Jesus: “I Am with You Always”

“Beloved and holy friends, may peace be with you always. . . . Remember, there’s a perfectly good reason why I keep saying, time and again, ‘I am with you always.’ Amen.” (“The Way of the Heart,” WOM, Lesson 7, Page 92)

Jesus is a part of our Self, the Self Whom we all share. Her consciousness is not really separate from ours. These ideas are well-developed in A Course of Love. It helps us to understand what is really going on when Jesus is channeling to one of his scribes. Their mind and heart does not really disappear.

We can imagine him as he was 2,000 years ago, but he would rather that we see him in a more all-encompassing way, a way that he shares with us as the Big Brother we may not have had before.

There is a well-known passage in A Course in Miracles in which Jesus assures us that he is holding our hand as we walk along on the pathway to salvation, the pathway to Awakening. I have often quoted this passage in this blog, in which Jesus affirms that this thought will be no “idle fantasy.”

Reassuring in the extreme, it may mean that Jesus has infinite foci of consciousness. Or it may mean that his Consciousness and ours join in the God of Whom we are a part. Or may be a both/and statement. Don’t let theology delay us. It is not necessary for us to enjoy a true and real experience of Jesus and of God.

Jesus says, “I am with you always.” Can we not just take him at his word? And cease our efforts to be alone and lonely? Our friend is here with us, for it will come on a “single unequivocal call” (from A Course in Miracles).

If in difficulty, call today. And be reassured when anxieties and depression fall by the wayside.

We Are Equal in God’s Sight as His Children

Now you must forget the idea of needing to maintain specialness. A key aid in helping you to put this temptation behind you is the idea of the holy relationship in which all exist in unity and within the protection of love’s embrace. (ACOL, T3:16.15)

Let us realize that being special, even to ourselves, never gave us anything that we wanted. A few others may have found us special also, but most everyone else resented the competitiveness that thought that we were superior to them. This competitiveness has to go. We are reassured on a daily basis when we cooperate with others, when we recognize that others, and we, are on the same wavelength, that we are equal in the sight of God as His children.

I used to be quite competitive. I remember telling a friend at work, after lunch one day that we had enjoyed together, what my goals were in work. They were ambitious. She responded, “Don’t get too far ahead of us,” meaning the others in the reference unit.

She was right, because she sensed that my ambition would be a divisive factor in our close-knit working group. And I never did fit in well with that particular group. I had to go on to another before I found acceptance and peace in my working environment. And get more steeped in A Course in Miracles.

When we recognize that all of us are held in an embrace of love and unity, as One, we are recognizing what is true. And this truth will save us. Our relationships, holy now, will give us solace and keep us safe. Competitive no longer, we join in a camaraderie borne of cooperation. We are finally living right, and our comrades in work (and elsewhere) recognize this change in us. We are one of them, in every sense of the word. When we acknowledge equality, we are accepted and even loved.
This does not take away from the fact that we may have experienced Christ-consciousness, and not all others in our circle will have done so. This only means that we have walked a little farther along, not that we are better than another.

It is necessary that we share what we have discovered as soon as our brothers and sisters express interest in knowing what makes us different. Holy relationship invites sharing.

And we feel better for easing another’s way, even ever so slightly.

A WAY OF LIVING

Note: Published in the September – October 2019 issue of Miracles magazine (Jon Mundy, publisher)

by Celia Hales

There is a way of living in the world that is not here, although it seems to be. You do not change appearance, though you smile more frequently. Your forehead is serene, your eyes are quiet. And the ones who walk the world as you do recognize their own. (ACIM, COA ed., W-155.1:1-4)

. . .[Y]ou will cultivate a way of being in the world that is not here. That is, it is not within the perceptual mode that makes up the world. (“The Way of Transformation,” WOM, Lesson 14, Page 177)

This Treatise [on Unity] is attempting to show you how to live as who you are, how to act within the world as the new Self you have identified. Just like learning how to swim, it is a new way of movement. (ACOL, T2:4.4)

“There is a way of living in the world that is not here. . .” An especially sweet passage, but we must beware of letting egoic patterns in. This statement is not saying that we are “special.” We have no gifts that will not one day be shared by everyone.

It is comforting to know that we can find others with similar persuasion about in the world. We can walk happily, as we incorporate the tenets of Jesus’ channeled writings in our lives. Already many of us have had moments of recognition that someone in our world is walking the way that we choose to walk. Sometimes we see Christ in their eyes, an especially wonderful miracle when it occurs.

We become aware of these others of like mind when we are looking for it. Mostly, perhaps, it is a matter of eye contact. It is like a secret society. But especially know that we cannot let specialness enter in, or we lose the concept entirely. All will come to walk the world this way, eventually, and it is our function to bring that day closer.

If we have not experienced this way of living in the world that is not “here,” then let us pray together for this blessing to come upon us. God will not delay, for we are asking in His Will. He wants this way of walking the world to become the way of all. He wants us to move in a “new way of movement,” like swimming, living as the new Self Whom we are pledged to become.

Here on Earth We Can Have Blessings Formerly Known after Death

These examples of your former ideas about new beginnings have simply been used to demonstrate why you cannot approach this new beginning as you have those of the past. What will assist you most, as the translation of the old thought system for the new continues, are the beliefs that you adopted with the assistance of ‘A Treatise on Unity:’

You are accomplished.
Giving and receiving are one in truth.
There is no loss but only gain within the laws of love.
Special relationships have been replaced by holy relationship.

What we are adding now to these beliefs is the idea that these beliefs can be represented in form. (ACOL, T3:15.14 – 15.19)

We are being led, ever so gently, to a realization that here on earth, in our physical form, with our good mind and heart, we can have blessings that were formerly thought to be ours only after death, on the Other Side. We can now know Awakening or Christ-consciousness, called enlightenment in Eastern religions. It is there, out there, beckoning to us. And it will be a gentle transformation, for Jesus has prepared us, with gentleness itself, in A Course in Miracles and A Course of Love.

Previously I have known two instances of Awakening that, unfortunately, did not last because my ego intruded. That is the danger for all of us. We can transition into Awakening, and then have it fail to be sustained, for we are not really ready to sustain it. We need to approach Awakening with an egoless frame of mind and heart, sure that we will be helped. We know more now, for we have weakened and then discarded our egos through Jesus’ channeled works.

If we want to recognize we are accomplished, we need only realize that this is the ideal state. And we have attained it, mystically, before we attain it in form.
As we give, we receive. The giving comes first, however imperfect it may be in the beginning.

If we want to recognize gain without loss, this is ours when we are immersed in love. Always love.

Being immersed in love prepares us entirely for the holy relationship. And it is holy relationship that will ultimately save us.

So these tenets of unity exist in form now. We can enjoy them this side of death.

And all will be well.

Now Is the Time to End Empty Seeking

How much time will be saved by an end to empty seeking? You have already arrived and need no time to journey any longer. (ACOL, T1:8.7)

Most of us have been seekers for a long time, maybe a long, long time. Maybe all our lives, more or less.

This search can end now, when we are on the cusp of developing our special relationships into holy ones. We won’t have to work so hard to maintain our holy relationships. Our loved ones will just know that they are loved unconditionally. And, especially, what we have been seeking in special relationships will fall away.
Our seeking has worn us out. We went from our early religious training, probably to unbelief, and then returned to the fold of spirituality. But still we sought for yet another piece of information that would be the end that would make us happy. But nothing can make us happy, can create happiness for us, except ourselves. We won’t find it in a book.

I sought happiness in special relationships as well as in books. The special relationships were my dates when I was single; the books ranged from Catherine Marshall to Norman Vincent Peale to the Seth material (Jane Roberts) to Richard Carlson to Deepak Chopra to A Course in Miracles to Julia Cameron to Rhonda Byrne. Quite a list we all have! So my seeking in relationships and books was twofold, as is true for most of us. It is very reassuring that we have done enough now. We know enough. A Course of Love has finished it off for us. It is simply up to our Christ-Self, from deep within our being, to teach us more.

So now we are hearing that there needs to be an end to seeking. Jesus, in channeling A Course of Love, declares its information to be an end point. We have arrived! He even says that we are The Accomplished. While we have trouble believing that, we know that we have a peace inside that has eluded us up to this point. This peace will elude us no more. We will linger in contentment, sure that we are in the right place, and, now, in the right time.

Our holy relationships will save us; that is why we need seek no more. Relationship was primary in A Course in Miracles also. Our relationship to our brother (and sister) would take us home. Now Jesus is emphasizing this truth yet again in ACOL. If we love others enough, we will have won the prize, the Holy Grail, of salvation.

And we will know not only peace, but happiness, as well.

Being “Special”

Note: I’m starting a new series on relationships today.

“The special relationships of the world are destructive, selfish and childishly egocentric. Yet, if given to the Holy Spirit, these relationships can become the holiest things on earth—the miracles that point the way to the return to Heaven. The world uses its special relationships as a final weapon of exclusion and a demonstration of separateness. The Holy Spirit transforms them into perfect lessons in forgiveness and in awakening from the dream. Each one is an opportunity to let perceptions be healed and errors corrected. Each one is another chance to forgive oneself by forgiving the other. And each one becomes still another invitation to the Holy Spirit and to the remembrance of God. (ACIM, Preface, “What It Says”)

We are used to thinking that finding our beloved “special” is a good thing. For those of us (many of us) who have studied A Course in Miracles, we know that finding loved ones “special” is a mistake. A Course of Love agrees, and so we start these reflections with this quotation from ACIM.

