Humble Asking Always Gets an Answer

“If you ask me for guidance, you have signified your willingness to give over your own control, at least to some extent. Your frequent failure to ask at all indicates that at such times you are not willing to go even that far. Failure to ask for guidance is a sign of fear. But when you at least ask, you are acting on a cooperative thought, even though it may not lack ambivalence. You are therefore entitled to a specific answer, but unless you follow it without judging it, you will become defensive about the next steps you will take.” (ACIM, COA ed., T-4.IX.4:1-5)

Jesus is available to us for guidance. As our elder brother, his advice is sounder than our own. It would be wise to ask.
Later on in A Course in Miracles, Jesus does not so much ask us to turn to him as to turn to the Holy Spirit. He knows that we ask of the ego, or we ask of Higher Guidance—whatever we do. While we may not be aware of these mental gyrations, they are nevertheless much a part of ourselves. We don’t make decisions just in our own superficial mind. Guidance is very real, but guidance of the ego is always wrongheaded and disastrous.

We will get specific answers, and these specific answers may very well come as the next quiet thought in our minds. Practical advice is always given. The Holy Spirit can be very practical, giving advice for the most mundane matters. The only criteria is that these matters are important to us. Humble asking always gets an answer. The solution is always found with the problem, as soon as the problem is articulated, even silently.

If we think we have decided what we want to do, and then ask, we have turned the tables on the Holy Spirit. We may not like what we hear, for the initial decision has, in all likelihood, be made in conjunction with the ego. ACIM says that the ego always answers first.

We don’t have to listen to the ego. It certainly would be wise not to do so, but simply to turn the matter over to spirit. The answer comes quickly.

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Misery with the Ego / Joy with the Spirit

“I am conditioning you to associate misery with the ego and joy with your spirit. You have conditioned yourself the other way around. But a far greater reward will break through any conditioning if that reward is repeatedly offered when the old habit is broken. You are still free to choose. But can you really want the rewards of the ego in the presence of the rewards of God?” (ACIM, COA ed., T-4.VIII.23:1-5)

The ego has never brought real joy; at best, we have had flights of fancy that were high enough in tone that we felt an exhilaration. Then, invariably, we were dashed downward to a sense of depression—mild or severe. These dramas were endless, and so unnecessary now that our knowing has expanded.

Jesus speaks of conditioning in this complete edition of A Course in Miracles, from the Circle of Atonement. The use of the word “conditioning” would make eminent sense to Helen and Bill. And we have enough general knowledge of psychology from everyday life to comprehend as well. What does Jesus mean by this conditioning?

We thought that the dramatic highs that the ego gave us were all that we could expect on earth. We were mistaken. A joyous spirit offers far more. This joy does not become inverted, to dash us downward into depression. This joy extends, more and more, as we are receptive to it.

This joy is often calm, and in the mild manner of it, we may not recognize what we have. Calm is sometimes a factor in depression, and we may even think that, when we are calm, we are depressed. We have much to discover. We are meant, according to A Course in Miracles, to remain “perfectly calm and quiet.” This new demeanor may not even seem desirable. We will see its value as we do quieten ourselves down and invite the Holy Spirit to inform our minds. We will see value when we let ourselves see value.

“Joy with the spirit”! Yes! Our new lives will mean much to us when we have given joy a welcome in our hearts. The ego will fall away, and, if we are careful and do nothing to reinforce it, the ego will never rear its ugly head again. It is not the same ego that Freud championed, a persona that we needed to live adult life. In Jesus’ use of the term ego, he means a false persona.

Let us ask for joy with the spirit today—and every day!

Guidance

“A giant step forward in your case would be to insist on a collaborative venture. This does not go against the true spirit of meditation at all. It is inherent in it. Meditation is a collaborative venture with God. It cannot be undertaken successfully by those who disengage themselves from the Sonship, because they are disengaging themselves from me. God will come to you only as you will give Him to your brothers. Learn first of them, and you will be ready to hear God as you hear them. That is because the function of love is one.” (ACIM, COA ed., T-4.VIII.21:1-8)

Do we really believe that we can hear God? We hear him in silence, not in words. Our intuitive sense carries the day. It is true that from brothers and sisters on the Other Side, we can hear what are called “locutions,” words impressed on our mind when we are quiet and receptive. We do not necessarily hear anything audible at all, but the impression of a locution does seem very powerful, when it comes. God’s silence, also, speaks volumes. We can know what God is wanting of us, and that may be only an expression of Love. He does not always expect us to work for Him; the pleasure of His company is all that He sometimes asks us to receive.

In meditation, specifically insight meditation, the focus is not only a specific mantra, but on phrases that filter through the mind. Our mind speaks to us, and sometimes this impression seems a little beyond us, as though a Higher Power were speaking to us. Feelings work, too. And feelings are primarily how the Holy Spirit speaks to us. When we are on the right beam, we comprehend that we are, and nobody else can tell us we are wrong. We do need to test out our discernment, though, as anything that might be harmful to another is definitely not coming from the Holy Spirit.

Jesus wants us to engage with him. He is able, as spirit, to live anywhere and everywhere. His consciousness can engage with myriads of human beings are one time. If this seems farfetched, let us simply listen to his words. I think that they will allow for no other interpretation.

A short period of meditation, or, at best, two such periods, will calm us and take us to the Heaven that exists in our minds. We may not stay there, but the visit is so very therapeutic.

Gratitude to Our Brother

“I have told you several times that I am in charge of the whole Atonement. This is only because I completed my part in it as a man and can now complete it through others. My chosen receiving and sending channels cannot fail, because I will lend them my strength as long as theirs is wanting. I will go with you to the Holy One, and through my perception He can bridge the little gap. Your gratitude to your brother is the only gift I want. I will bring it to God for you, knowing that to know your brother is to know God.” (ACIM, COA ed., T-4.VIII.15:1-6)

It is unclear who Jesus means by “your brother.” It is conceivable that he means himself, that he would like to have our gratitude, but I feel that this interpretation is probably off the mark. Jesus does refer to himself elsewhere as our “elder brother,” but all individuals are brothers (and sisters), and it is to our fellow man and women that it is likely Jesus refers. Knowing our brother (and sister) does lead one to God, for holy relationship is the means that A Course in Miracles uses to take us home. We do realize that in the sixties and seventies, when Jesus was channeling, the masculine term included the feminine as well.

We are chosen receiving and sending channels, for long ago we learned in Sunday school that we are the hands and feet of Jesus. If we do his bidding, we are taking our part in the Atonement, the miracle that will take all of us home to God, though, we are told, this final healing may take as long as the separation did to happen, which was millions of years (and maybe even longer). The time can be foreshortened if all of us pull together. After all, we are all in this together.

Jesus stands ready to help us, though he does not foster dependence in an unhealthy way. In our lives, we have to make our own decisions, with our own guidance being led by the Holy Spirit or the Christ-Self. Jesus as an individual does not force his opinion upon us. We might sometimes want him to do so, but this is faulty thinking.

To know our brother is to know God. This is a startling assertion. Our brother’s essence is of God, for God is living through him. And the operative word is “know,” not “perceive.” Our knowledge is true understanding.

Jesus Trusts Us!

“My trust in you is greater than yours in me at the moment, but it will not always be that way. Your mission is very simple: You have been chosen to live so as to demonstrate that you are not an ego. I repeat that I do not choose God’s channels wrongly. The Holy One shares my trust and always approves my Atonement decisions, because my will is never out of accord with His.” (ACIM, COA ed., T-4.VIII.14:1-4)

Jesus trusts us! He sees us as a channel for good in this world, a channel for Atonement that is seconded by the Holy Spirit. Such reassurance that we are all on the right path. We all do want to be finished with the ego, and as long as we are careful not to reinforce the ego by egotistical/egoic thoughts and actions, we are hope personified. Jesus’ hope is for a new world, a world where the dreams are happy, brought to us by the Holy Spirit.

A Course in Miracles suggests that we are still caught by illusion, for dreams are not real. But the “happy dreams the Holy Spirit brings” can be enjoyed without guilt. We can stay a while on this beautiful earth, loving our fellow men and women, doing God’s work, and all will be well. No harsh judgment will assail us. We do create our own reality, and we discover how to do that when we listen to the Holy Spirit (as described in ACIM) or the Christ-Self (as described in A Course of Love).

Guidance is very, very important, for we cannot find our way back to God unaided. We are too lost in insanity. But a glimpse of sanity comes to us more and more as time passes. And ultimately, those glimpses will, in Awakening, merge into a dream that offers good days continuously. We can have a Heaven on earth. We just have to follow the rules, and guidance will elucidate those rules for us.

A Choice Bringing Peace and Joy

“You have very little trust in me as yet, but it will increase as you turn more and more often to me instead of to your ego for guidance. The results will convince you increasingly that your choice in turning to me is the only sane one you can make. No one who has learned from experience that one choice brings peace and joy while another brings chaos and disaster needs much conditioning.” (ACIM, COA ed., T-4.VIII.10:1-3)

In the beginning chapters of A Course in Miracles, where we are now, Jesus counsels turning to him; he has not yet focused on turning to the Holy Spirit in ACIM, and it is not until much later, in A Course of Love, that he will counsel that the time of the Holy Spirit is past, and that in this time of Christ, we ought to turn to our inner Christ-Self, the mind that is one with God, found deep within us.

