Tag Archives: Holy Relationships

Communion

“[T]rue communication is communion, the union of two souls and with them, all souls in union with the totality of self.”  Choose Only Love bk.3, 7:III

The Self is another way of speaking of God.  Our Christ-Self, which we try to access as we progress, is one with this Self.  This is the “totality” of which Choose Only Love speaks (as does A Course of Love).  We are one with God, though we are too encased in ego sometimes to see this.  As we progress, we relinquish the ego and are left only with the patterns of the ego—something that can still trip us up.

Communion with our God is the sweetest thing we can ever do.  When we truly reach inward to Him, we know a peace that envelops all of our life.  We feel truly at home, for in this we are touching heaven.  Likewise, when we commune with our brothers and sisters in this world, we are soothed beyond belief.  We truly communicate, and when we truly communicate—understand and are understood—we are blessed beyond description.

We start with our brother or sister, our way home as described in A Course in Miracles.  Our holy relationships show us God.  And we go home to heaven holding the hand of our brother or sister.

Allow our communion with other people and with our God inform our day.  There is no better way to have a good day.

Special Becomes Holy

            We seek this Oneness because the call for it was placed in our souls by God.  Jesus even tells us that Heaven is the awareness of perfect Oneness, “nothing outside this oneness, and nothing else within.” (T-18.VI.1:6) Because we are learning through the A Course in Miracles, we find this Oneness first through our relationships, in particular the chosen learning partner(s) who offer us unlimited ways to learn of love.  These are the ones for whom we are ready, the ones to whom we remain connected lifelong.  And these relationships generally are few. (M-3.5:3) The Course says that we may not even recognize the perfect matching that has occurred in these relationships.  But the perfect lesson, the lesson of genuine love of ourselves, others, and God, is there for us if we do not break off the relationship prematurely.  This then is the special relationship that can become holy, indeed that is meant to become holy.

            And forgiveness points the way.

No Accidents in Salvation

            When we make comparisons of ourselves to our brother, we ask for sorrow, not joy.  We think we come off the winner, but we are merely fooling ourselves; the ego so longs to deceive.  It is joy when the ego is laid aside!  When we compare (a dynamic always ego-inspired) we diminish ourselves as well as our brother.  It is only our own insecurities, our own low self-esteem, that would seek specialness anyway.  A confident individual, in surety of her place in God’s kingdom, would welcome diversity, not feel threatened by it.  All of us try as hard as, given human frailty, we can.  Our brother who is slipping needs our helping hand, not condemnation, and surely not our “bliss” at believing that we are better than he.

            A Course in Miracles emphasizes that the holy relationship into which we enter with our brother is a “sharing” phenomenon, and in Heaven we do not keep separate from one another.  This may be reminiscent of the biblical assertion that in Heaven there is no giving and taking in marriage.  Surely this is an order of unconditional love of which we are only dimly aware on earth. Jesus never counseled promiscuity, and he is believed to have been celibate while on earth, and so we are not talking of a sexual relationship in the fashion that we consider it.  Nowhere in the Course is the concept of multiple holy relationships seen as anything but positive.  “. . .it is the destiny of all relationships become holy.” (M-3.4:6) Certainly this will mean that jealousy as we know it is an earthly emotion.

            But on earth our “special learning partners” are few, because we have found in them a perfect balance with our own needs.   These few relationships, once formed, are never relinquished, though we may not recognize how perfectly we are matched to one another.  On earth, in fact, there is a whole array of degrees in relationships–from the casual to the most intimate.  Sometimes we join for intense learning with another, and then go our separate ways.  Sometimes we only smile at another in a crowded elevator, and that is enough.  Please know that there is a higher plan at work in our encounters.  There are no accidents in salvation.  “Yet all who meet will someday meet again, for it is the destiny of all relationships to become holy.” (M-3.4:6) Because we cannot meet “everybody,” the plan specifies exactly who we will meet.  Knowing this care in detail is awe-inspiring, being of God Himself, who makes no mistakes.

Light in Our Brother

            We find a peaceful joy in forgiveness.  As we absolve our brother of “sin,” we are ourselves absolved.  The gift we long to give to our brother has at long last been given to us.  We idolized our brother, and thereby made of him a god, but in doing so we dreamed that we were special.  When we see our brother aright, an idol no longer but a true equal brother worthy of love, our sense of guilt dissolves and we are placed in our proper relationship to God and to each other.  Such is the miracle that the A Course in Miracles promises.

            The Course can be said to be based in part upon the biblical injunction, “You are your brother’s keeper,” because it is through our relationship one to another that we find salvation.  It is declared that failing our function of fully forgiving our brother will haunt us until this function is fulfilled, and he and we are risen from the past.  Just as our brother condemned not himself alone, so do we not save ourselves alone.  We are here on this plane, indeed, for one purpose only–the healing of our brother.  That is why, in trying to discover meaning in the world, the interactions of person to person are everything.  Until we see our purpose as healing, we will follow the various elusive goals of the world, be they artistic or merely achievement that we might be “successes,” and we will know the ways of the world only.  Pain and turmoil will dog our paths, and we will learn by cause-and-effect, not Jesus’ way, which is actually by grace.

            And, yet, the lamentations of the earth are all so unnecessary.  Jesus in fact proclaims succinctly that we do not have to learn through pain. (T-21.I.3:1)  Such welcome news, but, oh, so unbelievable in the beginning!  We are enjoined to see our brother as sinless, a person who has committed no unpardonable “sins,” but only an individual making mistakes due to his madness.  Once this evaluation is firmly adopted, the whole earth will appear different, bright and sparkling in the sunlight.  We are warned, though, “not one sin you see in him but keeps you both in hell.” (T-24.VI.5:4) One must see holiness in a brother in spite of his mistakes.  His mistakes can cause delay, but in a miraculous sense, it is given us to overcome his mistakes for him, and at the same time for ourselves as well, for he is the mirror of ourselves. 

Turning to Holy Relationships Does Not Hurt – Ever

The new beginning you are called to now is a new beginning that, like all others that you have offered or attempted, will take place in relationship. The difference is that this new beginning will take place in holy rather than special relationship. (ACOL, T3:15.9)

We have arrived at a good place now. We are beginning anew, as we have in the past, but with a difference. Our new beginning will no longer be housed in special relationships that only promised us the good but did not deliver consistently. Our new beginning, this time, will come in the warmth of holy relationships. We have found the elixir, and we will not turn back from its bounty now.

How do we know that we are surrounded by holy relationships? We are not out for #1 anymore, at least not exclusively. We love others as we love ourselves, for giving and receiving love is one. We know that when we reach out, our reach will be met by reciprocation, for holiness invites holiness. If our reach finds an individual who is as yet only capable of special relationship, we will not be inclined in that direction, because we will know better. Our reach goes out to holiness, and holiness is returned to us. There is no better way to live life.

What about rejection? I have known rejection in my life, but only in relationship that was “special,” in that my ego was attempting to establish a basis for continuing contact that was not the best for either of us. Of course, I did not know this at the time, and the episode was very painful, frustrating, and humiliating.

Now I know better. Holy relationship does not hurt. Its joy is reciprocated, for we know intuitively what relationship to pursue, and which to turn aside. Our guidance does what it is intended to do: It guides. And in the guidance comes a new life of happiness and smooth sailing as well. We walk a pathway that has no stones that invite tripping ourselves up. We walk a smooth pathway.
Just as when we pursued special relationships, our new beginnings now are embedded in our relationships. But what a difference the holy makes! It is simply all the difference in the world. We blossom under the tutelage of holy relationships. And there is never any temptation to return to the special relationship that got away.

This is the advantage in turning to prayer for prompting as to what to do. Prayer does direct relationships for the good of all involved.

A Love that Lasts

Holding on to what you think will meet your needs is like holding your breath. Your breath cannot long be held. It is only through the inhaling and exhaling, the give and take of breathing that you live. Each time you are tempted to think that your needs can only be met in special ways by special relationships, remember this example of holding your breath. Think in such a way no longer than you can comfortably hold your breath. Release your breath and release this fear and move from special to holy relationship. (ACOL, T1:9.17)

We have been trying to hold our breath for eons, hoping against hope that what one special relationship did not give us ultimately can be met by yet another. Our special relationships all fail us eventually. Love turns to hate, and we know not what we did wrong. Always we blame the other person for not living up to the unwritten agreement to be there for us anytime, anywhere. We feel betrayed.

This is a script that has been played out in our various dramas for far too long. The only true assurance that we can have from another comes when we have let our special relationship to that person blossom into a holy relationship. Now we know in our bones that this person will never let us down, that love will stay love and not fall into alienation and even hate. We are holding our breath no longer. We know that the safety that we long to have in a human being can be counted upon. We are safe, finally, and we know it to be true.

This is what happens in long-term marriages that stay fresh. We discover how to mesh our needs and wants with those of another whom we love unconditionally, come what may. We know that if our marriage should end, the love will not; the love is eternal now, and we have this assurance as we live out our time on earth. This world can touch this blessing not. We are living our dream of eternal love, and it is our brother or sister, our partner in life, who makes the living out of our lives truly meaningful. He or she is our way back to God, a holy relationship that promises all things, and keep those promises. Our forgiveness even becomes meaningless, for we recognize that there is nothing we need forgive. The significant other is significant only in that we live in close proximity; we don’t look to the other for outrageous answers. We live and let live, in the holiness which God intends for us.

All of us have seen this love, but perhaps fleetingly. We want it for ourselves. And we can have it when we give up thinking that specialness is our due. Holiness is our due. And with our inheritance as favored children of God, all of us are favored in a holiness that does not play favorites.

Now Is the Time to End Empty Seeking

How much time will be saved by an end to empty seeking? You have already arrived and need no time to journey any longer. (ACOL, T1:8.7)

Most of us have been seekers for a long time, maybe a long, long time. Maybe all our lives, more or less.

This search can end now, when we are on the cusp of developing our special relationships into holy ones. We won’t have to work so hard to maintain our holy relationships. Our loved ones will just know that they are loved unconditionally. And, especially, what we have been seeking in special relationships will fall away.
Our seeking has worn us out. We went from our early religious training, probably to unbelief, and then returned to the fold of spirituality. But still we sought for yet another piece of information that would be the end that would make us happy. But nothing can make us happy, can create happiness for us, except ourselves. We won’t find it in a book.

I sought happiness in special relationships as well as in books. The special relationships were my dates when I was single; the books ranged from Catherine Marshall to Norman Vincent Peale to the Seth material (Jane Roberts) to Richard Carlson to Deepak Chopra to A Course in Miracles to Julia Cameron to Rhonda Byrne. Quite a list we all have! So my seeking in relationships and books was twofold, as is true for most of us. It is very reassuring that we have done enough now. We know enough. A Course of Love has finished it off for us. It is simply up to our Christ-Self, from deep within our being, to teach us more.

So now we are hearing that there needs to be an end to seeking. Jesus, in channeling A Course of Love, declares its information to be an end point. We have arrived! He even says that we are The Accomplished. While we have trouble believing that, we know that we have a peace inside that has eluded us up to this point. This peace will elude us no more. We will linger in contentment, sure that we are in the right place, and, now, in the right time.

Our holy relationships will save us; that is why we need seek no more. Relationship was primary in A Course in Miracles also. Our relationship to our brother (and sister) would take us home. Now Jesus is emphasizing this truth yet again in ACOL. If we love others enough, we will have won the prize, the Holy Grail, of salvation.

And we will know not only peace, but happiness, as well.

Joy Calls

The universe exists in reciprocal relationship or holy relationship. . . .It is a joyful relationship, as the nature of relationship is joy. Once you have given up your belief in separation this will be known to you. (ACOL, C:29.17)

Once we give up our belief that we could actually separate from God, and have done so, much good will result. We will know that holy relationship is the nature of the universe(s), and we will realize that holy relationship does not take anything away from our nearest and dearest. Holy relationship will expand our love to meet the whole world. We will not know the separatism that has characterized our various special relationships, relationships that have often ended badly.

