Misery and Despair Are Madness

“If you believe even the tiniest fraction of what is true, if you but believe you are a small part of God no bigger than a pinprick of light in a daunting sun, you still cannot believe in the reality of misery and despair. If you do, you believe this is the state of God as well.” (ACOL, 2.12)

We are one with God, and so in this context the quotation makes sense. We need to realize that the misery and despair that we wallow in is insanity, nothing more. But insanity is very hard to overcome, and the solution does not always come easily. The solution is Awakening, or Christ-consciousness, and not many people have currently reached this state. I, for one, have not, though I long for this place of “carry water, chop wood” that the Eastern religions extol.

We must realize that our misery and despair are insanity, and when we do believe this, we are on the road home.

Nothing bad has happened to us except that we dreamed a bad dream, and we continue to sleep in bad dreams. Happy dreams will come before enlightenment, and it is these that will save us now.

We are part of God, and so with communion with our depths, our way out is assured. Cling to this in the hard times. God is a very present Force in our lives, and the nearer we get to enlightenment, the more real He becomes. A Course in Miracles recommends the Holy Spirit as a Mediator, but A Course of Love indicates that, no longer afraid of God, we can approach Him more directly.

And this direct approach will take us out of any and all misery and despair. Approach God and see if this is not your truth as well.

Jesus: “You Are Asked to Live So as to Demonstrate that You Are Not an Ego, and I Do Not Choose God’s Channels Wrongly.”

“My trust in you is greater than yours in me at the moment, but it will not always be that way. Your mission is very simple. You are asked to live so as to demonstrate that you are not an ego, and I do not choose God’s channels wrongly. (T68)”

Affirmation: “I do not choose God’s channels wrongly.”

1 – Jesus

Jesus seeks to bring us to him in these well-chosen words. He assures us that he is certain that we will live without the ego, that we will first live as though we are without an ego.

2 – Mission

We have a substantial mission in this world. We are one of “God’s channels.” We are meant not to find our way Home ourselves, but also to facilitate the coming Home of our brothers and sisters. Jesus’s faith in us in intense, because he knows that the only way that this world can work is if we do our part to reform the hearts and minds of our brothers and sisters–not to speak of our own. When we do this, all will be well.

3 – God’s Channels

“I do not choose God’s channels wrongly.” This is not meant to be a call to specialness. All are chosen as God’s channels; all are meant to return Home. And Jesus says elsewhere that all will return, though it may happen over millions of years. This is not cause for despondency, because we have Jesus as our elder brother every step of the way. Our own way will lighten immeasurably as we learn to put into practice the dictates of the Course.

4 – Misery and the Ego / Joy and the Spirit

“I am teaching you to associate misery with the ego and joy with the spirit. You have taught yourself the opposite. You are still free to choose, but can you really want the rewards of the ego in the presence of the rewards of God? (T68)”

We are used to the ego; we do not think its dictates strange. But we can realize, if we reflect a little, that egotistical longings have not brought the happiness that we sought through fulfilling those longings. There must be a better way.

5 – Satisfactions

At this juncture we can see where Jesus is heading. The ordinariness of everyday life is where the real satisfactions lie. This, almost paradoxically, is where the joy of the spirit lies. When we experience this joy, we will be much more inclined to give up the ego in favor of something better.

6 – Awakening

How do we do that? Reading A Course in Miracles, really studying it, will take us a very long way. It is the means that lead to the ultimate revelation of the Awakening. We can truthfully rarely find anything better to do. But this does not mean withdrawing from the world. Our salvation rests in our relationship to our brothers and sisters in the world. That is, in fact, the means that the Course is using to bring us Home.

