May Our Heart Stay Serene & Free

“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. It exists not in some but in all, as the ego has existed not in some but in all. Like the ego, it has not caused you to be unlovable or unrecognizable. But it has become, like the ego, so much a part of your reality that it must, like the ego, be consciously left behind.” (ACOL, T3:6.5)

Moving ahead from what I discussed yesterday, we see in this quotation that bitterness is to our heart what the ego has been to our mind. Bitterness has been less noticed, though; we didn’t know why we felt angry that others seemed to have more than us. And we may very likely not have called this attitude, “bitterness.” Comparisons detract from us. We are better off not making them at all, and this we can recognize from knowing that the ego compares itself to other egos just all the time. What I mean here is not the technique of contrast that the Holy Spirit used so effectively in trying to teach us right from wrong, trying to set us on the road to salvation. Comparisons, in the sense that I mean them, are vicious rejections of the fact that we are all equal. We think that somehow we are better, or at least we try to think this. And this is ego speaking. So I would speculate that the ego’s machinations for the mind and the bitterness that we feel in the heart are very closely tied together.

We need to take steps to drop resentments, something that is almost (but not quite) a synonym for bitterness. We feel our resentments, and this clues us to the fact that we are talking about the heart, for feelings are the realm of the heart. Resentments are also prompted by the ego, though, and so we can see in the very word “resentment” that heart and mind are similarly bound to concepts that are debilitating to us. We have left the ego behind, the ego that bound our mind; now we must leave behind the bitterness, however we describe it, that has bound our heart. Then and only then will we be in a position to reach the wholeheartedness (mind and heart together) that Jesus counsels.

Take the step today to walk away from feeling “put upon” that someone else seems to have something that we don’t. Talents will be equally shared later on; any difference in talents now is temporary and time-bound. Talents are equal in eternity.

And knowing that we live in an eternity is a very freeing concept. “We live in an eternity. Be happy today.” A quotation from Eastern thought.


When we feel out of sorts, the best place for us is in our quiet corner, communing with You. Communing with You is the only thing that truly works to take us out of a funk. And I seem to find much to worry me today. Be with me as I seek to find Your guidance, Your way that is best for me.

May bitterness not find a toehold in my heart. May my heart stay serene and free, sure of Your love, sure of my own clinging to Your love.

Thank You.


Bitterness of Heart, by Ivor Sowton

Jesus in A Course of Love (ACOL) brilliantly introduces and then links to more and more of our lives the idea of “bitterness of the heart.” He refers to the idea of suffering, the one thing that went wrong with all of creation, as the cause of this bitterness. It is thus very deep and metaphysical here in addition to being very personal indeed. He explains that once we identified with our egos we needed objects to blame for the obvious distress of the separated state—the inevitability of physical death, of illness and pain of numerous kinds, emotional as well as physical. From that place we quickly slide into a vengeful state because we have become so bitter about the futility of it all, just as one example.

So the consciousness of suffering will cut us off from a sense of well-being, from a sense of being loved and supported by God. We get bitter at heart, waiting to die in an isolated state. This makes us vengeful.
Jesus then connects bitterness of the heart to the desire for reward also. The major example he gives (in chapter 3 of the Second Treatise) is in comparison, where we experience unequal reward going on around us, and when we are denied the reward someone else seems to be getting, we get bitter and vengeful. Jesus lets us know here that we may have very limited awareness over how much of our lives have been co-opted by bitterness of heart. He says in that chapter that bitterness is to the heart what ego is to the mind, that everyone has this bitterness, often unconsciously, and that its hold on us has become so great that it, like the ego, must be consciously released.

So I think he’s saying we really have to look at our own personal bitterness of heart before we can choose again for love. It’s like we have to forgive ourselves, others, and God for all the perceived suffering in our lives. He says that the Time of Tenderness and of The Embrace have brought such a softening to our hearts that we can really do a lot of releasing of this bitterness now IF we so choose.

It’s often said that there will be one or two real challenges in each life—situations that becomes real cross-roads of choice for us. It feels like many, many of us have chosen bitterness many times in the past. There seemed so much evidence warranting bitterness right within those cardinal challenges: we got very ill, or we were bereaved, or we lost a career or a marriage. I think you get the idea!

