Turning Aside from the Ego Gives Us Serene Contentment

“The only choice that has been made is that of attachment to the human form as the self. The choice that hasn’t been made is the choice to leave this idea behind. The choice that has been made is to believe in a savior who could have, but did not, keep you from this suffering. The choice that has not been made is the choice to believe in the Christ-Self who is the only savior, rather than the ego-self, which is all you have needed saving from.” (ACOL, T3:8.5)

Do we blame Jesus, as a savior who failed to remove suffering? Do we blame him for the “plan of salvation” not working? Well, previously, we have looked to the crucifixion, and he asks us now to look to the resurrection. While he doesn’t tell us how this was came about, he does hint that an ethereal body was present. This doesn’t, therefore, seem to be the resurrection of the physical body that traditional Christianity has told us, has sought to make us believe. If we look to the resurrection of the ethereal body, is there hope that somehow this suffering will ease? Can we see a way out for ourselves, now, some 2000 years later on?

I hope that we can see a way out. Jesus indicates here that the ego-self has been our undoing. And we do know, from common sense, that our clinging to the ego has caused much emotional suffering for ourselves. Could the ego also have caused physical suffering? This seems to be what Jesus is saying in this quotation for today. Our Christ-Self will show us a new person with a new personality, ready to live differently. And in the different living will the suffering that we have known so long just pass into history.

We have not birthed the idea that suffering can end. We have made accommodations to suffering, thinking that only what we know as wishful thinking might end these plagues on our good humor and our good health. Elsewhere Jesus says that failing to birth the idea of suffering is what has kept it in place. We haven’t believed our own religion. We have hoped for change, but we have not effected that change with our holy Mind. Yet we can create our own reality free of the turmoil that has previously engulfed us. We do create our own reality now; this is implied not only in A Course in Miracles and A Course of Love, but also stated in a forthright way in New Age thought previously.

What if we believed that we could be free of suffering? What if we let our Christ-Self out from the depths of our being, and therefore found real change, for the first time ever.

This is what we need to do. Let the Christ-Self, in good humor and good health, come out to play, gently and without seriousness, lightheartedly. Seriousness, Jesus tells us, is always of the ego, and we have had enough of the ego. We are, in fact, ready to discard it forever. Hopefully, forever. We can still form a new ego-self if we are not enthralled with the love that Jesus counsels. Fear and judgment will cause us, once again, to fall, though this fall also will be illusory.

Turn to the inner Christ-Self to save us now. Turn and be reassured that turning inward to God and the Christ-Self are all that we really need to do to effect a future unlike anything we have experienced previously.

Prayer

I know that my ego never gave me a contented life. Sure, there were highs, but these highs were followed by lows. Moods kept me from a serene and carefree life, though I had flights of happiness.

Now, trying to live without the ego, is blissful. I have an inner Self to guide me, and contentment steals over my day. The way back to God is not hard, is instead something that is natural.

Be with me, dear God, for a full and productive day.

Amen.

Unveiling of the Christ-Self

“If the Source of Truth is within you, then it is your own revelation toward which we work. Never forget that establishing your identity has been the only aim of this entire course of study. Realize how often you have forgotten this, despite the many repetitions of our aim, and you will be more aware of your resistance and your need to let it go.” (ACOL, T3:8.2)

This quotation gets into the theology of A Course of Love. The Source of Truth is God Himself, and this Source is sourced in the Christ-Self, an all-embracing Self Whom we share with the All, including other people, our brothers and sisters. We are seeking to come to understanding of this Christ-Self, one who has been overshadowed for eons in our own minds by the ego. Our “own revelation” is the unveiling of this Christ-Self, One with God, One with our mind and heart, One with our brothers and sisters in this world and beyond. This revelation will establish our identity, the purpose, we are told to the entire course of study on which we are embarked. The entire ACOL. Later a new purpose will be announced by Jesus, when he is certain that we have established a new identity, free of the ego. But for now our purpose is the establishment of our true identity, which is the Christ-Self hidden deep within each of us.

We haven’t been carrying this purpose in our minds, and Jesus is right about this. We are brought up short by his assertion, here, that we have resistance to the aim of ACOL. How might this resistance play out?

Well, it could be very bad indeed. It is not impossible that we will establish another ego-self when the original one falls away. We might do this if we are not open enough to what our heart is trying to say. If we listen to both mind and heart in wholeheartedness, allow the Self to come out and play, and join with our brothers and sisters—then the fear that we will establish another ego-self will be unfounded. Then and only then will we have given up our resistance to Jesus’s urging that we go on to establish our true identity, the Christ-Self who has learned, yes, learned what it means to be immersed in true reality. We may not immediately remember that the Christ-Self does learn, for our first reaction would be that this Self knows all that is necessary to life in the real world, or true reality. But learn it does, and we are the means.

We are told that the amassed teaching of the past is not going to be how we move into the new world we are going to create. We will observe, and then be in-formed by that world and our own intuitive insight, an insight that is God-driven. This observation is our new way of learning, the way that allows us more say in the matter of what we learn. We won’t want others to choose our lessons for us. We stay in the driver’s seat.

Bid the new revelations to come today. We are ready, and it is not arrogance to claim what is our inheritance and our birthright. We have indeed left the ego-self behind, and life will smooth out tremendously in the wake of the emergence of the real Self.

Prayer

May I turn over all I can’t handle to You alone. May I realize that there is much, very much, that I can’t handle. The world is very much with me today. I would ask to see Your truth in this world.

Be with me as I seek to walk a fresh pathway today. A pathway strewn with flowers, a pathway of true reality. May I be reassured that You hold the world in your hands, and You won’t let me down.

Amen.

Rebirth Heralds a New Ease in Non-Egoic Accomplishment

“You have formerly been capable of representing who you are only within illusion for this was the abode in which you resided. Illusion has been to you like a house with many doors. You have chosen many doors to the same house and but thought them to offer different things, only to find that the house you entered was still the same house, the house of illu¬sion. You took yourself into these many rooms and in some you were even capable of representing your true Self. This representation of the true Self within the house of illusion was like an explosion happening there. For a moment, the floorboards shook, the walls quaked, the lights dimmed. All those within the house became aware of something happening there. All attention turned toward the explosion but its source could not be found.