My friend Carol knew what it is like to suffer special relationship, and “suffer” is the salient word here. As mentioned, she once fell very hard into a love that was strong on ego, though she did not realize it at the time. If the special love had ever been transformed into holy, then her sense of desolation at the end of the “relationship” would have saved her from needless regret.

There was something eminently good about the love that Carol felt. It was not a love that would be easily surpassed. That was the clue that something else was going on here. She was being led, ever so gently and before A Course in Miracles was published, to give up her interest in being special (and having someone else be special as well). In retrospect, holiness is the transforming key to relationship that goes sour. And there doesn’t have to be any continuing contact with the other at all to effect a holy relationship. Relationship that is holy is thus seen to be mystical.

We are meant to enjoy joyousness is our relationships. Special love invites the highs and lows of drama, and egoic drama at that. A holy relationship is one that has been dedicated to the Almighty, a Source beyond just our little personality. And this dedication to Something bigger than ourselves is what makes all the difference.

When we feel united with all other people, our brothers and sisters, we know a peace that is not of this world. We are meant to live in unity, and of course, we can see that seeing one small part as more special that another would make this joyous unity impossible.

Ask to see with a greater vision today. Ask to comprehend as never before what a special love transformed into a holy one can really mean. There is no comparison, but until each of us has seen the difference for ourselves, we will remain skeptical that we aren’t losing something in the transformation.

True Love Is Limitless, Knows Only Inclusion

While one special relationship continues, all special relationships continue because they are given validity. The holy relationship of unity depends on the release of the beliefs that foster special relationships. (ACOL, C:25.11)

We don’t need special relationships, “special” in the sense that they are egoic and different from all other relationships out there in the world.

Of course, we don’t believe this. We think that there is nothing wrong with seeing our significant others, our family and friends, as “special.” But what are we really saying here? We are setting them apart as being more “worthy” of our love than other people. Is this not judgment? And haven’t we been warned not to judge? Judging keeps us from Christ-consciousness. Moreover, judging makes us unhappy, for when we point a finger at another, three fingers are pointed back at us. We damn ourselves when we judge another.

I was once rather judgmental, and I projected these ideas onto Jesus, seeing him as a figure of judgment. Indeed, traditional Christian theology invites this interpretation. When I visited the Baptistry in Florence, Italy, where a large mosaic of Jesus looms far ahead on the high ceiling, I saw judgment in Jesus’ eyes. Or thought I did. After years of studying A Course in Miracles, though, my judgments had softened, and when I looked overhead on another visit, I saw a blank slate in Jesus’ eyes, ready and willing for me to write my projection there.

There was no judgment in the second visit. And so there was no “specialness,” even in regarding Jesus. And this was a giant leap forward.

We are seeking to be united with all of our brothers and sisters on our earth. We want unity with them, and we can’t have that if we divide others up into separate little parcels. We can’t fully appreciate all others if we are judging them as less worthy of our love than our nearest and dearest.

Of course, our nearest and dearest have taught us how to love. And now we extend (not project) this love on everyone.

We don’t make distinctions between worthiness and lack of worthiness. We know that all are equal in the sight of God, and that all ought to be equal in our sight as well. Our beloveds will not lose anything. We will be so love-conscious that they will see a new persona in us. They will know a love from us that has been heretofore veiled.

Specialness is a limited love. Holy love is limitless, knows only inclusion.

Being “Special”

Note: I’m starting a new series on relationships today.

“The special relationships of the world are destructive, selfish and childishly egocentric. Yet, if given to the Holy Spirit, these relationships can become the holiest things on earth—the miracles that point the way to the return to Heaven. The world uses its special relationships as a final weapon of exclusion and a demonstration of separateness. The Holy Spirit transforms them into perfect lessons in forgiveness and in awakening from the dream. Each one is an opportunity to let perceptions be healed and errors corrected. Each one is another chance to forgive oneself by forgiving the other. And each one becomes still another invitation to the Holy Spirit and to the remembrance of God. (ACIM, Preface, “What It Says”)

We are used to thinking that finding our beloved “special” is a good thing. For those of us (many of us) who have studied A Course in Miracles, we know that finding loved ones “special” is a mistake. A Course of Love agrees, and so we start these reflections with this quotation from ACIM.

Of course, we care about our significant others more than strangers. And so the teaching may seem foreign to us.

What makes the “special” a good thing is not specialness but holiness. And all of us have the power to turn all of our special relationships into holy ones. We don’t exclude anyone; we invite all in (though not in a physical or sexual sense).
Special relationships are, by nature, egoic. My friend Carol once had a very special male relationship that was platonic but very egoic. She thought that this man had all the qualities that she was seeking in another. But specialness abounded. As time proved, she actually wanted his personal qualities in herself, something that epitomizes ego.

We can and must seek to transform all of our special relationships into holy ones. And, as hard as it sounds, we need to stop believing that without the special, we will be bereft. Use of others, A Course of Love tells us, is wrong. And there is a bit of “use” in many of our relationships. Who will take care of us if not this special other? How will we manage?

These are very real concerns, very practical concerns. But we have power. And, if we believe ACIM and ACOL, we will find love wherever we turn, when our heart opens to reveal the love that is hidden there.

We will never lack for anything. Help is a call away. And everything, as both ACIM and ACOL say, is an expression of love or a call for love. Call today, and so if we are not answered. Our heart will know the answer.

We Find Our Way in This World Safely by Acknowledging What Our Heart Tells Us

“And all of these, those who would admit to fear, and those who would not, would still believe that love exists despite fear’s claim upon it, and think that they are lucky to have found a love to shield them for a little while from all the other things they fear. And yet the greatest fear of all is that of loss of love. You who have given everything to be alone and separate fear most of all that which you have given everything to attain. For what is loss of love but confirmation of your separate state? What is loss of love but being left alone?” (C:14.21)

We thought that we wanted to be separate from God; this is part of the theology of traditional Christianity as well as A Course in Miracles and A Course of Love. Separation would be that we would be independent, on our own, isolated. Yet in the illusory actuality (for we could never actually separate from God, being part of Him) we have been the most afraid of being alone. Try as hard as we can, we still cling, desperately, to the special love relationships that would save us from ourselves—or so we think. So the living out of isolation has actually been the source of our greatest fears.

We fear being alone more than anything because somewhere in our deluded minds is the certainty that we are living amiss, and that a furious God will take revenge on us for denying Him. This is as true for atheists as anyone else, for each of us of whatever persuasion has something in which we put our faith. If this religion is ego-tainted, we will fear all the more, and what religion in our world is not ego-tainted? It is only in giving up our false idols of isolation and separation that we come even close to finding our way safely through this world.

We find our way safely in this world by acknowledging what our heart tells us. And this heart does not require “proof” of God’s existence. It is rightly said that there are no atheists in foxholes (a somewhat outdated reference recalling the first world war). When we get scared about our predicament, we do turn to what we hope will save us. And A Course of Love proclaims that this is the saving grace for what we understand to be our heart. It alone does not seek to have divine proof; it simply knows that we are not alone in all the universe. We are not isolated and independent; we are meant to share our living with others. And A Course in Miracles and A Course of Love call these relationships, the “holy” relationships.

Most all of us have experienced loss of love in some form, with somebody. Somebody let us down, we cry. We think that if only this special someone had loved us for ourselves alone, we would be saved. This makes of love a mockery. And it places in our midst a scavenger that would devoir true love. We do not have to pin our hopes on one someone (or several someones) who can save us. We need only rest in the knowledge—and it is knowledge—that we are never meant to be alone, that divine love is there to protect and keep us safe. And once we give up the attributes of specialness, our relationships one to another will indeed be holy. We have to give up specialness in relationships, we are told. But the relationships will not be snatched from us, to leave us cowering in the dust. The special relationships turned holy will be a foretaste of Heaven, right here on earth.

Only Two Emotions

“You label love a feeling, and one of many. Yet you have been told there are but two from which you choose: love and fear. Because you have chosen fear so many times and labeled it so many things you no longer recognize it as fear. The same is true of love.” (ACOL, C:2.3)

We have been pretty mixed up. We have, all too often, confused fear with love, labeling them both two of many other feelings. But we learn from Jesus that there are only two emotions—love and fear—and that all other emotions are variants of these two.

This simplifies life for us. But how do we move away from fear, toward love?
We need help, and it is help that Jesus is giving us. We have confused fear and love, often making choices that gave us fear when we were seeking to experience love.

This dynamic is especially true in special relationships, those relationships in our lives in which certain other people are emblazoned, by our ego, with qualities that seem to set these people apart from all others. This is especially the case with romantic relationships, which nearly always start out as special. We think that he or she is the best thing that we have ever encountered, and we want to appropriate these good qualities to ourselves. We complete in the presence of the other. We feel joyous. And we feel a sense of grandeur that is perhaps as yet unparalleled in our experience in this world.

But such thoughts are actually a grandiosity. And these feelings do not last. Our special person is found to have feet of clay, and we fall away disillusioned—sometimes almost immediately, sometimes years later. And then we often turn away, for we feel that we have somehow been misled. We misconceived what was before. He/she was not “special” at all.

But that other really was special. The problem is that we didn’t realize that we needed to turn the special into the holy, something that Jesus counsels us about. Ultimately, he tells us that none of us is special, or, conversely, all of us are—for we are no different one from the other. (Only in time do we differ, and time does not really exist; we live in eternity only.) We need to make an end, as A Course of Love counsels, to the whole idea of special relationships. They will never bring us what we want. And in turning from the special to the holy, we will finally know genuine love for the first time.

The special relationship fosters fear, for we sense that we “need” this other person for our completion. And we fear, rightly, that he/she may not always be there for us.

Relationships are the primary way that we confuse fear and love. A particularly poignant way that actually holds great promise for us. But only when we take away the fearful aspects of our relationship to another. And it is hard indeed to do that, when we are new to Jesus’s channeled teachings.

A Course of Love counsels us that we must indeed give up special relationships, but also that we will not really lose anything—for special relationships are nothing, being borne of fear. We will transform these relationships with particular others into a holy experience, and then we will know true love for what it is.

We have not heretofore recognized that fear is predominant in many of our relationships. We have had our eyes blinded. But now we can come to know. We recognize that feeling uncertain in relationships fosters fear only, not love. And we want love, the real thing.

And we can have love.

Holy Relationships Offer Harmony in Daily Life

“Despite your bravest attempts to remain separate, you must use your brothers and sisters in order to even maintain the illusion of your sepa¬ration. Would it not simply be better to end this charade? To admit that you were not created for separation but for union? To begin to let go of your fear of joining, and as you do let go of use as well?” (ACOL, C:9.49)

We are meant to be in union with all that exists, our brothers and sisters, our world, and God Himself. We have maintained our desire to be separate and autonomous, believing that this is what we want. But has it gotten us what we want? Haven’t we fallen into special relationships, constantly, even as we tried to maintain some apartness?

This apartness is surely what we have found in our special relationships, because we want others to be with us, but not too close. We are afraid of closeness, fearing that it will take something from us. And so we are engaged in a delicate dance of approach and avoidance of our special others. And this scenario makes drama for us. Indeed, we have become addicted to drama in our lives, and this is not the way to welcome peace and harmony.

We have used others in special relationships to ourselves. Used them for what they could give us that we thought that we lacked. Indeed, when we seek a special romantic relationship, we look for those things that are unique in the other, what that person has that we can steal to make ourselves more whole. We imagine that we are half a person, looking for our other half in a soul mate relationship that will offer solace to us and help us make our way in this dangerous world. When we seek to take from the other his/her very life essence, we are using that person for nefarious ends. We don’t feel right about it, really, but we don’t yet, many of us, know any other way to interact.

Let us be done with this charade now. Let us realize that independence, autonomy, is a myth for us. Why? We are not made to be alone. We are made to be living in holy relationship with our Self deep within, our brothers and sisters, even God Himself. This holy relationship, in which we do not seek to take any more than we seek to give, is where we will find solace. We will recognize that our holy relationships are our way home. We will be happier than ever before, as we give and receive as one.

