Category Archives: ACOL “Treatise on the Personal Self”

Temptations of the Human Experience

renoir - boating party“Thus we begin to address the temptations of the human experience. Two are spoken of in tandem here: The temptation to judge and the temptation to accept the existence of a reality other than the truth. (Treatises of A Course of Love: Treatise on the Personal Self, 11.12)”

Affirmation: “I will seek the truth today, not judging anything or anybody.”

Reflections:

1 – Judging

This passage for today echoes part of a passage from A Course in Miracles: the prohibition not to judge, lest we lose our salvation, our walk toward Christ-consciousness or Awakening. The indication that we try to walk away from the truth is the fact that we, in bowing to the ego, all too often stay lost in illusions—the opposite of truth. Truth is, however, a slippery concept.

2 – Truth?

I once met a man who was trying to employ people in his political operation, and he put great emphasis on publishing the “truth.” But I realized that his mind was lost in illusions, and I felt that he honestly did not have a handle on a “truth.” Many zealots in our world think that they set forth the truth, but we ourselves may have misgivings about the particular brand of truth to which they ascribe.

3 – How Can We Know?

How can we know? In the bottom line, we cannot be sure, even when we have prayed long and hard. Zealots also pray long and hard, and they are certain that God is on their side. The litmus test is whether or not what we believe will hurt someone else. And if there is any chance that what we do will hurt, we can be sure that this particular pathway is not God’s.

4 – Hurt

Of course, our own proclivities in life may mean that we inadvertently hurt others when we tell our truth. This is particularly prone in romantic relationships, when another loves us (or vice-versus), and the love is not reciprocal. This is not the kind of hurt to which I refer. The kind of hurt to which I refer is the kind fraught with violence. And we all know that our wars and rumors or wars, sometimes fought for the noblest of reasons, are examples of hurting, though sometimes, perhaps, unavoidable.

5 – Attack, Judging, and Planning

And we must not judge. ACIM goes further: We are not to attack, and we are not to make plans against contingencies to come (unless prompted by guidance). Judgments hurt us, for we are not in a forgiving state of mind. And so judgments are examples of temptations best avoided.

6 – Today’s Task

So avoid temptations today: Avoid judgments and avoid trying to evade the truth as we see it. We will all make different decisions, based on our personalities and backgrounds, but the way seems clear when we walk the pathway of love.

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

I need to realize that my greatest temptation right now is to plan for the future, even if guidance has not led me in that direction. This is a path that I would not take, though my idle mind bends in that direction. I would also avoid attacking others, and I would avoid judging others. Right now those two temptations do not hurt me so much as the planning that I am wont to do. Be with me to put a stop to this planning.

I would follow your pathway. I would live as long as you deem right for me, doing healthy things to keep my physical and emotional body is good shape. I would be there for my brothers and sisters. They have been there for me, just as You always have been. Help me to walk the straight pathway back to you today. And guide me ever-closer to Christ-consciousness at the time that You deem appropriate.

Thank You.

Amen.

This Is What You Are Now Called to Do

“This is what you are now called to do:

“Be aware that the love of God lives within you. Live within the peace of God. Live by the truth.

“This could be restated as you are love, you live in peace, you live by or in accord with truth. (Treatises of A Course of Love: Treatise on the Personal Self, 11.7 – 11.9)”

Affirmation: “I will live in love today.”

Reflections:

1 – Jesus

The instructions that Jesus gives today, in this passage from A Course of Love, are not new by any means. But he has an authority that defies explanation, except that he is our chosen leader. He speaks with the authority that he did in the New Testament, when he spoke not as the scribes and Pharisees. It does behoove us to listen to what he tells us in this new century, this time of Christ.

2 – God Is Love

We are to live by the truth that God is love, that we are to live within His peace. Such simple words, but so hard to do! We live in such complicated times, and it would be better if we simplified our lives to reject the complexity, the complexity which is often of the ego.

3 – Live in Love

What does it mean to live in love? As A Course in Miracles tells us, we live in love when we overlook anger and attack from ourselves and others, and by the overlooking, we do not make real, and we are led to forgive the errors made by ourselves and others. This also is easy to say but so hard to do. If we can just remember that we are living in illusion, at least until we have reached the real world that Christ-consciousness shows us, we will be well on our way to a better world, a better experience.

4 – Communicate with God

We find such joy in life when we communicate with God. In the early pages of the Text of ACIM, Jesus tells us that God is lonely when He recognizes that His channels to His children are closed, that we sleep, that we do not communicate with Him. We can change this. The handle to the door of our heart is on our side of the door. God is always ready to accept us; it is ourselves that get preoccupied with the things of this world that take us from Him.

5 – Prayer without Ceasing

Let us give up this spurious living. Let us return to frequent prayer, prayer without ceasing. Is this possible? It is possible to take God as a partner in daily life, to turn to Him as we would to any trusted ally, and to ask, internally, questions about our day with its many problems. We will get answers, so much so that we will wonder why we neglected Him for so long. Why did we not learn years ago that Christianity is eminently practical? Maybe we just have not yet recollected what has been within all along. We do know, and now is the time to bring forth that knowledge again.

6 – Talk to God

So seek to love today. We will fail if we don’t communicate with God throughout the day. Resolve now to talk, internally, to God as we walk through the day. He will be there. And we will know miracles that will warm our heart.

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

Help me to remember You today. May I walk through this day in close consultation with You. May I do absolutely nothing without knowing, internally, that You are in agreement with what I do. May I reach out to You, metaphorically, though I know that You are really within me. Be with me today.

Amen.

Like Gravitating toward Beautiful Music

pennsylvania impressionism3“You will find that your new language will gather people to you in much the way people will gravitate toward beautiful music. Many will be eager to learn what you have remembered because they will realize that the memory of this language exists within them as well. It will come naturally to you to welcome these back to the common language of the mind and heart joined in unity. (Treatises of A Course of Love: Treatise on the Personal Self, 10.15)”

Affirmation: “I would hope today that I set a good example.”

Reflections:

1 – Our New Language

The passage for today identified the “language” that we will speak in this new world of Christ-consciousness. It will be a language of the mind and heart joined in unity. And this is the wholeheartedness of which Jesus has spoken frequently in A Course of Love.

2 – Setting an Example

We need to think a bit about the example that we are setting for others in our daily rounds. If we avoid this new language, this quiet and beautiful language, our words may be filled with anger and attack. What kind of example would that set for non-believers? How can we draw people to a new life if we, who profess to know better, are constantly falling into egoic attitudes, even though Christ-consciousness shines through in glimpses?

3 – Our Behavior

We need to be consistent in our behavior even when Christ-consciousness is not present. We need to realize that the forgiveness that A Course in Miracles proscribes is possible for us. We can overlook the baiting that others do to us, and we can overlook our own anger, if we are diligent. We can gentle ourselves by a quiet word with God at the point of being overwrought. We can ask what Jesus might do in a similar situation. Of course, he was not without anger, as witness his attitude in the temple during his last week on earth. He drove the moneychangers from the temple. I have long viewed this as a manifestation of extreme stress, for Jesus knew that he was walking toward his death, and a painful death at that, the death of crucifixion.

4 – Forgiveness

The fact that Jesus so behaved gives us an additional reason to forgive ourselves when we slip. But our temptations to slip are not normally so extreme as was his. We face much smaller temptations, though to us they may appear to be huge.

5 – Quietness

Let us vow to set a good example today. Turn aside the attacking word with quietness. Let the language of the mind and heart in unity set forth your pathway. Let us be good to each other, for the day is long and there are many times that we will be tempted to slip into stress that fuels anger. Let us vow to avoid these temptations to anger and attack today. Let us keep to the language of the mind and heart in unity.

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

I would speak the language that will set a good example in this life. I would turn aside from anger and attack and be gentle. I know that I can never set a good example of the things that I believe if I am “venting.” There is never any good reason to raise one’s voice in anger. There will always be regret afterwards.

Be with me as I seek to find the language that will attract my brothers and sisters to me, but not an attraction that will fuel my ego. I seek to have the ego wither away, and I seek to live in peace and gentleness all the days of my life.

Will You be there for me, as I make this resolution?

Amen.

You Have Not Forgotten Thought System of the Christ-Self

“What we are doing now is much like translating the learned thought system of the ego into the thought system of the Christ-self that you but think you have forgotten. As you dwell in the house of truth, if you do not resist unlearning the ego thought system, the thought system of your true Self will quite simply return to your memory. (Treatises of A Course of Love: Treatise on the Personal Self, 10.4)”

Affirmation: “I would remember the thinking of my true Self today.”

Reflections:

1 – Don’t Resist Unlearning of Ego

The passage for today is very reassuring, in that we learn that we can just not resist unlearning the thought system of the ego, and the forgotten memory of the thought system of the Christ-self will reemerge. We have just forgotten what has been buried in us all along. We do not have to struggle to learn something new. The truth has always been present, but the part of ourselves that was the ego just overshadowed our real thinking, the real thinking of our Self.

2 – The Self

Is there a difference between our Self and the Christ-self? No, there is not. I often just say “Self” because in many cases we think we are claiming something that does not belong to us when we say “Christ.” Our ego all too quickly gets involved again, and the ego tells us that we are being arrogant, that we cannot possibly share in the Christ that Jesus himself embodied.

