Pondering a Life’s Work

From Celia Hales’ Images in a Reflecting Pool; a Journal. Copyright 1995.

On second-guessing my life’s work:  “What do I really want to do with the rest of my life?  Is it enough just to follow the Holy Spirit’s prompting on a daily basis?  Is long-range planning really a defense?  (A Course in Miracles suggests that it is.)  (W- pI.135.14:1) Could I do my writing as well as have a more successful library career?  

The key to the latter would be ever-better interactions with the people I encounter everyday.  Sometimes I think the job of librarian really doesn’t accomplish much.  All of us work so hard on meaningless things; I see it all the time on the reference desk among the patrons, and I try to be tolerant.  

Healing minds in the sense meant by the Course has really become my preoccupation.  Knowing that, is it any wonder that I’m still tied to my very social occupation even though I’d rather write?

How We Look upon Our Brother is How We Look upon Ourselves

“To look upon the fear of God does need some preparation.  Only the sane can look on stark insanity and raving madness with pity and compassion, but not with fear.  For only if they share in it does it seem fearful, and you do share in it until you look upon your brother with perfect faith and love and tenderness.”  (A Course in Miracles, FIP ed., T-19.IV.D.11)

Here we are encouraged to look upon our brother with forgiveness wrought of faith, love, tenderness.  He deserves no less, and neither do we, for how we look upon our brother is how we look upon ourselves.  There is no difference.

We see God as we see ourselves, and we are lost in insanity, and therefore we fear God, for somehow we think that He too is lost in insanity.  It is not true.  But we have to recognize that we need to be sane to see God clearly.  And we are heading in that direction, toward sanity.

We have long been insane, lost in madness.  It does not have to be so, it does not have to remain so.  We can step away from madness just as much as have wallowed in it for eons.  Now is our time.  Now is the time to turn away from insanity.  Then we will finally see God clearly as the God of Love that He truly is.

When we look on our brother with compassion, we also look upon ourselves with compassion.  Nothing else is right for either of us.  But as long as we are lost in egoic fear, the way will seem long and, indeed, impossible.

It is not impossible.  Just let a little love into our lives, and we quickly see that this other way, the better way, is what we have been looking for all of our lives.

Seek the love tomorrow, the compassion, the sanity.

We will be richly rewarded.

With the Holy Spirit

“Every obstacle that peace must flow across is surmounted in just the same way; the fear that raised it yields to the love beyond, and so the fear is gone.  And so it is with this.  The desire to get rid of peace and drive the Holy Spirit from you fades in the presence of the quiet recognition that you love Him.”  (A Course in Miracles, FIP ed., T-19.IV.D.5)

The obstacles to our peace are kept in place by our cooperation.  We would remove our cooperation from the equation, and then we will know love as we have never known it before.  We will no longer want to get rid of peace; we will know that we love our Guide, the Holy Spirit, and we will open ourselves, on a continuing basis, to His guidance.

This is the obvious way that A Course in Miracles is teaching us on almost every page.  Turn to the Holy Spirit, succumb to His guidance, and be healed.

We will be living in quiet now.  We will understand that guidance comes to us in quiet moments, normally, though sometimes the situation is urgent enough that the Holy Spirit gets through to us even when we are in turmoil.

We are in turmoil only when the ego has arisen in us.  We can turn aside just as easily as we welcomed the ego.  And turn aside we must, if we are to be saved from disaster.  We would not entertain disaster in any shape at all.  

We would know God’s peace today.  Let us pray for the establishment of a good mood, an uplifted mood, and in this mood, love comes in easily.

Christ Will Have Come to Us, Recognized at Last

“The fourth obstacle to be surmounted hangs like a heavy veil before the face of Christ.  Yet as His face rises beyond it, shining with joy because He is in His Father’s Love, peace will lightly brush the veil aside and run to meet Him, and to join with Him at last.”  (A Course in Miracles, FIP ed., T-19.IV.D.2)

We are all a Christ in miniature.  Jesus shares his Christhood with us. And when we have learned to see the face of Christ in all our brothers, we will be home free at last.  This quotation shows the way in which Christ’s face in our brothers rises to meet us; the veil is lifted.  This is true pleasure in the moment, when we see Christ in our brothers.  We are being blessed in this moment.  It is a harbinger of better days ahead.

We can pray to see Christ in all our brothers.  It is a mystical experience that will not last for most people.  But in the happening do we see what we are to see in our better moments for the rest of our lives.  For Christ is behind the veil of physical form in everyone.

We will join with our brother, metaphorically, when we see Christ in him.  We will want to be one with him.  And it will be granted us, if only that for holy instant in time.

We will be at peace.  Christ will have come to us, recognized at last.

Love Overcomes the Ego

“When anything seems to you to be a source of fear, when any situation strikes you with terror and makes your body tremble and the cold sweat of fear comes over it, remember it is always for one reason; the ego has perceived it as a symbol of fear, a sign of sin and death.”  (A Course in Miracles, FIP ed., T-19.IV.C.11)

This quotation helps us to understand the dynamics of the ego.  The ego is a part of our belief about ourselves that will not rest until we are miserable, though it pretends to offer us the good.  It does not offer us the good.

Particularly poignant as a expression of fear, this quotation assures us that the terror that we sometimes feel is ego-generated.  Love would never treat us like this, and love never does.  We are “in our egos” when we quail in fear against this unnamed something that fills us with cold shaking.  The ego thinks that this something out there is a sign of “sin and death,” and so it encourages us to be fearful.

If, even for a moment, we bypass the bitter dregs of death, the stubborn and witchy attempts to handle this unnamed fear, we will be OK.  But the only real choice is love, a manifestation of love by forgiveness.  Give the angry deed over to the Holy Spirit and His judgment; He alone can handle what has aroused such strong negative emotions.

The ego thrills, and the ego dashes to the ground.  There are always oscillations, and there will always be.  It the way in which we come to see that the ego is not the way that we want to go.  The ego is constantly being undone.  And well that it is.

Love only satisfies; love only cools the overwrought emotions.  Dwell with God in the form of the Holy Spirit, and so the brittle and rigid emotions will subside.  God knows us best, of course, and the Holy Spirit will guide us out of even this abyss.

Your Purpose Is Nursed by Angels

“The end of sin, which nestles quietly in the safety of your relationship, protected by your union with your brother, and ready to grow into a mighty force for God is very near.  The infancy of salvation is carefully guarded by love, preserved from every thought that would attack it, and quietly made ready to fulfill the mighty task for which it was given you.  Your newborn purpose is nursed by angels, cherished by the Holy Spirit and protected by God Himself.”  (A Course in Miracles, FIP ed., T-19.IV.C.9)

More beautiful words.  We are viewing the end of sin, when we forgive our brother and welcome him into our heart with love.  Overwhelming love that knows no opposite.  We are just now moving into salvation; it will be a while before that salvation reaches its ultimate in Awakening.  At least for most people.  But each path to salvation is unique to us as individuals.  The Holy Spirit does not have a cookie cutter approach to our life in this world.

This is one of the few times in A Course in Miracles when Jesus alludes to the Other Side, with entities that attend us.  Here he refers to angels; our purpose is “nursed by angels.”  And our purpose well needs to be, for we are infants in the business of salvation.  We may have been “saved,” in a traditional sense, long ago, but it is unlikely that we have forgiven fully.  And forgiveness is the means of salvation in ACIM.  We need to carve this into our hearts.  We forgive, then we come to understand, and then when the forgiveness is total, we have a holy relationship with our brother.

The totality of all that forgiveness holds out to us may reach us suddenly, but usually it reaches us more slowly.  We give up judgment gradually, listening to the Holy Spirit only in snatches.  

We need to listen always, for He is identifies our way out of the mire in which we have become embedded.  Ask for help in forgiveness today; this is our quickest route to a holy relationship with not just one, but all, our brothers.

Love in the Quiet Garden

“Love, too, would set a feast before you, on a table covered with a spotless cloth, set in a quiet garden where no sound but singing and a softly joyous whispering is ever heard.  This is a feast that honors your holy relationship, and at which everyone is welcomed as an honored guest.”  (A Course in Miracles, FIP ed., T-19.IV.A.16)

Lovely passage, melodic in its choice of words.  This quotation is meant to lighten our attitude toward the holy relationship.  The holy relationship, unlike the special, is a place of calm and quiet (note the “quiet garden”).  The special relationship has flights of joy, but these are always followed by times of dashed hopes; we climb upward, only to dash our feet on a stone on the ground.

Note of these vicissitudes are present in the calm and peaceful, and joyous always, holy relationship.  This is a relationship that is permeated, through and through, with love.  We don’t have to strain toward some sort of unnatural high; we are cocooned in an ocean of love that knows no bounds.

And, once we have achieved the holy relationship, we would never go back to the unholy, or special, again.  As we make one relationship holy, we would want to make all of our relationships with brothers holy.

And we can.  Just put our minds to it.  It is not hard.  Forgiveness is key, as always.

There Is Nothing Outside You

“There is nothing outside you.  That is what you must ultimately learn, for it is the realization that the Kingdom of Heaven is restored to you.”  (A Course in Miracles, FIP ed., T-18.VI.1)

This passage puzzled me for a long time.  I think it is a statement of a holographic universe:  Each part contains the whole.  So we are a part of the All, the One, that is God—and therefore there is nothing outside of us.  We and our brother—all of our brothers—are One.  Everything is alive with energy, the stuff of the universe.  

