Tag Archives: effort

STRUGGLE NOT

Note: This article was published in Miracles magazine, January – February 2019 issue (Jon Mundy, publisher).

by Celia Hales

“Out of His lack of conflict comes your peace. And from His purpose comes the means for effortless accomplishment and rest.” (A Course in Miracles, COA ed., T-VI.13:7)

“All that you retain is a belief in effort and a struggle to be good and to do good, a belief that clearly demonstrates that you have rejected who you are.” (A Course of Love, C:P.13)

When we launch into self-help mode, struggling to be better than we really are, then we are on the wrong track. Nobody, by effort, can effect great change. This is the ego’s plan, and it is a bad plan. The ego would have us fail continually, until we give up, turn against God, and decide that nothing we can ever do will make any difference anyway.

The quotation above from A Course in Miracles points out a better way. We know “effortless” accomplishment when we are depending on the Holy Spirit to rule our days. And we know the same when we follow the Christ Self, as A Course of Love would have us do in this time of Christ.

How might this effortless accomplishment come about? I think that quiet contemplation is the real way of change, effortless change. When we turn inward, we are merging with our Maker, for we are made of God-stuff. When we turn inward, calmly, we often intuit that things are not as bad as we thought when we judged ourselves as guilty. Our true innocence leads to self-acceptance, and this self-acceptance is being who we really are, something that A Course of Love champions.

Of course, we have not been perfect in our lives. We may have hurt ourselves and other people; we may have been guilty of violent acts. The Answer (which we all know) is forgiveness borne of the certainty that rescue is available. As faulty as our behavior may have been, we acted as well as we could, given our level of understanding at the time. And this is true for everyone.

Now we know better, for A Course in Miracles and A Course of Love both show us the way to a life of being who we really are, innocent children of God, no longer in a struggle to change by force of personal will. We listen to guidance, and in restful listening, let the Holy Spirit or the Christ Self take over. And thereby does change become effortless.

Thoughts You Do Not Think

1 – Unity

“For many of you, ‘thoughts you did not think’ are among your first experiences of unity. Thus, just as when you might look up when trying to remember something, or tap a finger to your temple, there is, in a certain sense, a ‘place’ to which you turn for these experiences. (Dialogues of A Course of Love, Day Five)”

2 – Without Conscious Thought

We do know things often without conscious thought. Ideas come into our minds, without our volition, so obviously. Often this is an intrusive thought, and it doesn’t mean mental illness (though some intrusive thoughts do mean mental illness). The ideas, the thoughts are not consciously selected or guided. We might think of these thoughts as coming from the subconscious, but there are also other possibilities. Most of us believe in an Other Side, with entities there who communicate with us. A Course in Miracles makes this clear, saying that the Teachers of teachers give their ideas to people who would be frightened if they were to see these Teachers.

3 – Wave of the Future

This is the wave of the future. We are going to be learning through observation and through thoughts that we don’t “think.” The wave of the future looks bright, for we will have many ways to learn that are effortless and give us incredible direction in what to do and say.

4 – Access to Unity

“Access to unity will seem, at first, a quite individual accomplishment, something one may have and another may not. While this remains the case, you may desire to give others what you have and feel unable to do so. Yet, like love, unity is known through its effects. All the benefits of union can be given away to any willing to receive. (Dialogues of A Course of Love, Day Five)”

5 – Transformation

We can see transformation in everyone! This is a marvelous promise. We will have access to the unity of which all of us are a part, part of the One, the One God. We may feel that we cannot easily convey to others what we are experiencing. But this will be a misnomer. We really are able to communicate what others are willing to hear, but they must be willing to hear. Some are ready only for a smile, as A Course in Miracles says.

6 – Rest

“You simply want to rest and have whatever transformation is to come to you to come. If you could indeed give in to this desire fully, it would speed the transformation along quite nicely. So please, listen to your weariness and to your heart’s desire to rest. Listen to the call to peace and let yourself recline in the embrace of love, feeling the warm earth beneath you and the heat of the sun above you. (A Course of Love: Dialogues, pp. 120-121)”

7 – Unity

Unity is defined on Day Five as being fully who you are and expressing fully who you are. It is not a matter either of effort or of learning. Jesus says repeatedly that the time of learning is over. The time of learning was in trying to satisfy the ego that one had accomplished.

Unity is something quite different, as defined by Jesus in A Course of Love.

8 – Effort

Likewise, as in the passage quoted above, the time of effort is over. We are to rest and to relax as our point of access to unity becomes clear to us. Jesus notes that there are various ways that access can be experienced: via part or all of the head, the heart, the hands, or even arising from the earth and felt throughout the body. A point of access will no longer be needed once we have sustained the elevated Self of form, rather than just tried to maintain it.

9 – Being Who We Are

This summary will likely not be fully satisfying to you, because Jesus’s words are dense with meaning. Know that we are only on Day Five, and 35 more days of explanation will follow. In the meantime, rest assured that unity–being who we are and expressing fully who we are–is Jesus’s intention in the 40 days and nights on the mountain top.