3 – Share

But we can share in this Christ, and we can just gently turn aside from the egoistic thinking that rejects this thought as vainglorious. If we resist the ego, it will only become stronger. So do not resist, but just gently reply, when it “speaks,” with a “no.” This no will silence the ego, and we will be let ever so gently into the communion with God that will assure us that we are on the right track.

4 – Universal Christ

We do not become Jesus, of course. All too often we think that he is the only one who can be Christ. Yet it is not egotistical to claim a universal Christ of which we are a part. The ego will never be a part of this, but we in our Self will be, and this Self is found deep within, where God is. We project the world, but the point of Christ within is the essence of God Himself. And the same is true for all of our brothers and sisters, who are not illusion. Our brothers and sisters are as real as we are, and they too share the Christ that is within us. All is One in this non-dualistic universe(s), and God is One. Ask within if this interpretation can be accepted by you.

5 – Universal Experience

But do not let theology delay you. We are after a universal experience, which is necessary (from A Course in Miracles). The universal experience for today is to recognize that the Christ within is capable of transforming ourselves as well as the world that we perceive. We are on the cusp of a transforming experience when we take to heart the passage for today.

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

I would gently turn aside from the thought system of the ego so that I would easily and peacefully unlearn that thought system. I would learn the thought system of the Christ Self, one that is gained in large part through my heart. Help me to reconcile myself to this twin resolve today.

I would share in the universal experience that is the transformation of all of us from the ego-mind to the Christ-mind. I would delay not. Help me to gently turn aside from all that was unfortunate in the past and to turn gently ahead to a glorious future.

Amen.

Uncertainty Is Now an Echo from the Past

sotter - pennsylvania impressionists“Uncertainty will not now come to teach you lessons you have already learned but will only visit you as an echo from the past. It is a habit, a pattern of the old thought system. All you must do is not listen to it. Its voice will not be gentle or full of love. Its voice will hold the unmistakable edge of fear. (Treatises of A Course of Love: Treatise on the Personal Self, 10.11)”

Affirmation: “I will avoid listening to any echoes from the past.”

Reflections:

1 – Fear

When we feel the unmistakable edge of fear, we know that we are thinking amiss, not listening to our heart. And uncertainly, Jesus seems to say here, is a symptom of fear. To be sure! That is what we want now. And that is what we can have.

2 – Personal Interpretation

We are leaving the old thought system behind. How can we do that? There are indications, though the ones that I mention now are not all spelled out in A Course of Love nor even in A Course in Miracles. First and foremost, we can learn to live with ourselves better. We no longer chastise ourselves for our mistakes, but we acknowledge those mistakes and seek to correct them, promptly. We pray a great deal, though this prayer may take the form of fragmentary prayers for others and ourselves. And we thank God for His many blessings, for gratefulness keeps His abundance flowing to us. We use affirmations, scriptural passages from the Bible, ACIM, or ACOL—words that help us to keep on the right path.

3 – Warm Hearts

With regimens like these in place, we walk a surer path. We are uncertain no longer, for our hearts are warmed by the experiences which we encounter. If we remember, from ACIM, that the solution is always with the problem, we will know that whatever uncertainty emerges is easily rectified. We do not have to wait for an answer most of the time, but we wait patiently when the answer does appear to be slow in coming. Probably our own mind is interfering with receiving God’s Answer.

4 – We Just Know

Listen to your heart. We do not need the proofs of God’s favor that the mind would ask to have. We do not need proof of God at all when we are listening to our heart. We just know, and we know in a way that is unmistakable.

5 – Uncertainty

Continuing to live in uncertainty is thus an echo from the past, an echo lodged in fear. And we would be free of fear. We need to walk into the future with confidence, and we can do so. The farther along we walk, the more confident, and the more certain, we become. Thank God for these blessings.

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

When I stay close to You during the day, I walk a certain pathway. Things work out well. But when I let You drop from my mind, I walk a turbulent path. I would walk a smooth path today.

Help me to avoid uncertainty. Uncertainty brings on insomnia, and I would be free of that. May I take the steps toward living with myself well. And when I live with myself well, I am living with You well.

There is no better to spend a day than to spend it in fellowship with You. Let me remember this if anything goes awry today.

Amen.

Recognize the Christ-Mind by How Gentle Its Thoughts Are

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“The first step in being able to forget such thoughts [of the ego] is in recognizing them as separate and distinct from the thoughts of your right mind or Christ-mind. This will be easy because the thoughts of the ego-mind were always harsh with you or with others. The Christ-mind and the thoughts that come from the voice of the Christ-mind will be gentle. (Treatises of A Course of Love: Treatise on the Personal Self, 10.9)”

Affirmation: “I would experience the gentle thoughts of the Christ-mind today.”

Reflections:

1 – Gentle Thoughts Give Happiness

Most of us may now recognize that gentleness is much preferred over the raucous shrieks of the ego-mind. And the Christ-mind gives us the gentle thoughts that give us so much happiness. Is it any wonder that happiness is a worthy goal to be sought?

2 – Avoid Harshness

We do not really want to be harsh with ourselves or with others. I have recently prayed that I would get along better with myself. This seems to be an inspired prayer, not unlike a prayer to get along better with other people. We want to be gentle. It is a mandate if we wish to live well.

3 – Flow

What other characteristics accompany gentleness? Peace of mind, tranquility, serenity, calm. And we are more loving as well. When we treat others as well as ourselves gently, we flow with the day. We don’t have to talk ourselves into a good mood; it is part of the blessing of the prayer to be gentle.

4 – Commune with God

The ego ought to be falling away now. And we will know this when we commune more with God. Communion sometimes means verbal prayers, silently or aloud, but it also is a state of mind and heart. We feel better when we communicate with our Maker. Try it and see.

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

I would remember You today. I know from my reading that You are lonely, in an anthropomorphic way, when Your children don’t communicate with You. You recognize that we sleep and need to be awakened. I would awaken at Your command. But help me to be patient.

Help this day to flow well in gentleness. May I avoid harshness in my words and in my demeanor, and may I do You justice as I walk through my day. Others need me, and certainly I need, in an almost selfish way, to treat myself well in order to be able to serve others. There is no better way to live than to talk with You on my daily rounds. I pray that I will not forget You today.

Amen.

Salvation a Game that Happy Children Play

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“Not one situation coming to you now will be a repeat of the past. How can it be when the past was lived in the house of illusion and the present is lived in the house of truth? Being cognizant of this is the only way that the simultaneous learning and unlearning that was spoken of earlier will be able to be realized. (Treatises of A Course of Love: Treatise on the Personal Self, 10.7)”

Affirmation: “I will seek to learn new things today.”

Reflections:

1 – Badly Taught

Earlier in this chapter in A Course of Love, Jesus asks us to forget as much as possible. Apparently he thinks that we were badly taught, and the reason comes out in the passage for today: We were living in the house of illusion. Now, he encourages us ever so much again by saying that we live now in the house of truth. He, if not we, are certain that we have walked far toward Christ-consciousness.

2 – How Happy Are You?

How can we measure our progress? A very simple way is to decide how happy we are, even if life is still tough in some respects and maybe in many respects. We will have an ineffable joy if we are living right. And actually things will turn out better, though Christ-consciousness and the preparation for it do not mean that all will always go swimmingly. Certainly Jesus had things go very badly, though he believed in what he was doing, and history has borne out the wisdom of his pathway.

3 – Do You Blame?

Other ways to know if we are proceeding along a path that leads ever closer to Christ-consciousness is to determine how we feel toward other individuals. Do we still blame them when they act badly? Do we still blame them when they blame us for something? Do we forgive readily? The life that is dedicated to Jesus’s way will proceed in concert with other individuals, always away that we hold each other’s hand as we walk through life. We walk side-by-side also, especially with our significant other, our brother (from A Course in Miracles). If we take turns moving ahead and falling back in this walk, neither we nor our brother make any forward progress. But if we walk gaily along, holding hands, we know salvation to the joyous game that children play (from ACIM).

4 – Walk to the House of Truth

So we walk to the house of truth. We may not always be certain what that truth really is, but nevertheless, we know that we are not wholly caught in illusions anymore. We feel better most of the time. Life seems a blessing, not a curse. And we walk in love of ourselves (for self-love does not have to be egotistical), others, and God.

5 – First Day of the Rest of Our Lives

Take time today to forgive, to love, and to reach ever forward on our walk. Today is the first day of the rest of our lives. Let’s don’t rue the day. We can and will reach Christ-consciousness, if we remain true to what we are reading. Only remember that God Himself makes the decision of when we are really ready to accept the ultimate blessing of living in this time of Christ.

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

I would emphasize my walk toward reality in my prayers to You today. I walk as humbly as I can, though egoic notions still impinge. I am ready to be done with the ego, and indeed Jesus says in A Course of Love that we all, who have reached this far, are done with the ego. May I recognize the truth of this statement.

I would drop my illusions today. I would drop the things that I say to myself that are injurious to myself. May my thoughts and words in in Your will, today and always. Be with me as I seek to walk into truth.

Amen.