“In the aftermath of the explosion, the representation of the true Self settled like dust, and all the attention fell upon it. A great scrambling ensued as the recognition dawned on those who looked, that treasures were to be found there. One found art and another religion, one found poetry and another music, one seized upon a single thought and through its extrapola¬tion founded one science or another. In all of the excitement the matter of the source of the explosion was dismissed.

“Thus has been the best of what you call life within the illusion.” (ACOL, T3:7.6 – 7.8)

A beautiful passage from A Course of Love, this quotation for today lets us know that the best features of our culture developed from representations of the true Self, though those representations—art, music, poetry, religion, science—may have developed out of a persona wracked by violence. The process of evolution has indeed caused for human beings a violent rebirth. If we are still allowing ourselves to remain in illusion, we are still wracked by the “explosions” that Jesus says are happening there. This best of all possible worlds, in illusion, for us, does represent the best of our culture—the art, music, and the like.

But is this the way that we want to proceed as time continues to unfold? Aren’t we tired of picking ourselves up off the floor and striving for perfection in our achievements in art, music, science, etc.? Jesus says that life in the “House of Truth” is effortless and means an end to struggle. Would we not all want this? Climbing a new mountain of achievement, never being satisfied with what we have accomplished—at least for very long—means that the ego has been front and center in our motivation. When we accomplish in the House of Truth, we still strive but we do not struggle. Accomplishment is not a personal achievement any longer. We have tried and failed to get satisfaction from personal achievements. Now we try something new and different. Achievement in true reality, which means that we are One with our brothers and sisters, with our Self, and with God. To be that different surely means that we have made many footfalls upon our path back to God.

Have we not cringed, often, from thinking that something more is asked of us, some new achievement that will give us satisfaction in life at last? We shrank from the reality of this, for it was not true reality, but an illusion. Our egoic satisfactions lasted only until the gold wore off. And our accomplishments were not solid gold. They wore, leaving base metal showing. We have had enough of this.

Be glad that in the treasures that fell to the floor we found a glimmering of greater value. Now we can develop these treasures without struggle or pain. We can accomplish, not as a personal achievement, but through the guidance that we receive from the Self Whom we all are. The Self is One, as God is One. And we don’t take personal glorification from what comes beyond us. Not in art, music, poetry, science—you name it.

And we recognize the difference.

Prayer

I often strove for accomplishments in the past, but I am through with that now. Jesus has told me that, like others who are following him, I have accomplished now, and struggle is meant to be no more. What a glorious thought this indeed is! If only we could all believe it! If only we could be at home in the ease of accomplishments that are won for all people. No longer egoic for self, but magnanimous for all.

Be with me today as I seek to walk Your way once again. If I have to pick myself up again, let me know that You are lifting my hand to help me steady. Your way is the only way worth pursuing, and I walk in Your glory when I don’t make any attempt to achieve for myself only. These hollow victories are left behind in the dust.

Thank You.

Amen.

We Are an Idea in the Mind of God

“A belief system is not needed for the truth. Thus you can see that the beliefs put forth in “A Treatise on Unity” are necessary only to return you to the truth. Since there are no beliefs that represent the truth of who you are and who God is, we speak now of ideas or thoughts. If you believe that God created you with a thought or idea, then you can begin to see the power of thought. If you can believe that you created the ego with a thought or an idea, you can see where the power of thought is your power as well as God’s.” (ACOL, T3:7.2)

Idealism, in philosophy, contains the concept that everything that exists is an idea in the mind of God. While neither A Course in Miracles and A Course of Love do make this assertion, as such, the quotation for today comes close to Idealism. If we believe that God created us with an idea, and that we made the ego with an idea, our truth of being made in the image of God takes on new meaning.

But our ego didn’t mean us well, for we had withdrawn into insanity. We couldn’t be separate from God, we couldn’t live separately from Him, and still exist. So we postulated a separation. And then all the trouble began.

The ego has a belief system, and ACOL gives several instances of the beliefs held by ego. But, importantly, the truth has no need for a belief system—for the truth cannot be wrong. People don’t need to “believe” the truth; the truth simply IS. And while we may not fully understand what this truth is, we also know enough now to recognize that the truth will never let us down, as the ego has. This would in and of itself be a powerful incentive to drop the ego. And Jesus tells us by this time in our reading through ACOL, that we have removed the ego. We have let it wither away, not by actively resisting it, but by gently turning aside to the truth, to true reality. This true reality is of peace, love, joy, harmony—the positive emotions that we so long to feel all the time. This true reality is, in my estimation, a reality of intangibles that are eternal. And from these, we go forth to change the world, or, as Jesus hopes for most of us, create a new world. This we do by living extraordinary lives, though remaining ordinary people. And in this example of our being, we draw others to us.

Live life today as your best self. Don’t let it be a new persona, formed of a new ego-self. Recognize equality with all of our brothers and sisters. And walk a green earth again.

Prayer

I first believed that You “thought” me into being when I was a teenager studying philosophy in college. And now A Course of Love seems to say something very similar. This helps me to know that I was primed for believing ACOL a very long time ago. Thank You for the blessing of ACOL.

Be with me today. Help me, as always, to have a good day. And give me motivation to enjoy good times in this world. You mean for us to be happy; you mean for me to be happy. And I am. Struggles can become a thing of the past.

Help me to know that struggle is not Your way. And when I follow You, struggle is not my way, either.

Amen.