10 – Ego Is Gone

“While the ego is gone, effort remains, and while it remains, you will not realize full access to what you are given. We are speaking here of letting your form serve union and union serve your form. This service is effortless for it is the way of creation. (Dialogues of A Course of Love, Day Five)”

11 – Effortless Accomplishment

What a glorious way to say that we don’t need to “effort” so! We have long been at the mercy of an ego which pushed us to do more and more. Those days are over, if we are willing to make them be over. If we are efforting, we are not taking full advantage of what we have been given. Our form is meant to be the elevated Self of form, and this form does not need to “effort” accomplish things. The way of creation is effortless, and we need to create as God intends.

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

I long to peace today, for rest in You. I have sought salvation through my learning so earnestly, and I would now rest in Your promise that the time of effort is over. I do wish to express fully who I am, being reassured that I am sanctified.

Thank You for Jesus’s reassuring words in this Day Five of the mountain top experience. He ever has looked to You for his knowledge, and may I rest in surety that what I read today is knowledge and not simply perception.

Amen.

Learning Is Not Meant to Be Effortful

1 – Thinking

“Learning was not meant to be linked with thinking. Again I’ll draw your attention to the learning of childhood. Learning begins long before the onset of the time of language that constitutes your ideas about what it means to think. (Dialogues, Day Four)”

2 – Children

This truth, that children learn before they have language, proves Jesus’s point that there is a way to learn, through observation, that is easy and requires no effort. We have long put great store by our learning abilities, that we put forth a great effort in school, and then we reap the benefits. But we make everything too hard on ourselves, way too hard. We may still sometimes choose to learn through effort, but this is not the optimal way. We learn best when we learn easily.

3 – Minds

Can we really believe that learning is meant to be linked with thinking? We give our minds way too much credit. We think that the thinking of the mind is what will get us back to Heaven, even. This is not true, actually, though learning in the old way might have been needed when we were assimilating the truths of A Course in Miracles. As we assimilate those truths, we come into a new era, an ear in which we seek to have the heart guide us, not the mind. And our learning proceeds through observation, not thinking.

4 – Language

“Even after the onset of language, children continue to learn without thinking. Does this sound odd, foreign to you? And yet this is the way learning was designed to be. Learning was given as a natural mean of access to all that was available to you, but not through effort any more than breathing was designed to be effortful. (Dialogues, Day Four)”

5 – Ego

So actually learning is not meant to be effortful. We made it that way, when we were consumed by the ego, the ego which always made things as hard as it could—thus approving its value to us. Breathing is not effortful, normally, and we are told here that learning is just as easy as breathing.

6 – Struggle

May we spend some time today deciding that what we struggle to learn is maybe best not learned.

7 – Personal Experience

I know that I worked very, very hard in college, attending a difficult school in which I ranked by ability in the middle of the class. But I wanted better than average grades, and so I sought to overachieve. College was not very much fun. My personality flattened out. I felt oppressed. And not until I had finished that dark time in my life did my personality come alive. So I know first hand that learning achieved through effort exacts a high price, a price that it would be best not to pay.

8 – Thinking as a Constraint

“Thinking, in this time beyond learning, could be rightly seen as a constraint you but try to impose on all that is natural. Your thinking, since it is a product of learning, does nothing but attempt to learn or teach. These are the natural responses of its training. Thus, a major key to your discovery of all that exists within you in the state of unity, is an end to thinking as you know it. (Dialogues of A Course of Love, Day Four)”

9 – An End to “Thinking”

So let us “end” thinking as we know it. Let’s let the heart rule, the heart that listens to intuition, or the deeper Christ Self. (A Course in Miracles had termed this listening through the Holy Spirit.) We are said to be in the time of Christ now, and listening to the Christ Self is a harbinger of things to come. We are no longer in the time of the Holy Spirit. We have moved beyond as we read A Course of Love.

10 – Fear / Love

“You must realize that here is where fear must be totally replaced by love. If you fear to go where the portal of access will take you, you will not go. Thus your desire needs to be greater than your fear. Love needs to reign. Love of self and love of your brothers and sisters, love of the natural world, of the world of form that is, love of the idea of the new world that can be, all of these must come together and be victors over the reign of fear. (A Course of Love: Dialogues, p. 113).

11 – New Temptations

The “new temptations” meant in this title are two: real choice and access. These are not negatives, but goals toward which we wish to go. We are leaving behind the time of learning, so that we learn through “thoughts that we do not think,” as a child does, and as early man and woman did–before language entered into our experience.

12 – Union

We must now want union in relationship to our brothers and sisters and our God more than anything else. We must find acceptance of ourselves, despite our anger or our depression, or anything else that seems to be imperfect. We are told that we do not have to be perfect, and we are reminded of the Prodigal Son, who surely did not feel perfect when he returned to his father. He only needed to accept the father’s love. That is our situation now. And unity is within ourselves; our God is within.

