“KNOW THYSELF” – BUT WHICH SELF?

by Celia Hales

To “know thyself” has been the great preoccupation of many people for a long time. According to the new Circle of Atonement edition of A Course in Miracles, the maxim was featured in the Roman era, when someone whose name is lost to history inscribed these words in the forecourt of the Temple of Apollo. (And there are indications, found elsewhere, that the maxim goes back to Egypt.) Now, in modern era New Age texts, the maxim has been given new meaning, a meaning that we can help us, for the first time, put into practice what it means.

We have puzzled over this saying for generations, because we were looking at the wrong self—an egoic self who befuddled our minds and confused our lives. We have been lost to an ego that made a persona for us that was wrong. We have been lost to materialism, and “getting mine” in a rapacious sense. Now we are coming around to something better.

A Course in Miracles, now a spiritual classic that first became available in 1976, says that a concept of the self is not needed—nor even desirable. Moreover, a concept is “meaningless.” (COA ed. ACIM, T-31.V.7) This is because all concepts are, at base, idols. And when A Course in Miracles was channeled, most of us were lost in the ego, making the attribution of an idol very apt.

Now we have a sequel to ACIM, a book channeled in the same way, by a woman hearing an interior voice whom she knew to be Jesus. (The receiver of ACOL is Mari Perron.) This “continuation” of ACIM (so dubbed in its pages, A.4) is entitled A Course of Love. A Course of Love goes a step beyond the ego, the ego that was largely dismantled by A Course in Miracles. ACOL delves into the self, the very self that “know thyself” means, and this is the Self with a capital “S.”

We can look into these new ideas without trying to form a concept of the self, without trying to form something that is meaningless. We can simply use the ideas to form a new identity—an identity that follows naturally when the ego has been given up as a bad idea. (A new identity, in fact, is what A Course of Love, seek to establish in us.

Our “little” self, with a lower-case “s,” is called the “personal” self in ACOL. This is the self we present to the world, and regardless of where we are on our pathway back to God (for that is where we are heading), we still present this personal self to the world. In the beginning of our journey (the time of A Course in Miracles), it is an egoic self, caught in the ways of this world, lost in illusions of who we are and what we are about. Later on, in A Course of Love, we learn that there is a “Christ-Self” deep within each of us, a Christ-Self who is longing to come out to see the light of day. This Christ-Self will be learning as we walk along our pathway, for, though it is part of God, this Christ-Self is not limitless, as God is. We are and remain finite, but we do, even in the beginning of our journey, get glimpses of where we are heading.

And we are heading to Christ-consciousness (called “Awakening” in A Course in Miracles). This Christ-Self will, in a mystical sense, join with a larger Self as we proceed. A lovely symbol of what we are is given in ACOL. (C:7.6) ACOL describes a “dot” of the body, which the Christ-Self surrounds and embodies. When we follow our guidance, we will look beyond this dot to a larger circle, “white space” still farther out, and this white space is the One, the All, God Himself in His larger dimensions. Thus the inner Christ-Self becomes One with All-That-Is. In this transformation, our heart and mind are joined as well.

Our heart, the center of our self, will know things that our mind could never hope to know. Our heart doesn’t need “proofs” of God’s existence, the way that the mind often hopes to find. The heart just feels warmth when it approaches the numinous. And A Course of Love is very good at encouraging us to sense the warmth of God’s love that undergirds us all.

We appeal to this new Self when we decide to know ourselves (“know thyself”), when we have journeyed long and hard, along rough highways, to the new entity being born. ACOL says that we are living in the time of Christ, the new time that follows the time of the Holy Spirit. And in this new time, we are merged with God and have a direct link to Him. This link is the Self, the Self of the united mind and heart, the larger Self whom we access that is beyond the body, but yet a part of it. This Self, in fact, is called the “elevated Self of form,” and it is our new being in a world that we will newly change, or that we will create. (Some of us will change the world, and some—maybe many more—will create a new world.)

We have long thought that we could come into our own only when we die. We thought that to meet God face-to-face would mean that we were on the Other Side, having crossed the threshold of death.

Not so, says the newest spiritual words as channeled in A Course of Love. We can know God (and “know” is the operative word here) while in this world. We are invited into a direct relationship with Him, for we are no longer fearful of talking with God. Previously, when we were enthralled by the ego, we feared God in a very real sense. So the Holy Spirit was given us as a less-fearful alternative, an intermediary.

There is no reason that being in this world in physicality, physical bodies, has to mean separation from God. We entertained a “tiny, mad idea” (FIP ed., ACIM,T-27.VIIII.6) so long ago, and this led us to believe that we could make a world, indeed a universe, that we would like better than what God had provided for us. How wrong we were! And now we know how wrong we were, and we seek restitution. We thought we “fell” from grace, and indeed we did try to go it alone, without God’s help. But we never actually separated from Him; we could not do so and live, for we are a part of Him. Now He is calling us to return to His fold, just as the prodigal son returned to his father. (This, in fact, is the archetype for our experience here on earth.)

This return will involve a heightened awareness of reality, the kind of heightened awareness that will finally give us a happy existence. In the normal course of events, at first we will get glimpses of this new awareness, Christ-consciousness, but these glimpses are just that—glimpses–and will not last. Then we find that the glimpses lengthen, and so we are experiencing real vision for the first time. After this, we maintain Christ-consciousness for a while, trying with all our might not to let it slip away (for if it does, we will form a new ego). Maintenance of Christ-consciousness, though, is an in between state that does not last. Finally, we sustain Christ-consciousness. And with our new awareness, we move to change and/or create a new world. (and the channeler is very keen to have us “create” a new world).

All of this enlightenment process does not happen suddenly, in most cases. Of course, sometimes there is a quick descent of Christ-consciousness or Awakening, and the person affected may be very confused about what has, in fact, happened. But the pathway, as outlined in A Course in Miracles and A Course of Love, is usually gentle, and time keeps pace with us. We do not return to reality with the “sweat of terror and a scream of mortal fear.” (FIP ed., ACIM,T-17VII.13) We are, indeed, gently slipping into eternity when we are living as Christ-conscious beings. Time is and has always been simply a measure, a way, of spreading out reality so that we can experience it in a measured way.

So the larger Self guides our journey from now on. In union with the All, the One, our God. And this is the Self whom we truly need to know in the maxim, “Know thyself.”

We no longer turn to outside authorities to point out the way for us. We understand that learned authorities of the past are just that—past. Many of them say the same things, and these things are often no longer relevant to our lives. So we turn to inner contemplation and meditation, prayer and the miracle, to guide us surely.

“Know thyself” has become an integral part of who we are, for we are no longer looking out on the world with egoic eyes, no longer seeking for aggrandizement in a misguided world. We are knowing the true Self in true reality. We are reaching both within and outside the dot of the body to a Self Who is one with God.

We have come home.

WOULD YOU PREFER THAT YOU BE RIGHT OR HAPPY?

by Celia Hales

The New Age is bright with promise about the choice for happiness as a way of life and certainly an ethical goal. The spiritual classic, A Course in Miracles, and its sequel, A Course of Love, both espouse a way of being that offers full happiness to those who are ready for it.

This does not include those who look, in the way of the Law of Attraction, to material satisfaction. The material doesn’t satisfy long, but being and doing, with a view toward living in true reality, are indeed satisfying.

The title of this short piece comes from A Course in Miracles. (T-29.VII.1) It is an often quoted. But we do not have to look to the New Age for proof of the edification of happy living as a way of walking the path back to God.

Jesus says the same in the New Testament:

“These things have I spoken unto you, that my joy might remain in you, and that your joy might be full.” (John 15:11)

We have been asleep, and only dreaming a dream of reality. ACIM and ACOL, affirming the new world that we are creating, affirm this; and the Bible could be so read. ACIM says:

“Yet the Bible says that a deep sleep fell upon Adam, and nowhere is there reference to his waking up.” (T-2.I.3)

ACOL says:

“Love alone has the power to turn this dream of death into a waking awareness of life eternal.” (C:4.7)

And the New Testament says:

“Weep not; she is not dead, but sleepeth.” (Luke 8:52)

Who among us does not want a miracle in our everyday lives—tedious, tense, and tortuous the pathway back to God often seems to be? We need only awaken from our tortured dream, and happiness could be ours. A happiness that is fully promised and recommended as an ethical choice by New Age texts and the Bible.

DO WE SEE A JUDGMENTAL JESUS?

by Celia Hales

In 1970 I visited Florence, Italy, and the Baptistry, an ancient building devoted to the baptism, mostly, of infants and children. Overhead is a looming mosaic of Jesus, with large, luminous eyes, and hand raised to show the wound of the nail. I cringed. His eyes looked at me with judgment—harsh judgment. My negative image of Jesus was confirmed.

At that time Helen was scribing furiously. A Course in Miracles was not published for another six years. My discovery of ACIM happened in 1981. And I was immediately hooked. Though I had a full-time job, I read A Course in Miracles compulsively in every spare moment. And this behavior continued for many years.

Fast forward to 1995, and another visit to Florence and the Baptistry. As I entered the building, I prepared to meet Jesus’s gaze with some trepidation, for, after all, I had experienced the judgment. But this time I saw eyes that were a blank slate, waiting for me to write my perceptions on them. And he wasn’t judging me at all.

A Course in Miracles had wrought the miracle. I saw a Jesus who would be—or do—anything that I needed to bring me to God.

A Course of Love, a sequel to A Course in Miracles (and called, in its pages, a “continuation” of ACIM (A.4)) asks the question:

“Have I been a judgmental God in your universe? Then you have been judgmental and lived in a judgmental world.” (ACOL, D:Day39.21)

Surely I was that in 1970. And just as surely had I changed by 1995, many hours of studying A Course in Miracles under my belt.

In 1970 I had just emerged from the world of collegiate competition at a prestigious university. Competition both feeds and undermines the ego, for in a competitive environment, the ego is boosted by accomplishments and shrivels when work doesn’t measure up to expectations. My ego fostered judgment of my peers at that university. There didn’t seem to be any way around it.

A Course in Miracles and life experiences changed all that. By 1995, I was nine years into a cooperative workplace, a library, where we worked together constantly and believed that two heads were better than one in virtually any situation. The changes were good for me. My ego was being dislodged. As A Course of Love says about A Course in Miracles, “the original Course in Miracles was a course in thought reversal and mind training, a course to point out the insanity of the identity crisis and dislodge the ego’s hold . . .” (C:P.8)

And when in 1995 I looked up at Jesus in the Baptistry in Florence, he gazed back at me, evenly.

I don’t have reason to be scared of Jesus anymore.

ETERNITY AND ACIM: A REVIEW OF JON MUNDY’S ETERNAL LIFE AND A COURSE IN MIRACLES

TITLE: ETERNAL LIFE AND A COURSE IN MIRACLES
AUTHOR: JON MUNDY, Ph.D.
REVIEWED BY: Celia Hales

If I had to choose one word to describe Jon Mundy’s latest offering, it would be “reassurance.” Of course, those of us who have studied and taken to heart A Course in Miracles believe that death is not the end. But Jon makes that truth crystal clear with supporting evidence for the unbeliever and anybody unfamiliar with ACIM— near-death experiences that are prompted by psychedelics, near-death experiences that are natural, and accounts from dying people who do cross the threshold. Pervading his writing is a calming tone that will be soothing to the fearful who may be facing death sooner rather than later. His many selected passages from A Course in Miracles are superbly chosen, for he draws upon his vast knowledge of ACIM to select those passages most certain to speak to the matter of eternal life. Nobody could do a keyword search and find these gems; they are carefully chosen by an author who knows ACIM intimately from long years of dedication.

Jon Mundy is among the handful of individuals who helped to launch A Course in Miracles. The scribe, Helen Schucman, much older than Jon, counseled him in a personal way about the issues with which a young man contends. He also formed a bond with Kenneth Wapnick that continued for long years and included similar significant encounters. Jon’s respect for Ken is covered in a chapter – long very personal tribute that recounts Ken’s incredible journey with ACIM that prompted some 32 books, plus substantial contributions in other media. Jon’s memories of the early years will be eagerly read by those who love ACIM. Throughout, Jon has a very human voice in his writing that urges the reader forward in the book; he knows how to encourage one to keep reading, to keep turning those pages to see what else is going to happen.