All Lessons Are Gifts

pennsylvania impressionism2“Acceptance of what is, is acceptance that whatever is happening in the present moment is a gift and a lesson. What comes as a lesson may not seem like a gift, but all lessons are gifts. . . .They will not be lessons that you find difficult or distressing if you accept them as lessons and realize that all lessons are gifts. (Treatises of A Course of Love: Treatise on the Personal Self, 10.6)”

Affirmation: “I would accept my lessons as gifts today.”

Reflections:

1 – Everything a Gift

When something good happens, we can readily see this as a blessing and a gift. When something bad happens, we bewail our fate, and sometimes we blame God for the unfortunate occurrence. Yet everything that happens, according to what Jesus channeled in this passage for today, is a lesson that is a gift. Even the bad things.

2 – Scary Things

Does anything ever have to be truly bad? Of course, here on this earth we interpret scary, frightening happenings as bad, and we recoil from them. We think that the world chaos is deplorable. We ask how a loving God could so create, and could so place us in this world. Yet this is not the right question. We have free will, and this free will means that sometimes bad things will happen. This includes illness, for physical bodies partake of the imperfections of our world as well. We never need to blame God for our misfortune.

3 – Dreams

Of course, when we dream the happy dreams that the Holy Spirit brings (from the Workbook of A Course in Miracles), we see far more blessings as gifts—for the happenings that occur to us are fortunate and blissful. These are easy to accept as being from God’s Hand. Are they always? Yes, for we have aligned ourselves with Him and His will (which always is our own real will as well).

4 – Struggle

Accept gifts today, accept lessons today. The lessons may entail struggle, but we will hone character by struggle. And we will grow thereby.

5 – Grow, Grow

Marianne Williamson often tells a Jewish parable about a blade of grass, always looked over by an angel who says, “Grow, grow.” We can see this parable as applicable to us. God would have us grow. And He does, I believe, send His angels to help us along the way.

6 – Prayer

So may we pray that our lessons be gentle, but may we accept them also if they are harsh. They will be less harsh when we do not have an imprisoned will (from ACIM), the type of will forged by the illusory ego. Turn to the inner Christ/Self, and see if the lessons that we all experience do not immediately seem more benign. And then we can recognize those lessons as the gifts that they are.

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

I would grow today, even if there is struggle. I do not believe that struggle is inevitable. When we align ourselves with You in toto, we walk a smooth path. And that is what I would do today. Be with me to make it so.

I would accept all things that happen as a gift from Your hand. I do know that some things surely happen that are not optimal, that You allow but do not condone. But traditional Christianity often talks about what You “allow,” even when this allowing does not seem good. And surely You do stand aside so that our free will is not violated.

Be with me today as I seek to do Your will, which ever is my own.

Amen.

Blame

Towpath_Bridge - hass“All you need do is catch yourself in the act of placing blame and say to yourself, ‘I was placing blame again and I choose to do so no longer.’ You need not spend any more time with blame than this and I offer you no word of sentiment to replace it. I ask you simply to take the thought of it from your mind as quickly as it enters. (Treatises of A Course of Love: Treatise on the Personal Self, 10.4)”

Affirmation: “I will avoid blame today.”

Reflections:

1 – Blame and Guilt

It is easy for the ego to get one tripped up by encouraging the placing of blame on others and on ourselves. We need to do neither. We are all innocent, as A Course in Miracles so eloquently states. Blame is to my mind a first cousin to guilt, and it is guilt that has driven us mad (from ACIM). We need to keep our relationships with others as cordial as possible, and holding grievances would mean that this is impossible. We are not safe when we hold grievances, because we point a finger at another, but three fingers are pointing back at us. And grievances and blame are akin.

2 – Benign Emotions

Why would we harbor ill will if we could harbor more benign emotions? And we can harbor more benign emotions. We get ourselves all tangled up, criticizing (even in our minds) the words or actions of another. We don’t make friends that way; we alienate people. There is no way that we can blame without suffering repercussions that are bad.

3 – Blaming Ourselves

We often blame ourselves when we think that we have fallen short of our ideal behavior. And this is just as bad as blaming others for their shortcomings. We are innocent! And that is enough to know. We don’t have to chastise ourselves that we are falling short. We are enough.

4 – Let Grievances Go and Be Safe

The ego trap of blame need trouble us no further when we remember from the Workbook of ACIM that when we have let all grievances go, we will know that we are perfectly safe. Without that knowledge, we invite anxiety, and blaming ourselves and others is a prime way that anxiety (and fear) can enter our lives.

5 – Being Good

We are good people, even when we don’t act in a good way. Our inner Christ Self knows no sin, and even our personal self knows only mistakes—not sins. And we would correct mistakes as soon as possible. Then there is no reason to blame ourselves for falling short of what we want to be. We can pick ourselves up and simply try again—no harm done, for we live in an illusory world in which God knows that his children are innocent. If the blame seems to invite it, we can ask for forgiveness of others and ourselves. God does not forgive, because He has never condemned (from ACIM). God just loves, and it would behoove us to follow the Almighty in this laudable task for loving only.

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

I will not allow myself to fall into the temptation of blaming either myself or another for perceived shortcomings. I know that this is an egoic trap, and that blaming will only bring on the more sinister guilt.

Help me to keep to this vow. Help me to avoid blaming if things don’t go to suit me. The day is long and there is time for much to go wrong. But I can start the day over again at any time, and I would do so if I step amiss.

Be with me for a good day. Always be with me.

Amen.

Heaven on Earth

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“You who have followed me beyond the walls of the house of illusion are now called to begin the act of revealing and creating anew the life of heaven on earth. (Treatises of A Course of Love: Treatise on the Personal Self, 9.6)”

Affirmation: “I would seek to help create heaven on earth.”

Reflections:

1 – The Future

What a delightful future! Jesus says in this passage that we are beyond the walls of the house of illusion, and so now is the time to work together to create heaven on earth. Could we ask for anything more in this world? I think not. This is the ultimate promise.

2 – Inner Guide Reveals Our Part

What would we do to reveal and to create heaven on earth? Only our inner Guide, our inner Christ Self, can answer this question, because I think that the answer is different for each of us. We have a common goal, but the means to reach that common goal—heaven on earth—are different for each of us, because our talents differ, our personalities differ, our gifts differ. We are unique, each of us, and that uniqueness means that there is no single answer available.

3 – Contributions to This World

If we had to predict our course in this lifetime, our way to contribute to this world, what would it be? I think that we ought to spend some time contemplating this important question. Of course, our answer will differ as we move through life, because we grow and develop, we change, and we move into different probabilities (from the writings of Jane Roberts, who channeled an entity known as Seth). As times change, we must change with them. And so if the way that we first seek to walk becomes closed to us, if a door is closed, we walk onward, and find an open window. God never leaves us with a closed pathway. Many have so said.

4 – Missions

We are called to a mission, and it is up to each of us to find that mission, though it differs from person to person. Certainly we do not proselytize others to the way of A Course of Love, or of A Course in Miracles, if those others are not ready. Those channeled books are our way, but there are many courses in this world (from ACIM), and each individual interprets from his/her own perspective. Even our teaching of ACOL and ACIM will differ, because the words give different insights to people with varying experiences. This is why no universal theology is possible (from ACIM).

5 – Universal Experience

But a universal experience is not only possible, but necessary (from ACIM). And the universal experience now includes a call to reveal and to create heaven on earth.

6 – Now

May we begin now.

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

I would try to create heaven on earth. I would try to do my small part, guided by You. I will surely try to make amiss if I barge ahead without consulting You. You know the way; I do not. Help me to walk the right pathway, making turns as You indicate, today.

I need to be able to turn on a dime. I need to change my course whenever You indicate that I am traveling along a road that is a dead end. May I walk only sure pathways today.

I would live in this heaven on earth that I wish to help create. And so would my brothers and sisters. Let us go forward today, together, seeking Your way to create heaven on earth always.

May today be truly recognized as the first day of the rest of our lives.

Amen.

Being Tempted to Reenter the House of Illusion

early 20th century Pennsylvania impressionism“You will be tempted, nonetheless, to reenter the house of illusion, if only to grasp the hands of those you love and gently tug them through its doors. You will be able to take note of the explosions happening within and will want to return to add your own to those going on inside, thinking that with the force of one more, maybe the walls will finally come tumbling down and those inside be held within illusion no more. (Treatises of A Course of Love: Treatise on the Personal Self, 9.5)”

Affirmation: “I cannot help others by reentering the house of illusion myself.”

Reflections:

1 – Other People Caught in Illusion

We mean others well, most especially our significant others who are still caught in illusion. We have moved outside the house of illusion, but there are explosions within that rock the world. And we would rescue our brothers and sisters who still reside in the house of illusion. Can we do this meaningfully?

2 – Do Not Lose Your Insight

Jesus says not. We do not help by reentering the house of illusion, for we will lose our insight. We do best by living in reality, in the real world, once that has been granted us. And then, by our example, those caught in the house of illusion are coached outward. There is no better way.

3 – A House of Cards

The “explosions” are evidence that the house of cards that is the house of illusion is beginning to fall. This world is transforming, though the transformation, entirely, may take millions of years (a tenet from A Course in Miracles). Just as it took millions of years for the separation to occur. But the way back has been set now. And those of us who live in this new world of Christ are ready, even when, in our weakest moments, the ego informs us that we are mistaken, that we are poor and miserable and guilty of arrogance.