My sense is that this is deep work for most of us. To let go of all those feelings of being ripped-off, disappointed by life, by others and by ourselves—we have to work sensitively here with the guidance of our gentle Teacher. There will be a favorable pace and rhythm to it that we can be shown if we are willing. Jesus speaks of the healed heart as the very altar of Christ Consciousness at our center. The healed heart has released all bitterness and all desire for reward in the ego world. This is whole-heartedness, from which we automatically assume the ability to be elevated within these very forms.

So, Jesus seems to be encouraging us to hang in there and let our hearts be healed of this deep bitterness that has held us back for so long. The results are so worth it and so within our grasp, with his help.

Let us pray for this release for ourselves and all our loved ones, and may we be more and more aware that everyone is our Loved One. And let us daily become more and more like him who said:

“I walked the earth in order to reveal a God of Love.” (3rd treatise, 5.6)

Bitterness Retains Cycle of Suffering

“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.”


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.


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.


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.”


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.


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.


Overcoming Bitterness and Uncertainty

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“Bitterness and uncertainty are replaced by hope.  Hope is the condition of the initiate, new to the realization of having a home within the embrace.  It is the response that says to all you have just read, ‘Ah, if only it were true.  If only it could be true.’  (A Course of Love, 20.36)”

Affirmation:  “hope”


1 – Three Thoughts

There are three distinct trains of thought in the passage for today.  Let’s take them in order.

2 – Bitterness and Uncertainty Left Behind

First, we see that, as progress in reading A Course of Love, we leave bitterness and uncertainty behind.  Bitterness is a state of mind that was not a focus of A Course in Miracles, but is important to ACOL.  We are seen to be bitter about many of the things that have happened to us on our pathway through life.  And we hold this feeling of bitterness, this grievance against God, close to ourselves.  We cannot live this way in peace.  We must and will choose a better way.  And hope is the answer.  Even when life seems to go against us, because we have, like a mirror, attracted bad things to ourselves, we can recognize that this state of affairs does not have to be permanent.  We can choose again, and in the next choice, we can reach the tipping point of above 50 percent, which changes everything–if we hold firm to this concept of what we wish to see in our lives.  (Ideas are adapted from Rhonda Byrne’s The Secret trilogy.)

3 – Hope

We enjoy hope when we accept the embrace of Jesus as what we want, as we realize that he is serious about offering us the total, unconditional love that we crave.  And he soothes us, for we are much in need of comforting.  This the embrace does for us.  We imagine that Jesus is enfolding us in his arms, and we instantly feel justified.  We feel accepted by God as well as by Jesus.  And we accept ourselves, knowing that regardless of how many mistakes we have made, we are loved.

4 – The Embrace

The final sentence in the passage for today is the central hope of the embrace.  If only it could be true that I am forgiven!  If only it could be so simple to feel the peace that I want to feel!  This is the promise that hope brings to us.  And if we accept the indications of our heart, we will know peace, serenity, and we will also know happiness.  Jesus’s embrace can and will do all of this for us.

5 – Forgive Self

So let us drop our own unforgiveness toward ourselves.  We will even continue to make mistakes, for we are human (as well as divine), and we are living in this world, where there are many temptations.  But we need not feel that all is lost, that there is no hope.

6 – Hope Will Take Us Home

This passage tells us that there is hope.  And this hope will take us home to God, while we continue to walk this world.


Dear Father/Mother,

The solution is always with the problem, and when we have articulated precisely the problem, and just as precisely turn that problem over to You, the solution appears–and quickly.  Your time is not ours, but more often than not the time is soon, even within our timeframe.  This gives us hope, which we are studying today.  And of course any lingering bitterness about what life has dealt us, or any uncertainty about what to do in the future, dissipate.  We always know the next right step, when we have taken the time to ask with sincerity.  Thank You.

Be with me today as I seek to solve the pesky problems that have married my mornings recently.  I feel anxious in the morning, and You would not have it so.  I feel on the verge of a breakthrough, and I have hope that this is a certainty.  I do ask for help with sincerity.

Thank You for listening to my prayer.