Change from Within Works

“Imagine then, a society in which the prevalent legal view is simply that your brother or your sister is an aspect of yourself. And if you would help yourself, you must help them—meeting each cry for help and healing with forgiveness, love and support. Can you imagine, for a moment, what it would be like to live in such a society? How would it be different than the world you see?

“If you would have these things be different, it must begin with you. For the way to heal the world is not by seeking to change what is on the outside, but by first changing what is on the inside. When that change has occurred, you will become a conduit for an energy that knows how to use your gifts, and how to place you in just the right situations. And a great power will work effectively through you—the power alone that knows how to heal your world.” (“The Way of the Heart,” WOM, Chapter 3, Page 29)

The truth is that we ARE aspects of each other, for we are One. And this One includes all the people in the world, as well as all energy everywhere. If we realize that to harm another is to harm ourselves, we will be less likely to strike out. In fact, we won’t strike out at all.

This truth becomes clearer when we realize that we think we have been harmed, and we want to lash out. Why would we hurt another as we have been hurt if we are all the same?

We wouldn’t. I can imagine that even our penal system would alter tremendously when we realize that we are all One. We all have the potential to harm.

We need to meet bad things with an attempt to heal. Everything negative is actually a call for help and healing, and when we realize this, and express a desire to help and heal, we are on the right track.

We can’t actually alter the exterior unless we have first altered the interior, our very propensities emanating from our personalities as well as our souls. This is what traditional Christianity says, including the orator Billy Graham. The buck stops here. We are in need to change, first, before we can take that change and influence our world—indeed, even create a new world.

Change from within works. Nothing else does.

Heal the Inner Altar

“For perfect effectiveness the Atonement belongs at the center of the inner altar, where it undoes the separation and restores the wholeness of the mind. (T-2.II.2)”

Atonement is what we need, more than anything. All of us recognize this, however dimly, though sometimes we have trouble wrapping our minds around what Atonement really means. This developing problem is due, in large part, to the fact that our traditional Christianity looks to the crucifixion, first, and only then, later, to the resurrection. The crucifixion is seen as a shedding of blood that God required of a perfect Son in order to remove the taint of sin from all of us.

This interpretation, Jesus says in A Course in Miracles, is not accurate, and, so, if we believe the Jesus who channeled ACIM, we will see that Jesus looks to his resurrection as the defining moment in Atonement. Nowhere in either A Course in Miracles nor A Course of Love does Jesus say that the resurrection didn’t happen. Of course, we may wonder exactly how he could have been resurrected, and Jesus does not stop us from wondering. He lets us decide for ourselves.

But there is great clarity around the idea that the message of the crucifixion was wholly benign, that Jesus presented himself as innocent, and totally defenseless, and he did not attack back in any way whatsoever. In this, he developed the pattern for us not to attack in circumstances that would be far less extreme than his own.

Here, in this quotation, Jesus is noting that the inner altar has become defiled, not from sin, but from mistakes that are wholly correctable. And God would have us look to the true innocence of our inner altar. This inner altar is in the same place, we may presume, as the inner Self. And this inner Self is our Christ Self, which we wish to keep as pure as it has always been. We do not want our inner altars to remain defiled.

We want the separation healed. And looking to the inner altar as a place of purity will be a healing thought. Then our minds are healed, and we rejoin the great crusade to bring others to God. Our minds are no longer split between the ego and love. They are just consumed by Love, which is God. We are a part of God, always, and now we are in communication with him, with open channels, once again. God does not need to think that His channels to us are closed. The separation has been healed, along with our minds.

How Should the Teacher of God Spend His Day?

“Broadly speaking, then, it can be said that it is well to start the day right. It is always possible to begin again, should the day begin with error. Yet there are obvious advantages in terms of saving time. (M-16.2)”

1 – The Secret, by Rhonda Byrne

This passage from A Course in Miracles is echoed in the popular book The Secret, by Rhonda Byrne. There is detailed the fact that stumbling when getting out of bed often starts a chain reaction, because we rue the beginning of the day, our thoughts turn negative, and then a little bit of everything seems to go wrong.

2 – We Create Our Own Reality

The Secret affirms that we create our own reality, we draw to us that which happens to us. And the work includes many examples of how better things, particularly material things, can come to us when we image those better things in our minds, affirming that our minds are very powerful.