4 – Not Arrogance

It is not arrogance to listen to Jesus in A Course of Love, and to realize that finally we have moved beyond believing in the part of ourselves that we defined as the ego. We are no longer living that illusion. It is true that we may slip (a personal interpretation, not stated in A Course in Miracles or ACOL). But we get ourselves up from the ground, dust ourselves off, and start all over again (as a popular song notes).

5 – House of Illusion on Borrowed Time

The house of cards that is the house of illusion is living on borrowed time. May we listen to the explosions within, from our vantage point from without. And as others emerge from the chaos within the house of illusion, may we be there, in reality (the real world), to help everyone adjust to the light in which we now live.

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

I would know that I cannot help my loved ones by reentering illusion with them. I can best help them by staying in the real world, the world of truth, the House of Truth, that is outside the House of Illusion. Within there are those who are beginning to see differently, to see a better way. And it is they who are causing the explosions that will ultimately bring down the House of Illusion.

Thank You for these concepts, and I pray that they are a correct interpretation. Help me to be contented and reassured that Your way is best, that You will do what I cannot do. But if You give me a way to help, I will try to carry it out—when you lead me, how you lead me.

Thank You for being with me today in this sometimes conflicted world made up of both illusions and truth, for both I sometimes recognize. I would live in truth always. Help me to do so.

Amen.

An End to Suffering?

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

“Has not a part of you always known that suffering does not have to be even while you have accepted that it is? Let us now put an end to this acceptance through the birth of a new idea. (Treatises of A Course of Love: Treatise on the Personal Self, 8.12 – 8.13)”

Affirmation: “I may have pain, but I will not suffer today.”

Reflections:

1 – Eckhart Tolle

The passage for today develops an idea that Eckhart Tolle has propounded at length (The Power of Now; A New Earth). Eckhart is a modern-day spiritual teacher who is not affiliated with a particular religious tradition, but has quoted from A Course in Miracles, and is noted especially for the radical transformation he underwent around age 30, a number of years ago.

2 – Pain-Body

Eckhart notes that the “pain-body” emerges from time to time (different for each person), and that when this pain is sought, we all too often turn that pain into suffering. He says that this does not have to be the case. In physical bodies, we will experience pain, but we do not have to turn this pain into suffering.

3 – Jesus

Jesus and Eckhart agree in this regard. A Course of Love, in this passage, indicates that suffering might have been discontinued in our world if we had only realized that this was a possibility.

4 – A New Day

And we are now ready for a new idea: The end of suffering as we have known it. We will still have pain from time to time, but we do not have to activate the pain-body (given divine help), and we do not have to turn pain into suffering.

5 – Divine Help

What a blessing these ideas are! The ideas seem too good to be true, yet if Jesus has said it, then I personally find the ideas to be true. We need help, obviously, and divine help will be on the way.

6 – What Can We Do?

Practically, what can we do to eliminate the suffering? We can pause a moment and ask for help when we realize that a situation is getting out of hand, especially if someone, someone close to us, is baiting us. We can say a prayer. And we will be answered, for we are asking in God’s will. He would not have us suffer, and he would not have us activate Eckhart’s clarification of the pain-body. We do not have to invite pain.

7 – New Idea

A new idea is dawning on our world. We are living in the time of Christ now, and the blessings that will be ours are manifold. Let us set aside our doubts, and realize that we can live in a world that is better than has been previously. But for the better to emerge, we need to commune with God. And, in line with A Course of Love, we need to hold Jesus’s hand as we walk through this world.

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

I would hold Jesus’s hand today as I walk through my world communing with You. I am happier when I commune with You. This ought to tell me something. You want us happy, and our struggles are to be overcome so that we can experience happiness. I would not suffer today. I would rise above any pain.

Help me to keep a rational head. I know that confusion can be generated by too much analysis, because I have long be guilty of too much analysis—and analysis is of the ego nearly always. The ego approves of our analysis of it, for this reaffirms the ego’s importance. I would see the insignificance of the ego today.

And I would walk through my world in peace.

Amen.

Change that Even Angels Could Not Bring About

hass - pennsylvania impressionist“How difficult it is to believe that you need not change the world but only your own self. How difficult to imagine that this one change could bring about all the changes you would imagine that even an army of angels could not bring about. While such a thought remains inconceivable to you it will not come to be. (Treatises of A Course of Love: Treatise on the Personal Self, 8.8)”

Affirmation: “I need change only myself today.”

Reflections:

1 – Comparison to Traditional Christianity

The passage for today actually suggests a similarity to traditional Christianity, the personal salvation that will reach and change the world. But it is not the social gospel. We must change ourselves first through a personal commitment to God, and, in traditional Christianity as in A Course of Love, this commitment extends to Jesus as our leader and savior.

2 – Change Ourselves

If we can change ourselves, we will walk a new earth. This is a tenet of A Course in Miracles as well as ACOL. We will see things differently, entirely differently. We project that which is within, and when the within is informed by the Christ Self, that projection changes accordingly. And we dream the happy dreams the Holy Spirit brings (from the Workbook of A Course in Miracles), at least until Awakening beckons. And then we are in the real world, a concept that is never defined very precisely, but which we can intuit is a shining world awash with joy.

3 – No Idle Fantasy

How can we change ourselves? It could be argued that we are in the driver’s seat on this one, but we have plenty of assistance. Jesus himself will assist us. We need only imagine that he is holding our hand as we walk along the pathways of this world. And this will be no “idle fantasy.”

4 – Changing the World

We imagine that we need to change the world, but we will be curiously inept until we change ourselves. Other people, the ones we are trying to help, will see through us, knowing that our hearts are not right. And they will be helped only superficially, if at all. When we change our hearts to be in league with God, we will know success as we seek to change the world.

5 – Mari Perron

Mari Perron, the scribe of A Course of Love, seems to me to be particularly interested in seeing changes in our world. This is perhaps a difference between Mari and Helen Schucman (the scribe of A Course in Miracles). Their times were different, and Helen kept her involvement with ACIM a secret; even the channeling was not mentioned at her funeral. Mari is actively speaking for A Course of Love, to great benefit to our world.

6 – Personal Salvation vs. Salvation of the World

This question of personal salvation vs. salvation of the world is a controversial one. Here A Course of Love says definitively that no lasting change will occur in this world until we ourselves are changed first. Then our efforts, and only then, will bear fruit.

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

All too often I want to make a greater change in this world than I am capable of doing. I know that only when I change myself will any action in the world bear fruit. This is the message of ACIM and ACOL, as well as traditional Christianity. It is a step removed from the social gospel, but changes do occur in this world when our own hearts are right. And we will be zealous then in making those changes.

Thank You that there is no conflict in changing myself and changing the world. But I must change myself first, and that is not my doing only. You are there every step of the way; You make the changes, with my consent.

Thank You for the joys that You are giving me every day. Thank You for being there for me. And thank You for the smooth path on which I walk. Even struggles take on a different hue when I realize that You are there for me in the midst of them.

Amen.

Bitterness Retains Cycle of Suffering

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“Bitterness is the cause of this inability to make a new choice and what keeps the cycle of suffering in motion. (Treatises of A Course of Love: Treatise on the Personal Self, 8.7)”

Affirmation: “I would leave bitterness behind today.”

Reflections:

1 – Self-Pity

Here Jesus takes up bitterness again. We are filled with self-pity when we are bitter (personal interpretation, not found in ACIM or ACOL). May we leave self-pity with its attendant bitterness behind today. May we fail to get discouraged with our lot in life. After all, we chose it, and we can choose again; indeed, we must choose again.

2 – Comparisons

When we feel bitter, we set ourselves up for disappointment in our daily lives. We think that others have it better than ourselves. While this may appear to be true, we cannot really know the state of someone external to ourselves. They may appear to have everything we have dreamed about, but how much pain and suffering really are held within?

3 – Physical Beauty

Physical beauty is often seen to be a way to give us what we want. And we think that those who have more beauty are happier than are we. Studies have found, though, that those with more physical attractiveness may actually suffer from low self-esteem, more so than more average-looking individuals. We don’t know what another experiences, even when we think that we know them well. So let us not guess that there is a reason for our bitterness, when actually our bitter feelings just may be partaking of the universal insanity in which we are caught.

4 – Blessings

Leave bitterness behind today. Blessings are easily counted when we give it half a try. And let us give counting blessings a full try today.

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

I would just enjoy my lot in life today, not comparing myself to anyone at all, and certainly not deciding that another has it better than I. I would leave any bitterness behind today, for bitterness would keep me from You. It would say that maybe You blessed another more than I, and You give equally from Your storehouse—different blessings, but all are meant to share equally, though some blessings are easier to recognize than others.

I would move forward toward You today. And this means that I am comfortable with the blessings that You have given me. I don’t always have to beseeth You to give me “more.” I can rest content. And I will do so today.

If I constantly wail for more, I am not grateful for what You have given. You will give more, as I am ready to receive. And gratefulness for the present is a prerequisite for more in the future. That is Your way.

Amen.