The dynamic of special relationships turned holy is not something that can be taught. It is a matter of the heart, and love cannot be taught so that it becomes learned. But we can remove blocks to love’s awareness, and the first and most important is to recognize that we don’t like how we are living now. The high’s and low’s of special relationships preclude the harmony that will prevail when we have mastered the “holy” in holy relationships. Give it our all today, to love and be loved in return, and see if our independence doesn’t fall away quickly, and we experience a peace that is beyond anything previously encountered. We won’t be made dull or bored by this peace; it is the height of aliveness. And then we will know that we have truly found home at last.

Our Love Is Not in Vain

“Think not that these are senseless questions, made to bring love and pain together and there to leave you unaided and unhelped, for pain and love kept together in this way makes no sense, and yet makes the greatest sense of all. These questions merely prove love’s value. What else do you value more?” (ACOL, C:3.21)

Senseless questions are not real questions, and they don’t accomplish anything in this world. But Jesus asks questions full of sense, questions asking where we are going from where we have been, questions that ask us to take another look at true reality. And when we do take another look at true reality, what do we find but a world enveloped in God’s love?

We don’t value anything above love, though we may, in egoic clutches, reach for those things that will hurt us. True love never hurts. Only egoic special love does that. True love is abundantly kind, above all else.

We all remember the drama of special relationships that we thought were true love. My, how we remember that! But, if we are lucky, that special relationship will morph into a holy relationship, and our hurt will subside. We will know that our beloved is after the same thing that we are—true love, which knows only peace. And kindness. The Dalai Lama once said that kindness was his religion. And surely we can understand what he is trying to say. A kind demeanor for the world is sure to bring more kindness in its wake. And we will know, for a sure thing, that our love has not been in vain.

Share and Share Alike

“In the mad world outside you nothing can be shared but only substituted, and sharing and substituting have nothing in common in reality.” (ACIM, T-18.I.9)

We need to share with each other. Both A Course in Miracles and A Course of Love emphasize this. No longer isolated, we share and share alike. We give up the notion of independent living, and we join with others in our lives to whom we offer love, and from whom we receive love.

Substitution is an attempt to make one body fulfill a role that another might also fill. If we can’t get one body to do what we want, we substitute by finding another who will fulfill our desires.

This is madness. It is also unfair to our brothers and sisters. We don’t want to love them in substitution for some other special relationship; we want to love them in holy relations that are in no way substitutes for an unholy alliance based on specialness.

Reality does not substitute one for another. Reality accepts the people in our world as given us by God for a higher purpose. And when all of our special relationships have been transformed into holy ones, we will recognize that previously we never knew reality at all.

Holy Relationships

“It is extremely difficult to reach Atonement by fighting against sin. . .A holy relationship is a means of saving time. One instant spent together with your brother restores the universe to both of you. You are prepared. Now you need but to remember you need do nothing. (T-18.VII.4-5)”

We love our significant relationships, and when these are cleansed to become holy, rather than special, relationships, we have found the one person given to us to love. In our love of him, we find it in our heart to forgive entirely, and in the forgiveness do we speedily reach Awakening. We need “do” nothing. All is given to us in the fact of our holy relationship, spending instants of time in league with our brother and with God.

We can’t win by fighting against sin. We have, in the first place, only made mistakes, because there is no unforgivable sin. We find this hard to believe, of course, in part because of other teachings that we have taken to heart. But Jesus in A Course in Miracles makes it easy for us. He says that we are always forgiven for our mistakes. We rectify what we can, of course, and this is only common sense. But there are some mistakes that only Jesus can rectify, and he has said that he stands at the end of the pathway to salvation to resolve what we have found impossible to resolve.

If the universe is restored to us, we know reality. We are enlightened. We have Awakened. And for all this, we need only walk the pathway to salvation by holding our brother’s hand. This fact alone saves time, unlike years and years of what can be tedious contemplation. This means, with our brother, works. When we feel that we love purely, we have forgiven. And God will act immediately to lift us up to Awakening.

What Is My Calling? by Ivor Sowton

Jesus us so skillfully in exploring that idea of hearing a call.

The Second Treatise of A Course of Love (ACOL) begins with looking at treasure. Treasure is quickly linked to hearing one’s calling in life—that is, Jesus is telling us that following our own calling is very valuable and important for us. Following our calling is how we serve and express our own divine Self.

So of course we want to jump right into ”our calling,” even to the extent of making it up from our separated egos! Aye, there’s the rub. Jesus has to bring us a long way through A Course in Miracles (ACIM) and ACOL before we are even ready for such a discussion, you might say.

In the first place, the painful assertion of the separated self-identity seeming involved a lot of misguided use of calling. As a child we might indeed have come into this world “trailing clouds of glory”, as Wordsworth famously said, but then within the course of “normal” human development, we seemed to lose touch with that divine glory.

And so we made up a persona, a mask, a constructed identity that we presented to the world– and even to ourselves—as who we really are. Jesus acknowledges that we do in fact need a persona in our human lives here, but he wants that persona to be representation of our true Self as much as possible. He says in ACOL “drape your persona in a mantle of peace and joy.” In this way it can be a representation in form of the formless true Self within.

But that is an advanced achievement! We need not be discouraged to find that we first need to deconstruct some false callings before realizing our true divine callings. Jesus tells us reassuringly that we wouldn’t be here if we hadn’t embraced some very limiting ideas about ourselves, but that there is a way out.

When and why does a child start feeling not good enough and start constructing a false self? Perhaps the individual stories vary a lot outwardly (this one born into privilege, that one born into abject poverty as a refugee, this one healthy, that one congenitally disabled, etc.), but the fact is we all made a false self—it came from feeling separated in the first place!

Thus the recommendation is to keep letting Jesus guide us in relating to our true calling.

If it weren’t for our special relationships we might jump right into true calling and never look back, I suppose. But because most of us are learning and growing so much in exploring relationship, we are encouraged to have to have faith in Jesus when he offers us the wonderful option of holy relationship gradually replacing special relationship through divine grace, if we but offer that little bit of willingness.

So for instance the ego in us is accustomed to using others for personal gain. It can be quite painful to begin to see (or let ourselves really feel) how frightened we are and how much we cling to our special loves or try to push away our special hate objects– how much we try to manipulate them to fill our emptiness or give us someone to blame for our dissatisfaction in life. This necessary process is laid out in the stages of the development of trust in the Manual for Teachers in ACIM.

Our work in the world is also very relevant to our calling. Freud said so wonderfully that there are two things incumbent on all of us to establish successfully in our lives: “love and work.” We need to learn how to give and receive love within appropriate human relationships, and we also and need to have our work in the world be a meaningful contribution we can feel good about.

Earl Purdy, a long-time teacher of ACIM and ACOL, once responded to a sincere question on job dissatisfaction from a participant in one of his wonderful U-Tube classes. The person was really being challenged at work, and Earl said, “You know, your actual present job could be absolutely the right place for you if you can learn to see God there! God teaching you, helping you, inspiring you through all your co-workers– and you doing the same for them.” This seemed very helpful to the questioner and also to the audience in general. Later, Earl led everyone in an affirmation from ACOL: “I give everyone in my life to love. I give everyone in my life to God. And I know that love and God are the same.”

In this sense, true calling in our work is more likely to be about seeing the spiritual opportunity already present there, rather than assuming that we are called to some other job or career that might be more gratifying to our ego.

Our sense of spirituality is also very much at issue here in terms of calling. Contemporary Western Zen Buddhist teacher Adya Shanti talks about “dreamland spirituality” as what most of us envision as we start out on the Path. Dreamland spirituality has us imagining a glorified ego state, as Jesus calls it in ACOL—a state the ego makes up as a personal Shangri-la, where all its needs are being met eternally without having to renounce the separation at all!

We’ve probably all experienced unseasoned teachers promising us some version of this ego heaven if we follow them. In addition, we’ve probably also caught ourselves trying to take that role with others. Maybe that’s a stage we have to go through—seeing through that spiritual specialness of dreamland spirituality.

I think we have to very self-honest and humble, then, in regard to answering that question “what is my calling?” Luckily, if we let Jesus guide our understanding here, we can have a lot of hope and faith in a bright future as our true calling is revealed to us from deep within our own Self.

These two quotes from ACOL sum up what we can joyfully anticipate in terms of our true calling:

“You who have so recently felt the peace of true acceptance are not asked to leave that peace to go in search of calling but are rather asked to listen from within that peace to what you feel called to do.” (Second Treatise, 4:12).

“All you must do is wholeheartedly recognize the treasure you have already chosen to bring into the world.” (Second Treatise, 3:2).

Our Physical Form Becomes Divine

“Continuity is an attribute of relationship, not of matter. It is only in the relationship of matter to the divine that matter can become divine and thus eternal. If you can abide in unity while in human form, you will have no cause, save your own choice, to leave human form. (The Treatises of A Course of Love: A Treatise on the New, 4.15)”

1 – Not Immortality in the Body

This statement is not a call to believe in the immortality of the physical form that we occupy today. It is, rather, a belief that we choose the moment of our death. We do not live blindly buffeted by fate in such matters. Jane Roberts, an early psychic who channeled Seth, said much the same thing. We live our charts of our lives, and we exit from this life when we have chosen. This puts us in the driver’s seat.

2 – Relationship

The truth of this interpretation is clear, it seems to me, in the opening sentence: “Continuity is an attribute of relationship, not of matter.” We do not choose to continue matter indefinitely, but we do often choose to continue the relationships that we have begun here. At least this is my belief.

3 – ACIM

A Course in Miracles says that it is the goal of all relationships to become holy, and so we will transform our special relationships while in this world or, perhaps, in the next. All who meet will meet again, to make of their relationship a holy one. What a blessing this is!

4 – Meeting Others Again

Surely there are people in your past whom you would like to meet again. This quotation lets us know that it is the intent of all relationships to be made holy, and if we don’t meet again in this life, there is a place on the Other Side where we do meet. Of course, we may not now, with our limited understanding, want to meet all with whom we have had a special relationship. We may, indeed, want to avoid those individuals entirely.

5 – Our Feelings

We won’t feel this way after death. We will be in a state of mind and heart that wants to make right all relationships that ever went wrong.

6 – Reassurance

This is a reassurance of the highest order. All with whom we have had a special relationship will show up again, to make that special one holy, in the afterlife. May we pray for the strength to abide in this understanding. May we not cringe from it, but welcome it. But not to jump ahead of ourselves to death. We have things to do in this world first.

7 – Our Heritage

Ours is a goodly heritage. The blessings of Heaven await us. But the happiness that we can have on earth is also very much with us. And we can reach salvation in its ultimate, Christ-consciousness or Awakening, in this life, in this lifetime.

8 – Prayer

Let us pray for this blessing of the penultimate today.

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

May I choose to make all my relationships holy. May You help me to do this. Only with Your help is it possible.

May I choose to see the eternal in my physical body, the elevated Self of form. May I know this great blessing in my interactions today.

May I be keen to follow Your advice today. I seek that advice willingly, knowing that I at first may be reluctant to obey. But obeying You gives me great happiness, great joy. May I follow my inner Self today to a closer walk with You.

Amen.

Cultivating the Holy Relationship, by Ivor Sowton

I am so grateful for both A Course in Miracles and A Course of Love, which for me are a continuum.

Jesus tells us in A Course of Love that after our creation as one unified being within God “something went wrong” with creation. Our initial idea was perhaps to use a somewhat separated identity to explore physicality, but somehow we lost conscious connection with Source. Soon we began unconsciously using judgment and suffering to maintain that separate identity—obviously a mistake that God never intended.

Thankfully deep down all of us separated beings do remember our divine heritage, and if we allow ourselves to be led by these great spiritual masterpieces, A Course in Miracles (ACIM) and A Course of Love (ACOL), we will find help getting back home—at least that has been my experience so far.

ACOL in particular proposes an urgency to our earnestly seeking that divine memory of God-union at this particular time in human history. This for me makes it relevant. Do you know what I mean? It resonates well with the pressing demand most of us feel to come up with some kind of a positive response to the obvious problems of overpopulation, global warming, and especially the violent nature of the human species under threat. (Jesus says in ACIM “frightened people can be vicious.” )

It feels to me that if the human experiment here on Earth is not to reach extinction by its own hand, we need to take strong collective action to find that Oneness as soon as possible.