3 – Positive Thinking

I recommend positive thinking on getting out of bed in the morning. I believe that the intangibles are more to be desired than the ego-oriented material aspects of our world. I also believe that we will never remain satisfied, regardless of how many material things we acquire, if we don’t have a handle on these intangibles of peace, joy, contentment, harmony, and the like. In my spiritual orientation, these intangibles are the blessings of God. And we can create these in our reality as well. These spiritual aspects are emphasized in two later books by Rhonda, entitled The Power and The Magic. In these two books, she focuses on the importance of gratitude and the importance of love in creating our reality.

4 – If the Day Begins Badly. . .

If the day begins badly, if we stump our toe, for example, we need a quick restorative. And this can come through The Secret’s emphasis on gratitude in daily life, which certainly is a spiritual concept.

5 – Gratitude

Gratitude expressed throughout a day is a day well spent.

6 – No Planning Necessary

The lesson for today from the Workbook of A Course in Miracles goes on to affirm that we do not need to plan our day. This is something that I especially need to hear, maker of “to do” lists that I am. It is true that we need a plan, but that plan is best, according to ACIM, the plan of the Holy Spirit, who will prompt us at various junctures about what to do next. This idea of guidance is not well-recognized in our world, and that is such a pity. Anyone who has met the Holy Spirit knows that He will guide us to the degree that we are open to His guidance. He will develop a flow to our day, and the day will indeed be marvelous, even if bad things happen. We will be largely impervious to those bad things, seeing them but not being intimately damaged by what we view.

7 – Offer Solace

We do need to offer solace to our brothers and sisters on this earth, though, especially if they are creating a reality that is detrimental to their well-being.

8 – Blaming the Victim

I do have a cautionary note. We all too often, in New Age circles, think that the individual who is suffering has somehow brought this suffering on themselves. But I believe that it is the Self that makes these decisions, not the personal self. And so the “little I” is innocent of the bad that seems to follow us into this world. The Self that is within, the Christ within, selects happenings that are intended to broaden our perspective. We sometimes suffer for a larger purpose. But it doesn’t have to be this way, and as soon as we ask for surcease, we are released from the pain. The physical and emotional pain may not subside immediately, of course, but the way has been paved. And the Self always has our best interests at heart. We can ask, as Jesus in the Text of ACIM recommends, that we learn through rewards, a more lasting learning experience than anything that pain can bring us.

9 – You Do Not Have to Learn through Pain

“You do not have to learn through pain,” we learn in ACIM. What a blessing this assertion really is. And all we have to do to merit this end is to step forward and claim it.

Affirmation: “I am going to do what I can to have a good day today.”

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

May this day go well. I am starting over, because already there has been some stress in my day, self-generated. I know that getting a slower start in the morning is good. And I know that when I get that slower start, the rest of the day falls in place.

May I have Your guidance to create my reality. I know that Your blessings are intangibles, though You know that we need the material also. I especially pray for peace in this sometimes difficult world. May my brothers and sisters, as well as myself, live in harmony with each other.

Amen.

Salvation = Game that Happy Children Play

Starry-Night - van gogh
“Realize that this game of chance [tension between desire and accomplishment] is a pattern of the old thought system that needs to be replaced by certainty. If you have enjoyed the game of chance, play a real game and have fun doing it. Do not bring this attitude into your new thought system or your new life. If you are tired of the old, be willing to be done with the old. (Treatises of A Course of Love: Treatise on the Personal Self, 22.15)”

Affirmation: “There is no challenge in reality.”

Reflections:

1 – No Challenge to the Advanced Teacher of God

The passage for today indicates that there is no challenge—to the advanced teacher of God (from A Course in Miracles). To my mind, the tension between desire and accomplishment IS challenge. And we do not want to reinforce this attitude. We want to be done with the old.

2 – Guidance

According to the Manual of A Course in Miracles, there is no challenge to the advanced teacher of God because he/she follows guidance. He/she chooses for all humankind at the same time as choosing for the self. He/she makes no mistakes (be careful for this, for we oscillate in and out of favor), because his Guide (in ACIM, the Holy Spirit) is sure. He/she knows that his/her decisions are based on knowledge that is far beyond anything that he/she can comprehend alone.

3 – Certainty

If we are tired of playing this game of chance, in that some things turn out well and others don’t, know that we can be through with this particular game. Instead, let us play the happy game of salvation, a “game that happy children play” (from ACIM). Let us choose what we say and do with the certainty that has been denied us previously. We can know certainly only by following guidance, and, with A Course of Love, this guidance is the word coming from the inner Self, Christ. We make no mistakes when we are on the beam with this. But we have to realize that we are not perfect in this world, and mistakes will still happen. This keeps us humble, and this also keeps us listening to the inner voice of guidance.