May Our Heart Stay Serene & Free

“Bitterness is to your heart what the ego has been to your mind. It is the one false idea that has entered this holiest of places, this abode of Christ, this bridge between the human and the divine. It exists not in some but in all, as the ego has existed not in some but in all. Like the ego, it has not caused you to be unlovable or unrecognizable. But it has become, like the ego, so much a part of your reality that it must, like the ego, be consciously left behind.” (ACOL, T3:6.5)

Moving ahead from what I discussed yesterday, we see in this quotation that bitterness is to our heart what the ego has been to our mind. Bitterness has been less noticed, though; we didn’t know why we felt angry that others seemed to have more than us. And we may very likely not have called this attitude, “bitterness.” Comparisons detract from us. We are better off not making them at all, and this we can recognize from knowing that the ego compares itself to other egos just all the time. What I mean here is not the technique of contrast that the Holy Spirit used so effectively in trying to teach us right from wrong, trying to set us on the road to salvation. Comparisons, in the sense that I mean them, are vicious rejections of the fact that we are all equal. We think that somehow we are better, or at least we try to think this. And this is ego speaking. So I would speculate that the ego’s machinations for the mind and the bitterness that we feel in the heart are very closely tied together.

We need to take steps to drop resentments, something that is almost (but not quite) a synonym for bitterness. We feel our resentments, and this clues us to the fact that we are talking about the heart, for feelings are the realm of the heart. Resentments are also prompted by the ego, though, and so we can see in the very word “resentment” that heart and mind are similarly bound to concepts that are debilitating to us. We have left the ego behind, the ego that bound our mind; now we must leave behind the bitterness, however we describe it, that has bound our heart. Then and only then will we be in a position to reach the wholeheartedness (mind and heart together) that Jesus counsels.

Take the step today to walk away from feeling “put upon” that someone else seems to have something that we don’t. Talents will be equally shared later on; any difference in talents now is temporary and time-bound. Talents are equal in eternity.

And knowing that we live in an eternity is a very freeing concept. “We live in an eternity. Be happy today.” A quotation from Eastern thought.

Prayer

When we feel out of sorts, the best place for us is in our quiet corner, communing with You. Communing with You is the only thing that truly works to take us out of a funk. And I seem to find much to worry me today. Be with me as I seek to find Your guidance, Your way that is best for me.

May bitterness not find a toehold in my heart. May my heart stay serene and free, sure of Your love, sure of my own clinging to Your love.

Thank You.

Amen.

Bitterness Is to the Heart What Ego Is to the Mind

“While many of you who have read this far and learned this much may not be those whose bitterness is mighty and held tightly to themselves, bitterness must still be discussed. While bitterness remains, vengeance will remain. You have been shown that God is not a God of vengeance but that you are still in the process of learning that your Self is not vengeful.” (ACOL, T3:6.4)

We need to remove from our hearts the concept of a vengeful Self. The Self is our part of God, and as such, not vengeful at all. And bitterness, Jesus says elsewhere, is to the heart what the ego is to the mind. And certainly the ego is insanity to the mind. Perhaps we can extend this thought to recognize that bitterness is insanity to the heart, and, as such, will keep our instincts embroiled in fears and speculation about fairness in our world that can only debilitate.

Our bitterness often comes from the sense that we are “have not’s” in a world in which many others have much more. If we have read this far, we are not as concerned with material blessings as with emotional ones—the peace and calm that we long to have in a troubled world and, perhaps, in a troubled self. Jesus says elsewhere that we have come to enjoy much more peace in our inner world than ever before. But he wants us to go further and change, or better still, create a new world. This we won’t do if bitterness wraps its tentacles around our heart. This we can’t do under such circumstances.

Jesus recognizes that we likely have less bitterness, as readers of A Course of Love, then some others in this world. But we need to eliminate the vestiges of bitterness at their root, which is a sense that we still want rewards for being good, for doing God’s will, for following Jesus. The sense that we want reward must, Jesus tells us elsewhere, be “done without.” And we can easily do this when we work to remove bitterness from our hearts. God is not vengeful, and, as our role model, neither is Jesus. We need to realize that our Self has not been out to get us, that this Self—this Christ-Self—has never done anything that would harm us. We have made mistakes in our egoic self, but mistakes that can be rectified, and forgiven, and then we march on.

Our world will never be the same when we do decide to march on, feeling no need for particular rewards, feeling no need for being bitter.

Prayer

I need to realize that the few things that go wrong in my world are not reason to color my day with regret and bitterness. Much more goes right, and this is true for everyone. If we focus on a lack of gratitude for what is before us, we will never be satisfied. And bitterness will have a toehold in our heart.

Let me be at peace today, in Your Arms. This will give me a good day, for nothing will go right if I am dissatisfied, and a ungratefulness makes for dissatisfaction. I would be eminently grateful today for the many blessings that surround me. May others who read these words feel the same way.

Amen.

Gift-Giving in Jesus’s Story

“The gift of redemption was the gift of an end to pain and suffering and a beginning of resurrection and new life. It was a gift meant to empty the world of the ego-self and to allow the personal self to live on as the one true Self, the one true son of God. The gift of redemption was given once and for all. It is the gift of restoration to original purpose. Without there having been an original purpose worthy of God’s son, the crucifixion would have ended life in form and returned the sons of man to the formless. Instead, the sons of man were freed to pursue their original purpose.” (ACOL, T3:5.7)

The gift of redemption is seen to be the resurrection—not the crucifixion. Nowhere does Jesus fully explain what happened in the resurrection, but he does affirm its validity. He does say that he resurrected in another form, and so we can speculate that he means his ethereal body, not his physical. But he is not very specific, and he leaves our interpretations to ourselves. I personally believe that he doesn’t want to disturb our faith, whatever it might be. And, as he suggested in A Course in Miracles, he doesn’t want to be controversial. In ACIM, for example, Jesus recommended that students/teachers of ACIM not take a stand on reincarnation, because this is just controversial and will hinder our effectiveness among others who have dissimilar ideas. The ego will be enough for us to deal with.

The crucifixion is not ignored in A Course of Love, though. He calls it not sacrifice, but evidence of gift-giving. The Father gave his only son to save the world. Jesus does not deviate from this (said here in simpler words). Giving an only son, in Jesus’s day, would have been a gift of great importance, because inheritance was such an important idea in Jesus’s time. The death of an only son would therefore have disrupted the natural inheritance from the earthly father that would have been expected. Jesus does not, however, want us to get lost in ideas about the crucifixion. He said in ACIM not to make the error of “clinging to the rugged cross.” And we do just that when we focus on the sacrifice and not the gift-giving, the gift-giving that is redemption.