13 – Access

The portal of access is love and only love. Nothing else will do at all. This is the portal that here on the mountain top, we will discover with Jesus. We are only just beginning our 40 days and nights with him on the mountain top. More is to follow. But we would do well to realize that perfection is not required of us. Acceptance of love as the only way is. Fear must be left behind forever, and when we have done that, we will be Home.

14 – Jesus

“I do not have to spell out this choice for you, for you know exactly what it means. It means you will be as I am. It means you will live from love rather than from fear. It means that you will demonstrate what living from love is. It means that you will resurrect to eternal life here and now. (Dialogues of A Course of Love, Day Four)”

15 – Guidance from Love

It is important always to live from love and not from fear. Guidance always comes from love, and if we think we hear a guidance that is telling us to protect ourselves with a sense of fear, we are really hearing the personal self that is not yet rid of the ego. Guidance does not rule us through fear, and any message that we receive that is fear-tainted is a false message.

16 – Protection

Of course, we can take prudent measures to protect ourselves from danger. But we are normally safe in everyday life, though there are those among us who find themselves in dangerous situations, and thus would find this assertion untrue in their experience. The world we inhabit can be a dangerous place, but we make it worse by our thinking of it in such a way. We defend, making that worse by our defense. We seek to protect ourselves at all costs, and we need to ask if this is really the heart-centered Self that we are protecting, or the ego of the personal or little self. It will prove to be, more than likely, the ego of the little self. And Jesus has declared that we, at this point, are free of the ego. If we have followed A Course of Love, we will know ourselves to be free.

17 – Christ Self

If we resurrect to eternal life here and now, we are living as our Christ Self. This is what we seek to do. This is home for us. Heaven is here and now. There is no waiting.

18 – Prodigal Son

“Think a moment of the story of the prodigal son. All that the prodigal son was asked to do was to accept his own homecoming. Do you think he would have considered himself perfect as he approached his father’s presence? Surely he would not have. You are asked but to accept your own homecoming. To leave behind the time of wandering, seeking, learning. To leave behind fear for the embrace of the love and safety of your true home. (Dialogues of A Course of Love, Day Four)”

19 – Seeking

In A Course of Love, I believe that we are asked to leave behind the incessant seeking—the time of wandering, seeking, learning. I suspect, but this is an interpretation, that Jesus channeled A Course of Love because he saw many students and teachers of A Course in Miracles still seeking, though finished with these books. With what were we to replace the ego? I think that ACIM does not make this point as crystal clear as Jesus wished it to be. We replace the ego with the Self, and this point is made in ACIM, but it can easily be overlooked. Jesus revisits us with iterations of the answer in ACOL. We are to give up seeking, because we have at last arrived. And to say this is not arrogance, unless we truly are still tied to our egos.

20 – Homecoming

The prodigal son only had to accept his own homecoming. So it is with us. We need only to accept, as the first two days of the 40 days and 40 nights told us. If there are things about ourselves that we don’t like, things of our personality, we can ask, humbly, that these be removed, and watch them fall away. God is very powerful, and He hears our prayers, I believe. I don’t think that we are alone because we are lost in illusion. Now we are moving into the real world, the world just short of Heaven, and we have advantages from this vantage point that we lacked previously. We will see miracles wherever we look.

21 – Choice

“This choice has come before you might have expected it to. It does not come at the end but at the beginning of our time together for a reason. This is simply because this choice is the beginning. This is the choice that allows us to continue our dialogue as one. To talk heart to heart. (Dialogues of A Course of Love, Day Four)”

22 – Hearts

We choose to listen with our hearts, and we make a choice to stop our incessant seeking. That is the choice that Jesus refers to in this quotation. We have arrived. Let us rest easy and be glad. We do not yet know everything that we wish to know, but we can rest—knowing that what we need will be revealed to us. We need not fear any longer that we will ever be bereft.

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

May I recognize that, like the Prodigal Son, I do not have to be perfect to be accepted by Jesus, to reach the heights that the mountain top experience is meant to bring to me. I may resist this concept, and so please guide my thoughts and feelings so that it is acceptable to me.

Thank You for this good day. I feel especially grateful for the congenial way in which people are interacting with me this day. It is not always so. We live among people who have many problems, and it is up to us to try to heal their problems by loving more strongly. We cannot heal for them, in many cases, but we can ask for miracles that will work in their lives to heal. We can be the instrument of that healing, but only when we ask guidance as to what we ought to do. Be with us as we sense Your Presence, ask for guidance, and then carry out the impulses that arise in us. Thank You for the sense of Your Presence always.

May I be united with love. May I drop fear. These are perhaps my two greatest needs, and these build on A Course in Miracles and are further explained to me now in A Course of Love. Thank You for helping me to devote my life and myself to love.

Amen.