Negate the Choice to Suffer

pennsylvania impressionists“What happens when you believe the choice to suffer, as well as the choice to leave suffering behind, has always been found within? Who then are you to be angry with for all that has occurred? Do you blame yourself and your ancestors for the history, both ancient and recent, that you think you would have given anything to change?. . .And do you not thus attempt to see it [suffering] not and then blame yourself for looking the other way? (Treatises of A Course of Love: Treatise on the Personal Self, 8.6)”

Affirmation: “I would leave suffering behind today.”

Reflections:

1 – Eckhart Tolle

We do not have to suffer. Such a current spiritual advisor as Eckhart Tolle (The Power of Now and A New Earth) says the same as Jesus, and he was influenced by A Course in Miracles. Certainly as long we embody the physical, we will know pain, but we do not have to turn that pain into suffering, for suffering is mental. Do you believe that? Note that emotional pain is always suffering, but physical pain is just that—pain. And we would feel pain when we must, but suffering, never.

2 – Blame

We do not need to blame our parents and our upbringing for the lacks in our lives. And we do not need to blame ancestors from farther back in regard to our genetic disposition. We have chosen this life, and we have chosen its lacks. Now Jesus would have these lacks removed, very easily and with virtually no effort on our part.

3 – Choose Once Again

The reason that we suffer is found within, not in any ancestral reason. And we can just as easily choose again. Indeed, we must choose once again (from A Course in Miracles).

4 – Mental Turmoil

Know that a quiet contemplation of suffering will ease the suffering, as well, very often, as the pain. Know that mental turmoil is aggravated by our own choices. Know that there is a way out.

5 – Commune Inwardly

And find that way today in communion with that which is within, the Christ Self informed by God Himself.

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

I would begin the day again if I think that I suffer over anything. I do not have to suffer, though in this physical world I will, from time to time, experience pain. I do not have to turn pain into suffering. And I vow not to do so today.

May I commune with You when the way seems hard. And thank You for giving me a smooth pathway most recently. May I not chaff under restrictions if that pathway turns harsh again. I have the secret—praying to You. Your smile lights my life and calms my turbulent emotions. And then, with no overwrought emotions, I don’t exacerbate the pain, turning it into suffering.

Help me to walk Your pathway, my prayer always.

Amen.

Shaking Up Our World

folinsbee - pennsylvania impressionism“You have chosen many doors to the same house and but thought them to offer different things, only to find that the house you entered was still the same house, the house of illusion. You took your self into these many rooms and in some you were even capable of representing your true self. This representation of the true self within the house of illusion was like an explosion happening there. (Treatises of A Course of Love: Treatise on the Personal Self, 7.6)”

Affirmation: “I would not participate in an explosion in a house of illusions today.”

Reflections:

1 – Exit

We need to depart from the house of illusion. I have mentioned this, in different words, many times in this blog. The house of illusion is what we have been caught in for eons. And it is now time to exit.

2 – Return to Illusion?

We may think that we can save others, lost in illusion, by going back into this house of illusions. Yet this is a falsehood. We need to beckon from without, not join others in their illusions. We need to exit ourselves before we can be of any effective use to others.

3 – Glimpses

Of course, we have done some good works when we have been lost in illusions, because illusions are never total. We have seen glimpses of the real world for a long time now. But glimpses are not enough now. We need to ask for a more constant dwelling in the house of reality, the real world. And God will answer us at the time that we are ready.

4 – Explosions

We did represent our true self in the house of illusion, but by so doing, we made explosions there. And this was disturbing, not only to us but also to our brothers and sisters. And explosions rocked the boat. As they were meant to do.

5 – Set the Right Example

Our brothers and sisters will see that there is a better way if we live right, if we set the right example. But deciding to do so is arguably difficult, because deciding to do so is based on good intentions, which often fail us. So turn to guidance to see how and in what way to reach others. Don’t make elaborate plans to proselytize, because this is not the way to go. Many are not yet ready. But when our brothers and sisters see us happy and well, many will be led to ask us what is different in our lives. Then we can tell them. And in the telling we will be witnessing.

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

I would not witness today to those who are not ready, but I would also never turn down a chance to witness to those who are ready to hear. I need Your help in this. Be with me today as I walk along the pathway that You have set for me; please keep me on this right pathway.

I would not fall back into illusions today. This is a return to maya, to the ego’s traps. I would walk ahead to the real world, in as fast a pace as I can. But I would not trip over my own feet. I would walk carefully and gently, finding companions along the way who need me. And I need companions also. It is a two-way street.

Be with me today as I seek to do what I recognize as my will, being identical to Yours for me.

Amen.

Meaningful Existence

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“The only thing within the human experience that made you incapable of representing who you are in truth was the ego. The only thing within the human experience that deprived the human experience of meaning was the ego. With the ego gone, you are perfectly capable of representing the truth of who you are and returning to an existence that is meaningful. (Treatises of A Course of Love: Treatise on the Personal Self, 7.5)”

Affirmation: “I would choose a meaningful existence today.”

Reflections:

1 – The Ego Is Gone

This passage says, once again, that for those of us who have read this far in A Course of Love, and taken its tenets unto ourselves, the ego is gone. We are The Accomplished. If we find this hard to believe, we are only being human. And we can always backslide. So the ego remains a temptation best left alone, and that follows for all the eternity that we have ahead of us.

2 – Ego Constantly Being Undone

The ego never meant us well. The ego was always a mad idea. And the ego was always being undone. If we were especially egoistic, we knew flights of joy that were undone by tears of pain that often turned to suffering. We paid for all the joy that we beheld.

3 – Living, Not Existing

Now we would live a meaningful life, and it would be an existence that is truly “living.” We would be rid of the ego by turning aside from it gently, for to resist the ego is to make it strong. The ego, according to ACIM, is strong in strife.

4 – Truth

Jesus says a great deal in A Course of Love about the “truth.” We would do well to remember, though, that we are fallible beings who may not recognize the truth when we see it. Likewise, we may think that we are viewing truth when we are actually seeing falsity. So it behooves us to contemplate our decisions well, to let guidance form our decisions. We would always mess things up, if left to our own devices without divine guidance.

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

I know intellectually that I am better off without the ego, but still I fear that it rears its ugly head. Help me to be through with all this foolishness today. I would not do egotistic things, and I would not make decisions from an egoistic foundation. I would follow Your way, which substitutes love in every situation.

I would live a meaningful existence today, an existence that is truly “living” rather than merely “existing.” Help me to do this. I am so dependent upon You these days. I have chosen that way of living, and You have responded. I know that Your presence sustains me, even when I am saying affirmations that keep my temper under control. I would be rid of temper today. I would say “gentle,” and “What would Mary do?” I would stop and take a timeout if I am overwrought. There is no better way to come unto Your presence.

Thank You for being there for me. Thank You for giving me the blessing of a happy life, and may I serve You in ways that You would direct. This does not mean slavish obedience, because my real will is always Yours. We are not separate, and I thank You that, through Your help, I have come to know this.

May I reach out to others today who cross my path. May I be a blessing in Your world.

Amen.

Bitterness Is to the Heart What the Ego Is to the Mind

pennsylvania-impressionist-impressionism-painting-by-roy-c-nuse-along-the-river-1930-original-size-20-x-16“You may believe that bitterness is just another word, another label for the evil you have always been convinced existed in the hearts of some, but even being that it is just another word, it is one chosen to introduce an idea of such fallacy that it rivals only the ego in its destructive potential. Bitterness is to your heart what the ego has been to your mind. It is the one false idea that has entered this holiest of places, this abode of Christ, this bridge between the human and the divine. (Treatises of A Course of Love: Treatise on the Personal Self, 6.5)”

Affirmation: “I would drop any bitterness from my heart today.”

Reflections:

1 – Drop Bitterness

Bitterness is not stressed in A Course in Miracles, but it rivals the ego in A Course of Love. Here we learn that bitterness is to the heart what the ego is to the mind. And to learn such a lesson means that we ought to drop bitterness entirely. We ought not to hold anything against anybody. We ought to forgive entirely.

2 – A Raw Deal

Why are we sometimes bitter? I think that it is largely a matter of self-pity. We think that life has given us a raw deal, not a fair shake. We think that we ought to have had it better. But is this reasoning sound?

3 – Hard Knocks

Not at all. We may believe that we planned our lives before we were born (though this is not a concept in ACIM or ACOL). Certainly we know now that we have a loving Father who wishes us only well-being. And so the hard knocks of life are there to teach us something. And certainly the hard knocks would not be so hard if we were less stubborn. Our biggest enemy, as many have said, is our own self. We made our own difficulties, and then we project outward on others who surround us.

4 – Insanity

This is insanity. We would not blame another for our own difficult times. We would recognize perhaps that there is something that we cannot understand on this earth, and we would realize that there is a better way to live. This better way is what ACIM and ACOL are trying to teach us.

5 – Madness of This World

May we adopt a smooth walk through this world today. And may we know that the hard knocks are there for a reason, however obscure we may find the way to be. It may just be the madness of this world, and we ought never to underestimate how far into madness we have gone (from ACIM). We will be happier, and life will smooth out very well, when we have come to understand more. Ask God for the answers, and see if those answers don’t begin to come ever more frequently.

