Get the Madness Out

How do we let illusions recede? The world that the ego shows us is illusion indeed. The Course counsels that one need not even oppose the ego (which is to oppose illusions), suggesting that the illusions will go of their own accord when nothing opposes them. We welcome reality because it is true, because it opposes nothing and simply is. Would not we feel glad tidings if such could be our state of mind always?

We do get into trouble by fighting against reality and against God. It is He that we would fortify ourselves against. Doesn’t reason tell us that this looks like a losing battle? God is real, and He created our real selves, and would not have us hide forever in meaningless insanity.

This blessing—that God will find us—is the blessing hidden in the “unreality” we have made for ourselves. Ultimately, we cannot stay in a fog of uncertainty. Eventually we seek better answers, and God has “hidden” Reality in the depths of our hearts and minds, where we will surely find it if we but look. Eventually the sights and sounds of a chaotic world become too much for us, and we are thrown back to our inner depths, where God is. He waits only for this, and this alone is what he needs to turn us from madness. Yet we may look outward at a projected dream for many years. It is frequently only in turmoil that we are led to turn inward to our best resources, those resources found only in God.

Do not fight against the world, when events turn against us, and all seems lost. This is the turning point! This is what God has waited in great patience for us to find. He waits with great patience because He loves deeply, and He knows His creatures. Cause and effect will ultimately make untenable the world of madness. And He waits for that realization of another way, a better way, to dawn upon us. We do not have to seek blindly. Madness cannot keep this better way out of our saner mind. And we can “get the madness out” by simply choosing to look on our chaos and recognize, quietly, “This is not truth.” Sanity thus comes to the quiet mind. We need actively oppose nothing chaotic, for it will disappear when we withdraw our belief from it.

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Resolving Conflict

Are we ever really in conflict? The Course would say not. The true Self is above such pettiness. When conflict rules, we have let our egoistic images of ourselves collide with simply a different egoistic image, also of ourselves.

This conflict happens all the time to those of us still on this side of the bridge, and this includes most of us—we who are still not consistently living in the “real world.” We do not, however, have to continue in conflict. We can refer all questions to our Counselor, the Holy Spirit.

I have found that the gesture of turning the conflict over to the Holy Spirit may be answered immediately, or we may be so involved with turmoil that a quieter mind, one that could hear guidance, has not yet come to us. If the latter is our situation, we need to suspend our thoughts, refusing to mull over the unresolved issue, and quiet our minds.

Whatever method one uses can be right—meditation (the Course makes use of some of this quietness, though the word “meditation” is never used in the FIP edition); prayer; or simple distraction from the conflict to thoughts of something else. One must be aware, however, that distraction can allow the conflict to light upon something else later on. Whatever method one uses, we must trust not in one’s self, but in the Holy Spirit, the Bearer of better thought, to give a way out of the impasse. One helpful thought when battling conflict is to remember that one always battles illusions, for Reality does not battle at all. This recognition may in itself may be enough to calm the heat of passion.

In my own case, I used to have a neurotic tendency to find something, anything, about which to worry. It is as if the “worry” part of me were comfortable only if I had something to fret over. So it is that the ego thrives on conflict, justifying its continuance by conflict. There is a well-worn groove that most of us reserve for worry. When all is said and done, we may find that we were simply in the grip of a bad habit. But by so retaining this bad habit, the Course would say that we make the conditions that we dread, because we choose our own reality. There is a solemn warning in realizing our power to choose our futures that should not be minimized.

Picture instead a resolution, as yet unknown, to be worked out by the Holy Spirit. Abide with this thought awhile, and see if a calmer mind will not welcome, in a moment of revelry perhaps, the answer previously sought so frantically. Once we set aside the conflict-ridden emotional state, the Holy Spirit is free to act.

Forgiveness

We may reasonably substitute the word “pardon” for “forgiveness,” if the word “forgiveness” seems difficult to wrap one’s mind around. The Course uses both terms. In a similar fashion, Jesus asks that we substitute “mistake” or “error” for “sin,” thereby removing sin’s mad attraction for us. The word “forgiveness” may raise similar problems within our minds, conflict that the word “pardon” does not raise.

It is possible that the same sort of dynamic as is played out with the word “sin” is also present with “forgiveness.” We may scream, “He does not deserve forgiveness!” and in so believing, we deny it for ourselves. But we may feel more kindly toward “pardon,” which acknowledges that a wrong, however illusory, has happened. But we choose to wipe the slate clean, to allow our brother to start anew. St. Francis of Assisi said, “It is in pardoning that we are pardoned.” St. Francis’ words present the same relationship between forgiving others and forgiving ourselves.

Remember that the wrongs we perceive, whatever we call the process of overlooking them, are always illusory. As we always fight illusions, so do we pardon (or forgive) illusions as well. God’s Reality is very different from the chaotic world that we behold when we are filled with fear.

Finding Heaven

We know that we have chosen Heaven when we feel peace. And we can make this choice at any instant. When we invite the Holy Spirit to join us, we are once again attuned with God.

A Course in Miracles says that we are all One. Indeed, this is the definition of Heaven: “. . .not a place nor a condition. It is merely an awareness of perfect oneness, and the knowledge that there is nothing else; nothing outside this oneness, and nothing else within.” (T-18.VI.1:5-6) If this be true, we are all part of each other and of God. We cannot attack a separate being, because no separate being exists. The most that we, or an illusion of Self, can attack is an illusion of another. And then conflict ensues, creating fear for ourselves. This is one of the dynamics of the ego, and sometimes it seems that the more we study such meaninglessness, the more powerful it becomes. That is because the very process of studying the ego affirms its importance and makes it real to ourselves.

We can make much, but what results is still only illusion, and can never be truly experienced as real, though we can imagine it to be real.

To live an illusion is madness, a madness that the remembrance of God can shine away. In quiet and in peace can we be led to accept God instead, and we thereby leave conflict, and the fear that it brings, far behind. In forgiveness of ourselves and others do we find that quiet and peace.

There is no other way.

God Offers Comfort

The third law of chaos affirms that God must accept His Son’s belief about what he has become, and hate him for it. This illusion seems to be humility, saying, in effect, that we are miserable sinners in need of grace. But this is actually arrogance that would seek to circumvent the Creator. Now do we dare not turn to God for comfort, because He has become our enemy. Salvation, under this law, seems actually impossible. The ego cannot help in escape from this interpretation, but the Course was made that we might choose another way.

The fourth law of chaos is that you have what you have taken from another. By his loss, we win. This illusion says that there is a finite amount of treasure in the world, and if we gain treasure, we have it because we have taken it from our brother. In its most extreme form, this law says that we must destroy our brother to save ourselves. But Jesus affirms that we can only take away from ourselves. Instead of an “enemy” having our treasure, from whom we must wrest it, we are in firm control, and it is we who would deny ourselves. The enemy does not hold our inheritance away from us—it is we who have rejected it for the dubious “values” of the ego. There is a portion of this law that believes that we act unkindly because our brother has been unkind to us—forcing us into justified attack. But all of this illusion!

