Love in Which We Swim

If you were to walk down one of your city streets and to truly look into the eyes of everyone you see, would you not recognize that death seems to have already made a home in the minds of many that are living? (“The Way of the Heart,” WOM, Chapter 4, Page 45)

Yes, I too have had this experience, seeing death in the eyes of a loved one, a family member. There was a glazed-over expression, a deadness that seemed to me at the time to reach her very soul. And she lived for several more years, and so actual death was not imminent. Jesus says that all of us reading these words has had this experience.

I have often wondered what I was seeing. Now Jesus’s words in this statement bring home to me again what I experienced long ago, looking within the eyes of a loved one. I have often wondered if my loved one had not experienced God in her lifetime. Certainly she had led a life that would seem circumscribed and a disappointment in many ways. Was failing to know salvation one of her problems?

We don’t have to live like this, for we are especially fortunate to have Jesus’ newly channeled works to help us live well. If we sense our own eyes as being too dull, let us ask for a surrender to God that will remedy this death-like reflection. We need God, and He will rush to our aid immediately, for the Godhead knows His children. I believe that God knows his children, for I don’t subscribe to the idea that God doesn’t know what we are about because we live an illusion.

Ask for encouragement today. I think this is all that any of us need, encouragement borne of the Love in which we swim.

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What Death Should Be: A Quiet Choice, Made Joyfully and with a Sense of Peace

“False healing merely makes a poor exchange of one illusion for a ‘nicer’ one; a dream of sickness for a dream of health. This can occur at lower forms of prayer, combining with forgiveness kindly meant but not completely understood as yet. Only false healing can give way to fear, so sickness will be free to strike again. (S-3.II.1)”

 

1 – False Healing

 

There is much in the Song of Prayer that explains when and if healing will occur when we have asked for a healing. Jesus uses terms in the Song that do not occur in A Course in Miracles. Here we see the term “false healing,” in which we simply exchange dreams of sickness for a dream of health. But this dream of health may not last, if we have not forgiven totally. Our forgiveness is still often the “forgiveness to destroy,” in which we “forgive,” but we do not forget, and we think ourselves superior to the one we are forgiving. We think that we are in a better position than he/she is, but we certainly remember the wrong word or deed.

 

2 – Forgiveness that the World Gives

 

ACIM tells us that this type of forgiving is all the world can give. And it is a false forgiveness. We think that the person could have done better, when in actuality all of us are doing as well as we can, given our understanding at the time. The word or deed of another is actually a call for help (an ACIM tenet), and the only sane response (also a term from ACIM) is to rush to the other’s side with help. It keeps our rights from being sacrificed (ACIM tenet).

 

3 – Our Rights

 

What does it mean to keep our “rights from being sacrificed”? We are due a good day. All of us are. And when attack has entered the picture, which always happens when we hold against another his/her insanity, then we are sacrificing our own rights to a good day. We are mulling over things best forgotten. Only if our personal safety is an issue do we need to distance ourselves, and even this is not an ACIM tenet. To my mind, though, it is common sense to remove one’s self from the vicinity of another in attack mode, verbal or physical.

 

4 – Death

 

“Yet there is a kind of death that has a different source. It does not come because of hurtful thoughts and raging anger at the universe. It merely signifies the end has come for usefulness of body functioning. And so it is discarded as a choice, as one lays by a garment now outworn. (S-3.II.1)”

 

5 – Other Side

 

We move in this passage to the end of life, to the time that forgiveness has been extended to all whom we have encountered, and we are ready to go home to the Other Side. We do not always get sick at this juncture, though most do. We can simply lay the body aside as a well-worn garment, ready to assume a new form, our ethereal body (not an ACIM tenet, which does not identify what we will be like after death).

 

6 – Choosing Death

 

We can choose death in this world. We do not have to stay here if pain is too great. And I am not talking about suicide. The Self within knows when we have had enough, and there are exit points. Then we develop a terminal illness, and we leave.

 

7 – Remain Healthy

 

But it does not have to be thus. We can, in the ideal world, remain healthy until the end. And then simply lay the body aside. But this usually does not happen, for many of us are weak and frail. We do not yet know how to forgive sufficiently to keep ourselves from sickness and always to choose health.

 

8 – What Death Should Be

 

“This is what death should be; a quiet choice, made joyfully and with a sense of peace, because the body has been kindly used to help the Son of God along the way he goes to God. (S-3.II.2)”

 

9 – Consoling Thoughts

 

So death should be a quiet choice, made “joyfully and with a sense of peace.” What consoling thoughts! Thank you, Jesus, for guiding our minds to such a conclusion.