Jon frankly lets us see into his heart when he describes in some detail his guided experimental use of psychedelics as a way to get beyond the ego and find himself looking death in the face. Readers who might be inclined to judge Jon for his experimentation should realize that he had these experiences in the seventies. He was guided by a psychiatrist/shaman who took pains to see that the people in his care were safe. The near-death aspect of Jon’s experience was prompted by the doctor’s administration of ketamine, an anesthetic.

Jon does not recommend that we follow in his footsteps, indicating that his way was harsh (he calls it “hell”), whereas the way to overcome the ego in ACIM is gentle. It seems apparent that Jon has spent a great deal of reflection in all the years since in trying to understand what he saw in near-death experiences. This reflection has been augmented in more recent years by near-death experiences that were not drug-related. He speaks easily about these experiences, certain that there is a plan and that it is gentle. Jon also draws on others’ experiences in near-death to pull back the veil over the afterlife.

The latter half of the book is devoted to a carefully developed exposition of what A Course in Miracles says about eternity. As mentioned, the selected passages from ACIM are exquisite; one gets the impression that Jon went about selecting the most beautiful of all available, knowing that he couldn’t give every instance of what eternal life means in ACIM.

What does eternal life mean in A Course in Miracles? Jon weaves this story in and through quotations from ACIM itself. Eternal life is a life that can begin on earth; there is no need to think that eternal life comes about only at death’s door. Heaven is here and now, if we have discarded the egoic separation from God, a separation that could only happen because we had a “tiny, mad idea” that we wanted to try to make creation be something other than what God had decreed. And all that we ever made was illusion. Jon makes the point that the radical monism of ACIM is extremely pertinent to eternal life. Our illusory bodies seem real enough to us, but real they are not. The only thing that is real is that which we cannot touch—peace, joy, harmony, and the like. And these things are eternal. Time and space are illusions that are found only in the physical universe. And nothing illusory is eternal. But Life and Love have always been and always will be. This is the promise of eternity that ACIM describes so wonderfully.

Jon’s reassurance about eternal life is borne of what he knows. He does not believe; he knows. And this insight pours out on every page, weaving anecdotes in some chapters, recounting ACIM in others. Jon has a very personal way of writing that develops an intimacy with the reader. He looks beyond his own persona to develop universal truths about eternity and eternal life as reflected in real experiences, his own as well as others, and in the philosophy of A Course in Miracles.

Jon Mundy has written many books, but this one is surely one of his best. Recommended for anybody who fears death, even a little, and who among us does not?

NEW AGE TEXTS TACKLE THE PROBLEM OF SUFFERING

Published in New Age Journal (online), March 4, 2017.

by Celia Hales

New Age enthusiasts have long read and considered what is now a spiritual classic, A Course in Miracles (copyright 1975). Now another classic is in the making by the same presumed author, Jesus. This one is called A Course of Love, published in a combined volume—three works in one–in 2014. The author uses different words for sickness/illness in the material scribed by Helen Schucman, A Course in Miracles, and Mari Perron, A Course of Love, but many of the words mean the same thing. The thread of meaning is virtually identical. The author has a dim view of sickness, stressing that although it is meaningless in the long run, sickness offers an opportunity for forgiveness, full acceptance, and—the ultimate answer—love.

Let’s see what our presumed author, Jesus, says in both of these courses.

A Course in Miracles talks about sickness as a defense against the truth. It is negative and so unnecessary. The cure for sickness in ACIM is forgiveness granted by one brother to another.

When we are sick, we are not asking for peace, for sickness is an illusion like all the rest of the illusions with which we surround ourselves, and we do not realize that we have failed to ask for peace. Ask for peace, and see what change may come, and come sooner rather than later. Jesus even says that all forms of sickness are the illusory but visible evidence of the fear of Awakening.

A Son of God cannot be sick in reality, true reality. And so we are asked not to view an individual as sick, not to give credence to the illusion. By so doing, we reinforce the illness, and this we would never knowingly want to do.

Sickness is but another call for love, and we are bidden to respond accordingly. One brother whose mind is whole can reach out to a split mind and heal it. Thus, one brother heals another, in love, always in love. Healing is accomplished the instant that a sufferer no longer sees any value in pain.

In Psychoanalysis: Purpose, Process, Practice, the supplement to ACIM scribed by Helen a little later than ACIM, he says that illness can be only an expression of sorrow and of guilt. And we weep when we are separate from God, even though we know that this is an illusory separation. We weep for the innocence that we think we have lost. We have a view of the self as weak, vulnerable, evil and endangered, and thus in need of constant defense (as said in ACIM). Illness then is a mistake like all the other mistakes that we have made in our “separation.” Sickness is insanity, like the other mistakes.

Defenselessness is strength. And the sooner we come to know this, the better, and the healthier we will become. When two brothers join in healing, healing is assured. But to continue to believe in sickness because of the appearance of symptoms is to believe amiss. This is a particularly difficult idea to believe.

Forgiveness extended from one brother to another will heal. God has entered their relationship, and with Him, all is possible. Only an unforgiveness can possibly give rise to sickness of any kind. (P-2.VI.5) The passing of guilt comes about when we know that forgiveness has been received. And guilt is all mixed up with our ideas of being unforgiven.

The Song of Prayer, another supplement to ACIM, emphasizes that certain negative traits, such as hatred in our heart, and attack, are banished from the mind, prayer will heal—but not until these traits are completely gone and we have reunited with our Source. The theme of all of Jesus’s channelings is present in Song of Prayer. The body, he says, can be healed as an effect of true forgiveness. The cause of sickness is the unacknowledged wish to die and to overcome the Christ.

A Course of Love dwells on sickness as either rejected or ejected feelings, feelings about which consciousness was not chosen, and so the feeling made the physical manifestation. Only love, in the embrace, and fostered by the Self, will heal for all time. And this is paradise re-found. (ACOL, D:Day16)
We have often suffered through our lives at the hands of rejected love. And Jesus indicates that this common experience can easily bring on illness. Because the pain is great, we reject the feelings rather than process them, and thus set ourselves up for sickness.

Bitterness, which is of the heart, keeps the cycle of suffering in place. And love’s disappointment is a particularly fertile place to foment bitterness.

Jesus makes clear to us in ACOL that no person is to blame for the sickness that overcomes them. It is a victimless phenomenon. Jesus indicates that we are to remove blame from our repertoire of emotions. It serves no useful purpose, and we replace it with nothing specific, we just remove it. Acceptance, though, is the next logical step.

Being in harmony with poor health, and accepting it for what it is, will return us to good health. Studying the lesson that sickness teaches is most important. What does our illness say to us? What is the lesson that it has come to bring?

I think Jesus is developing two trains of thought, one in ACIM and its supplements, and one in ACOL. Yet the ideas are similar. Rejected or ejected feelings (ACOL) are almost by definition the feelings that we are defending against (ACIM). ACIM describes feelings that cause us to lose our way as attack feelings, judging, or planning against contingencies to come (except when prompted to plan by guidance). ACOL describes feelings that cause to lose our way as loneliness or despair, anger or grief.

All of these feelings that we reject (and thereby cause illness) or eject (and thereby blame on other people), or we defend against, are negative. So I think that the New Agers who believe that we make our sickness by our negative thoughts are onto something. But to blame the victim is just more of the same. We’ve simply made a mistake. All who are sick are due compassion (ACOL).

We are healed through acceptance of the truth of what is. Our minds are healed, and then the bodily identification with physical ailments dissolves. (Both ACIM and ACOL say this.) We don’t get anywhere in resisting illness, because this is rejecting or ejecting (ACOL), and therefore defending ourselves against (ACIM).

I have some sense that these meanings are part of the “ideal” level of reading the works. On a practical level, not all illnesses are healed, regardless of how we twist our minds around the concepts that Jesus gives us. And our minds may be healed when our bodies are not. The healing of the mind and emotions, moreover, may be the greatest blessing.

Everyone has to exit this world somehow, and usually we go through illness of the physical body. This is when we discard the body out of choice, as one “lays by a garment now outworn.” (S-3.II.1) This experience does not carry the negative connotations that sickness in the midst of life does.

So, to heal sickness, we look to the reason for our negative feelings: What feelings are we rejecting or ejecting, or what are we defending against? We feel weak in this illusion of sickness, an illusion that is in no way reality, but nevertheless something that accompanies most people, at times, through our journey through life. We do not blame ourselves or other people for this evidence of illusory separation from God; we know that we are caught up in a dream of our making, and the sooner we return to our Source, the quicker our recovery can begin.
And it may not be a lasting recovery. If we slip again into illness, we look to heal our feelings yet again. Our Source can and does heal. But not always, and we don’t choose to blame ourselves if, like St. Paul, we have a “thorn in our side.”

Yet love is the ultimate answer, explained in ACOL in the following words:

“Could suffering really have gone on for countless ages simply due to your inability to birth the idea of an end to suffering?

“Has not a part of you always known that suffering does not have to be even while you have accepted that it is? Let us now put an end to this acceptance through the birth of a new idea.

“This idea is an idea of love. . . .

“It is an idea that says that if you live from love and within love’s laws you will create only love. It is an idea that accepts that this can be done and can be done by you in the here and now.” (ACOL, T3:8.12 – 9.1)

So, here we have it, in Jesus’s own words as received by Mari. He also says that previously we have said that we loved too little and we loved too much, but never “enough.”

Now Jesus is challenging us to love enough.

AN APPRECIATION OF COA’S NEW EDITION OF ACIM

Published on amazon.com.

by Celia Hales

The Circle of Atonement has recently released a fantastic new resource for lovers of A Course in Miracles, an edition based on the original handwritten notes of Helen Schucman. Robert Perry, editor, and Greg Mackie, assistant editor, assembled a team of experts who worked over ten years on this edition. It is truly a labor of love on their part. Masterfully done, it restores some 45,000 words to the second edition published by the Foundation for Inner Peace in 1992 (and republished, with Helen’s supplements, in 2007).

I came to know of this edition from Lisa Natoli of the Teachers of God Foundation, a foundation supporting the work of those who love A Course in Miracles. I was surprised when I read that this new edition is the one that she will now use, even though she had earlier felt that the FIP edition was sufficient. On the strength of this recommendation, I purchased the new edition by the Circle of Atonement, billed as a “complete & annotated edition,” and since reading it obsessively for several days, I have become completely enthralled with what I find.

First and foremost are the 45,000 restored words to A Course in Miracles. Several chapters in the beginning part of the Text, particularly, were at issue. One’s understanding of miracles as expressions of love will be much enhanced.

Throughout the new edition (almost 2,000 pages) there are substantive footnotes on almost every page, well-written, cogent, respectful to the original. In going back to notes of Helen, we can even now see what words Jesus emphasized when he was speaking as an internal voice. These words are faintly underlined, making me feel that I were listening to Jesus himself. Cameo essays are in the back of the volume, cameos that highlight the very personal nature of some of Jesus’s words to Helen and to Bill Thetford. In keeping with Jesus’s professed intentions, the personal words to Helen and Bill were not included in the Course proper, but are described in some detail in 33 cameos.

Why this new edition seemed necessary is covered in detail in an appendix. I read this with great interest, and concluded that Robert, Greg, and their team were right: A complete and annotated edition is needed. The new edition is available for $48 from the Circle of Atonement; also available from Amazon.

This is simply a fantastic editorial feat. Recommended most enthusiastically by a long-time lover of A Course in Miracles.

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

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

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

AUTHOR: Thomas Moore

PUBLISHER: Gotham Books (Penguin Group)

REVIEWED BY: Celia Hales

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Free Will, by Jiffy Read

Note: This is another in the series called “Saturday Features” on this blog. You too are welcome to contribute, and encouraged to do so.

The separate self feels as though it is free to think and do as it pleases. But all its thoughts and actions arise from the ego thoughts in which it believes, and ego thoughts are not original; they are the thoughts of conditioned thinking. Although the separate self feels as though it has free will, it is actually under the tyranny of the ego.

Real thoughts are those that come from Self. Such thoughts represent our true will, which is free. The separate self cannot think such thoughts. In fact, the separate self cannot think at all—it can only think it thinks. That is part of the illusion.

There does exist one choice for the separate self, which is to accept the voice of Self instead of the tyrannical voice of the ego.