There is an intriguing sentence in the quotation for today: “Without there having been an original purpose worthy of God’s son, the crucifixion would have ended life in form and returned the sons of man to the formless.” What does Jesus mean by that? How would this other-worldly incident have happened? He does not say, leaving us to dwell on his words without knowing the context. One context is clear, though: Our purpose in assuming form, physical bodies, was to express ourselves in a new and different way. Our purpose was never separation as such. But when we became impatient, like adolescents we forged ahead, and we made an ego that could only separate from our God.

So we are left with the gift-giving aspect of the crucifixion, and the encouragement to look to the resurrection more so than the crucifixion. Many strands of thought are held within the quotation for today, encouraging us to study it carefully.

We will not be sorry that we did study carefully.

Prayer

I look for gift-giving in the story of redemption, and it sheds a new light on an old story. It allows my mind to wrap around something better than the image of a beloved man crucified. It allows my heart to thank You for your gift-giving, a story that Jesus engineered and one that the world has come to love.

Be with me for a day fresh with optimism. May I follow lightly in the pathway that Jesus pointed out. May my gifts be given, as Yours are, with the spirit of compassion and true love. May I learn, from You, what gift-giving is all about.

This day I seek what only You can give: an oasis of peace and calm in a troubled world. May I do and say that which will lighten the burdens of those of us who occupy space in this world.

Amen.

Empty a Space for Love to Fill

“As with the gentle learning of this Course, not all emptiness has come to you at the hands of suffering. Each time you have “fallen” in love you have emptied a space for love to fill. Each time you have felt true devotion you have emptied a space for love to fill. You have been emptied of the ego-self as creative moments of inspiration filled you and emptied of the ego-self in moments of connection with God.” (ACOL, T3:5.2)

The passage from which today’s quotation comes emphasizes that we need to be “empty” to allow love to come in, to be absorbed. Suffering does empty, making us feel alone and desolate, and primes us to want something more, something to save us. But we don’t have to learn through suffering, through pain. We learn this from A Course in Miracles. Learning through rewards is more lasting, though in ACOL, Jesus cautions us against wanting rewards as an end in themselves.

Three other ways to be “emptied” are pointed out in this quotation—falling in love, feeling true devotion (to another), and experiencing moments of creativity. These moments gave a way for love to enter, and these are much preferred to the way of suffering and pain.

Most of us can identify with these statements. We remember a flow that developed when we were writing or painting, or the like, in creative endeavor. We were temporarily outside of ourselves, and we just moved along in the moment. In the Now, which is how Eckhart Tolle tells us we live best. Living in the Now is also a precursor to enlightenment, to Christ-consciousness, and as such is also a way that we are emptied.

It might be helpful to absorb some creative moments, or some moments of true devotion to another, today. We can’t always predict the “falling in love” phenomenon, but creativity and devotion are more within our power to control. And we will gain much from focusing on these ways to be emptied.

Deep prayer also empties, and this, a form of devotion, a devotion to God. We are encouraged in ACOL not to conceive of God as outside of ourselves, praying for Him to save us as an external Deity. God is not outside us, but a part of us. And so, rather than praying as though He were in the heavens above, sink deep within in communion. A little practice with this new concept will help a great deal. And it will lead to some of the most heartwarming prayers that we have ever prayed. Try it; the benefits are great.

So: We need to be emptied for love to enter in. And this love overwhelms any fears that are still residing in our being. We don’t resist the fears, for resisting makes fears stronger. We just gently turn aside from fear, express the desire to welcome love, and see what transpires.

We will be pleasantly surprised.

Prayer

I am heart-warmed by the close attention that Jesus gives to us in A Course of Love. His love for us shines through all the words. And as we sink into our heart, we take his words to heart. There is no better way to reach downward toward You.

Help me to accept those things that can’t be changed. All of us have them, and we so often rail against our fate, wanting things to be different, and, better, somehow. Things can and do get better when our mind and heart works together to live the words that Jesus gives us in ACOL.

Be with me today as I seek to work with what I have been given, blessings all, for even pain holds blessings for me. All returns me to You.

Amen.

Good News: The Ego-Self Is Gone Now

“I repeat, and will do so again and again, that the ego-self is gone from you. Whether you fully realize this or not matters not. This A Course of Love has accomplished. Now the choice is before you to do one of two things…to proceed toward love or fear. If you proceed with fear you will assemble a new ego-self, an ego-self that perhaps will seem superior to the old, but which will nonetheless still be an ego-self. If you proceed with love, you will come to know your Christ-Self.” (ACOL, T3:4.8)

In this mid-way point in A Course of Love, we are ALL told that the ego-self is gone from us. But how can we be sure? The bottom line is that we would not have read this far, assimilated this much, if egoic notions were still dominant in our minds. Egoic notions have previously dominated our minds, but never our hearts. And we are listening to our heart now. Nothing will ever be the same again.

We want to proceed toward love, and we do know how (though in our low moments, we may think that this is beyond what we do know). If we allow fear to be predominate in our lives, we will assemble a new self (personal self) that will be a replacement for the old self, but it will still be an egoic self.

We don’t want a new ego-self. We want these ways of thinking to be left in the dust under our feet, left there as we move along our new path.

How do we make sure? We love, and love, and then love some more. We forgive, and in the forgiveness, we realize that love is everything that we want. We ought to keep in mind that we are not forgiving real happenings, that the bad deeds that hurt us so were done in illusion. All of us are innocent, including those who hurt us. Everyone does the best that he/she can at any given moment, given his/her level of understanding. This way of thinking will offer the intellect something to hold to when we remember the hurts that we have sustained.

But remember that to understand all, is to forgive all. But also, forgive and then you will come to understand. These ideas are not from ACIM or ACOL, but do seem relevant now, as we seek to forgive and forget. And most of all, to love.

Join with ACIM and ACOL in seeking a new persona that will not be another ego-self, but a personal self who will reflect the inner Christ-Self. Let us seek to do this today.

