proceeds, our mood may lift, and what we can do to cause that lift to happen sooner and sooner is to focus on what we feel in our heart. What would our heart have to say about this situation in which we find ourselves? What solutions present themselves that are filled with love? These two questions are identical. When we follow the way that love prompts, we are setting ourselves up for success. Nothing the physical eyes can show us will ever succeed by nearly as much.

Jesus understands our predicament. The passage for today bears repeated readings, for the compassion that emanates from it is palpable. We need also to treat ourselves with the compassion that comes of authentic self-love, for not only do we need to love God and other people. Without a genuine self-love, our days will seem lackluster, and any depression to which we are prone will deepen.

See today if we can’t look to the things of the heart, particularly the love that the Christ Self embodies. This Self will heal us, being an extension of God Himself. Then the highs and lows of our lives will smooth out, and the heart will have directed us to a new high in spirit-filled living.

Making a New Decision for Enlightenment

“Everything is held together by the thought system that gave birth to it. There are but two thought systems: the thought system of God, and the thought system of the ego or the separated self. The thought system of the separated self sees everything in separation. The thought system of God sees everything in unity. God’s thought system is one of continuous creation, rebirth and renewal. The ego’s thought system is one of continuous destruc¬tion and disassembly, of decay and death. And yet how like they are one to the other!” (ACOL, C:8.25)

The last sentence in this passage seems to be a puzzler, until we realize that the ego has attempted to copy and then transform what our personal, or little, self tried to remember from true reality. The ego’s world mimics the real world, but it changes things so drastically that the whole world view of the ego is detrimental, in the extreme, to our well-being.

We need simply to realize that the ego has made a world in opposition to what is true. And this world, born of an illusory separation from God, hurts us. We were never meant to be out of communication with our Creator. We did not create ourselves (as much sometimes as we try to think that we did), and the only sane response to the truth is to fall in line with what creation holds for us. What we meant to be and to do. Using our free will to choose separation was at least an illogical act, one that has caused us to suffer greatly over eons. Now we stand at the point of making a new decision, a decision for Christ-consciousness, a change that will purify our sight and make a new life for us. And when this change is effected, we will be living in line with God’s thought system.

Many things will change with Christ-consciousness, but we do not have to feel that life will remain bad until that happening comes about. The Holy Spirit brings happy dreams, when we let His guidance direct our ways. And these happy dreams are harbingers of the best that awaits us, when we have walked the whole pathway back to God. The happy dreams are still illusion, of course, but a joyous way to spend the time between now and Christ-consciousness. We will no longer feel discouraged with the flow of our days; we will find things to be joyous about as we walk a better way in this world.

So: First we turn aside from the ego, not by resisting it, but by simple turning away. To resist is to make stronger, the last thing that we want. Just turn aside from egotistical leanings, choose nothing out of ego, and see if the intangible blessings of God do not rain down upon our heads. Then turn to God’s way of thinking, the way that He meant for his creations to think. This turning inward to the Christ Self is calm and peaceful, a new day indeed. And when we turn inward to our Self, we are guided in even more precise ways to reach God again—in illusion no longer, but in true reality.

Sitting as the Christ Self in a Holy Instant

“This moment without awareness of the body was beautifully described in A Course in Miracles as the Holy Instant. You may not think observation of your body is a good way to achieve this, but as you observe you learn to hold yourself apart from what you see. A reminder is needed here, however, a reminder to not observe with your mind, but with your heart.” (ACOL, C:8.19)

In The Way of Mastery, another work which many believe was channeled by Jesus, we hear that we are to sit for five minutes a day imagining ourselves as a “Christed” being. We are, obviously, sitting in our bodies when we do this. And the similarities to today’s passage from A Course of Love are striking.

When we observe the body in a holy instant, we are not thinking as an egoic being. We have left the ego behind at such times. We are thinking as the inner Christ Self, the One joined to God in the center of our being. And this “center of our being” is often called in ACOL the heart. ACOL makes much of the heart, because in so doing Jesus has by-passed the confused mind, the mind that has been entrapped by the ego for eons. Now we are free of a burden that has hampered our rise to God Himself. That burden is the ego, and as we turn aside from it, we are making a new beginning.