If we turn to Jesus, we will turn away from the ego, the ego as defined as a false persona (not in the Freudian sense of a persona that we need to develop to live well). And turning to Jesus will give both peace and joy, two aspects of what we want with all our heart. Turning to the ego is the choice for insanity, and insane thinking, because it is so convoluted, is the choice for chaos and disaster. We know this way well; we have lived it for eons. Now is the time for something better; now we are ready to leave all this chaos behind.
When Jesus senses that we are becoming too dependent upon him, he will withdraw, letting us make our own decisions, but decisions made without the ego in ascendancy. When we make our own decisions, we will look inward, where both the Holy Spirit and the Christ-Self dwell.

We can still have the peace and joy, for guidance from within does guide us truly. Our days of being insane, mad, are drawing to a close. We know better now; we know to let inner guidance wipe our minds clean of conflict.

Gently we come to know what to do. When we have faith that this is so, we certainly do discover that it IS so.

Reaching God

“When I told you to concentrate on the phrase ‘Here I am, Lord,’ I did not mean ‘in this world’ by ‘here.’ I wanted you to think of yourself as a distinct consciousness, capable of direct communication with the Creator of that consciousness. You must begin to think of yourself as a very powerful receiving and sending channel.” (ACIM, COA ed., T-4.VIII.8:1-3)

Jesus is first talking to Helen, but, as usual, we can appropriate his words to ourselves. We can communicate, as a “very powerful receiving and sending channel,” with God Himself. If this is too threatening to us, then the Holy Spirit will mediate. This is the whole purpose of the Holy Spirit, of course, to draw us back to God when we are in fear that would prevent a direct channel to the Almighty.

A Course of Love, sequel and continuation of A Course in Miracles, postulates a more direct route to God. In this age of Christ, it postulates, we are capable of direct communication with God, no longer so fearful of Him that we need the Holy Spirit as mediator. The age of the Holy Spirit, ACOL says, has now passed. We are to derive our guidance from the Christ-Self who dwells within each of us. This Christ-Self, still a learning being until morphing into discovery through observation and an informing by the heart, is capable of accurate choices. This Christ-Self is being healed, through and through, all layers of the subconscious. And when this healing is complete, we will know Awakening/Christ-consciousness/enlightenment.

God dwells within and without, though we project the world from the Mind. I believe this world does not really exist, because the Mind is all, and the Mind is, at base, Spirit. This non-dualistic world view gives a way to understand that God is everywhere at one time. We are “God-stuff,” and out of his individuations/differentiations of His Being, we develop as His children.

God then knows us as His own. Finiteness does serve a purpose, to experience, because knowing the Whole, as God does in His Godhead, would make experiential effects not separate from Cause, and thus unknowable. (This interpretation is based in part on Neale Donald Walsch’s “conversations” with God, and is not found in ACIM/ACOL.)

We Dwell in Heaven Also

“The ego is nothing more than a part of your belief about yourself. Your other life has continued without interruption, and has been and always will be totally unaffected by your attempts to dissociate. The ratio of repression and dissociation of truth varies with the individual ego illusion, but dissociation is always involved, or you would not believe that you are here.” (ACIM, COA ed., T-4.VIII.7:1-3)

There seem to be aspects of the Self of each of us that dwells in a realm separate and apart from this world. Here Jesus calls it out “other life.”

This assertion gives me great comfort. When I think of millions of years to heal the separation for all people, I feel very isolated and alone, apart from God (even though I know this is a misinterpretation). When I feel reassured that there is a part of me that is thriving in another place, Heaven (if you will), then I can settle down and be satisfied here in this world. I am unaware of this other place when I walk this earth, but the fact that Jesus says that I live there, too, gives me great comfort as well as reassurance.

All of us are in a similar place. Our main Self has never left Heaven. Only a part of our being dissociated into the little self that is our personality, the little self that rebelled against God, and started on the long trek away from Him, and, now, back to Him.

This is part of the theology of ACIM that is often not emphasized. But its central place in the comfort of God’s children is without doubt a teaching that demands recognition.

Eternity Will Free Us

“Eternalness is the one function that the ego has tried to develop but has systematically failed to achieve. It may surprise you to learn that had the ego willing it to do so, it could have made the eternal because, as a product of the mind, it is endowed with the power of its own maker. But the decision to do this, rather than the ability to do it, is what the ego cannot tolerate. This is because the decision, from which the ability would naturally develop, would necessarily involve true perception, a state of clarity which the ego, fearful of being judged truly, must avoid.” (ACIM, COA ed., T-4.VII.11:1-4)

This quotation is filled with dense meaning. The ego would not want true perception, because then it would be judged truly, and then it would be rejected summarily. So, caught by the ego, our mind alters perception in a thousand, and more, crazy ways. Seeing unclearly, we wander hinter and hon, in uncertainty, lost in a maze.

Do we really want this maze to continue? We do want the eternal, and the ego can’t give us this. The eternal assures that we will forever be here, in the now, the present—not lost in past and future meanderings. The eternal and time are actually not compatible, and when we come to know more of the eternal, we will realize that time itself is, in our world, only for convenience. We can, though, partake of the eternal in the Now. The eternal is on a vertical line, with time being on a horizontal. Only at one point, the Now, do they intersect.

Decide to stop walking the maze now, today. Giving up the temporal for the permanent is another way of seeing eternity.

Eternity will free us, for the cause and effect of suffering/pain, born of fear, will be no more. Ask to have eternity shown to us now, in our complete and total awareness of the present.

Ask for a Balanced Mind

“It would be very intelligent of you to set yourself the goal of really studying for this course. There can be no doubt of the wisdom of this decision, for any student who wants to pass it. But, knowing your individual weaknesses as a learner and being a teacher with some experience, I must remind you that learning and wanting to learn are inseparable. All learners learn best when they believe what they are trying to learn is of value to them. But values in this world are hierarchical, and not everything you may want to learn has lasting value. Indeed, many of the things you want to learn are chosen because their value will not last. The ego thinks it is an advantage not to commit itself to anything that is eternal, because the eternal must come from God.” (ACIM, COA ed., T-4.VII.10:1-7)

The ego is afraid of God, that is the insanity of it. Our mind, taken over by the ego, believes that it will be punished for imagining itself separate from its Maker, Whom it knows to be all-powerful.

If we can open our mind ever so slightly, and realize, even if we don’t feel it, that God is not vindictive, then we will have a reason to trust Him. If we can just entertain the possibility, indeed the certainty, that we have let our mind go insane, and that now we are attempting to retrieve sanity, then we will have motivation to learn A Course in Miracles. Motivation is all that it takes. Jesus can work with a reluctant learner, but he can do nothing for one who refuses the innate inclination to listen to reason. He doesn’t go against our free well. We can refuse to listen, refuse to learn—but who would when suffering and pain, in our egoic state of mind, have been so devastating.

The suffering and pain were inevitable, and these are no cause to blame God. Suffering/pain are a cause-and-effect relationship. Given our strange thinking, we need a Power from beyond us to set all things aright. Without that, the deleterious effects continue. And surely we don’t want that.

Ask for a balanced mind. This mind will welcome guidance. This mind, as prompted by the heart, will take us, finally, back Home.

Love Deeply Today

“All things work together for good. There are no exceptions, except in the ego’s judgment. The ego resents everything it does not control. Control is a central factor in what the ego permits into consciousness, and one to which it devotes its maximum vigilance. This is not the way a balanced mind holds together. Its control is unconscious.” (ACIM, COA ed., T-4.VII.1:1-5)

Jesus is quoting the biblical passage, “All things work together for good to them that love God, to them that are the called according to his purpose.” But in his quote, he makes no provisos: ALL things work together for good. He continues, “There are no exceptions.”

This biblical verse gave me much comfort when I was in my teens, just after hearing a sermon on the topic. Now it can do the same for us at any age. We want a balanced mind, and if we keep in mind that all works together for good, we will stop much discouragement in its tracks.

A balanced mind is controlled only by its unconscious; no effort at getting and retaining control on a conscious level is needed at all.

Does this tell us how easy salvation really is? Here we listen to the Holy Spirit (or the Christ-Self), and we do what guidance has prompted. Our mind then soon becomes clear in every predicament, with the next step, and then the next, and the next, pointed out to us in certain fashion.

Pray for a balanced mind today. Our mind is very precious to God, and we have let it be taken over by an insanity, the ego that arose because we didn’t know how else to counter fear. If we love deeply, love enough, fear will leave us.

Love deeply today.