Prayer

I hope that I am right in believing that the ego doesn’t jerk me around any longer. I hope that Jesus is right in saying to all of us that the ego is gone. If we have read this far, and if we have assimilated what we have read, taken it to heart, then Jesus has a good point. And I would always like to believe what he says.

Be with me today so that I might have a good day. I ask this so often, and it is so real to me. Be with me; help me to be there for others; and may the ending of the day come with peace and comfort.

Thank You.

Amen.

The Way Will Become Clear

“This is not a self-help course but just the opposite. This Course has stated time and time again that you cannot learn on your own and that resigning as your own teacher is the only way to learn a new curriculum. This Course will not call you to effort of any kind. It will not tell you to leave behind your addictions or to go on a diet or a fast. It will not even tell you to be kind. It does not tell you to be responsible and does not chide your irresponsibility. It does not claim that you were once bad but that by following these tenets you can become good. It gives no credence and no blame to any past cause for your depression, anxiety, meanness, illness or insanity. It merely calls you to sanity by calling you to let go of illusion in favor of the truth.” (ACOL, T3:4.1)

Jesus echoes Mari’s (the scribe) distaste for self-help literature. He tells us, as he did in A Course in Miracles, to resign as our teacher. Why? Because we don’t know enough to get us out of the mess we have made. And “made” is the right term—not “create”—for we are living in illusion. All of our more negative traits—depression, anxiety, meanness, illness, insanity—are evidence of the ego working within us. It is the part that tried (in vain) to separate from God, but always it was an illusory separation. We could not really separate and still live, for we are a part of God. God, we are told in ACOL, “let go,” and He and we, together, agreed to this illusory separation because we had forged ahead before we were ready to assimilate life in physical bodies.

Our physical bodies, our form, were meant to allow a new expression for the Self. Non-form, or spirit, preceded physical bodies. And these bodies required a great learning curve, a curve we were too impatient to see through to its end. So we dropped into fear as we failed to take our time. This fear, being unnatural to Being, God, could not but cause a rupture in our loving demeanor in relationship to God. And so the “detour into fear” (a quotation from A Course in Miracles) began.

If we have seen ourselves in depression, or anxiety, or meanness, how do we atone? This is not our doing. Atonement, or correction, happens of its own accord when we follow the admonition to be who we really are. Being who we really are is much heralded in A Course of Love. We won’t understand, in the beginning, what this means not how to effect it, but if we stay firm in our intention to follow Jesus’s way, to follow in his footsteps, the way will become clear. We will know that Atonement leads to true reality, and this includes harmony, peace, calm, joy.

Let our past negative traits disappear in the mists that brought them about. Don’t actively resist; just make a decision that, for example, we don’t want to be angry people anymore. And miraculously, we will find that this new decision is all that it took for anger to be gone from us.

The way is easy. The way is clear. Let us proceed.

Prayer

Help us to see a clear path ahead. I see patches of difficulty, but miraculously this sight disappears when I stay close to You. There is nothing ahead that You can’t smooth for me. And You want to do so. It is my own sense of self-sufficiency that gets me in trouble. Let me lean on You in every circumstance, and my problems will disappear as mists before the sun.

Thank You for another good day. Thank You for the clarity that You bring to my mind and heart. And remind me always to let the heart lead. My heart knows no obstacle to Your love, and my heart doesn’t ask for “proof” that You love me. My heart just accepts that Your love is genuine. And then I feel enfolded with Your grace.

Amen.

What We Have Made of Our Lives Is Not the Real Person Whom We Are

“I have always loved you for I have always recognized you. While your recognition of your Self has come a long way through your learning of this Course, your self is still seen as a stumbling block.” (ACOL, T3:3.9)

Jesus says elsewhere that he has not loved our ego, because our ego has not been lovable. But he always saw beyond and beneath our egos, and so his love is steadfast and continuing, always there. He makes his assertion go back in time as well. Indeed, we are blessed to know that whatever mess we have made of our lives, encouraged by the nefarious ego, is not the real person who we are. Our real Self, the Christ-Self, is and has always been, lovable.

We don’t need to see our “little,” or personal self as a stumbling block. Once we have released the Self from within, we will exist in our personal selves only as the self whom we present to others. This is a persona, but we can believe that it is a persona informed by goodness, by God Himself, and as such it is no longer a separating factor as has been the egoic self.

The persona whom we are has therefore evolved to something better as we have proceeded on our path. We are reflecting from the Christ-Self when we now evoke the personal self. And this is a good thing indeed.

It is reassuring to me in the extreme that Jesus has always seen beyond and beneath our machinations brought on by the insanity of the ego. We have been insane, mad, and now we are emerging into the light of day. With our egos gone, we are led by A Course of Love to establish a new identity. Before we were instructed in doing so, we may have floundered. And in an egoless state that composed a false humility, we may have really been in danger of taking up a new ego. Certainly we don’t want that. Ask help today in forming a new persona around the Self Who is deep within.

We will not have long to wait.

Prayer

Thank You for the reassurance that we are not really the self that we have presumed ourselves to be. I know that when I let go and let You take over, I can become someone better than I have been in the past. I don’t even need to “try” to improve, though. The change will happen all by itself, as the Self deep within in emerges from the shell in which I have kept it encased.

Thank You for being here for me, always and forever. Help me to relinquish fuzzy thinking, to instead think clearly, with You in charge.

I do love You. I have always loved You.

Amen.