We return to Heaven when we realize that we never really left at all.  What leaving we did was all a mirage, an illusion, something that never happened in actuality at all.  The separation never occurred!  The separation could not have occurred because we are a part of God, and so we can be “separate” from him only in illusion, not reality at all.

These ruminations reflect the theology of A Course in Miracles.  We will read further on, and then we will see the theology becoming all of one cloth.  There is no strain.  We will wake up to find ourselves at home in Heaven, the Oneness that we never really left at all.

Happy Dreams that Compose Our Lives

“Happy dreams come true, not because they are dreams, but only because they are happy.  And so they must be loving.  Their message is, ‘Thy Will be done,’ and not, ‘I want it otherwise.’”  (A Course in Miracles, FIP ed., T-18.V.4)

Happy dreams come to us from the Holy Spirit as we loose the world of the ego for something infinitely better.  As our minds began changing, we look out on a forgiven world, and in that forgiveness do we see a better world.  We project from within, and the within is not so dark as it once was, so fraught with egoic madness.

The Holy Spirit knows that we will not be happy until we listen to guidance from His Higher Power.  Until we say, “Thy Will be done.”

We do not have to imagine that our free will is being contradicted.  Actually, our free will is enhanced, for in the whole process we learn that the Holy Spirit actually speaks for us.  He chooses that which will make us the happiest, and that is always the real will that we have heretofore not known how to exert.  We have made many mistakes as we sought to create a comfortable environment for ourselves in this world.  We have not created anything that remained comfortable for very long, to our chagrin.

But all of this will change as we start following intuition that is divinely inspired.  The Holy Spirit points out the best way for us, the way that we will be happiest.  And only a very conflicted person would fail to see this after a short while.  Give guidance time to act in our lives, and we will quickly see that the divine way is what we have really wanted all along.  Every decision will be made for us; we will not have to struggle at all.  And peace and joy will become emblematic of our new lives.

TINY MAD IDEA

Note: Published in Miracles magazine, September – October, 2022 (Jon Mundy, publisher; Glenn Hovemann, editor)

“Into eternity, where all is one, there crept a tiny, mad idea at which the Son of God remembered not to laugh.”  (A Course in Miracles, COA ed., T-27.X.6:1)

“To access true knowledge of yourself and thus end all madness, you must go to knowledge in the right way, which is through love.”  (Choose Only Love, “Wisdom,” bk 4, 5.II)

We can’t remember any of this, but when we failed to laugh at the idea that we might attack God, making an illusion we would like better than the reality He provided, separating from our brothers and sisters, we chose madness.  And in madness is how we will stay until we discover truly how to love.  Love rights everything.  Unfortunately, we have become so accustomed to hearing that love is the Answer, that we don’t fully comprehend the import.

Perhaps if we try to discover how to love, we will make some progress.  We first forgive our brothers and sisters for what they have not done to us.  We have been living in a dream, because that is the only way that we could experience the madness that we chose.  We must drop judgment of our brothers and sisters, and we do this by recognizing the illusion.  A Course in Miracles says that fear is judgment. (T-29.X.9:3) Fear is the opposite of love, and when we drop the judgment that fuels fear, we are left with love.  Then, in love, we are safe in God’s arms once again.

We all want true knowledge of who we are.  And this true knowledge of self and others arises when we love, ourselves and others.  A tiny amount of love can be “milked” for all that it is worth.  And when we do so, we are enhancing that which is our heritage, and that heritage is love.  God’s Love.

When the fear dissipates, we are no longer afraid of what others will do to us. Because now we don’t fear or judge our brothers and sisters, we are free to love them—possibly for the first time.  

When overwhelmed with love, thank God for this blessing.

Holy Instant

“The holy instant is the result of your determination to be holy.  It is the answer.  The desire and the willingness to let it come precede its coming.  You prepare your mind for it only to the extent of recognizing that you want it above all else.  It is not necessary that you do more; indeed, it is necessary that you realize that you cannot do more.  Do not attempt to give the Holy Spirit what He does not ask, or you will add the ego to Him and confuse the two.”  (A Course in Miracles, FIP ed., T-18.IV.1)

Jesus here gives instructions for inviting a holy instant.  We don’t “prepare,” which would merely be a case of our ego trying to make us think, momentarily, that we are purer than before we started to prepare!  We just need a little willingness to experience the holy instant, a sense that we really do want this great blessing above all other blessings (at least at a given point in time).  The holy instant will come when invited in just this way.  It is a blessing that the Holy Spirit doesn’t ask us to prepare, because we surely would botch the job if we tried!  (This is what the ego is attempting to get us to do.)

We need determination only, an intense desire and will that is our part in the whole process.  And that is all.

The Holy Spirit will do the rest.

Holy Instant

“You who are now the bringer of salvation have the function of bringing light to darkness.  The darkness in you has been brought to light.  Carry it back to darkness, from the holy instant to which you brought it.  We are made whole in our desire to make whole.  Let not time worry you, for all the fear that you and your brother experience is really past.  Time has been readjusted to help us do, together, what your separate pasts would hinder.”  (A Course in Miracles, FIP ed., T-18.III.7)

We are said to be bringers of salvation now, and we have barely begun reading the Text of A Course in Miracles.  This must give us hope; Jesus has a lot of confidence in us.

The holy instants which we have now will transform us; it is the light that has risen in us, the vision that we now know.  A holy instant is a particular moment in time, a moment in which we feel ineffable peace and pure joy, a moment for which we are encouraged not to prepare.  The holy instant is the Holy Spirit’s gift to us.  And the holy instant is a gift that we and our brother share.  In this, we become One again.  The transformation of our special relationship into a holy one has begun.

There is an interesting take on time in this quotation that bears some reflection.  Jesus can adjust time!  He says so!  We who are strict realists in regard to physical reality will find this assertion hard to accept.  The adjustment is not something that can be measured by physical machines, such as clocks.  But have we not ourselves observed many times that time sometimes seems to stand still, sometimes seems to speed ahead?  If Jesus is here talking about an actual physical occurrence, the clocks (the measuring devices) would themselves have been altered as well.  In the final analysis, we don’t know if Jesus refers to physical reality in this quotation, or to simply our perception of physical reality.  We know that our perception of the passing of time is subject to variation, and we have known this long before we started reading A Course in Miracles.

It is enough to know that time will be adjusted to allow us to experience the holy instant, which is a miracle.  Elsewhere Jesus also says that time is adjusted for us to perform miracles. 

The actual facts here are less relevant than the ethereal nature of the holy instant.  We are being taken out of ourselves to an experience of pure love, and we will return to ourselves with more of our consciousness transformed.  We are making progress.

The Comforter Speaks to Us

“I highly recommend that you establish a relationship with the Comforter as though it were a relationship with a good friend—indeed, the best of friends—until you reach a point in which virtually every decision is given to that Mind:  Well, old buddy, should I turn left or right?”  (“The Way of Transformation,” The Way of Mastery, Chapter 21, Page 256.)

Jesus here refers to the Holy Spirit in quite familiar terms–as a “buddy.” This colloquial expression lightens our experience of the sacred, making us unafraid of a “Voice” that might speak to us.

It is unlikely that the Voice will be audible, unlikely because we might become afraid. When we look deep within, we know that we have found the dwelling place of the Holy Spirit. And His words to us come back to us as our own mind speaking.

The Holy Spirit does not frighten us. If we turn aside from the good advice we “hear,” the Voice will lessen. And if we “hear” anything that would harm another, we need to turn aside, lest our own fears make for a situation that is not good.

It is our voice that speaks to us, but if we are staying close to God, we are partaking of His Spirit, and our way will smooth out, assuring us that His offer of help is a free offer. He wants us to know that He loves us, and one of the ways that He shows that is to offer guidance.

We can and will “hear” the Holy Spirit speaking when we open up our hearts to God’s Love. We are here experiencing the “happy dreams the Holy Spirit brings” (from A Course in Miracles).

The Holy Spirit Guides

“Truth has rushed to meet you since you called upon it.  If you knew Who walks beside you on the way that you have chosen, fear would be impossible.  You do not know because the journey into darkness has been long and cruel, and you have gone deep into it.  A little flicker of your eyelids, closed so long, has not yet been sufficient to give you confidence in yourself, so long despised.”  (A Course in Miracles, FIP ed., T-18.III.3)

The “Who” is the Holy Spirit; if it had been meant to be Jesus, then in A Course in Miracles the pronoun would not have been capitalized.  And God Himself is not called upon very much at all as long as we are lost in illusion.  God is said to have turned to the Holy Spirit, God’s Voice and the Universal Inspiration, to teach us how to find our way out of darkness.

We don’t understand the Holy Spirit, but we can come to experience Him, and in the experiencing we will find all the Love that we want.  He is our Guide, our way home to God, and He gently leads us by the hand and tells us what to do to make the journey, the “journey without distance,” (said elsewhere) that we need to take.

The last sentence, with a “little flicker of. . .eyelids,” is particularly poignant.  Jesus understands that we have walked deep into insanity, and finding our way back is going to be a problem to be overcome.  He is writing A Course in Miracles to give us the means to Awaken, and the more that we study it, the more simple the whole course becomes.  (Prior to intense study, ACIM seems complicated indeed.)