Even this choice is illusory, valid only within the illusion. The separate self is not separate from its source. The idea that there is a choice is the means by which within the dream of separation the mind can find its way back to what it never left.

“You have chosen to be in a state in opposition in which opposites are possible. As a result, there are choices you must make. In the holy state the will is free, so that its creative power is unlimited and choice is meaningless. Freedom to choose is the same power as freedom to create, but its application is different. Choosing depends on a split mind. The Holy Spirit is one way of choosing. God did not leave his children comfortless, even though they chose to leave Him. The voice they put in their minds was not the Voice for His Will, for which the Holy Spirit speaks.” (T-5.II.6)

“The ego cannot teach you anything as long as your will is free, because you will not listen to it. It is not your will to be imprisoned because your will is free. That is why the ego is the denial of free will. It is never God Who coerces you, because He shares His Will with you. His Voices teaches only in accordance with His Will, but that is not the Holy Spirit’s lesson because that is what you are. The lesson is that your will and God’s cannot be out of accord because they are one. This is the undoing of everything the ego tries to teach.” (T-8.II.3:1-8)

A Spiritual Conspiracy

Note: A public domain poem from a friend of A Course of Love and A Course in Miracles.

A SPIRITUAL CONSPIRACY

On the surface of the world right now there is
war and violence and things seem dark.
But calmly and quietly, at the same time,
something else is happening underground
An inner revolution is taking place
and certain individuals are being called to a higher light.
It is a silent revolution.
From the inside out. From the ground up.
This is a Global operation.
A Spiritual Conspiracy.
There are sleeper cells in every nation on the planet.
You won’t see us on the T.V.
You won’t read about us in the newspaper
You won’t hear about us on the radio
We don’t seek any glory
We don’t wear any uniform
We come in all shapes and sizes, colors and styles
Most of us work anonymously
We are quietly working behind the scenes
in every country and culture of the world
Cities big and small, mountains and valleys,
in farms and villages, tribes and remote islands
You could pass by one of us on the street
and not even notice
We go undercover
We remain behind the scenes
It is of no concern to us who takes the final credit
But simply that the work gets done
Occasionally we spot each other in the street
We give a quiet nod and continue on our way
During the day many of us pretend we have normal jobs
But behind the false storefront at night
is where the real work takes a place
Some call us the Conscious Army
We are slowly creating a new world
with the power of our minds and hearts
We follow, with passion and joy
Our orders come from the Central Spiritual Intelligence
We are dropping soft, secret love bombs when no one is looking
Poems ~ Hugs ~ Music ~ Photography ~ Movies ~ Kind words ~
Smiles ~ Meditation and prayer ~ Dance ~ Social activism ~ Websites
Blogs ~ Random acts of kindness…
We each express ourselves in our own unique ways
with our own unique gifts and talents
Be the change you want to see in the world
That is the motto that fills our hearts
We know it is the only way real transformation takes place
We know that quietly and humbly we have the
power of all the oceans combined
Our work is slow and meticulous
Like the formation of mountains
It is not even visible at first glance
And yet with it entire tectonic plates
shall be moved in the centuries to come
Love is the new religion of the 21st century
You don’t have to be a highly educated person
Or have any exceptional knowledge to understand it
It comes from the intelligence of the heart
Embedded in the timeless evolutionary pulse of all human beings
Be the change you want to see in the world
Nobody else can do it for you
We are now recruiting
Perhaps you will join us
Or already have.
All are welcome
The door is open
~ author unknown

CONCLUSION TO “WHAT IS TRUE REALITY?”

In this series on true reality, we have seen that we are leaving behind the illusory past of separation from God, moving into unity and relationship, a place that we share with all others living in the House of Truth. We will move into elevated Selves of form, actually one Self, shared with all others. We will either change the world, or create a new world (and Jesus hopes for the latter). Our days are full of promise. Our nights, times for consolation and peace.

True reality is filled with the intangibles of love, joy, harmony, peace, certainty—the very things that we have lacked before. We will not know lack of any kind in this new world. Whether or not the physical is still illusory is a mote point, for to us it is tangible and real. But better, oh, so much better than what we knew before.
The characteristics of reality are many and varied; likewise, the characteristics that are not shared in true reality are also many and varied. We are in a form now that we share everything, for we were never meant to be alone, and now we know this.

The future looks bright to us. Let us never rue a good day. And the future is projected to be filled with good days.

We Have a Loving and Compassionate God

“Remember, the heart must abide in the reality where you think you are. Only through your mind’s acceptance of your new reality has the heart been freed to exist in the new reality that is the state of unity and relationship.” (ACOL, Treatise on the New, 4.16)

Jesus stresses “unity and relationship” repeatedly in A Course of Love, so much so that we are apt to forget what he is really saying. We are One with All, but we are differentiated into parts, and these parts have relationship with each other. This includes everything, living and dead, but Jesus usually refers just to living things when he talks.

Our mind has been tutored by the heart, and therein a change has taken place. No longer egoic, the mind now joins with the trusting and loving heart to form what Jesus calls “wholeheartedness.” Our mind has thus accepted a new reality, and this new reality we all know in the fullness of unity and relationship.

“As your natural state returns to you through a heart and mind joined in unity, your body too will exist or abide within this natural state. It cannot help to, as it, just like your heart, exists in the state or reality in which you think you are. The only thing that has created an unreal reality for your heart and body has been the inability of the mind to join the truth with your conscious awareness.”

Our bodies are form, but they too join with us in unity and relationship. We heretofore lived in illusion, and there is some question about whether the physical is still illusion once we have reached Christ-consciousness, are seeing with new eyes, and living with unity and relationship. Certainly we have the reality of harmony, joy, peace, certainty, in a way that has been denied us previously. And these intangible blessings are not illusion.

“Your heart knows the reality of this truth, knows that this new reality is real and different from the reality of old. Ideally, mind and heart in union together accept this new reality and, with this acceptance, the heart is freed to dwell in the house of the Lord, the new world, the Kingdom that has already been prepared and so needs no preparation.” (ACOL, Dialogues, 1.6)

We are encouraged, once we have reached this new level of salvation, to accept our new reality. The heart, in particular, we see, is dwelling in the house of the Lord, of the House of Truth. And we are living in the new Kingdom of God. We don’t have to prepare to live in this kingdom, for it is our inheritance, saved for us for the days beyond which we will walk without the ego’s dragging us backward.

“Like all that was taught within this Course, this is a matter of all or nothing. You cannot accept part of one reality and part of another. You cannot accept, for instance, the compassionate and loving benevolence of the universe, of God, of the All of All, and still accept the reality of lack. You cannot accept that in the reality of unity all things come to you without effort or striving except money.” (ACOL, Dialogues, Day 3, 3.59)

Jesus talks about money in A Course of Love; he gets very practical. We can even, in the new reality, have financial means without effort or striving. If this seems to be “pie in the sky” thinking, reflect upon who it is who is saying this. And most of us trust Jesus to know what he is talking about.

We do not have to accept lack. The Kingdom of God, the House of Truth, is compassionate and loving. It bodes no ill for us. And in this new day, we find new ways to improve our financial situation, new ways that don’t include a struggle. Be alert to intuitive glimpses of what to do, where to be, and what to say. These will lead you to financial independence and a new day in money, so that lack is no more. We have learned all that we need to learn from lack. The universe is prompting us now to rest in its beneficence.

Turn Aside from Illusion in Favor of Truth

“Now you must imagine yourself walking outside of the doors of this house of illusion and finding a completely new reality beyond its walls. . . .Yet you soon will find that this new reality is known to you and requires no new learning at all.” (ACOL, Treatise on the Personal Self, 9.3)

Jesus goes into great detail about the house of illusion and the house of truth, saying that the house of illusion (where we have been living) is always contained inside the house of truth. Now that we are emerging from the house of illusion, we note that there are explosions within, that its foundation is crumbling. Once outside, though, we are encouraged (really told point blank) that we should not attempt to reenter the house of illusion. That is finished for us now, even though our loved ones may still reside there. We are to help while outside the walls of the house of illusion, residing in the house of truth.

“These words, truth and peace and love, are interchangeable in the house of truth as their meaning there is the same. These words, like the words House of Truth represent an awareness of a new reality, a new dwelling place.” (ACOL, Treatise on the Personal Self, 11.3)

Living in the House of Truth, we know truth, peace, and love in a way that we never have before. We are indeed in a new dwelling place and a new reality. We are living in a new world that we have helped to create.
Our lives will never be the same.

“How then, do you access and live within this new reality, this new beginning? Through living by the truth.” (ACOL, Treatise on the Personal Self, 15.12)

Jesus says a great deal about the “truth” in A Course of Love, but what he means may at first be obscure to us. He is setting truth aside, and opposite from, illusion. And we are very familiar with the concept of illusion, for we have lived this way for eons.

We live in this new reality, this new beginning, when we set aside illusion for all time. We are getting a fresh start.

And Jesus is right there by our side, helping us.

Miracles Appear Right Before Our Amazed Eyes

“Miracles create an out-of-pattern time interval. Thus living in a state of miracle-readiness is the creation of a new reality outside of the pattern of ordinary time. Although this state exists as the already accomplished, it is up to you to create it for yourself.” (ACOL, 6.9)

This quotation, about miracles, is part of the theology of A Course of Love, but it builds on the theology of A Course in Miracles. The salient point is the “out-of-time” aspect of miracles. Jesus first said in ACIM that he would arrange space and time to allow us to work the miracles that he picked out for us to work. Not any of us understand how he can do this, but he has said many other things that strain credulity, and I trust him on this. He follows up the ACIM assertion with this point in ACOL: “Miracles create an out-of-pattern time interval.”

What are we to make of this? Miracles are outside time and space. By the very nature of their occurrence, miracles are a one-time thing. And we don’t always know when we have performed a miracle. The miracle may mean something to somebody else, but with a lost meaning on us.

The time of that miracles take thus creates another reality, a new reality outside, as we have said, ordinary time. We must agree to work this new creation. We are not left out of the equation.

This state of miracle readiness is already accomplished, but our cooperation is necessary for the miracle to work. We have to be there. Then we will see changes in our world that we never dreamed of. The new world will be created right before our amazed eyes.

Knowing Does Not Entail Belief

“Thus the absence of good health is disease; the absence of peace is conflict, the absence of truth illusion. This belief does not accept that there is only one reality and that it must exist where you are.

“We are moving you now away from all such beliefs to a knowing that precludes the need for belief at all.

“Yes, I have said that contrast is a favored teaching device of the Holy Spirit. But I have not yet said that the time of the Holy Spirit is ending even though I have stated that the time of second coming of Christ is here.” (ACOL, 7.2 – 7.4)

Nowhere in A Course in Miracles nor A Course of Love does Jesus promise his physical return, through reincarnation or any other means.  But he does say, adamantly, that the time of the Second Coming is now.  What does he mean by this?

We can be assured that we are living in resurrected times, in the time of the resurrection.  This is another way of saying that our time to reach Christ-consciousness is at hand.  And we can also understand from reading ACOL that it is easier in this time to reach Awakening.  Others have longed for the time that we have now.  The “celestial speedup” that A Course in Miracles inaugurated is well underway.

So the bottom line is that we don’t know for sure what Jesus really means.  We must turn to our inner Christ Spirit to know if we are on the right track.  And keep in mind that we may be surprised by the ease with which we reach Christ-consciousness in this new day.  This may be the second coming of Christ that Jesus is talking about in A Course of Love.

We who live in the time of Christ, now, are living in the one true reality, a reality that exists where we are. We don’t have to learn by contrast any longer, though that was often the way of the Holy Spirit (whose time is past). Contrast highlighted the difference between the egoic way of life, and the way of life of the truth. The ego was not the truth, never and always. The way of the truth is the way of the wholehearted joining of mind and heart to a new reality of peace and contentment. We live in that reality that we choose, and choosing anew will benefit us mightily.

We can have good health, peace, and truth in our experience. We don’t have to experience the opposite of these blessings to experience fully. We can just know. And in the knowing we have found our way back. We are living the truth of existence once again. Never fear that we will be led astray, for such is not possible if we listen to the Christ Self who dwells within each of us.

