Tag Archives: Celia Hales

“I NEED DO NOTHING”

Note: Published in Miracles magazine for March – April 2020 (Jon Mundy, publisher)

by Celia Hales

“. . .[W]hen the goal is finally achieved by anyone, it always comes with just one happy realization: ‘I need do nothing.’”  (ACIM, COA ed., T-22.VII.7:1)

“This is a call that requires you to do nothing but to remain faithful to it.  You do not need to think about it, but only let it be.”  (ACOL, C:11.17)

“And here we begin to touch upon the essence of my teaching:  I need do nothing.”  (WOM, Part 3 “The Way of Knowing,” Lesson 27)

            When the light has dawned, when we reach Awakening, Jesus says that we sense, “I need do nothing.”  This sentence may have caused much confusion, because it isn’t saying what we  think it is.

            The Way of Mastery elucidates the meaning very well, for here the same thought is discussed.  First let’s take a look at what it isn’t saying:

I need do nothing so I’ll just show up. . . .I really don’t need to do anything, since none of it matters. (WOM, Lesson 27)

            We might think that we can now rest on our laurels.  That we have arrived!  And need do nothing more.  But this is not quite right.

            Instead, the meaning is simply to open ourselves up to our Source, God Himself, and the Holy Spirit Who will tell us that our only purpose is the extension of love.  In A Course of Love, we open ourselves up to the Christ-Self Who dwells within, for this is where we get guidance when we no longer need the intermediary of the Holy Spirit, being ourselves no longer afraid of God.  The Way of Mastery continues:

. . .to find that spaciousness with you in which you are willing to allow that voice within you that is eternally connected to your Source to be the vehicle through which you receive your guidance.  In the pure recognition that you have no purpose—save the extension of Love. (WOM, Lesson 27)

            We are opening ourselves to the spaciousness of our very souls, something that A Course of Love discusses at length.  We are not falling down on the job.  Our work in the world still happens—and still matters–but we don’t dwell on the end result.  Instead, the action, on a daily basis and in the present, is finally viewed as the most important part.    

            We listen for what to do, and then we act.             An easy way to live.

AMAZING COMMENTARY ON A COURSE OF LOVE

Note: Published on Amazon. To be published in Miracles magazine, January – February 2020 issue.

LOVE ON THE MOUNTAIN, by Laurel Elstrom
Review by Celia Hales

Love on the Mountain is a big book, a glorious book, that focuses upon the Forty Days and Forty Nights of the Dialogues of A Course of Love. Laurel Elstrom has climbed the mountain, first a journey for herself and friends, and now makes another climb, this one for us. And she found Jesus there, at the top.

If we have been puzzled by the Forty Days and Forty Nights, now we have help, outstanding help. Through a variety of reading aids–including a challenge for each “day,” quotations from ACOL, “inquiries,” practices, meditations, and a final section for each day entitled, “Go Deeper”—we are led ever more completely toward understanding what our trek toward Christ-consciousness really means. The experience of Awakening comes alive, our questions find answers. Laurel asks the difficult questions, and then she answers them in words that cull from ACOL the most precise meaning.

I interpret the consistent theme of Love on the Mountain: A Guide to Self-Discovery to be a constantly expanding awareness of living our experiences, without doing anything to distract us from experience or to soften life’s blows. This way of viewing the Forty Days and Forty Nights works well, for we are leaving behind a separated life (from God) and joining others in unity. Our differentiated human form is elevating, becoming the elevated Self of form, the new term that we use for our awakened mind and heart.

Laurel recommends that we work with her book in conjunction with ACOL, reading each day’s lesson first, and then moving on to her commentary. This guide can work well in either a study group or individually. In a study group, one chapter a week would normally work best. The reading aids in Laurel’s book are short and to the point, well-suited to reading aloud (as one is asked to do with A Course of Love itself). I can envision lively discussions as those of us who love ACOL are teased out of thought and into our heart in an effort to get at the “true” meaning of the text. In individual study, the various reading aids fit our short attention spans, giving us a “bite” of knowledge that we can assimilate without difficulty.

