Monthly Archives: July 2016

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.

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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.