DEVELOPING A RELIGION: A Review of Thomas Moore’s A Religion of One’s Own

Republished from Miracles magazine, July/August issue (Jon Mundy, publisher)

TITLE: A Religion of One’s Own: A Guide to Creating a Personal Spirituality in a Secular World

AUTHOR: Thomas Moore

PUBLISHER: Gotham Books (Penguin Group)

REVIEWED BY: Celia Hales

Thomas Moore’s writings on the soul have a particular interest for students of A Course in Miracles and A Course of Love. And this book, A Religion of One’s Own, he views as a sequel to his well-known, well-recognized Care of the Soul. Notice the following quotation, a quotation that fits right in with the philosophy of ACIM and ACOL:

“Bliss is the joy that arrives when you are released from the pressure to be a small self. Bliss descends when you open yourself to life in all its abundance and breathtaking power and let it so suffuse you that you forget your worries about being somebody and justifying your life. You give in. You let life take over. You become a holy person instead of a secular egotist, and you then you discover that your holiness is the base of your own religion.” (89% through the kindle book)

A Course in Miracles affirms that happiness—another term that includes bliss—is one of the several functions that are given to us. (The other principal ones are forgiveness and salvation.) And A Course of Love strongly recommends giving up the little self and substituting the larger Self. Both ACIM and ACOL say that we must give up the ego.

I suspect that Moore has read A Course in Miracles, as have most religious leaders of today, but he does not lean on its philosophy to any real extent. The similarities to ACIM and A Course of Love are, instead, perennial wisdom with Moore’s particular take on today’s plight. The thesis of A Religion of One’s Own is that we have been living too much of a secular life, a life that has failed us, and it is mandatory that we overturn this tendency by sampling the rich heritage in religion, mythology, psychology that is available to us. Throughout this book, he gives hints of how to incorporate this heritage into our modern day life.

Moore’s ideas are sometimes startling. He gives a great emphasis to intuition, or what ACIM and ACOL would turn guidance. But he recommends somewhat magical techniques for ascertaining intuition, from casting runes to tarot cards to reading tea leaves. He sees these methods as practical ways of enhancing our intuitive leanings. He does not overlook the role of the psychic in utilizing these methods effectively. He sees dreams as a particularly effective way to give us direction in life, believing that a dream diary fits right in with a life of prayer, mediation, and quiet reading.

Moore returns to his favorite individuals in this book, building on a short list that he has developed in previous writing. His favorites are headed up by James Hillman, his mentor and the inspiration for much of his writing in the Neoplatonic tradition. Others cited include Emerson, Thoreau, Thomas Merton, Jung, and Georgia O’Keeffe. Moore builds from his counseling practice to give anecdotes from his patients, disguising their identities. He gives his wife great credit for helping him to live a monastic-like life outside of the monastery, but one that is erotic also. He believes that all of us would benefit from just such a peaceful retreat from the world, even as we go out daily from our retreat to earn our living.

Early in this book he affirms, “This new kind of religion asks that you move away from being a follower to being a creator.” (4% into the kindle edition) This is a primary emphasis of A Course of Love, in which we are encouraged to move into Christ-consciousness and then, by sustaining this new state of being, create a new world. Moore also affirms the value of waking up and staying awake, an emphasis of both ACIM and ACOL.

Yes, there is much in Moore’s latest offering to interest students of both A Course in Miracles and A Course of Love. He does use the concept of soul repeatedly, and this is a word that Jesus avoids, most of the time, in A Course in Miracles. But Moore says that we need a “religion that comes out of our hearts and minds and is tailor-made to our own values and sensitivities.” (5% into the kindle edition) Readers of A Course of Love will immediately recognize the similarities.

Moore’s writing invites soul in the Ray Charles tradition. His prose is often mesmerizing in its impact.
A Religion of One’s Own is an important book, fully promising an enthusiastic following in line with Moore’s earlier Care of the Soul. A wholehearted recommendation.

UNDERSTANDING AND MISUNDERSTANDING A COURSE OF LOVE, by Glenn Hovemann

Note: Republished by author’s permission from Miracles magazine (Jon Mundy, publisher; Fran Cosentino, editor).

Miracles has featured articles on A Course in Miracles for over 30 years, more recently featuring articles on A Course of Love as well. Miracles is published every two months for a 1-year cost of $34 plus $3.50 shipping/handling ($29 subscription rate for students/fixed income, higher s/h for countries outside USA). For a subscription paid for by a credit card (credit card required outside USA), you may call 845-496-9089 or use Paypal online. Further complete information, including postal mailing address,

http://www.miraclesmagazine.org/#!ordering-mm/ct3a

The publisher is interested in the reception of A Course of Love, and so please say if you are interested in ACOL.

By Glenn Hovemann

Several Miracles teachers recently have circulated and re-circulated material that compares A Course in Miracles (ACIM) with A Course of Love (ACOL) and claims the latter to be a “regression” and an “attempt to preserve some value for the individual self and body.” I was surprised, yet I welcome a conversation that leads to better understanding. It’s an opportunity for sharing love and dialogue.

Fifty years ago Jesus dictated 1,250 magnificent pages to Helen Schucman. When ACIM came into my life in 1978 I knew in my bones that it was true. Over the years it ignited a spiritual revolution. Why dictate another 700 pages to Mari Perron? Why did he give it such a similar title as “A Course of Love”? Why did he call it a “continuation”? And because ACOL is obviously not merely a restatement of ACIM, what’s going on?

Before attempting to answer these questions, it may be helpful to review a few of the ways in which the two courses are closely related. In both Courses, Jesus presents himself as the Source. Both scribes, Helen Schucman and Mari Perron, describe extraordinary events surrounding their transmission. Neither woman could possibly have authored such a work on her own. Ultimately the authenticity of channeled material—or any spiritual teaching— is a matter of inner knowing. Based on my experience, I accept both ACIM and ACOL as being of equal authenticity. Increasing thousands of others do too.

Both Courses are of the same tradition. Both use identical, specialized terminology to convey key themes. Both refer to the ego “making” its world through “projection,” as contrasted with Spirit “creating” by “extending” itself. Similarly, ACIM’s solution to sin is to “forgive the Son of God for what he did not do.” As ACOL puts it, True forgiveness simply looks past illusion to the truth where there are no sins to be forgiven, no wrongs to be pardoned. C:16.12.(For ease of reading all direct quotes from ACOL are in italics.)

Both Courses assert that we are ideas of God, including the notion that God the Father is an idea. ACIM: “What you find difficult to accept is the fact that, like your Father, you are an idea.” (T-15.VI.5) ACOL: God created you with a thought or idea [and] you created the ego with a thought or an idea. T3:7.2 As we know, ideas leave not their source.