But how to respond to such great need?

First Jesus guides us in re-establishing that sense of Divine Peace within. At the end of the First Treatise in ACOL he says: “Peace, in whatever way you find it, in whatever expression it takes, is your answer to God and God’s answer to you.” So if we want to help, it has to be from that sense of Divine Peace, and not from outrage or desperation.

For me the learning-ground for finding that peace is in my relationships with others. I’m increasingly aware of my ego attempts to “keep others other.” These are my special relationships, I guess. I feel that Jesus is helping me to gradually let go of special relationships in favor of holy relationship, based in unity, not fear. There is fierce resistance from my ego at times, and the basic teaching of both Courses is so helpful here. For example, remember that wonderful question from Jesus in ACIM, “Would you rather be right or happy?” (T-29,VII in ACIM). When I’m in my fearful-separated place I watch myself trying to make others wrong– with me being right, of course. But I can see more quickly now that the return of happiness requires letting go of that judgment and seeing that “other” as needing love, just as I do.

Yes, we still get to use common sense and appropriate boundaries. A parent or a boss maintains that role, but the need to prove things–the rancor– drops away.

There’s a wonderful image from the Second Treatise in ACOL (4.6) in which Jesus likens the ego and struggle with special relationships to trying to walk in deep water. If and when we “get it” we relax and start floating, and soon we’re swimming gracefully and easily in the waters of union–holy relationship!

In studying A Course of Love I am assembling a treasury of one-liner quotes from the text of the Combined Edition by Take Heart Publications. I will close with the first of these one liners:

This holy relationship is what you are called to cultivate as a gardener cultivates her garden. (ACOL, 12.10)

Yet All Who Meet Will Someday Meet Again

1 – Second Level of Relationship

Jesus embarks on describing different levels of relationship, from the most casual to the most sustained. In this passage, he is describing a second level:

“. . .[T]he second level of teaching is a more sustained relationship, in which, for a time, two people enter into a fairly intense teaching-learning situation and then appear to separate. (M8)”

I have known a good number of these relationships of a second level. I particularly think of relationships with male friends before I married. Many of us have experienced this type of relatively fleeting, but intense, relationship. This passage encourages us not to lament the fleeting nature:

“As with the first level, these meetings are not accidental, nor is what appears to be the end of the relationship a real end. Again, each has learned the most he can at the time. (M8)”

We are encouraged to believe that we encounter those whom we do for a purpose, that these meetings are not accidental, and that we will meet again. Indeed, sometimes these individuals contact us again,
and we have to decide if that contact is something that we can handle in the present, given our other relationships. Facebook has prompted many to reassess past relationships, and this is probably
on the whole a good thing. But we must not sacrifice anything in our present relationships to past ones. Perhaps our current significant others are not open to a friend from the past. Only we can decide.

2 – Do Not Lament the Past

We need not lament the past. There is an oft-quoted statement to the effect that if we knew the whole circumstance, we would praise God for removing from us the relationships that we thought we wanted.
This is a stern warning not to live in the past. It is also a call to be grateful for what we have now.

If we still long for the long-forgotten past, here is a passage of great comfort:

Yet all who meet will someday meet again, for it is the destiny of all relationships to become holy. God is not mistaken in His Son. (M8)”

3 – We Will Meet Again

Yes, we will meet again. This is quite in line with traditional Christianity. And it does, to my mind, seem to mean that we will meet on the Other Side, where, if we are to believe Jesus in the New Testament, there is no marriage or giving in marriage. We are free to love all, though undoubtedly there will still be restrictions when some are more ready to commit to a relationship than others. We must respect boundaries, here and in the other world.

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

Grant me a day to rejoice over all the relationships which I have known. May I not rue the ones that ended, for the ending is not a real ending. If I can believe Jesus, and I do, we will meet again all who have been important to us in this lifetime.

May this day go well. For me, it will be a busy late afternoon, but the relative leisure of the early part of the day will prepare me for the whirlwind of later on. All of us need such respite. May we have the “down” time that we all need.

Thank You for your presence in my life.

Amen.

Living in Relationship Provides. . .the Certainty You Have Lacked. The Fears You Have Experienced Will Not Arise within This Knowing.

manet - day in paris“Living in relationship provides a constant knowing of this sort, a simple knowing of a way things are meant to be. It is a knowing felt within the heart for which there still will be no proof, but for which there will be the certainty you heretofore have lacked. The typical fears you have experienced in the past will not arise within this knowing. (A Course of Love, 27.19)”

Affirmation: “May no fears arise in me today.”

Reflections:

1 – Knowing

When we live in relationship to God and ourselves, our deepest Selves, plus with others, we are living as Jesus recommends in this passage for today. We will feel a “knowing” in our heart that we are on the right pathway.

2 – Relationships

This is the pathway recommended initially in A Course of Miracles, but then the emphasis was on relationships, holy relationships with others, especially our most significant brother (or sister). In A Course of Love, Jesus expands the concept of relationship to mean a relationship not only to God, but to the Self/Christ within. When we reach deep, deep, inwardly, we are reassured, in a way that nothing else can, that all is well.

3 – Home

This is the certainty of which Jesus speaks in this passage. This is the assurance that we are on the way home, and not to the Other Side, but the heaven on earth that we can actually know here.

4 – Listen

Be with Jesus’s words today. See if they don’t make a huge difference.

5 – Certainty

The certainty that we are on the right pathway comes when we lift ourselves up mentally and in a heartfelt way, and we do the best that we know how. We don’t allow ourselves to get downhearted, if there is any way that we can avoid it. We are cheery, we are upbeat. We are not discouraged, for Jesus is with us always.

6 – A Promise

He has promised this.

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

I would know certainty of true knowledge today. I would not press to know, but I would rest in the certainty that this is what You want for me. I would not fall into a too-strong desire for Christ-consciousness, for You make that decision. You are always with me, inside of me, for I am part of You. Thank You for this knowledge.

Be with all of my brothers and sisters today. May we let typical fears that arise with just living to fall away. We need be fearful no more. Thank You.

Amen.

A Course in Miracles – What It Says, Part 2

1 – Special Relationships

“The special relationships of the world are destructive, selfish and childishly egocentric. Yet, if given to the Holy Spirit, these relationships can become the holiest things on earth—the miracles that point the way to the return to Heaven.”

2 – Special Relationships into Holy

A central concept of A Course in Miracles, special relationships are turned into holy, and then their healing remedy takes effect. We who are students of ACIM need to see that our way to salvation and ultimately Awakening is through out relationship to our brother. This relationship is saving us time. Contemplation is said to have the same ultimate effect, but to be very tedious and time-consuming—though it will ultimately succeed because of its purpose. For us who are students of ACIM, though, relationships are key.

3 – Seeing and Hearing

We no longer stress seeing with the body’s eyes or hearing with the body’s ears:

“The opposite of seeing through the body’s eyes is the vision of Christ, which reflects strength rather than weakness, unity rather than separation, and love rather than fear. The opposite of hearing through the body’s ears is communication through the Voice for God, the Holy Spirit, which abides in each of us.”

4 – Illusory World

We are to see that when we use the body, we are using attributes that are inherently illusory. And we are seeing an illusory world, a world of maya or dreams. And it does not have to be this way; farther along the pathway home we come to the real world, which we see for just a moment before God reaches down and lifts us up to Awakening. What is Awakening? It is a synonym for Christ-consciousness or enlightenment, and those who have experienced this undergo, frequently, a complete personality change. They are joyous, where previously they may have been morose. They forgive easily, where previously they may have found forgiveness difficult. They are at home with all people, and their ego has died in them.

5 – Christ’s Vision

“Christ’s vision is the Holy Spirit’s gift, God’s alternative to the illusion of separation and to the belief in the reality of sin, guilt and death. It is the one correction for all errors of perception; the reconciliation of the seeming opposites on which this world is based.”

6 – Separation from God?

We have not really separated from God, though we think we have, and we need to see that the Holy Spirit heals this sense of rift. We cannot separate from God, because we are a part of Him; to do so would be annihilation, and nobody is ever annihilated.

God is found in our depths, the spark of divinity who is within us all.

7 – Forgiveness

“[I]n this world, forgiveness is a necessary correction for all the mistakes that we have made. To offer forgiveness is the only way for us to have it, for it reflects the law of Heaven that giving and receiving are the same.”

Forgiveness is the central theme of A Course in Miracles. When we forgive, we recognize that forgiveness is completely justified. Nothing bad has ever happened to us, for we live in illusion. The things that we seek to forgive have been distress that rest on error, and thus call for help. We answer that call for help in the best way that the Holy Spirit guides us. Forgiveness has a sound basis. We do not forgive only to remember the offense; we forget the offense, because pardon is completely justified. Our brother, in his depths, is innocent.

8 – Remembering

“Forgiveness is the means by which we will remember. Through forgiveness the thinking of the world is reversed. The forgiven world becomes the gate of Heaven, because by its mercy we can at last forgive ourselves. . . .Acknowledging Christ in all our brothers, we recognize His Presence in ourselves. Forgetting all our misperceptions, and with nothing from the past to hold us back, we can remember God. Beyond this, learning cannot go. When we are ready, God Himself will take the final step in our return to Him”

This final passage in the introduction to A Course in Miracles indicates that God takes the final step in our return, the Awakening. And we are made ready for that step when we can forgive. The means are being carefully explained to us. To get there the means are needed, though earlier revelation may reveal the end to us.

9 – Revelations

These earlier revelations are glimpses of Awakening, and we do not sustain them. But as A Course of Love points out, we want the elevated Self of form, by which we live in this world, but are enlightened. We have the ultimate in what salvation can offer.

10 – Awakening, Enlightenment, Christ-consciousness

No accounts are given in ACIM of what we will be like when we have awakened. But there are passages that suggest that happiness will be constant with us. And we will forgive any and all offense against ourselves easily and well. Our homecoming is joyful.

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

May I take the tenets of A Course in Miracles unto myself today. May all go well. Help me to forgive. Help me to love. It is Your blessing that ACIM is available for all of us to study. May I take full advantage of this great blessing, this great read.

Be with my brothers and sisters today. May we have a good day. Help others and myself to be forgiving, because anger and attack are distress that rests on error, and thus calls for help. Help me to remember this truth from ACIM.

Thank You for Your Presence, which I sometimes feel so acutely. Thank You that You have stay with me, in me, and that You have not withdrawn in recent memory to the dark night of the soul. May this prayer go out also to all my brothers and sisters. May we learn benignly, not in a difficult fashion. May we awaken gently. Sooner rather than later.

Thank You.

Amen.

The Function of Relationships Became Forever “To Make Happy.” And Nothing Else.

camille-monet-and-her-son-jean-in-the-garden-at-argenteuil-renoir-large
1 – Happiness a Worthy Goal?

We often don’t think that happiness is a worthy goal. We think that there must be much bigger things to do in life than to be happy.

2 – Salvation

And, of course, there are. We are to bring salvation to our brothers and sisters. Forgiveness is our function, but happiness is also given in A Course in Miracles as our function. How might we link forgiveness and happiness?

3 – Forgiveness and Happiness

If we are in turmoil emotionally, we are likely not going to “be there” for others. If we are unhappy, that translates into turmoil, great or small. So when we develop lives that are happy, it stands to reason that we will be more likely to be there for others, to forgive them when they trespass against us. We are also more in a flow and better able to forgive ourselves for our shortcomings; we are not so hard on ourselves.

Here is the full passage:

“God established His relationship with you to make you happy, and nothing you do that does not share His purpose can be real. The purpose God ascribed to anything is its only function. Because of His reason for creating His relationship with you, the function of relationships became forever ‘to make happy.’ And nothing else. (T-17.IV.1)”

4 – Living in Reality

So we want what is real, and when we share God’s purpose for our lives, we live in reality (though maybe not yet in the “real world”). His purpose is lofty, we can be sure, and so we need to see happiness as well as forgiveness as lofty goals. We would not be satisfied with inferior goals. We want the best. We want it all (from ACIM).