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

I would seek some answers today. Why is life sometimes so tough? Is it all just madness borne of the ego and of bitterness? Is there a larger reason that I sometimes struggle? I choose not to go from one crisis to another. I choose to live, with You, in harmony, peace, serenity, calm, tranquility. Help me to live this better way today and every day.

May I do for others what I would like for them to do for me. May I realize that giving and receiving happen in concert, that one leads inexorably to the other. And may I rejoice, with You, at my happiness over the many blessings that You give to me. You want Your children happy. Being happy is a worthy goal. May I remember this always.

Be with me today as I walk through this sometimes insane world. But I would not have it insane today. I would choose only happy dreams, and I would ask for glimpses of a reality beyond what I normally see.

Thank You.

Amen.

The Question of Atonement

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“The point of the story [crucifixion and resurrection], however, was not one of sacrifice but one of gift giving. The greatest gift of all was given, the gift of redemption. The gift of redemption was the gift of an end to pain and suffering and a beginning of resurrection and new life. It was a gift meant to empty the world of the ego-self and to allow the personal self to live on as the one true self, the one true son of God. (Treatises of A Course of Love: Treatise on the Personal Self, 5.7)”

Affirmation: “I would focus on Jesus’s gift today.”

Reflections:

1 – Resurrection

We often misunderstand the benign lesson of the Atonement, Jesus’s death on the cross, followed by his resurrection. Nowhere in either A Course in Miracles nor A Course of Love is the resurrection doubted as an historical event. But there are various ways of interpreting, including the possibility that Jesus occupied his ethereal body when he was seen after the resurrection.

2 – The Cross

Jesus said in A Course in Miracles that we miss the point when we look to the cross, that he was showing that love is present when he did not defend himself, but said nothing. He says, also in ACIM, that we are to look to the resurrection for our understanding of the Atonement.

3 – Sacrifice

Certainly sacrifice was embedded into the Jewish world. Sacrifices of animals were routinely required at the temple. And so when Jesus came as the Son of God and made the supreme sacrifice, we saw a punishing God who could only be appeased by the death of his only Son. Traditional religious services today stress this idea. But is there another way to interpret what happened?

4 – Circumstances of Jesus’s Day

Jesus says that there is, for he does not see his Father as punishing in any way. He sees God as wholly benign and loving. The choice to go to the cross is Jesus’s own, in my opinion, born of the circumstances of his day. That it may have been divinely ordained, though, I do not doubt. And the fact that for generations there has been a story in the sacrificial lamb means that Jesus read us well. He knew what we thought that we needed to be reconciled to God.

5 – “I Was Not Punished because You Were Bad”

Now he is giving us a new story, a new Atonement story. We are not to see God as punishing him in any way. “I was not punished because you were bad,” Jesus says in the opening pages of the Text of A Course in Miracles. And so we don’t have to feel guilty, and guilt is what has made us mad.

6 – A New Life

So let us see another way of viewing the Atonement. It was the lesson that we are reconciled to God through the example that Jesus gave of not resisting evil. He rose to a new life, as can we all.

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

Thank You for what I read years ago about Jesus’s observation, in all likelihood, of the sacrifices of his day in the temple. All of this shaped his mission. But God did not require his death, of this I am sure. It was a plan that worked, though. And I thank You for that.

Help me to look beyond the crucifixion to the resurrection, and may my intellectual doubts not becloud the issue. May I contemplate the likelihood that it is Jesus’s ethereal body that was seen after his resurrection.

Amen.

Fill the Emptiness Within

impressionists_03 - pennsylvania“While few of you have ever before reached the emptiness caused by the complete absence of the ego, just as few of you have never felt some sort of absence. All the lessons you have drawn to yourself in your lifetime have worked toward this absence in the hopes of filling the emptiness with the fullness of the truth. (Treatises of A Course of Love: Treatise on the Personal Self, 5.1)”

Affirmation: “I would fill my emptiness with truth.”

Reflections:

1 – Truth

Truth is a slippery concept, but when we follow the truth that Jesus sets forth, we are on solid ground. So many of us think that we have the ultimate truth, so many in our world. And others of us think that the truth expounded by others is actually a pack of lies. Let us try to do better today.

2 – Wait to Be Filled

We are not suffering when we are empty. We are simply waiting to be filled, and filled with the truth as we perceive it. This must include doing no harm to others or to our personal self, however much we may think we perceive that we are right in retaliating for wrongs committed against ourselves.

3 – No Retaliation

We are not right in retaliating, in any sense or at any time. This is something that we must incorporate into our very being, for Jesus says in A Course in Miracles that attack and anger are never justified. This assertion has been much misunderstood, for we have often felt that we must repress and suppress to follow this dictate. Nothing could be farther from the truth. We do sublimate, in that we replace the attack and anger with a higher value. And that higher value always partakes of love, a loving attitude.

4 – Anger and Stress

I never get angry unless I am stressed, and that may be the situation for you as well. So the way to return to a stasis is to calm down, and the way to calm down is frequently prayer. We get quiet, and settle down our overwrought emotions, and we walk a green earth again. There is no better way.

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

I would walk calmly today. I am all too prone to get keyed up when doing many things in this busy world. But quietness gives You to me, and I would have You today.

Guide me to help others in any way that would be good today. Let me love with my whole heart. May my mind settle down and my overwrought emotions grow calm. May my heart speak to my mind, and may my Self speak to both.

Thank You for your help as I walk through this day.

Amen.

What Would Mary Do?

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“I repeat, and will do so again and again, that the ego self is gone from you. Whether you fully realize this or not matters not. This A Course of Love has accomplished. Now the choice is before you to do one of two things. . .to proceed toward love or fear. If you proceed with fear you will assemble a new ego-self, an ego-self that perhaps will seem superior to the old, but which will nonetheless still be an ego-self. If you proceed with love, you will come to know your Christ-self. (Treatises of A Course of Love: Treatise on the Personal Self, 4.8)”

Affirmation: “I would leave fear behind today.”

Reflections:

1 – Fear

Fear is our great enemy, but if we dwell on this fact too long and deeply, we will scare ourselves, making the ego strong. And the ego is strong when one is fearful. Let us leave behind this state of affairs today.

2 – When Baited

Let us proceed toward love. This means that we need to make a decision about how we will react when we are baited by those closest to us. We must determine what we will say and do, ahead of time, or we are likely to attack or otherwise react with anger.

3 – Personal Experience

I have found that the easiest way to handle a difficult conversation is to say a reminder, just the word “gentle,” followed by the question, “What would Mary do?” By “Mary,” I mean the mother of Jesus, a woman given great importance in A Course of Love (though not in A Course in Miracles). This immediately puts me in a conciliatory state of mind. I tried the phrase, “quiet control,” but I found that it tended to put me in an uptight attitude, just the reverse of what I wanted.

4 – Communion with God

You will find other words, or perhaps none, just a communion with God. Many of us do need words that help us in times of difficulty.

5 – Proceed toward Love

I would proceed toward love always with those closest to me. And this movement will take me into the Christ/Self, sooner rather than later. We need to move toward the Christ Self, because if the ego is gone, which Jesus says it is, we need to have a replacement in mind to whom we can turn.

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

Thank You for giving me the words, “What would Mary do?,” when I am stressed, in a difficult conversation, when I am being baited. There is no reason that I can’t keep my cool, except a lack of discipline. And You would have me be gentle with all those with whom I come in contact.

I would proceed toward love today, away from fear. I have tried this many times, but perhaps not strongly enough, because anxiety dogs my steps from time to time. I would make a determination today to slow down and relax, to meditate when I can.

I never get angry unless I am stressed. May I remember this today.

Amen.

Effortless Ease in Learning A Course of Love

monet - sunrise“This is not a self-help course but just the opposite. This course has stated time and time again that you can not learn on your own and that resigning as your own teacher is the only way to learn a new curriculum. This course will not call you to effort of any kind.. . ..It merely calls you to sanity by calling you to let go of illusion in favor of the truth (Treatises of A Course of Love: Treatise on the Personal Self, 4.1)”

Affirmation: “I will resign as my own teacher today.”

Reflections:

1 – Effortful Excursions

Jesus would have us recognize that the many effortful excursions that we have been on in our lives have been diversions. We didn’t recognize the insanity of the illusion in which we find ourselves. So we can not really help ourselves, try as hard as we may. We need guidance from our Self, and this guidance is informed by glimpses of the truth that Jesus is here conveying to us. There is no other valid way to learn.

2 – Not Self-Help

We have often heard that A Course in Miracles is a self-study course. Jesus says categorically that A Course of Love is not a “self-help” course, and I think by implication he would feel the same about ACIM. Self-study is a study of insanity, at least before we have experienced Awakening or enlightenment, or, as called in ACOL, Christ-consciousness.

3 – Read Leisurely

We do not need to be expending effort as we learn now. We read in a leisurely fashion, but always mindful that we are reading something that can change our lives dramatically. ACOL calls for less intensive study than ACIM. It is just not possible to retain the credo if we work at it too hard. Rereading in a leisurely fashion works best. And then the words will engrave themselves on our hearts.

4 – Memorizing Difficult

I have found it frustrating that the words of ACOL do not memorize as easily as the words of ACIM. I think that this has something to do with the fact that ACIM is iambic pentameter blank verse, a form of poetry (except in the very beginning of the Text). But the words of ACOL will be memorized as more time is spent with the volumes. And more time is needed, at least until we reach the 40 Days and 40 Nights of the Dialogues.