Both Courses speak of Christ as the identity we share. ACIM: “Christ is God’s Son as He created Him. He is the Self we share, uniting us with one another, and with God as well.” (W-pII.6:1) ACOL: The Christ in you is your shared identity. C:P.39

Both speak of the great diversity of creation. ACIM: “Creation is the sum of all God’s Thoughts, in number infinite, and everywhere without limit.” (W-pII.11:1) ACOL: Expressions of love are as innumerable as the stars in the universe, as bountiful as beauty, as many-faceted as the gems of the earth. I say again that sameness is not a sentence to mediocrity or uniformity. You are a unique expression of the selfsame love that exists in all creation. C:20.30

These meanings are identical, and core to both Courses.

The original Course did not present itself as the final word. In the Epilogue of the Workbook it says, “This course is a beginning, not an end.” And referring to the Holy Spirit, it adds, “And now I place you in His hands, to be his faithful follower… Let Him prepare you further.” (W-Epilogue.1,4)

Fifty years ago ego-consciousness was deeply entrenched. ACIM arrived and did the heavy lifting. According to ACOL the original Course opened a door by threatening the ego. C:P.5 The work is not complete, however, simply because we have yet to fully accept our identity as Christ. We have yet to fully accept—and thus experience—our completion. In other words, we have yet to go “beyond learning.” Going beyond learning was the accomplishment intended by ACIM. As Lesson 169 says, “The final step must go beyond all learning.” What goes beyond learning, it says, is grace, the knowing that comes through the acceptance of the love of God. ACOL says, While you continue to put effort into learning what cannot be learned, as you continue to see yourself as a student seeking to acquire what you do not yet have, you cannot recognize the unity in which you exist and be freed from learning forever. A.4 Adherence to a pattern of learning that once served us, and our failure to recognize unity, it says, is the only reason for this continuation of the coursework provided in A Course in Miracles. A.4 (emphasis added)

How many people apply themselves studiously to the Course? I have long been one of them. And I have to admit that despite decades of study, prayer, some stillness of mind, and much greater peace, I still felt “something missing.” We are trained since kindergarten to be students, to be learners. Education sits atop a very high pedestal in our society. Alas, knowledge does not bring us Home. Knowing does. Experience does.

Jesus’ new Course is designed not for the mind, which we so often equate with learning, but for the heart, which already knows. It is not a way of thought and effort but a way of feeling, of ease, and of direct relationship. A.4 This kind of effortless learning and feeling is different from that to which we are accustomed.

ACOL is a spiritual transmission in the form of a book. Be prepared to read it with a different style, a different attitude. If approached like a textbook, with the head leading the way—don’t bother! If ACOL is approached mentally, with eyes on the rearview mirror to compare it with ACIM, it may confuse you. Numerous times in ACOL, Jesus pleads, as in this passage: As you read, be aware of your heart, for this is where this learning enters and will stay. Your heart is now your eyes and ears… The only change in thinking you are asked to make is to realize that you do not need it. C:3.14

ACOL does not speak to the ego-mind. That would be futile. Nor does it speak to the spirit, which needs no instruction. Rather it is addressed to “the Christ in you” to awaken the forgotten Christ-consciousness. The Christ in you is that which is capable of learning in human form what it means to be a child of God. C:P.7 But it takes considerable willingness to delve deeply into another lengthy Course with an innocent mind that can, at least for a while, suspend judgment and say, “I do not know.”

With that understanding, for those who wish to compare and contrast, let’s address more specifically the questions raised. At one level, the key question is whether or not ACOL is an attempt to preserve value for the ego. At a deeper level, the question is whether or not ACIM and ACOL agree on what is offered to us eternally, beyond all learning.

The joining of heaven and earth has always been Jesus’ goal, as in his Lord’s Prayer—“Thy Kingdom come, Thy will be done, on earth as it is in heaven.” ACIM says, “‘Heaven and earth shall pass away’ means that they will not continue to exist as separate states.” (T-1.III.2) It does not elaborate exactly how heaven and earth will “continue to exist” inseparably, however. ACIM is often interpreted to mean that all form is illusion, which implies that earth shall simply pass away and not join with heaven. ACOL, on the other hand, clearly states that form has an important, continuing role in the Atonement, and that to consider all form as illusory is an erroneous interpretation—that form itself is neutral, and what is illusory is the erroneous perception of form.
• [T]he mind…has stood between you and your own inner knowing, caught in a dream of perception. A.19
• [Y]our perception created an unreal reality of the separate and unloved, often referred to as hell or hell on earth. D:Day16.15
• Christ-consciousness replaces perception with knowing. D:Day12.7
• True vision sees life-everlasting where perception but saw finite life and mortal bodies. T4:4.14

As Miracles students well know, ACIM repeatedly uses comparison as a teaching technique. Again and again it compares the real to the unreal, the false to the true, and fear to love, to point out the insanity of the ego’s perception. In ACOL Jesus reflects on his own prior teaching style, and says: For some of you the repetition of the properties of the false that aided your learning [in ACIM] may now work as a detriment to your acceptance as you cling to ideas concerning false representation rather than let them go in order to embrace true representation. In the time of learning, you were so entrenched in your false beliefs that their insanity needed to be stated and stated again. But as we enter this new time of elevated form, these same ideas—ideas that many of you attached to form rather than to your perception of form—must be rejected. D:6.2 (emphasis added)

ACOL teaches that form—being neutral in and of itself—is either a false representation (ego) or a true representation (Christ-consciousness). Either way, form is simply a representation of the meaning given it. The false representation of the ego as the self is what has led to the world you see. A true representation of the Self…will lead to true vision and to a new world. T3:1.3 The body is not what we are (“I am not a body”), but it can represent—reveal—the Christ on earth. This miracle will usher in a new state in which only God’s laws of love exist even within the realm of physicality. T3:12.7

These ideas are not foreign to the original Course, which says:
• “It is His Holiness that lights up Heaven, and that brings to earth the pure reflection of the light above, wherein are earth and Heaven joined as one.” (W-182.4)
• “You are the holy Son of God Himself. Remember this, and all the world is free. Remember this, and earth and Heaven are one.” (W-191.11)

Certainly there are points of potential confusion between the Courses. For example, ACIM says, “The ‘reality’ of death is firmly rooted in the belief that God’s Son is a body. And if God created bodies, death would indeed be real. But God would not be loving.” To the ego’s perception, death is very real but is actually illusory. Yet the Christ, as Jesus bodily demonstrated, is not subject to death and is not illusory. It is this Christ Self that ACOL variously refers to as “spirit resurrected in form,” “the ascension of the body,” or, most commonly, as “the elevated Self of form.”