Jesus’ Instructive Guidance

“If you will think over your life, you will see how carefully the preparations were made. I am in charge of the Second Coming, as I already told you, and my judgment, which is used only for its protection, cannot be wrong because it never attacks. Yours is so distorted that you believe that I was mistaken in choosing you. I assure you this is a mistake of your own ego. Do not mistake it for humility. Your ego is trying to convince you that it is real and I am not, because if I am real, I am no more real than you are. That knowledge, and I assure you that it is knowledge, means that Christ has come into your mind and healed it.” (ACIM, COA ed., T-4.VI.15:1-7)

It is likely that Jesus was speaking to Helen here, asking her to think over her life and realize how prepared she was made for the task of scribing. There were many things that she needed to have in her mind, and her upbringing assured that this happened. In channeling, Jesus must draw on the words that are already in a scribe’s mind, being limited to using words that are already known. This doesn’t mean that the ideas are in the scribe’s mind, just the words, for nobody who has taken A Course in Miracles seriously, and knew Helen, thought that she could have made all this up. She had a fine mind, of course, but she did not have the genius of Jesus.

Jesus is on a par with us, in that both he and we are real. The ego disputes this, but we all know by now that the ego is insanity itself. Jesus has walked the whole pathway back to God, and now is guiding our footsteps. His work with channeling is just one aspect of the careful instructive guidance that he gives to us all.

Healing of the Mind

“The First Coming of Christ is just another name for the creation, because Christ is the Son of God. The Second Coming of Christ means nothing more than the end of the ego’s rule over part of the minds of men, and the healing of the mind. I was created like you in the First, and I am reminding you that I have called you to join with me in the Second.” (ACIM, COA ed., T-4.VI.14:1-3)

Here Jesus is explaining the new reality, the fact that when he came 2,000 years ago, he was embodying the Christ, the Awakened Son of God. Now, he says the Second Coming is a healing of OUR minds, that we too will recognize that we too are Christ, Sons and Daughters of God. This, being a healing of our mind, is the end of the ego’s rule.

The only thing that needs to happen is that we rest in God’s love, let the barriers to love’s rule dissipate, and wait, patiently, for our Awakening—by God Himself. This means, obviously, that we take measured paces to relinquish the ego. We don’t do anything to reinforce it; we stay away from egoic notions, for they will only derail us.

Does Jesus come in the Second Coming? Is there a physical manifestation? He never says, in any of his channeled courses (A Course in Miracles, A Course of Love, The Way of Mastery Platform). It wouldn’t be wise for us to speculate about something that has been so divisive in our religions.

If he comes in physical manifestation, we will see great glories on earth. If not, perhaps he intends for us to manifest those great glories, in a new world that we will create. This latter point is made very plain in A Course of Love.

Gladden Ourselves

“Have you really considered how many opportunities you have to gladden yourself, and how many of them you have refused? There is no limit to the power of a Son of God, but he himself can limit the expression of his power as much as he wills. Your mind and mine can unite in shining your ego away, and releasing the strength and beauty of God into everything you think and will and do. Do not settle for anything less than this, and refuse to accept anything but this as your goal. Watch your mind carefully for any beliefs that hinder its accomplishment, and step away from them.” (ACIM, COA ed., T-4.VI.11:1-5)

Certainly everybody has experienced times when, in retrospect, we might say that we have been our own worst enemy. This is, I believe, what is happening when we have refused opportunities to gladden ourselves. We seem to wallow in self-pity, never a very laudatory experience. When we are so absorbed by self-pity, it certainly makes it hard for anybody else to sympathize and to emphasize with us. Our own self-centeredness at such times makes inevitable the truth that the ego will be in the ascendancy.

Jesus will join his mind to ours, and the two of each of us can shine the ego away. His offer is a free offer, with no strings attached. And should not we make the tiny effort to accept his free offer? Only a “little willingness” is necessary, as Jesus says elsewhere in A Course in Miracles. The Holy Spirit will take our little willingness, and make it into something mighty. Jesus will cooperate with us as we seek to leave the remnants of the ego in the dust under our feet.

We need God’s strength to finally take tentative and hesitant steps toward accepting His great blessings for us, His blessings in a world that is slowly giving up the ego as a very bad idea.

When tempted to indulge in the misery of self-pity, let us lift our thoughts with an effort of the will, and let God’s grace show us a world that will gladden us.

Deprived of Nothing Except by Our Own Decisions

“When you are sad, know that this need not be. Depression is of the ego, and you are hiding little spots of hatred that are hurting you. Depression always arises ultimately from a sense of being deprived of something you want and do not have. Know you are deprived of nothing except by your own decisions, and then decide otherwise.” (ACIM, COA ed., T-4.VI.5:1-4)

We have been given everything, by God, to make our way through life easily and peacefully. On the surface, this sounds like an outrageous claim, but Jesus does say that we are “deprived of nothing except by your own decisions.” This sounds very akin to Jesus’ way of speaking of the law of attraction, in which what we focus upon, actually comes to be.

The law of attraction has been hot news since Rhonda Byrne and her team made a film entitled The Secret, and this was followed, by her, by books (The Secret, The Power, The Magic, The Hero). It is a very controversial idea, but the law of attraction says that we have to watch our minds for the scraps of fear that abide there, for we will make very bad things for ourselves if we focus on the negative. In The Power, Rhonda made clear the central place of love, and this book has spiritual aspects that would lead all of us to see that Love in religion, and love in the law of attraction, is a universal concept with universal ramifications.

Depression does wrap our mind up in knots. We can do much to dismiss depressed thoughts when they arise in us, as the psychologist Richard Carlson has made clear, especially in the books, Shortcut through Therapy, You Can Feel Good Again, and Slowing Down to the Speed of Life. He doesn’t think that we are doomed by brain chemicals to lead a depressed life; we have some say in how we thrive.

Jesus, in the passage for today, seems to say much the same. We all need compassion, and those who are depressed perhaps need more compassion than most. If we are trapped by depression, let us reach out to our brothers and sisters, including the medical establishment and the community of psychologists and psychiatrists.

Let us ask what we would want to think that we can’t seem to think now.

And that will hold the key.

Joy & Emotional Peace

“When your mood tells you that you have willed wrongly, and this is so whenever you are not joyous, then know this need not be. In every case, you have thought wrongly about some brother that God create and are perceiving images your ego makes in a darkened glass. Think honestly what you have thought that God would not have thought, and what you have not thought that God would have you think. Search sincerely for what you have done and left undone accordingly. And then change your mind to think with God’s.” (ACIM, COA ed., T-4.VI.3:1-5)

When we are not joyous, we have let something go wrong. This is true because our natural state of mind, when we are One with God, is joy. If we simply look at nature, we will know that God’s primary emotion is joy, though storms, earthquakes, and the like, can let us doubt this. The fierceness of nature is part of its charm, though when people die in natural “acts of God,” we wonder what kind of God we really have.

God does not mean us ill. I am absolutely certain of that. Our suffering cannot be understood on this plane of this world; our finite mind cannot see the whole. But God doesn’t make the decision to rain pestilence down upon our heads. His gestures are all loving.

And when we know that God is loving, we can rest in joy, for we are well-protected. If any harm comes to us, we can rail against fate (though this is a futile gesture). God wraps us up in His arms, and all is well.

Emotional peace is more important than physical ailments. If our minds and hearts are at peace, we are right where we need to be, resting in God.

Reframe the Psyche for Sanity

“Consider how much vigilance you have been willing to exert to protect your ego, and how little you have been willing to expend to protect your higher mind! Who but the insane would undertake to believe in what is not true and then protect this belief at the cost of truth?” (ACIM, COA ed., T-4.V.17:3-4)

Perhaps, in reading A Course in Miracles, you have balked at accepting Jesus’ assertion that in our usual frame of mind, we have been mad, insane. This may be because we think that we don’t do the insane things that people who are certifiably mad have actually done. Of course, there is a difference, but I think we will see, when Awakening dawns, that our psyche has been skewed. The ego is easily recognized, then, as a form of insanity.

We have to use our imagination to project what life would really be like without the ego. We have to lay aside the definition of the ego that Freud gave, in that the ego was seen as necessary for an adult to function, that the ego would form the persona, and then we would live independent lives when grown. Jesus’ defines the ego differently, in that he sees it as a false concept, a concept to be overcome, and a concept not at all needed for responsible living as an adult. Our persona will thrive when we awaken and do not seek any longer to cling to our egoic ways. We will also realize that independent living is not the panacea we had thought, that we are meant to be interdependent, living in cooperation with our brothers and sisters.

Let the ego wither away by failing to reinforce the egotistical ideas that so call to us. Let humility lead the way. After all, Jesus said that the meek would inherit the earth. While he did not mean by “meek” any form of subservient behavior, we can, in the word, glimpse a little of what he meant many years ago when he walked the earth.

We want to follow the truth. And when the tenets of A Course in Miracles take hold, we will find ourselves triumphantly following that truth.

Relax in God’s Grace

“In your own unconscious, deeply repressed by the ego, is the declaration of your release: God has given you everything. This is the one fact which means that the ego does not exist, and which therefore makes it profoundly afraid. In the ego’s language, to have and to be are different, but they are identical to the spirit. It knows that you both have everything and are everything. Any distinction in this respect is meaningful only when the idea of getting, which implies a lack, has already been accepted. That is why we made no distinction between having the Kingdom of God and being the Kingdom of God.” (ACIM, COA ed., T-4.V.16:1-6)

So: God has given us everything!! This declaration surely doesn’t mean right now, but intuitively it can mean just that. When we draw on ultimate meaning, we draw on what we both have and are, and this is the infinity of God Himself. Like a hologram, the Whole of everything is within us, though our finite mind cannot comprehend this universal blessing. Our ego cannot comprehend, period. And so it shivers in dread and fear. But we don’t have to do that; we can immerse ourselves in the love that God’s greatest blessing to us. And in this blessing, we know that we partake of His grandness.