Finally, the last law of chaos is that there is a substitute for genuine love. This substitute is given us by the ego when we take back from our brother what we feel is rightfully ours. This is the ego’s secret gift. This secret gift has apparently been torn from us by our brother, and must be reclaimed if we are to have the ego’s notion of salvation. Our brother, by tearing this gift from us, has kept salvation from us. This is why enmity, one to another, can be seen as salvation.

When studied carefully and dispassionately, we can see clearly that these laws of chaos do not make sense. The illusions upon which they are based can be seen as illusions, and thus identifying the “laws” that illusions have, we are in a better position to seek further for the true laws—God’s laws—creating reality. Because these laws do not make sense, we are free to discard them for something better. Therein lies our true salvation. We have used our intellect to help us out, and while intellect is never enough (love and forgiveness, emotions of the heart, are required fundamentally), it is a start. And the lack of a satisfying worldview has kept many a skeptic in his darkness. I can imagine nagging Jesus for just such an elucidation of ultimate Truth that Course provides for us. “. . .seek, and ye shall find,” ((Luke 11:9 – KJV)and the world was finally ready in 1975 (the year A Course in Miracles was published) for this new way.

The Course declares that we think we do not believe in these laws. When articulated bluntly, their insanity becomes evident. But do we believe in these laws on an unconscious level? It is only their plain statement that allows us to reject them. Normally the actual intent is well-hidden. If, when raised to the light of day, we do reject the laws of chaos, then Jesus has done us a great service. It becomes clear that these laws govern chaos (illusion), never reality. A crucial three sentences explain: “There is no life outside of Heaven. Where God created life, there life must be. In any state apart from Heaven life is illusion.” (T-23.II.19:1-3)

Find God in Quietness

There is a stark contrast between fear and love that we need to understand. Seen in its simplicity, the dynamic between fear and love encourages us to find God in quietness when turmoil threatens to overcome us. The most likely reason for the turmoil is something held against our brother, some patch of unforgiveness that would threaten our equanimity and then, because we fear retribution, causes us to feel fear. All this need not be. That is the joyous answer that Jesus gives us in the Course. To lead us gently down the intellectual way that tells us “why” all this senselessness need not be, Jesus bids us look at the “laws of chaos.” When we look at these five “laws” dispassionately, we see that they cannot make sense. Let us turn now to these laws of chaos and see if we can recognize ourselves and our world in their tenets. (T-23.II)

Is the truth different for everyone? The first law of chaos would say that it is. Our illusory values are then always seen in contrast to the values of others, which are deemed inferior. This attitude is, at base, a separating tactic. One ought never to find “good” reasons to separate one’s self from another. Yet in this law, what one values is seen as superior to what another values, and this illusion is “proved” by attacking the values of another. We believe under this law that there is a hierarchy of illusions, making some easier to forgive than others; but this is not so. Jesus points out that a hierarchy of illusions is similar to believing that some miracles are easier to perform than others—and the principles of miracles affirms that this is not so. This idea may yet be a sticking point as we walk on the road to salvation; as before, let us go as far along this road that we can, knowing that farther down the road, we will know and understand more than we do now.

Jesus’ second law of chaos is that each one must sin, and therefore deserves attack and death. This illusion overlooks the possibility of correction, seeing only punishment at the hands of an angry God. It pits God and His creatures at war, and this war includes not only self and God, but also self and everyone else. This law would affirm that there are some errors that are beyond simple correction without punishment, and the Course affirms that all errors (or “sin”) are correctable without any punishment at all. We are always free to choose punishment, but this is not God’s will for us.

Chaos is the opposite the quietness in which we find God. Turn aside from chaos in whatever form it appears, and all will appear miraculously changed.

Returning to God

When this pathway back to God is begun, the way at first seems hard, because the ego is still strong within us, and it sniffs defeat in the air and would be violent to retain control of one’s mind and heart. Consistently listening to the Holy Spirit, prayerfully considering the promptings of intuition, will quickly smooth the way so that one knows, deep in the heart, that a withered ego is one’s only salvation. Then is one’s real Self actually strong, no longer a will ‘o wisp in the breeze, batted about by every foreign opinion thrust upon it. And we see that it was always the ego that suffered defeat at the hands of its “enemies.” Always being undone, for that is God’s way, the ego is abandoned by our real Self as well. And then the way is paved for great and faster growth as the creatures of God we truly are. A Course in Miracles tells us that the mind is very powerful. It also says that the reason that we don’t believe this is because we are afraid of its power: “You prefer to believe that your thoughts cannot exert real influence because you are actually afraid of them.” (T-2.VI.9:10)

Surely we are afraid when we look around and see a ravaged world. Did we do this? Yes, the Course counsels, but only in illusion and only in madness.

The Course says that faith, belief, and vision, shared with us by the Holy Spirit, are our way out. As the goal of salvation replaces the goal of sin, our steps in the mist become clearer. Faith inevitably gives us the power of persistence, but we don’t recognize the tremendous power that is unleashed until we place our faith not in sin, but in love. It is then that the power becomes the reliable lifesaver that it is meant to be.

I was once described in a letter of recommendation as having an “indomitable will to succeed.” I took this as a compliment in the almost 20 years ago in which it was written. In this, I see a glimpse of the personal power that I (and everyone else) have. I now know that this “indomitable will” of that era was far too informed by the ego. It was a competitive bent that later would alienate some of my co-workers. What had worked well in our educational system worked less well in a work environment where cooperation was necessary to accomplish shared goals.

Now I know that this drive to succeed is laudatory only when it is not threatening to others.

When we turn to God, we know that our own will is weak without Him. Let His will inform our own, and we will soon be on the pathway back to God. We need to bend our “indomitable wills” to God’s way.

Want He, and we, want us to do.

Specialness Is of the Ego

It is quite likely that the basis for neurosis is specialness. Many of us see in others, perhaps more than ourselves, oscillations of personality that appear to twist and turn in the wind. Alternating between sweetness and hostility, these others can make our lives miserable if they have any power over us. If manifesting in a friend, these conflicting behaviors are puzzling in the least, personally damaging, even though illusory, in the most. Yet is the specialness, the neurosis of these others, all “out there”? The truth is that we all think we are special to one degree or another.

It is just to the degree that we ascribe to specialness that we are vulnerable to the ego’s assaults, whether as assaults emanating from another or from our own inner demons. It is then that we appear vulnerable to the world’s onslaughts. We are engaged in a dance, one to another, interlocking our complexes to fit, however unpleasant the dance may become. Sometimes we see our pride pricked at the point of greatest vulnerability; this is the ego’s greatest trial, a time of great opportunity if we can only see it thus. We are being shown what needs to be remedied in ourselves, how the ego needs to be undone. If we listen, we will find a great gift in the ashes of our former “triumphs.” We will let the ego wither away at this point of neurosis.

And so it goes with all points of neurosis. As they are shown to us, we must let them slip away. Jesus is able to heal a neurotic if she is cooperating with him. One way to cooperate is to take the intellectual framework of the Course and marry that to our relationship to our brother, our love, if you will. Then the mental and emotional meld as one, and we are on our way to full recovery as Sons and Daughters of God.