We have despised ourselves.  Our primary thought has been that we are not enough—not “good” enough, not strong enough, not pure enough.  We berate ourselves that we have disappointed God.  But God sees us as His children, and He does not berate us for mistakes made in innocence.  We are innocent of anything bad; mistakes made in illusion seem to have real effects, in our all-too-tangible world, but what is done in illusion is not really done at all.  So we can rest easy.  We forgive, but forgiveness is an illusion as well, but one that does not breed other illusions.  Thus it becomes our way home.  We forgive what has never happened in reality!  How easy is that?

Happy Dreams

From Ann Glover O’Dell’s Midwifing the Soul:

New Truth

New truth comes to me

and I

eager to demonstrate

this sudden energy

look for someone

who might listen

but all are busy

looking for their own

interior informings

or if they hear me

give back blank looks

and realizing I have failed

to share some substance

of my newfound joy

I wince and wonder

if I’m meant to speak at all

or rather keep inside me

all that cries out to be told.

From time again of reaching out

with words

in vain attempts

conveying little

of this deepest gift

I come at last to know

the patience of the ancients

who learned what I must learn:

the simple waiting

until time and place

and question from another

might reveal

communal readiness

to share.


Meditation from Celia:

“I said before that the first change, before dreams disappear, is that your dreams of fear are changed to happy dreams.  That is what the Holy Spirit does in the special relationship.  He does not destroy it, nor snatch it away from you.  (A Course in Miracles, FIP ed., T-18.II.6)

The two parts of this quotations are linked together by the fact of a happy dream.  The Holy Spirit acts in us to change our dreams of hostility and anger and pain to happy dreams, even though we are still asleep and don’t entirely know how this change is happening.  What is going on is that our projection from within, where the Holy Spirit resides, is changing.  We are projecting more loving thoughts, and thus the perception that we have of the outer world is that it is changing, independent of us.  This change is not independently wrought.  And as we become happier, seeing in a more loving and kind way, the dream we experience becomes even better!

At this point our special relationships will begin to look better and better, not filled as much with pain or the vicissitudes of mood.  The special relationships, at this precise point, have not yet transformed into holy, but the potential is there.  We will want them to be holy as we proceed in our study of A Course in Miracles.

The Holy Spirit does not snatch away our special relationships, though we are fearful that, being inferior, He will decide that this form has to go.  The person most likely doesn’t have to go—if the transformation into a holy relationship can be made. 

We are learning in the context of ACIM.  We are projecting more positive aspects to our outer world, and everything changes at this point.  We are drawn by the joy that we experience as these changes come about.  This joy leads us to forget the ego, and just run to the joy.

And in that running will we take the next step, the sometimes disjointed next step, of transforming our special relationships (which have always been problematic) into something better—something holy.

Peace

From Ann Glover O’Dell’s Midwifing the Soul:

God Fruit

I am

you are

he is

            all God-fruit

            from germinated holy seed

            and ripening unevenly           

            appear misshapen and discolored

            as if from bruising

            or poor pollination.

I am

you are

he is

            judged by size and shapeliness

            and sometimes even fragrance

            as would-be orchard laborers

            determine if we’re worth

            the time and trouble

            to sift and sort for sale.

Even I

and you

and he

            forget we are not

            quality controllers

            in the large warehouses of humanity

            where clock time works against us.

The message is the thing

            that seeks to penetrate the rind

            for transformation of the seed capsules

            to let burst forth the flavor of the core.


From Celia’s Images from a Reflecting Pool: a Journal:

On what “works” in work for me:  “This morning I was very sleepy and relaxed–a little numb.  As a result I slowed down at work to great benefit.  I need to stop falling all over myself to get my work done.” Yet, the very next day, I wrote, “I seem to anticipate work and have a hard time doing that.  I don’t handle a million things to do very well.” Yet, though I clearly recognized this in 1992, I still haven’t truly accepted it and planned my work accordingly. 

I have a pattern of taking on more and more, getting “swamped,” and pulling back—only to repeat the same dynamic.  I may be addicted to an adrenaline rush which my body can’t sustain over the long haul.  So I end up anxious, and my husband does therapy for me over breakfast. Not fair to him or my real Self. 

A Course in Miracles says that the first obstacle that peace must flow across is the desire to get rid of it. (T-19.IV.A.1:1) 

How true!

Keeping Pace

From Ann Glover O’Dell’s Midwifing the Soul:

Martyr

Don’t call me martyr!

I abhor the name!

Daring

to dissect what motivates

to label action

to pass judgment on behavior

pieced in hearsay quilts!

Don’t tell me who I am

for you don’t know!

You cannot read my heart

and if you could

would miss the wisdom

from the depths of pondering

and placing

self-absorbed requitement for existence first.

Don’t nominative my life with fickle flattery

that cheapens everything I hold most dear

and spreads a sense of soiledness throughout my soul.

Don’t speak to me of

what you might call sacrifice!

I shun the word as prostitution

of my own free will

and sure damnation

of God’s wealth of joy.


From Celia’s Images in a Reflecting Pool; a Journal:

Norman Vincent Peale counseled pacing in daily life (though he did not call it that).  If in God’s own time, it is not there, it was not meant to be there.  This also works to mediate against precipitous action.  I don’t know that it would work in a life-threatening situation, but in my own life and work, I know that considered action and going with the flow (not bucking the tide) is what gets the job done.

On what really counts in life:  “I’ve wondered if putting A Course in Miracles into practice in a fast-paced and demanding life is the best thing that I could do.  But I don’t think life is meant to be as fast-paced as we live it.” 

Looking to the Future

From Ann Glover O’Dell’s Midwifing the Soul:

Washing                                 

Hardly recognizing I’ve been washed

   I catch the scent of sun-sweet cleanliness

     and wondering about the source

       don’t stop to ponder greater need.

Seeing that the new spring rain

   has made all Nature fresh again

      I leave to her the task of self-renewal

        and disregard my likeness to her own.

But restlessness o’ertakes me

  and I no pleasure gain from her fair form

    as I encounter winter in my spirit

      where new April life should be.

I cannot rise in rapture

  to match the show of beauty splashed about

    but witnessing new wonder

      feel myself begin to plummet to despair.

I question her concerning this

  and hear her say

    my clothes are soiled beyond restoring

      and I must discard all

        before I can be washed full clean.

I cannot readily agree to give up favored garments

  and cast aside what have become

    the ordered habits of my days.

Then I an inventory take

  of all these purchased,

    hand-me-downs,

      and old ones altered to conform

        to the image I’ve desired for all to see.

And realizing all are worn and dingy

  and no longer hold the shape and newness

    they once had

      still wonder what replacements

        I can find more worthy than these wraps

          I’ve clung to for so long.

While pondering this question

  I become so conscious of anxiety

    at present state I cannot find a

      single satisfying garment wrap around.

I think of all my dreams

  where I run free

    completely nude

      while all the others

        fully dressed

          stand by and stare.

And realize the message of the dream

  directs me to an inner casting off

    where I unhesitatingly

      walk about with barefoot spirit

        happy to be free

          of all encumbrances.

And thinking of the ancient rite

  of river cleansing

    seal of sacrament

      concluded with new convert

        wrapped in clean white robe.

I remember Nature’s words

  and tell her in hushed voice

    that I agree my washing need is great

and looking to her purgatorial source

  to take away my soul soil utterly

    I cease debating how or when or where

      some earthly pure white robing might occur.


From Celia’s Images in a Reflecting Pool; a Journal:

Is suffering a choice?  Leigh says “yes”; Betsy disagrees.  And neither has had a particularly happy life.  But the fact that suffering might be chosen should give us the impetus to walk lightly along our paths.  As the sympathetic executioner is reported to have said to Socrates on handing him the hemlock: “And so fare you well, and try to bear lightly what must needs be . . .”

Sometimes the best therapy is going to work each day.  An easy attitude toward one’s duties is a remarkable coping mechanism. Should one resist, the force field may become stronger, and the flow all but gone.

David said that he thought I would be very good at library administration, but that I would be perfectly miserable in my work.  Yes, I too fear I would be in a place where no birds sing.

So I risk making a mistake by avoiding this challenge in order to travel peacefully along more pleasant pathways. 

After all, the A Course in Miracles says, “Heaven asks nothing.  It is hell that makes extravagant demands for sacrifice.” (W-pI.135.24:3-4) In the cool of fading evening, I think I will be glad I listened to the songs of birds.

Images in a Reflecting Pool – Introduction

     The dreams the Holy Spirit gives are indeed happy.  I am

still learning, but I know more now.  In 1981, I was dreaming the

dreams of this world, caught in fantasies of an unreal past, and

vulnerable in the extreme.  After fifteen years and many hours of

studying A Course in Miracles, I have experienced more and more

hours and days of peace.  Oh, it is not 100 percent yet.  But

Jesus says, “In this world you need not have tribulation because

I have overcome the world.  That is why you should be of good

cheer.” (T-20.III.10:3-4)

     When I let my mind drop into fantasies, I forget how to

live.  Yet the Course promises that the way will be smooth.  “Time

is kind, and if you use it on behalf of reality, it will keep

gentle pace with you in your transition.” (T-4.I.13:10-11)  It is

not a hard path of learning, this better way structured to bring

us to Awakening.  Every year gets better, every decade a giant

step beyond the previous.  More and more I leave fear behind as I

try to see the face of Christ in my brothers and sisters.