In A Course in Miracles, much was made of the holy instant. It was a moment free of time as well as free of the body, for we were caught in the reality of a heaven on earth—if only for that moment of the holy instant. Now we are encouraged, in The Way of Mastery, to sit with our bodies in observation, and in so doing, we see our bodies as apart from us. We don’t see the physical as the inevitable thing that is going to drag us downward. We observe our bodies, and then we let go—into a higher elevation, the one prompted by our heart.

Let the musings of our heart direct us today. Let go of anything and everything that would hinder the approach of a holy instant, a holy instant spent apart from the body because we are simply observing its illusion. The physical is, after all, an illusion, though it seems very real to us. And when we see the physical as an illusion, we don’t take it very seriously. We live, for the moment, sitting as a Christed being.

Find Heaven Here

“Your ‘other’ home is the home you feel as if you have left and the home you feel the desire to return to. Yet it is where you are, and you could not be anywhere else. Your home is here. You think this is incongruous with the truth as I’m revealing it, the truth that heaven is your home, but it is not. There is no here in the terms that you would think of it, the terms that set your reality in a location, on a planet, in a body. God is here and you belong to God.” (ACOL, C:8.17)

We sometimes wonder if we can have heaven on earth, as A Course of Love seems to tell us. We wonder mightily, for the world in which we live is troubled, difficult, and full of tragedies and problems. But there is a way that we can see anew; we can see a heaven on earth when our perceptions are cleansed. Projection makes perception, and when we realize this fully, we will have taken a giant step toward true knowledge that is not dependent on perception at all. Knowledge of the revelation that we get from God, and “God is here and you belong to God.”

When we assume the elevated Self of form, in Awakening or Christ-consciousness, we will know whereof Jesus speaks in this passage. We will occupy a physical form, but it will show us a heaven on earth. This is not my interpretation, but straight from the pages of A Course of Love. We don’t have to wait until the afterlife to experience heaven. When our perceptions are cleansed, we will experience that great blessing right here, right now.

While caught in the egoic mind, we often yearn for something better. But we can have that something better when we move in its direction. When we welcome the Christ Self from within, to come out, we know a better experience. We are no longer complaining about our days. We know a peace that overshadows the objective facts of our sometimes difficult lives. We rise above the difficulty; it is just that simple. God shows us a new way to interact with this world and a new way to live in this world. The new way is open to us, and we walk more smoothly along the pathway that God points out to us.

Walk a better way today. Stop the complaints; stop the agony. A simple change of mind is all that is needed. And this change of mind comes when we realize that God is with us. He is always with us. And He will lift our minds to a higher level, so that we don’t wallow in misery and unhappiness.

Make the Shift to Union with the Self

“Without union all your seeking will not reveal the truth. And while there is a part of you that knows this, you prefer instead of union a game of speculation, conjecture, and probable cause. You look for explanations and information rather than the truth you claim to seek. You look in judgment rather than in forgiveness. You look from separation’s stance rather than from the grace-filled place of union.” (ACOL, C:8.11)

When we are in union, we are united with our inner Self as well as with other people. Union is a joining of heart and mind to form wholeheartedness. The term is used in several different ways in A Course of Love, but always it indicates a joining, a unity of Self and soul with ourselves, God, and others.

Jesus is chastising us a bit in this passage. He feels that we are not doing enough of the right things to walk into a new day. To create a new world. We fall back on old habits of mind, the habits of mind that were in the ascendancy when the ego-mind was dominant.

We have had enough of this. Now is the time to make the shift to a union with the Self, the inner being that is the Christ. Our days will improve, our service will improve, the ways in which we help Jesus to save our world will improve as well. We have waited long enough; now is the time for right action.

We are used to analyzing, and this analysis is virtually always of the egoic mind. This is the “speculation, conjecture, and probable cause” that we seek, and we seek in vain—for this way of looking is not found in the real world, true reality. If we look in forgiveness, we see truly. And we often don’t look in forgiveness; we want to drop into analysis, hoping to find that we have not really gone astray.