We Do Not Have to Learn through Pain

What has the ego-tainted world really exemplified? Only one truth: that the Son (and Daughter) of God is at war with God. If we understood God more, we would know that this is a condition too ridiculous to be believed. The Course says, “The Son of God at war with his Creator is a condition as ridiculous as nature roaring at the wind in anger, proclaiming it is part of itself no more.” (T-23.I.4:7) In our creation, God shared His Mind with us. That is why there can never be a conflict between His Will and our real will. It is only in an illusory world that we believe that to follow God’s will is to lose our freedom. Actually the reverse is the truth: to follow the ego’s madness is to head into chaos that always, in the end, leads to pain. A harmonious universe is impossible under these conditions. Pain begets more pain, assuring that at some point we will turn and say, “Enough!”

The awful pathway is, of course, so unnecessary. Jesus says that we do not have to learn through pain. We can recognize a better way, and in our moments of greater sanity, walk that pathway a few steps closer to Awakening.

Madness

As we have seen, the Course presents this world as a place of madness, full of violence and cruelty, projected from our own deluded minds. This world is therefore illusion, but we do not need to blame God for what we see, for this world is Heaven’s opposite (T-16.V.3:6) Even the food chain is based on a raw violence, and Jesus would say that we do God a disservice when we blindly dismiss the cruelty as “Nature’s ways.” The Course presents the world as an attack on God, meant to keep Him out and to keep the separation going. By projecting blame onto God, the ego does a good job at ensuring that we will continue to turn to it as our savior rather than to God. That this is patent magic, madness in the extreme, may not dawn on us until the pain of what we project becomes overwhelming. And even then we may blame God for our predicament.

The ego’s thought system is perfectly logical from within the thought system, as are most delusions. It is only the premises that are wrong, sending its world crashing down like a house of cards. From within our mind, it makes perfect sense. Madness is not illogical, though those in psychosis appear to the rational mind to be out of touch with reality. An all-embracing madness is just what has happened on a grand scale in our world, ruled by everyone’s ego. I once had a professor remark that everyone in mental hospitals thought that it was “we”—the ones outside of the hospital—who are “crazy.” He said, “What if they are right?”

Unknowingly, my professor presaged the Course a number of years before it was written. The Course does not say that our diagnosed mentally ill are actually sane, and we usually recognize that they are not. What may be happening, though, is that they are imperfectly seeing reality from another lens. This “other lens” may allow them to be particularly open to revelation. Certainly writers have drawn parallels between the schizophrenic mind and the mystic one. Both are swimming in the waters of their depths, the subconscious mind, but the schizophrenic may be drowning in it. The mystic, on the other hand, swims easily. This analogy is drawn from the writings of Joseph Campbell, an individual who has brought the myths of the ages home to all of us through writings that speak to our time. The Course would extend the definition of insanity to most of us in the world, most who are only partially, most who have only glimpses of true reality.

May we walk into the sunshine with Jesus, listening as we read the Course to what we need to do to emerge from the insanity of an illusory world.

We can do this.

Letting Go of the Ego

The Course says at one pivotal point, “This is a crucial period in this course, for here the separation of you and the ego must be made complete.” (T-22.II.6:1)

It is easier to let conflict die if one realizes that it is an emotion always of the ego. At base, the ego is fighting against God, flailing about in desperation because the world it has created in illusion is not good enough for it. And never could it be. Built on chaos, only chaos can ensue. But the ego cannot find its way out, because the only way for us to make our way to peace is to disown this hated part of ourselves, this insatiable ego–never satisfied, never content.

This is when the real “I” must come into play. We cannot fight the ego and win, because it grows stronger in strife. But we can quietly withdraw strength from the ego by failing to reinforce it in every situation that cries out “me first.” We can, over time, with care, see the ego just wither away. Jesus promises that though this feels like a death (because we are so closely identified with the goals of success, wealth, and materialism), we will actually find peace for the first time. We will know calm in the midst of any earthly storm in which we find ourselves.

The ego is not ourselves–that is the simple truth that in our ignorance we find so hard to accept. The quiet Self at the center of our being waits patiently for us to tire of our childish games, and tire we will once we see that never do they bring us what in our deepest heart of hearts we really want. In that deep place God dwells, and He would not be overthrown by a will ‘o wisp of insanity. The ego is pitted in a struggle that it can never win. The Course says, “Do you not realize a war against yourself would be a war on God? Is victory conceivable? And if it were, is this a victory that you would want?” (T-23.I.2:1-3)

If you have read this far, you are not so hostile to God that you blame Him for all the evil and suffering in your world and on the earth in general. We have only ourselves to blame for creating a drama that doesn’t work because the mind that created it is in a merciless war against itself. We must lay down our arms, and realize in the depths of our Being that there must be another way to look at our world, another way to live.

Ego Dilemmas

It has been hard for me to let go of egotistical striving. I was reared, as I am sure many of us were, to equate “success” with ego games–to equate the “good life” with having achieved. Part of me has always believed that actually “dropping out” was the way to go, and at various points in my life I have done just that, but never for very long. I enjoyed these respites, but ultimately I rejoined the success trap and sought in my everyday life and profession (especially profession) to achieve success because I knew that this had gotten me kudos as a child. Getting good grades was always highly regarded, and as a first and only child, this type of commendation was taken to heart in a big way.

When I discovered A Course in Miracles, I began to realize, as I read, that the egotistical striving that I was doing to “deserve” love, and my belief that only if I were successful would I have God’s stamp of approval, were just myths. Yet a part of me still wanted to strive, because, I told myself, what if I would come to regret a slowdown in the future? In my own case, library administration was my bugaboo. This is where the money is in librarianship, my profession, but more importantly, this also signals “success” in the eyes of my colleagues in my chosen field. What if I did not pursue this, and later felt sorry? The fact that I had not sufficient intrinsic interest in the responsibility that this would entail, or in the antagonism that I would likely incur from my subordinates (whom I would be evaluating) did not dissuade me, at least for a long time.

This period of indecision lasted fully 15 years. Once in a workshop that was boring, I wrote out five or six pages of reasons (pro and con) that I was considering for my next direction. Later, I destroyed the pages in an attempt not to be sucked back into this quagmire.

As the years were passing, I dropped big hints to my supervisors that I did not want to be considered administrative material. I said “no” before I might be asked. The fact that I was not asked (until later on) seemed only a minor point; in my egotism, I felt that I would be if I expressed interest. And I did not want to be faced with something that I might have trouble declining. I see the wiliness of the ego even in my indecision.

Later on I was asked. And it was largely a disaster that lasted scarcely two months, ending with me in a frazzle, resigning because my temperament rebelled. So, all along, my real self had been trying to get through to say that this particular pathway was not for me. I am a slow learner; it took trying it out to realize that my doubts (conscious and subconscious) knew best all along.

Let the ego battles go. Our inner Self knows the way we ought to go.