5 – Leave Insanity Behind

Let us leave behind our insanity today. We have been lost in illusions, and they have imperiled our way. May the way be smooth from now on. And communion with God will make it so, with Jesus, thus far, as our guide.

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

I would do nothing effortful today, and that blessing will come about because I vow not to plan my day. I will look ahead a couple of hours, but no more. And thus far today, that determination has stood me in good stead.

May we realize that we don’t have to work hard to incorporate the blessings of A Course of Love. We do find that reading ACOL can be easy. We do not have to intensely study, and indeed it is counterproductive to do so. Help me to remember this blessing today.

Be with me throughout the day. May the day go smoothly for my brothers and sisters everywhere, and may the day go smoothly for me as well.

Amen.

Definition of the Ego

caillebotte - paris street
“The Self that I recognize as You, is not other than who you are, but who you are. All that was ever other than who you are was the ego. The ego is gone. The ego was simply your idea of who you were. This idea was a complex set of judgments, of good and bad, right and wrong, worthy and unworthy, a list was endless as it was worthless. (Treatises of A Course of Love: Treatise on the Personal Self, 3.10)”

Affirmation: “My ego is gone.”

Reflections:

1 – Ego

If only it could be so—that the ego is truly gone from me! I see glimpses of time in which I do feel the truth of this statement, but I also know that my ego rears its despicable head far more often than I would wish, making me tend toward egotism. I would not have it thus. I would be the Self that Jesus recognizes, and that Self only. I need help when I make assertions such as this, though.

2 – Help

How might I get help? We know that Jesus asserts in A Course in Miracles that he will hold our hand as we walk along, no “idle fantasy.” Traditional Christianity, especially the inspirational writing based on traditional Christianity by Norman Vincent Peale, asserts the same.

3 – Jesus by My Side

I often have some trouble imagining Jesus by my side, for I do have a mind that would have doubts about how he might be anyplace, anytime. But it is enormously comforting at night, when I have a bout with insomnia, to think of him standing by the bed, comforting me. If it is all imagination, my thinking nevertheless slows down. I feel comforted, and is that not what all of us would wish in the middle of the night when we are discomforted?

4 – The Christ Self

What sort of Self is this whom Jesus recognizes? It is the universal Christ Self, the one that he shares with us. We do not have to let the ego interfere with this concept. The ego would tell us that we are off center, that this cannot be. But I do have enough belief in what Jesus has said in these channeled writings (ACIM and A Course of Love) to believe that he means business. He affirms that our ego is dead, and that the Self is very much alive. And so I choose to believe that this will be the case as soon as I am ready. He affirms that all of us reading A Course of Love are ready, and so perhaps it is my own failing that I quibble a bit about this. There is no way to know for sure until Awakening has come to us. We know then, though Awakening can be periodic rather than sustained. Jesus would have us to sustain this Self, the elevated Self of form.

5 – The Physical

And we will know for sure that a physical being in this world can live in God’s grace, that we do not have to lament the physical. The physical is a blessing, a chance to enjoy adventures that could be ours in no other way.

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

I can see my ego gone when I realize that it has simply been my view of what I have been, my egoic persona. My view of who I am has changed, and for that I am grateful. But I still make missteps, and I still fall prey to the ego. I would be gone with all of this foolishness, sooner rather than later.

Help me to truly know that the ego was a bad delusion. I would walk Your way always. And I need help to do so. Please send that help to me today.

Amen.

The Road to Hell Is Paved with Good Intentions

van gogh - wheatfield with crows“While you continue to see the call of this course as a call to goodness, you will surely fail. (Treatises of A Course of Love: Treatise on the Personal Self, 3.10)”

Affirmation: “Being good is not my ‘goal’ today.”

Reflections:

1 – Good Intentions

Jesus makes it easy on us. We don’t have to make extravagant attempts to be “good” to fulfill his requirements in this course. Why? We would surely fail. Good intentions, we have always been told, are not enough. And it is good intentions that prompt us to be “good” (an interpretation, not stated in ACIM or ACOL).

2 – Failure

Jesus makes the comparison between a failure to stick to a diet and the failure to be consistently good. We always fail to live up to our ideal.

3 – Change

Later on, Jesus says in the Dialogues that we will simply make a decision to change some trait about ourselves, because it is a mistake, and then we will simply see that trait disappear. Thus he does not feel a call to have us seek goodness in and of itself. He is not even calling us to be perfect, which seemed to be a biblical injunction. In ACIM, Jesus points out that he stands at the end of the pathway to correct all mistakes that we could not correct. Let this be enough for us. Jesus will stand by us. He will do for goodness what we cannot do.

4 – No Lament

The certainty of failure as we seek to be “good” is not a cause for lament. It is a statement of fact. And hidden in the assertion is the truth that we do not have to try to be good. This goodness will come about naturally as we walk further along the pathway. Of course, if the ego gets involved, we will fall away from the correct walk. But Jesus also says, further along in this chapter, that the ego is gone now. What a delightful thing to hear!

5 – Reread ACOL

If the ego is indeed gone, we are following Jesus’s way in A Course of Love. Don’t be sure, though. The ego is wily, and sometimes we have to read and reread ACOL to get its message. But get its message we will, and then we are assured a happier walk through the earth.

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

I was not so good yesterday, and so the message for today speaks to me as well as to my readers. Thank You for the timing of this message. It is true, so true, that my good intentions are not enough, for surely that is of the ego, and I will surely fail. May I start each day over when I get on the wrong path. Help the events of my day to stay on an even keel, with nothing going awry.

Thank You for Jesus’s help, even though I struggle with the assertion that he can be anywhere, anytime—just by my call, my unequivocal call.

Be with me so that this day goes better than the one yesterday. And may I learn from my mistakes, never to repeat the same ones. I appreciate that you call my misdeeds just “mistakes,” and not “sins.” I would see nothing attracting in a mistake, and I might be tempted to repeat a sin.

Thank You for the insights that A Course of Love gives to me.

Amen.

What Has Caused Unhappiness?

van gogh - plain
“While society would seem to have done so much to cause your unhappiness, and while you have in turn blamed it as much as it blamed you, you never blamed anything quite as much as you blamed yourself.

“This is the vengeful self we eliminate now. (Treatises of A Course of Love: Treatise on the Personal Self, 3.5 – 3.6)”

Affirmation: “I would forgive myself today, letting go of any vengeful self.”

Reflections:

1 – Forgiveness of Self

How hard it is to forgive ourselves for what we have NOT done to ourselves. We blame ourselves for our pain, especially when we are not able to keep pain from turning into suffering. We still harbor thoughts that we were responsible, in some nefarious way, for the separation from God (the illusory separation). And so we blame ourselves most of all.

2 – Projection

Yet this blame is projected unto others, and harms our relationships all around. What misery we concoct for ourselves! We need to end this insanity.

3 – Vengeful Self

Jesus would have us turn aside from the vengeful self. And he offers the antidote today. We do not need to assign blame, lest of all to others and ourselves. We dipped into madness for a long, long time–all of us. And we are finding our way back to sanity and the real world now. What better way to spend our time?

4 – Self-Blame

So we blamed others, “society,” but we, most of all, blamed ourselves for our predicament. And then we found it hard to forgive either others or ourselves. This kind of thinking needs to go. It must be forsaken once and for all, if we are to make any progress at all.

5 – Better Way to View

Turn now to your better judgment, informed by guidance. Does it not seem that there is a better way to look this world in which we are embedded? Is not it really a benign world, waiting for us to paint our meanings upon it? Decide today to paint no perilous dramas on this world. Decide for a perfectly “calm and quiet” (from ACIM) day.

6 – End Result

And such can be our experience.

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

I would be happy today. The first thing that I need to do, with Your help, is to make this determination. Then I need to calm down so that serenity comes to me. Then I will be immune to anger and its all-too-often attack. Be with me today to see that I walk the straight and narrow.

Thank You for the increased happiness that You have given me for very many years now. I also owe a debt to Jesus for his channeled words in A Course in Miracles and A Course of Love. My happiness has increased exponentially since discovering ACIM many years ago. Thank You for this.

May we, together, choose happy hours in our happy day. May we reach out to others, bringing them happiness as well. While we cannot make another happy, we certainly can and do make them miserable when our thoughts, words, and actions go awry.

I would have nothing go awry today, and, with Your help, a good day is ensured.

Amen.

No Matter What the Cost

sainte-victoire-lauves - cezanne“The ego-self’s only desire was for you to ‘grow up’ into its version of an independent being. . .no matter what the cost. (Treatises of A Course of Love: Treatise on the Personal Self, 2.12)”

Affirmation: “I would be independent only with God giving me guidance home.”

Reflections:

1 – Independence

We like to feel that we are independent, and Jesus, just earlier than this passage for today, indicates that previously we have seen ourselves as rebellious adolescents. This is not far from the truth, but it is time, perhaps, to let the image go. We are adolescents no longer, but The Accomplished, however much we may resist this assertion as a malady set forth by the ego. It is not egoic thinking to realize that we have learned much in the course of studying A Course of Love. Jesus is ready for us to recognize that our seeking needs to end, for otherwise we will be on an endless treadmill.