But we have gone astray when we analyze. We are interpreting the past, something that Jesus counsels against in other parts of ACOL. This interpretation merely goes over the same territory without really finding new ground. And we have had enough of the old ground.

Ask to join with our innermost Self today. Let our little grievances go into the better world of forgiveness. And unite heart and mind. The heart knows how to live; the mind, unless informed by the Self, does not. The Self can inform, of course; just be sure that it is not the egoic self that is trying to intervene.

The best is yet before us. Stop complaining about our lot in life. Just go with the flow, and see if the day doesn’t smooth out. The Self will have taken the first step toward giving us the love that we seek, sometimes in vain, from others.

Safe within Our Heart Is Love’s Reality

“Safe within your heart lies love’s reality, a reality so foreign to you that you think you remember it not. Yet it is to this reality we head as we travel deep within you to the center of your Self.” (ACOL, C:8.9)

Why has Jesus been encouraging us, previously, to follow our heart? He is heading us toward love. Here, in this passage, he is focusing on the Self, which is the center of our being and the home of the Christ Who is within us all. This Self is known both by the heart and the new mind, the mind shorn of the ego. This Self knows love, for here we also find God.

We have not yet gone back far enough. We don’t remember love well enough, and love requires a recollection from eons ago—before the ego-mind took hold in an illusory separation from God. We are merely traveling a road, retracing steps back from a journey without distance that we took to detour into fear. We need to leave fear behind, in whatever ways we, and Jesus, have determined we might best do that. Fear will eclipse the love that our heart wants to feel, for our heart seems to have a mind all its own. In wholeheartedness, we are in fact joining the heart to the mind, and so the heart does have a mind of its own. But not an egoic mind.

We need to reach deep within us for this blessing. This means prayer with depth, nothing superficial. Or meditation. In A Course in Miracles, Jesus seems to discount the form of meditation called contemplation as tedious and time-consuming. But the Workbook ends with prayers to God our Father, and short prose statements that are essentially meditational in nature. We need quiet to read these passages. And so prayer and meditation does seem to be a part of the pathway that Jesus is pointing out for us to take.

Jesus often speaks of “reality” in A Course of Love as well as A Course in Miracles. True reality is something quite different from the illusion, the dream, with which we have been concerned so very long. Certainly love is a big part of true reality. And safe within our heart is the love that we seek. Because we seek with earnestness, we will surely find. God does not hide Himself from us, though we are likely to think this when we are lost in egoic contemplation. The type of contemplation that we are trying to have now will be a far cry from the ego’s understanding. We seek, and we find. And the ego falls by the wayside.

We Remember and Thereby Reclaim Heaven

“This remembering is not of former days spent upon this earth, but of remembering who you really are. It comes forth from the deepest part of you, from the center in which you are joined with Christ. It speaks of no experiences here, wears no faces, and bears no symbols. It is a memory of wholeness, of all to all.” (ACOL, C:8.4)

Being who we are is a prime emphasis in A Course of Love. And here is virtually the first mention of it in the first part, the Course proper. We do not need to brood on what has befallen us in the past; we need to move beyond such obsessions to a better day in the future.

And we can do so. Our way home is actually simply a remembering. We are not creating anew when we seek to reclaim what used to be ours, in our home in heaven. Heaven is not a place nor a condition, as A Course in Miracles tells us. It is the awareness of Oneness, nothing else outside this Oneness, nothing else within. We are sure of just one thing: We want God in all His fullness. And the inner Christ Self is that part of us who remembers Who God is.

The Oneness of which I spoke, above, is the memory of wholeness. We have so often been fragmented and discontented in our everyday lives. We have found ourselves depressed, angry, misunderstood (or so we thought); we have found any number of negative states of mind.

A Course of Love invites us to remember the real wholeness of the Self through listening to what our heart tells us. No more than this is required. No more than this is even recommended.

We cannot fail, for we have a savior who stands by our side, holding our hand along the journey without distance. Jesus is here for us, cloning himself, outside time and space, whenever we make one unequivocal call for him. He is our mainstay, the way that we continue without struggle on the pathway home to God.