Of course, we care about our significant others more than strangers. And so the teaching may seem foreign to us.

What makes the “special” a good thing is not specialness but holiness. And all of us have the power to turn all of our special relationships into holy ones. We don’t exclude anyone; we invite all in (though not in a physical or sexual sense).
Special relationships are, by nature, egoic. My friend Carol once had a very special male relationship that was platonic but very egoic. She thought that this man had all the qualities that she was seeking in another. But specialness abounded. As time proved, she actually wanted his personal qualities in herself, something that epitomizes ego.

We can and must seek to transform all of our special relationships into holy ones. And, as hard as it sounds, we need to stop believing that without the special, we will be bereft. Use of others, A Course of Love tells us, is wrong. And there is a bit of “use” in many of our relationships. Who will take care of us if not this special other? How will we manage?

These are very real concerns, very practical concerns. But we have power. And, if we believe ACIM and ACOL, we will find love wherever we turn, when our heart opens to reveal the love that is hidden there.

We will never lack for anything. Help is a call away. And everything, as both ACIM and ACOL say, is an expression of love or a call for love. Call today, and so if we are not answered. Our heart will know the answer.

We Find Our Way in This World Safely by Acknowledging What Our Heart Tells Us

“And all of these, those who would admit to fear, and those who would not, would still believe that love exists despite fear’s claim upon it, and think that they are lucky to have found a love to shield them for a little while from all the other things they fear. And yet the greatest fear of all is that of loss of love. You who have given everything to be alone and separate fear most of all that which you have given everything to attain. For what is loss of love but confirmation of your separate state? What is loss of love but being left alone?” (C:14.21)

We thought that we wanted to be separate from God; this is part of the theology of traditional Christianity as well as A Course in Miracles and A Course of Love. Separation would be that we would be independent, on our own, isolated. Yet in the illusory actuality (for we could never actually separate from God, being part of Him) we have been the most afraid of being alone. Try as hard as we can, we still cling, desperately, to the special love relationships that would save us from ourselves—or so we think. So the living out of isolation has actually been the source of our greatest fears.

We fear being alone more than anything because somewhere in our deluded minds is the certainty that we are living amiss, and that a furious God will take revenge on us for denying Him. This is as true for atheists as anyone else, for each of us of whatever persuasion has something in which we put our faith. If this religion is ego-tainted, we will fear all the more, and what religion in our world is not ego-tainted? It is only in giving up our false idols of isolation and separation that we come even close to finding our way safely through this world.

We find our way safely in this world by acknowledging what our heart tells us. And this heart does not require “proof” of God’s existence. It is rightly said that there are no atheists in foxholes (a somewhat outdated reference recalling the first world war). When we get scared about our predicament, we do turn to what we hope will save us. And A Course of Love proclaims that this is the saving grace for what we understand to be our heart. It alone does not seek to have divine proof; it simply knows that we are not alone in all the universe. We are not isolated and independent; we are meant to share our living with others. And A Course in Miracles and A Course of Love call these relationships, the “holy” relationships.

Most all of us have experienced loss of love in some form, with somebody. Somebody let us down, we cry. We think that if only this special someone had loved us for ourselves alone, we would be saved. This makes of love a mockery. And it places in our midst a scavenger that would devoir true love. We do not have to pin our hopes on one someone (or several someones) who can save us. We need only rest in the knowledge—and it is knowledge—that we are never meant to be alone, that divine love is there to protect and keep us safe. And once we give up the attributes of specialness, our relationships one to another will indeed be holy. We have to give up specialness in relationships, we are told. But the relationships will not be snatched from us, to leave us cowering in the dust. The special relationships turned holy will be a foretaste of Heaven, right here on earth.

Forgiveness

“Only your heart can lead you to the forgiveness that must overcome judgment. A forgiven world is a world whose foundation has changed from fear to love. Only from this world can your special function be fulfilled and bring the light to those who still live in darkness.” (ACOL, C:16.8)

It is a good question to wonder how we can change from love to fear in our thinking. And the answer is one word: forgiveness. Forgiveness will overcome judgment, and above all we need to overcome judgment of ourselves and our brothers and sisters

We don’t really have anything to forgive, for we are looking out on a world of illusions. Nothing has actually happened at all. We are living a stage play that has no repercussions on our inner essence. Only those things that come from love are real, for God is Love, and His reality is the only true reality.

In the ethos of A Course of Love, we let our hearts find the forgiveness that our minds might deny. Spend a while today in your heart, and see if it doesn’t make a difference in how the day is viewed. We will, if we let our hearts make the decision, find forgiveness of ourselves and others, and thus look out on a forgiven world.

There is no better way to live. Just recognize, when someone attacks you, that they are being insane, that their reaction is pure insanity. And one would not blame a certifiably insane person for the strange reactions that that person exhibits. We would know that the person is not fully responsible for words and deeds, and we would forgive easily.

Our brother or sister who is certifiably sane is due the same response. In the opinion of both A Course in Miracles and A Course of Love, the attacking brother or sister is not actually sane at all, but mad in a mad world. And so forgiveness becomes easier for us.

BATHED IN LIGHT

Note: This article was published in Miracles magazine for the July – August issue (Jon Mundy, publisher).

by Celia Hales

“. . . [A]nd who can say that he prefers darkness and maintain he wants to see?” (A Course in Miracles, FIP ed., T-25.VI.2:5)

“You stand at the precipice with a view of the new world glittering with all the beauty of heaven set off at just a little distance in a golden light.” (A Course of Love, P:16)

“. . .[B]e bathed in the Light of Reality yet again, seeing that God is what I am. I am God. You are God. Only that One exists. Only the ‘I’ that we share as the One exists.” (“The Way of Knowing,” in The Way of Mastery, Chapter 33)

God is seen in Light not of this world. We must allow ourselves to be bathed in the Light of Reality (as The Way of Mastery says), lost in illusions of the ego no longer (as A Course of Love says). We will then be creating the new world that ACOL encourages. We will see no longer this world we now occupy, for our projections will be different, making our perceptions different, for do we not know that projection makes perception? The current world is often not a place of joy, but the Light will break, and we will see anew, when Awakening (Christ-consciousness) is the experience of all who live here.

We can compare the Light of Reality to the light of this world we now occupy. I have long wanted bright light, especially bright sunlight. Crisp fall days with low humidity give me a new outlook, a prelude to Awakening. I think my Inner Self recognizes that real seeing is only in the light, never in darkness. And in my deepest heart I want real vision. So do all of us.

A Course in Miracles says that when one looks on the world with forgiving eyes, one sees “nothing in the world to fear.” (T-25.VI.1:2) Is this not the new world we will be creating? If we forgive others, we will form the holy relationships that will allow us to see well for the first time, for it is through our relationships that we will be born anew, living in Light not of this world. It is only in looking to the Light within that we know the appropriate response in our relationships. The Light within leads to the light without.

We are only able to see clearly what is without when we have first looked within. Only at that point does our external world appear clear, we know how to proceed, and we walk fearlessly into the sunlight.

The Christ in Us Is Wholly Human & Wholly Divine

“The Christ in you is wholly human and wholly divine. . . .It is this joining of the human and divine that ushers in love’s presence, as all that caused you fear and pain falls away and you recognize again what love is.” (ACOL, C:5.1)
We are indeed blessed now! When we recognize the Christ in us, we are recognizing a joining the human and the divine. And in this joining, we are told, love reigns, “joining. . .ushers in love’s presence.” (ACOL, C:5.1)

All that has caused fear and pain drops away, and we finally recognize what love really is. This is the celebration, when we recognize the Self within, the Self no longer a captive of the ego.

The Christ in us is wholly human and wholly divine, not omniscient, of course, because of our humanness. We are ready to experience true reality in the fullness of the Christ-consciousness (Awakening) that now engulfs us. We may as yet have captured only glimpses of this Christ-consciousness. But the purpose of A Course of Love is to lead us to understandings that will cause the impediments in our psyche to drop away. Jesus wants us to reach Christ-consciousness. A consolidation of awakened individuals is the best hope that we have for a world in disarray, lost in pain and suffering, lost in conflict of one brother and sister against another. But God, we might add, is the omniscient Presence that makes the decision of when we are ready. Thus, there is an indecisive quality about Christ-consciousness and its coming that we can’t predict. Only the omniscient God of us all knows when any one of us is truly ready.

There are things that we can do. Things we must do. We must give up judgments, one of the other. We must give up fear (a biggie). We must give up attack and planning that is not the direct result of guidance. A Course of Love highlights the giving up of judgment and fear; A Course in Miracles highlights the giving up of attack, judgment, and unguided planning. These directives are meant to remove impediments to the coming of Christ-consciousness, and we can all recognize how difficult these directives will be if we don’t have divine help.

We do have divine help. We need only ask. The part of ourselves, the inner part, that is God, will respond. Angels will also come to our aid, for we are not all alone in the universe. Those of us who are in close contact with the Other Side will also come to recognize other entities that move to help us, though Jesus does not point this truth out, in so many words. Jesus has said that he is always with us, always guiding us by the hand. He is our rock, our salvation to a higher world in this world.