5 – The Elaborately Framed Picture

“Look at the picture. Do not let the frame distract you. This gift is given you for your damnation, and if you take it you will believe that you are damned. (T-17.IV.9)”

The above passage comes from a particularly poetic portion of ACIM. Jesus describes an elaborate, overwrought picture frame that is inlaid with gems. He goes into some great detail, knowing that we would be attracted to such shiny objects. But he wants us to look at the picture that the ego has made, surrounded by all of that which would entice us, as well as distract us. The picture is small, a picture of nothing. If we believe the lies that the ego tells us, we will be “damned.” But we do not have to settle for this. We can leave this egoic part of ourselves in the ditch, with our eyes on the heavens. We can instead see a picture that is framed in light.

6 – Special Relationships

“The special relationship has the most imposing and deceptive frame of all the defenses the ego uses. (T-17.IV.8)”

We see here that this elaborately framed picture is a metaphor for our special relationships, and our special relationships are ego-inspired. We think that we will be happy if only we can possess this one special relationship, a relationship with a significant other who has attracted us. But we will not be happy for long. This way paves the path to hell for us, for the heights of joy are contrasted with depths of depression. The ego always does this to us. Never are we to be at peace. Never are we to have a stable happiness that will not desert us.

6 – Holy Relationships

“The picture of light, in clear-cut and unmistakable contrast, is transformed into what lies beyond the picture. As you look on this, you realize that it is not a picture, but a reality. (T-17.IV.16)”

The picture of light is a metaphor for the fact that our special relationships have been transformed into holy relationships. Jesus says that, in the beginning, when this transformation is first happening, we may be in a very disjointed frame of mind. The purpose of the relationship has shifted, and we are not immediately prepared for the shift. We may, in fact, break off the special relationship at this point, thinking that it no longer satisfies our needs.

7 – A Better Understanding

But we need to hang loose. We will come to know a much better relationship once the shift is completed. We will know love in a way that special relationships never promised (although they seemed to so promise).

8 – Love

The picture of light is gracious to us and gracious to God. We see an image that reflects back to us the love that we are offering to another. And this love is wholly pure. Though still in this world, it is not of this world.

9 – Eliminate the Ego

Change the elaborately framed picture of egoic special relationships to the picture framed in light that is a metaphor for holy relationships. Once we have done this, we will never look back.

Affirmation: “I would see the picture framed in light today.”

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

I would see the picture framed in light today. I would turn aside from the tiny picture hung in an elaborate frame of gems that are meant to betray. Help me to develop the holy relationships that You long for me to have. May I, with Your help, turn all special relationships, past and present, into holy ones.

My brothers and sisters, seen and unseen, are in my mind today. People from the past, and new people from the future, crowd my mind. May this mean that I would have holy relationships of all others.

Thank You for being there for me. There is no better way to live a life than without the ego, with You only.

Amen.

Fundamental Error: that Fear Can Be Mastered. The Only Real Mastery Is through Love.

“We have already attempted to correct the fundamental error that fear can be mastered, and have emphasized that the only real mastery is through love. . . .You may think this implies that an enormous amount of time is necessary between readiness and mastery, but let me remind you that time and space are under my control. (T33)”

Affirmation: “only real mastery is through love”

Reflections:

1 – Mastery through Love

This is one of Jesus’s great promises in A Course in Miracles: that fear can be mastered by love (and only by love). I know this first hand, though I have as yet had only glimpses of Awakening that I did not sustain. I know that when I have let all grievances go, I know that I am safe (from the Workbook). And when I know that I am safe, I do not feel fear. And it is my love for others, especially significant others (past and present) that gives me the wherewithal to forgive what has not happened, for we live in illusion. Pardon is totally justified due to this. Nothing has ever really hurt us except in illusions, the maya of Eastern religions.

2 – Time and Space

The final sentence also states a truth that we would be wise to accept at face value, though perhaps it is early yet to recognize the miracles that the sentence represents. Isn’t it wonderful to think that Jesus has such power that time and space are under his control? But he would not demand that we believe this yet, while we are not yet sure of miracles. It might help our belief if we stop to realize, often, that we live in an illusion. Dreams can be manipulated, even by ourselves, when we dream them in sleep. So it is not so very far from credulity that Jesus, the Ascended, could manipulate time and space to aid us in our “journey without distance” (from the Text of A Course in Miracles).

3 – Learn how to Love

We must learn to love if we are to be happy, for who can remain happy while intermittently experiencing pangs of fear? A Course in Miracles is the way that many of us have chosen to learn how to love, how to live a better way. It is a beginning, a way home for those of us who follow diligently its guidance. Early in the Text, Jesus tells us abundant willingness and great patience are needed for learning. And that revelation can occasionally reveal the end to us. I have personally had that revelation. The end is Awakening, which I have not sustained. But the glimpses that I have had–once for a summer, once for six months–sustain me through more difficult times and assure me that all of us will eventually reach the good outcome. In the meantime, I aim for patience and willingness to learn (and this learning, according to A Course of Love, is now through observation, not intense study).

4 – Mastery of Fear

The time between readiness and mastery of fear does not, as implied by this passage, have to be lengthy. It is true that it may be lengthy, but elsewhere Jesus recommends that we be content to walk the pathway, even if the way seems long to us. I have, in my own experience, found that the time has indeed been lengthy, though I have known periods of great calm and peace, without any fear at all. I see my own limitations as the reason for the fact that the mastery of fear through love is taking so long. Jesus says in ACIM that here we are not meant to be without limitations, but we are to overcome them when and where we can (a paraphrase).

5 – Sometimes Time Moves Fast

It is not always long. Many people find themselves at home in God within a few days or weeks of reading ACIM. When this happens, we have experienced a revelation of the end. And the revelation may not last. Yet we will take away from the experience our certainty, also given us by Jesus, that once the way is begun, the end is certain. A Course in Miracles then becomes our pathway home.

Prayer:

Dear Father,

May we see Jesus control time and space in our world. Even when we do not understand this, may we realize that what he has promised is real–more real than the things of this world. May I suspend doubt and let my mind play with this concept. It is indeed a great blessing.

May we master fear by love. We know that this is the only way. May we feel the love that You have placed in our hearts. When we feel this love, however briefly, and we abandon resentments, we feel safe and therefore fearless.

Be with me today as I seek to follow Your way. I know myself, and so I know that I will stumble and fall, but I ask that You walk beside me and help me back up, each time that I fall. May I keep the words, “distress that rests on error,” keenly in my mind as I react to individuals who are pursued by their demons. The anger that I sometimes hear is actually a call for help, as Jesus tells us in the chapter on forgiveness in ACIM. May I recognize any and all calls for help today, and rush to the side of the one doing the calling.

Amen.

Dream of Your Brother’s Kindnesses instead of Dwelling in Your Dreams on His Mistakes

“Dream softly of your sinless brother, who unites with you in holy innocence. And from this dream the Lord of Heaven will Himself awaken His beloved Son. (T-27.VII.15)”

1 – The Dream

The “dream” here is the illusion in which we are caught in this world. The passage implies that we have a choice in our dreams, that we can “dream softly,” i.e., fail to focus on disappointments and instead focus on the good parts of our relationships. This dream, this soft dream, is also the tranquility out of which the “Lord of Heaven” (God Himself) awakens us. We are told elsewhere that if a light is turned on while we are asleep that we will be terrified, but when this light is perceived as the end of sleep, we are no longer terrified. We are further told that we would scream in “mortal terror” if we awakened suddenly from our “sleep” of forgetfulness. So a “gentler dream” precedes our Awakening, and all is well.

2 – Relationships

This passage also holds the hint that we are to find our way back home by our relationship to our brother or sister. This is the means that A Course in Miracles uses, always. Thus we do not need long periods of contemplation, though due to their intent, these would also work. But our way is different. We turn our special relationships to holy ones, and we know peace in so doing. We recognize the innocence is our brother who has not meant to do any harm (and has not, in actuality, done any harm at all). We live in an illusion. This cannot be said often enough. We do not pardon real offenses. There are no real offenses.

3 – Dream Softly

“Dream of your brother’s kindnesses instead of dwelling in your dreams on his mistakes. Select his thoughtfulness to dream about instead of counting up the hurts he gave. (T-27.VII.15)”

What a reassuring passage indeed this is! We have a choice of what we will dream of, of what we will think about in our waking hours in this waking dream. If we dwell on the good things about our brother or sister, we will know peace. We will be lighthearted and joyous. We will not rue the day. What better frame of mind could we ask?

4 – Kindnesses

So we remind ourselves of the kindnesses that our brother or sister has done for us. And these are many. Sure, there have been hurts, but we do not propose to dwell on these. Dwelling on the hurts is a sure way to feel less loved, and feeling less loved, we receive less love. Our very reactions will betray us. Most of us receive as much as we are capable of receiving, and the point of this is that we become capable when our hearts are warm. We can just as easily turn off the love from another, by our own chilly thoughts and reactions. But we would not have it so.

5 – Hostile Attitudes

We sometimes display a hostile attitude, years after we have been hurt by another in love. If we recognize what we are displaying, though, we can rectify the mistake, and then we will open out our hearts in a receptive fashion. Receiving is everything. If we close ourselves off, we cannot recognize a miracle if one appears at high noon. And it is miracles that we want.

6 – Illusions

“Forgive him his illusions, and give thanks to him for all the helpfulness he gave. And do not brush aside his many gifts because he is not perfect in your dreams. He represents his Father, Whom you see as offering both life and death to you. (T-27.VII.15)”

This passage is part of the theology of A Course in Miracles. We see our brother as representing God to us, and if we see God as offering both life and death, we will see our brother or sister as doing the same. This is difficult to understand, but it does make eminently good sense when contemplated. We project our image of God onto our most significant others; we see divinity in them. And so if we see an imperfect companion, we will also question God’s integrity. And this is serious business indeed.

7 – Eternity

We do not want to question God’s integrity. He offers only life (from ACIM). He does not offer death, for there is no death. We live in an eternity. Be happy today.

Affirmation: “Dream softly of your sinless brother.”

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

I can dream of the peace that my brother offers to me. I do not have to dwell—ever—on hurts perpetrated at any time by anyone. Let me remember the peace today.

Amen.

Only Those Who Give Over All Desire to Reject Can Know that Their Own Rejection Is Impossible

manet - fifer“Only those who give over all desire to reject can know that their own rejection is impossible. (T48)”

Affirmation: “give over all desire to reject”

Reflections:

1 – Rejection Is of the Ego

Rejection is of the ego, and once we relinquish the desire to reject our brother, we too know that our Self cannot be rejected by God. This may be hard to incorporate into our self-image. We may have played rejection records–going around and around on an illusory turntable–for years. Some of us never quite get over the first rejection from a romantic interest in high school. But knowing that rejection is of the ego, we can soothe our troubled memories.

2 – God Never Rejects

Knowing this is a great release. We cannot be rejected by God! What a glorious incentive to give up the ego. Knowing that God does not reject may seem cold comfort in our low moods. We may not feel the warmth of His presence as we do at other times. We may wish for a human being to return our love, and that reciprocation just may be lacking from our lives.

3 – What to Do in Romantic Rejection

What do we do then? What if a special someone has rejected us, and we cannot seem to get beyond the hurt? We can know that love does not ever leave us–just sometimes it comes in other forms than the romantic package that our culture has led us to see as the greatest blessing. Actually the romantic love of our culture is defining a special relationship, and A Course in Miracles counsels us that this is of the ego, not read at all. Even when we are in a relationship, we are counseled to turn that specialness into the holy. That is the only way to find lasting peace. That is truly the only way to love authentically.

4 – Worst Experiences

All of us have known rejection. We may remember these incidents as among the worst of our life. But we do not have to be wounded irreparably. There is a way out. Once we have started to turn away from the ego, our perceptions are cleansed, and we at that time know less rejection from others. This is a principal motivator of ACIM. And once motivation has been increased, we are well on our way to the Atonement.