7 – Atonement

“I have said before that I am in charge of the Atonement. This is only because I completed my part in it as a man, and can now complete it through others. My chosen channels cannot fail, because I will lend them my strength as long as theirs is wanting. (T68)”

8 – Our Leader

Jesus affirms his central place as the leader here on earth in this passage. A Course in Miracles does not require that you believe this, though A Course of Love does. But we can learn more easily if we invite Jesus’s presence into our lives. This is not a simplistic notion. It is in line with traditional inspirational writings, but in ACIM Jesus elaborates. We cannot understand how he can clone himself all over, with anybody, but I do think that there is something to this. Use your imagination, and so if you don’t, from time to time, sense the presence of Jesus in your life. You will never be the same again. You will know that you always have a friend with you, when you make “one unequivocal call” (from ACIM Text).

9 – Pathway

Jesus is strong; he has walked the whole pathway. That is why it is so important to lean on his strength in our daily walk. “My chosen channels cannot fail, because I will lend them my strength as long as theirs is wanting.” What a joy to read this! We do not have to contemplate failure in our daily lives, when we are on the beam. We can recognize that our mission will be fulfilled when we stay in line with Jesus’s thinking. We do not have to fear defeat.

10 – Ego / Holy Spirit

Of course, we can still let the ego, and with it, egotistical thinking, encroach on our lives. But we do not have to fear that this will happen when we stay in close communion with the Holy Spirit, the Universal Inspiration.

11 – Higher Purpose

Keep in mind today that there is a higher purpose to our days, beyond the mundane of work and boring life. We can see a freshness about life that will not leave us, when we invite the Holy Spirit into our lives.

12 – Holy Spirit

He will not fail us. Try Him and see.


Dear Father,

Thank you for the joys of everyday life. I do not seek the thrills associated with the ego, because they are not lasting, and ultimately they bring unhappiness.

May I turn to the Course more and more often, knowing that, as I do, I will meet You there. May I drop the miseries of the ego and walk into the joys of the spirit.


Happiness So Fulfilling

“Each of you is aware of a threshold you would cross that leaves no route open for return.  That threshold is often a happiness so fulfilling that once you have experienced it you say, ‘I will take this despair no more.’  For others this threshold is the opposite, an experience of pain so great that they would rather die than continue on in such a way.  (A Course of Love, 10.21)”

Van-Gogh-sunflowersAffirmation:  “May I choose despair no more.”


1 – Dark Night of the Soul

When we reach the threshold that today’s passage proclaims, we are on our way to better times–that, or we choose to die (but normally not by suicide).  We have often heard that it is darkest just before the dawn, and it helps me to realize this when I feel a dis-ease or discomfort, or agitation (any negative emotion, in fact).  The turning point that is called the “threshold” is, though, an example of living in the midst of the dark night of the soul (a characterization by St. John of the Cross).  Most of us choose to put one foot in front of the other, and to go forward.  Very few choose to end their lives before the span of their years has run out.  (I speak now of choice in regard to physical ailments rather than the taking of one’s own life, for the physical ailments, even unto death, are a choice.)

2 – Accept Despair No Longer

Choosing to accept despair no longer is a choice for life, and a choice for a healthier life, both emotionally and physically.  It is also a better life spiritually, though we do not often think in those terms.  Sometimes the despair drives us to our knees, and we have an experience of God that has not come heretofore in our experience.  This is the blessing of dark nights of the soul.

3 – We Do Not Have to Learn through Pain

But we do not have to learn through pain (from A Course in Miracles).  It is said in ACIM that learning through pain is temporary, and that learning through rewards is lasting.  Here in the threshold, though, I think we are dealing with something qualitatively different.  We have reached the limit that we can withstand  in regard to pain.  And we choose pain no more.

4 – Eckhart Tolle

The experience described in the above paragraph hints at the experience that Eckhart Tolle so clearly has described as leading to his Enlightenment (i.e., The Power of Now and A New Earth).  The way of A Course in Miracles and A Course of Love is not so extreme, but this very low point can and does come to students/teachers of these two works.  We cannot predict the future; we can only ask that God be gentle with us.  And then we need to cooperate in that gentleness.  He cannot reach us until we open the door from the inside.