We do not have to die to enjoy the benefits of a higher presence directing our efforts.

Love Is the Name We Give to Much We Fear

“Love is the name you give to much you fear. You think that it is possible to choose it as a means to buy your safety and security. You thus have defined love as a reaction to fear. This is why you can understand love as fear’s opposite. This is true enough. But because you have not properly recognized fear as nothing, you have not properly recognized love as everything. It is because of the attributes you have given fear that love has been given attributes. Only separate things have attributes and qualities that seem to complement or oppose. Love has no attributes, which is why it cannot be taught.” (ACOL, C:2.4)

We have confused love and fear, and in A Course of Love, we are told that love is everything, fear nothing. Love and fear are the two emotions, and love is fear’s opposite in every way. But understanding these points is not enough, for we have called “love” much that we actually fear.

This is most important to note in regard to special relationships, a topic of great interest in A Course in Miracles also. We actually find fear in our special relationships, the particular others that we seem to love better than other people in the world. These special relationships we fear to lose, for they seem to be everything to us. And this is where the fear is seen most strongly. Only when we have transformed the special into what Jesus calls “holy relationships” do we see our mistakes in making “special” anything in a relationship.

In A Course of Love, Jesus indicates that the time has come to give up our special relationships. They have never brought us anything that we truly wanted. They were flawed, borne of fear in a fear-ridden world. Holy relationships, though, are filled with true love. We know that regardless of how much a person might reject us, we will keep on loving. And love all we encounter, though not in physical or sexual terms, obviously. There is a place for discernment, still, in our relationships.

Two Choices

“The choice that lies before you now concerns what it is you would come to know. The question asked throughout this Course is if you are willing to make the choice to come to know your Self and God now. This is the same as being asked if you are willing to be the chosen of God. This is the same question that has been asked throughout the existence of time. Some have chosen to come to know themselves and God directly. Others have chosen to come to know themselves and God indirectly. These are the only two choices, the choices between truth and illusion, fear and love, unity and separation, now and later. What you must understand is that all choices will lead to knowledge of Self and God, as no choices are offered that are not such. All are chosen and so it could not be otherwise. But at the same time, it must be seen that your choice matters in time, even if all will make the same choice eventually.” (ACOL, T4:1.11)

We choose between love and fear always. And in the coming to know of our true Self, the inner Christ Self, we are choosing love. Many have made this choice throughout time, some directly to know God and some, directly, through the Holy Spirit. We are led to approach God through the Holy Spirit when we are too fearful to approach God more directly. This choice evolves at the conclusion of A Course in Miracles, the conclusion of the Workbook, as well as in A Course of Love. Love wins out, finally, and we no longer fear God. We are not traumatized by Him. We can go to Him, be heard, and come away with the softness of love experienced.

We are always choosing between truth and illusion, love and fear. Love is always the way of truth; fear is always the way of illusion. There are no other choices.

We who have been caught in illusion for eons do not really comprehend, in the beginning, what is being asked of us. We are being asked to turn aside from illusion in all its guises. And with this choice to turn aside from illusion, we know truth in the form of love always. We cannot, on our own, turn aside from illusions. In A Course in Miracles, our guidance—which we always need to follow—was seen as coming from the Holy Spirit. Now, Jesus says, we have left the time of the Holy Spirit, and we are in the time of Christ, and so our guidance will be perceived in a new and different way. The all-encompassing Christ Self, which engulfs all of us, is the means that we now are encouraged to address. We are encouraged to listen to this inner Christ Self, to follow the guidance that comes from within. It is important to realize that we may not actually feel much difference in where our guidance comes from. And that is not too important. We know when we are following guidance, just as we know when we are turning aside from it.

And happiness comes with the choice to follow guidance. In doing so, we are choosing truth in our daily lives. And we are choosing love.

To Separate or to Remain Whole

“You have been told there are but two emotions, love and fear. What this is really saying is that there are but two ways to respond to what you feel—with love or with fear. If you respond with fear you expel, project, and separate. If you respond with love you remain whole.” (ACOL, D:Day16.10)

What is the difference in reacting between these two emotions?

Fear is always separating, removing us farther from the sense of God’s Presence within us. Love allows us to be whole, at one with God, with others, and with ourselves.

When we are caught in the egoic fear that has engulfed us for so long, we project a fearful world. We project that which we believe to be true about our world. But this projection is all coming from within a fearful self-concept, and so this projection is really a nothing, dressed up in clothes that make it seem something important and right. But it is never right, and most of us are tired of the same old world of fear. We need a new attitude, a new projection, a projection of love. And this we can have, when we follow the guidance of Jesus in these examples of channeling.

So let us decide, once and for all, that we will respond to what we see with love. This decision changes everything for us. Not only do we forgive, but we see with the eyes of love. And our little world changes accordingly, for (as A Course in Miracles makes clear) projection makes perception.

Tension of Opposites

“As a separate being, you have been in a relationship with fear. This relationship with fear is all that has provided the ‘I’ of the separated self. But because you exist as an extension of love, you have always held within you the Christ, who is the relationship with love. This is why individuation has become the conflict between, or the tension of, opposites. Because you have relationship with both fear and love.” (D:Day40.22)

We need to have the fear fall away, but we are doomed from that prospect as long as the ego rules and separation from God rules. We are heading into a new dimension of our personhood, a Christ-consciousness that will mean that we occupy a physical form in this world, but our minds and hearts are elsewhere, in a new consciousness that means that we live very much in the present. But we are getting ahead of ourselves.

For eons we have been in a relationship with fear, because we were governed by a false view of self that has come to be known as the “ego.” This relationship with fear meant that any pain was very likely to turn into suffering, and more pain, and disaster, even. To rescue us from this dismal situation, Jesus has channeled both A Course in Miracles and A Course of Love, the former to dislodge the ego, and the latter to establish a new identity. To establish a new peace.

We have never really snuffed out the Christ within. This is our true Self, the entity that is one with God, Who also dwells within. But our relationship with this false part of ourselves called the ego has meant that we couldn’t sense the Christ, and we couldn’t live well, and all in all we have been in a bad way. This is because we have been attached to fear rather than to love. And now is the time to remedy that.

Love and fear do not mix very well. Love is harmonious and kind, as we know, but love is not just an emotion. It is truly what we are, what we are meant to be. Fear, on the other hand, is the great pollutant of what we are. Because we bought into fear through the self ruled by the ego, we have never really stood a chance to be happy.

The ego gives but to take away. We have had flights of fragile joy, but egoic joy is never the real thing. And just as soon as we experienced one of these joyous flights, we were hurled downward, face on the ground, to a devastating sense of doom. It is clear that we can never enjoy peace of a lasting nature when this is the reality in which we live.

Is this not the way that we have experienced reality? But this is not genuine reality. Jesus is telling us now, in ACIM and ACOL, how to so live that we are in peace and happiness continually. If we heed his words, we will live in what is true reality. And we will have a calm peace that remains undisturbed by outward events in our physical and emotional world. We will truly have learned how to live.

And we will be who we truly are.

The Embrace

“To know who you are and not to express who you are with your full power is the result of fear. To know the safety and love of the embrace is to know no cause for fear, and thus to come into your true power. True power is the power of miracles.” (ACOL, C:20.28)

Seeing that we don’t express who we really are out of fear, let us contemplate what we might do to turn this situation around.

Jesus includes in A Course of Love a sensitively-written passage in which he takes us into his arms and embraces us. The passage exudes warmth, peace, and safety.
Here is the most cogent part:

“This is a call to move now into my embrace and let yourself be comforted. Let the tears fall and the weight of your shoulders rest upon mine. Let me cradle your head against my breast as I stroke your hair and assure you that it will be all right. Realize that this is the whole world, the universe, the all of all in whose embrace you literally exist. Feel the gentleness and the love. Drink in the safety and the rest. Close your eyes and begin to see with an imagination that is beyond thought and words.” (C:20.2)

This reassuring passage is emblematic of the tone of all A Course of Love, for ACOL looks to the heart, first of all, to entice us to give up the false values of the ego, the false identity to which we have clung for so long.

In letting this memorable passage fill our minds, we are led beyond the bounds of the fear-ridden ego. We will know that we want something different from what we have had all of our lives. We know that the enticement that Jesus represents is the true value of love, the way that we will come home to ourselves.

When we come home to ourselves, we will be fully powerful for the first time, and who among us does not want a right sort of power? The egoic power that we have known previously has given us flights of joy, but evermore it has dashed our feet on stones, and prompted tears of grievous regret. We can be finished with these tantalizing fits. We can stop sensing electric joy that dissolves into abject misery. Jesus is showing us the way out when he encourages us to be who we truly are.

When we don’t fear anything, in the embrace, we are primed to come into our real power. We are primed to be who we really are, in love with the whole world. And for this miracle, we need give up nothing! Nothing at all, for what the ego has given us has truly been nothing. The ego gives but to take away. And, even the giving is time-bound to be of short duration. The “gifts” of the ego don’t satisfy very long at all. Then we are off to a new goal. And, ultimately, what we have accumulated becomes ash and dust at our feet. No joy in the “everything” at all, for the everything is not enough. “Is this all there is?” becomes a legitimate question for the vast majority of us. And that is because we are looking for love in all the wrong places.

