Resolving Conflict

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

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

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

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

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

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

Calmness that We Have Never Known Before

“This is your conundrum. When you have never known what is you have never been able to be certain. You have no experience with certainty other than—and this is a crucial other than—your certainty of your own identity, the very identity this Course has disproved. This identity has been seen as your personal self. Thus your personal self is the only place in which you have experience that can now be used for a new purpose.

“Even while this experience is experience of an ego-self, it is still an expe¬rience as near to certainty as you have been capable, simply because you could not exist without an identity.” (ACOL, T3:21.10 – 21.11)

We are moving into a new identity now, an identity that is shorn of the ego. This will make all the difference, though we have not fully left the patterns of the egoic self behind. Our personal self will continue to survive only as a non-egoic self that we present to others, our brothers and sisters. We won’t dip into egotism when we show ourselves to our brothers and sisters, though. We will live with heads high, representing our inner Christ Self with an outer self that is the “personal” self.

We need to accept our new identity with a certainty that we lacked when we were controlled by the ego. This will take some doing. Our ability to be certain of anything has been sadly lacking. But now we can truly and completely accept our new self, a new personal self honed by the new tenets that the Christ-Self has learned through A Course of Love. We can live better for the first time in our lives.

What does this mean? What does “living better” really mean? We have left our fears behind, left them because fears are egoic in nature. We know a calmness that we have never known before. Sure, the feeling still comes and goes. But the calmness is real. And in our better moments, we know that we are living closer to God than we ever have before.

Let the part of our identity that is the Christ-Self, a part of God, speak to us today. Let the calmness that is in our heart overtake our personality, our persona, and give us the grace to live well.

Prayer

It behooves me to “walk my talk,” and calmness is something that I am reaching for today. Help me to feel it. Indeed, thank You for the greater calmness that has developed for me over this morning. Thank You for being there for me.

Your love is palpable to me today. I sense that Your concern is real, that You know what my concern is, and that You reach out to me in comfort. I am blessed to feel Your warmth.

Thank You.

Amen.

Living in Perpetual Calm

“These words, truth and peace and love, are interchangeable in the house of truth as their meaning there is the same. These words, like the words House of Truth represent an awareness of a new reality, a new dwelling place.

“The word house as used in the House of Truth does not represent a struc¬ture but a dwelling place. The word house as used in the house of illusion does represent a structure. The house of illusion is a construction meant to shield the personal self from all that it would fear. The house of truth is the dwelling place of those who no longer live in fear and thus have no need for a structure of seeming protection.

“The house of illusion is the stage on which the drama of the human experience has been acted out.

“During the time I spent on earth I did not dwell in the house of illusion but in the house of truth.” (ACOL, T3:11.3 – 11.6)

The House of Truth is elsewhere referred to in A Course of Love as the Kingdom of God, and some of us may understand what is being said more readily with this older term. We often think of being at peace, inwardly, when we are in the Kingdom. And here we hear that truth and peace and love are interchangeable words. Indeed. We have long noted that A Course in Miracles was published by the Foundation for Inner Peace.

We have been in illusion, as ACIM and ACOL have pointed out repeatedly. Now we have a way to go into true reality, at least as the “real world” is noted. This reality is a hallmark of both ACIM and ACOL. And to experience it, we need to be at peace inwardly. Half-way measures won’t be enough to give us lasting peace. A strong antidote to stress and discomfort is needed, and ACIM and ACOL provide that antidote.

We are not living in fear when we live in the House of Truth, or the Kingdom of God. We are living in perpetual calm, a calm marred only by patterns of the ego that may still plague us. There is a way out, but it does take patience. The longer we stay on the pathway, the more likely that we will know inner peace. And inner peace is the hallmark of the Kingdom.

Prayer

This oasis of calm that I feel today is very welcome. Thank You. My love for You propels me forward into a better day, a better tomorrow. The solace that I feel when I turn inward is You, pure and simple. You are within me, creating that oasis of calm.

Be with me as this day moves forward. Be with me over the days, weeks, months, and years ahead. Your warmth pervades my soul. And this is a very welcome experience.

Amen.