Let us be grateful today, as we seek to be more contented, that we have such a companion to speed us along the way.

Prayer Warms the Heart

“Accept a new authority, even if only for the little while that it will take you to read these words. Start with this idea: You will allow for the possibility of a new truth to be revealed to your waiting heart. Hold in your heart the idea that as you read these words—and when you finish reading these words—their truth will be revealed to you. Let your heart be open to a new kind of evidence of what constitutes the truth.” (ACOL, C:7.23)

When we are feeling down and also confused, it helps to find a friend who can advise us. This is what Jesus is doing in this passage for today. He is offering to be our new authority. And because he is Jesus, we can accept his authority with grace.

We can open the heart to allow new truth to come in. We can live better than we ever have before; A Course of Love welcomes just such an opportunity. The idea that we turn to our heart instead of our mind is helpful in the extreme. All of us know immediately what is meant by turning to the heart. This in itself emphasizes the brilliance of Jesus’s idea. He knows that we will understand. And this understanding of the pivotal place of the heart in our future decision making is necessary for success in the new endeavor in which we find ourselves.

When we turn to the Christ Self, Who is a part of God, we learn anew what it is to trust the heart. We need to let our Christ Self totally consume our mind. Then when the mind, the new mind, is joined to the heart, we have the wholeheartedness about which Jesus speaks so eloquently.

In prayer we can open to this Christ Self in a way that we never have before. Our prayers have previously dwelt upon the idea that God was external to us, and thus we prayed, in the darkness, to an Entity Who would decide whether or not to give us what we were asking. This is not the logic of prayer as presented in A Course of Love. We turn inward, to our heart, and then we listen for the guidance of the (inner) Christ Self. It is not clear from A Course of Love if this guidance is coming directly from God, though I would be inclined to say that it is (an interpretation). I don’t think that God turned us out in the illusion, knowing nothing of our activities. (This again is an interpretation, not shared by all students/teachers of A Course in Miracles and A Course of Love.) I see God as omniscient, and this includes knowing what His beloved creations are doing once they (we) lost themselves (ourselves) in illusion.

So open the heart and mind to wholeheartedness. Know that the truth can and will be revealed to a listening Self. This Self does not know illusion. This Self knows the truth that we hope to have revealed.

The way is not hard. Jesus has walked this way before us, and why not learn from his pioneering effort?

We Are One Whole with All

“It is from this center that you will come to understand that relationship exists in wholeness. We have begun to dislodge your idea that you stand separate and alone, a being broken off from all the rest.” (ACOL, C:7.20)

We need to first welcome our Christ Self, a Self taught us by our heart. And then we need to turn in relationship to God and to others. Our heart center will teach us much that is good and true. And we will no longer be alone and miserable when we recognize that we are not isolated from all others. We have thought that independence, being autonomous, was preferred over other ways to be. But this was our ego speaking to us. It desired to be autonomous, fearing interaction with others, leading us to fear it as well. Yet we learn in A Course in Miracles and A Course of Love that we were never intended to hold ourselves apart from other people, never meant to hold ourselves apart from God (something that can happen only in illusion, of course).

So A Course of Love lets us know that a “being broke off from all the rest” does not define us. We are moving in unity and relationship to a new day. We are One with the whole, and One in relationship to the diverse others with whom we share the universe. This new way of viewing reality will hold us in good stead with none of the drawbacks that previously held sway in our deluded minds.

We will be whole when we join with others, and when we recognize that we are a part of God Himself. We will be broken fragments no longer. Our world view will have changed.

We normally feel all alone and lonely when we are feeling pity for ourselves, and pity is not justified. We are beloved of God, and He always meets us in unity. We have felt separated from Him as well, in the past, but we are moving beyond this belief. Now that we have moved away from our illusory separation, God will feel much closer to us. It is all a change in our point of view. This closeness to God will be mirrored in our relationship to our very selves, as well as our relationship with others.

Be glad that we are not all alone and lonely. Rejoice in the new knowledge that we are meant to share our universe with all others.