Just as the Holy Spirit used to guide us, now the Self does so. The Self is also internal, just as the Holy Spirit was, and the change in terminology is a bit obscure. But the reason is that we are incorporating ever more closely the matters of God. We are joined with God, and we talk to Him without fear. No longer do we need an intermediary (Holy Spirit) because of our fear.

Our lives are certain now. We are contented. The drama of the past is over, and with good reason, for we have walked into the future with Christ. Our time of Christ has done this for us.

Mindfulness Shows the Way

“The very word ‘remember,’ as well as the concept of memory, implies mindfulness and the ability to reproduce or recall both what has been learned and what has been previously experienced. This reproducing and recollecting are acts of creation. They do not bring back a reality that once was but transform that reality into a present moment experience.” (ACOL, 1.4)

We are remembering what we have always, on some level in our minds and hearts, known. The way back to God is a retracing of our steps, and this retracing is the memory that comes back to us. Our reality is not from the past, though, but a present moment experience. We live in the Now.

We are creating when we remember. We are living in the present moment, creating. This way of living is joyous in the extreme, for we do not dwell on past follies. We move ahead to a better future.
Jesus says that the retracing of our steps, as though on a carpet that will be rolled up, taking us back in time, is necessary to our transformation. And he corrects all mistakes that we, in this procedure, cannot correct. His way shows us the way. We recollect or remember what we need to recollect or remember in order to move forward into a new world, a new world that we are creating each day that we live.

We are to be mindful in our days. This mindfulness will pave the way to a better future. Just think about what you are doing as you walk through your day. Don’t do anything on automatic pilot. This exercise will give many blessings, the least of which is a better day, the most of which might be the bestowal of Christ-consciousness.

Ask today to have Jesus show you the way. He will not dally in answering your request.

Use Imagination to Create a New World

“Still you find it difficult to believe that what is possible depends upon what you can imagine being possible. You must cease to see the difficulty and begin to see the ease with which what you can imagine becomes reality.” (ACOL, 23.17)

A Course of Love takes us from a different place than A Course in Miracles. In many respects, A Course of Love is a continuation of ACIM, and we have grown through our understanding of ACIM to stand at a different place, a better place in our search for salvation.

We can use our better vision to imagine a better world. And Jesus says that these imaginings will bear fruit. We easily create a new world. We don’t have to struggle ever again. The way is clear, the way is safe. We are walking a safe earth.

We earlier might have thought that it would be a lot of work to move into a new world. But Jesus says that this difficulty is not there. We can imagine with ease, and in the imagining we ourselves take ourselves, through the Self, to a better world. Our work is not finished, but just begun—yet the way does not seem long to us, and the way seems joyous to us. We are following a higher plan to create a better world. We change ourselves internally first, of course, for nothing born of the ego can change meaningfully. When we have divested ourselves of the ego, we will move swiftly into a new creation. And we will move with ease, as this quotation says.

Listen to the Holy Spirit or Christ Self as True Reality Passes through You

“Yet it is in the passing through that creates the intersection. Everything within your world and your day must pass through you in order to gain reality. While you think of this as everything outside of yourself, please, when thinking of this, use the words I have provided: everything within your world. In the act of pass-through you assign meaning to everything within your world. The meaning you assign becomes the reality of the object you have assigned meaning to.” (ACOL, 22.9)

Reality must “pass through” us for us to understand how to create a new world. Jesus uses the example of the sections of an onion to make his point, though the point is somewhat difficult to follow and needs some explanation. When everything in the world comes to our attention, it “passes through” us, and we assign meaning to it. This meaning now seems to encapsulate everything that the true meaning really is. But we may be wrong.

The fact that we may be wrong about what passes through us is cause for pause and reflection. Even if wrong, the meaning that we assign to something seen as external is all the meaning that, to us, it is going to have. Consequently, we make a world. The world may be illusion, though. And Jesus is here introducing his thought that we will eventually want to live in a new world, a new world that we have created freshly. And this new world will be true reality.

What passes through is given a kind of reality, even if the bottom line is that this “reality” is actually illusion. We would have meaning assigned to true reality instead. We would look at our outer world and give no credence to those egoic aspects that entrap us so. We would seek the evidence of true reality in the projections that we make from within. These projections will then take on the hue and color of true reality, and we will be at home in a world that is no longer mad.

Sharing Is Better than Splendid Isolation

“You must forgive God for creating a shared reality before you can understand it is the only one you would want to have. You have to forgive this reality for being different than you have always imagined it to be.” (ACOL, 6.1)

We often want things for ourselves alone. We don’t want to share.

This attitude probably came from childhood, when our parents tried to get us to share with our brothers and sisters. Children don’t like to share. Now that we are adults, we often feel the same way. We want mine!

Sharing is the way of God’s world. We are not independent creatures, set in isolation in this world. We are amid many, many other individuals, our brothers and sisters, with whom we share our experience here. We need each other. This is a sometimes disturbing truth about our lives. We don’t want to need others. We think (along the ego’s thought lines) that if we are autonomous, we will not need anybody else. We will stand on our own two feet, independently; this is, we think, for maturity is all about.

But we are wrong. And when we recognize that maturity doesn’t demand autonomous living, we will open our hearts, at first ever so little, to other people.

We will live better when we have opened our hearts. Indeed, the heart is the way that Jesus is reaching us in A Course of Love. The heart knows truths that the mind cannot fathom. And we know better how to live when we let the heart guide.

Try sharing just a bit of yourself today. If this seems too threatening, tell yourself that it is just an experiment. See if you don’t have a day that flows better.

Sharing works. Sharing with our brothers and sisters is the way that we are meant to walk in this world. We don’t lose anything by sharing; all gifts belong to all of us, but nothing is taken from any one.

God will bless you when you reach out to others, giving your gifts freely to others, even as you enjoy those gifts also. The way back home is walked two by two, holding our brother’s hand, holding Jesus’s hand. There is no better way to live maturely.

We have truly grown up when we recognize that keeping our gifts close to our chests does not help anybody, lest of all ourselves.

Glittering Aspects of Illusion

“To know reality is not to see the ego and its thoughts, its works, its acts, its laws and its beliefs, its dreams, its hopes, its plans for its salvation, and the cost belief in it entails.” (ACIM, W-12. What Is the Ego?)

When we know true reality, we have left the ego behind. Jesus says in A Course of Love that we have, during the point of reading, left the ego behind, though bits and pieces of its thinking may still engulf us.

We don’t have to be engulfed. The ego has many facets, all of which lead us to a dead end. And its manner of thinking is completely insane. With such a guide, is it any wonder that we wander in pain and suffering? The ego, made by us, does not wish us well, for it was made in hate. And nothing made in hate would wish his maker well.
The Holy Spirit (ACIM) and the inner Christ Self (ACOL) are our way out of this morass. We have at our disposal the way to remove the blocks to love’s awareness. We need simply call on the Holy Spirit or listen to our Self to know the way home. We don’t have to live like this any longer. There is a way out.

The ego will entrap as long as we seek for material pleasures with the rejection of the intangible joys of spirit. Most of us now know that material blessings do not satisfy for long; we always want more and different. But in a materialistic society, we are apt to forget this as we journey along the way.

The ego takes a big toll on us; there is a big cost. Don’t be fooled anymore by the glittering aspects of illusion that dangle from the ego’s entrapment of us. Look to true reality to find the real blessings in life.

Difference between Reality and Illusion

“Just as reality is wholly real, apart from size and shape and time and place—for differences cannot exist within it—so too are illusions without distinctions.” (ACIM, M-8.6)

This quotation compares reality to illusions, suggesting that they have some things in common. All through reality, and all through illusions, we do not have differences. All that is reality is real, and all that is illusion is not real. But size and shape and time and place do seem different, in reality and in illusion. It is the permeating sameness of both reality and illusions that we are considering today.

We don’t really know what Jesus means by “reality.” We don’t know if he means a physical reality that is true rather than illusion; or if physical reality, because it has form, is not real. The formless does indeed seem more likely to be real. And this “formless” includes the best values of our environment, the love, joy, peace, harmony in which we wish to live permanently. The fact that we don’t live in these intangibles permanently may cause many of us to weep and wail. But there is a reason. We have not gone back far enough to get out of the illusion. Time is likened in A Course in Miracles to a long carpet on which steps are being retraced so that we head back to the beginning of our detour into fear. The carpet is then rolled up, and we are at home in God again. Jesus corrects all mistakes that we cannot correct. It is true that he gives himself a great deal of work to do in this world, but is that not what a savior does?

Illusions are something about which we have a better handle. Illusions are not true. And we live in illusions, for sure, at least as long as we have not reach Christ-consciousness or Awakening. We project the world that we see from within, and if this world looks bleak to us, then our inner life is bleak as well. We create our own reality, as so many in the New Age camp have said. We do not blame those who live in bad circumstances; we help them, when they are open to our help. But we know that life can get better even in illusion. The Holy Spirit brings happy dreams.

We may be tempted to stay in these happy dreams granted by the Holy Spirit. But we will not be creating a new world, which Jesus has encouraged us to do within the pages of A Course of Love. We need to do what we can to remove the blocks to love’s awareness, which all of us can do. God Himself makes the all-important decision to grant Awakening or Christ-consciousness, when he metaphorically reaches down to us and lifts us up. We don’t have direct control, therefore, over when we awaken. But we can walk the path back to Him in patience, knowing that His timing is always right. The moment when we know Christ-consciousness is already determined, as is much else on our pathway. We merely walk a path that has already been laid out, retracing our steps back to God.

Ordinary People Living Ordinary Lives Can Change This World

“The instant the idea of separation entered the mind of God’s Son, in that same instant was God’s Answer given. In time this happened very long ago. In reality it never happened at all.” (ACIM, M-2.2)

This quotation is part of the theology of A Course in Miracles. God’s Answer to the separation is meant to be the Holy Spirit, which is also known as God’s Voice, and the Universal Inspiration.

With God, as He has made with us, the solution is always found with the problem. And here the separation from God seemed to happen, and here God answered immediately with the Holy Spirit. During the time of the Holy Spirit (the last 2,000 years), we need simply to appeal to Him, and our needs are answered. We may not always recognize what the Answer has been, but this is true nevertheless. God has not left us comfortless.

In reality, we did not separate from God at all, though we have always thought that we did. We could not separate from God and live, because we are a part of Him. He dwells deep within, and we project outward to an illusory world that seems to contain us in physicality. Indeed, outside of true reality, we have “fallen” indeed, and the way back may take a very long time indeed. Jesus says in A Course in Miracles that it may take millions of years, possibly longer, for all human beings to return, as the “separation” happened over a similarly long period of time. This may be disturbing and discouraging, but Jesus does not gloss over the facts. We have a lot to do to bring ourselves and others back into the fold.

God’s Answer is always there for us, if we are following ACIM (A Course of Love counsels the inner Christ Spirit as our way back, because the time of the Holy Spirit has passed, and we are now living in the time of Christ). People will not, we believe, live in terrible circumstances for all of these millions of years. As more of us awaken, our pathway will seem brighter, and ACIM also says that the Holy Spirit brings happy dreams.

A Course of Love counsels that the elevated Self of form will live in this world, a new world that we are creating as we grow spiritually. Physicality is not bad or wrong, but separation and the egoic thoughts that it brings can be terrible in the extreme. We can safely reside in the physical form when we have sustained Christ-consciousness or Awakening. The future that we will create, a new world, is yet to be determined, but Jesus seems very hopeful in ACOL. He does not predict what we will do; probable realities prevent accurate prognostication. But our way will be easier as we walk a closer path with God.

Ordinary people living ordinary lives can make quite a difference.

We Live in a Safe Universe

“Only reality is free of pain. Only reality is free of loss. Only reality is wholly safe. And it is only this we seek today.” (ACIM, W-268)

Reality is benign, “free of pain,” “free of loss,” “wholly safe.” This reassurance is very welcome today. We need to know that true reality is different from the sometimes hazardous world that we inhabit before reality dawns.
The sometimes hazardous world is illusion, but when we cut ourselves, we bleed, and this does not seem illusory.

It is that we experience illusion as reality that we are able to experience this world at all. We are caught in physicality, and this “caught” feeling is very real to us.