4 – Glimpses of the Real World

Are we weary of this world? There is a way out, and it is not death. We can, most of us, catch glimpses of the real world before Awakening turns out life aright all the time. The first turning is by grace of God, but there are things that we can do to increase glimpses once they have begun. Prayer, study, and communion with God—all increase the likelihood that these glimpses will increase qualitatively and quantitatively.

5 – A Prayer

May we know more today than yesterday, and may we know more tomorrow than today. Always, though, living in the present.

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

I would be cognizant today of taking part in a real game, not a game of conflict and disaster. I would see salvation as a game that happy children play, knowing that the lighthearted touch is best.

Be with me to clue me in to the right way to proceed. And thank You for Your presence, which always brings a feeling of warmth and a feeling of being loved.

Amen.

God’s Will Identifies My Real Desire

van gogh - sunflowers
“What you desire now is the Will of God because it is your true desire, your will and God’s joined as one. (Treatises of A Course of Love: Treatise on the Personal Self, 22.14)”

Affirmation: “I desire God’s will, which is the same as my real will.”

Reflections:

1 – Guidance

An echo of A Course in Miracles, this passage for today emphasizes why we ought to listen to guidance or intuition, or whatever way in which we understand God’s Voice reaching us. If we are following ACIM, this way will be the Voice of the Holy Spirit. If we are following A Course of Love, this way will be the inner Christ leading us home. In actuality, because All is One, I see no effectual differences between these two. We can appeal to the triune God to see how this might be: Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.

2 – Choice

The realization that God chooses for us (or the Holy Spirit chooses for us) is the realization that we want no alternate will. He chooses the way that will make us the happiest, and happiness is a laudable goal. He also chooses the path toward Awakening, or Christ-consciousness, or enlightenment, or salvation (there is no real difference in these terms).

3 – God’s Will

For those of us, myself included, who have wrestled as Jonah did with God’s will, we can now recognize that the wrestle is a false issue. God does not bend us to His will if we are unwilling. But, in effect, He says, “Choose this way, for it will make you happiest.” The Holy Spirit in ACIM chooses very small details of our everyday life, setting up the flow of events and circumstances so that we have good days. Even when times are tough, still is this true. The times will not be experienced as tough when we stay close to guidance and God. We will sail through as though there were no barriers to our happiness.

4 – Listening Internally

So the Holy Spirit (in ACIM) chooses “for us” (from ACIM). His way is the one that we would choose if we understand all circumstances, past and present, as well as future. Of course, it is impossible for us to know all of this, and this is why we need an informed Guide. We need to give up our personal judgments, which are always false, and listen to an inner voice.

5 – The Pathway

We will walk the pathway with surety when we follow that inner voice.

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

I would listen to inner knowledge, knowing that I am guided every step of the way—if I listen correctly. May I recognize that I can still make mistakes, even big mistakes, but I pray that I will follow instead, Your way, accurately.

Be with me as I go about my day. Help me to correct my wrongs. Give me the grace to see Your way in everything. There is no better way to live an egoless existence than to follow You moment by moment.

Amen.

Bored? Tired of the Way Things Are?

van gogh - landscape“This [your wandering attention] has been necessary so that the realization will come to you that you are ready to leave the personal self and the concerns of the personal self behind. You have needed to become bored with what has been, tired of the way things were, uninterested in matters of a personal nature. (Treatises of A Course of Love: Treatise on the Personal Self, 22.10)”

Affirmation: “I would leave the personal self behind in favor of the Self today.”

Reflections:

1 – Transition

Elsewhere we learn that the personal self does not really get left behind (the way that is described by Jesus here), but is transcended into the Self who is the Christ within. How do we make this transition?

2 – Bored with the Ways of the Personal Self

Jesus says that the way has been paved for us in A Course of Love when we recognize that we have become actually bored with the ways of the personal self. We don’t want things to be as they have always been. We don’t care so much what happens to the personal self, and by this it is likely that Jesus means the personal self as embodied by the ego (an interpretation, not stated in A Course in Miracles or ACOL).

3 – Bored with the ACOL Discussion?

We can even become bored with the discussion in ACOL that we are reading, and, believe it or not, I think that this is a good sign. We are once again examining the ego, and examining the ego, when encased in it, is praised by that same ego. This focus on ego dynamics proves to the false self (the ego) that it is important and worthy of study.

4 – Madness

Nothing could be further from the truth. The ego is dysfunctional, a persona that is mad or insane. And all of us have experienced insanity for eons, not knowing any better, and not being able to extricate ourselves from the insanity.

