“Beware of gifts offered in exchange for your newfound freedom. A hungry ex-prisoner may soon come to feel the three meals a day provided in the prison were gifts indeed. So too are the gifts many of you have desired and still feel as if you need. If you have imprisoned yourself in order to earn a living by doing work that brings you no joy and allows you not to be who you are, then you are called to walk away. If you are tempted by a relationship in which you cannot be fully yourself because of the security it will provide, you are but tempted by a false security, and are called to turn away. If you are lured away from who you are by a drive to succeed, if you fear doing what you want to do because you might fail, if you follow another’s path and seek not your own, then you have imprisoned yourself for the “three meals a day” of the old way.” (ACOL, D:4.22)
Jesus makes a great deal of comparison with the prison system that we have in our world, and the place that we occupied as separated beings. It is true that sharing in unity with our brothers and sisters is much to be preferred to isolated living apart from God and others. We have suffered much with the old way, the way prior to living in unity and relationship, in the certainty that we are part of God and all humankind. This mystery of the new way is not a mystery when we pay attention to what the center of our being, the heart, tells us. But mystery does still cling to it. I have described this unity and relationship as a mystical understanding, for we are one body as well as one mind and heart with the All. Jesus goes to great lengths in the Dialogues to explain what all of this means. It is enough now, though, in these early pages of the Dialogues, to know that we are embarking on something never before considered by humankind. We are seeking to create the new, when we leave traditional learning behind in favor of sharing in unity and relationship.
If we can’t seem to leave the learning behind, we will change the world. But if we leave learning behind, we will create a new world. Now which do you think we would really like to do? Of course, most of us will say that we would like to create a new world, for this illusion causes much suffering and pain, and causes experiences that we rue. It may not be an easy thing to leave learning behind for those of us who have championed the mind. For those of us who have championed the emotions and the heart, the way might be easier. Jesus doesn’t say. He lets us make our own decision about which option we want to explore.
We were never meant to be in bondage; freedom is of God, and freedom is the way of the newly created future. When we leave our prison behind, we will know this. But we did have an imprisoned will when we were separated from God, for God set the limits on our ability to miscreate. This is explained very thoroughly in A Course in Miracles. Yet God, as our Self, would choose freedom for us now, for we are seeing glimpses of a new way, glimpses of Christ-consciousness, as every day unfolds.
Prison is not for us, despite three meals a day. Freedom offers many advantages, and it is the lack of bondage in the new way that is extremely attracting to me. Intuition is of the Self, our Self, and this is how we will make decisions in the new way of Christ-consciousness. And we will know certainty that we have lacked heretofore. In unity, we are One, but in relationship, we are the individuated many—and it is this mystical mystery that is something we need to take to heart now.
Thank you for guiding me so well for so long when my will was in prison. Now I have emerged from the prison, and I take to heart the fact that I am no longer in bondage. I am gradually, and sometimes suddenly, leaving behind fear and judgment also. Thank You for Your part in this. The new way is eminently better.
Be with me as I seek to make the words of A Course of Love my own. I seek to remember all that You would have me remember about ultimate reality. Thank You for the guidance that comes in dreams, the guidance that comes from revelry. Your way is outstanding. Love really is the Answer.