We do not have lacks. Oh, we think we do. But the fulfillment of need is only a motion away, a creative motion in which we rest in what we have, in gratitude that it is enough. We may, it is true, lack for material things, but this need be only temporary, for God’s storehouses are full to overflowing with what He can and does give to us.

Our spiritual needs are met immediately at the point of asking, for these intangibles do not wait on time or place. Our emotional needs, sometimes the greatest of our needs, may be resolved with a heartfelt prayer asking for help. And in asking for help, we know that we are not truly experiencing lack, for the help arrives, and all is well.

If this seems “pie in the sky” thinking, just relax in God’s grace. Try not to let skepticism stop the good from coming to us. This is egoic thinking, and we have determined to leave the ego behind. If we fall into egoic thinking at the first sign of trouble, we are asking of the wrong source. Ask for God’s help, and we are asking aright.

We both have and are the Kingdom of God. Ask what this means, and rest in surety that the Holy Spirit will answer, in terms that we can understand.

Jesus: “I Will Come Gladly in Response to a Single Unequivocal Call”

“Watch your mind for the scraps of meanness, or you will be unable to ask me to do so. I can help you only as our Father created us. I will love you and honor you and maintain complete respect for what you have made. But I will neither love nor honor it unless it is true. Ask me truly, and I will come. Do not ask me truly, and I will wait. I will never forsake you, any more than God will. But I must wait as long as you will to forsake yourself. Because I wait in love and not in impatience, you will surely ask me truly. I will come gladly in response to a single unequivocal call.” (ACIM, COA ed., T-4.V.14:1-10)

This quotation gives the context for Jesus’ opt-quoted words, on this blog, that he will come upon hearing a “single unequivocal call.” This is one of the most reassuring sentences in all of A Course in Miracles, particularly if one has what has been called a “personal relationship” with Jesus.

In A Course of Love, the sequel, continuation, of A Course in Miracles, Jesus says that we don’t have to accept him for us to benefit from his words. But he can do so much more for us if we do “accept” him. This means that traditional Christianity does get many things right, and a personal relationship with Jesus as the optimal is one such right thing.

We have made many things in illusion, and Jesus does not uphold these things. But our true creations, he does respect and honor. We ourselves don’t even know what all these creations are. There are several references in ACIM to our “creations,” but no full explanation of what is meant. I think most basically the creations are our intangible, but real, emotions that cause us to extend love to others—in other words, our miracles as instigated by Jesus (for he says that he should prompt us when and where to perform a miracle).

Let Jesus come to us today. He is not limited in any way, we can believe, though we cannot know how this is possible. Our finite minds need to let go of trying to understand, and just accept Jesus’ promises.

Then we will really be on the right road back to God.

Ever Mindful of God’s Love Given & Received

“Let us ask the Father in my name to keep you mindful of His love for you and yours for Him. He has never failed to answer this request, because it asks only for what He has already willed. Those who call truly are always answered. If you become fearful at this, remember: ‘Thou shalt have no other gods before Me’ because there are none. You still think there are.” (ACIM, COA ed., T-4.V.12:1-5)

Do we still imagine gods that are other than our Creator, God Himself/Herself? The ego certainly does, and by this I mean the endless desires that we have for many, many things in our life, often material things. These become gods in their own right. We don’t have to subscribe to a “devil” figure to imagine that we are being tempted to put other gods before our Maker. We do this automatically and incessantly when we cozy up to the ego.

The many things that we admire and love more than God are mirages in the desert. Jesus says elsewhere in this complete edition that the thing to do with a desert is to leave. Certainly that is what we have to do with the ego; we have to turn aside, ever so gently, so as not to be sucked into a quagmire. We need to turn aside and give our allegiance and love to the One Who truly deserves it.

Remember that God loves us. And, buried deep within us, is our response of love. We know that love makes the world go ‘round, and when we love God, we come to see that the universes as well thrive on love.
If we think that we don’t love God, think a bit about what or who we do love. If this is true love, and intangible, then we can find God in this source. Loving this known bit of God can turn us on to God Himself.

Sometimes it is easier to love something little than the big, all-encompassing Source of Love Himself.
This small, intangible, love will take us to God. We have trouble because God is ineffable, and we don’t know how to get a handle on Him. This is as it should be. Turn within, and see if we don’t sense Love from the Almighty.

His blessings will lead us to Him.

Ask for Our Inheritance

“The Bible has many references to the immeasurable gifts which are for you, but for which you must ask. This is not a condition as the ego sets conditions. It is the glorious condition of what you are. No force except your own will is strong enough or worthy enough to guide you. In this you are as free as God, and must remain so forever. You can never be found except in honor, and that is always voluntary.” (ACIM, COA ed., T-4.V.11:4-9)

This asking is not a greedy rapaciousness. This asking is for our rightful inheritance. God intends good things for His children, and we are His children.

When I was young, I did not want to be greedy. I once ate a large portion of a package of cookies, at one sitting, and my mother, once she became aware of what I had done, told me that I had been “greedy.”

This crushed me. A small incident from childhood that was instructive.

This unhealed incident from my childhood has sometimes kept me from asking God for what is actually my “due.” God is not limited, and His gifts are abundant. Unlike a box of cookies, if we ask Him for what we want, and get it, there will not be less available for everyone else.

The storehouses of Heaven are filled to overflowing. Let the damaged areas of our conditioning fall away if we have hesitated to come to God with our legitimate desires.

He wants to give, and give, and never cease giving. We have only to accept, with a full heart.

God Is Glorious

“Against this sense of temporary existence, the spirit offers the knowledge of permanent and unshakable being. No one who has experienced the revelation of this can ever fully believe in the ego again. How can its meager offering to you prevail against the glorious gift of God?” (ACIM, COA ed., T-4.V.8:1-3)

This “sense of temporary existence” travels with the ego. We know, somehow, that the ego is not real, that it is an illusory form of existence that has entrapped us. When we listen to our spirit (and we may here think of the Holy Spirit), we know that there is a “permanent and unshakable being” in the midst of our very soul. And this revelation will calm us and give us a new lease on life. This knowledge of what is really permanent saves us. The obvious next step is to cease listening to our ego—just drop it, gently.

If we resist the ego, it will become stronger, for resistance signals strife, and the ego is strong in strife. How do we just turn aside?

First, we drop the ego in little ways. We become attuned to understanding when we are acting egotistically. Often this comes when we are insensitive to the needs and desires of our fellow men and women. We behave with a “me first” compulsion. While thinking of our own needs can be and is, often, necessary, this sense can be taken to extremes.

We can be living within the ego even when the impulse is not strictly egotistical. We can simply be self-centered, and this is an egoic state of mind. If we find that we are putting #1 first in every situation, we can think again.

We can always turn to the heart, as A Course of Love encourages, to bypass the willful thinking that gets us into such trouble. As we turn to the heart, a place that has always been devoid of the ego, we discover anew how to live.

The heart informs the mind, and then we realize that both egotistical and egoic trains of thoughts consume us no longer.

Our Heart Knows

“In its characteristic upside-down way, the ego has taken the impulses from the superconscious and perceived them as if they arise in the unconscious. The ego judges what is to be accepted, and the impulses from the superconscious are essentially unacceptable to it, because they clearly point to the nonexistence of the ego itself. When this occurs, the ego experiences threat, and not only censors but also reinterprets the data. However, as Freud very correctly pointed out, what you do not perceive you still know, and it can retain a very active life beyond your awareness.” (ACIM, COA ed., T-4.V.3:1-4)

The quotation for today alludes to the concept of the mind to which Jesus subscribes. The superconscious is “above” us, devoid of the ego, and is actually a bridge to God, the Holy Spirit, the Christ-Self. Freud, misunderstanding, called this part of the mind, the “superego.” As this quotation points out, the ego actually has nothing to do with it.

The conscious is our normal waking awareness.

The unconscious sinks below thought, but is still (unlike what Jung thought in his “collective unconscious”) unique to us. Jung thought that underneath, we all think the same, and in some sense this is akin to an awareness of our Creator, God Himself—a Source found, according to Jesus, in the superconscious.

We don’t have to fully grasp these differences in consciousness to make use of them. Helen and Bill, co-scribes of A Course in Miracles and psychologists, would have been very attuned to this portion of ACIM. Jesus would be talking right up their alley.

We do still know what is in our mind, even when we are not conscious of it, and then it causes a subtle (or not so subtle) uneasiness. It can affect our actions, something that we all know. When we are driven by schemas that draw upon childhood conditioning, we are very lost in the mind.

The solution, according to A Course of Love (what many believe to be a continuation of ACIM), is to draw upon the heart. The heart by-passes the confusion of the mind, because the heart doesn’t demand proof of what it knows.