5 – Disappointments

Rejection from others, or our own personal rejection of self or others, can be one of the main disappointments in life. Once we truly realize that it is ourselves who have initiated any rejection, even when it seems to come from others, we are healed. “Projection makes perception,” as ACIM tells us. We had a hand in our own rejection. And we can choose again. Indeed, we must choose again–if we are to be healed.

Prayer:

Dear Father,

May we realize that in rejection, we are in the driver’s seat. We have made this situation, however much we may try to blame others. Help us especially not to blame You.

I thank You for the time that healed my own experiences with rejection from others. I thank You that now my significant relationships are in the process of being turned into holy relationships. May I do my part to see this process continue and to be completed, in Your good time.

May we cease to contemplate rejection in any form. When this is accomplished, we will be well on our way to Atonement, a lasting Atonement.

Amen.

Transformation

kitchen garden at Eragny,afternoon 1901 -pissarro
“As you live with awareness of the love of God within you, you will see that you have no need for special love relationships. You will realize that the love and the Self you now have available to share in relationship are all that you would share in truth. You will recognize that no others have a need for you to make them special for you will see the truth of who they are rather than the illusion of who you would have them be. (Treatises of A Course of Love: Treatise on the Personal Self, 16.15)”

Affirmation: “Let us turn special relationships into holy.”

Reflections:

1 – Holy

This passage for today does not go on to say what Jesus has earlier said: that it is for special relationships to be turned to holy.

2 – The Special

But do we really believe this? Do we not, in our superficial hearts, think that we still need to carry specialness around with us? We think that we have special memories, and a special present, with the relationships in our lives, past and present. Maybe we need to reflect that specialness itself is of the ego, and we do not need to retain “special” feelings for any individual. We can enlarge our boundaries to include all with whom we come in contact.

3 – Will Not Snatch Away

Perhaps all of us (myself included) are not yet ready for this full transformation. Jesus says in A Course in Miracles that the Holy Spirit will not snatch our special relationships away from us; we do not have to fear this. The Holy Spirit will transform our special relationships into holy relationships. And once this is done, we will know what real love is all about.

4 – Marriage

So let us entertain the idea that, if it helps us, that there is no marriage in heaven. Jesus said so in his time on earth. So we don’t cling to individuals, special individuals, so much on the Other Side. Here in A Course of Love Jesus is suggesting, I think, that we carry over some of this idea into this world. We stay true in our marriages, but we recognize that there is a larger world out there, and we have great joy awaiting us in our relationships in general.

5 – No Jealousy

We can assume no jealousy arises on the Other Side. This may still be incomprehensible here, but let us contemplate this idea nevertheless. Love with a large heart.

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

I must say that I am not yet ready for all of my special relationships to transform into holy. I still see instances of special in my relationships, past and present. But I realize that there is no room for jealousy as we transform our special into holy. There is no need to believe that the special will be less, for actually, once turned holy, the special becomes more.

Help me to relinquish my control over my nearest and dearest. We will go on loving, but without control we will be nearer the idea of holy relationship. I would move to holy relationship, for I know that this is Your will. Help me to realize that there is no loss but only gain when love is in the equation.

Amen.

A Holy Relationship with the Self

“The holy relationship has been accomplished by the joining of the mind and heart in unity. The holy relationship is with the Self, the Self that abides in unity with all things within the house of truth. This relationship makes the Self one with all and so brings the holiness of the Self to all. (Treatises of A Course of Love: Treatise on the Personal Self, 15.10)”

Affirmation: “I will focus on the holy relationship with my Self today.”

Reflections:

1 – Movement Away from Special Relationships

In A Course in Miracles, the emphasis on holy relationships was with the other, our brother. This emphasis moved from special relationships, which were ego-driven, to holy relationships that would save us, is a function of our salvation. This change was seen as the fundamental way that we expressed forgiveness of our brother, and it was the fundamental way that we were to move toward Awakening.

2 – Relationship to the Christ Self Within

In A Course of Love, this movement to holy relationships with others is seen to be accomplished, and we are bade to develop a holy relationship with our deeper Self, which is the Christ within. We are once again, in the passage for today, told that we need to join our hearts and minds into unity—and that means the wholeheartedness that Jesus mentions quite a bit elsewhere in ACOL. When we experience the holiness of our Self, and we join with that Self is holy relationship, we automatically extend the same beneficence to others, and all are joined with us in holy relationship. We do not have to take individuals one-by-one. We have accomplished the all.

3 – At First Not Easy

It is not easy, at first, to recognize that the Christ within is present in us, and that this means, once we have recognized the Christ within, that we are The Accomplished. What vestiges of the ego exist in us still try to lead us to think that we are being arrogant.

4 – True Humility

True humility is what is called for here. All others have the same internal Christ, but all have not, as yet, so recognized. And we are needed to call the minds and hearts of others to this blessing of the inner Self, the inner Christ. We do not proselytize when others are not ready, but when others express a wondering about how we live and why, the way is open for us to respond. They are ready to hear.

5 – Make the Christ Self Real

May all of us think, say, and do the things today that will make the Christ Self real to us. May we make immeasurable progress today toward living as the Christ Self throughout our days.

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

I would share a holy relationship with my significant others, and I would reach inwardly to toward relationship to my Self, also holy (though I don’t often recognize this). I would invite the Christ Self to make itself known to me today. And, if I stay close to You, this will happen, for I am asking in Your will.

Be with me today. Be with my brothers and sisters. We all need You, far more than sometimes we recognize.

Thank You.

Amen.

Tending Your Garden

la-prominade-75 - monet“This holy relationship is what you are called to cultivate as a gardener cultivates her garden. The gardener knows that although the plant exists fully realized within its seed, it also needs the relationship of earth and water, light and air. The gardener knows that tending the garden will help it to flourish and show its abundance. The gardener knows she is part of the relationship that is the garden. (Treatises of A Course of Love: Treatise on the Nature of Unity and Its Recognition, 12.10)”

Affirmation: “I will spend time tending my garden today.”

Reflections:

1 – Holy Relationship

The holy relationship is a relationship not only with others, but also with the Self. We reach inwardly and outwardly. And we tend what we find there. What exactly do we do?

2 – Meditative Work

There are ways that we can enhance our relationship to our Self as well as with our brothers and sisters. Earlier, Jesus mentioned meditation, yoga, affirmations as ways to grow in grace (though he did not use that term “grace”). Tending the garden is an ongoing process that in itself is meditative. Think of the gardener who loves the work of a physical garden. Do he/she not feel rejuvenated by the work that is done in the garden? It is the same here in the realm of the mind and heart, the wholeheartedness that Jesus has set forth. We do not struggle to tend. We just relax in the meditative expanse of our days.

3 – Ego

The ego would try to tend the plants without relationship (from ACOL). The ego would believe that relationship is not primary, and that the personal self is all that is important. When we are selfishly hung up on the ego, we are not mindful of our Self or of others. Sometimes someone will wonder if we actually “like” people, perhaps including ourselves. We may be so hung up on personal problems that we think that the only one we can care about is ourselves: It is enough just to keep ourselves going, and we can’t mind other people as well. They are seen as a distraction.

4 – Special Relationships

This set of mind, that relationship is unneeded and even impossible, given our state of mind, is just where the ego would have us be. The ego thinks that holy relationships, especially, are beside the point. The only relationship which the ego thinks of any benefit to the personal self is the special relationship. And we know where this leads. To pain and sometimes suffering.

5 – Special into Holy Relationships

But when we turn our special relationships into holy ones, we tend our garden in the process. This metaphor of the garden is particularly dear to the heart of Jesus, we must intuit. Later on, in the Dialogues of A Course of Love, he devotes a whole chapter to the concept. Here he is just getting started with the topic.

6 – Neurosis

Try to think today of ways that you can leave neurosis behind, and with neurosis, the ego. Try to become acquainted with the Self today. Leave time for others, for the holy relationships that we are developing with our brothers and sisters. The time of today will be well spent, and we will have followed Jesus’s advice to tend our garden.

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

I would tend my garden today, especially my relationship to my Self and my significant others. If others are stressed, I would remain calm, secure in the Self, leaving the ego behind. Help me especially to be patient today.

This day can go smoothly if I remember You. You are my Rock, my assurance that what I do with Your blessing will turn out alright.

Help me to think and to do with Your blessing today.

Amen

Special Relationships

“Once you are no longer concerned with needs and the meeting of needs you will no longer be concerned with special relationships. You will realize that there is no loss but only gain involved in letting them go. (Treatises of A Course of Love: Treatise on the Nature of Unity and Its Recognition, 9.16)”

Affirmation: “I will let my special relationships go in favor of the holy.”

Reflections:

1 – Needs Met

Is it really true that we won’t have to worry about needs any longer? Indeed so. Our needs are met at the point of need as we progress toward Home. And Jesus assures us that we have arrived. I think that this is his way of encouraging us to stop seeking. We can read and reread favorite inspirational messages, but our way Home is assured.

2 – Longing

We still long for special relationships, because we do not want to be alone, and our significant relationships are, to us, the best place to go for solace. This is egoic thinking. We do not have to listen to our egos any longer. We will be free of the ego when we have turned outside from fearful thoughts.

3 – Ego

Yesterday I indicated, based on the passage from A Course of Love, that turning aside from fear did in fact eliminate the ego from our thinking. This transition seems hard to us, because we have thrived on fear, even invited it. But this was the egoic mind in full force. We need to realize that this part of our belief about ourselves, the ego, is eliminated when we make a concerted effort to choose anew every time that we are tempted to do the egotistical thing (an interpretation, not stated in ACIM or ACOL). When we turn aside from egotistical thinking, we also turn aside from fear, for fear is activated by the down cycle of the egoic oscillations. We have known flights of joy, but these soon turn to pain and even suffering–when in the throes of the egoic mind. Surely we want something better for ourselves now.

4 – Holy Relationship

Choose holy relationships over special. Or, as we are encouraged to do in A Course in Miracles, turn the special relationship into the holy. We may feel that our relationships are disjointed during this period, but it will be the very best thing for us. We can choose no higher, unless it be a choice for God Himself.

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

I would turn all of my special relationships into holy ones. I start with my chosen significant other and fan out from that one. I can do this, for You will help. I know, if I follow guidance, that this is Your way for me. Having holy relationships, or in particular one holy relationship, is my primary way home.

I would not be fearful today, for fear feeds the ego. And I would not allow my mind to dip into egotistical thoughts, for this is the essence of what goes wrong for me. Help me to reach out to You for solace. And may I not forget others in my search. We all need each other, and we need each other to eliminate fear and to be peaceful and harmonious.

Amen

Abdicate Not Your Own Needs

renoir - lady sewing
“The extent to which you are willing to abdicate your needs in order to attain something is the extent to which your belief in want or lack is revealed. This is the purview of special relationships. (Treatises of A Course of Love: Treatise on the Nature of Unity and Its Recognition, 9.10)”

Affirmation: “If I have a true need, I will seek to satisfy it today.”

Reflections:

1 – Lacks

We do not really have lacks, though we think we do. And these perceived lacks in ourselves are what lead us directly to special relationships, the finding of other people who will fill the need in ourselves, will fill us up with their very nature and personality.

2 – Fallacious Thinking

All of this thinking is fallacious. We do not have needs that go unsatisfied, though we may think that we do. The solution is always with the problem (from A Course in Miracles), and we get an answer virtually immediately, when we still our minds and seek guidance. Our wants are not always satisfied, though, and we confuse wants with needs. In A Course of Love, Jesus indicates that our very wants may be fulfilled.

3 – Being Compliant

We think that we have to abdicate our needs to get people to love us. We think that we need to be very compliant in a relationship, to please the other at the cost of our own peace of mind, and to long for a joining that is unnatural. We are not meant to look to others for our fulfillment, though we do need others, in relationship, to lead us to salvation. This is the way of the brother’s relationship to us in ACIM.

4 – Holy Relationships

We need, as I have said repeatedly in this blog, to transform our special relationships into holy. This is a pivotal point in A Course in Miracles, and the idea is carried over in A Course of Love. When we have all holy relationships, we will not seek to “please” in order to curry favor. We will know that we are loved just as we are.

5 – Our Heartfelt Wish

And is this not what we have wished all along?