     What lessons am I learning?  Attack is not the way to go.

(T-16.VI.8:2)  Anxiety is borne of the ego.

(T-30.VI.1:2)  And my worth is not measured by what I do.

(T-4.IV.4:1)  Of course, there are many other lessons, some

repeated frequently as I make my way still on this

side of the bridge.  As many before me have said, God is not

finished with me yet.

     This book details the issues and problems arising from my

life story and then dealt with in the manner of A Course in

Miracles.  In looking back, I find that three relationships–

Self-to-self, self-to-others, and self-to-God–have informed the

whole.  These images tell me that it is Love that

undergirds life and all my relationships of whatever nature.

Regardless of the relationship, however tenuous, it is love that

speaks to me in the everyday issues of which I tell you here.

     Images in a Reflecting Pool was written by rereading journal

entries from 1981 (the year I discovered A Course in Miracles) to

1996 (15 years).  If the entry seemed germane to my quest, I have

quoted directly from my journal.  Otherwise, I have penned a

reflection based on some incident recorded there.  I have sought

to follow the way of the Course to the extent that virtually none

of my personal philosophy is not informed by these spectacular

books.

     As you read, reflect on your own developing personal

philosophy.  Don’t take my word for it.  Take nothing unto

yourself unless it finds a gentle place in your heart.

     Jesus walks with us in our quest, as he has promised.

(T-4.I.7:1)

–unpublished writings by author of this blog.

God Is Not Fear, but Love

“When you seem to see some twisted form of the original error rising to frighten you, say only, ‘God is not fear, but Love,’ and it will disappear.  The truth will save you.  It has not left you, to go out into the mad world and so depart from you.  Inward is sanity; insanity is outside you.”  (A Course in Miracles, FIP ed., T-18.I.7)

We have long heard that we need to turn inward, but have we really understood what this means?  It means that we set aside time for God every day, maybe twice a day (as Jesus recommends in ACIM).  And in this we turn inward.

We can affirm the truth, which is Love, and turn aside from those things that frighten us.  Our affirmations will not seem strong enough when we are overwrought, and so we need to quiet ourselves before we can receive the blessing.  When we quiet ourselves, turning inward, we will know—with every fiber of our being—that God’s way is not in any way fearful.  That is the insanity of what we see outside ourselves.  When we turn inward, to God, we find only peace.

Don’t try to assimilate this idea when you are in the throes of anger.  Anger separates us from the truth that is within.  And, likewise, don’t choose to practice affirmations when you are in a panic.  Slow down and breathe.  God will find you when you give Him a moment.

Insanity is without, in the world.  And when we project from within, as long as the ego is in the ascendancy, we project insanity and our perception of the outer world is a thing of madness.

Don’t walk this way.  Turn inward, not only two times a day, but as often as you think of God.  “Pray without ceasing” is not an idle recommendation.  The reverent feeling will flow over your whole world of insanity, remove the insanity then, and you will sense Oneness with God.

Relinquish the Pain

“Remember, then, that always forgiveness is essential. . . . We speak here not of a blind passivity, but of a relinquishment within one’s own mind, and that is all.  It is a willingness to see the complete neutrality of all events.  (“The Way of Transformation,” The Way of Mastery, Chapter 21, Page 254)

I often think, when confronted with things that seem incomprehensible, that I am just dealing with the madness that A Course in Miracles explains so well. When we see madness, or neutrality, in the painful things of our world, we are in a better position to forgive. We don’t take it personally.

So forgiveness is essential. We need to let go, to relinquish our reactions that are negative when we see madness in our world. We let go, and when we let go, God rescues us from pain.

It is just that simple. And that easy.

Laws of Love

“This cooperation is natural when fear has been rejected.  You have long embraced fear and rejected love.  Now the reverse is true.  This reversal of truth has changed the nature of your universe and the laws by which it operates.  The laws of fear were laws of struggle, limits, danger, and competitiveness.  The laws of love are laws of peace, abundance, safety, and cooperation.  Your actions and the results of your actions in a universe of love will naturally be different from your actions and the results of your actions in a universe of fear.  You set the laws of the universe when you chose fear.  The laws of the universe of love are God-given.”  (A Course of Love, C:20.30 – 20.31)

We need love; it is our very nature.  We have lived for a long time in the “tiny, mad idea” (from A Course in Miracles) that gave us a universe of fear.  We were not at home there; we struggled mightily.  We listened to an egoic persona that did not mean us well, that tried to protect us by isolating us from each other in a cacophony of diverse sounds that spelled “fear” to us.  We never felt safe, because we never were safe.  Our “creations” had come back to haunt us.

But now all that can change.  Now we know better.  In a universe of love, we know peace abundance, safety, cooperation.  Our laws of struggle, limits danger, and competitiveness are not outdated.  What a joy to envision what awaits us in this new age!  We are safe because we are no longer “creating” with the ego; we are working within the laws of God, laws which complement our true reality.  We are homebound, safe in a universe where love reigns and where we have turned aside from the ego and its sad and forlorn dictates.

What Do I Want to Come of This?  What Is It for?

“In any situation in which you are uncertain, the first thing to consider, very simply, is ‘What do I want to come of this?  What is it for?’  The clarification of the goal belongs at the beginning, for it is this which will determine the outcome.”  (A Course in Miracles, FIP ed., T-17.VI.2)

I have long puzzled over this quotation.  It is hard to know how to answer the goal when we are faced with a myriad of possible activities.  But answer the goal, we must, if we are to make progress on the spiritual journey.

We want to make spiritual progress.  Our daily quiet time is designed for that purpose.  But we shouldn’t just think of goals when we are seeking God.  Our goal-driven society will ensure that there are many other times and means to reach an end.  Finding the right goals to pursue is crucial.

We often get side-tracked, especially when the ego is still strong in us.  We pursue goals that don’t satisfy, or they satisfy for only a short while, and then turn to dust.  This is always the way with egocentric goals.  We will feel an unreasoning elation when we reach one of these egotistical giants, but soon we will wonder why the gold has tarnished for us.  Why does this one thing—this goal—that we thought would satisfy all needs suddenly seem not to be enough?

So, we ask, what more can we pursue?  And we look around and identify a new pot of gold at the end of the rainbow.  And we go after that.  Only to be doused in the dust again, when the goal is reached, and we find ourselves, once again, unsatisfied.

The ego always leads thus.  So at some point we realize that it is time to get off the treadmill of egoic longing.  There is no satisfying the ego; anything that we do will ultimately prove to be “not enough.”

Only the intangibles are lasting in satisfaction.  And any religious orientation will tell us what this are:  peace, harmony, kindness, forbearance, love, forgiveness.

We don’t have to be following A Course in Miracles to know that these are the values that our spiritual leaders have preached for eons.  We just need to take those values unto ourselves.  And once we do, the peace that we find will convince us that those spiritual leaders have been right all along.

Freedom from Imprisonment

“Become willing to be one who cultivates the ability to allow all things.  The mind that is free can do this.  The mind that is imprisoned cannot.  For the mind that is imprisoned is so because it insists that what it perceives should become different in itself, but that the perceiver need not change.  And that is the very essence of imprisonment.”  (“The Way of Transformation,” The Way of Mastery, Chapter 21, Page 253)

Our problems are frequently self-created. But when we seek answers from a counselor, we often think that everybody else has to change–rather than us! This insight from the psychologist and writer, Richard Carlson.

And this is exactly what Jesus is saying here, channeled by Jayem. But we need to “allow,” and this means being willing to have it so. It doesn’t mean we never will work for change in ourselves, other people, or the world, but it does mean that we are accepting in the face of things that don’t seem to want to be different. We don’t become tangled up in trying to effect change, when things often just seem to remain the same, oblivious to our influence.

In an unreal world, we project what we are viewing. It is a mass hallucination, an illusion. A Course in Miracles says famously, “There is no world!,” and though we don’t want to believe it, there it is.

We ought not to worry others with our insistence that they do our bidding. It is enough that we, the perceiver, make changes in ourselves that we see are needed. It always starts with ourselves. The world will change when enough people realize this. The tipping point will have been reached.

We Live in New Times Now

“The time has passed when the forces of ego attacked the truth with all their ferocity.  There is no battle to win; it has already been won.  You live in new times now, times of the fullness of being.  Even though the world continues to look quite similar to that of yesteryear, the times now have nothing to do with what was previously.”  Choose Only Love, bk.7, 5:I

This quotation from the final book in the series, Choose Only Love, received by Sebastian Blaksley, will give us hope. Certainly when we look at our conflicted world, we are likely to doubt these optimistic words. But it truly is darkest before the dawn, and we are reaching the dawn shortly. The egoic triumph for our world is no more. Many people, even if not of a religious persuasion, are becoming aware of what works and what doesn’t. And egoic extremes fail miserably.

We are in the “fullness of being.” This is Mary’s way, heralded by A Course of Love and then followed up with Mirari and Memoria–as received by God’s servant, Mari Perron. “Being” as an ideal doesn’t mean we sit back and don’t do anything to improve our world. But our being in this world is primary; we don’t seek to be do-gooders without salvation ourselves.