The heart just knows.

Kingdom of God: United & Protected

“The Kingdom is perfectly united and perfectly protected, and the ego will not prevail against it. Amen.
“That was written in the form of a prayer because it is a good thing to use in moments of temptation. It is a declaration of independence. You will find it very helpful if you understand it fully.” (ACIM, COA ed., T-4.V.2:8-12)

This is a declaration of independence from the ego, not independence per se, for we have learned that independence is a goal that we can never win. We always ask advice of something/Something before we act—either the ego or the Holy Spirit/Christ-Self. Of course, we are not often conscious of this advice-seeking behavior; we think that we are autonomous.

The Kingdom of God is that with which we are One, and it is protected by the power of God Himself. We cannot ultimately fail. We will find our way home. It just might take a while.

This is not to be discouraging, but Jesus did say in A Course of Miracles that it might take “millions of years” for everyone to return home, for everyone to heal the separation from God. Even though this separation is actually impossible, because we are a part of God, it can certainly seem real enough to us, making return necessary. We have to heal our minds. We have to watch the subconscious contents make their way to the surface to be healed. All of this does mean that Awakening is not possible for all of us as immediately as we would like.

The Kingdom of God! Let us rejoice that we are actually numbered in its Whole.

Kingdom of Heaven Is Within

It is difficult to understand what ‘The Kingdom of Heaven is within you’ means. The reason is because it is not understandable to the ego, which interprets it as if something outside is inside, which does not mean anything. The word ‘within’ does not belong. The Kingdom of Heaven is you. What else but you did the Creator create, ad what else but you is His Kingdom? This is the whole message of the Atonement, a message which in its totality transcends the sum of the parts (as we have said about the sonship before).” (ACIM, COA ed., T-4.V.1:1-6)

“The Kingdom of Heaven is you.” Yes, we are the children of God, created out of “God-stuff,” and constituting His Kingdom. The Whole differentiated into parts so that experiencing could proceed forward. When the Godhead knows the All, experiencing is not really possible, because, knowing all, there is nothing left to be discovered. So we, His children, fall into ignorance in this world, experiencing all the time in part, sometimes intuiting the Whole, Who is God Himself/Herself.

This scenario takes care of our yearning to know more and more of God. We accept our finite mind, and we rest in the assurance that the Mind encompasses us, keeping us safe, getting us out of jams that we collect like fireflies. God as the Infinite knows how to extricate us from that which we made ill-advisedly. And so we would be wise to listen to the Holy Spirit or the Christ-Self to know how to proceed in this sometimes confusing world.

We need to drop the ego. We have said this many times to ourselves, but perhaps we don’t know where to begin. Don’t resist the ego, for the ego becomes strong in strife. Just turn aside gently, avoiding that which calls to the egotistical and egoic in us.

This will be enough. Over time, the ego will simply wither away as a bad idea. The ego is, as Jesus defines it in A Course in Miracles, a false idea of what we are, a false persona. He does not use the term ego as Freud did, when Freud wanted us to form a strong ego as we matured so that we would be ready to meet life’s challenges. Jesus’ concept of the ego is this falsity, and we know that falsity is nothing that we need or want. When we embody the soul, we are embodying the whole of ourselves, what Freud was really trying to get at when he defined “ego.”

Our persona is informed by the Christ who is within. When we turn to this self, we are turning to what will work as we travel through this land.

Move toward the Holy Spirit

“The ego cannot survive without judgment, and is laid aside accordingly. The mind then has only one direction in which it can move.” (ACIM, COA ed., T-4.IV.9:4-5)

We are often, in A Course in Miracles, encouraged to give up judgment. Giving up judgment is a prerequisite for Awakening, because we simply cannot dwell in the new world we are creating when we are judging others and ourselves.

Goodness, we even judge God! And especially Jesus, who is but our elder brother seeking to help us.

This type of nonsense must be stopped. We cannot live more appropriately until we realize that evaluating others, and thinking negatively of them (and ourselves), is folly. And we want to live appropriately. Our happiness depends on it.

The one direction that the mind can move is toward the Holy Spirit, a holy spirit that embraces us with love, and teaches us how to love. This one direction will save us. This one direction will tell us all that we need to know to live satisfactory lives in this illusory world.

Listen Today

“Consider the inevitable confusion which must arise from a perception of the self which completes the sentence stem “When I was completely on my own” with “I had no idea what was possible.” The ego does believe it is completely on its own, which is merely another way of describing how it originated. This is such a fearful state that it can only turn to other egos and unite them in a feeble attempt at identification or attack them in an equally feeble show of strength. The ego is free to complete the stem “When I was completely on my own” in any way it chooses, but it is not free to consider the validity of the premise itself, because this premise is its foundation. The ego is the belief of the mind that it is completely on its own.” (ACIM, COA ed., T-4.IV.5:1-5)

We are not completely on our own, though we try to live out a reality like this when we are caught in the ego. And all of us have been caught in the ego for eons.

That is changing. More and more of us are realizing that trying to be independent and being led by the ego are a bad deal, not worth another minute’s notice. When we allow guidance to come into our head, we live much better. We learn this very quickly. The guidance derived from following A Course in Miracles is coming from the Holy Spirit; as we progress farther along, A Course of Love tells us to listen to the inner Christ-Self, for its guidance is also true. Both ways are valid in this time of transition from the time of the Holy Spirit to the time of Christ.

Are we completely on our own, when we follow the ego? We are not, though we may cling tenaciously to this belief. We can never be on our own. We consult either the ego or our inner guidance from the Holy Spirit or the Self. We are never on our own, however much we may think we want to believe this.

Being independent is a false notion. Our world has trained for this, but how often have we fallen on our face?
Many times. Eventually it will dawn on us, as it did on Helen and Bill (co-scribes of ACIM), that there is another way. And this other way is a better way.

Listening to guidance is the way out of our quagmire.

Listen today.

Harmless & Helpful

“Whether you know it now or not, however, you have willed to cooperate in a concerted and very commendable effort to become both harmless and helpful, two attributes which must go together. Your attitudes, even toward this, are necessarily conflicted, because all attitudes are ego-based. This will not last. Be patient a while and remember what we said once before: The outcome is as certain as God!” (ACIM, COA ed., T-4.III.9:1-4)

So we are to be both harmless and helpful, an assertion that tells us how to interact with our brothers and sisters. We may sometimes become angry with them, but anger is not a sin, and when we regroup, we will realize a better way is to live and let live. Nothing more. We will not attack in retaliation, being harmless. We will seek proactively to be good to others, being helpful. These two words, harmless and helpful, give us a mantra to take us through our sometimes stressful days with our brothers and sisters.

We are going to make it back to God; the outcome is certain. Once the journey back has begun (and it has begun for all of us reading and writing this), the end is a clear thing, a certain thing (as Jesus tells us). We need not agonize that we are doing things all wrong, because we are doing the best we can at any given time.

Continue reading “Harmless & Helpful”

Being Home-Free

“The question is not how you respond toward your ego, but only what you believe you are. Belief is an ego function, and as long as your origin is open to belief at all, you are regarding it from an ego viewpoint. That is why the Bible quotes me as saying, ‘Ye believe in God, believe also in me.’ Belief does apply to me, because I am the teacher of the ego. When teaching is no longer necessary, you will merely know God. Belief that there is another way is the loftiest idea of which ego thinking is capable. This is because it contains a hint of recognition that the ego is not the self.” (ACIM, COA ed., T-4.III.7:1-7)

The ego is wily, but the day will come when Jesus resigns as our teacher because the ego in us is no longer. Jesus announces this alteration in his interaction with us in the final pages of the sequel to A Course in Miracles, the heartwarming book called A Course of Love. Belief is no longer necessary then, because we “know.” This knowing gives us great relief, for we are no longer straining to know what seems just beyond us. Our knowing is very immediate.

Jesus has been striving to rid us of the ego throughout both A Course in Miracles and A Course of Love (and The Way of Mastery). He rests in the knowledge that he will succeed in his effort, and so he does not have to struggle at all. We all will know eventually that there is another way, a better way. ACIM attempted to dislodge the ego, and ACOL seeks to give us a new identity around which the Christ-Self coalesces. It is my thought that ACOL was needed because we didn’t have anything concrete to hold onto after the ego was dislodged; we needed a new identity, and this new identity, the Christ-Self, is spelled out in ACOL.

Beliefs are transient and ego-driven. We cling to belief when we are actually uncertain. As Jesus teaches the ego, we learn to slowly let it pass away from us.

We are then home-free.

Egoic Swings in Mind

“The best concrete example you could have of how the mind could have made the ego is a person who has a great propensity for revelation but can suddenly swing to its complete opposite. Such a person does have real knowledge at times, but when she throws it away it is as if she never had it. This willfulness is so apparent that you need only perceive it to see that it does happen. If it can occur that way in the present, why should you be surprised that it occurred that way in the past? All psychology rests on the principle of continuity of behavior. Surprise is a reasonable response to the unfamiliar, but hardly to something that occurs with such persistence.” (ACIM, COA ed., T-4.III.3:1-6)

Jesus is probably talking to Helen, because in the era of the sixties, the pronoun “he” was used for both male and female, and here he deliberately (we might think) uses the pronoun “she.” Helen was a woman of many moods, as we might be. Her oscillations required that Jesus support her often as the scribing unfolded. He was right there for her.