True reality is different. We experience good things. We don’t cut ourselves, and so we don’t bleed. We don’t experience pain or suffering, and we don’t experience loss of our loved ones. We are safe in this true reality.
How is this possible? We don’t know, or certainly I don’t know to be able to tell you. But if Jesus says in A Course in Miracles that it is so, I believe him. He is trying to tell us something very real; he is trying to lead us home to God. We can’t get there if we dwell on pain or suffering, and loss. We can get there only if we feel perfectly safe.

Even when bad things happen, still we can know that true reality is there to guide us. The bad things will not seem so bad when we are lost in God’s love. God does not lead us through a world of mystery, only to tell us in the end why these things have happened to us. We can know the “why” when we listen deeply. Everyone’s answer is different, and different for each circumstance, but we will be given an answer when we ask.

Ask today for your answer to eternal safety. See if God doesn’t reach out to you with His Answer. The Holy Spirit (if reading A Course in Miracles) or the inner Christ Self (if reading A Course of Love) will guide us rightly. We won’t have to wonder. But we do have to ask with the full assurance that we will be told.

And we will be told.

Regardless of Appearances, We Are Safe

“Reality observes the laws of God, and not the rules you set. It is His laws that guarantee your safety.”
(ACIM, T-30.IV.4)

We know that bad things happen to us in illusion, in the way of this world. We also know that our real Self has never been harmed. The entity of which we are a part is that real Christ Self (from A Course of Love). And it is this Self who is always safe from misfortune, from pain, from suffering.

Our Higher Self sometimes sets things up that appear to harm our “little,” or personal self. We are working out our salvation in this world, and we don’t understand the higher Forces that are impinging upon this world as much as we would, perhaps, like to know and understand. We know that the personal self isn’t to be blamed for misfortune; this is the wrongheaded New Age thinking that would blame the victim. But all “victims” need to understand everything. Our finite minds cannot comprehend all that we confront. But we know that God means us well, that He is never to blame. Perhaps we charted a difficult course in our lives from the Other Side, before our birth. Perhaps we took on challenges that maybe we now regret. We are apparently so optimistic before our birth that we take on the world, so to speak. Only to have the world come crashing down around us.

These are things about which we have no proof and cannot be certain. But A Course in Miracles and A Course of Love are both certain that, regardless of what happens, we remain safe.

This is true reality. This is our inheritance. And all really is well with us, regardless of appearances.

Seek Reality in Harmony, Peace, Joy

“As nothingness cannot be pictured, so there is no symbol for totality. Reality is ultimately known without a form, unpictured and unseen.” (ACIM, T-27.III.5)

Perhaps, for those of us who are interested, this quotation from A Course in Miracles is one answer to question of whether reality has a form, or if forms are always illusory. As I read it, this quotation would strongly suggest that reality is made up of non-forms, perhaps the intangibles of harmony, peace, joy, and the like.

I do not think that deciding whether or not reality has a form is a litmus test for adherents to A Course in Miracles. The same for our feelings are what illusion entails. ACIM is silent enough on this subject to leave room for differences of opinion. And we don’t want those differences of opinion to divide us.

Reality is here seen as totality. And we know, from other passages in A Course of Love, that totality cannot be experienced as one whole. There must be differences for us, even for God Himself, to experience Being. So reality was differentiated into parts, but each part as part of the whole, and containing the whole. This is one way of seeing reality, a way that is meaningful to me.
Reality, according to this quotation, is “unpictured” and “unseen.” But not unfelt, of this we can be sure. Let’s ask to experience true reality in our various paths through the world today.

We won’t be disappointed. The solution is always with the problem, and we have found unreality long enough. Now we are heading back home, and true reality lights our path to it.

No Better Day Can Be Had than One Spent in Peace

“Only this is certain in this shifting world that has no meaning in reality: When peace is not with you entirely, and when you suffer pain of any kind, you have beheld some sin within your brother, and have rejoiced at what you thought was there.” (ACIM, T-24.VI.5)

This quotation is a stern warning, and it sounds less than kind, on the surface. But is it, really? When peace is not with us totally and we feel pain of any kind, are we harboring anger at our brother for his perceived sins?

There are few of us who would believe that we are beyond anger. None of us actually are, though ACIM warns that anger and attack are unjustified, for our Self is innocent. A Course of Love is more forgiving, explaining that anger may stay with us until we bid it go. Negative feelings do not keep us from Christ-consciousness, because ACOL says that we do not have to be “perfect” in this world. ACIM says that Jesus stands at the end of the pathway, to correct any errors that we ourselves are powerless to change. So we are standing on good ground when we acknowledge anger and a propensity to see sin in others, though we all recognize that this is not the way we want to feel and see.

“Reality is never frightening. It is impossible that it could upset me. Reality brings only perfect peace. When I am upset, it is always because I have replaced reality with illusions I made up.” (ACIM, W-52)

If we are deeply experiencing this world, we will be experiencing illusions. And we will be upset. We need the reality that is behind these conflicted and conflicting feelings. And we can have it—today.

All we need do is ask for the reality that is behind all illusion. Ask for what is non-material; ask for love, joy, harmony, peace. You will not be left dangling. The Holy Spirit (or, in ACOL, the Christ Self) will respond to your pleas with much good will. Claim this promise. I claim it almost daily. And my world becomes smoother as a result.

Ask for perfect peace today. Turn aside from the upsets, big and small, that people your world.

The perfect peace that comes will assure us that we ought to harbor no ill will toward another. And we will join with them in a community of believers in faith, in God, in holiness.

No better day can be had than one spent in peace.

Cross the Bridge into Reality–to Find God

“You will cross the bridge into reality simply because you will recognize that God is on the other side, and nothing at all is here. It is impossible not to make the natural decision as this is realized.” (ACIM, T-16.V.17)

Choosing for God is the natural decision. Of course, many do not believe this. But if we open our minds ever so slightly, and allow the thought that God is real, that He is a part of our lives, and that we are happier recognizing this, there will never be a problem with belief again.

I have long been drawn to those parts of A Course in Miracles that use the term “natural.” This seems to be a harbinger of particular apt thoughts. Who does not want to live the life “natural” to us? And how can we do that if we leave God out?

Don’t leave Him out. Open the door to your deepest mind ever so slightly, and see if you don’t experience a swelling of your heart at the same time that you open your mind.

This is all it takes. But it is enough. We have let God show us that paying attention to Him is natural to our best living. And He will respond in kind. This is what He has been waiting for. Don’t keep Him waiting any longer. Just experiment. And reflect.

The advantages are many, the drawbacks none at all. God would have you live the good life, and by this I don’t mean the materialistic life. The good life is the best that is out there for us, and it is there for the immediate experiencing when our minds and hearts turn to the One Who knows all.

Love Asks Only for Happiness

“Today, let us resolve together to accept the joyful tidings that disaster is not real and that reality is not disaster. Reality is safe and sure, and wholly kind to everyone and everything. There is no greater love than to accept this and be glad. For love asks only that you be happy, and will give you everything that makes for happiness.” (ACIM, T-16.II.8)

What a reassuring quotation! Our reality is safe, sure, kind—nothing to fear at all. It is only when we dip into fear itself that we experience the bad things of this world. Of course, things that are bad appear to spring up quite independent of ourselves, but they, even in our front yard, will touch us not if we are wholly immersed in reality. We will see with larger eyes, seeing past the illusion that is before us, to the reality of love that is within. We are part of God, and this being so, how can our inner being not experience His love?

Love asks only that we be happy. We who are achievement-oriented have long thought that more was asked of us than simply to experience the feeling of love. Of course, love is more than a feeling, an emotion, but that is a legitimate starting point for our experience of reality. Achieving will happen, when we are ready, for we too don’t want to spend our days in a bored funk. But love comes first. Then we are led, skillfully and carefully, to an achievement that would rival our highest dreams.

Love will give us everything that makes for happiness! Yes, the quotation says that. Settle back, relax, take it easy, and let the love that is in our hearts flow over us. We will have a better day. Indeed, we can have no better day when we take this initial step for a good day.

Heaven Dawns Here and Now in This World

“In Heaven reality is shared and not reflected. By sharing its reflection here, its truth becomes the only perception the Son of God accepts. And thus, remembrance of his Father dawns on him, and he can no longer be satisfied with anything but his own reality.” (ACIM, T-14.X.2)

When we remember God, we are likely to be in a sharing mood with others. We are not likely to be isolated and alone, in a self-centered way with ourselves and others as well. In Heaven, then, reality is shared. We don’t see reality “reflected,” which is an inferior way to experience reality.

And we can have Heaven here and now. This is being said. We have long thought that we had to wait for the afterlife, and maybe eons beyond the immediate afterlife, to reach Heaven. But here and now Heaven awaits us, when we are made ready by our persistence and our love for God and other people, as well as love for ourselves (which is necessary to love God and others).

When we remember God, we are living reality. We don’t have to be made acquainted with God, for He is in our memory. We once knew that, being a part of Him, we could never lose Him. Now we need to realize that this remembrance is always out there, waiting for us.

The ways of this world are obscure at best. The ways of Heaven are transparent to those who ask to see.

Seeing Love, Harmony, Peace, Joy Will Chase Away the Demons of Unreality/Illusion

“Different realities are meaningless, for reality must be one. It cannot change with time or mood or chance. Its changelessness is what makes it real. This cannot be undone. Undoing is for unreality. And this reality will do for you.” (ACIM, T-14.IV.2)

Do we not want to undo what has no effects, something such as fear? The effects that we feel seem real enough to us, of course, but actually these effects are nothing more than illusion that has been given a pseudo reality. And it is true reality that we want.

Seeing love, harmony, peace, joy, will chase away the demons of unreality/illusion. For love, harmony, peace, and joy are real, are evidence that we are seeing true reality. And in the real world (seen only for an instant in time, though we do not know how long as “instant” really is) love reigns. We would do well to welcome the real world all the time in our experience.

“Appearances deceive, but can be changed. Reality is changeless. It does not deceive at all, and if you fail to see beyond appearances you are deceived. For everything you see will change, and yet you thought it real before, and now you think it real again. Reality is thus reduced to form, and capable of change. Reality is changeless. It is this that makes it real, and keeps it separate from all appearances. It must transcend all form to be itself. It cannot change.” (ACIM, T-30.VIII.1)

The “appearances” that this quotation mentions are the things in our world that we see and call reality, which are in actuality physical forms that are illusion. We live in an illusory world, with positive emotions our only tie to reality—love, joy, peace, etc. These emotions (which are really a bit beyond emotion) are changeless in reality. But we don’t often recognize this, for our emotions appear labile to us. We oscillate, in and out of moods of the day, and we wonder how even the positive emotions can be changeless.

Even those positive emotions can’t be changeless when we are trapped. But we do not have to remain trapped. Trapped in illusion! What a dreary thought!

We may think that we don’t want to live in a changeless world. But that is not exactly what is promised us. The positive emotions will continue, though the particular activities in which we engage will differ. The positive emotions, I think, are the changeless factor.

The world that we see can become a real world when we look past its changing forms. And when our emotions level out. We are not meant to be constantly up and down, in a dreary round of a felt spinning world. We are meant to look to God for our constancy and for our changeless reality. We are meant to commune with our Creator, for it is very unnatural not to do so (from ACIM). We shortchange ourselves when we don’t commune, just talk, with God, as we go through our day. He will take the changeable and turn it into the changeless, and the smoothing out of our experience will be palpable.

Radiant Message of God’s Love

“The only part of your mind that has reality is the part that links you still with God. Would you have all of it transformed into a radiant message of God’s Love, to share with all the lonely ones who have denied Him? God makes this possible.” (ACIM, T-14.V.1)

Our inner Christ Self is the linkage with God, the internal linkage that allows us to welcome others, to love them intensely, and to be at home in all the universe. We are no longer lonely when we recognize that we are one with God. And we reach out to others, as just something that we want to do. Not a compelling, in reaching out to others. Just something that we feel led to do, with no coercion at all.

Our Christ Self is discussed at length in A Course of Love. It is the truest of true reality, the “only part of your mind that has reality.”
Let us go forth today to reach out to others in whatever ways we can. They will welcome our interest and our words, if we listen guidance within that tells us when and where to speak.

Reality, true reality, is asking us to do the best that we can. And guidance is always there to be sure that our thoughts, words, and actions are well-considered.

Does Illusion Fall Away in ACIM’s Real World?