2 – Ego

The ego-mind’s version of independence is deplorable. We thought that we would use our right judgment to make all decisions independent of any Higher Power. But we can’t know enough to make wise decisions; we can’t know all features of the past and future, let alone the present. So we are stymied if we don’t accept God’s guidance. We will make little headway.

3 – Suffering

We accepted many costs associated with the reign of the ego. We suffered. But though we may still know pain, being finite beings in a physical body, that pain does not now have to turn into suffering. We can rise above.

4 – Only the Ego’s Independence Is Deplorable

Be sure that independence is not bad–just the ego’s version of independence. And growing up to all of our powers, our Self’s powers, is what Jesus would have us do now. We think too little of him if we do not follow this wholly welcome advice.

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

I would drop the ego today. I have made this declaration repeatedly, but always the ego tends to sneak back in. I must make my resolution stick. Help me to do so.

A big part of my succeeding in leaving the ego behind will hinge on my relationships to my significant others. My brothers and sisters are my way. And I would be good to them today. Help me always to be good to them.

I would listen to guidance today. It has never failed me, when I have been tranquil enough to catch the right drift. But I would not act in an emotional way, which can confuse my mind. Help me to be rational and peaceful, not overwrought. And then my decisions will be right on the beam. Thank You.

Amen.

Tiny, Mad Idea

cezanne - bowls of fruit
“It is impossible for you to imagine this holiness [of the Self] with the concepts of the thought system you heretofore have relied upon. This thought system has allowed only the acceptance of a reality within certain parameters, for it has not allowed you to imagine being able to take steps ‘back’ to the God you believe you left in defiance, or the self you believe you abandoned there. (Treatises of A Course of Love: Treatise on the Personal Self, 2.11)”

Affirmation: “I can believe that to separate from God was a ‘tiny, mad’ idea.”

Reflections:

1 – Madness

Earlier I suggested some “reasons” for a presumed separation from God, “reasons” set forth by individuals other than Jesus. Elsewhere, near this passage, Jesus indicates that we don’t have to look for a reason, though we have done so for eons. And maybe there was no reason other than madness. The “tiny, mad” idea is set forth early in the Text of A Course in Miracles, and this ACIM passage goes on to say that we “forgot to laugh.” And so the mad idea became possible of effects, without a cause. If this reasoning is sound, then we need look no further for reasons for a fall of humankind. There is no reason except madness.

2 – Guilty?

In today’s passage, we are almost seen as feeling guilty for this lapse, this separation. So we don’t look further for its cure. But there is a reason to look for the cure. And in that reason we move from the ego-self, to the personal self (also a persona) that is informed by the Self/Christ from within.

3 – God Is Not Angry with Us

If we can believe that we did not leave God in defiance, and especially if we can believe all that ACIM and ACOL have told us about God, we know that He is not “angry” with us. He has never condemned us, and so He also has no need to forgive us. What a glorious promise this is! We are redeemed, when we have walked the pathway back. The “journey without distance” (from ACIM) is as though we stand at the end of the pathway, looking back, and the carpet rolls up in retrospect.

4 – We Relive the Past

Jesus indicates that we do indeed stand at the end of the journey, that all that we experience now is in the past. We simply look back, reliving, a journey in which we are retracing our steps. The “tiny, mad” idea met with a Solution (the Holy Spirit) at the very point of the inception of the mad idea.

5 – Leave the Ego Behind

So let us decide today that we are through with all this egoic madness. We are, in fact, through with it, if we believe Jesus’s assertion that we are reliving the past. And so today is just as good as any day to take ourselves lightly as we retrace our steps.

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

I would leave behind this tiny, mad idea of separation today. I did not leave God out of defiance, though I may have believed this for a very long time. And now is the time to return. I am ready, from a personal standpoint. But good intentions are not enough. I need You. Be with me as I make this transition into sanity.

Thank You.

Amen.

You Did Not Separate from God Out of Defiance

[Y]ou believed that every step in the advancement of your separated state was a step away from God and your real Self. This belief was based in logic, but the logic of the illusion in which you believed you chose to separate from God out of defiance and a desire to be one with God no longer. This could not be further from the truth and is the cause of all your suffering, for contained within this belief was the belief that with each successful step toward independence came a corresponding step away from God. (Treatises of A Course of Love: Treatise on the Personal Self, 2.5)”

Affirmation: “I can be independent and yet one with God.”

Reflections:

1 – Fall from Grace

We for a long time have believed, almost in the marrow of our bones, that we fell from grace by willfully separating from God. And that this fall made the suffering which we have known. We have lamented this lapse of ours, this lapse in good judgment, and we have sought to return to God.

2 – More Benign Separation

But might not there be a more benign way to view the separation, seeing it as separation even as it is also seen as ultimately illusory?

3 – Ruth Montgomery

Ruth Montgomery’s Guides told her (in automatic writing) that we were sparks sent out from God to experience all that we might wish to experience, returning eventually to God as enlightened beings who had known what it was to explore. It seems likely to me that this interpretation holds something akin to what Jesus tells us in A Course of Love. Of course, he does not use the same terms, but the concept is very similar.

4 – A Choice by God

In the interpretation which Ruth gave us, we were sent out from God by Himself. He chose for us to depart from Him. We did not fall from grace. We found a way to develop independence and to gain experience of good and evil. This is part of the doctrine of the “fortunate fall.” And so not so unlike traditional theologies of Christianity.

5 – Do Not Lament the Past

Jesus is about to say that we ought not to lament what has transpired in illusion and in the past. We can move forward in the sunlight today. He will be out Guide, until the our own Christ Self steps forth. And our own transformation into Christ-consciousness happens. (Remember that Christ-consciousness is elsewhere called the Awakening–in ACIM–and enlightenment–in Eastern faiths.

6 – Do Not Lament the Separation

So do not lament the separation. But know that it can be overcome without giving up any at all of our treasured independence, as long as that independence is informed by our heart as trusted guidance. As long as the ego-mind is in the ascendancy, we will not trust guidance, and we will seek to use our own judgment to make decisions. By now we have in all likelihood recognized some of the fallacy involved in such thinking, but remnants may still remain. As long as we know that we cannot know all the facts–past, present, and future–in anything at all, we will be led gently to put our faith in a deeper truth available to us, frequently, as intuition.

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

I would pray today, I would pray a great deal. You know that I need to do so. And the blessings that I pray for others, I find, come back to me. While this does not sound very selfless, it is Your way. You bless us in proportion to how much we ask for blessings for others. But this is personal interpretation, or personal experience, and I do not know if it is always Your way.

May I move closer to Christ-consciousness today. I am patient, in my better moments. The glimpses You have given me, the guidance that You give me moment-by-moment, is indeed a joyous happening. And I would wish for my significant others, today, the same joy which I feel. And that joy is great indeed.

Thank You for holding me tightly to Yourself.

Amen.

Treatise on the Personal Self

van gogh - pasture“The choice to represent your Self in form was a choice for separation but not because separation itself was desired as you have assumed. This is the assumption you have accepted in much the same way you have accepted your free will as that which allows you to be separate from and independent of God. Once this assumption was accepted, the duality of your existence became paramount, became the only means (Treatises of A Course of Love: Treatise on the Personal Self, 2.3)”

Affirmation: “There is a good way to view the separation, and I seek to find that way today.”

Reflections:

1 – ACIM vs. ACOL

We have, most all of us, been taught that the separation from God was a bad thing. We were also taught, in A Course in Miracles, that this separation was an illusion, that we could not separate from God because we are part of Him. Now Jesus is expanding upon ACIM to let us know in A Course of Love that a separate form and the independence that it implies do not always mean that we leave out God.

2 – Gnostic Influence

In ACOL, the physical form is championed much more than it was in ACIM. There was much Gnostic influence in A Course in Miracles, and the maya (illusion) in which we are caught seemed to imply that we would be better off without physical form at all. But A Course of Love ends, in the Dialogues, with a new being for us: an elevated Self of form. And this is seen as desirable, a new experience for humankind. The Self is the Christ Self, the Self who has been lurking inwardly, waiting for emergence at our new being.

3 – No Dualism

We do not actually live in a dualistic universe. What does that mean? That there are boundaries among various worlds and concepts, including most precisely the body and the mind. But repeatedly in ACOL we are told that unity is our way, that everything is One, and that that One exists in disparate parts with which we are to be in relationship. And that One is God. There are not gods everywhere, but one God immanent throughout all that exists, whether seen or unseen.

4 – Separation

So we ought to seek to make our separation meaningful, and that sense of meaning comes from knowing that we can be as independent as we wish, but that the best life is one in which we accept guidance from the Unseen, God. Our judgments pale in comparison to knowing what to say or do next. Our inspired ways become the way that life becomes joyful to us.

5 – One = All

And then separation loses its negative aspects. We are One in relationship to All.

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

I would realize today that my personal self is part of the whole, part of You. And this monism is a cause for rejoicing. Thank You that You are here for me, and thank You that You have always been here for me, even when I didn’t recognize the blessing that this is.

May I enjoy my physical body in this world. I do not have to lament that I live on this earth. There is a way to find You even here. And I ask to find You today and every day.

Amen.