Helen had a propensity for revelation. All of us do (though some are more ready for it than others). Revelation gives us real knowledge, as opposed to simple perception. Our perceptions are often ego-related, but not our knowledge. Our knowledge comes from God, and it can come, reliably, only when we have placed ego either to one side, or eliminated it altogether.

We may be surprised by truth. But is this warranted? The truth is always right here with us, just often unrecognized. If we pray to be open to the truth, we are more likely to experience it in everyday occurrences. These are miracles. These are examples of God welling up from within to shower us with love.

Jesus: “In This World You Need NOT Have Tribulation because I Have Overcome the World”

“I need devoted teachers. They heal the mind, and that is always my own aim. The spirit is far beyond the need of your protection or mine. The biblical quotation should read, ‘In this world you need not have tribulation because I have overcome the world. That is why you should be ‘of good cheer.’” (ACIM, COA ed., T-4.II.25:1-5)

Very reassuring! And a correction to Scripture, something that Jesus does several times in A Course in Miracles. “In this world you need not have tribulation.” Wonderful!

Do we believe it?

If we think back, we will realize that we are our own worst enemies. The tribulation that we experience is very often something that we have brought on ourselves.

We don’t have to do this. We can walk a calm earth, head in the clouds, feet on the ground, and the words of Jesus to comfort us.

When we are of good cheer, we normally attract more good cheer. Good feelings build on themselves. And we can heal others whom we encounter. This healing is right in line with the best advice in ACIM.

Let’s do as Jesus encourages. Let’s ask him how we might effect the healing of other people. And to do that effectively, we need also to be healed, and so praying for our healing is right in line with the Course.

Living in God’s Shadow

“The ego has built a shabby and unsheltering home for you, because it cannot build otherwise. Do not try to make this impoverished house stand. It weakness is your strength. Only God could make a home that was worthy of His creation, who have chosen to leave it empty by their own dispossession. But His home will stand forever, and is ready for you when you choose to enter. Of this you can be wholly certain. God is as incapable of creating the perishable as your ego is of making the eternal.” (ACIM, COA ed., T-4.II.21:1-7)

We made the ego, and we made this persona badly. “A shabby and unsheltering home.” Of course. What else could madness make but something that sheltered us in a fragile structure? We have been vulnerable to the insanity of the ego for eons. Isn’t it time we tried something else?

That “something else” is living in God’s shadow, letting His Holy Spirit direct our steps back to the straight pathway toward Awakening. God is ready, has been ready, for us to return home. Now, at last, it seems that we are listening to Him.

I hope He is glad, if human emotions ever touch His splendor. We have journeyed far into the night, and we are just now beginning to see the first rays of light on a new morrow. We will be Awakening soon, the light having roused us through closed eyelids. When we open our eyes to the sunlight, our new persona is assured.

And this persona is the Christ-Self.

Joy of the Spirit

“The ego is afraid of the spirit’s joy, because once you have experienced this, you will withdraw all protection from your ego and become totally without investment in fear. Your investment is great now, because fear is a witness to the separation, and your ego rejoices when you witness to it. Leave it behind. Do not listen to it and do not preserve it. Listen only to God, Who is as incapable of deception as are the Sons He created. As a teacher or therapist, release yourself and release others. Do not preset a false and unworthy picture of yourself to others, nor accept such a picture of them yourself.” (ACIM, COA ed., T-4.II.20:1-7)

We ought to think well of ourselves, not coming from the ego, but from the spirit. The ego has kept us in chains, and the flights of joy that we have known have been balanced by a fall into depression and despair. The dramatic highs and lows were very pronounced. This is the way of egotism. This is what we want to gently turn aside from now.

When we have tasted real joy of the spirit, we will know that this alone is real. This is God’s blessing upon us as we emerge from madness, the insanity of the ego. When we taste joy, we know that we are beloved. We also know that we are capable of loving not only ourselves, but also our brothers and sisters who travel this road with us.

This joy is well-grounded, not a euphoria that is unsettling and unsettled. This joy is what will accompany us on the journey home to God, the separation healed, the Awakening in sight.
We do need to think well of ourselves, for as God’s creatures we are born of the spirit. And this spirit will allow us to present a picture of ourselves to others that will do us credit. Unfortunately, we are so used to denying the ego in ourselves, that we may think that such creditable awareness of ourselves is a step backwards.

It isn’t. Let the inner spirit that is our Christ-Self emerge from the inside wrappings. Be assured that this is what God wants of us.

A good Self-image will speed us along our journey with alacrity. We will know that this is the way to live well.

Einstein: “Is the Universe Friendly?”

“Again I tell you that when you are afraid, be still and know that God is real and you are His beloved Son in whom He is well pleased. Do not let your ego dispute this, because the ego cannot know what is as far beyond its reach as you are. God is not the author of fear. You are. You have willed, therefore, to create unlike Him, and have made fear for yourself.” (ACIM, COA ed., T-4.II.18:1-5)

Yes, we made fear. What other emotion were possible when we thought that we were a teeny point in the universe, cut off from all the rest? Would that not be reason enough to be afraid?

Know that this mirage is just that—an illusion made of nothing. When we know that we are merged with the cosmos, melted together in love, we will know that we are not and have never been alone, solitary creatures that had to make it on our own. We have a Guide, the Holy Spirit, Who will metaphorically take us by the hand and lead us back from whence we came. He will take us into heaven, when the time is ripe. And God Himself will transform us, when we are ready, by something called the “Awakening.” When this transformation happens, we will know that whether the time for us on earth is short or long, we are accepted and beloved children of God who can know bliss anywhere. Because God is everywhere.

Drop the ego, and when we do this, we will know far more than beforehand. We will know that fear is easily avoided in a universe that is cooperative, with all beings sharing in the glorious Light of the Creator. We live in a friendly universe, what Einstein queried: “Do we live in a friendly universe?”.

This query is one of the most important, if not the most important, queries we could ever have.

When we can certainly answer in the affirmative, our worries are behind us.

Our Worth Is Written in the Stars

“Once again, nothing you do or think or will or make is necessary to establish your worth. This point is not debatable except in delusions. Your ego is never at stake because God did not create it. Your spirit is never at stake because He did. Any confusion on this point is a delusion, and no form of devotion is possible as long as this delusion lasts.” (ACIM, COA ed., T-4.II.15:1-5)

We think we have to achieve something, prove our worth, to be loved. This is because it is likely that much of the love we have received over our lives has been conditional.

But God doesn’t love conditionally. His unconditional love is predicated on the truth that we are His beloved children, children who have strayed a little, but will ultimately come back home to Him. And because He created us perfect, our worth is for certain, never in doubt. We never have to prove anything to God. He just waits patiently for us to change our minds about our rebellion, and come home to the lasting love that awaits us there.

Our worth as children of God assures us a place in heaven.

When we strayed into the separation, our ego was formed from the wreckage of our former selves. We did this. We made a new persona that was predicated on fear, not love (as we had known in our birthplace of heaven). This fear made us afraid of God, and also made us afraid that we have offended Him by rejecting Him. God doesn’t think this way! Only our own deluded, limited, finite minds could ever hold such a thought.
Return to our spirit, which will be recognized as one with God. God created our spirit, and He knows it through and through. He knows that our good sense will ultimately prevail, and we will choose to heal the separation. We will choose to once again occupy the place that He has intended for us all along. We cannot change how we were created, what our essence demands. And this spirit essence is a persona founded on love, the best emotion out there.

Our worth is written in the stars, where we will ultimately reside. Let us drop all notions that we are unworthy, rejected creatures spurned by the Great Creator.

Our Worth Was Established by God

“Your worth is not established by your teaching. Your worth was established by God. As long as you dispute this, everything you do will be fearful, and particularly any situation which lends itself to the fallacy of superiority and inferiority. Teachers must be patient and repeat their lessons until they are learned. I am willing to do so, because I have no right to set your learning limits for you.” (ACIM, COA ed., T-4.II.14:1-5)

Many of us have struggled with feeling inferior at some point in our lives. We thought we just didn’t measure up to our peers, weren’t pretty enough, weren’t popular enough, didn’t excel academically. But our worth is inestimable in God’s sight. Nothing we can ever do, nothing that we could ever do, will change that we are flawless in his sight. Our essential innocence saves us, for we are children of God and subject to His divine laws. We have done the best we could at any given time, and that is all that anybody, God included, could ask of us. Even when we fail, we have succeeded in the trying.

If we think that we have to teach salvation, and that our success in this allows for merit in God’s eyes, all that we do will become fearful. This is false reasoning, and it certainly will get us into trouble. An anxious teacher doesn’t perform well. Our words will not have the ring of truth. We need to get the fear out, and the only way for that to happen is to know that God is on our side, cheering us on. In His sight, we only sometimes make mistakes/errors; we never fail, because at the time that we think we have failed, we have merely learned how to do something better.