“The real world is all that the Holy Spirit has saved for you out of what you have made, and to perceive only this is salvation, because it is the recognition that reality is only what is true.” (ACIM, T-11.VII.4)

Perhaps reality, being “only what is true,” is not illusion at all, is no longer the dream in which we perceive the world. A Course in Miracles and A Course of Love do not develop this idea very much at all; it is left to tantalize us with its innuendo. Certainly the eternal in our experience, the intangibles of love, harmony, peace, joy, happiness, are not illusion, and it may be these intangibles that Jesus is discussing. Honest people have differed on what he is saying, dedicated students/teachers, all, of A Course in Miracles.

We are teased out of thought when we wonder if seeing the real world, which ACIM notes happens only briefly, is not an illusion. We are caught up in Awakening by God Himself, and through this action do we know peace for the first time. Whether or not the images that appear before our eyes are perception or knowledge is not made clear to me in ACIM. Maybe I am too dense, but I still have questions.

How could the illusion of our eyes, in this outside world, suddenly, with the advent of the real world, true reality, be “real”? This is one question for us to puzzle over, because none of us has a definitive answer. This much is certain: the intangibles are eternal, and therefore true—but the eyes don’t see these intangibles.

“This is a very simple course. Perhaps you do not feel you need a course which, in the end, teaches that only reality is true. But do you believe it? When you perceive the real world, you will recognize that you did not believe it. Yet the swiftness with which your new and only real perception will be translated into knowledge will leave you but an instant to realize that this alone is true. For as Heaven and earth become one, even the real world will vanish from your sight. The end of the world is not its destruction, but its translation into Heaven. The reinterpretation of the world is the transfer of all perception to knowledge.” (ACIM, T-11.VIII.1)

Will Heaven be a physical manifestation of truth? And will Heaven be here and now?

This quotation certainly seems to say “yes” to both questions. But A Course in Miracles can be obscure, and I seek to say nothing that is controversial, because controversy is divisive in that it separates us from each other in the study of ACIM.

We can ask to see this real world sooner rather than later. And we can do what we can to remove the blocks to love’s awareness.

This much we can do.

And it will be no mystery why we are healed.

“Reserve not one idea aside from truth, or you establish orders of reality that must imprison you. There is no order in reality, because everything there is true.” (ACIM, T-17.I.5)

This defines “true reality,” if we have ever needed a definition.

“How does one overcome illusions? Surely not by force or anger, nor by opposing them in any way. Merely by letting reason tell you that they contradict reality. They go against what must be true. The opposition comes from them, and not reality. Reality opposes nothing. What merely is needs no defense, and offers none. Only illusions need defense because of weakness.” (ACIM, T-22.V.1)

This quotation explains why we need be defensive about nothing. Defense weakens us, making what we would defend against. This is an axiom of A Course in Miracles.

We can get ourselves so caught up in illusion, and so defensive, that we let the ego run wild in our psyches again.

We do not need this. Nobody needs this. The ego, so apparent to others, will keep us weak for eons—if we let it. Now is the time to turn aside gently from the ego, take heed no longer, and know truth for the first time.

“Where once you recognized only illusion and called it reality, the mind joined in union will now, more and more, recognize only truth and experience only the truly real.” (ACOL, 1.10)

This brings back the quandary with which I became this posting. Will we experience only the “truly real”? Does this go beyond simply intangible emotions (love, peace, etc.)?

Certainly it seems to say this. And what a great promise this is, if this should be true! We don’t have to fear being lost in illusions any longer. Our dreams are over, maybe in physical manifestation as well.

Ask deep within for the answer to this quandary. I suspect that honest people will vary on their interpretations, but that is no reason for us to be divided one from the other. We do realize that the intangibles are not dreams. And joy, peace, love, harmony, happiness, will beckon us forward every step of the way, paving the way for Heaven on earth.

Eternal Love Is the World’s Only True Reality

“Every loving thought that the Son of God ever had is eternal. The loving thoughts his mind perceives in this world are the world’s only reality. They are still perceptions, because he still believes that he is separate. Yet they are eternal because they are loving.” (ACIM, T-11.VII.2)

We have all heard platitudes about how important love is to our very existence, but this quotation does not mouth platitudes. We are told that our loving thoughts are eternal, that they are the world’s only reality. Yet as long as we think we are separate, we will be caught in a perceived world. Only when we move beyond perception to knowledge do we reach the reality that we long to find.

Love is God, and we are a part of God, and so we are love as well. While this does not mean that God is an emotion, it does mean something very close to the emotion of love that we understand as holy. It is very far, on the other hand, from the emotion of love that we thrust upon others whom we deem are special to ourselves.

Special love will not last, and for those of us first caught up in romantic love, we need to take heed. The special love that is the first bloom of romance must move forward into the holy love that sees that the perfection we envision is truly real. The perfection of our beloved is the only part of special love that is right and true. And the first bloom of special love does see this clearly.

I often think that talking of mature love sounds so deadly. We are told, in effect, to grow up and love more sanely. But real love is not needed as a test of sanity. The part of special love that is seeing perfection is seeing truly. And then we expand this perfection to a wide scope, and we extend this sight into the future, and then we have the holy love that is lasting.

“Love is the condition of your reality. In your human form your heart must beat for the life of your self to take place. This is the nature of your reality. Love is as essential to your being as the heart to the body.” (ACOL, C:1.3)

We need love. We all know this, but we also feel powerless, sometimes, to keep the loves in our life that we want. People come and go, and loves seem also to come and go.

A true understanding knows that the ones we have loved are never lost to us. That love that we felt is a part of eternity, and eternity means “lasting.” We don’t have to see, speak to, or write the person whom we once adored. He or she may have no part in our lives.

But the loves lives on, taking on a life of its own.

And this early love does not mitigate against later loves. Love, once present, expands the heart so that other love comes more easily, for the measure of our love is what it has done to us. We have changed internally by the very act of loving. And this loving lasts and lasts, making new and fresh incarnations along the way.

We don’t have to worry about being bereft of love. Our hearts simply need to be open to what God has for us. He never departs; he never allows us to feel alone for very long. He knows that we need other people, as we also need Him. And He will supply that need with every heartfelt cry.

Do Not Be Afraid to Look upon Fear, for It Cannot Be Seen

“Laws do not operate in a vacuum, and what leads to nothing has not happened. If reality is recognized by its extension, what leads to nothing could not be real. Do not be afraid, then, to look upon fear, for it cannot be seen.” (ACIM, T-11.V.2)

So often we have heard or read that we need to walk right up to fear, look it in its face, and it will disappear. This quotation says the same. And it goes further: There is not anything there to be seen at all.

My experience has sometimes been different, because I am able to scare myself with my own desert places. I can panic when I look upon fear too closely. But, given that I know A Course in Miracles, it is a panic based on nothing, on illusion only. There is nothing there that can actually harm me. Nothing at all.

We are not dealing with the real when we deal with fear, however we deal with it. We are dealing with illusion, with the scary thoughts of our deluded minds, and we are walking away, at the same time, from reality. Reality is not scary in the least. And so we don’t have to scare ourselves with our own desert places. Not at all.

Reality builds upon itself; that is what is meant by the “extension” comment in the quotation. The more we look on true reality, the bigger it gets, the more of our force field is taken up by the sweet beauty of reality.

Choose reality today. Gently turn aside from fear, not with resistance (for fear grows strong with resistance), but with love. Love overcomes fear, always and forever. And it is just such love that will save us.

Remember from Eons Past What We Know of God

“Give up gladly everything that would stand in the way of your remembering, for God is in your memory. His Voice will tell you that you are part of Him when you are willing to remember Him and know your own reality again. Let nothing in this world delay your remembering of Him, for in this remembering is the knowledge of yourself.” (ACIM, T-10.II.2)

This favorite passage from A Course in Miracles does emphasize that the Voice (the Holy Spirit) will guide us surely into true reality, which is the remembrance of God. We are not, it is important to note, learning something new when we learn of God; instead, we are remembering something forgotten eons ago. The way back has been long and difficult, painful in the extreme, but those days are ending. The way now becomes smooth, there are no pebbles to kick against with our feet, and we are living better than we ever have before. We are learning to trust God again, and this in itself is a cause for great rejoicing.

We need not delay in this world. We want knowledge of ourselves, and in knowledge of God is knowledge of ourselves laid. We will live in great glory when we have put aside our wonderings about reality, and let reality be written upon our world. Then the illusions may very well fall away, and we will see the intangibles—faith, love, joy, harmony, peace—with new eyes.

We are part of God, Who lives deep within us. We project an insane dream, but not from such depths as God lives. He leads us back to Him ever so gently, making sure that we don’t stumble. His way is good and true, and it leads to true reality.
Would we lack for anything when we live in true reality, illusions sought no longer?

True Reality Is Eminently Obvious

“The ego is afraid of the obvious, since obviousness is the essential characteristic of reality. Yet you cannot overlook it unless you are not looking.” (ACIM, T-9.VII.3)

I have emphasized, from A Course of Love, many times that we are moving away from the ego and all of its woes. The most obvious parts of our world are not the egoic interpretations, but the reality that is coming about from our dropping of fear and judgment. This reality is blessed, a true gift from God. And we don’t have to wait to experience true reality. If it is obvious, as this quotation says, then it is there for all of us to see. And see it we will, when we have met the conditions of dropping fear and judgment from our group of emotions.
When something is obvious, we don’t overlook it unless we are not looking. The quotation says this, and we know this is true in our own experience. Ask for the obvious today. Let the obvious in your surroundings call to you.

If the “obvious” seems to be painful, then sit with that thought and emotion for a while. Don’t turn the thought and emotion into suffering. Just sit with the pain. If looked at intently, pain will begin to dissipate, for it is only illusion—nothing more. And illusion doesn’t stick around if we are onto it, if we have discerned that in fact it is illusion.

We can give up our dreams of a mad world. We can give up our madness. Find something that absorbs our consciousness, that gives us peace, and see that the pain dissipates.
And the obviousness of true reality will dawn—not later, but now.

The Reality of Everything Is Totally Harmless

“Wrong perception is the wish that things be as they are not. The reality of everything is totally harmless, because total harmlessness is the condition of its reality. It is also the condition of your awareness of its reality. You do not have to seek reality. It will seek you and find you when you meet its conditions.” (ACIM, T-8.IX.2)

We have made a world from our projections from within, a world that is perceived rather than truly experienced. And this perception has been wrong, has gone awry. We don’t have to stay with these misapprehensions, though. There is a better way. And true reality is what it is.

How do we experience true reality? When we recognize that we can be harmed by nothing, we are well on our way. Of course, in this world, this assertion strikes us as irrational. Surely there are many things in this world that hurt us. But our real Self is not hurt, and it is this Self that is able to experience true reality. This Self does not spend time lamenting perceptions of the world that are not accurate. This Self sits in the sun and is contented. Would we not all long for this experience?

Our conditions to meet include harboring no fear and no judgment. These are the twin conditions that keep us stuck in illusions, in our dream world. We may think that stress, fear, is always with us, but we need to think again. Fear is not with us when we are open to the God within. Judgment does not overtake us when we are communing with Him.

So: Today, let loose the misperceptions with which we have peopled our world. Know that fear and judgment can be left behind, and that the quickest route to that right choice is to touch base with the inward God. Meditate on Him, and see if there are not bright spots in your perception. Soon knowledge will replace perception, and we will know that all is well. Let us choose that all will be well today.

Choose Not Be Affected by Lack of Love from Without

“In reality you are perfectly unaffected by all expressions of lack of love. These can be from yourself and others, from yourself to others, or from others to you.” (ACIM, T-2.I.5)

This quotation doesn’t seem to make sense when we first read it. Of course we are affected by the lack of love expressed by others! But are we, really? We are our own Self, the entity whom God created, and we are not actually changed by anything that happens outside ourselves—including expressions of lack of love. In such a situation, we need only turn within, to the God within, and feel the love percolate up to the surface from deep within. We are fine; we are loved by God; we need fear other people in the world not at all.

This explanation needs some “sitting with” to reach full agreement with your very human mind. And perhaps the mind cannot comprehend this idea at all. Maybe it takes the heart. Our hearts know things that the mind, especially when caught by the ego, can never know. Ask the heart if it feels unloved when a significant other turns his/her back on us. Is it not pride, an egoic notion, that is truly hurt? If we ask deep within, we will know that our essential Self has known no pain; this essential Self is right there, waiting for our little self to come to its senses. We are loved, and we are not hurt when the source of that love changes.