Projection Makes Perception

Never tell someone who has lived through a full-blown psychosis that projection does not make perception. He knows it does. The whispered voices (so real at the time), the images “out there” that appear but are not really there–all these become his own, and more.

I once had a friend who saw his mother enter a room wearing a black dress. My friend knew at the time that his mother was not “really” wearing a black dress, but the day was filled with the surprises of psychosis, and he went with the flow. Much later, with perceptions part of the mass hallucination once again, my friend confirmed with his mother that the image had been false.

Because my friend dislodged himself from the mass hallucination, he is better prepared to see that he is, normally, hallucinating on a grand scale, along with everyone else currently in his “sane” mind. Of course, students of A Course in Miracles know it is not really sanity that we all experience, but madness, in seeing a chaotic world. (T-25.VII.3:2) The Course says, “If you behold disaster and catastrophe, you tried to crucify him [the Son of God, your real Self]. If you see holiness and hope, you joined the Will of God to set him free.” (T-21.in.2:3-4)

Think about this a moment. When you are at peace with the world, experiencing a “holy instant” of love and hope, is there really anything that can upset you? However fierce the perception appears, you know that the world and all beings in it are in God’s hands. How wonderful it would be to extend this thought to all our waking moments!

God’s in His Heaven

There is an old saying that when one points a finger at another, there are three fingers pointing back at us. Make a fist, point the index finger, and immediately this saying can be seen as obviously true. The Course’s version of this old ego dynamic is “It is as certain you will fear what you attack as it is sure that you will love what you perceive as sinless.” (T-23.intro.2:4) Somehow we believe the old karmic truth, that if we attack, we will be attacked in return. But the glorious opposite is also true: See innocence and sinlessness, and these too will become our own.

Because all seeing is projection, in the view of the Course, we can understand that all projection makes perception. What we are seeing is a dream projected outward, and the world becomes cruel or kind based on our inner life. Even the worst of “sin” can be seen as unreal (being a dream), and as the Course counsels, we can say, “My brother, choose again.” (T-31.VIII.3:2)

All of us have had moments, perhaps fleeting, when God seemed in His Heaven, and all was right with our little world. These moments of peace can be expanded more and more to all our hours, waking and sleeping. All of our dreams can become benign. This happens when the truth that we are dreaming our world sinks in, helping us to see that what we wish is based either on turmoil or calm, the peace of God within. There is, therefore, really nothing to “forgive,” but we do need the exercise of forgiveness for ourselves (not God).

It is only as we forgive that we come to see that there is nothing to forgive. No one blames a loved one who acts in psychosis to perpetuate harm; we know that he is sick. Likewise are we insane, all together, even when not diagnosed as mentally ill. We all are trying to bring greater and greater areas of sanity to our deluded minds.

Golden Rule

A principal tenet in the Course is the assertion that what we would give to others is actually also given to ourselves. This dynamic can be understood on more than one level.

In the most all-encompassing way, we are the other, because we are one in God. We are all brothers and sisters under the skin. So when we feel this kinship in our especially loving moments, we are seeing the truth. In a second way of viewing, we see the playing out of the Golden Rule: Do unto others as you would have them do unto you. We see why this rule is important, the underlying truth that supports it. Because of projection, we will believe that what we think of others or do to others is being done to ourselves. Jesus sees this whole world as illusory and in the great projection that made it, we see our real desires played out in our everyday dramas. Thus, what we do unto others we do unto ourselves. There is no greater truth, no more persuasive argument to treat our fellow human beings with kindness and love. What we sow, we reap. As Jesus says (in the negative), “Seek to deny and you will feel denied. Seek to deprive, and you have been deprived.” (T-25.IX.8:2-3)

If we do not believe another worthy of forgiveness, we will not believe ourselves worthy either. Having refused forgiveness for ourselves, we will never offer it freely. So we have set up a vicious circle for ourselves. The only way out of this vicious circle is reject conflict and ask for help and guidance from a Power greater than ourselves. This Power—the Holy Spirit—will make it easy on ourselves. We can effortlessly to forgive when we come to believe that the deed that we feel unworthy of forgiveness, has been illusory. Our real Selves have not been touched nor harmed in any way. Out real life has continued unabated.

Only a loving God could come up with such a solution. We would have already destroyed ourselves if our deeds had real consequences. We live in an illusion that allows all choice, but at the same time that saves us from ourselves. And through these means we learn, finally, what is truly real and of value, worthy of further extension in Reality.

Save a Thousand Years

A difficult concept in the Course is the idea that we made the world; God created us, but we made (not “created”) the world. The metaphysical explanation is that we are projecting an illusion, and no one doubts very strongly that she “projects” nocturnal dreams. Seen in this light, it is a small step forward to consider that we do the same in our waking hours. Only the form of the dream changes. Even granted that we accept this, though, most of us, on some level, still think that we can derive knowledge of how to act in life from this projected dream. If it is the ego’s projected dream, such a conclusion is patently false. If it is the Holy Spirit’s dream, then we have a better basis on which to learn. The Course says that following the Holy Spirit is the “way out of hell” (M-29.3:11) for us.

Most of us, however, still do spend much time under the influence of our egos. This attitude, though, ensures that we are looking at projections from within. To take the projections of the ego as truth is to make an idol, to make a god, of something we made. Is this really very different from melting down our gold and fashioning a sculpture of Baal, while our better way is being written for us on the mountaintop? If we look to our idol–this world– to tell us how to act and what to do next, we are looking to a man-made god to save us. Most of us would admit that nothing in this world has ever “saved” us for long.

When we are under the influence of the ego, we are under the influence of an insane idea. It may coalesce our personalities, but we have given away all our real power. We should not give away our power under any circumstances. It is only the power of our real minds, informed by the Holy Spirit, which can offer us any hope. This is the promise held out by A Course in Miracles. It is only one pathway, but its pathway has the power to get us out of all bad dreams. It is one way, among thousands in this world, by which we can awaken. And Jesus promises that this way will save time for us. (T-2.II.3:8) We are promised, each of us, to save a thousand years (as the world calculates time). (W-pI.97.3:2) And that represents many years for the millions of people still trapped by ego-tainted nightmares of pain.

–from Out of the Maze, by Celia.

The Power of Belief, Part 2

If the world still seems just too awful, there is a solution, though it may sound a bit theoretical. The Course recommends that we not deny our sight, but affirm the truth: that what we are seeing is unreal. As others have said, it is all maya (illusion, though the Course does not use the term maya) and therefore can have no real effects, however painful the effects might seem to be. This means that our “real” Self has not been harmed in any way. In the awful circumstances that we view, there is a spiritual lesson that we are meant to learn. As we contemplate the meaning underlying the events, and forgive the events, we will be freed to see the blessing in our circumstances. And there is always a blessing, however deplorable the situation may be.