Being Calm and Quiet in Zen-Like Peace

“There is a core of peace at the center of your Self now and the issues that you choose to deal with will not affect that core of peace at all. While you may find this almost disturbing, you will not go to extremes to break this peace.” (ACOL, T1:10.1)

Throughout A Course of Love, Jesus encourages us with indications that we are advancing spiritually. And this passage is one such indication: We are more at peace, and though we may question this emotion, we will not do anything untoward to break our peace. For those of us who have studied A Course in Miracles, the allusion here is obvious: We are dropping the dramas that have consumed us so often and so badly for all of our lives, the part of our lives spent in egoic attachment. Elsewhere Jesus says that we will sometimes come close to lamenting this new placidity. We will think that we are really living only when we are caught in another drama, experiencing highs and lows that we have previously thought were evidence of true living. Others will still experience these highs and lows, and we will sometimes come close to envy of their way of life—a way of life that we used to enjoy.

But we have already had experiences like this, and we know, if we think about it, that the low that follows the high is so devastating to us that we would forgo the high. A Course in Miracles is also close in interpretation to this line of thought. We are told in ACIM that the purpose of life is to become “perfectly calm and quiet all the time.” Now, certainly when we first read that in ACIM, we doubted that this peaceful way of life would actually be desirable. We were still caught up in the highs and lows, the drama, of the ego, and we thought that what we were doing was really living.

If we have gotten this far in ACOL, though, we know better. We are happier when we stay on an even keel. We are happier when we are perfectly calm and quiet. And both ACIM and ACOL indicate that happiness is God’s great desire for us. It is one of our functions (along with salvation and forgiveness). We will no longer desire the high, because of the low. This does not, though, mitigate against peak experiences. Jesus says elsewhere that peak experiences are what we can look forward to in the way of life that he is pointing out. Peak experiences occur with great regularity once we are firmly set on the pathway toward ultimate salvation, which is Christ-consciousness. Maslow knew what he was talking about, and here Jesus reaffirms Maslow’s concept of peak experiences in A Course of Love.

Let’s choose to enjoy peak experiences rather than the egoic ideal of great drama. The ego has never given us anything that is lasting, except turmoil and unhappiness. Now is the time to know the genuine euphoria of peak experiences through a Self Who comes from God, deep within each of us.

Prayer

I long to experience peak moments, and I know that these will come more and more frequently when I get all of my Self aligned with You. Help me to do this. Help me to let go of even the little dramas that disturb my peace, that keep me less than soothed.

I would ask You to soothe me. This is the best way, and I appreciate that I have reading in A Course of Love that does just that—soothe. Be with me today as I seek to slow down and savor all of life. Life’s richness is just there waiting for me. Thank You.

Amen.

Mellowness Prepares for Christ-Consciousness

“This going back is, in reality, more in the way of reflection than review, although if you were to think of this as a re-viewing of your self, you would be quite accurate. It is like unto the final judgment as it has been described, a sorting of the real from the unreal, of truth from illusion. Despite the similarity between what this will call forth and the description of the final judgment, judgment is not the means or end of this reckoning.” (ACOL, C:19.22)

This quotation is important. It explains how we ready ourselves for Awakening. We need to go into our deeper mind, to let the memories surface, and as those memories are brought to the surface (however briefly), we are healed. This is akin to a final judgment, though it is not actually judgment, but something more benign. We are simply bringing up old reactions, egoic reactions, to be able to heal. And in the healing, we have moved into readiness for Christ-consciousness.

We can’t have access to the subconscious mind except when we are calm and serene. All of us know examples of times that we couldn’t think of a person’s name when we were trying to introduce that person to another. This common problem is emblematic of the fact that stress interferes with memories coming up to the surface.

It is the same as we seek to heal. We block awareness of past happenings when we are tense. This tension, this stress, would block our healing; that is the point. That is why we need to relax, relax the body, relax the mind. I have previously extolled “mellowness” as the right type of condition to welcome. It might even be said that
mellowness harbors a glimpse of enlightenment.

And so it will be with all of us. We will invite relaxation, mellowness, and the hidden memories from the subconscious will surface—to be healed. We need this final reckoning. It is the way that we prepare, virtually the only thing that we need to do to “get ready” for God to take the final action, reaching down to us to lift us up for Awakening.

Invite mellowness today. Meditation, quiet time, will help. Just listen to the words that surface in the mind, for these are clues of what needs to be forgiven. And in the forgiving we are saved, saved for enlightenment.