We will always have love in our lives. We need never wonder if we will go lacking, for we won’t. This is a characteristic of true reality; this is the truth of what we experience in this sometimes sad world. Love never goes away; it just hides sometimes. But communing with our depths, communing with God, will right our little world again when we have suffered loss.

Ask today from whence your love might best come. You will sense an answer, and the pain and suffering (if this is your experience) will subside. Remembering God’s love is all that it takes.

PART 3: WHAT IS TRUE REALITY? CHARACTERISTICS OF REALITY

We Are Spirits Having a Bodily Experience

“The miracle sets reality where it belongs. Reality belongs only to spirit, and the miracle acknowledges only truth.” (ACIM, T-1.IV.2)

We are spirits having a bodily experience. We are not primarily bodies. Even when we have reached Christ-consciousness, and even when we have sustained that Christ-consciousness, living the elevated Self of form that Jesus extols, we still are, at base spirits. Our spirits can recognize a miracle when we see one. Skepticism has been discarded, and we revel in the glory of a true reality that is always and only miraculous.

Our true reality has spirit, then, at its base. And until we recognize this as what true reality really means, we will be to some extent at loose ends. We like physicality, or we would not have incarnated in flesh. Don’t you think we had some choice in the matter? (A Course of Love is silent on this question.) If we did have some choice, then it is true, as Jesus says, that the choice to occupy an elevated Self of form in an eternity is really ours.
Nobody needs to make a decision like this now. The world as it exists today would not be desirable as an eternal home. But a portion of the entity who we are might very well choose to live on this earth, bringing ourselves and others to salvation. Jesus says in A Course in Miracles that the return of everyone to God may take millions of years. We do not have to be daunted by this suggestion. We can, instead, be grateful that our existence is about to take on new meaning in this world. We have the means before us to reach Christ-consciousness, to live with miracles surrounding us all the time. We have the new revelations (as I view them) of A Course in Miracles and A Course of Love. Both books speak to our time, in language that understands secular psychology (hence the emphasis on the “ego”) and, at the same time, acknowledges the depth of generations to a mystical tradition.

We are truly in an enviable position now. We are in the time of Christ, a time awaited by many for centuries before us.

A New Choice

“A choice for a new kind of experience that has led to the creation of an unreal reality so populated by the god-like and the god-less, so near to replacing creation with destruction, so hate- and pain-filled, that you have been moved to a new choice.” (ACOL, Dialogues, Day 36, 36.15)

What a promise this quotation holds: a new choice! We don’t have to live such a pain-filled life ever again; we can so create that the lamentable happenings of the past are a distant memory, never to be revisited.

We have made a god who is god-like (because we have some dim memory of what God is really like), but who is really god-less. And we have made a world of destructive tendencies, hate- and pain-filled, because we were living insanely. Nobody in their right mind would make the world that we have had to live in; certainly our loving God did not create it.

This belief is central to A Course in Miracles and A Course of Love, that God did not create the world that we inhabit. Not all of us are ready to accept this idea yet, but as long as the germ of an idea is planted, we may come further along to this point of view in time.

God is here to rescue us, though. He never left us all alone in an illusory, mad universe. He always stood ready to retrieve us for a real world of joy and harmony. And it is this reality, this true reality, before which we stand poised today. We cannot give up the pain-filled illusion without realizing that someone quite out of their mind made this insanity. And God is not insane. Our new reality rests on a solid Foundation.

Let us make the new choice today. Let us look within for guidance as to what type of true reality we wish to inhabit. And then take the steps given us to create that new peace in a new world.

There can be no better way to spend today.

On Free Will and Willingness, by Ivor Sowton

On Free Will and Willingness. ..This Chapter 11 is going deep for me. I am getting into a practice of applying the latest chapter Mari reads for us (endless gratitude, Mari!) DIRECTLY TO MY LIFE RIGHT NOW.

I’ve had a lot of issues in my life with “I’ll be good if I can just do this and that and thus, and by the way so many other people already do these things far better than I can, so I’ve got to try much harder and maybe in some far distant future time I will have improved enough to make the grade.”

Can you relate to this? But if I try to drop all that and just be more present with the current Course of Love chapter and apply it to my actual present experience, then that’s really helpful. So, here goes! The theme of the chapter that I’m feeling now is about how I almost desperately hang on to MY will, in spite of the fact that it’s clearly not bringing me the Peace of God. The old ego pattern is to maintain a safe distance from direct experience of others in relationship and sharing. So mistrustful. So used to feeling less than. So not trusting that benign lessons could be being freely offered me by others who are actually trying to help me in a true spirit of friendship rather than put me down.

So in this chapter Jesus is so personally encouraging to me to offer that “temporary willingness” He recommends. So masterful He is here! For if He demanded total willingness I would be pushing myself to come up to too high a bar, trying to grit my teeth and demand that of myself immediately– and I would get discouraged. Instead He is helping me grow in trust, in baby steps if need be, gradually coming to trust God more and more. I feel very very lucky in that I have developed more trust in Jesus over the last few years. That is a wonderful relationship we can all form, I really feel. Or maybe for some it is another great Master; but chances are that if you have taken the trouble to join this Group and are sincerely trying to open up to A Course of Love then your relationship with Jesus is pretty deep also, right?

We are SO blessed in this. For me even in the dark times, which remain frequent for me, I am praying to Jesus, on a spectrum of entreating Him for help right down to complaining to Him or even being mad at Him for not lifting me out of whatever mire I’m sunk in–but in a way I know He doesn’t mind….And now to conclude with the last paragraph in this great Chapter 11: “…Love is the unity you seek. In having chosen separation over unity you but chose fear over love. When you let go of fear and invite unity to return, you but send out an invitation to love and say you are welcome here.” I am right now willing to try that out, in small doses if need be, pacing myself to the trust level I can handle now. Thank-you all!!!

We Are “Enough”

“You may have left behind aspirations of wealth, and replaced them with ideas of having more time, more fulfilling work, simpler pleasures, and yet you still see your new state as one that does not touch upon this aspect of ‘reality.’ The better life you might attain will be a by-product rather than the effect of Cause.

“Here is the real of the old ‘reality’ most solid and unrelenting. Not having ‘enough’ is the ‘reality’ of your life because it was the reality of the learning life.” (ACOL, Dialogues, Day 3, 3.22 – 3.23)

There are several ideas in this quotation that need some explanation. Surprisingly, perhaps, A Course of Love says that we are heading away from the time of learning through intermediaries, especially the reading and studying that we have done. We are heading into the place of observation of the world and what it contains, and then discovery of reality. We, we are told, are living in the time of Christ, and we need no intermediaries, not even the Holy Spirit, for the time of the Holy Spirit has now passed.
Of course, we may not even know from whence our guidance is coming. I have friends who still hold dear the Holy Spirit, and I don’t think that Jesus would downplay their inclinations. The Holy Spirit is a part of the Trinity, which includes the inner Christ Self we are to follow now. So as long as seek mightily to follow the guidance that we ask to receive, I think that we will be alright.
Why do we think that we don’t have “enough”? Is it not lingering fear of what the future will bring, whether or not we will be taken care of in this problematic world? Our unreal reality is of a world that doesn’t give us what we need, but we have to bear part of the blame for this, because we have been looking in all the wrong places. We are now to look outward at a new, true reality, one that doesn’t seek for inferior goals. We don’t necessarily need the soft life that we may have replaced the goals of ambition.

Our true reality is yet to be written. Jesus says, toward the end of A Course of Love, that he won’t be predictive, that not even he has the knowledge to know where we are heading, what we can create. But one thing is sure: The transformation of ourselves to a more perfect, elevated Self, is inevitable once we seek out the answers, answers that are there in our given world to observe and to discover. Look around you today, and see if you don’t notice a clearer world than you have previously observed or discovered. The clarity is God’s gift to us as we walk ever farther on the pathway home.

Prayer Says Good-Bye to Fear

“To use prayer only as a means of reaching out to a god seen as separate is to attempt to use what cannot be used. . .Prayers such as these emanate from either heart or mind and have not the power of the wholehearted. Prayers such as these emanate from the state of fear that is the reality of the separated self.” (ACOL, 6.5)

All of us have prayed as though we were in a foxhole. These are the desperate prayers, when we are very vulnerable, for whatever reason. And all of us grew up seeing God as an all-powerful Eye Who could see anything that we were doing, and Who would mostly punish us if we did something that was “wrong.”

It is impossible to avoid these concepts of God. But the time has come for a more mature concept of the Deity. We believe, if we follow A Course in Miracles and A Course of Love, that God is within, that we are all “God-stuff,” and that when we turn inward, we connect with Something both very deep and very high. We see this illusory world as a product of projection from within, yet we sense also that there is a Higher Reality, a reality that we long to experience.

When we turn inward and pray real prayers, our prayers are heard, but by a God Who does not feel inspired by our illusory fear. He will still listen, of course, but we are in a compromised state of mind and heart when we pray out of fear, and we often feel that our prayers have not reached the ceiling, that we have not been heard. This is because fear is a barrier to touching the Divine. It keeps us from what we most want.

There is a way around this. First, calm the mind and heart in whatever ways you have discovered work for you. For some, this is meditation. For some, it is reading the Workbook lessons that are a part of A Course in Miracles. For some, it is as mundane as deep breathing. But unless the mind and heart are somewhat calm, our prayers convict us of things that we think we have done wrong. And this isn’t a fruitful state in which we touch God.

We aren’t reaching to a God beyond the stars. It is nearer than our breath. And always there. He does not punish, however much we think that we deserve punishment. He is always present to listen. But from deep within us. Not outside.

“While your mind did not accept the truth of your identity or the reality of love without fear, it existed in a reality of fear and judgment, and bound heart and body to this reality.” (ACOL, Treatise on the New, 7.5)

This is the old way of thinking, a way that ACIM and ACOL sought to dismantle. We used to fear mightily, and we may still have flights of fear, but there ought to be some lessening by now. Our egoic mind is falling apart, finally, and we are living in a better personal world than we have ever known before. We may still have painful elements to our world, but the suffering (you may have observed) has lessened. This is because the ego has smelled defeat, and while the throes of the death process may be acute, they are not unending.

Leave behind fear and judgment as a decision of the mind and heart. Walk into the sunlight of a new world created by a loving God Whom we are coming to recognize, often for the first time.

In Separation from God, We Have Distorted Reality

“Is it so impossible to imagine that what God created was distorted by your desire to have your reality be other than what it is? Have you not seen this kind of distortion take place within the reality you do see?” (ACOL, 9.28)

Eons ago, when the “tiny, mad idea” (from A Course in Miracles) took hold, we thought that we would make a world that we would like better than the one that God envisioned and created for us. This was indeed madness. But, like adolescents, we forged ahead, and he made the decision to let us exert the free will with which He had endowed us. And what a mess we made for ourselves!

This was the detour into fear, the detour from true reality. And it is only now, in Christ-consciousness, that we have a chance to recoup what we have lost—the true meaning of reality as God intended it for us.

We know that this world is a place of madness. We know this if we have even an inkling of how badly things have gone for us. We have pain that escalates into suffering, and we feel so alone in all the world.

But now we are finding our way back, making out way back on the carpet laid out before us. We are heading backward into time (an ACIM concept), to the place that we left. And we tell ourselves that everything will be better this time. We know better now, we know better from hard experience. We cannot get along without God, as much as we might think we can. He made us to commune with Him, our Maker, and the extent to which we do so fuels the pace at which we right our world again.

Don’t be satisfied with a partial world of adolescent rebellion today. Free will is a great gift, but not when it is misused. Ask deeply, today if you like what you have made. The answer, if asked honestly, will be “no.” Then set about to get the guidance needed to create as elevated Selves of form with the God of our greater imaginings.

He will be there waiting for our return. He has never left us. He has always been waiting for our return to sanity. And that sanity is now beckoning us for a great Awakening.