We need to take heed that we do not believe that the evil we see deserves retribution, for retaliation will bring the “evil” to us. Retaliation proves that the circumstance, in our opinion, is real and merits a “just” response to even the score. Actually by concentrating on the presumed evil, we are giving it more force, more power to hurt us. Basically, the force field itself will be stronger because we are fighting it. What ought we to do? Go within and gently release the sense of frustration and anger. We need to trust the Holy Spirit to open our hearts to forgive any and all deeds, however reprehensible they might be. Since these deeds are illusion, they are in reality nothing at all; they are a mirage that en masse we have created to speed our way Home.

We may have chosen unwisely, though, when we concentrate on the suffering and therefore make it more real to ourselves. If so, it behooves the wiser part of ourselves to choose again. Lessons from pain and suffering are, at best, temporary and meant to be a catalyst for change to a better way. It is the drawing of Love, felt through the Holy Spirit, that will finally take us Home. With projections made of this Love, our perceptions will be cleansed, and a new world of light and life will meet us where we finally come to live. This “new world” is the “real world,” (T-11.VII.2:6) and it will yet be ours as a world formed by the happy dreams the Holy Spirit gives.

–from Out of the Maze, by Celia.

The Power of Belief, Part 1

Note: For a while, I will post excerpts from my online book, Out of the Maze, the first section that describes Jesus’ attempts in A Course in Miracles to dislodge our ego.

These postings are based on A Course in Miracles, and the references are from the edition of ACIM published by the Foundation for Inner Peace.

The Power of Belief, Part 1

It is clear to me that the very belief itself creates the perceived conditions that would sustain the belief. A Course in Miracles says, “What you desire, you will see. And if its reality is false, you will uphold it by not realizing all the adjustments you have introduced to make it so.” (T-21.II.9:5-6)

The Course repeats frequently that projection makes perception. (T-13.V.3:5; T-21.in..1:1) Jesus assures that we see what we believe will bring us joy and happiness. The fact that we often do not find joy and happiness, and instead find pain and suffering, should lead us to question our premises. What are we doing wrong? Or what have we done wrong in the past? I don’t mean a strict interpretation of karma, but the Course makes clear that cause and effect are real. As Jesus says in the Course, the law of cause and effect is at work in our world as well as in Heaven. (T-2.VII.h) If we do not like what we see, it is up to us to change it by changing our thoughts and actions, those things that “cause” the “result” of unhappiness.

When we do make changes, even though in this world chaos rules, we learn that there must be a better way. How to find it? The Course counsels turning to our communication link with the Father, which is the Holy Spirit. (T-1.II.5:3) Under His tutelage, we will stop looking for attack, giving evil when we perceive that we have received it. We will learn to forgive, because even though we learn that this world is illusory, we realize that forgiveness works—it brings the happiness we seek! Slowly (perhaps) but surely we will cleanse our minds and hearts, and with this cleansing will come new vision to see a new, sparkling, real world. We will project from a heart that wishes to see good in all things, and wishing will make it so in our new perception.

STRUGGLE NOT

Note: This article was published in Miracles magazine, January – February 2019 issue (Jon Mundy, publisher).

by Celia Hales

“Out of His lack of conflict comes your peace. And from His purpose comes the means for effortless accomplishment and rest.” (A Course in Miracles, COA ed., T-VI.13:7)

“All that you retain is a belief in effort and a struggle to be good and to do good, a belief that clearly demonstrates that you have rejected who you are.” (A Course of Love, C:P.13)

When we launch into self-help mode, struggling to be better than we really are, then we are on the wrong track. Nobody, by effort, can effect great change. This is the ego’s plan, and it is a bad plan. The ego would have us fail continually, until we give up, turn against God, and decide that nothing we can ever do will make any difference anyway.

The quotation above from A Course in Miracles points out a better way. We know “effortless” accomplishment when we are depending on the Holy Spirit to rule our days. And we know the same when we follow the Christ Self, as A Course of Love would have us do in this time of Christ.

How might this effortless accomplishment come about? I think that quiet contemplation is the real way of change, effortless change. When we turn inward, we are merging with our Maker, for we are made of God-stuff. When we turn inward, calmly, we often intuit that things are not as bad as we thought when we judged ourselves as guilty. Our true innocence leads to self-acceptance, and this self-acceptance is being who we really are, something that A Course of Love champions.

Of course, we have not been perfect in our lives. We may have hurt ourselves and other people; we may have been guilty of violent acts. The Answer (which we all know) is forgiveness borne of the certainty that rescue is available. As faulty as our behavior may have been, we acted as well as we could, given our level of understanding at the time. And this is true for everyone.

Now we know better, for A Course in Miracles and A Course of Love both show us the way to a life of being who we really are, innocent children of God, no longer in a struggle to change by force of personal will. We listen to guidance, and in restful listening, let the Holy Spirit or the Christ Self take over. And thereby does change become effortless.

Projection Makes Perception

“What is projection? Projection occurs when there has first been denial within yourself. Projection is an act in which you psychically try to throw out of your ownership everything that you have judged as being despicable or unworthy or you—something you do not want. So you project it. You will throw it up and out and let it land on whomever happens to be nearby. Projection is the effect of the denial of the first axiom that I have given you. It is the denial of the truth that:

“Nothing you experience has been caused by anything outside of you.” (“The Way of the Heart,” WOM, Chapter 3, Page 28)

We are in the driver’s seat. We create what happens to us, though not in our personality but in our soul.
We project when we feel unable to handle life in any other way. A Course in Miracles says, “Projection makes perception,” and this truth also applies here. We essentially see what we want to see. We are, in fact, projecting our illusory world. And we see what we imagine in our depths.

If we listen to intuition, we are less likely to create reality in a way that disturbs us. If we know that we take a risk in sharing something close to our heart with a less-than-sympathetic listener, then we are foolish to take a risk like that. We have here been the cause of our friend’s lack of sympathy, and we would have been saved from experiencing this if we had just listened to guidance. We have, in effect, projected what we are experiencing. The perception will hurt us if we are not attuned to intuition and avoid saying the troubling thing.

We see in others what we don’t want to acknowledge in ourselves; that is why we have projected it. If it is “out there,” we feel less responsible for it.

But this is a chimera, an image that has no truth. We are no less responsible because we project. We have bound ourselves to it. And until we get our mind straightened out, a mind informed by the heart, we will not walk a green earth.

Project only what will not hurt. Don’t take unwise risks. Our intuition will, in fact, guide us in every situation, at every time.

TEN POINTS OF COMPARISON BETWEEN A COURSE IN MIRACLES & A COURSE OF LOVE

by Celia Hales

Introduction

Note: Presented December 2, 2018, as a part of the 20th anniversary online conference of A Course of Love, moderated by James Kelly.

I was a lover of A Course in Miracles long before A Course of Love was given. ACIM speaks to my mind, which needed the intellectual understanding of how we are to live. ACOL speaks to my heart, the love that I need to feel and to exhibit.

I have ten points of comparison and contrast between ACIM and ACOL. James will stop me so that we can have one of the dialogues that A Course of Love champions.

1–Both A Course in Miracles and A Course of Love are beautifully written; this they have in common.