 

10 – Liberty

 

“We call it death, but it is liberty. It does not come in forms that seem to be thrust down in pain upon unwilling flesh, but as a gentle welcome to release. (S-3.II.3)”

 

11 – Ruth Montgomery

 

Liberty! That is what death at the conclusion of a good life is really all about. Ruth Montgomery, in 20th century writings by automatic writing from her Guides, asserted that death is like walking through an open door. Would that this be all that it is for all us! Ruth wrote such books as A Search for the Truth and A World Beyond, after a long and distinguished journalist in Washington, DC.

 

12 – Death as Benign

 

So we can choose to see death as something entirely benign. We have nothing to fear. Suffering, yes, perhaps. But pain does not have to turn into suffering. We can exit gently.

 

Prayer:

 

Dear Father/Mother,

 

May I see death in a wholly benign way. May I welcome death at the time that is right for me. I realize that this is not yet, for I am healthy and very immersed in living in this world. When my time comes, help me to lay aside my physical body as one would lay aside a well-worn garment.

 

Help me to live joyfully every day of my life. May my prayer life, today, be enriched by turning to You in “praying without ceasing.” When I pray for assistance, You always respond, and right away. You tell me what to do to have peace. I can depend on You, and for this I thank You.

 

Be with me now throughout this day. May my words and deeds always reflect well on You. Help me to set a good example as a student/teacher of A Course in Miracles.

 

And may this day go well. Thank You.

 

Marriage

flower in forest“Often, those within the relationship of marriage have had occasion to choose to forgive the past and begin again to build a new relationship. Others, in a similar relationship, might have chosen to let the past go and enter into new relationships. (Treatises of A Course of Love: Treatise on the Personal Self, 15.1)”

Affirmation: “I will contemplate forgiveness in marriage today.”

Reflections:

1 – New Beginning

We are after a new beginning now as we proceed with A Course of Love and its Treatise on the Personal Self. Jesus exemplifies what he is saying by appealing to marriage as an example of a state in which we may constantly seek new beginnings. Or we may end a marriage, and seek a new beginning with someone else. But we cannot have a true new beginning of either kind in a special relationship, for special relationships partake of the past.

2 – Truly New

We often think that the future cannot be different from the past, and this hinders new beginnings. Jesus is leading up to saying that now we can expect a true new beginning in our lives in the matter of salvation. We can expect the elevation of the Self of form.

3 – Glorious Promise

What a glorious promise indeed this is! If those of us in marital relationships would contemplate all that is promised us by new beginnings, our relationship would flourish. And this is just the idea that Jesus wishes to get across.

4 – Special to Holy Relationships

We can know new beginnings, with the intent to leave the past behind. If we cling to the past too tenaciously, our current relationships will be hindered. We are not asked to give up the past, but only to leave it in its place as a cherished part of ourselves. And anytime that special, as opposed to holy, relationships have disturbed us, we ought to mentally transform the special into the holy (an interpretation, not stated in A Course in Miracles or ACOL).

5 – Today We Look Forward

So let us look to new beginnings in marriage today. We owe a lot to these words of Jesus, words that promise us a new beginning in marriage as in salvation leading to Christ-consciousness and the elevation of the Self of form.

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

You know, dear God, that I said to my husband a couple of days ago that now that my mother has just died, I would have to transfer all of my caregiving to him. Of course, he does not need all the caregiving that my mother did. But he will get more and more attention as the days pass.

Thank You for being with me in the most recent days. It is not a tragedy when a 93-year-old individual goes home to You. And without pain. May You shine Your blessings on all my departed family, who are greeting her into the fold again.

And thank You for the support that I have enjoyed in my marriage. This is indeed a time of especial closeness to You.

Amen.

Do Not Be Afraid of Death

cezanne - still life - fruit

“This world as you perceive of it is built around the foundation of fear, a fear that stemmed from the belief in finite life, in being born into a body and dying to the body.  The person who knows, truly knows, the simplest truth of the identity of the Self no longer lives in a dualistic position with God, but in a monistic state with Him.  (A Course of Love, 30.7)”

Affirmation:  “I do not have to be afraid of death ever again.”

Reflections:

1 – Death and Our Identity

Today’s passage is, first of all, about death.  But, more than that, it is about our real identity in eternity, the Self that exists in eternity and does not have to ever fear the demise of the body.  Yes, surely, the body will die, but the Self has never even been born into this finite world, because it is totally beyond illusion and is, in truth, a real thing, living in the real world.  (A Course in Miracles indicates, in the Manual, words to this effect.)