The best place to look for love is within the miracle. Both A Course in Miracles and A Course of Love say a great deal about the power of miracles. We aren’t to decide personally what miracles ought to be done, because we would be misguided if that were our attitude. Jesus makes clear that he decides when and if a miracle is timely, because he is in charge of the Atonement. But when we ask for something, such as love and the centrality of love in our life, we can be sure that Jesus is right there with us, cheering us along. We can’t know how the miracle will happen, only that it will. We are asking in God’s will for the relinquishment of fear and the shift to love in all our dealings. Prayers such as these do not go unattended.

The power of miracles is said in A Course of Love to be the true power. Would any of us want any other power? We need and want to be reverent in our asking, supportive of whatever guidance we get. We don’t need to launch into pipe dreams that become meaningless. With the attraction of true power in our minds and hearts, we will know Love sooner rather than later. And the fear that has hampered all our doings for many years will gradually fall away.

A Course in Miracles Sets the Stage

“The further teachings of the original Course were designed to turn fear into love. When you think you can go only so far and no further in your acceptance of the teachings of the course and the truth of your Self as God created you, you are abdicating love to fear.” (ACOL, P11)

Many come to A Course of Love from A Course in Miracles. And Jesus has made clear that A Course of Love is a continuation of A Course in Miracles. Here we find the continuity that Jesus wanted. Here he expresses this continuity in terms of love and fear.

We are told, in no uncertain terms, that when we feel that we cannot fully accept A Course in Miracles (and, by implication, A Course of Love), we are “abdicating love to fear.” (ACOL, P11) We think we don’t know how to live a life fully in love; we don’t dare let go of fear.

What is this but the ego talking to us? It is nothing but: It is pure ego.
We have such a problem in letting go of the fear-ridden ego in favor of the heart-felt place of our love. We think, wrongly, that the ego has protected us from unnamed disasters—when it is actually just the reverse. We are abject cowards in the fact of the loud voice of the ego that we hear shouting to us to be careful.

We think that if we don’t heed these shrieking sounds, we will be lost. But it is actually the reverse. We will be lost in a hell of our making by refusing to listen to the still small voice that whispers of Love.

So let us take a look at what we are really meant to be, the person that Jesus sees in us. The person who chooses love over fear, consistently.

Choose Love – Not Fear

Note: I am going to move to a consideration of love and fear as presented by A Course of Love, with some inclusion of A Course in Miracles. I will return to The Way of Mastery later on. – Celia

“All feelings you label joyous or compassionate are of love. All feelings you label painful or angry are of fear. This is all there is. This is the world you make. Love or fear is your reality by your choice. A choice for love creates love. A choice for fear creates fear. What choice do you think has been made to create the world you call your home?” (ACOL, C:1.180)

So we are off on an adventure, a decision to shed fear for the much better value of love. The question in the quotation begs itself, for we know that previously all of us, encrusted with an ego that is destructive and violent, have chosen fear as our guide to walking through this world. We don’t have to make this choice anymore. There is another way, outlined in A Course of Love, scribed by Mari Perron, just as Helen Schucman and Bill Thetford chose another way that way culminated in A Course in Miracles.

We want our reality to be love, whether or not we are thinking about this all the time. We often make decisions that are steeped in fear, thinking that we are making a choice for love. Our special relationships are the most obvious example of this dynamic. We find a “special” someone, we fall “in love,” we think that we cannot live without this lovely thing—for the person has become a “thing” to us. We want to possess the other individual for ourselves, but we are fearful about losing this precious object. What do we do now? How do we find a way out of fearing and loving, seemingly at the same time?

This is the dilemma of our world. And , in taking a look, directly, at love and fear, we will be directed to a new and different, never way tried by ourselves before. It is a fabulous journey without distance to a goal that has been ours for eons.

We just didn’t know it before.

Gratitude

Reposted from my discontinued Ponder blog:

Most spiritual traditions tell us that being grateful for our lives and what we have in them is a necessary component of a full life. If we believe that God needs our praise, then I can see that expressing thanks to Him in our prayers would make sense. But I have had more trouble understanding the “why” of gratitude since I don’t believe God needs us to tell Him how wonderful He is. (Jesus says this in A Course in Miracles.)

Of course, I can understand that we need gratitude. It opens our heart. And, not incidentally, it makes us just feel good. Writing about the Law of Attraction, particularly Rhonda Byrne’s The Magic, says that without gratitude our wishes for a more abundant life will fall on deaf ears in the universe. But is not a rote recall of things we are grateful for just seem to be manipulation of ultimate reality?

Our heart needs to be in the right place when we are expressing thanks for the blessings of our life. We need not to be manipulative, we need not to say “thanks” just because it does feel good.

There is a higher reason for gratitude.

I know that I appreciate my life, and that is a good start. Gratitude does warms our heart, and maybe that is reason enough to be diligent in feeling and expressing gratitude for our lives.

Gratitude does keep us in the right pathway back to God. Separation healed, we are on our way.

Quiet Answer

Note that while a request to remove anger may be granted immediately, it is more likely to be a slow process. Giving up all our angers requires a complete relinquishment of self-will (in the egoistic sense) to the better way of the Spirit within. And it requires attunement to the Divine at the moment in the heat of anger. Do not fight the sin (error)! That will only make it stronger. Instead, withdraw into one’s heart and mind and seek the solace of God’s solution to the situation that so troubles. Avoid the quick retort; know that this impulse is fueled by fear (stress) and is unworthy of a child of God. If we fall down on the pathway, know that God is ever ready to pick us up and set us aright again. Forgive self for the lapse! It does no good and much harm to chastise one’s self harshly and in the throes of guilt. Ask for divine assistance and it will be forthcoming. Above all, be grateful for the surfacing of anger. It is the only way for the boil to be lanced, the false self to be undone, and the better way available to all of us once again.

If problems assail us one by one, two by two, or more, please know that we are living in error. This is the human condition. Jesus says, though, that we will have freedom when we give over all problems to the one solution—the Holy Spirit. He will impress upon our minds the solution in a quiet answer without fanfare, a quiet answer that leaves no one the loser. Until every problem is given over in this way to a Higher Power, the essentially same “problem” will arise repeatedly in different forms. To keep a problem, moreover, is to make it great, past the hope of accomplishing a solution. God would not have this so for His children. In the Holy Spirit’s sight, though, problems are little and “. . .worth no more than just a tiny sigh before they disappear. . . .” (T-26.II.7:4)

If God’s Son in truth is innocent, then God’s justice would hold nothing against him. When we fail to offer the same justice to our brother by seeing instead that he is not due true justice, that he has done something not worthy of forgiveness, we judge against ourselves as well. Madness, as Jesus says, only seems terrible; in truth it has no power to make anything. (M-17.9:1-2) Justice would say to our brothers, “Choose again. This thing you decry is false and not reality at all.” Then our brother is granted complete justice as an innocent, though mistaken, son or daughter of God. We forgive, though we, strictly speaking, do not need to do so at all because there is nothing to forgive. Illusions need to be simply dispelled, and all will be as if they had never been.

Anger

When we recognize that our minds are one, that the mind that is in one’s brother connects to our own, it is a very short step to eliminate attack, because we recognize that the attack is upon ourselves as well. And eliminating attack will eliminate guilt, the reason that we have been driven mad and into this world of illusion.

This new way of approaching life may not come readily. We first may find our anger rising more easily from the depths because we have been sensitized to the fact that it is there. How can we eliminate it unless we are first made aware of it? As one comes closer to living in the fully spiritual life, the tiny inconveniences of living, the nagging doubts and negative thoughts, the scraps of anger, will seem more burdensome to us than before. That is why saints have historically viewed themselves as the blackest of sinners: They are more conscious of the tiniest of errors. So too will this dynamic occur as we make our way along the spiritual pathway. Do not, therefore, lament the awareness of anger within; open up to feel it and then bid it leave forever. Think you that the Holy Spirit would not grant this request, so in line with God’s will for us?

Egoic “Devil” Is a Mirage

One point in the deluded sufferer’s mind of attack needs to be addressed. Not only will we have trouble believing in the essential innocence of our brother, but we will believe that A Course in Miracles is deluding us as the tool of the “devil” as well. The Holy Spirit will therefore not be seen as God’s emissary, but as the voice of evil, cloaked in “good.” This is the essential aspect of the Course that Jesus says will cause us trouble; we will believe that he is misleading us. But is he really? Isn’t it our own projections that are the culprit here? We think the “sin” within is actually perpetrated by following an external demon, when in truth the demons are all within–products of our deluded mind. This is all that we are really dealing with. The devil is a myth, a projection from within of the “evil” we have seen there. And it was all a mirage–nothing more. A mirage that we can discard as invalid as soon as we accept the truth that we are dreaming in chaos, living with a diseased mind that in truth wants fervently to be sane again.