The opening chapters of ACIM, in the complete edition published recently by the Circle of Atonement, is filled with references to well-known figures from history, and the writing itself is a little rough. Soon, by Chapter 5 of the Textbook, this smooths out, and we find that the writing is in iambic pentameter. This means that there are sequences of five emphasized words, interspaced with five words that are not emphasized. This scheme for poetry is what Shakespeare used. Helen, the co-scribe was very knowledgeable about Shakespeare, and so would have functioned well with any channeling that used Shakespeare’s meter. It is in blank verse, which means that the words do not rhyme. But we are soothed by poetry, and ACIM soothes us.

A Course of Love is poetic in that the writing is very beautiful. I would even call it mesmerizing throughout. This is how we are touched in our hearts when we read ACOL. We are soothed, much as the iambic pentameter blank verse of ACIM soothed us. I find ACOL to affect my emotions much more as I read than ACIM ever did. It seems really true that A Course of Love is to the heart what A Course in Miracles is to the mind. ACOL can be read easily and peacefully, and ACIM needs deep study.

ACIM puts me in a very happy mood when I read it. ACOL sometimes tenderizes my heart so that the reading can actually be painful. Of course, this is particularly true during what Jesus calls the “time of tenderness.” Jesus is a masterful writer, and he proves this, in somewhat varying ways, with ACIM and ACOL.

2-–The phenomenon of enlightenment, originally an Eastern concept, particularly of Buddhism, is called different things in A Course in Miracles and A Course of Love. It is called Awakening, always capitalized, in ACIM; and it is called Christ-consciousness, with Christ being capitalized, of course, in ACOL.

Enlightenment is a shift in perception, but not a miracle. Instead, it is revelation from God. God Himself makes the decision of when we are ready for this new way to interact with reality.

The best explanation of enlightenment that I have read is Eckhart Tolle’s The Power of Now. We interact differently with the world when we have experienced enlightenment. ACIM and ACOL both take us on a gentle pathway there. Because we are led gently, our enlightenment experience can be gentle.

And before we actually sustain enlightenment, we have glimpses, usually, I have found, when we are in an especially mellow mood.

Why would Jesus use two different words for the same phenomenon. I think in ACOL he is emphasizing that we are now in the time of Christ, and so he calls this phenomenon “Christ-consciousness.”

3—Relationships are important to both A Course in Miracles and A Course of Love.

The shift from special to holy relationships is seen in ACIM as the true way to Awakening. Our brother is our way home to God. All special relationships are seen as labile in experiencing them, and there is much hate in them, for love can easily turn to hate. A holy relationship, on the other hand, is peaceful and quiet. Not as dramatic.

There is a similarity to A Course in Miracles with the repeated emphasis in A Course of Love of the two words, “unity” and “relationship.” Unity is seen to be our way when we know that we are One with everything, the All Who is God Himself or Herself. The relationship is when we are differentiated, or individuated, into diverse beings. This is necessary so that God can actually experience Himself or Herself. The All, undifferentiated, would be as unknowable as the “nothing.” But each diverse entity is a hologram who contains the whole. We can’t know that whole in our finiteness, though.

4 – Perfection seems to be required in A Course in Miracles. There is some flexibility in A Course of Love.
In ACIM, Jesus says that he stands at the end of the pathway, to correct any mistakes that we have not been able to correct. He thus leads us to perfection by his own hand.

In ACOL, Jesus may or may not mean the same thing; it is unclear. He does not stress perfection in the same way that he does in ACIM. He MAY mean the same thing, that he will save us from ourselves in the end. But in ACOL, Jesus seems to realize more clearly that we are very fallible children of God, and he makes allowances for us in our physical bodies.

5 – In A Course in Miracles, anger is seen as never justified, has no justification. This has led many people to try to suppress their anger, to their detriment, for anger will come out in the end. Even Jesus got angry at the moneychangers in the temple, turning over their tables, driving them out. Are we to try to do better than he? I think not.

In A Course of Love, we are understood sometimes to feel anger, but we are to act on it in only benign ways. No violence, no shouting. Anger is a human emotion, and our humanity is stressed in ACOL.

6 – A Course in Miracles seems to deemphasize the body, and in so doing we may be primed to want the afterlife, where it is believed that we are spirit not possessing of a body. We would thus think that we could only be fully happy after death, though Jesus does say that we can dream the happy dreams that the Holy Spirit brings.

A Course of Love talks in an approving way of the “elevated Self of form,” which has made many feel that we are no longer living in a monistic reality, no longer in non-duality. This has become a controversy between the camps of ACIM and ACOL. ACIM definitely state in no uncertain terms that we are living an illusion. Some ACOL enthusiasts believe that after we have reached Christ-consciousness, we are no longer in illusion, but in reality, and that includes the idea that the rocks, trees, mountains, are really real, that matter is real. I personally subscribe to Idealism, which says that this world is an idea in the mind of God, and so I don’t think the rocks, trees, mountains, are truly real. This is the philosophy first espoused by Berkeley, a philosophy of the Nineteenth Century. True reality in my view is seen as the intangibles, the love, joy, peace, harmony, that abides in us through and through when we have awakened or assumed Christ-consciousness.

So I do believe that ACIM is right in its uncompromising approach to a non-dualistic universe, in that all is One.

In this regard, I think that Jesus saw a problem with the fact that he downplayed the physical so much in A Course in Miracles. Would not everybody want to die, so that they would be finally happy in heaven? But he needs us, at least many of us, here. We have to lead others back to God, and we do have a right to be happy here. So the physical is not downplayed so much in ACOL, which of course came after ACIM.

We are going to need to come back to earth for millions of years, because that is how long Jesus says that it will take to heal the separation. He needs workers willing to do that. If the earth as a good place is denigrated, we won’t want to come back.

7 – The purpose of A Course in Miracles and A Course of Love is different. ACIM was given to dislodge the ego, the most important first step. ACOL was given to establish a new identity, and this identity is the elevated Self of form. So ACOL is seen rightly as a continuation of ACIM.

8 – A Course in Miracles was given in the time of the Holy Spirit. At the turn of the century, when A Course of Love was given, we began living in the time of Christ. And so the terms are different.

Jesus stresses the Holy Spirit as our guide in ACIM. But he stresses the Christ-Self, from deep within us, as our guide in ACOL. Actually the Holy Spirit is “a” holy spirit, and so He has always dwelled within us, but this was not stressed in ACIM, whereas the Christ-Self is naturally seen as a part of us. We do draw on the All, though, the part outside the dot of the body, and intuitively we can know much that is beyond our little self.

9 – Both A Course in Miracles and A Course of Love emphasize that love cannot be taught. What we can do is to remove the blocks to the awareness of love, in conjunction with guidance.

An early reviewer took exception with the title of A Course of Love when he or she had not read the book. Thought that it was trying to teach how to love. But there is no contradiction between ACIM and ACOL here.

10 – Masculine and feminine differs between the two books. ACIM was written in the sixties and early seventies, when our teaching was understood that the masculine pronouns INCLUDED the feminine. Our culture has changed now, and we want the feminine to be directly stated. So ACOL, given in a different era, uses “brothers and sisters” and also exalts the feminine in other ways, too. Mary, for example, is seen as complementary to Jesus, and there is a way of Mary, a way of being, and a way of Jesus, a way of doing. It is said that all of us will eventually walk the way of Mary.