Prayer

Dear Father/Mother,

Thank You for the mellowness that I feel this morning. May I continue to feel this mellowness all day long. And may I open my mind to the memories that, brought up to the surface, will be healed.

May this day go well. I think that it will. But I can so easily get tangled up, even after a good beginning of the day. Help me to stay straightened out today. Help my mellowness to last.

Thank You.

Amen.

Perfectly Calm and Quiet All the Time

“Emotions speak the language of your separated self rather than the language of your heart. They are the forward guard of your defense system, always on the lookout for what might hurt or slight the little you that they deem under their protection, or the other little selves you deem under yours.” (ACOL, C:9.2)

Our emotions often deceive us, for our emotions often speak the language of the separated self. This separated self, also known as the personal or little self, will transform into a better personal self, the one that we will present to others, when we have moved beyond egoic preoccupation. It is when the emotions are under the sway of the ego that such dramatic highs and lows pull us under.

Contrariwise, our heart impels us toward calm and peace, a tranquility that is not of this world, but God’s world. Here the emotions don’t dash us against stones that lie under our feet. The emotions lift us up, for calm and peace are still. Some who experience this calm and peace for the first time think that they are depressed, because they feel little emotion. The tranquility takes some getting used to. We are not actually depressed, but we think we are because the dramatic shifts in mood have caused an addiction to riotous living, living of highs and lows.

If we don’t hasten back to some drama that threatens to engulf us, we will grow to like the new calm. We would not choose to be other than perfectly calm and quiet. But in the beginning we don’t know how fortunate we are to have a heart that speaks a serene language. We think that we are not truly living if we are without the drama.

We are living, and a better life indeed. We will no longer dread what our days will bring us, for highs always prompted lows, and the lows were very difficult indeed to handle. A calm, tranquil spirit invites the peace that passeth understanding, and none who experience this peace will wish for it to end. When it does end, we can know that it will come again. And because of this, we are blessed indeed.

We would do well to avoid being defensive about the life that we live. This is a primary theme of A Course in Miracles, and here Jesus emphasizes the same idea. Defense makes what it would defend against, and until we give up defense of the egoic personal self, we won’t know the peace that this passage for today offers us. God grants to us the peace that passeth understanding when we are wise enough to accept it without murmur. This means that our pseudo love affair with drama is ceasing.

Reverence for God

1 – True Self

“We now will discuss being the true self while becoming the true self—the time in between your awareness and access to Christ-consciousness, or unity, and your sustainability of Christ-consciousness, or unity, in form. (Dialogues of A Course of Love, Day Six)”

2 – Inbetween

We are in an inbetween time now. We are seeking Christ-consciousness, though “seeking” is not quite what we ought to be doing. Seeking is a harbinger of the old way of learning, and no individual can set his/her time of Awakening (Christ-consciousness). We are now the true self, but we are not all that we can become.

3 – Sustainability of Christ-consciousness

It may take some time to reach sustainability of Christ-consciousness. We do, for most of us, see glimpses, or satori, long before we sustain Christ-consciousness. The sustainability is what our elevated Self of form will achieve, but it is not achievement as we understand achievement of egoic things. It will come about through the grace of God, though we can do things that will prepare. Having thoughts that we do not think will lead the way.

4 – Help

These thoughts that we do not think are a form of thought transfer into the mind and heart. They come from either God, our subconscious, our Self, or entities on the Other Side. We are not nearly as alone as we think. There is always someone there who will help.

5 – Becoming

“As was said earlier: To realize the state of becoming is to realize that an in between exists between the time of learning and the time of being the elevated Self of form. (Dialogues of A Course of Love, Day Six)”

6 – Repetition

This simply reinforces what we have read previously. Jesus uses repetition to lodge thoughts in our minds.

7 – Music

“In all stages of its creation, the piece of music exists in relationship to its creator. . . .Only when it is a complete and full and true expression of the artist’s idea, however, will it and the artist be one.

“You are a work of art headed for this oneness of full and true expression. (Dialogues of A Course of Love, Day Six)”

8 – Example of Music

Jesus, previously, uses the composing of music as a metaphor for the transformation that we are undergoing. The music first exists as an idea in the mind of the composer, but once he/she has set the idea to musical notes, the composer and the piece of music become one through the expression of the music in being played.