Jesus explains this dilemma in two succinct sentences. Referring to the Holy Spirit, he says, “What could He be to them except a devil, dressed to deceive within an angel’s cloak. And what escape has He for them except a door to hell that seems to look like Heaven’s gate?” (T-25.VIII.7:3-4) Words like these are the reason that the early portion of the Course must be carefully studied, because without this preparation, the ego will react with such fear that the experience will be more traumatic than beatific.” (T-1.VII.5:8) Trauma we can leave behind if we only trust Jesus and the Course a little longer. Suspend egoistic judgment of the parts that frighten, and patiently study the whole.

Jesus and the Holy Spirit will bring us out of the tunnel into the light, and into a world of Reality that sparkles and shines unlike anything seen since we fell asleep. And the Awakening will be gentle, once all the steps on the ladder have been retraced. Before the steps have been taken, there indeed may be a revelation of some startling proportions, a revelation revealing the end. But to get there the means are needed, and Jesus in the Course carefully explains those means. (T-1.VII.5:11)

Jesus’ Example

We must never forget that we and our brother are always “in this together.” If we imagine that we can be treated unfairly, we are trying to combine our innocence and his attack. The world doesn’t work that way. Because projection makes perception, it is our own attack thoughts that have prompted the cry of “unfair.” Attack is simply a mad reaction, and the notion even if a “fair attack” is without meaning. Moreover, we do our brother an injustice when we blame him for what we perceive as unfair attacks upon ourselves. We see him as guilty, and thus damn him, figuratively, to a hell of our own making. We have consented to this attack, for whatever reason, good or bad. A Course in Miracles says, “Walk you the gentle way, and you will fear no evil and no shadows in the night.” (T-27.I.1:3)

Even Jesus’s own suffering is an example of this dynamic. He did not share his tormentors’ view of attack (that it was “fair”) nor of his friends and apostles (that it was “unfair”). Thus he did not strengthen the attack in any way whatsoever. And a short while later he demonstrated that resurrection (for all of us, not just him) always follows death, showing that death is essentially an illusion of this time and place only. Jesus made no defense at all, the posture that he recommends for us as well, for to react defensively is to acknowledge that there is some evil therein to be defensive about.

So in the days following death and entombment, Jesus appeared in a body that could manifest itself among the apostles behind shut doors, and could walk along a road and almost not be recognized, and could “break bread” and eat. Surely he had entered a realm of living about which the rest of us know nothing. But the most important point was that the cross had not hurt him in any lasting way at all. By this truth we see an example of defenseless living wholly without reproach. Jesus says, “Let it [the body] receive the power to represent endless life, forever unattacked.” (T-27.I.10:6) In order for this picture to be true, we must not let the past intrude, much as we must not let the picture of Jesus’s crucifixion intrude on the glorified body that he occupied in the 40 days on earth following his resurrection.

Yet healing is to many a threatening idea. We cling fast to our sickness, even unto death, for we still blame our brother for the suffering that we, in actual fact, have allowed ourselves to endure. Withdraw the blame, and part of the reason for sickness (i.e., the reproach) is gone as well. Only the healed can truly pardon, because their (formerly) sick bodies do not stand in mute testimony that a brother is guilty of attack upon one’s self. And because only now is eternal and real, the illusory past has vanished, taking its causeless suffering with it.

Our Healing

It is part of the worldview of A Course in Miracles that we are all One, and this One is God. Ideas (and we are all at base an idea) leave not their Source, and so we are created creatures, extensions of God Himself. Our mistake in wanting to be apart and separate can never satisfy, because we are meant both to have and to be everything. Our egos would want a little separate treasure, apart from what our brother has, but all this false belief can ever give us is isolation, loneliness, and fear. And God has protected Himself and us by seeing that this separation happens only in illusion, in dreams. And thus it does not happen in Reality at all.

This explanation can only be understood metaphorically in this world, because we are not yet back Home in God. But miracles can and do happen without a fuller understanding. We can be healed of our guilt over separation (and the illusory effects that it has brought) without sacrifice and without pain. All we need are open hands to accept the miracle.

Specifically, what we have to give up to be free of pain is fear. Jesus sums up how in one concise sentence, “Being wholly without attack, it [love] cannot be afraid.” (T-19.IV.A.10:7) Without attack, there is no fuel with the pain that it brings. The pain may, and frequently does, visit ourselves or others in the form of sickness. This, Jesus explains, is the faulty problem solving mechanism meant to illustrate the frailty of the ego’s home, the body.

In these few sentences is a summation of what Jesus tells us about the origin of pain. Is it understandable? Not at its introduction, because once ego defenses immediately activate to suggest a thousand reasons why this simple answer cannot be the whole of it. Give the ideas a while to prove their validity.

God Enthralls Us

I believe that this moment of coming into our own can be likened to God taking the last steps into our Reunion with Him all by Himself. There is nothing that we can “do” to merit it, and if we had continued to struggle in our chaos, it might have seemed to be endless. And by retracing our karmic steps, we will regain Heaven, and the ladder leading us in the direction of the egoistic world can be withdrawn so that never again will we be tempted to dive into illusory worlds.

We have had enough pain to realize that the egotistical way is not appropriate. We will love God too much, appreciate the joys of Heaven too much, ever to be tempted to feel that following His Will is somehow a contrast to our own. We will see others as the equals that they are, and we will not be tempted to ask God to give us special favor. The desire for “special favor” is, in fact, what A Course in Miracles sees as the reason for our present predicament. And that defines the ego in two tiny words. We wait for God to take the final step in freeing us as individuals. Yet the Course looks to the individual first; in that sense, it does not preach a “social gospel.”

The Course would see most of our efforts in the world as doomed from the start unless we are right with God in the beginning. Jesus knows that we cannot give what we have not received. If we are not first healed, we have no healing to share with others. If we try still, we are “unhealed healers,” and Jesus is particularly negative about this. (T-9.V.3:3)

Heaven

Why may it take us so long to extricate ourselves from this world of madness? That is a misleading question, because time is relative, and if our attitudes are right, we can experience even Heaven itself in the here and now. Jesus says that Heaven is not a condition, but the awareness of perfect oneness. (T-18.VI.1:5) Surely in our mystical moments we come close to experiencing this wonder, and there are few of us who do not have mystical moments from time to time, even if we don’t call these memorable times by that name and even if we do not recognize these memorable times for what they are.

Jesus also says that we must retrace our steps, in effect, a process that he likens to a ladder, where we retrace our steps into descent, and eventually the ladder is removed. (T-28.II.12:7) Our old ideas of Heaven being “up,” of somewhere out in the sky being Heaven, here comes into play in Jesus’s metaphor. We cannot truly enter the Heaven that is actually within until we have let go of all illusions; this may be a very long process, because we have gone deep into madness.

All that Is Asked of Us Is to Make Room for Truth

The ego is dazed by much of our reasoning, which accounts for the Heaven vs. hell dichotomies that our religions have set up. I once heard a ministerial student proclaim that [blank] religion could not be right, because it asserted that there was only Good and “there cannot be good without evil.” Jung had a similar problem, symbolized by a seminal childhood dream, which led him to feel that God Himself might be both good and evil. This was nothing less than an imperfect way to improve on Milton’s concept of Satan and God at war. Ego, all, A Course in Miracles would have us understand. We can’t make sense of it because the ideas are filled to the brim with the chaotic “reality” of insanity.

Any person who has experienced psychosis understands the troubled way in which he tries to “make sense” of the images that arise from the subconscious. Meaning can be seen only in part, because the person is having a nocturnal dream in the daylight hours. And there are virtually always huge chunks of our nocturnal dreams that remain incomprehensible to us as we seek to analyze them. It is this dynamic that is played out when we live with the ego as our guide. Our cues for inference (T-21.I.1:5) are wrong, the Course says, so we cannot see our way clearly. The daily dream that is our life is chaotic because its source (the ego) is insane.

We do not have to accept this view of Reality wholly if it would be dishonest to try to believe something that on the surface of it doesn’t make sense. The Course says only, “All that is asked of you is to make room for truth.” (T-21.II.7:6) Entertain the concept that our ego may be distracting us in our search for meaning. We need only open our minds to the possibility that in the past we may have formed a worldview wrongly. Suspend judgment for a time, drop resistance, and in the Course’s beautiful language, do as it bids: “Be willing, for an instant, to leave your altars free of what you placed upon them, and what is really there you cannot fail to see.” (T-21.II.8:1)

We Are the Energy of God

In our madness, we revolted against God, possibly believing that we could not be free unless we exercised that freedom by choosing a way of living that was opposed to His Will. Doesn’t this sound very much like an adolescent revolting against the reasoning and life patterns of parents? I suggest that this human perennial pattern is a metaphor for our rebellion against our Perfect Parent. The fallacy in this mad reason (because it is mad) is that God is ultimately not only our Parent and Creator, but also the very Energy out of which we are born. We are not separate from Him except when we identify ourselves as ego in a bad dream. Even on the human level we can see some parallel in the humor elicited by varieties of the story we have all heard: “When I was 14, I thought that my father didn’t know anything. By the time I turned 21, I was amazed by how much he had learned.”

On the human level, where this world is opposite from Heaven (T-16.V.3:6), there is good reason to build up a personality separate from our parents. Yet never have our minds been truly separate in this universal growth process. The latter point illustrates profoundly the way of the universe. We are built of the very Existence of God, thus not being separate, we can only retreat into madness and fantasize that we are, lest God be divided against Himself. This God could not allow, and we fancy ourselves apart only; in actuality, we are still at Home in Him.