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

I ask You for a good day, a day in which my holy relationships remain holy, and I do not seek to please in order to be loved. This desire to please is based in part on conditional love, and I would know unconditional love from Self and others. I must also give it, though. Giving and receiving are necessary in both directions.

May I be for my brothers and sisters what they need today, but not in an effort to please them, to be compliant so that they will love me. I have long sought to be somewhat passive, at times, in relationships, because I have been surrounded by strong personalities. But I would fulfill my needs in holy relationships, and for this I do not need to make excessive efforts to please.

Amen

Response, Not Responsibility

“Responsibility implies needs that would not be met without you.  Response is given and thus genuine.  It is a natural act of giving and receiving as one.  Responsibility is a demanded response, a necessary response, an obligation.  Response happens from within.  (The Treatises of A Course of Love:  Treatise on the Art of Thought, 4.13)”

Affirmation:  “I will respond to my significant others today.”

Reflections:

1 – Responsibility vs. Response

Here is the distinction made between having responsibility for another and simply giving a response, surely heartfelt, to him or her.  This passage continues the theme of the last several postings, emphasizing how very important these concepts are to A Course of Love.  We do not want to do things for others out of obligation; we want to do so with love, and this love is a response rather than a duty-bound responsibility.

2 – Giving and Receiving

Perhaps giving and receiving as one is such a commonplace part of our religious culture that we aren’t sure what it does mean.  Giving and receiving as one mean that what we give, we receive in equal measure.  The equality of giving and receiving will give us pause for thought.  If we don’t give, we don’t receive.  But I think that first we almost have to have received blessings from God that prepare our heart to respond by giving back–to Him, as well as our brothers and sisters.

3 – Demands

We do not want to do that which is demanded of us–at least, not often.  We rebel, because negative emotions such as resentment enter the picture.  But when our hearts are right with love, flowing over with love, we eagerly give a response from love.  And we do not recognize any covert demand at all.  We are too eager to give, in response to all that we have received.  Love does not keep record books; we give much as we forgive, 70 times seven (from the New Testament).  We respond with a willing spirit, and we respond because God has placed that will to do so in our hearts and minds.  He has first given to us, and with this recognition, we know that we can give and give and give, and yet our own store is forever full.  We do not give out of scarcity ever.  We know no scarcity.

4 – Look to Inner Self

The “within” aspects of this passage emphasize once again that we are to look to our inner Self for the direction that we need.  We look within and see no lack; we are therefore quite willing to respond to all needs that present themselves to us from those who are our brothers and sisters.  We do not respond when to do so would be inappropriate.  But the fact of appropriateness of response is broadened considerably when we open our thoughts to God and His way.

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

I need to tell myself that You love my significant others even more than I do.  I have said this to myself many times over the past number of years, and I know that it certainly is true.  I can love only imperfectly, but Yours is perfect love.  And You will care for my loved ones.  I never need to think that I have to carry the burden all by myself.

Be with my loved ones today.  May I respond to their needs, without feeling that I have a particular, insistent demand from them for responsibility for their needs.  This is a great burden reliever, and I thank You for these words of Jesus.

Be with me today.  I need You.  Thank You.

Amen.

Relationship

impressionism

“The second rule of the art of thought is to acknowledge relationship, the call for a response, and the nature of all gifts as being given to all.  This is thus a call to realize that you exist in relationship, that your relationship calls for a response, and that you are given to all as all are given to you.  (The Treatises of A Course of Love:  Treatise on the Art of Thought, 4.6)”

Affirmation:  “I am part of all.”

Reflections:

1 – Respond

The Treatise on the Art of Thought emphasizes that in relationship, one is required to respond, but not to take responsibility for another.  We are all equal.  We can help one another, but each is responsible for himself/herself.

2 – Responsibility

What about the sick, the infirm, or those who are too old to care for themselves well?  I would say that this is still a time when one responds to need, but does not take “responsibility” for another.  This is a fine point, a fine distinction.  One does respond to another’s needs, but the actual choice of when to live and die belongs to the other individual’s Self.  We are not to interfere with all decisions that another is making on behalf of his/her Self/Christ.  That is not our business, not our responsibility.

3 – Given to All

But we are given to all, all others.  We are a part of God and all others.  We are One.  And this response that we are called upon to make may be a tremendous giving on our part.  The response may be gigantic, though only, perhaps, rarely.  We are not to turn aside from need, though.  We are to give to others by way of responding to their needs.  We just don’t take their integrity from them.

4 – An Example

I think of this mostly in regard to a parent who has dementia.  We take care of that individual, but we do not steal their choices from them until the very last, when they can no longer express preference.  We let parents with dementia retain their integrity and their dignity.  To do less would not be kind.

5 – Puzzling Reactions

We often need to respond to individuals who puzzle us in their reactions.  If we know the person well, we can often fall back on that knowledge and react in ways that have worked previously.  But this is not always a viable solution.  We are not to look to the past, when guidance will come to us in the present.  We are, after all, meant to live in the present as much of the time as possible.  If unsure of what response to offer another, go inward for an answer.  And we can be certain that the answer will come, usually immediately.  Only if there is strong emotion (which may mislead us), need we wait at all for a solution to the problem.  As I have said many times in this blog, quoting A Course in Miracles, the solution is with the problem.  And we will respond accordingly, if we are thinking and acting wisely.

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

May we respond with love, realizing that taking responsibility for another is  not what is needed or asked.  And this is true even for children and the infirm.  May I respond fully to need as it is presented to me.  May in no way I turn aside from one who asks for help.

May the challenges I face be known as an incident only, for there is no challenge when one has studied long and hard.  I try to be attuned to guidance, and I ask, especially today, to be so attuned.

Help me to reach out to others who need my care.  I will respond, and I will do so lovingly, given Your help to do so.

Amen.

Your Uniqueness

monet56

“It is in the different relationship of one aspect of creation with all the rest that the difference you so prize as your uniqueness exists.  And only there.  Only in relationship are you uniquely you.  Only relationship exists.  For Love is relationship.  (A Course of Love, 32.1)”

Affirmation:  “Only in relationship do I come into my own.”

Reflections:

1 – Relationships

We exist and live in a world of relationship, not only with our deepest Self but with all others.  And “others” includes nature as well.  We are not alone in any sense of the word.

2 – Why Isolate?

Why do we so often want to isolate ourselves?  This is actually the sheerest folly, even for introverts.  All of us need to reach o ut in some fashion, and when we do reach out, we come into the full expanse of our powers.  We give and we receive.  We are part of the whole, the All, part of God.

3 – Ego

We prize our uniqueness, but if this uniqueness is an ego-mind aspect, we are led astray.  The persona that we show is an ego-oriented self, and it remains the personal self, not the Self.

4 – Abide in Love

We are meant to abide in Love, and Love is of God.  Only this much will satisfy us.  We deserve better than what an egoic notion of our self could provide.  God would wish more for us.

5 – More

Let us find that more today.

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

I would focus only on my uniqueness as a function of what God has given me.  I would not seek a self-image, a persona, that is informed by the ego.  And this will mean that I cast aside egotistical ideas about my physical appearance.

So many of us focus on the external.  Help us today to focus on the internal, the uniqueness that only God can give.

Amen.

Our Hatred of Uncertainty

pissarro - pobae026_landscape_chaponval_1880_mus_orsay_paris_france“Since you live in a world of such extreme uncertainty, one of your highest requirements of those you have relationships with is a mode of behavior that allows you to know what to expect.  (A Course of Love, 31.36)”

Affirmation:  “I will not have expectations of my loved ones today.”

Reflections:

1 – The Dilemma

The passage for today highlights a very human predicament.  Because the world is uncertain in that we never know what to expect next, we try to impose certainty by having expectations of our significant others.

2 – Do Expectations Work?

But does this ever–ever–work?  I don’t know of any case in which it works consistently.  Our loved ones are not here always to do our bidding.  And even when they are willing to do so, the flesh is weak, and we cannot always depend on them to be there when we need them.  Nor can we depend on loved ones to do for us what only we can do for ourselves, we in conjunction with the Divine.

3 – Asking Too Much

We are asking too much of our loved ones with unrealistic expectations.  It is expectations, ironically, what cause the breakdown of many relationships.  “Don’t lean on me, for you will knock me over.”  I once heard internally these words in regard to a particular significant other in my life.  We do not want to displace our burdens on already burdened human beings.  They may not be able to sustain us.  And, moreover, sustaining us it not their business.  We need to be whole human beings, secure within ourselves, with God’s help, who form a healthy bond to another.  Do not our secular psychologies say much about co-dependent relationships?

4 – Can Never Predict

We can never predict accurately what our loved ones will say or do in any meaningful way, even when we know them well.  And this is asking too much of them, as I have implied.

5 – Depend on the Self/Christ

Then we cannot choose amiss, though we will still make mistakes that are eminently correctable.  We can always choose again if a given day goes badly.  Our main choice, for God, has been made, and we are, if intellectually certain, ready to walk a green earth under such conditions.

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

I would not get uptight today due to uncertainty, for I would depend upon my Self/Christ, and God to give me the guidance to live in an uncertain world.  There is no other way to live dependably.

Be with me as I walk in this uncertain world today.  You and You alone can heal me, can allow me to know what to do to choose the Self/Christ within, and the guidance that comes from such a choice.

Help me to choose once again, if this day should go awry.  I can always start the day again, if things do go awry.  But I do pray that this day will proceed easily and peacefully, Your way.

Amen.

Choose Once Again

“The choice to change your belief is before you.  Are you ready to make it?  As you once pissarro_stage-coachchose separation you can now choose unity.  Not knowing that unity was a choice prevented you from making this choice before now.  Now I tell you clearly, the choice is yours.  Choose once again.  (A Course of Love, 29.18)”

Affirmation:  “I would choose unity today.”

Reflections:

1 – The Way to Christ-Consciousness

We need to change our beliefs, to believe no longer in the separation that never was, and to embrace the unity that always has been–which we are now ready to accept.  There is no other way to Christ-consciousness.  We must be aware that we are “as” relationship to all, “as” as well as “in.”  And it is in the “as” that we come to see that we cannot get along without communion with God, with our deepest Christ Self, and with other people, our brothers and sisters.

2 – Unity Our Greatest Need

When we recognize that unity with the All is our greatest need, we will be willing to cease this desire for meaningless independence, the isolation that so many of us feel deep in our minds and, perhaps, even, we think, in our hearts.  Our hearts do not really feel thus, though, for they do not have the intellectual doubts about God that stop or, at least, impede, so many of us.  Let us ask for the intellectual understanding that will quell our restless minds, but let us not get hung up about it.  We know in our hearts that God is real, and that He is the only real thing in a real world.  Everything else is illusion, for we ourselves, and everything, is a part of God.  Our brothers and sisters are, likewise, one with God and one with ourselves.

3 – God’s Blessing

It is time to choose again, to choose the blessing that God would bestow upon us.  Fear can fade away when we say the affirmations that come us to from A Course in Miracles and A Course of Love, as well as the Bible.  These affirmations proclaim a truth that is above doubt, a truth that all is really well with us–regardless of outside circumstances.  Even pain is alleviated and kept from escalating into suffering when we live close to the deepest within ourselves, the deepest which is God.

4 – Join in Unity

May we join forces with all whom we see today, to join in unity with our brothers and sisters, and to pray for the Christ-consciousness which will mean that we will live in unity without any time constraints, permanently.

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

We need to get very clear about what we need–and that is a unity with all, You and All that exists.  May I reach the clarity that will tell me this in my deepest heart of hearts.  May I depend on You for the answers to my needs, knowing that needs are always answered.  My wants may not be realized, and that is as it should be.  I may want what would hurt me.

Thank You for helping me to realize that I must keep my mind clear to avoid attracting the wrong things.  I have some say in this, though You will guide me–always–when I let myself be open to guidance.  May I follow Your will and Your way today, all through the day.

Amen.