The Values of Spirituality

“You do not see this as withholding, but what you claim for yourself at another’s expense is indeed withholding, and in your world you know not how to claim anything for yourself without withholding it from someone else.” (ACOL, C:7.15)

Our selfishness can indeed be profound in this world. Jesus here calls it “withholding,” and we can see from the quotation that he takes a dim view of it. We have thought, erroneously, that we cannot have something in this world without taking it from somebody else. We think that we are the loser if another has.

We are so wrong! We can both have! And in this there is no need for any withholding, no need for selfishness at all.

We are used to living in a competitive world. When we were growing up, in school, it may have been the competition for good grades. Many of us were brought up in conditional love that seemed to say that what we achieved defined our worth. And in the seeking of grades, particularly for students being graded on the curve, we could not be first if another person claimed that position. We may have continued on to college with these same thoughts. And jockeying for position in the dating game was nearly always a means to have a partner that somebody else could not claim as theirs.

Thus competition has taken an ugly toll on us. Competition is said to be the cornerstone of our success as a nation. Is this true? Do we really see this as the way that capitalism works?

Actually research studies in education have shown that a cooperative learning environment, as well as a cooperative work environment, is more conducive to success. And in cooperation there is less one-upmanship. We are less selfish as a result. And our withholding is less. This is right in line with the latest revelations as seen in A Course of Love.

We need to seek in small ways to counter the propensity to withhold from others. There is enough to go around. We can even share, because in the real world this gives to both us and other. As mentioned, we can both “have.” And in living this way, we can extol the values of spirituality. We are not living a lie anymore. And our better living will prove this to us.

A Gentle Turn toward Love

“Now you look for one upon whom you can unload your burdens, hoping you can pass your grievances en mass to someone else. If you succeed through anger, spite, or meanness, you simply take on guilt and withdraw still further into your own misery.” (ACOL, C:7.12)

Guilt is what has made us mad. This from A Course in Miracles, and emphasized in this passage. We, of course, damn ourselves when we don’t forgive, and here Jesus is telling us straight out what we do to ourselves. He didn’t talk about “meanness” in A Course in Miracles, but he is telling us about our most negative aspects, here, in A Course of Love. Few of us would want to characterize ourselves as “mean,” but perhaps we need to open our minds to this concept. We are capable of much that is negative.

Our misery is profound when we are lost in grievances. We wallow in this misery, not sure of how to lighten our mood. But a little reflection on what we have been reading in A Course of Love would be all that it would take to lighten our load. We need to listen to what our heart tells us about interacting with our brothers and sisters. We don’t want to harbor grievances, but instead to practice forgiveness, knowing all the while that what we are forgiving is simply illusion, a dream of a world that does not exist. Nobody has done anything to us except in illusion, and so actually nothing has happened at all. We know this from our study of ACIM, but we are still prone to forget it when our thoughts turn dark.

All of us can get angry, and, perhaps surprisingly, Jesus does not lament anger in A Course of Love as much as he did in A Course in Miracles. In ACOL, he recognizes that we may still get angry, but the anger has no teeth in it if we quickly forgive the illusion as never having happened at all. In ACIM, he had told us that anger was never justified, an assertion that many of us found hard to accept, because we still can fly off the handle at the slightest provocation. We cannot so control our emotions that we never feel anger, it is true, but we can fail to flame the fire by stoking it. This in itself is a major step forward. And it short-circuits meanness as well.

Let our negative emotions fall of their own weight. We don’t have to encourage them, and thereby encourage our own misery. When in a bad mood, notice that our own thoughts have turned against us. We have dipped into the ego-mind, something that we haven’t passed beyond yet. And this ego-mind seeks to be our undoing.

We don’t have to let the ego-mind win. We are stronger than that. Rise above with a gentle turn toward love, the genuine love that we do feel for other people as well as for ourselves, as well as for God. Listen to our hearts, which will serve us well in moments on temptation to turn to darker thoughts. The way out is clear. We forgive, recognizing illusion when confronted with it. We lift our minds to a healthy love for a better world, a world that we can inhabit when our projections become wiser. Listen to the inner Christ Self, Who will not lead us wrong—if we truly listen and don’t just think that we are listening. The way is clear; the answer is provided us. There is no reason that we cannot prevail.