We Can See Clearly Now

The Course calls the act of pardoning, or forgiving, one’s brother of what is just illusion anyway as the “power to release your savior.” (T-21.II.3:8) If we will entertain the idea that the Course is right, that the world is truly illusory and illusion made in madness, the step of pardon becomes very easy. It becomes, in madness, the only rational choice that one would make. We would not get angry if our brother were psychotic, though we might wish mightily that he were healed, especially if in his madness he is causing us pain. In effect, the Course declares that this characterization is exactly what is happening on a daily basis in our world. We are all, to one degree or another, steeped in a metaphysical madness.

On a deeper level, though, we have never left Heaven, and our real Self is very strong. We are indeed strong enough to let this world go, accepting correction because we see that we are wrong. (T-21.II.4:10) It is only the extent to which we live by guidance that we can see a more benign dream, the still illusory Real World granted our waking dream by the Holy Spirit. The dreams he gives, though still illusory, are happy, and by them we see our way clear.

Be Gentle with the Self

Do we really choose, on some level, what we experience? The Course is uncompromising in its insistence that we do. “Suffer, and you decided sin was your goal. Be happy, and you gave the power of decision to Him [i.e., the Holy Spirit] Who must decide for God for you.” (T-21.II.3:5-6)

If this concept is helpful, it is because we see the light at the end of the tunnel. If it makes us feel guilty, we are misusing the words on behalf of the ego’s insanity. All of us are still at least partially insane, ruled by the ego. It is not practical to think, under these circumstances, that we always and consistently follow the Holy Spirit. The little self that occupies this world is still imperfect. Be gentle with that self, even as your Self would be, and perhaps say quietly (if it is helpful), “There is another way of looking at the world.” (W-pI.33.h)

When I fall from Grace into karma, I think, “I have done this thing to somebody else, sometime, somewhere.” I allow myself to feel the pain, but I try not to wallow in it. It is sometimes helpful, if the “sin” (in illusion) seems to be perpetrated by another, to remember, “you always attack yourself first,” (T-10.II.4:5) substituting the offender’s name for the “you.” Then I feel compassion for this fellow traveler, my brother sent to me by God, for we will find the way out together or not at all.

The Ego as Satan

A Course in Miracles says, “Sin is not error, for it goes beyond correction to impossibility. Yet the belief that it is real has made some errors seem forever past the hope of healing, and the lasting grounds for hell.” (T-26.VII.7:1-2) This passage points to the old idea of a duel between God and the fallen angel Lucifer (Satan), in which the two battle it out for control of men’s and women’s minds.

We must realize that this myth is a projection of the ego, which is the “Satan” in all of us. But as part of God, as an extension of God, our Will and His have not truly been out of sync. It is only in our mad and unnatural way to operate independently of God that the trouble began–the trouble that is an illusion of reality, but an illusion in which, nevertheless, we still believe.

God does not attack our ego (our “Satan”), knowing that it is only a dream and without substance at all. He waits for us to understand that the way of the ego does not work; He waits for our reestablishment of communing with the Holy Spirit, the only natural way to live. As finite minds, we cannot succeed if we try to live separately from our Source.

So we must give up our inferior judgments to the Holy Spirit, who sees the whole picture. This is natural; this is the way life should be experienced, and we learn this as our bad dreams turn to happy ones under the tutelage of the Holy Spirit.

Forgiveness

People who are particularly fearful of sin (though they may not call it that) will be particularly prone to find a victim in an attempt to ease their consciences at their own “unforgivable” wrongdoing. Their attacks upon another will be very pronounced, reducing her to an object deemed unworthy of esteem, but very worthy of damnation for “sins.” This is projection! The one who feels guilty, who cannot accept those mistakes of hers that seem black enough to be sins, will thrust her poor self-image onto another–the scapegoat. Know that this is simple insanity, and try no longer to make sense of it. Forgive the indiscretion, and this understanding will dawn upon an overwrought mind. Know that if we are the victims today, in other times we have been the perpetrators. Leave this insanity behind for all time. It is a replay of the mistaken message that we have long viewed by looking at the old, rugged cross.

We do not need the cross as expiation of sins. We do need the wholly benign lesson of the resurrection, and Jesus in A Course in Miracles bids us look to the resurrection rather than the crucifixion. A Course in Miracles affirms that all sickness is an illusion caused by our belief in unforgivable sin and brought into being by our guilt (over the “sin”) that asks for punishment. The Course does not really believe that sin, if true at all, is forgivable. And it implies that we do not believe sin, if true, is forgivable either.

The Course’s way out of this impasse is to say that the wrong that we do is really illusion, and that Reality has not be affected at all. So sin is not “real,” and only in illusion have we made errors that cry out for correction.

Calling an error a “sin” seems to make it “real,” and to call for punishment. And because belief makes an illusion, we will experience the punishment that we have asked for. We can seem to make error “real” by concentrating upon it, thereby elevating its status. What we need to do is overlook the error, perhaps offering simultaneously our forgiveness of it. But certain it is that we will make it “real” to ourselves if we focus on it, analyzing it as the ego is always prone to do. If we forgive first, we will then come to understand. We ought not to seek to understand before forgiving because that is a certain way to engage the ego and ensure that we will find it harder and harder to forgive, having made real to ourselves the deeds that we need to overlook.

Jesus

The belief in sin sets up the need for sacrifice—a scapegoat or victim upon whom our wrong can be dumped so that we will not suffer for it. This is essentially why the cross has played such a huge part in the drama of 2,000 years ago. If Jesus, the innocent one, the best of the flock, was sacrificed to an angry God, then we were off the hook.

The fact that Jesus did not see an angry God but only a loving Father was a detail overlooked in the scenario. He would do anything God might ask, even death unto the cross. The drama was complete.

But what if we somehow missed the point? What if it were our ego that gave this interpretation to which was essentially a cruel death to one who upset the authority of the priests? In the Course Jesus bids us look at the resurrection, which, however it is understood, does seem to point beyond death to a life that continues. The New Testament gives eye-witness accounts of a Jesus who appeared in the midst of the apostles, though the doors to the room were shut. This does not appear to be the usual physical body, but one that could be “made physical” at will.

Do we really doubt that there are more things in Heaven and earth than we dream of? This seems to be one of these cases–a body that could come and go from other regions at will.

A Course in Miracles says, “. . .specialness cares not who pays the cost of sin, so it be paid. . . .” (T-25.VIII.11:1) So for almost 2,000 years, many of us have believed that the cost of our specialness demanded a victim to expiate our “sin.” What if there need be no victim because there is no sin–only error borne of madness? We would rush to the side of our brother to do what we can to heal his mind.

Maybe that’s exactly what we need to do today: Rush to our brother or sister’s side to heal his/her mind.

Wholly Correctable Mistakes – Not “Sin”

It is particularly hard for newcomers to the A Course in Course to believe it when they are told that they have never sinned: They have only made wholly correctable mistakes. People with background such as mine may think that this is the deception of which we are warned from a “devil.” So what are we to make of this?

It one can just entertain the notion that our minds are, to greater or lesser degrees, at one time or another, in one person or another, insane, then we are well on our way out. Even our society treats the insane criminal differently from the one judged sane, controversial though a given case may be. We recognize diminished responsibility, an inability to see clearly right from wrong. Is this not what we are faced with on a daily basis? We see so dimly without the Holy Spirit’s guidance; sometimes we hardly know which way to turn. Would a loving God condemn us for our lack of clear understanding? No! He would merely give us a Guide who would lead us out of the maze.

Does a loving God demand payment, sacrificial payment, because we have done something bad and need to be punished for it? Certain traditional Christian theology teaches this, in that Jesus “died for our sins” and is the “sacrificial Lamb who takes away the sins of the world.” The Course reinterprets all of this into a much more benign concept. “I was not ‘punished’ because you were bad,” Jesus says. (T-3.I.2:10) He goes on to explain that this interpretation is an egoistic projection borne of the insanity of the ego. So we are back to the concept of insanity.

Surely no parent or loved one who sees his child or family member commit violent acts when diagnosed as mentally ill holds that person by the same standards as she holds a “sane” person. Let us entertain the notion that we only need to enlarge our definition of insanity to accommodate all people, to a greater or lesser degree. Jesus condemned no one. He recognized while on earth that most people did the best that they could with what they had. It behooves those of us who follow in the footsteps of Jesus, however blindly, to try to do the same.

Little Wisp of Melody

The Course speaks of a “little wisp of melody” (T-21.I.6:2) that will remind us of an ancient state of Oneness with God, a state of Oneness which calls us to return to our real Home. T. S. Eliot expressed this need to return perhaps more perfectly than anyone else when he said,

“We will not cease from exploration,
And the end of all our exploring
Will be to arrive where we started,
And know the place for the first time.” –“Little Gidding,” Four Quartets, V: 26-29

This is a fitting description of the expulsion from Eden as the “fortunate” fall. But we do not have to agree that our detour into madness was “fortunate” to derive meaning and benefit from Eliot’s concept. In our own world, though, it is not uncommon for those individuals who recover fully from madness to feel, in retrospect, that their experiences, however wrenching, were worthwhile. If the people labeled “mentally ill” by our culture can see value in their dreamlike experiences, do we really have to doubt that our mass hallucination–our mass dream–is a valuable teaching tool as well?