“There is no battle to win; it has already been won.” This, about the ego, is wonderful news in and of itself. Much of this change has come about from the advent of A Course in Miracles, received by Helen Schucman and Bill Thetford as a team, with Helen taking down notes and Bill typing them up. The book was published in 1975. Much to the good has happened since. And most of us believe that A Course in Miracles was channeled by Jesus himself.

Let’s ask sincerely if we are on the right track, those of us of religious persuasion who seek only good in the world. Let our “being” flow, with actions that emerge from our being One with God.

This is the final step. Being One with God is the ultimate. And the illusory separation from God, fraught with the ego, is healed.

Recapturing What We Lost in the Fall of Man

“In unity, all that you desired was participated in fully by a mind and heart combined in wholeheartedness.  You knew your Self to be the creator, and loved all that you created.  You did not desire and fear something at the same time, and your desires did not change from moment to moment.”  (A Course of Love, C:18.14)

We are now living eons past the time of “first” unity.  This first experience of unity cannot really be recaptured as a sense impression now, but it can be recaptured as we move farther along the pathway back to God.  We lived eons ago in wholeheartedness, knowing ourselves as a creator, a co-creator (if you will), of God Himself.  But because of something that couldn’t really happen, but did (the “tiny mad idea” that A Course in Miracles discusses), we fell from grace into an adolescent rebellion.  We weren’t patient enough to come into the fullness of our Being, our Self.  So we coalesced around a false persona, driven by an ego that we made ourselves, and we fell into deep despair as a result.

We can return to the unity that we have forgotten.  It takes patience and abundant willingness to capture what we have lost, but the recapture is God’s intention for us, and so he is right there helping us every step along the way.

Don’t get depressed that the way seems too long and tortuous.  It may be long, but the way is not tortuous at all.  Not with all the help that we are being given.  Our way back is assured—indeed, has always been assured, from the beginning.  God’s will only takes time in the working out, and time does not really exist, for we live in eternity.

Faith

“This is the time for faith.  You let this goal be set for you.  That was an act of faith.  Do not abandon faith, now that the rewards of faith are being introduced.”  (A Course in Miracles, FIP ed., T-17.V.6)

Jesus does not say a great deal about faith in A Course in Miracles.  He is, in ACIM, giving us concrete ways to reach salvation—and Awakening—and he does not recommend blind faith.  He is carefully explaining the means to us, the means to Awakening.  He indicates at one point that the end may be revealed to us along the way, but to get there (sustained), the means need to come first.  And he says that he is carefully explaining the means to us.

Faith is required, though.  We have to proceed, as we read, to believe that Jesus is guiding us aright.  He knows that we may sometimes believe that he is misleading us, although he is trying to use words that can’t be misconstrued. 

Now, as we proceed through the Text, we need to realize that we must stand firm with this new course of study.  When we don’t abandon the Text, it reveals great wonders to us.

And we need those wonders.

Welcoming the New / Leaving Behind the Old

“The old” is a construction.  What is constructed can be de-constructed, and it is in this time, that those perceived to be powerless will rise and begin to claim ‘unconstructed’ power, the innate power of the feminine that exist in all.”  Mirari

We are in changing times.  Of course the world has always been changing, but there seems to be speedup of change today.  The notes around A Course in Miracles indicate that Jesus has spoken of a “celestial speedup,” because our world is in dire straits and needs saving—right away.  We are right in the midst of this celestial speedup now.  Many channeled writings are coming to the forefront, even as the world descends often into chaos.  The celestial speedup will, when time is ripe, put an end to this chaos.  But the speedup needs all of us.

The power of the feminine emphasizes Mary’s way, which is the way of being.  We make changes simply by listening to our heart.  Indeed, if we don’t listen to our heart, we are likely to act unwisely.  We need discernment, as the Society of Friends (Quakers) has long counseled.

We will leave the “old” behind and head forthwith into The New, first heralded by A Course of Love.  Our New will allow a happiness that has eluded us previously.  Our New, extending to other people by our expressions of love, will transform us.

Let’s begin today.

Holy vs. Special Relationships

“The holy relationship, a major step toward the perception of the real world, is learned.  It is the old, unholy relationship, transformed and seen anew.  The holy relationship is a phenomenal teaching accomplishment.”  (A Course in Miracles, FIP ed., T-17.V.2)

A holy relationship is a relationship with our brother that was once special.  Special relationships have a lot of pain; holy ones, never pain.  The holy relationship is the means that A Course in Miracles uses to save time for us in heading into salvation in its ultimate, Awakening.  We are not encouraged to spend long periods in contemplation, as some spiritual teaching suggest.  Jesus’s spiritual teaching now, in ACIM, is just to turn from egoic sight of one’s brother.  Let go of wanting to praise his physical appearance, his superficial personality, his income.  These physical attributes are not the real brother; your apprehension of his intangible qualities will open your vision to the holiness that can be yours.  Your brother, in short, will lead you home to God.

Jesus is teaching us in A Course in Miracles, and his encouragement of a holy relationship with our brother is the most important aspect of his explanation of how to reach Awakening.  We learn about the holy relationship in time, not immediately (normally).  Note that the special relationships that have brought us both joy and pain are not to be taken away from us prematurely.  We will gently transform the special.  And in the transformation will come our own release to the real world.  The real world dawns on our puzzled eyes just before Awakening comes.  The time is brief between the real world and Awakening, but we don’t know from ACIM what the “brief” really means.  Time means something more in eternity than we know.

So we do what we can to see the intangible, admirable qualities in our brother.  We know that his attacks are a call for help, a call for love, and we don’t hold his attacks against him.  We know that they are borne of insanity, and that they thrive in the illusion in which we find ourselves.

Only when we move into the real world will we move out of illusion into a perceptual Heaven.  Then our holy relationships will bless us as almost nothing else can.  We will be seeing God in our brother, and we will be seeing God in our Self.

There will be no further need to dwell on the superficialities of our brother’s personality.

“Play” in God’s Kingdom

“There can be no end to the Mind of God.  You will abide forever within it, like one who abides in an infinite forest.  Why not be at play in the Kingdom?”  (“The Way of Transformation,” The Way of Mastery, Chapter 20, Page 249)

Most of us on the spiritual path take many things too seriously. Just this morning at breakfast my husband and I were talking about a college friend who had told us that she did not enjoy college. My husband replied, “I think everything at your college was too serious.”

This exchange can be compared to how we react to God. We want to get it right. We want to do the right thing, always. And it is undeniable that this attitude takes some of the sheer “fun” out of life.

I don’t think this attitude is best, though I have been a part of it, too. God’s Kingdom would have a lightness in our bearing, not to take ourselves too seriously. Indeed, A Course in Miracles says that seriousness is “of the ego.” This little-quoted assertion from ACIM needs more attention.

How did we play as children? Some of that lightheartedness would serve us well now. Keep in mind that most people believe that Jesus is talking in this live channeling from Jayem. He himself stepped aside and knew of nothing that he was saying until he listened to the recording.

The Gospel of Judas, though not part of the canon of the New Testament, has Jesus “laughing” a lot! Can we see Jesus as a lighthearted figure? And he is our role model.

Let us have some fun today. Let us enjoy the day, not fret so much about getting it wrong.

Defenses

“It is essential to realize that all defenses do what they would defend.  The underlying basis for their effectiveness is that they offer what they defend.”  (A Course in Miracles, FIP ed., T-17.IV.7)

But this dynamic causes the exact opposite of what we want!  We get what we defend against; how good is that?  In the illusory world that the ego rules, we are trying to avoid the thing that we are so massively constructing brick walls against.  Here, though, Jesus makes a startling assertion that we might well check out in our daily life (especially if we don’t think Jesus has it right).

Have you ever found yourself trapped by defenses, defenses that had been erected to protect yourself?  Of course.  I once knew someone who was barricaded against attacks from others by a wall so strong and fortified that those of us who knew her well saw through what was happening.  Unfortunately, she herself often attacked others.  So, though she had never studied A Course in Miracles, she believed that she would be attacked.  She projected her belief onto others, and so this was her perception.  And she was attacked by others, try as hard as she might to destroy their lives first!

It was a mess.  This scenario, even in description and not in the living, so easily conveys the ridiculous nature of following the ego.  Attack, defense, defense, attack.  We need to get real.  As Jesus says in this quotation selected for tonight, defenses do what they would defend. 

Vow tonight to avoid being defensive.  It will be hard at first, because we reflexively defend ourselves when we are challenged by another.  And especially when we are attacked by another.  The psychological truth of Jesus’s statements about defense, though, ought to be enough to convince us that we need to make an about-fact promptly.

We will walk an easier pathway when we decide that defenses do not help us at all, and they harm (in the illusion) more than almost anything else.

Happiness

“God established His relationship with you to make you happy, and nothing you do that does not share His purpose can be real.  The purpose God ascribed to anything is its only function.  Because of His reason for creating His relationship with you, the function of relationships became forever ‘to make happy.’  And nothing else.”  (A Course in Miracles, FIP ed., T-17.IV.1)

Happiness is a good thing.  We sometimes mistake pleasure in the things of this world for genuine happiness, but perhaps as we proceed through A Course in Miracles, we will catch some glimpse of the difference.  Happiness in this world is a reflection of the happiness that we bask in when we attune ourselves to God.  He is ever ready to advance His cause with us, and it is only our own fear that keeps Him from us.  Our Guide, His Communication Link to us, the Holy Spirit, will let us know how to walk the best pathway.  We have only to listen attentively.  The Holy Spirit will get through to us, and in the communication will come a happiness unlike anything that this world has offered us heretofore.