In my opinion, ACOL does not contradict ACIM, but provides additional perspectives which can give rise to a deeper understanding. One of those perspectives concerns the body and physicality: It invites an experience of truth—freedom, joy, light—that can only be had by knowing we are NOT bodies—even while we have them! The body has become a helpmate.

As I write I am keenly aware of the poverty of words. I have sought to resolve an apparent contradiction by using the tools of the “old mind,” the habitual mind that slices and dices, that perpetually compares and interprets, the mind that is always seeking something. A better way can only be hinted at, what Jesus explains in detail as the art of thought. The art of thought is a gift arising from within. It encompasses both wholeness and relationship. It IS the miracle of seeing differently.

Jesus is very keen for us to choose Christ-consciousness—the experience of unity—now, in this lifetime. From the beginning of my immersion in ACOL, and with every reading, I have the palpable sense of Jesus’ delight that his mission is reaching a crescendo, a point of no return. We are on the cusp of something genuinely new, something earth has never before seen. In ACOL he presents a portal to love, which cannot be taught but can be experienced as our true identity, and shared. Thus his Courses evolve in strength and beauty.

A Course of Love does not preserve a domain for the ego. Rather, it calls us to our inheritance that lies beyond ego. Am I suggesting that ACOL is a necessary “next step” for all Miracles students? No—only that truth seekers decide for themselves, led by the heart rather than the mind.

—–

Glenn Hovemann, a Miracles student since 1978, is editor of Take Heart Publications, publisher of A Course of Love. He wishes to acknowledge the encouragement and generous assistance of Laurel Elstrom, Celia Hales, Heather Holmes, Michael Mark, Mari Perron, and Christina Strutt with this article. A version of this article that includes citations to the excerpts from ACOL is available at http://www.acourseoflove.com.

We Cannot “Think” Our Way to New Life

“You cannot think your way to the new life that calls to you. You can only get there by being who you are in truth.” (ACOL, T3:3.8)

As we move farther along in A Course of Love, we will hear the refrain to “be who you are” repeatedly. This does not mean that we have to be some exalted concept of an ideal person, nor even a “good” person. Now, maybe finally now, we are alright just as we are. It is going to be OK to be ourselves. Just this.

Less desirable parts of our personalities, we are told elsewhere in ACOL, will, upon our request, just be dropped from sight. We can make a decision, for example, in eliminating attack from our lives, just by asking. And these things, such as attack, will be no more. The power of our decision reaches into the deepest part of the patterns left by the egoic self.

Being who we are “in truth” is important. We are no longer living by illusion. And we do not try to “think” our way out of illusion. We just don’t give illusion any credence any longer. In truth we follow the part of ourselves that is the God within. We follow the Christ-Self.

And with our best Self, now risen, we are walking down a flower-strewn pathway into a new place, a new world we will create with our brothers and sisters who also are part of our Self.

Prayer

I would seek today to accept myself as I am, warts and all. This seems to be what Jesus is saying in my quotation for today. I try so hard to be better than I am, but this is all too often a thought process. I need to get in my heart and stay there. Then the mind will fall in line.

Be with me today as I seek to drop indecision and conflict from my way of life. These two—indecision and conflict—are detrimental to being who I am. And I would seek just to live in the Now, as I have been created.

Amen.

Jesus: “I Have Always Loved You because I Have Always Recognized You”

“Your personal self is dear to you and dear to me as well. I have always loved you because I have always recognized you. What cannot be recognized or known cannot be loved. While your ego has not been loveable, you have always been. Here is where you need realize that the personal self that is dear to you is not your ego-self and never has been.” (ACOL, T3:3.1)

In these personal words from Jesus to us, we learn that Jesus’s love for us palpable. Do we not sense it? We love this personal self of ours, but we never loved the egoic self. The egoic, fearful, self, did not merit love, for it was lost in the mire of illusion. But shining through it all was the personal self that was hiding the real Self, found deep within us. This Self has not been able to function very often, but in the explosions that erupted in the house of illusions, it did function to find treasures, our treasures of art and religion, even science. The personal self that allowed this Self to come out and play is the self that Jesus has always loved and loves still. We can find a home in this personal self.

As Jesus says, this personal self is not the egoic self. The egoic self is gone from us, though many of us find this hard to believe, for patterns of egoic reflection do still persist, often. These patterns will fall away gently, without pressure, for we have something much better now. All we must do is turn aside from egotistical leanings whenever we recognize these thought processes in ourselves. “Gently” is the watchword.

Enjoy our personal selves today. These are our new personas, the new self who we will portray for our brothers and sisters to see. We need not be ashamed of these selves. They are our savior from our egoic selves. And well it is that we have a Christ-Self Who can effect such a transformation.

Prayer

I am gladly giving up an egoic self, revealing a new personal self that I show to others and that comes into being because of the Christ-Self whom I am just now recognizing. Thank You for this change.

It helps me to see You as a God to Whom I can talk, though I realize that I am actually communing with You, deep within me. I dissociate Your being from me, and this helps me. But I would no longer see you as external to myself. You dwell in the center of all of us, the heart that speaks to us now. I don’t pretend to fully understand, but I do get glimpses of what this concept means.

Be with me for a fearless day. No worries, no anxieties, no fears. Don’t let my fearful imagination push aside the glimpses of enlightenment, through serenity, that You would show to me.

Amen.