Listen to Our Heart

“The world does not keep you separate. You keep yourself separate from the world. This is what has made the world the world it is. What you withhold allows illusion to rule and truth to be locked away in a vault so impenetrable and so long secured that you have thought it forgotten. You have not realized the vault is your own heart, or that the truth is what you have chosen to keep secure and set aside there.” (ACOL, C:7.9)

This highly interesting passage explains that what has happened in our separation from God: We have also separated from each other in this world. Separation has become a plague that we didn’t know how to overcome, because we thought that separation was normal.

Separation is not normal. It is not as God intended. Our heart holds the key to understanding the way that living can really be. Our heart will project these answers onto the world and therefore transform it—when we let our heart speak to us. Until we risk a little exposure and open our hearts to each other, we still are mired in separation and distrust of each other.

Distrust of each other is a legitimate fear in this troubled world. But until we take the risk of exposing our real Self, the Christ Self, to others, we will be caught by the dangers imposed by the ego-mind, the egoic self, the little self that has not known transformation. And transformation is what we want. Opening the heart to others, even ever to slightly, will let us see that our projections now are much better than when those projections were informed by the ego-mind. We won’t get hurt in the same ways. Our projections from our Christ Mind will be healing in a way that projections from the egoic mind never were.

Make no mistake about: What we see outside of ourselves is a projection—a projection of the physical world as well as intangibles that we can’t place a finger upon. Projection makes perception, as A Course in Miracles is fond of saying. And with our choice to let the inner Christ Self out to play, we have far less to worry about. Our projections will be benign and healing.

Listen to our heart. That advice is promulgated through and through A Course of Love. Of course, we must join the heart to the mind, because otherwise our heart feelings might needlessly confuse us. But the heart takes the lead in ACOL. When we listen, we learn in new ways what Jesus is telling us.

And we project a new world. This is when creation of the new world really begins.

Freely Give Away the Self

“Rejoice that there is something in this world that you will not bargain with, something you hold sacrosanct. This is your Self. Yet this Self that you hold so dear that you will never let it go is precisely what you must be willing to freely give away. This is the only Self that holds the light of who you are in truth, the Self that is joined with the Christ in you.” (ACOL, C:7.7)

We need to offer ourselves to our brothers and sisters in this world. This is what is meant by the Self being freely given away. We don’t lose by the giving away: It is a paradox, because we actually gain, and in amounts that we could never imagine before embarking on this course of “giving ourselves away.”

The Self will eventually be the elevated Self of form, when we have become enlightened, when we enjoy Christ-consciousness. This form is physical, but it does not employ the ego-mind any longer. The ego-mind is gone, once we have assimilated the first volume of A Course of Love. And this leaving is a very, very great blessing, far more blessed than we can even know, because for eons it has given us suffering and pain—and these are on the way out.

Physicality, as Jesus tells us in the Dialogues, is not a bad thing. We can choose physical form as our way for the future, if we want, even when we would not need to be reborn into the physical to find our way home. It is a new choice, but it is not a choice out of alignment with God’s wishes for us. This according to Jesus in the final volume of A Course of Love, the Dialogues.

But we will get to the Dialogues in due time. It is enough now to assimilate that we are to share and share freely with our brothers and sisters, for this is what “giving away” really means. Sharing does not seem, perhaps, to be so threatening a concept. And we do give away when we share.

We do not bargain with our Self, and this Self is the Christ Self Who is begging to be let out of our innermost being. When we freely open ourselves to Jesus’s words, we will share this Self with all, freely as well. The course is clear; the words unambiguous.

Think of way today that we might share our Self with others. We can “do” for them, but we can also simply be there for them. Our brothers and sisters, many of them, are hurting in this world. It behooves us to try to understand when they seem to attack us, and it behooves us not to return attack, but to give the gentle response.

The gentle response will always take us well ahead of where we were before we gave it. Be there for our brothers and sisters today; share all, indeed share more than we think we can. And the blessings of so doing will rain down upon our heads.