God created us to be happy in Him.  Until we return to Him, that goal is thwarted.  And we would not have it thwarted, for we want to be happy.  We need to realize, moreover, that happiness is not an inferior goal, inferior to our function of forgiveness and salvation.  For forgiveness, salvation, and happiness are One in God’s eyes, and, as such, they ought to be One in our own eyes as well.

It is perhaps foreign to us to place happiness first.  We think that there are more altruistic emotions.  But can we really help another out of our own neediness?  And don’t we come into our own, really, only when we are happy?  Up to now, we have had fleeting instances of happiness—but happiness is meant to be a constant state, and when it has become such, we will know why.

We can make our contribution to the world best when we are contented.  And contentment is a form of happiness.  We don’t need to sign in agony at the pain that we suffer; indeed, we don’t have to turn pain into suffering.  If we keep a steady eye on the guidance of the Holy Spirit, He will teach us how to emerge from the pain.

And then our way Home, our way Home quickly, is assured.

Forgiveness

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“Can you imagine how beautiful those you forgive will look to you?  In no fantasy have you ever seen anything so lovely.  Nothing you see here, sleeping or waking, comes near to such loveliness.  And nothing will you value like unto this, nor hold so dear.  Nothing that you remember that made your heart sing with joy has ever brought you even a little part of the happiness this sight will bring you.”  (A Course in Miracles, FIP ed., T-17.II.1)

Forgiveness is, at first, something that we do for ourselves.  Then it is something that we do for others.  For giving and receiving are one in the tenets of A Course in Miracles.

When we forgive, our whole world will open up to bless us.  Our grievances, on the other hand, hide the light of the world in us.  We cannot see accurately or well in darkness.  We see only in light.  And forgiveness is our function, the means in which we will know happiness and spread salvation, not only for ourselves but also for others.

We will value those whom we have forgiven more than anything else in our world, for is it not our significant others who offer the greatest challenge to us for forgiveness?  We will value them even more when we have totally forgiven, holding nothing back.  The ways of this world would tell us that we need to protect ourselves from future hurt by not forgetting their words or deeds against us.  But A Course in Miracles advises us that this is a defense, and defenses do what they would defend against.

So the only way out, the only way back to the light in us, is to drop grievances.  Just to let them go.

Then we will know a joy that has eluded us until now.  We will know peace.  We will know harmony.  And we will know love.  Really, for the first time.

Considering A Course in Miracles’ Version of the Lord’s Prayer

“Forgive us our illusions, Father, and help us to accept our true relationship with You, in which there are no illusions, and where none can ever enter.  Our holiness is Yours.  What can there be in us that needs forgiveness when Yours is perfect?  The sleep of forgetfulness is only the unwillingness to remember Your forgiveness and Your Love.  Let us not wander into temptation, for the temptation of the Son of God is not Your Will.  And let us receive only what You have given, and accept but this into the minds which You created and which You love.  Amen.”  (A Course in Miracles, FIP ed., T-16.VII.12)

This prayer was recognized by Helen, the scribe of A Course in Miracles, as ACIM’s version of the Lord’s Prayer.  If we read it carefully, we will all see why.

The prayer starts with a plea for forgiveness.  And, later on, continues with a plea that we not wander into temptation.  The words are different, but the message of this prayer is very akin to the Lord’s Prayer in the New Testament.

We have illusions here, but we would not have it so.  God would not have it for us, either.  We are holy like God, though we strive mightily to hide this awareness from ourselves, and we often just outright don’t believe it.  We have been asleep, in the “sleep of forgetfulness.”  And God would have us awaken, for his channels are closed to Him, and in ACIM He is said to be lonely without the minds that He created being in communication with Him.  We need to receive the great gifts of God, in joy and the abundance that he offers to us, freely, always.

Let’s take a look at the Lord’s Prayer, as found in the King James Version of the Bible (the version used in A Course in Miracles), from Matthew 6:9-13:

“Our Father which art in heaven, Hallowed be thy name.

“Thy kingdom come, Thy will be done in earth, as it is in heaven.

“Give us this day our daily bread.

“And forgive us our debts, as we forgive our debtors.

“And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil:  For thine in the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, for ever.  Amen.”

Living in the Mind of Christ

“Each time you can interrupt the momentum of the mind for perceiving nothing but problems, you will begin to discover that the underground river of the Mind of Christ is yet within you still.  As you feel your successes more and more deeply, that in turn builds your desire to live in that stream.  (“The Way of Transformation,” The Way of Mastery, Chapter 20, Page 247)

Living with the Mind of Christ is a great blessing. When we live in our personal mind, often beset by the ego, we live a demoralized life filled with problems–one following another ad infinitum.

This is no way to live. If we believed nothing else, seeing the truth of this problem-oriented life as a bad way to live would be enough to encourage us to turn to a Higher Power. Even if we are unsure about whether that Higher Power is God.

A Course in Miracles reminds us that the solution is always with the problem, no time delay, no procrastination when we are seeking to follow God’s guidance. But why, oh why, do we focus so on problems, something that only succeeds in bringing us more of them?

Live with the Christ Mind instead. Jesus’ help is only a sure call away. He comes, though we don’t understand how, and we often don’t recognize when. The Mind of Christ is a part of us, whether we call this the Holy Spirit or the Christ-Mind. There are no barriers between these terms.

The “something greater” will save us. Call on help today. Know that we are heard, and that we have a sure help on the way.

For All This We Give Up Nothing!

“The new perspective you will gain from crossing over will be the understanding of where Heaven is.  From this side, it seems to be outside and across the bridge.  Yet as you cross to join it, it will join with you and become one with you.  And you will think, in glad astonishment, that for all this you gave up nothing!  The joy of Heaven, which has no limit, is increased with each light that returns to take its rightful place within it.”  (A Course in Miracles, FIP ed., T-16.VI.11)

Today is a joyful day, for doesn’t this quotation remain a harbinger of good things to come?  Heaven joins with us as we cross the metaphorical bridge.  And Heaven is here and now, not on the Other Side solely.  Not that we will find only after death.  We can experience Heaven here and now, and what a blessing this promise is, coming as it does near the beginning of the Text of A Course in Miracles.

How will we recognize Heaven when we have reached it?  Does this question really need answering?  We may actually still experience bad things, but the suffering that we knew previously will depart from us.  Any pain that we might experience can be turned over to the Holy Spirit, and then we can know relief.  This is, after all, still this world, and to believe that we would only experience the good is naïve.  But we will know that the bad that we see is actually only illusion, that this bad is not real.  Unreality is a powerful defense mechanism, and we have hardy tools in our experience now.

We don’t have to sacrifice to reach Heaven on earth.  Sacrifice is never asked of anything.  In the philosophy of ACIM, Jesus himself did not sacrifice when he walked the earth 2,000 years ago.  The idea that he had to die on a cross to save us is not the point, ACIM tells us.  His resurrection is the point, and it is in this way that he saves us.

We don’t lack for anything that Jesus had and has.  He assures us that he walked the pathway before us, but only so that he could help us along the way.  He doesn’t have anything that we lack.  Only time separates our walk, and time does not really exist.

So:  We give up nothing!  And we need do nothing (an ACIM tenet).  When we have reached Awakening, we will reach it with one glad realization, that, for all this, we gave up nothing.  And we need do nothing.

We will have busy doings, but they are of our free choice.  Ask before you embark on anything today.  Ask if that thing is right for you.

The Holy Spirit Works for Us

“You have never given any problem to the Holy Spirit He has not solved for you, nor will you ever do so.  You have never tried to solve anything yourself and been successful.  Is it not time you brought these facts together and made sense of them?”  (A Course in Miracles, FIP ed., T-16.II.9)

The quotation for this morning is a very precise one, with much meaning and evokes a good sense of reassurance.  We can trust the Holy Spirit to solve our problems.  We can do this.  And the quotation also says that we, by ourselves, have never solved anything satisfactorily.

Is this not true?  Don’t we know this in our own experience?

I know that when my days get off to the wrong start, and I am stubborn about following the Holy Spirit, I have no peace until I quickly recover—affirming to the Holy Spirit that I will follow Him.  Then I really do relax, and I soon develop flow to my day.  This reassessment and change in orientation takes only a moment.  But it makes a gigantic difference in the type of day that we have.

Jesus’s logical argument in this quotation goes quickly to the point.  Yes, we can put these two sentences together and make sense of them, can’t we?  It takes only a moment of reflection to realize that we are onto something here; Jesus is onto something here; and the Holy Spirit is our only true Guide.

We can’t judge for ourselves because we don’t know the whole panorama of all events that impinge on a decision from past, present, and future.  But the Holy Spirit, in His omniscience, does know.  And so when we allow Him to be our personal Guide, our lives start to go right for the first time ever.  We have a Guide Who is sure.  And our own meaningless attempts to make good decisions can fall away.