Conclusion

We are encouraged to listen to our heart, to let the heart inform the mind, in A Course of Love. We are encouraged to be more than do, though there is room for variation in this time of transition.

A Course of Love is for the heart what A Course in Miracles was to the mind. We need the mind training to dislodge the ego. Now we need to listen to what does not need proof of God, the heart. In our heart, all of us know that we are part of something bigger than ourselves.

The intellectual understanding came with ACIM. The intuitive, heartfelt understanding came with ACOL.

BE STILL IN SPIRIT

by Celia Hales

Note: This column has been recently published in the November – December 2018 issue of Miracles magazine (Jon Mundy, publisher; Eileen Katzmann, editor).

“If you speak from your spirit, you have chosen to ‘Be still, and know that I am God.’” (ACIM, COA ed., T-4.I.3:3)

“When action is seen to be necessary, this is exactly when a time of stillness is needed.” (ACOL, C:25.23:1)

We want to speak from our spirit, and when we do, we will not be cast downward in depression, “dispiriting” ourselves. Yet in this time before the ego is relinquished, we oscillate between spirit and ego. As we spend more time with our spirit, we will be welcoming Awakening. Our goal. The place we want to be. And when we speak from our spirit, we will be blessing ourselves and our brothers and sisters as well.

Jesus says that the quotation that begins, “Be still,” are inspired words, coming from knowledge. This is definitely opposed to what we have become accustomed to coming from, which is speaking from the ego. When we speak from the ego, in this dispiriting, and depression happens, we are seeing the reason that the world can seem at times to be such a very demoralizing place.

We will also find that, like Jesus, we want knowledge, as opposed to perception. In knowledge, we have a certainty about what we discover, whereas perception is so variable. When we know a thing, we relax in that knowledge. It is the easiest way to live, for we are listening to the Holy Spirit. We usually have to get quiet to hear His promptings, and getting quiet is something that we often fail to do in our busy lives. We may devote a while to devotionals, but then we head off into our work lives, and there busyness characterizes the day. In welcoming the promptings of the Holy Spirit, we listen to our intuition, what I have found to be the primary tool of the Holy Spirit in His attempts to reach us.

We have our own spirit, one that indwells, from a personal standpoint, with the all-embracing Holy Spirit. As we progress on to A Course of Love, this spirit is known as the Christ-Self. One with God, Who also dwells within, our minds are teased out of all thought as we seek to understand what can be glimpsed only intuitively.
Ask today that intuitive knowledge might be ours. We want to discover how to live well, and we can’t do that in hectic lives unless we take this time out that I am recommending. Our depressed spirit can be the catalyst for us to slow down. Ask today that we speak from the spirit, and in this, bless all others.

“And in all situations, no matter what another is doing, your first response will be to enter into the quiet stillness within and merely ask the Holy Spirit: What would you have me say?” (WOM, Bk. 1, Lesson 3)

In the relaxed, peaceful frame of mind and heart in which we find ourselves, we will know that we will say what guidance prompts. And at this point Awakening, for us, is but a moment away.

Ask to see a glimpse of Awakening today. Ask to be safe and secure in God’s arms.

We Choose Our Experiences

“Just as you would go to a grocery store and choose what you will have for dinner and then go home and experience your creation so too do you choose each experience. When you choose a perception, you lodge it in the mind. Then it expresses itself through the body, through the environment that you create around yourself and through the friends that you would call into your awareness. Every aspect of the life you live is the symbol of what you have chosen to experience and, therefore, to convey throughout creation.” (“The Way of the Heart,” WOM, Chapter 2, Page 13)

Jesus seems here, almost certainly, to be saying that we create our own reality. This is a maxim of the New Age movement, made popular by Jane Roberts’ Seth, about the time that A Course in Miracles was being scribed. We surround ourselves with what we want, though if we are in need, it isn’t our personalities or personas that has made the lack, but our souls. Our soul knows the full chart of our life plan. Our soul then conveys to the learning being, also called the Self, or the Christ-Self (from A Course of Love) what we need to know. We will never, on earth, find a reason for lack/suffering/pain that will satisfy us, we can rest easy that there is an Answer, but that we are simply not enlightened enough to comprehend this eternal question.

We create the environment around us. We project from within, and from this a perception of the world arises. Elsewhere The Way of Mastery (the Christ-Mind Trilogy) and A Course in Miracles say that this world is an illusion of a real world. Some readers of A Course of Love demur from this interpretation, seeing in the true reality beyond Awakening or Christ-consciousness, a hope that something more is going on, that the rocks, trees, oceans, are becoming real in a new way.

We do not have to bear this cross. We do not have to join in this controversy. I don’t think that this particular problem, a matter of metaphysics, matters to Jesus at all. I think it simply doesn’t matter to him that we have differing views. Certainly physical reality is real enough to us here in our time on earth. We can debate metaphysical ideas on the Other Side, where we will presumably know more than it is given us to know in this plane.

It is enough that we create our own reality. This will be hard enough for us to handle. Remember that one is meant to have compassion on suffering, not increase it by blame of the one suffering. While there are no true victims, we are simply not astute enough to avoid blaming the victim, unless we hold them in the same love-filled vision that Jesus would.

Use our imagination to create a better reality for us. Use our imagination to realize that Jesus is right by our side, holding our hand, as we walk through this world. His help will give us a warmth and peace that we have heretofore lacked.

Add Joy to the Kingdom

“God is praised whenever any mind learns to be wholly helpful. This is impossible without being wholly harmless, because the two beliefs must coexist. The truly helpful are invulnerable, because they are not protecting their egos, so that nothing can hurt them. Their helpfulness is their praise of God, and He will return their praise of Him, because they are like Him and can rejoice together. God goes out to them and through them, and there is great joy throughout the Kingdom. Every mind that is changed adds to this joy with its own individual willingness to share in it.” (ACIM, COA ed., T-4.X.10:1-6)

We could well make “helpful and harmless” an affirmation, to good effect. This is the way that we want to be.
“Helpful” means that we reach out to our fellow man and woman, our brothers and sisters, with words and deeds that will offer solace. It is often solace, for this world seems cruel, and many are those who suffer in it.

“Harmless” means that we will not attack or respond in anger, regardless of the provocation. This can be a hard affirmation to live up to, but live up to it, we must. We cannot attack and expect to take our place in heaven, which on earth is known as the Awakening (enlightenment or Christ-consciousness). When we go easy, often keep a low profile, and ask if making waves is really appropriate, then we are more likely to be harmless. While we still need to be appropriately assertive, aggressiveness can get us into trouble. We do not want to be patsies for the wrong deeds of others, but we will find a lot less to complain about when our attack mode is silenced.

We want to add to the joy of the Kingdom, and we spectacularly do when we are both helpful and harmless. Anything less, and we are less than we are meant to be.

Ask the Holy Spirit how we might best fulfill these attitudes. He will have lots of ideas.