Dear Father/Mother,

I would choose a happiness so fulfilling today that there is no turning back to despair.  I would reach the threshold that is You.  You are my goal as well as my Blessing.  Be with me as I walk along the path that You point out today.

May we live through dark nights of the soul, but may we not linger there.  They are teaching devices, but we are reaching the point that we come to know by observation, not learning, as A Course of Love tells us.  Be with me today as I seek to “learn” in the old way no more.

I cannot change overnight.  I need You to make the transition to a better life.  Help me to thank You for the blessings that You give so abundantly.  And may I never forget to thank my brothers and sisters who are also there for me.


Comfort for the Troubled Heart

“The Holy Spirit has brought what comfort you would accept to your troubled mind.  Now turn to me to comfort your troubled heart.  (A Course of Love, 2.15)”

Affirmation:  “Jesus, comfort my troubled heart.”


1 – The Time of Christ

This passage explains, in the initial pages of the first volume of A Course of Love, the difference between the time of the Holy Spirit and the time of Christ.  The Holy Spirit worked with our minds, to dislodge the ego.  Jesus, an ascended Master and Christ, works with our hearts to solidify the gains made thus far and to lead us farther along.  We do not need to feel that we need never read ACIM again.  We can still learn from both ACIM and ACOL.  But, as we have studied ACIM for years, the time is now ripe for us to encounter A Course of Love.  And to walk, with Jesus, into the time of Christ, and the wholeheartedness of mind, spirit, and heart to live as one (an interpretation, not stated in ACOL).

2 – Misery and Despair = Illusory

We will know that misery and despair are not real when we have turned to our hearts, which sees not these illusory states at all.

3 – Wholeheartedness

A wholehearted attitude, which is where Jesus is taking us in ACOL, overlooks the attempt to explain everything in terms that we can intellectually understood.  Our hearts are not intellectual in the sense that we know our minds are.  We bypass the mind when we seek the heart.  And the heart is loving.  Our myths and our religions tell us this.

4 – Jesus

May we have peace today as we make the determination to follow Jesus through the first volume of A Course of Love.  He will ultimately resign as our teacher, because he will see us as his equal, but we still have some learning to do.  And what better teacher could we find?


Dear Father/Mother,

Please comfort my heart today.  May I turn to Jesus to have this effected.  I would be strong, healthy emotionally and physically, and calm, tranquil, at peace.  These are not unreachable states of mind and body.  We can have it all, if this is the all that we wish.

Thank You for the comfort that You gave me last night when I had trouble sleeping.  Many people have the same problem.  Please brings Your comfort to all of us.  Teach us how to handle insomnia, when it occurs, if it occurs.

Thank You.


Eyes of Love See Not Misery nor Despair

“There is not a soul that walks this earth that does not weep at what it sees.  Yet the Christ in you does not weep, for the Christ in you sees with eyes of love.  The difference is the eyes of love see not the misery or despair.  They are not there!  This is the miracle.  The miracle is true seeing.  Think not that love can look on misery and see love there.  Love looks not on misery at all.  (A Course of Love, 2.10)”

Affirmation:  “The Christ in me does not weep.”


1 – The Illusory World

A Course of Love does not elaborate on the sometimes confusing statement made here, “They [misery and despair] are not there!”  Given the theology of A Course in Miracles and A Course of Love, I think that we are here to view the misery and despair that we observe as being illusory–not real.  ACIM is particularly keen on this interpretation.