Love on the Mountain is easily digested because it is well-written. Yet the meaning is deep, and there are layers and layers of meaning, as befits a guide to ACOL. Laurel has succeeded admirably in elucidating ACOL prose, often using examples and terms from daily life that give us something to peg a meaning to.
Laurel Elstrom is a writer, teacher, and spiritual coach who has contributed to The Bridge, The Embrace, and The Miracle Worker. She has 108 YouTube videos covering each chapter in A Course of Love. She also has 30 years’ experience as a facilitator of groups studying A Course in Miracles and A Course of Love. This book was beta-tested in several study groups for A Course of Love, and so here we have a compilation of “what works.”

Several years in the making, Love on the Mountain succeeds in what it set out to do. It guides readers of A Course of Love to and from the mountain of Self-discovery, the climb that will make life different than it has ever been before. Laurel has a natural acceptance of our clay feet, and her reassuring words as we make an attempt to scale the mountain lead us to love A Course of Love all the more. She says, though, not to struggle. The end of separation from God, the next leap in human/divine embodiment—the elevated Self of form in Christ-consciousness or Awakening–is not a difficult pathway. We are returning home, the place we never actually left.

I recommend Laurel Elstrom’s Love on the Mountain enthusiastically and with love for what it can do for our journey to Christ-consciousness. In conjunction with A Course of Love, we have in Love on the Mountain the perfect text to accompany us to and from the mountain.

BATHED IN LIGHT

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

by Celia Hales

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

by Celia Hales

Introduction

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Conclusion

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

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

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

A COURSE OF LOVE: AN OVERVIEW – NEW FROM TAKE HEART PUBLICATIONS

Celia Hales (writer of this blog) has just published a little 48 – page book entitled A Course of Love: An Overview, with Take Heart Publications, the publisher of A Course of Love, Glenn Hovemann, publisher.

Please visit the A Course of Love website for ordering information. It is available as a paperback and an e-book for $3.95. (Scroll downward on the ACOL web site after viewing the new images.)

Here is an excerpt from the preface of the booklet on my introduction to Mari:

The year was 2004, three years after Mari Perron had published the first part of f A Course of Love (also known by its acronym, ACOL) with New World Library. Like Mari, I was living in the Twin Cities area of Minnesota. And, like Mari, I was a seeker.

Some time had gone by since I had purchased and read the New World edition. But I found myself interested in having a conversation with Mari about A Course of Love, in part about the assertion I had read that Jesus had channeled this new work. We met over coffee. She was charming and articulate, but unassuming, just a “regular” person. We were deep in conversation for over an hour.

Mari’s daughter Mia came over to greet us. Mari lamented that A Course of Love had not “taken off” the way that she would have liked. Mia said something prophetic: She said that it took a while for A Course in Miracles to take off, and that it would just take some time for A Course of Love to become known as well.
As our conversation continued, Mari said, “I have been praying that someone would come to me to help me get the word out about A Course of Love.”
I was stunned. Mari thought that I was an answer to her prayer.

I thought she had the wrong person. I was A Course in Miracles enthusiast, and I thought that she needed a younger generation to come along and help her.

Now, twelve years later and seven years into writing a blog on both A Course in Miracles and A Course of Love, I think Mari might have been right all along. Right about a mission for me, right about Jesus as the one who channeled to her.

Now many others are drawn to ACOL, due largely to Glenn Hovemann’s Take Heart Publications and the new combined volume. Yes, Jesus’s professed “continuation” of A Course in Miracles has an ever-widening and increasingly enthusiastic audience.

To my mind Jesus had “unfinished business” with us after A Course in Miracles. A Course of Love answers many of the questions that we have had after reading A Course in Miracles. Now Jesus not only takes us by the hand and leads us beyond the ego, but he tells us how to establish a new identity—in this body but beyond this body, the “elevated Self of form.”

We are on the threshold of a newly created world. The Voice that Mari heard as “thoughts she did not ‘think,” (D:12.11) now made available to us in A Course of Love, counsels us to transform ourselves and our world.

Thank you for your interest.

–Celia