In the final analysis, the two may be remarkably alike. Just as many mentally ill people refuse to believe that they are ill, so too do most people of the world. Our egos are seen as valuable and, above all, real–hardly the illusion that miracles would have us recognize.

CREATING A NEW WORLD

Published recently in Miracles magazine (Jon Mundy, publisher)

by Celia Hales

“To your tired eyes I bring a vision of a different world, so new and clean and fresh you will forget the pain and sorrow that you saw before.” (ACIM, COA ed., T:IX.7:6)

But the choice many of you will make—the choice to move from learning to creating—will create a new world. (ACOL, C7:9)

. . .[W]ithout intention, desire cannot become the crystal clear focus, the laser-like focus that can cut through the dross of this world so that a new creation can flow forth through you.” (WOM, Book 1)

Jesus is very eager to see a new world arise out of the chaos that we know now. In A Course of Love, he says that some of us will continue learning, out of choice, and thereby change the world. But many of us will go on to create a new world.

What could this mean, for we find the same sentiment in A Course in Miracles and The Way of Mastery (Christ-Mind Trilogy), quoted above. It can only mean that we are on the brink of something very grand. Christ-consciousness (Awakening) will emerge for many of us, and when a tipping point is reached, peace will truly reign.

Of course, this doesn’t seem possible now. But it is always darkest just before the dawn, and it is dark now. The dawn is coming, is imminent—if we do our part. If we remove the blocks to the awareness of love, seek to relinquish fear, and thereby live in freedom untainted by egoic leftovers, patterns of the ego that cry to be relinquished, things will get better. If our choices are made without fear, we will have moved into the next realm—the realm of Christ-consciousness as a tipping point, the point at which things do indeed get better around the world.

Let us pray for such an outcome today. We are thankful for many things in our personal world, our little plot of land on which we reside. But we can pray for something better for all people, and if we pray diligently and often, forces will come to our aid that we have not foreseen. We are surrounded by angels (Jesus says so), and they add their prayers to ours. Miracles abound in such a world, miracles that can and will transform this hostile and violent world into a world of peace and joy and harmony.

Do you believe it can happen? Belief is pivotal. And we can have such a belief if we trust what Jesus has said in his channeled works.

Be sure today that Jesus would not mislead us. Be ready for the new world. And then ask what each of us can do to effect that new world.

We need to thank God for the many blessings that we have, our friends, our families, our house, our neighborhood, our cities and towns. These are not little blessings, and I know, within the depths of my being, that the more gratitude we feel for present blessings, the more we open to something more.

May God be with us now for a great today and a great tomorrow.

JOY, PEACE, RELEASE

Note: Published in the May – June issue of Miracles magazine (Jon Mundy, publisher).

by Celia Hales

There is one thought in particular that should be remembered throughout the day. It is a thought of pure joy, a thought of peace, a thought of limitless release—limitless because all things are freed within it. (ACIM, COA ed., M-16.6:1-2)

Drape your persona in a mantle of peace and joy. Let who you are shine through the personal self who continues to walk this world a while longer. (ACOL, T2:13.6)

Hold in the mind’s eye all of your domain—your relationships, your careers, your physical objects—and say, “Behold, it’s been a lot of fun!” (WOM, “The Way of Knowing,” Chap. 35)

I have used the words, “pure joy” and “limitless release,” here quoted from A Course in Miracles, almost as a mantra over the years. There is such hope in the promise of joy and release. Previously, we have been so doubled up in agony over the machinations of the ego. And it is such a blessing to know that we need not live this way. We can live in the hope of continual joy and release, and this is just what Jesus is asking us to do in this passage.

A Course of Love continues the theme. We are still here, on earth, walking this world a while longer. And peace and joy are the hallmarks of a well-lived life. It is true that we often think that we have to achieve to merit grace. Yet this is a false concept. We are accepted just as we are, even with all of our mistakes and false notions of an ego-oriented self.

The Way of Mastery introduces a new concept, perhaps a startling concept to us who are still so very serious about life (“serious” itself a plague of the ego). “Have fun!,” these words of Jesus say. It is in the limitless release from ACIM that we discover how to truly enjoy our fun. We relax into our days, knowing that the God Who created us and loves us knows that our lightheartedness is the very way that we need to walk. We only thought that God didn’t want us to have a good time.

Limitless release will lead to a peace and joy that knows no bounds. Say a mantra today that will attract the Love that enfolds us, never to let the seriousness of the ego intrude again.

A Bridge – New Publication from Take Heart Publications

This is a message from Glenn Hovemann, publisher, Take Heart Publications, about a new booklet that will describe the connection between A Course in Miracles and A Course of Love. The booklet is called A Bridge, and can be purchased from amazon in both print and e-book format. It is excellent, my recommendation (from Celia):

Here are straight answers to questions from students of A Course in Miracles about A Course of Love.

• What’s different about the message of ACOL?
• Do both ACIM and ACOL see the world as an illusion?
• How can ACOL help me in my life?
• What could ACOL offer that I haven’t already gotten from ACIM?

Many long-time students of ACIM have wholeheartedly embraced ACOL without diminishing in the slightest their love for ACIM. Others have been hesitant about “another Course.” This little book was written by students of both Courses. It’s offered as a bridge of love.

This booklet is NOT couched as a “debate” or intended to foster that kind of energy. It is for people who are interested in these questions and who are open to listening. As it says in the Introduction:

This work is presented as a series of questions and answers, and the author of each response to each question has been indicated. Our intent is to avoid the suggestion there is any one form of answering these questions that is exclusively correct, and to avoid the solidification of answers into dogmas or ideals. Some of our contributors are more verbose than others. Some have different vantages. We view this as all of a piece, as we are each unique expressions of the fullness of God. Words remain but symbols. The truth is what lives and breathes and dances in our own hearts. It is the living reality of Love we would remember, and to which we would each return.

Reason & Faith

There is a difference between what is metaphorically true and what is actually true. When the way seems rough, it is likely that one is being propelled by a metaphor. Instruction for living is found therein, but not those things that will be actualized in the time and place of this plane. And faith that it will be is misplaced faith, particularly likely to lead one even deeper into illusion.

I was greatly relieved in my college classes in religion to learn that one of the Church Fathers had declared that one need not believe on faith anything that contradicted reason. As my beliefs about Reality have changed, so has my reasoning about it. But the Holy Spirit leads gently and leads us willingly; just so long as He is dealing with a skeptic, so ever gentle will He lead. Now I read in the Course that the Holy Spirit uses reason to undo insanity. (T-21.V.9:1) Reason actually lies in the union of my will with that of the Father.

With these words the gentle pathway back becomes illumined as by a lightning bolt. Perhaps the Holy Spirit needs reason even more than blind faith. If truly blind, one is not using her sane mind, but is particularly apt, perhaps, to follow a will o’ wisp of falsity to its mad conclusion.

Faith

Faith is a particularly slippery term to the partially insane, because it can be used to justify illusions as well as truth. If we believe an illusion strongly enough, it will become true to us (even if we have to dip into psychosis to prove its truth). Conversely, if one lacks faith in any truths beyond one’s self, the world becomes a very nihilistic place in which to dwell.

So when do we know that faith is warranted? There are no easy answers. But you can be sure that if one has to invert a whole frame of reference to justify a belief, that belief is probably wrong. The Course is practical, as ever. And I know from experience that, given a strong will, one is frequently tempted to invert a frame of reference in an attempt to preserve an egoistic dream.

Madness & Illusion

The Course even maintains that the world exists only in our minds: “There is no world!” (W-pI.132.6:2) Jesus says that this is the central tenet that the Course attempts to teach, and that we will go as far toward accepting this as we can. For those of us who have longed to know the metaphysical basis of Reality, these words are welcome indeed. We are told that when we awake from our nocturnal dreams, we simply “awake” to a new dream, in a new form not easily recognizable. The Course also says that awareness of dreaming is the real function of God’s teachers. (M-12.6:6)

When we recognize that what we see and do is illusion, we do not have so much trouble forgiving our brother, for in truth what he did to cause pain never happened. Our real self has been unaffected, and we are led gently to realize that this real Self is far greater than the tiny, mad part of ourselves that longs to be separate. If we can believe it, we are even instructed that the Whole does not know of the tiny part that wishes to be different and “special.” Only the Holy Spirit is the linkage that pulls this bit of madness back to the one Whole.

This is another of the difficult concepts of the Course: Does God Himself really remain unaware of our doings, with only the Holy Spirit to mediate between God and us? If we see God as within, layered over by much unreality, the concept makes more sense. Frequently we can reach God only in silence, so far have we gone into madness. And if we cannot know the Living God, it is obvious that the communication between Him and us has been disrupted. This then perhaps is the basis for recognizing that we in our madness have limited the very knowledge of God.

Can He reach us, if He is hidden within us and we are mad? I think not. But the Course is adamant that God’s Holy Spirit does provide the communication link that we have thrown away. I do not believe that these concepts are possible of understanding in a world of madness. Do let us go as far along the pathway of understanding as we can, leaving it to God to take the final step of uniting us to Him, once again. What we need is faith to see us through.