2 – Monistic State with God

The passage concludes with the fact that we dwell in a monistic state with God, being One with Him.  We do not have to conceive in any way whatsoever that God is separate from ourselves, for He is not.  When we believe in a separate Being who is God, we are dwelling in dualism, and ACIM and A Course of Love do not teach dualism.  In that sense, ACIM and ACOL are at odds with some biblical statements that regard the world as God’s handiwork, and describe an anthropomorphic figure who can come down and walk with us in the garden.  This is a beautiful myth, and it is not far off track, when we conceive of our deepest being, being God, that we are a part of Him.  We can commune with God, for He is the Universal, and He recognizes that our channels of communication to Him have been closed, because we have been asleep.  And, metaphorically, he “thinks” that He must awaken us.  (These are paraphrases from A Course in Miracles.)

3 – Work with God

Let us do all that we feel God is asking of us to be made ready for Awakening (as ACIM calls it) or Christ-consciousness (as ACOL calls it).  We do not know the hour that this blessing will be bestowed on us.

4 – Awakening

It behooves us to be ready, but not to strive to be ready.  Awakening is the gift of God, and we do not have to make elaborate preparations for its arrival.  The holy instant will so transform us that Awakening will be easy and tranquil, relaxed and peaceful.  (The “holy instant” is described in ACIM.)

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

I thank You that I am no longer afraid of death.  I am probably more afraid of suffering unto death.  But I ask You to help me with that as well.  I know that life is eternal, but I did not come to this conclusion on blind faith.  There are indications along the way, and I thank You for leading me to read the right things that supported, for me, a belief in eternal life.

Help me to get ready for Awakening, but I know that it is not indicated to strive for Awakening.  You make the decision, and I await Your good pleasure.  Thank You for the glimpses of Awakening that You have shown me.  And those glimpses show me that what will come is good.

Amen.

Turn Away from Death

“Very gently they [i.e., teachers of God] call to their brothers to turn away from death:  ‘Behold, you Son of God, what life can offer you.  Would you choose sickness in place of this?’ (M-5.III.2)”

Affirmation:  “I choose life.”

Reflections:

1 – How to Live

The way of A Course in Miracles is the way of living life in an extremely positive manner–full of joy for all that one’s day holds.  It is a way of gratitude for the goodness of God, the certainty that we are not alone in the universe, and the peace that living with guidance from the Holy Spirit or Christ-consciousness does bring.  Nothing negative has to be so viewed, even very bad things.  We are living an illusion, a dream.  We feel empathy for others who do not believe that life is meant to be good, and we do not blame them for any negative circumstances that arise.  But we ourselves choose the good for ourselves, and both ACIM and A Course of Love lead us down the lovely pathway to salvation and oneness with God.

2 – Gentleness

The change in our lives is known as soon as we fill our minds with the words of Jesus.  This knowledge automatically keeps us on the straight and narrow, and if we do stray, we immediately ask for forgiveness and walk a smooth path again.  This is a gentle way to live, and gentleness does attend the teacher of God (from the Manual).

3 – Sickness

We do not have to choose sickness, and neither do our brothers and sisters.  Sickness is not automatically eliminated from our lives, though; this would be unrealistic and impractical, and it is the practical with which A Course in Miracles is most concerned.  We must recognize that we have made the reality in which we find ourselves.  Some of us have chosen sickness as a learning device, though Jesus warns us in ACIM that pain offers a temporary bit of learning only.  And we do not have to learn through pain, though many of us choose to do so.

4 – The Self and Sickness

It is important to note that the Self is the part of our being that has chosen sickness.  That is ultimately why no credence is given herein to blaming the victim.

5 – The Personal Self

The personal (little) self that walks the way of the world does not normally choose sickness, unless there are benefits that come about from such a choice.  We may get a day off from work, to relax when we will not allow ourselves any relaxation without sickness.  We may get sympathy from our significant others, and perhaps they do not realize that this sympathy is reinforcing the pain–making us more likely to choose illness again in the future.

6 – No Suffering

We must live in such a way that suffering is eliminated from our lives.  This means that we are able to live above any pain that does occur.  By carefully rising above the pain, we do not turn it into suffering, and therein lies our release.  Then we are free, next time, to choose to learn through rewards, which Jesus says is the only lasting way to retain our learning.

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

I would live well today, as You wish.  I would not worry needlessly and frantically.  I would turn to my Guide when I am tempted to overreact to something that seems negative.

Help me to find my way in peace today.  Staying in peace is Your way, and I would go Your way, with determination.

Amen.