We don’t really believe that our worth is beyond reproach. In this, we are our own worst enemies. Listen to Jesus’ words, and let their truth wash over us.

Go to God

“All separation anxiety is a symptom of a continuing will to remain separated. This cannot be repeated too often, because you have not learned it. You are afraid to teach only because you are afraid of the impression your image of yourself will make on other images. You believe that their approval of your image will exalt it, but that your separation anxiety will increase. You also believe that their disapproval of it will lessen the anxiety, but at the cost of depression.” (ACIM, COA ed., T-4.II.12:1-5)

This quotation is composed of fairly complicated psychology, something that Helen and Bill (co-scribes of A Course in Miracles) could understand easily, but maybe not the rest of us. When we get anxious, it is likely to be that we are fearful of our separation from God. We will not articulate this, because it will remain under cover, deep in the unconscious, where it will arouse confusion but be unavailable for healing.

This has to end. When we look to others for approval, often we are seeing those other brothers and sisters as images. Somehow we know that this isn’t right, that others are not images, but real people, and so we become afraid of our own interpretations. We will, with the ego in ascendancy, be glad, enlivened, when others give us approval, but we will realize that somehow this is not right—that we are equal to that other, and his/her approval should not be defining moments for us. Our separation anxiety will increase, for we are not being true to the real Self, the Self Who is one with God. We will get depressed if others disapprove of us, but this too is a false stance. Others should not hold such power over us.

Do not get lost in interpretation. Know simply that anything that increases separation anxiety ought to be avoided, just as much as the separation itself. When we have reunited with God, no separation any longer, we will know the truth of this.

Until then, we will remain befuddled. This simply means that we must ask the Holy Spirit for help in sorting out our emotions.

“Go to God,” when we are mixed up, tangled up, is awfully good advice.

An Endearing Promise from Jesus

“Egos can clash in any situation, but souls cannot clash at all. If you perceive the teacher as merely a ‘larger ego,’ you will be afraid, because to enlarge an ego is to increase separation anxiety. Do not engage in this foolishness. I will teach with you and live with you if you will think with me. But my goal will be always to absolve you finally from the need for a teacher.” (ACIM, COA ed., T-4.II.10:1-5)

In the final pages of A Course of Love (sequel to A Course in Miracles), Jesus does actually resign as our teacher. He wants to be companion with us only. In this, he is saying that he has succeeded in absolving us for the need of a teacher. In the meantime, though, for those of us who are still students of ACIM, he continues to guide and direct as a teacher.

Larger egos do scare us. I myself have been scared more than once by one who had achieved much, but who had achieved by the competitive bent of an ego. This frightens all of us, for inside we know that a larger ego is not where we want to go. Larger egos are scary, for certain, and we, for certain, do not want to do anything that will enlarge our ego. Competitive activities often do just this.

A large ego seems farther removed from God, and thus a feature that promotes separation anxiety. Love brings us ever closer to God, and it is this also that dispels the ego. Love lead to cooperation in our lives, cooperation with others. And it is this can draws us close to each other and close to God.

“I will teach with you and live with you if you will think with me.” Jesus’ promise. And such an endearing and great promise it is.

Take him up on it.

God’s Joy Makes Its Way into This World

“The dreamer who doubts the reality of his dream while he is still dreaming it is not really healing the level-split. You have dreamed of a separated ego, and you have believed in a world which rests upon it. This is very real to you. You cannot undo this by doing nothing and not changing. If you are willing to renounce the role of guardian of your thought system and open it to me, I will correct it very gently and lead you home.” (ACIM, COA ed., T-4.I.9:3-7)

This is Jesus’ promise to us: He will correct our thought system “very gently and lead you home.” Let us take him at his word. Let us see what he has to say to us in A Course in Miracles and other recent channeled works like A Course of Love and The Way of Mastery.

We have been dreaming a world. That is why we learn in ACIM that the world does not exist, that it is all illusion. When we awake, the world will be called the “real world,” and we will see clearly for the first time. In the midst of the dream, we will know how to live. We will live in peace and harmony with never an egoic nightmare to disturb our peace. This is why the meek shall inherit the earth. The meek have humble egos, and this, their secret, will become ours when we listen to the inner leading of the Holy Spirit (or the inner leading of the Christ-Self, as set forth in A Course of Love).

We do have to be willing to change, and this is hard for us, because we have slowly built up a world that seems to make sense to us. The fact that this world truly does not make sense just shows the extent we have gone into madness. Our minds, entrapped by the ego, have been anything but clear. Our minds have been lost in a special form of insanity in which we were joined by most people on earth.

This insanity is slowly ending. Jesus says elsewhere that the return may take millions of years, as long as the separation took to happen and maybe longer. This depressing thought does not have to be viewed as depressing if we realize that God’s joy makes its way into this world as well. Our joy is complete when we cease to nurture suffering and listen to guidance that signals love.

Pain doesn’t have to turn to suffering, when we understand enough. When we walk a joyful way, with God, we know that the vicissitudes of this world are intangible and unreal. We turn to the truly magnificent blessings given to us, in gratitude for the sight of a world that Jesus calls “real.”

Let us walk on in hope for the glory of a mind and heart returned to our Creator.

Do Not Crucify One’s Self

“Do not embark on foolish journeys, because they are indeed in vain. The ego may will them because the ego is both lean and foolish, but the spirit cannot embark on them because it is forever unwilling to depart from its foundation. The journey to the cross should be the last foolish journey for every mind. Do not dwell upon it, but dismiss it as accomplished. If you can accept that as your own last foolish journey, you are free also to join my resurrection.
. . .
“Do not make the pathetic human error of ‘clinging to the old rugged cross.’ The only message of the crucifixion is in respect to your ability to overcome the cross. Unless you do so, you are free to crucify yourself as often as you choose. But this was not the gospel I intended to offer you.” (ACIM, COA ed., T:4.I.7:1-5 and 8:4-7)

Jesus says repeatedly in A Course in Miracles that the real message of the Atonement is the resurrection, that life is eternal—not that he suffered and died as a sacrificial lamb for us in order to appease God because of our sins. He says that we have made mistakes only, mistakes that are correctable and forgivable, and that to categorize our mistakes as “sins” seems to make them beyond correction.

Moreover, God never condemns, and so He has no need to forgive us of anything. This is a new interpretation, contrary to traditional Christianity, but to us it ought to come as welcome news, a new interpretation that lets us off the hook. So many over the years have condemned themselves because of errors that they called sins, and suffered accordingly.

Now we can let this type of interpretation fall by the wayside. Correctable mistakes call for correction, not denunciation. All of us make mistakes, because this is unavoidable, given the limited viewpoints that we have. We are finite, with finite minds, and with a finite mind, we cannot see all the ramifications of the least thing that we do. So mistakes happen.

Jesus stands at the end of the long pathway to correct mistakes that we could not otherwise correct; he tells us this in ACIM. Be grateful to him for walking the pathway first, all the way back to God. Why would we seek to invent new ways to walk the pathway, when his path is there for us to emulate?

When Will We Ever Learn?

“The mind can make the belief in separation very real and very fearful. And this belief is the devil. It is powerful, active, destructive, and clearly in opposition to God, because it literally denies His fatherhood. Never underestimate the power of this denial. Look at your life and see what the devil has made. But know that this making will surely dissolve in the light of truth, because its foundation is a lie.” (ACIM, COA ed., T-3.XI.9:1-6)

Now we know what the devil concept was all about. We know that it is really the egoic notion of things, lived out in separation from God. We could not truly separate from Him, because we are part of Him, but we could live, with the ego, as though we are separate. And therefore alone. And the ego is the symbol, as well as the essence, of fear. Thinking we are all alone in the universe will frighten the most courageous.

In the egoic world, we thought that if there were good, there had to be a counterbalancing of evil. Contrasts were the way that the drama proceeded. And there were so many dramas! We felt the height of joy, but just for a moment, before we were dashed down and in misery, despair. Is this any way to live?

We can’t live in this illusion any longer, because we know better now. As children of God, individuals within whom He dwells, our real will for ourselves is not a contradiction from His will for us. This truth can be hard to accept, for the separation has been long and cruel. The Holy Spirit will guide us gently to the truth that the wills are the same. How could they not be, when God is living through us?
God’s way is true reality; our parody of His creation has been and will always remain, illusion. Not being real, our illusion weaves fanciful imaginings that bring us down, and down, and down, repeatedly?

When will we ever learn?

Ending the Separation by Love

“We have discussed the fall or separation before, but its meaning must be clearly understood, without symbols. The separation is not symbolic. It is an order of reality, or a system of thought, which is perfectly real in time, though not in eternity. All beliefs are real to the believer.” (ACIM, COA ed., T-3.XI.5:1-4)

We are in an order of reality that imagines that we are separate from God, thereby rendering Him an enemy and Someone Whom we have come to fear.

Isn’t this the height of insanity? Our very being is God. How can we turn on ourselves this way? Why would we ever have done such a thing?

A tiny, mad idea crept into eternity, where all was love. What would happen if, we said? What would happen if we made a reality apart from the reality we know? Would it be better? Would we know more? Would we be more satisfied in our own creation?