Visions

It is a fundamental tenet of the Course that we are making the world that we see: projection from within causes our perception. This is a particularly difficult concept for “rational” beings to accept, because it requires that we entertain the notion, foreign to ourselves, that we are engaged in mass hallucination with our brothers. Those who have actually seen hallucinations (or visions) will find it easier to accept. Those who have been psychotic have stepped, momentarily, out of the mass hallucination into one seen only by themselves. For these people, the world they normally see will never again seem so real.

God’s Answer

There is an old story, retold by Hugh Prather, in which a man was allowed to see his life at his death, symbolized as steps along a sandy shore. He noticed two sets of footprints during much of the walk, but from time to time noticed only one set, and it occurred to him that these were his most trying times. Why, he asked God, did you desert me when times were tough? God responded, “Yes, it is true that I walked beside you throughout life, holding your hand. But when there was only one set of footprints, that was when I was carrying you.”

God’s Goodness

The idea of suffering has long been a stumbling block for individuals who wished, in fact who always intuited that God is good. But it has especially been a stumbling block for people who have blamed God for suffering. They look around at a world torn by war and famine, the slaughter of innocents, and say, “How can God be good if this is what I see?”

The Course offers a way out of this dilemma, a dilemma that is indeed highlighted in particular passages of the books. Jesus acknowledges that all of us, at some point, have believed that God is cruel, because life so frequently seems to mock our good intentions. The way out is the assertion that this is illusion that we are seeing, illusion without any real effects. In our very Spirit, we are not affected by the suffering of ourselves nor others. There is still a part of us in Heaven and unchanged by these appearances. That part recognizes that the harm done by our fellow men and women is actually done out of insanity, that nothing that they do to us is done out of malice; it would not be done at all if our brothers and sisters were in his right mind.

Ah! But that is the crux of the matter. None of us here on earth are in our right minds. We live the insanity in order to work our way out of the maze. We struggle through years of not understanding before we finally find the right tools to lead us back to sanity and release in God’s care. We are never left alone, however much we may think that we are.

Peace

Knowing reality as it is really meant to be is possible only in snatches in this world. From time to time we experience a real meeting with another, a real relationship between equals, and we know that this experience of joy and love is as life is designed to be. The Course says that we would weep if we truly realized how different what we know now is from what we knew in Heaven (T-21.I.7:2) before we drifted into insanity and therefore into illusion.

I believe that God created karma in order to allow us to realize that our way could not work, that only a relationship of oneness with our true Mind, which is at home in God alone, could be reality. Jesus indicates that after much pain we must come to see that there is a better way, and make amends accordingly. If this seems like a dirty trick, that pain is what God visits on us to throw us back on Him alone, then we are misperceiving the truth of reality. Only God’s way can work; anything else proceeds from an illusory cause and brings effects that we would not want. Only in harmony can we live together in this universe. Only in Oneness could the universe survive. The “cause,” the ego, is a false notion of self, and it believes many things that are quite chaotic. This chaos brings on conflict and agony, for what else could transpire?

With karma, we see the boom-a-rang of what we have done to others coming back to ourselves; this is one way of learning. But it is not the only way. With the appearance of Jesus 2,000 years ago, he brought in the Age of Grace–the time in which we can, through meditation, prayer, and reflection, see the error of our ways, and make restitution that does not mean an eye for an eye, a tooth for a tooth. Certainly the Course carries this doctrine a step farther along to real Peace.

Errors vs. Sin

A Course in Miracles affirms, “The ego’s whole continuance depends on its belief you cannot learn this course.” (T-22.III.2:1) Of course! The heart of the assertion is the distinction between “errors” and “sin.” Errors are made for correction, which we will learn to do by learning this Course. Sin can, in Christian theology, only be forgiven and, perhaps, imperfectly, as we humans are prone to do. The Course asserts that it is doubly hard to forgive sin that has been in our minds made “real.” The better way is not to focus on the “sin,” or mistake, from the beginning, but to overlook it as the illusion that it is.

Sin is likened to solid granite (T-22.III.3:4), which, when observed, is seen as an impenetrable barrier. But this is what only the body’s eyes see a form that is not reality at all. It takes the application of reason to truly see, to have vision. The body’s eyes, physically and metaphorically, can never see past illusory form.

It is necessary for us to realize that the ego is a false, illusory self, made by ourselves in insanity, and offering nothing that in our right minds we would really want. God had to protect His universe, and so He allowed our miscreations to live on in illusion only–not in reality. Only in reality can we share the Mind that is His, and thus know reality as it is really meant to be.

Self Unharmed

Why does karma exist? It is the old law of cause and effect, an immutable law of the universe from which a loving God does not exclude us. This law is largely the reason that God is seen as cruel. We make mistakes, and suffer the (bad) consequences, and then we blame God for not saving us from ourselves! Yet how else could the universe operate? If we are ever to lift ourselves out of madness, we must learn what works and what doesn’t. Only by learning this well can we ever hope to be co-creators with God. If He were to alter magically the illusions in which we have encased ourselves, we would never find our way out of the mists.

It is true, according to the Course, that what we do is illusion. It is a game a child might play, a playing of pretend that will one day, when we have left our madness far behind, be the instigator of real effects. At this point we will have learned fully the “causes” that bring destruction upon us.

We must be firmly convinced that it is ourselves who are living in madness, not God. And even in this world God’s higher laws prevail. The principal higher law is activated by forgiveness, a forgiveness in which we acknowledge that our illusions of whatever nature, of whatever violence, have harmed no one. What has caused nothing can hardly need forgiveness, but as long as we think it does, we need the exercise of forgiveness. Attack is not a real cause, and therefore only illusory effects can result. One is always either expressing love, or calling for love, for Love is our identity, an identity in which we forgive our brother for what he has not done to us. As long as he thinks he has harmed us, though, we must show him that the perceived attack is of no consequence. The blood is but bottled catsup on a stage in which pain only seems real. Our Real Self has continued unabated and unharmed throughout the whole tumult.

Love or a Call for Love

What a depressing idea is the ego! This false idea believes that guilt can never be escaped, that sin will forever hold us bound. We find misery on the one side, misery of the ego; we join, on the other side, the Holy Spirit. Which will we choose? The Course’s particular understanding of the world must be addressed in this context.

Traditional Christian belief holds that sin is real, but that through the grace of God we can be led to forgive any evil, however black. But this part of belief has always been a particular stumbling block, because the effects of sin (pain, suffering) are first made real (by belief) and then a superhuman effort must be made to forgive.
The Course’s cosmology is different. Believing that this world is an illusory one based on madness, it does not make something real before one is asked to forgive. One forgives because everything that happens is either an expression of love or a call for love. One does not dwell on the mistake (“sin”), but quickly overlooks it, thereby not making it “real” in one’s consciousness.

A call for love begs answering, and if one in madness has done wrong, both the realization that one actually needs love, and the realization that one is mad, inspire the other to rush to her side with help and love.

Illusions

The Course says that we (not God) made the world that we see. It is an illusory world, but it does not appear illusory to us. We have “micreated,” but still what we have made cannot have power over us. It is as if to say that a god (Baal), fashioned of gold by the Israelites, has more power over their minds than does the Holy One at that very moment of fashioning tablets on the mountaintop with Moses. It simply isn’t so. We are one with God, and we never leave Him.

This understanding requires the knowledge that All is One. The Thought that is God extends Himself to create all living things. Only if God is mad could a part turn on the whole to destroy it. We have many times tried to turn on the whole and destroy, but to no effect. But God allowed this to happen only in illusion, assuring us that we have not in truth hurt either anybody–ourselves or others. Thus Return becomes possible at any time, although, practically, it may take millions of years for all of us to return.

A million years sounds daunting, but when we realize that we can have the “happy dreams that the Holy Spirit brings,” we know that we are not bereft in a hostile world. God needs many hands and feet to do His bidding in His world; he needs us to spread salvation upon the earth.

Let us do our part today, not by proselytizing, but by example.

Choose Heaven

We can choose Heaven at any time, but we must choose it with our brother. This idea is central to the Course: this particular pathway requires that we not walk alone. Moreover, the Course clearly says that we are not victims of the world, nor are we strangers within it. All of our fellow travelers are brothers on a common pathway. And we will choose together or not at all. If we choose not at all, we can never “make” Heaven in illusions; we can only stay in the hell and misery of this world.

The Course asserts that the time of our choosing of Heaven is in our hands. Until we use our power of choice to choose otherwise, we are left in this world, seemingly (to us) as victims, but, thankfully, this state of affairs need not remain with us.

Live Moment by Moment

We ought to resist the temptation to make grandiose resolutions of how we will act in the future. This is the ego trying to get in the act. The walk with the Holy Spirit is a moment-by-moment experience, even though we usually perceive those moments as blocks of time rather than discrete moments. As we open our hearts and minds once more to the Holy Spirit, we will observe our power flowing back in. But now is the time for us to tread softly, because we are still in a weakened state because of our attention to the ego.

Let the past go. Do not dwell on the words or actions that were a part of any attack. And do not wallow in guilt brought on by self-pity. All such actions are insanity that we would leave behind.

Walk forth in the sunlight, and know that Jesus is ready to take our hand at the very moment that we reach out.