9 – Oneness with God

We are like that. We are heading toward full expression of our Oneness with God, our Christ Self.

10 – Colleagues

“Thinking of our relationship as that of colleagues as well as companions, as fellow workers or work-mates with a task to accomplish, as well as conversationalists, is not an erroneous way to think of our relationship. (Dialogues of A Course of Love, Day Six)”
11 – Jesus

Jesus describes his relationship to us in these 40 days and 40 nights as a colleague, a companion, a fellow-work, a work-mate, and the two of us—he and us—are conversationalists engaged in a meaningful dialogue.

12 – Equals

We have long thought of Jesus as our teacher, but he relinquishes that role with us on the mountaintop which we are ascending with him. He wants us to see ourselves as equals with him, and this a very lofty thought indeed. How can we so see without arrogance. Drop egocentric thinking, and then we will not be arrogant in following Jesus’s train of thought in making us equals to him.

13 – Drop Egocentric Thinking

How do we drop egocentric thinking? It is frequently a long process, over much time, but it need not be. We can genuinely long to drop egotistical thoughts and actions from their expression, and we will find ourselves making progress every day. Occasionally there is a quick and irreversible transformation at one juncture, and this happens when we quickly and irrevocably give up our own judgment about what to say and do. As A Course in Miracles points out, usually the giving up of judgment is a fairly slow process, not because it is difficult, but because we find it personally insulting. The world has trained for reliance upon judgment to make good decisions, but Jesus goes to some lengthy in ACIM to let us see that good judgment, lacking guidance from the Holy Spirit, is simply not possible because we can’t know all of the past, present, and future decisions and happenings that will impinge on the any given decision.

14 – Acceptance

“Does this work of acceptance seem never ending? It is until it is replaced by reverence, just as learning was unending until it was replaced by acceptance. (Dialogues of A Course of Love, Day Six)”

15 – Reverence

When we feel reverence, we are at our best, close to God, communing with God. This welcomes the Presence of God, and when we do so, we will have days of good flow, serene and untroubled. So we do not need to “work” at acceptance for long, if we develop the right attitude toward our Maker. When we feel reverent, we are home free.

16 – Difficulty

“What you are going to realize from this time of seeming difficulty is an end to difficulty and the growth of your ability to do whatever you do peacefully and to be who you are in whatever situation you find yourself in. (A Course of Love: Dialogues, p. 128)”

17 – Time of Becoming

We are in the “time of becoming” on the metaphorical mountain top with Jesus as our companion, but not our “teacher” any longer–for the time of learning has passed, and we are in the time of discovery. We are becoming the true self of Christ-consciousness, the elevated Self of form. But there is an in between state of trying to maintain rather than the sustaining of Christ-consciousness, and we are called to this in between state right now in this 40 days and nights of preparation.

18 – Composer

Jesus makes a comparison to an artist composing a piece of music. There is a time when the music may or may not “flow” into him or her, and then eventually, there is a feeling that completion is needed. All along the way, the artist may make the decision to share his music, either early or late in the process of preparation. We are reaching out to our brothers and sisters in love, with the thought that we are heading toward a greater understanding while in the midst of daily life. These 40 days and nights are not meant to take us “out” of life; the optimal situation is to remain in our normal lives. We may think that a removal would be advantageous, but Jesus asserts not.

19 – Calm

We need a created place of calm within; that is a main reason why we are not told to try to remove ourselves from normal life. We are the created becoming the creator of our lives. The passage for today emphasizes the ease with which life will be lived when we have attained Christ-consciousness. We reach for this without strain or effort; we allow Jesus to guide us at all times in this mountain top experience.

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

Help me to be patient on this mountain top with Jesus. I long for peace, and I long to be who I really am without strain. I have strained so often. It is a great blessing to learn that all of that can be put behind me now.

May the remainder of this day go well. This I frequently ask of You. It is important to me to have good days, and as I go through the mountain top experience once more, I appeal to YOu to be with me. Keep my mind clear and my emotions calm. Give me right thinking and right interpretations. Help me do my part, knowing that You will do yours. May I have peace above all else, inner peace with You at the helm. Thank You.

May I create a place of calm within myself, as I leave behind the old self and reach toward Christ-consciousness and the elevated Self of form. May I be patient, knowing that this boon is my destiny. Thank You for being with me today and every day.

Amen.