Reach Out & Touch God

“The Bible repeatedly states that you should praise God. This hardly means that you should tell Him how wonderful He is. He has no ego with which to accept such thanks and no perceptions with which to judge your offerings. But unless you take part in the creation, His joy is not complete because yours is incomplete. And this He does know. He knows it in His Own being and its experience of His Sons’ experience. The constant going out of His love is blocked when His channels are closed, and He is lonely when the minds He created do not communicate fully with Him.” (ACIM, COA ed., T-4.X.8:1-7)

This quotation is a favorite of mine, for it acknowledges that the God we know may have very human emotions, though spiritualized and non-egoic. After all, it is even said in Genesis that God created us in His image. So why would the One Who created us not share some traits with us?

This may sound blasphemous, but it doesn’t to me. I like to think, even, of God as a new husband, keen on pleasing his new wife, eager to do things for her that make her happy. In this analogy (imperfect though it may be) God enjoys hearing our appreciation, wants our gratefulness, not because it is necessary for His joy, but because He knows that it is necessary for ours. If we aren’t grateful, we take this glorious life for granted, and we drop into the doldrums at the first instance of suffering/pain that comes our way.

Keep our minds and hearts elevated. That is the great secret of living life with a joyous spirit. If possible, make a list of those things that give happy moments, and so more of them. This is frequent advice in the self-help literature to increase one’s experience of happiness.

But elevating the mind and heart works. Even if circumstances surrounding us do not seem to warrant a positive outlook. Everything improves with positive emotions. Positive emotions are half the battle in any and all challenging situations.

We Are of One Mind with God

“Creation and communication are synonymous. God created every mind by communicating His Mind to it, thus establishing it forever as a channel for the reception of His Mind and will. Since only beings of a like order can truly communicate, His creations naturally communicate with Him and communicate like Him. This communication is perfectly abstract, in that its quality is universal in application and not subject to any judgment, any exception, or any alteration. God created you by this and for this. The mind can distort its functions, but it cannot endow itself with those it was not given. That is why the mind cannot totally lose the ability to communicate, even though it may refuse to utilize it on behalf of being.” (ACIM, COA ed., T-X.5:1- 8)

We are created of “God-stuff.” This is the basic message of this passage. We are beings in communication with each other and with God. We never lose this ability to communicate, however deep into egoic darkness we have traveled.

We are meant to communicate. We were never meant to attempt independence from our brothers and sisters, nor independence from God. Moreover, we cannot be happy in such a scenario. Our mutual joining with others prepares us to live a full and glorious life. Isolation from others keeps us in defeat.

We can open to fuller communication by looking to others with love. When we look to others with fearful thoughts, we will always find reason to be threatened by these others. Then the dialogue breaks down. The fact that others may be on edge, frustrated, or otherwise unavailable to us, is not germane to our communication.

Communication, in love, can also be silent.

Gladden Ourselves–for Jesus Is with Us

“I offer far more than partial guidance, although you do not ask for more. The uneven quality of your skill in both asking and following my direction is due to the alternations you experience between ego- and miracle-oriented perception. This is a strain, but fortunately one which can be overcome along with the rest. There will never be a time when I do not will to try again. You might be gladdened by remembering that.” (ACIM, COA ed., T-4.IX.10:1-5)

Jesus is once again speaking just to Helen (and maybe Bill) in this reassurance that he offers continual guidance. But if we ask, he will do the same for us. In these early words, he has not yet solidified the Holy Spirit in A Course in Miracles. Soon he will ask that all of us turn immediately to the Holy Spirit when confronted with a dilemma. The Holy Spirit connects us to God, but not in a threatened way. At this point in our progress, we are still too fearful of God to approach Him directly.

Jesus points out the strain that we under. He seems particularly aware of this strain, as we seek to mediate between hell and heaven, the ego and love. Heaven and love are the only things that we truly can want, once we have let the magnitude of our mistakes sink in. Our attempt to create unlike God, something that is actually “making” rather than “creating,” has produced all of the chaos in which we live. We need to get beyond this. We need to recognize that our attempt to create something beyond God has just failed miserably. There IS nothing beyond Him except illusion.

Jesus constantly looks for reasons that we might gladden ourselves, for he knows that we are usually morose when caught in the vines of the ego. We need just to kick those vines away from ourselves, away from our feet (as Pat Rodeway’s Emmanuel says), and be on about our business. Jesus will untangle any egoic vines that won’t automatically disengage from our toes.

Don’t “Evaluate” Jesus’ Messages

“You should be confident that any guidance which comes from me will not jeopardize anyone. If you can continue not to evaluate my messages and merely follow them, they will lead to good for everyone. Since this is the same area of difficulty which may be causing you trouble with meditation, practice in this is essential.” (ACIM, COA ed., T-4.IX.5:1-3)

We still tend to “evaluate,” which is another term for judgment. And judgment will not get us where we want to go. In fact, it will delay Awakening big time. We simply won’t be able to awaken until we have given up attack as well as judgment.
God wants gentle individuals, and the judgmental mind is anything but gentle. Notice the difference in ourselves when we judge, and we are tolerant. Tolerance, which is a weaker form of love, will set us back on the right pathway. Judgment will cause our feet to stumble over rocks. We will discover that the only way to move forward without incident is to move forward in tolerance as well as love.

If we are tuned into intuition, we will hear the messages from the Beyond. Sometimes this is Jesus. (In Helen’s case, it nearly always was Jesus, for he stayed very close to her in emotional support. Scribing was very threatening to her. Her co-scribe Bill was also very supportive.) Jesus does not jeopardize anybody at all when he gives us advice. He will be careful, though, not to make us dependent on him. He will step back if he thinks this dependence is happening.

Don’t judge. Ask how to accomplish this in our life. It is not hard.

In fact, ceasing to judge is one of the easiest things we will ever accomplish. When we get help.

Humble Asking Always Gets an Answer

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

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

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

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

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

Misery with the Ego / Joy with the Spirit

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Guidance

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

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

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

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

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

Gratitude to Our Brother

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

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

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

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

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

Jesus Trusts Us!

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

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

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

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

A Choice Bringing Peace and Joy

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

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

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

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

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

Reaching God

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

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

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

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

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

We Dwell in Heaven Also

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

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

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

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

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

Eternity Will Free Us

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

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

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

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

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

Ask for a Balanced Mind

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

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

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

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

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

Love Deeply Today

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

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

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

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

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

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

Love deeply today.

Jesus’ Instructive Guidance

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

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

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

Healing of the Mind

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

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

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

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

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

Gladden Ourselves

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

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

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

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

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

Deprived of Nothing Except by Our Own Decisions

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

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

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

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

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

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

And that will hold the key.

Joy & Emotional Peace

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

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

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

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

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

Reframe the Psyche for Sanity

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

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

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

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

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

Relax in God’s Grace

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Ever Mindful of God’s Love Given & Received

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

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

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

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

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

His blessings will lead us to Him.

Ask for Our Inheritance

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

God Is Glorious

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

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

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

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

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

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

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