This is what we were thinking, and it was sheer madness. Trying to rail against the Creator of ourselves, Who created us as we are, as One with Him, would never work. We have to play out the essence of who we are, and that essence is Love itself. When we turn aside from love, we lose ourselves.

We believed the separation because we were the ones doing the believing. We make real what we imagine, but only in illusion, because God could not allow the universes to fail. Fail they would, if there were any basis to true reality except Love.

This was what, in our ignorance, we didn’t know then.

But now we know. And we are letting God heal the separation by meeting His criteria. It won’t be long now, for Awakening to take us home. It won’t be long now before we live wholly in a gentle world of pure Love.

An End to Wearying Ourselves

“When you feel tired, it is merely because you have judged yourself as capable of being tired. When you laugh at someone, it is because you have judged him as debased. When you laugh at yourself, you are singularly likely to laugh at others, if only because you cannot tolerate being more debased than others. All of this does make you tired, because it is essentially disheartening. You are not really capable of being tired, but you are very capable of wearying yourself.” (ACIM, COA ed., T-3.X.6:1-5)

Would it not be great incentive to know that there is a way to eschew tiredness?

Jesus says here that there is, that we have wearied ourselves by judging our world and the people in it. One way that we judge is by laughing at another, and even laughing at ourselves. Even if we call the laughter just a jest, it is still disheartening. Best to give up debasing other people, even as we give up debasing ourselves. There is a better way to live: Live and let live. Be magnanimous. Be tolerant.

We have wearied ourselves, and many times over the years. Now that we know what has caused this—judging ourselves and others—we can gently turn aside from this bad behavior.

And Awakening is more likely on the horizon, an added blessing indeed.

A Gentler Way

“You have no idea of the tremendous release and deep peace that comes from meeting yourself and your brothers totally without judgment. If you will look back at the earlier remarks about what you and your brothers are, you will realize that judging them in any way is really without meaning. In fact, their meaning is lost to you precisely because you are judging them. All uncertainty comes from a totally fallacious belief that you are under the coercion of judgment. You do not need it to organize your life, and you certainly do not need it to organize yourself.” (ACIM, COA ed., T-3.X.4:1-5)

We need to flow gently with life, and we certainly don’t do that when we are caught up in resentments, judging negatively our brothers and sisters. When we blame them for presumed wrongdoings, we neglect to realize that we invited that wrongdoing into our lives. If we had not opened to it, the wrongdoing would not have happened, because we are in control of our own lives, however much it might seem that we are victims.

Leave judgment behind. If we don’t, we close the door to Awakening. Fear and judgment are the two emotions/actions that prevent us from coming into the ultimate in salvation. Is not our own Awakening worth giving up a debilitating emotion that limits us to feet of clay?

If we find that our mind dwells in resentment, we are damning ourselves.

Can’t we see this? Don’t we know that forgiveness is the way? Haven’t we studied A Course in Miracles enough to know this, through and through?

A gentle way is always superior to any other way. When we calm our mind and heart, we will realize this.

“I Think; therefore I Am”

“Descartes engaged in a very interesting teaching procedure, and one from which he himself learned a great deal. He began with doubting the existence of everything except himself. He insisted that his own existence was not open to doubt and rebuilt his entire thought system on the one premise, ‘I think, therefore I am.’ It is noteworthy that he arrived at accepting the entire system he originally doubted, solely on the basis of this one piece of knowledge. There was, however, a distinct shift in his own perception. He no longer questioned the reality of what he perceived, because he knew he was there.” (ACIM, COA ed., T-3.XI.11:1-6)

This piece about Descartes is new to the complete edition of A Course in Miracles. On one piece of knowledge, Descartes based his whole system of thought. He believed, basically, that he existed. This is even more fundamental than the aspect of thinking that is a part of his great revelation. “He knew he was there.”

We also know that we are here. We can extrapolate this understanding to greater knowledge if we realize that just one piece of information can set us free. This piece will differ from person to person, because our pasts are different, and so the healing of the unconscious that needs to happen will also differ. But when you come upon a piece of knowledge—and it will be knowledge—that is unassailable, then we must hang our hat on that. It will be enough.

Pray for the gleaning upon the mind of that piece of knowledge that will save. And then go out and teach it. Others will learn from our own revelation.

Following in Jesus’ Footsteps

“You would be right to maintain that this course is a prerequisite for any rightful course you may teach. However, you would really be saying much more than that. The purpose of this course is to prepare you for knowledge. So is the only real purpose of any legitimate course. All that is required of you as a teacher is to follow me.” (ACIM, COA ed., T-3.IX.8:1-5)

We are learning the way of A Course in Miracles, and in following its teaching, our own teaching will be set forward rightly. Whether we want to admit it or not, we are following in Jesus’s footsteps, taking his pathway, when we attempt to prepare ourselves for teaching.

Jesus is doing something for us, too, that is beyond simply the hope that we will bring others to salvation. He is introducing us to knowledge, as opposed to simple perception. When we truly know a thing, we will sense it in our depths. There will be no doubt.

Perceptual understanding is always open to doubt, because perceptual understanding is based on the variability of our personality, its past and the way that personality views things. Knowledge is of God in the end, and He is the Unmovable. His way is always certain, and when we open our mind and heart to that way, we will know that His way is certain.

Jesus: “I Have Made Every Effort to Teach You Entirely without Fear”

“The role of a teacher, properly conceived, is one of leading himself and others out of the desert. The value of this role can hardly be underestimated, if only because it was one to which I very gladly dedicated my own life. I have repeatedly asked my pupils to follow me. This means that, to be effective teachers, they must interpret teaching as I do. I have made every effort to teach you entirely without fear. If you do not listen, you will be unable to avoid the very obvious error of perceiving teaching as a threat.” (ACIM, COA ed., T-3.IX.6:1-6)

When we perceive teaching as a threat, we are living in fear. This is the exact opposite of what Jesus hopes for us, the exact opposite of what he intends. His words, when considered rightly, envelop us in a sense of love. We do not have to “accept” him for this to be true, but we do need to open our mind and open our heart, at least ever so slightly. When we live in harmony with love, we appreciate the truth in teaching, and we can become good teachers ourselves. No other way, no way other than love, can do this for us.

We are still making our way tentatively out of fear. There will be missteps, of course, but the way is still upward, toward love, away from fear. We are blessed by the channeled writings of Jesus. When we reflect on how we accept these teachings, we will realize that his love for us has been palpable. The love has drawn us in. And there is no better way to set our foot on the pathway back to God than to realize that a loving brother is leading us by the hand.

Open Our Heart to Parents & Friends

“Your parents probably did misperceive you in many ways, but their ability to perceive may have been quite warped, and their misperception stood in the way of their own knowledge. There is no reason why it should stand in the way of yours. It is still true that you believe they did something to you. This belief is extremely dangerous to your perception and wholly destructive of your knowledge. This is not only true of your attitudes toward your parents, but also of your misuse of your friends. You still think that you must respond to their errors as if they were true. By reacting self-destructively, you are giving them approval for their misperceptions.” (ACIM, COA ed., T-3.VIII.13:1-7)

Here we find that our attitude toward our parents and our friends is pivotal for a good future for our minds. When we believe that parents and friends “did” something to us, we are giving our power away, dangerous to perception, wholly destructive of knowledge.

We still don’t believe that we ourselves, and others, are innocent creatures, children of God, who made mistakes that actually, in reality, never occurred. We are living in illusion! How often do we have to reiterate this to ourselves?

When we believe that illusions are true, we bind ourselves to the past, and we make a future like the past, a deplorable future. Let’s wash ourselves clean, now, of these misperceptions. Let’s ask God to tell us how we can all be innocent. Step out in faith, and His Voice will answer.

We don’t need to stay in self-destructive thinking. Let the heart lead, for its way is Love, and its understanding is true. We can and will come to understand what innocence is all about when we open the heart to our parents and our friends. We have closed down when we misconstrued them, and this makes a mockery of innocence.

Invulnerable Children of God

“You have no justification whatever for perpetuating any image of yourself at all. You are not an image. Whatever is true of you is wholly benign. It is essential that you know this about yourself, but you cannot know it while you choose to interpret yourself as vulnerable enough to be hurt. This is a peculiar kind of arrogance, whose narcissistic component is perfectly obvious. It endows the perceiver with sufficient unreal strength to make you over, and then acknowledges the perceiver’s miscreation. There are times when this strange lack of real courtesy appears to be a form of humility. Actually, it is never more than simple spite.” (ACIM, COA ed., T-3.VIII.12:1-8)

We are actually continuing the theme of blame in this quotation. If we believe that another can hurt us, we are misperceiving, and in this misperception, thinking that a perpetrator means us harm that we can’t get over.

We are not that vulnerable. We are actually invulnerable to hurts from another. We ourselves only seem to hurt ourselves. And then we spitefully blame the one outside of ourselves.

We are also not an image, but a real, divine part of God Himself. When we imagine ourselves as something else, we truly do ourselves an injustice. We are invulnerable children of God Whom He loves deeply. This is the only image of ourselves that matters.