We may feel personally insulted that we can’t depend on our own judgment in this world.  The world has taught us that we can, that we grow into maturity and then make good decisions.  Our own assessments will show us that this procedure is a fallacy.  We don’t make better decisions in maturity than we did earlier.  We may make worse.  And we are unable to stand freely and confidently with the ego as our guide.

Take the next right step today.  Give over judgments to the only One Who can make the right decisions in any situation, barring none.  Give over judgments to the quiet guidance of the Holy Spirit.

Love Banishes Chaos

“You would make no attempt to judge, because it would be quite apparent to you that you do not understand what anything means.  You are afraid of this because you believe that without the ego, all would be chaos.  Yet I assure you that without the ego, all would be love.”  (A Course in Miracles, FIP ed., T-15.V.1)

Judging will keep us from Awakening.  And without an ego, we would know immediately that judging is falsity and false thinking.  We don’t know the past, present, and future in all dimensions, and if we don’t know this, we can’t judge rightly.  This is why judging is accurately left to the Holy Spirit, Whose prescience tells Him past, present, and future in all dimensions.  Yet we clutch judging to our bosoms, being afraid to let it go.  We have been taught, wrongly, by this world that we grow in understanding as we mature, and that judgments, therefore, will grow in accuracy as we get older.  This is a fallacy, as Jesus so rightly points out.  We are always judging from the standpoint of the ego, which cannot know anything.

The Holy Spirit makes only one judgment:  God’s Son is innocent.  He does not have an ego with which to judge, and He knows the fallacy of holding anything at all against a precious child of God.

We think that we will be lost in chaos if we don’t judge.  We think that if we don’t defend ourselves, by judging, against predicaments that may arise, then we, poor defenseless selves that we are, will be fodder for any stronger person to devour.  We think that judging is the way that we protect ourselves.  But Jesus says elsewhere that defenses make what they would defend against.  We are thus lost by the act of defending from supposed detractors.  This is why we think that all will be chaos if we don’t judge.  It is a defensive maneuver.

But it is defensive maneuver that will not work.  And so why not open one’s self to the love that lies beneath this supposed chaos?  Without judging, all will be love.  And our defensiveness, which does not work anyway, won’t be needed.  We are protected as Sons of God, protected by our Guide and Teacher, the Holy Spirit.  God Himself, of Whom we are a part, knows that our entity, lost in Him, will abide forever, in safety and truth.

And this is all the assurance that we need.

Holy Instants

“This course is not beyond immediate learning, unless you believe that what God wills takes time.  And this means only that you would rather delay the recognition that His Will is so.  The holy instant is this instant and every instant.  The one you want it to be it is.  The one you would not have it be is lost to you.  You must decide when it is.  Delay it not.”  (A Course in Miracles, FIP ed., T-15.IV.1)

We must choose holy instants, now and always, and, once chosen, our pathway is smooth.  God’s Will is to give us holy instants, one right after the other, no delay at all.

What is a holy instant?  It is a moment in time, at first an isolated moment, in which we see with the eyes of love and reject nobody.  We attack not at all.  We are serene in our experience of loving our brother. 

From this quotation, we can see that the isolated holy instant is meant to expand into an all-encompassing series of holy instants that know no end.  This can happen, though it may be rare in this world for most of us.  Jesus recommends that we not delay in seeking the holy instant in every instance caught in time.  By our own decision we experience holy instants in this way, one right after the other in a free-flowing experience of grace.

Ask for a holy instant as you commune now with the Holy Spirit.  He will not delay in seeing that your prayer is answered.  Only a mind in turmoil could delay the experience of the holy instant.  Ask that your mind be stilled, and in the midst of this stillness, the miracle will happen.  A holy instant will be yours.

Hell Is Egoic Thinking

“The Holy Spirit teaches thus:  There is no hell.  Hell is only what the ego has made of the present.”  (T-15.I.7)

Do any of us still believe in hell?  Or fear that, in some form, it still might be true?

In some form it is true:  the hellish present that the ego gives us. 

And this present can indeed be hellish.

The teaching is from the Holy Spirit, Who makes no mistakes.  His Way is true.  His Way is accurate.  And His Way is there for all of us to follow, just being true to His Word and walking a sure path into a higher consciousness.

If we were led by the ego previously, then remember that there is a time delay before events are materialized in this world.  We will see that what we believed somewhat earlier makes its way into our world.  And only with that time delay, a delay that is actually helpful, for it gives us time to change our minds.  If our thoughts were immediately actualized, we would be in trouble indeed.

Know that you can change the hellish present into a better future just by relinquishing the egoic state of mind.

So many gifts for such a relinquishment!  We are indeed blessed, with a way out of our anguish and a better way assured for us in the future.

Commentary on Egoic Hell

“The belief in hell is inescapable to those who identify with the ego.  Their nightmares and their fears are all associated with it.”  (A Course in Miracles, FIP ed., T-15.I.4)

Threatened people can be, and frequently are, vicious.  And threatened people are people who have considerable investment in the things of the ego—the materialism in particular. 

This is the lamentable condition of this world, for many there are who believe in hell.  And hell is very, very scary.  Most individuals in this world do, in fact, identify with the ego; those who don’t are the rare exceptions.  (And we are seeking to be those of this rare exception.)  If we identify with the ego, we will oscillate between joy and despair, and our nightmares (daytime and nighttime) will offer little solace to us.  We will live a fearful life.  We will not be happy on any kind of extended basis, for the ego always gives, only to take away.

A lot of the problem in our world is because people are easily threatened, and then become defensive and, often, violent.  This dynamic is not inevitable in the physical world, but it is inevitable as long as most people are enamored of the ego.  There is no getting around it:  The ego is very bad business indeed.  The sooner we free ourselves from it, the smoother our lives will go.

Nothing has happened in this world except that we have put ourselves to sleep and dreamed bad dreams, most frequently nightmares.  There has been no comprehensive Awakening, and until this happens, our world indeed does seem doomed. 

Let us be among those who choose again.  Choose once again—that is all that Jesus asks.  And the nightmares will recede, never to recur, eventually, when we have reached the Awakening toward which we are walking.

Merely to Be Perfectly Calm & Quiet All the Time

“Can you imagine what it means to have no cares, no worries, no anxieties, but merely to be perfectly calm and quiet all the time?  Yet that is what time is for; to learn just that and nothing more.”  (A Course in Miracles, FIP ed., T-15.I.1)

Is “perfectly calm and quiet” desirable?  Many of us would say “no,” given our present state of mind.  We are addicted to drama, but when we Awaken, we won’t want drama anymore.  We will see the value of calm and quiet, and we will recognize that in calm and quiet, we are finally at peace.

In time we learn the value of calm and quiet.  Jesus says in this quotation that this is what time is for, just to realize come to the state in which we have “no cares, no worries, no anxieties.”  Now this is motivation, is it not?

I have known people who felt that to be “perfectly calm and quiet all the time” would not be desirable.  These individuals are caught in the throes, still, of living an egoic life—being bound by the part of the self that abides in the ego.  The bottom line then becomes “drama.”

Eckhart Tolle, an Awakened individual, indicates that in his significant relationships he does not know drama.  In his presentations on video, he is an extremely calm individual.  Eckhart has written several books in which he details the experience of Awakening, and in them (The Power of Now; A New Earth) he gives practical advice designed to lead us to this state of calm and quiet. 

I also know an individual in my town who experienced Awakening 30 years and more ago, and she has sustained that experience.  Her demeanor is also quite calm.  And she is very easy to relate to.  Her ego is missing.

The calm and quiet that we will enjoy as time goes by will grow to significant experience when God has deemed that we are ready for Awakening.  In the meantime, we can move in that direction by seeking out situations that reinforce a calm mind.

No Idle Thoughts

“This is why the very pathway of awakening, regardless of the form it takes, is always a retraining of the mind.  It is a decision to choose to discipline the mind in each moment, to teach only Love, to hold only loving thoughts, and to recognize that there is no such thing as an idle thought, since each thought or perception held in the mind immediately generates your experience.  That experience is like a pebble dropped into a pond that send a reverberation, a vibration, throughout the field of your being.”  (“The Way of Transformation,” The Way of Mastery, Chapter 20, Page 239)

A Course in Miracles also tells us that there are no idle thoughts.  We often think that if we don’t say anything bad, we are home free.  But thoughts have repercussions, and if our thoughts are “bad,” we need to ask for help to right them.

We can’t just will love, but when we get quiet and go within, we will find God’s Love, and He prompts us to love those surrounding us.  He teaches us how to love, but we have to become still from time to time, in contemplation and prayer, for his guidance to “take.”

Every thought counts.  But this is not counsel to fear our thoughts.  It is counsel to let God’s Love overwhelm us in our daily round.  When we open our heart to Him, He teaches us what we can learn no other way.

We discover how to live, and that living is done in overwhelming love for ourselves, our fellow human beings, and our God.

Peace & Understanding Found Together

“Think not you understand anything until you pass the test of perfect peace, for peace and understanding go together and never can be found alone.  Each brings the other with it, for it is the law of God they be not separate.  They are cause and effect, each to the other, so where one is absent the other cannot be.”  (A Course in Miracles, FIP ed., T-14.XI.12)

We focus today on twin values—peace and understanding, which Jesus says are never found apart.  With one, the other comes.  Without one, the other does not come.  The dual nature of peace and understanding is particularly apt to be overlooked in a study of A Course in Miracles, but when seen clearly, this tidbit of information tells us much.  It tells us why we have not understood before (we lacked peace), and why we didn’t have peace (we lacked understanding).