2 – Need for Compassion

This conclusion does not mean that we lack compassion, nor that we fail to offer compassion to ourselves and to our brothers and sisters who are in need.  We know that bad things happen in our illusory world, and these bad things certainly can indeed bring pain and suffering.  The pain does not turn into suffering, though, if we acknowledge clearly enough to our beleaguered minds that what we are experiencing is not real.  We can be healed in many ways, and sometimes we are not “healed” physically, but emotionally.  Yet we are assured by Jesus that healing will always be accepted when the individual is ready for it.  (He does not state whether or not he is speaking of physical or emotional healing.)  I think it is best that we take Jesus at his word, even when we are incapable of fully understanding.  He has shown us much in A Course in Miracles and A Course of Love that have brought us out of the forest of discontent.  Surely we can trust him to lead us rightly in the matter of healing.

3 – The Other Side

Of course, most of us make the transition to a better world in death through an illness of some type.  And so, in these cases, our healing is a graduation ceremony, for nobody believes that he/she takes his/her infirmities to the next world (the Other Side).

4 – See with the Heart

Still this passage may appear confusing.  How can love not look on misery at all?  We have physical eyes that see, but my interpretation is that Jesus would have us look with our hearts, and with our hearts we love.  We do not judge ailments as something real.  We know that the love that we feel in our hearts is the only truly real aspect of this sometimes difficult world in which we find ourselves.


Dear Father/Mother,

I would see with my heart today, recognizing that the misery that I feel or that I see if illusory, because this whole world is illusory.  May we find the real world today, inwardly, so that our joy might be complete.

May my heart be soothed as I begin this day.  May Your blessings abound, and may I not forget to thank You for those blessings.

Be with me throughout this long day.  May I put aside my own contribution to any misery that I feel, knowing that to focus on it is to make it seem more real.  And the misery is not real.  Thank You for the knowledge of this truth.


The Light of Hope

“Into this hopeless situation God sends His teachers.  They bring the light of hope from God Himself.  There is a way in which escape is possible.  It can be learned and taught, but it requires patience and abundant willingness.  (M-17.8)”

Affirmation:  “I will be patient today.”


1 – The Way

We would be doomed if there had not been others, including Jesus, who showed us the Way.  And now it is up to all of us to make a difference for our brothers and sisters who are caught in fear and insanity.

2 – Teachers/Students

We are all teachers and students at different times.  It is not arrogance to assume that one is a teacher of God.  We all teach what we would learn (a Manual tenet), and we do so all the time, even during sleeping hours (also a Manual tenet).

3 – Sharing

We would be in a hopeless situation in this world were it not that some have seen more, and therefore are willing and able to share.  These individuals are not above making mistakes, and also being ruled by the ego.  We have seen the shadow emerge in some of our religious evangelists in our lifetime.  So we need to ask for help from the Holy Spirit constantly, and we need to pray that our own shadow does not overtake us.  The shadow is a Jungian term, and it is not, perhaps, precisely equated with the term “ego” as used by Jesus in A Course in Miracles.  But to my mind the two terms, ego and shadow, seem close in meaning.

4 – Live What One Teaches

If we are seeking to be a teacher at any given time, we need to be very patient with our brothers and sisters.  If we do not live what we preach, we will not make very much headway with them.

5 – A Smile

And nowhere does Jesus counsel proselytizing.  He says, famously, that some are ready only for a smile.  We need to be ready and willing to share, if our brothers and sisters are interested.  But we need to desist if they are not.  We need to find a way for all of us to emerge from this “hopeless” situation.  And I believe that we all will (an ACIM tenet).


Dear Father/Mother,

I would offer smiles today to those who are ready for smiles.  But I would offer more, by way of sharing, if the individual wants more.  Only the other person can say what he or she is ready to hear.

May I have patience today.  Failing to have enough patience is one of my weaker points, and I would instead make patience an asset.  Be with me as I seek to find You in the many ways that You show Yourself in this world.  You are within me, of this I am sure–as You are within all of my brothers and sisters.  We project from within, making a world that is good or poor, depending upon our point of view.  Many people suffer much, and we are tired.  Be with us today as we seek to overcome inertia, and seek Your will in all that we do.  Help us to help others, even as we also are helped by You to do so.

Thank You.