5 – Eckhart Tolle

We can do so now, but it takes great learning and much patience (paraphrases from the Text of ACIM). Eckhart Tolle, a spiritual teacher who experienced Awakening some 30 years previously, has said that more and more of us are reaching Awakening, that he hears of this in his mail and in encountering individuals in his work just all the time. He feels that he is at an epicenter of what is happening, not that this appeals the ego in him (which is dead), but that his own commentary and teaching make him a logical contact for those who wish to understand more of what is happening to them.

6 – Flowering

May this be true! May many of us “flower” in this way, the way of Christ-consciousness or Awakening. Eckhart feels that unless humankind makes the shift soon, we are doomed, and he cites the huge murder of countless innocent people in the Twentieth and Twentieth-First Centuries as evidence of the doom that may await us.

7 – Home

I would not be so pessimistic, but I would try to be realistic. God is at work in our world, and He will lead all those who are ready, lead us home. And we will not have long to wait.

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

Thank You for another good day. Thank You for this good period. It helps to have smooth days and days without major troubles of any kind. The smoothing out of my days comes when I stay close to You, and help me always to remember this.

Thank You for the inspiration that comes to me in my reading and listening to audio books. Thank You for the words of wisdom that friends say, sometimes without fully realizing how much their words will impress on my heart. Be with me, and guide my speech as well.

All of us need You. We need to be aware of how great that need really is so that we are never tempted to go it alone. For going it alone never works well. We are not meant to walk this world in encased bodies, separate and apart from You and others.

Amen.

Have You Felt a Call about A Course of Love?

water-lilies - monet
“[W]hile I have said that no one is called to leadership and while I have surely meant this and do not call for leaders to amass followers, I do not mean to dissuade any of you who feel a call to represent this course and the teachings of this course with your lives and work. Those who feel this call are surely needed. (Treatises of A Course of Love: Treatise on the Personal Self, 22.2)”

Affirmation: “I would answer the call today.”

Reflections:

1 – Personal Experience

Have you felt a call about A Course of Love? I did so, and though it took me a few years to fully respond, I did eventually do so, and I hope I did so in an egoless state of mind. ACOL has not met with the same enthusiasm that A Course of Miracles enjoys, yet I find the material to be a logical sequel and fully helpful. The first, ACIM, sought to dislodge the ego, but many stayed stuck in that dilemma: Had the ego been dislodged? And, if so, what comes next? Do we just patiently wait for Awakening? Is that enough?

2 – Dilemma

I think that Jesus saw the dilemma of students/teachers of A Course in Miracles, and so sought to expand upon his teaching in A Course of Love. And, yes, there are other works that are believed to be channeled by Jesus. I do not make a judgment about those other works. I focus on A Course of Love, because this trilogy speaks to me as the next step in assimilating Jesus’s message of the Christ Self and the elevated Self of form, the next step when we have ultimately relinquished the ego, once and for all.

3 – Relinquishment

This is not easy to do. Jesus makes remarks in ACOL about our egos being gone, but those of us who are still rereading ACOL may find times when the ego is very much still with us. I do not think that we ought to dwell on such times, nor should we chastise ourselves that we are not perfect in relinquishment. It is enough to start the day over, a technique detailed in ACIM. And relinquish the ego again.

4 – The Egotistical

It is helpful to be sure that nothing we attempt to do is done for egotistical reasons, though the term “egotistical” is not all that is meant by the ego. It may be enough for now to refrain from doing those things that appear egotistical. And always commune with our Maker for the ways best to relinquish, to see the ego wither away. When we stay close to God, many things in our daily lives have a way of smoothing out.

5 – Not Perfect

We do not have to be perfect in relinquishment to answer a call to spread the word about A Course of Love. If we were required to be perfect in this work, none would be available to teach. We just have to be careful (and I tell this to myself) that we don’t claim more than is truly ours. I acknowledge to myself that I may be mistaken in an interpretation. I acknowledge fallibility.

6 – Try Again

And then I pick myself up and try again.

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

Thank You for a good day, not a perfect day, but a good day. Many of us have a multitude of blessings that we never acknowledge until a problem arises that causes the loss of something that we have failed to hold in gratitude. May we remember gratitude this day. May we never fail to remember gratitude.

Be with my brothers and sisters in this world. May we communicate well, in tolerant ways that bespeak nothing of the ego that we would disown. May every day see some part of the ego lose its hold on us.

Thank You for your help.

Amen.