The Ego Is Best Left Behind

“This is your reenactment of creation, begun each morning and completed each night. Each day is your creation held together by the thought system that gave it birth. To observe this is to see its reality. To see this reality is to see the image of God you have created in God’s likeness.” (ACOL, 8.24)

The word “ego” is not used in this quotation, but that is what I think is meant. When we live with the ego, we reenact creation, but in a skewed way, to our detriment. We have images of ourselves, other people, and God. And these images are idols. Let’s give up this foolishness now. Let’s listen to A Course of Love when it tells us, metaphorically, that the ego is dead in us. We are proceeding as Jesus encourages, leaving ego behind, developing an identity with our inner Christ Self. This Self will then direct us, just as the Holy Spirit did in the last era. We have, according to ACOL, moved out of the time of the Holy Spirit and into the time of Christ. Let’s act as though we believe this. The action will then lead to the belief.

So true reality is definitely not the ego’s frame of mind. This is something that we have known now for a long time. But, because we are mortal, and fallible, and subject to making mistakes, we forget, and we fall back into egoic ways of thinking. Then we backtrack, losing our place on the pathway to enlightenment, for there can be no compromise with the ego that leads to Christ-consciousness.

How do we leave the ego behind? The most forward-thinking action is to consciously do nothing that is egotistical. “Ego” and “egotistical” do not quite mean the same things, but there is a close relationship. The ego is the persona that we have adopted, whereas egotistical thinking and actions play out that persona in our everyday world.

We don’t have to live this way. There is a better way, outlined in ACOL. Let’s take steps along that better pathway today and every day. Let nothing dissuade you. This change of mind, and this listening that we are giving the heart, is far too important to the future of the world to let ourselves backslide.

Struggle Is Not Meant to Be

“Just as you eat to still your hunger only to become hungry again, so does the rest of your life need constant maintenance to retain the reality you have given it. ‘Struggle to succeed and succeed to struggle yet another day’ is the life you have made, and the life you fear heaven would replace.” (ACOL, 6.13)

We have made such a mess as we sought to make the reality that we wanted in this world. How many of us really are addicted to struggle, think that it is virtuous?

I think many of us are. We think that hard work is its own reward, but, oh, are we so wrong. Life is not meant to be a struggle. We are meant to live peaceably and in contentment. Until we change our goals, we will not understand this directive. We will think that we are missing the mark if we drop struggle, because the ego made everything a struggle, as though we wouldn’t measure up unless we constantly worked.

“And yet the very reality that you have set up—the reality of not being able to succeed in what you must constantly strive to do—is a situation set up to provide relationship. Like everything else you have remembered of creation and made in its image, so too is this.” (ACOL, 9.26)

We still find ourselves in relationship one to the other, even in our egoic state of mind prior to getting a glimpse of true reality. We have “remembered” part of what creation really meant for us, but we have remembered it in only a pale reflection of what it is. This remembering is commonplace in our world, but we don’t normally recognize what we are remembering—that we are seeing a pristine world prior to the fall into insanity.

We can let ourselves off the hook. We have so often chastised ourselves for failing. But this is not the issue. Our egos have set up the world for us to fail, because the ego is constantly being undone. If the ego were not being undone, we would ultimately be lost, seeing no way out. That the ego fails repeatedly is a lesson that we will one day come to see, and this lesson offers us the first glimmerings of our way out—our way to salvation.

Choose a day without struggle. If there is something that you don’t want to do, but think you should—just choose not to do that activity. Find out from your reticence what is going on is this non-productive state of mind. You may find that you have been walking along the wrong pathway, and your true reality is trying to let you know. You can always try this activity tomorrow if the experiment proves unfruitful. But I think that you will learn great things by listening to the small Voice that warns against the activity for which you have no motivation. There is a reason for no motivation. Listen and be forewarned.

Misery and Despair Are Madness

“If you believe even the tiniest fraction of what is true, if you but believe you are a small part of God no bigger than a pinprick of light in a daunting sun, you still cannot believe in the reality of misery and despair. If you do, you believe this is the state of God as well.” (ACOL, 2.12)

We are one with God, and so in this context the quotation makes sense. We need to realize that the misery and despair that we wallow in is insanity, nothing more. But insanity is very hard to overcome, and the solution does not always come easily. The solution is Awakening, or Christ-consciousness, and not many people have currently reached this state. I, for one, have not, though I long for this place of “carry water, chop wood” that the Eastern religions extol.

We must realize that our misery and despair are insanity, and when we do believe this, we are on the road home.

Nothing bad has happened to us except that we dreamed a bad dream, and we continue to sleep in bad dreams. Happy dreams will come before enlightenment, and it is these that will save us now.

We are part of God, and so with communion with our depths, our way out is assured. Cling to this in the hard times. God is a very present Force in our lives, and the nearer we get to enlightenment, the more real He becomes. A Course in Miracles recommends the Holy Spirit as a Mediator, but A Course of Love indicates that, no longer afraid of God, we can approach Him more directly.

And this direct approach will take us out of any and all misery and despair. Approach God and see if this is not your truth as well.

Choose the Joy of Heaven Every Day

“You can label joy heaven and pain hell and seek the middle ground for your reality thinking there are more than these two choices. A life of little joy and little pain is seen as a successful life, for a life of joy is seen as nothing more than a daydream, a life of pain a nightmare.” (ACOL, 2.7)

This quotation is only a partial quotation, but the entire passage indicates that Jesus here is not advocating a middle ground. We don’t want to be halfway between heaven and hell. We want to be entirely in heaven, and this is not something that has to wait for the afterlife, the Other Side.

We can know joy here, joy to a substantial extent that blesses us with each and every day. We may not always have positive things happen to us, but although we may know some pain, we don’t have to see this escalate into suffering. Our attitude is everything. We can see the joy in the midst of any adverse life circumstances that come our way. We don’t have to choose the middle way of little joy and little pain.

There is some magical thinking going on in our minds when we select the middle way. We think that if we don’t reach too high, the gods won’t strike us down. But we don’t believe in plural gods. And God Himself doesn’t punish, though we probably were brought up to believe that He punished us if we did “bad” things.

Get this egoic thinking out of the way. Choose joy today. Pray for a more positive outlook for whatever circumstances surround you in your life.

The way to see life as heaven is mapped out for us in A Course of Love. We need look no farther for the newest revelations in our spiritual lives.

Turn Aside from the Mind to the Heart

“What is learned by the mind only rearranges reality. The mind then holds to the new reality as a new set of rules without change. It sees reality through these new mental constructs and calls this way of seeing new. In order to support its new reality it must insist that others follow these new rules.” (ACOL, 1.2)

We must understand that A Course of Love downplays the mind, in large part, I think, due to the fact that the mind has previously been ego-oriented. ACOL emphasizes the heart, which doesn’t get changed by the egoic mind, and which often gives us the solace that the mind cannot. We do learn, as we get deeper in A Course of Love, that the mind and heart need to combine into a state termed “wholeheartedness,” because we cannot function without the mind and heart working together. Our mind is now pretty much free of the ego, if we have been faithfully reading and taking to heart the instructions in ACOL.

Thus we learn at the beginning of ACOL that the mind is dealing in constructs that mislead. We also want others to follow the rules that our mind has laid down.

Quickly we can realize that this won’t work, not long and not well. What are we to do, but deemphasize the mind as we move farther into A Course of Love?

“All the mind can do is rearrange reality and hold it still and captive and rule bound.” (ACOL 1.5)

This is what the mind does to reality. Is this anything that we would want?

“The mind will attempt to understand with its own logic and fight the logic of the heart. The mind will see new rules and perhaps be willing to rearrange its reality once again.

“The mind is its own reality. You cannot escape the mind’s reality with the mind. You cannot learn how to escape the reality of the mind with the mind’s pattern of learning or of logic. You cannot live in a new and fresh world and retain the mind’s reality.” (ACOL, 1.8 – 1.9)

These quotations do not say so, but the way to turn aside from the mind’s view of reality is to trust the heart’s prompting. We have to get outside the mind to see what it is really doing. It won’t destroy its own constructs about reality. We don’t want to destroy anything, because violence makes what we would eliminate. We simply gently turn aside, basking in the warmth of the heart’s inner knowing.

And by so doing does our little world come around alright again.

Our Little Self Has Been Caught in Adolescence

“He seems a sorry figure, weary, worn, in threadbare clothing, and with feet that bleed a little from the rocky road he walks. . .

“This is your chosen self, the one you made as a replacement for reality. This is the self you savagely defend against all reason, every evidence, and all the witnesses with proof to show this is not you.” (ACIM, W-166)

Do we really want to see ourselves as this quotation depicts? Certainly not, but this is our picture of ourselves when we are feeling sorry for ourselves. And we feel sorry for ourselves when we lose track, even momentarily, of the grace in which we live. When we lose track of God.

Jesus is very poetic in his descriptions. When we fret and worry, we make ourselves into a tragic figure, one that we feel sorry for, and that others may as well.

This is all so unnecessary. When we know that we are guided to the right thought and action, when we know that we are never alone, our lives smooth out and we feel safe again. Turn to guidance when you have questions. The

Answer will usually come immediately. If not, go about your day in the surety that the Answer will come.
And that Answer that you need will come. Be assured of that. There is no better way to live a life.

“To say that the personal self will not exist only as the self you present to others is to say that the personal self will now cease to be seen as your reality.” (ACOL, Treatise on the Personal Self, 1.10)
The “little” self has been the self of the ego, which, A Course of Love assures us, is not our way any longer. This little self is also known in ACOL as the personal self. We do keep this self to present to the world, but we really don’t believe in it any longer.

We know that there is a deeper Self Who rules our lives. And with this we are satisfied.

“Our discussion merely examined the reality you chose to believe in, the reality of an ego-self, a self-concept seemingly stuck in an adolescent phase of development.” (ACOL, Treatise on the Personal Self, 2.12)
We are adolescents when we choose to rebel against reality, choose to rebel against God. God had to let us go our own way at this point, eons ago. He made no attempt to rein in our free will, which was to make a reality that tried to leave Him out.

Of course, we could not really do that. God cannot be left out of the equation, for we are part of Him. But we could imagine ourselves independent of God, and the imagining became very real.
And lamentable. But we know more now. We know that we don’t have to forge ahead like a ship with no anchor. God is our anchor, and well it is that this is true.

“Your Self and God will be but memories to you while your reality remains that of the physical experience and the personal self.” (ACOL, Treatise on the Personal Self, 13.2)

Our Self and God are memories to us, because we are recollecting what we have known previously. But to become more than a memory, we must try to reach beyond the physical reality in which we are embedded. The elevated Self of form will use this physical reality, but in a new way. We will know that we are fully united with God, that He is always there for us, that we aren’t independent little entities with no mooring.

The personal self will be transformed into the elevated Self of form. And in this transformation will the character of our world change for the better.

We need this elevated Self of form to live happily in a world that perception used to rule, but that now knowledge rules. We will create again, not “make.” And we will be home in a new world, creating anew a new place to be. We will know creation of the new.

We Are Not Special

“Only the special could have enemies, for they are different and not the same. And difference of any kind imposes orders of reality, and a need to judge that cannot be escaped.” (ACIM, T-24.I.3)

When Jesus says in A Course in Miracles that we need to see ourselves as the “same,” he is saying that we are all equal, not presently, but ultimately. Some do know more temporarily, and it is this that gives us pause for thought. It is this that can give the ego a field day, for if we are unequal now, does that not mean that some of us are “special”?

No, being unequal in knowing about salvation is just the way of the present. In time, all talents will be shared in equal measure, for only time separates us from equality. And time does not really exist, being an illusion, like all that we see in our physical world. We live in eternity. We are just seeing immediate points in order to be able to experience that eternity.

We are not special. Or, conversely, we could see that all of us are special. At any rate, there is only sameness in actuality. We cooperate with our best talents now, knowing that all will share those talents eventually.
We will find ourselves judging if we think that we are special, different from each other. And judging keeps us from awakening. It is one of the three ways in which enlightenment recedes in the distance. (The other two are rising anger and planning against contingencies to come, planning that is not authorized by the Holy Spirit.)
Orders of reality are a false concept, a way of viewing our lives that does not dovetail with the real. And true reality is where we would live. There are, it is true, levels of understanding our reality. But we all live in the sameness of true camaraderie, when we listen to the Holy Spirit as we go about our day.

He will keep us from fretting and worrying. He will ease our minds.