We need perfect peace, and for this we need understanding.  A Course in Miracles is giving us the means to reach Awakening, the end that we all seek.  God makes the decision of when, but we must be prepared.  And we will be effortlessly and easily prepared when we study ACIM carefully and well.

Peace and understanding are both cause and effect to each other, a dichotomy that is difficult to understand.  But Jesus frequently makes reference to cause and effect in ACIM—a favorite learning device of his.  We can see that each causes the other, and therefore each is the “effect” of the other.  We cannot make progress when either is lacking from our lives.

May we experience at least fleeting moments of perfect peace today.  To do so, we will realize that we have understood some of what A Course in Miracles is telling us.

And we will seeing accurately.

To Be Free of Fear & in Perfect Peace

“You have one test, as sure as God, by which to recognize if what you learned is true.  If you are wholly free of fear of any kind, and if all those who meet or even think of you share in your perfect peace, then you can be sure that you have learned God’s lesson, and not your own.”  (A Course in Miracles FIP ed., T-14.XI.5)

This quotation comes early in the Text, and this is perhaps surprising, because it gives us a secret by which we can know if we are assimilating the message of A Course in Miracles.  We are, though, at this juncture perhaps unable to affirm that pass this test.

Are we free of fear?  Do others think of us with peace only? 

This is a hard test.  Even those who have been on the pathway to Awakening for a long time may not feel sure about their freedom from fear, or their choice to spread only peace.

How might we do these things?  How might we be free of fear and embodying peace always?

There are no easy answers.  A Course in Miracles in its entirety is seeking to bring us to this end.  But we can begin.  And we begin with study of ACIM.  We commune with God.  We listen to the Holy Spirit, Whose guidance will take us home to God surely.  We walk alongside Jesus, in imagination holding his hand.  This is the Holy Trinity, and in this we build on what we learned from the New Testament.  ACIM now seeks to take us where we are in our progress as human beings in this Twenty-First Century.  We have somewhat different needs in our salvation than people years ago had.  We have become changed people.  And we now know what the ego is, and we realize that its ways are not best for us.  If we are spiritually smart, we will reach for forgiveness of our brother as our pathway.  This is the means that A Course in Miracles is using to take us to God.  This is our salvation, our access to Awakening.

Speak to God today in your effort to move closer to Him in daily life.  Follow guidance for the best pathway in everything.

Love & the Call for Love

“The only judgment involved is the Holy Spirit’s one division into two categories; one of love, and the other the call for love.  You cannot safely make this division, for you are much too confused either to recognize love, or to believe that everything else is nothing but a call for love.”  (T-14.X.7)

This quotation states a fundamental truth of the teachings of A Course in Miracles:  that everything is either love, or a call for love.  This is how we are to view the words and actions of our brother as well, our significant other(s) who is walking this world with us.  He is either expressing his love for us, or he is calling for us to overlook his attack and to know that that attack is a call for love from us.  These are the only two choices.

We cannot make this division ourselves, not at this juncture.  Appeal to the Holy Spirit when confronted with attack; know that this need not be.  He will make the judgment that one’s brother is only calling for love.  We will be too overwrought to make that distinction.  But the One Who can will speak to us and calm us.  Then we will be in the best position to run to our brother’s side with the love that he needs so desperately.

Don’t run to your brother’s side if he is not yet receptive.  There will come a time when he will be receptive.  And, if you are listening to the Holy Spirit, you will know when that time is.  This is the time to act.  Not a moment later.  But be sure that you are discerning correctly.  Be sure that your own overwrought emotions have righted themselves.  Be sure that the Holy Spirit is saying, “Act NOW!”

SPOTLESS MIRROR

by Celia Hales

Published in Miracles magazine (Jon Mundy, publisher).

In this world you can become a spotless mirror, in which the Holiness of your Creator shines forth from you to all around you.  You can reflect Heaven here.  (A Course in Miracles, FIP ed., T-14.I.5)

Honor your mind, let it serve what it was created for:  to be a blessed mirror of divine truth, the abode of wisdom, a sacred temple where the sweetness of love dwells.  (Choose Only Love bk. 4, 16:II)

The goal, then, of genuine spirituality is to realign the quality of your perception—to mirror, to resonate with, to be in perfect alignment with the perception of your Creator—to see with God’s eyes.  (The Way of Mastery, Part One:  The Way of the Heart, Lesson 4)

            When we see with someone else’s eyes, we are seeing as that person sees.  It is the same with God.  When we are seeing from His perspective as a “spotless mirror,” we reflect Heaven.

            Would that we could be spotless mirrors consistently!  Awakening holds out that promise to us, but many of us have had only glimpses and have not sustained Awakening as of yet.  So what might we do to live more from God’s perspective?

            To remove the blocks to the awareness of love and move closer to Awakening, we need to turn aside—gently—from fear and judgment.  This advice, from A Course of Love, will speed us along the pathway back to God.

            St. Augustine said, “Love and do as you will.”  This is the essence.  If we love enough, a holy love and not a special love, we will reflect the Holiness of our Creator.  If we know the sweetness of love, we won’t long for anything else.  We will live in bliss, perfectly satisfied with what each day brings—even when the day brings something less than ideal.

            When we become “spotless mirrors,” we will reflect God in everything we say or do.  We will live life confidently and peacefully, sure of love, and sure of our own life as one of His children. 

Open Every Door to the Holy Spirit

“The Holy Spirit asks of you but this; bring to Him every secret you have locked away from Him.  Open every door to Him, and bid Him enter the darkness and lighten it away.  At your request He enters gladly.”  (A Course in Miracles, T-14.VII.6)

If we have any reason to doubt that we have been baptized by the Holy Spirit, now is the time to remedy that lack.  The Holy Spirit will enter anyone who asks; this quotation makes this clear.  And ask we must.  A Course in Miracles is filled with promises to which we are entitled, but for which we must first ask.  The New Testament is similarly filled with such promises.

Once we have asked that we be filled with the Holy Spirit, we will not have long to wait.  He will make His Presence known almost immediately.  The entry does not have to be earth-shattering.  The Holy Spirit often moves in quietness, and if we wish for something more, it may or may not be forthcoming.

All of this does not matter.  The Holy Spirit can be with us now, as we read together.  As I write. Ask for His Presence.  That is all that is required.

We need to bring to the Holy Spirit all dismal secrets that we have kept locked away, usually out of shame.  He will heal all these secrets forthwith.  There is nothing too shameful to bring to Him.  There is nothing, likewise, that He won’t heal.

Light is a symbol often used in A Course in Miracles.  We need simply to walk into the light, into the sunlight (if you will), to find God’s blessing upon us.  And, in this quotation, we find that the Holy Spirit is God’s Voice, ready to reach out to us at any time that we ask.

Ask today.

“Beautiful Spring which Bubbles Forth with the Purest of Waters”

“You are free to see—and please listen carefully—right where you are that the separation never occurred.  All attempts to keep it in place have been like battling for the rights of chimera to exist like insisting that the illusion of an oasis seen in a desert is truly real.  Instead of going to the location and finding out what is real and what is false, standing there bickering with your arms folded across your chest, arguing for the right to be right—while Reality slips through your fingers.  All the while, you are standing next to a beautiful spring which bubbles forth with the purest of waters.”  (“The Way of Transformation,” The Way of Mastery, Chapter 19, Page 236)

This quotation from Jesus is so inspiring!  Everything is the Now, and so time is nonexistent, and our long wait for Christ-consciousness or Awakening can come to an end at any moment.  If we look to the beautiful springs in our midst, we will be more inclined to think and feel like God.  A Course in Miracles says that God Himself reaches down (a metaphor) and lifts us up in Awakening, that God Himself makes the decision of when this great blessing comes.  But The Way of Mastery, channeled by Jesus to Jayem, is saying to us that we have a hand in determining the time. 

We don’t have to make elaborate preparations.  The Holy Spirit, or the Christ-Mind does all that.  It would be arrogant for us to assume that our role were very large.  But we can pray for a surcease of our difficult lives.  We can pray that the time of Awakening hasten.  And we can ask that we be prepared for that eventuality—for it will come to everyone eventually.  This is the next great leap in evolution of the mind/heart, as I see it.

Ask to have fear and judgment removed from our emotions.  These are, according to A Course of Love, the stumbling blocks to Christ-consciousness.

Pray long and deeply, for asking for Awakening is in God’s will.

PRICE REDUCTION FOR BEING WHO YOU ARE, BOOK BY THIS BLOGGER

In time for Christmas, I am reducing the price of the paperback of Being Who You Are:  Pondering A Course of Love to $7.95 (the e-book is $5.99).  As you know from reading this blog, A Course of Love is considered by many to a continuation of A Course in Miracles (this is said within the Addendum of A Course of Love by the man whom many believe channeled ACOL to Mari Perron, Jesus himself).

Being Who You Are is 265 pages and highlights ten themes from ACOL.  My book has good reviews, 5 out of 5 stars for all 9 ratings and 6 reviews. 

To find the entry on Amazon, google “amazon being who you are celia hales.”  And thank you.

Love, Celia