Typical Fears No More Arise

L'Estaque - cezanne2

“Living in relationship provides a constant knowing of this sort, a simple knowing of a way things are meant to be.  It is a knowing felt within the heart for which there still will be no proof, but for which there will be the certainty you heretofore have lacked.  The typical fears you have experienced in the past will not arise within this knowing.  (A Course of Love, 27.19)”

Affirmation:  “May no fears arise in me today.”

Reflections:

1 – Knowing

When we live in relationship to God and ourselves, our deepest Selves, plus with others, we are living as Jesus recommends in this passage for today.  We will feel a “knowing” in our heart that we are on the right pathway.

2 – Relationships

This is the pathway recommended initially in A Course of Miracles, but then the emphasis was on relationships, holy relationships with others, especially our most significant brother (or sister).  In A Course of Love, Jesus expands the concept of relationship to mean a relationship not only to God, but to the Self/Christ within.  When we reach deep, deep, inwardly, we are reassured, in a way that nothing else can, that all is well.

3 – Home

This is the certainty of which Jesus speaks in this passage.  This is the assurance that we are on the way home, and not to the Other Side, but the heaven on earth that we can actually know here.

4 – Listen

Be with Jesus’s words today.  See if they don’t make a huge difference.

5 – Certainty

The certainty that we are on the right pathway comes when we lift ourselves up mentally and in a heartfelt way, and we do the best that we know how.  We don’t allow ourselves to get downhearted, if there is any way that we can avoid it.  We are cheery, we are upbeat.  We are not discouraged, for Jesus is with us always.

6 – A Promise

He has promised this.

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

I would know certainty of true knowledge today.  I would not press to know, but I would rest in the certainty that this is what You want for me.  I would not fall into a too-strong desire for Christ-consciousness, for You make that decision.  You are always with me, inside of me, for I am part of You.  Thank You for this knowledge.

Be with all of my brothers and sisters today.  May we let typical fears that arise with just living to fall away.  We need be fearful no more.  Thank You.

Amen.

revised

When in Conflict

The-Ballet-Dancer-by-Edgar-Degas-large“To live in relationship is to live in harmony even with conflict.  It is an understanding that if conflict arises in your present there is something to be learned from your relationship with conflict.  (A Course of Love, 27.14)”

Affirmation:  “I would live in harmony today.”

Reflections:

1 – Learn from Conflict

We do learn from conflict, though we might not like to do so.  When we remain in harmony within ourselves, though, extending this outward to displaying no anger nor attack with others, we can view the conflict dispassionately.  We can remain harmonious, even though those around us are not.

2 – Retain Harmony

What are we learning?  We are learning the benefits of retaining harmony in any situation, even though that push our buttons.  We are learning that anger and attack have no foundation in truth (from A Course in Miracles), and that they are not justified in us as children of God (and all of  us are children of God).  We can make the best of a bad situation, though, when others misbehave.  We do not have to assume a “holier than thou” attitude, either (and this attitude would be most inappropriate).

4 – Conflict in This World

Today’s passage indicates that wherever there is conflict in this world (and that place is almost universal), we can stay true to our understandings, gleaned from ACIM and A Course of Love, and yet still learn from the conflict.  We did not create the conflict, but we can learn from it.  And we choose not to exacerbate the conflict.  We remain in harmony with all.

5 = When Baited

Others may try to bait us.  But we do not have to rise to the bait.  This may be easier said than done.  Some ways to react:  Take a timeout.  Simply excuse yourself from the room.  Listen quietly and tolerantly.  Ask internally what to say or do in response.  Remain calm and collected.  Above all, do not become emotionally heated.  Chill out.

6 – Personal Interpretations

None of these suggestions are found in ACIM or ACOL, but are personal interpretations, based on my own living experiences.  You will have other solutions, and, if so, I would welcome your comments to this posting.  Thank you.

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

I recognize that I am my own worst enemy, making conflict within my own personal self when I would do well to turn to You.  I make the conflict all too often, second guessing myself and doubting the intuitions that rise to the surface.  I would end this reaction today.  I would live in harmony whenever possible.  Whenever it is not possible to live in harmony in my relationships with others, I would learn from the experience.  Then I can leave the conflict behind, knowing that I have gleaned all that can be gleaned from what has happened.

Be with us today.  Thank You for the beginning of a good day.  Whatever happens, may I be prepared, with Your help, to handle it.  Life is not always easy, but it can always be good when I am enfolded by Your love.

Amen.

Relationships of the Self/Christ

“Is it such a huge leap to go from saying you only exist in relationship to you only exist as Avenue-de-lOpera-Rain-Effect-artist-Camille-Pissarrorelationship?  You think it is, and feel your self further diminished and lacking in identity just by contemplating such an idea.  And so you must be reassured of the Self you are.  (A Course of Love, 27.10)”

Affirmation:  “Help me to understand that I exist as relationship.”

Reflections:

1 – Definitions

What is the difference between existing “in” relationship and existing “as” relationship?  “In” relationships we are still two entities (extended to many) that are in concert one to the other.  “As” relationship means that we are not unique in any way, but that the one Self that we are is simultaneously everywhere.

2 – Hard Point

This may be a hard point to grasp.  The subtleties are great.

3 – Selves/Christ in Union

To accept that we are “as” relationship, we must recognize the One that is everywhere and everything.  This is another way of speaking of God.  And we have already grasped that our one personal self is a part of Him.  Is it such a giant leap to see that our Self is actually Selves–Christ in union with all?

4 – Theology

This is part of the theology of A Course of Love.  It is not necessary to take this understanding unto yourself if it seems obtuse.  Jesus says in A Course in Miracles that theology may only delay us, for a universal theology is impossible; a universal experience, though, is indeed possible and is to be sought out.

5 – Be Patient

Let the concept in today’s passage rest lightly on your mind.  As time passes, think of “in” and “as” again, and see if this distinction is beginning to be more acceptable to you.  But do not fret if it is one of the last concepts in ACOL to find your nod.  We are learning much by observation, and as we progress, in the future, through the other two volumes of ACOL, we will find much that will support the distinction of “in” and “as.”  Then the difference, though great, will not seem so forbidding.  (Note:  Two earlier portions of this blog covered parts of the Volumes 2 and 3.  These were the “Forty Days and Forty Nights,” covered from April 1 – May 14, 2010, and “Treatise on the New,” covered from May 22 – December 31, 2010.)

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

I would seek to understand today that my Self is part of the One, the Whole, and that all Selves are One.  Thus to say that we all exist “as” relationship makes sense.  Help me to comprehend today.

May this day good well.  Thank You for the good beginning.  May all of us answer each other’s needs, and may our wants that truly are needs be answered as well.  The solution is with the problem.  And may obsessions drift away.

Amen.

The Mystery of the Human and the Divine

cezanne - fruit“When you fully realize that the only way to know the Self is through relationship, your concerns about concentration on the self will end.  Life is not a matter of self versus other.  Life is a matter of relationship.  Life is not a matter of human versus divine, but a matter of relationship between the human and the divine.  (A Course of Love, 27.7)”

Affirmation:  “Life is solely a matter of relationship.”

Reflections:

1 – From ACIM

In A Course in Miracles, the emphasis with relationship was upon our brother.  We were led to understand that in our relationship to our brother was our way home.  We did not need long periods of contemplation, because we learned to love our brother.

2 – From ACOL

In A Course of Love,  we are led to see an internal relationship, unique to ourselves, in the relationship of the human and the divine.  We are led to realize that the Self has come of age now, and that the personal self is declining in importance to ourselves.  This Self is the inner Christ.  This is the way in which we are like Jesus.  And this is, according to ACOL, our way home.

3 – Human and Divine

The relationships between the human and divine is often, perhaps, a mystery to us.  It will remain a mystery until we have accomplished Christ-consciousness through God’s action toward us.  He makes the decision regarding the time.  This is a point that I have made repeatedly in this blog, and it is a tenet of both ACIM and ACOL.  He makes the decision of when to reach down (a metaphor) and raise us up.  In a sense, Christ-consciousness is our own resurrection.

4 – Elevated Self of Form

May we mold the human and the divine into the elevated Self of form.  And, if we have not yet started toward this, let us start today.

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

I would unravel a bit today the mystery of the human and the divine.  I would reach glimpses today of Christ-consciousness by relaxing into Your will and asking for a miracle.  May the peace that You give encompass me and thus make this miracle possible.

Be with all of us today, all of my brothers and sisters.  May I fulfill for others the needs that are mine to fulfill.  May I look to You to fulfill what I cannot fulfill.  Needs are always answered, of that I am sure.  And I thank You for fulfilling needs.

Amen.

Share One Heartbeat

images

“It [the world] is the place of your interaction with all that lives within you, sharing the one heartbeat.  The heartbeat of the world does not exist apart from God.  The heartbeat of the world is thus alive and part of you.  This heart connection is what we seek to return you to.  (A Course of Love, 20.17)”

Affirmation:  “I would return to the heartbeat of the world.”

Reflections:

1 – Metaphor

The passage for today, a particularly poignant passage, gives us a metaphorical context for A Course of Love.  We are led to understand that we are One with the All, and everything in the world is a part of us.  This in itself is reassuring and comforting.

2 – Hearts Join

If we want to take the heartbeat seriously, we will do well.  We will have a point of departure in the heartbeat that teaches us to turn inwardly, to our own hearts, when we are perplexed.  And we have come to know that this is where God resides.

3 – We Are One

And we are One with the world and everything (and everybody) in it.  We would do well to remember this always.  It is not enough just to turn to God in an introverted fashion.  We need to reach out to our brothers and sisters in this world.  And then we will know what the one heartbeat really means.

4 – Contemplate

This metaphor encapsulates a vision of A Course of Love that has not heretofore been discussed.  Let us spend some time today contemplating what it all means.

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

I would like to start sharing the one heartbeat with those closest to me, and then extend outward.  We need to love unconditionally, and those closest to us naturally come first.  These are our significant others, and we need to give and receive unconditional love with those others.

Be with me today as I seek to be a good companion with the others in my life.  May others whom I encounter notice that there is a love about me that is genuine and heartfelt.  May my significant others bask in that love.  And may they return that love to me.

Thank You for today’s passage.  I appreciate the beauty of the words, and I would take the message unto my heart.  Be with me for a good day today.

Amen.

Wholehearted Yearning for Union

“It is in your holy relationships that union can be found and experienced, and thus from these that you fuel your desire for union with all and for knowledge of your creator.  This yearning must but be a pure yearning–untainted by fear and judgment and approached with wholeheartedness–for it to be fulfilled.  It is not the means that are lacking but the wholehearted desire.  (A Course of Love, 19.7)”

Affirmation:  “Bless my holy relationships.”Café-Terrace-on-the-Place-du-Forum,-Arles,-at-Night,-The - van gogh

Reflections:

1 – Holy Relationships

If we have wholehearted desire, today’s passage assures us that we can find union in our holy relationships.  This is our way home, according to both A Course in Miracles and A Course of Love.  Holy relationships bypass the need for hours of contemplation.  We are our brother’s keeper, and we do well to acknowledge this and to act on it.  Then we will know the peace that we seek.

2 – Holy Oneness

From our holy relationships, we move to a desire for Oneness with all, a holy Oneness rather than the physical that we sometimes think.  The physical is not downplayed by ACOL, though; it is, in fact, applauded, in a sense, by the closeness that it leads us to feel.  It can be a way of reaching toward God.  But union with the All is not physical, but metaphysical.  And we then have knowledge of our Creator God.  We are not alone in our wonderings any longer, but we know.

3 – Jung

Jung, the eminent psychologist, was once asked about faith, and he replied that he “knew,” implying that, for him, knowledge of God was not limited to a nebulous faith.  What a witness this is!  We will come to be so sure in our knowledge of God that we do not have to appeal to faith in the matters of which we are unsure.  We will be told all that we need to know.  And very, very little will be veiled from us.  (An interpretation, not stated in ACIM or ACOL.)

4 – Union

If we are falling short, let us ask ourselves if we have the wholehearted desire for union that this passage indicates we must have.  Do we see any reason for union?  Do we still think that there is something in separateness that will give us the experience of what we want?  If we do want separateness, we will remain in it.  But do we really want to be so isolated or alone?  Do we really want to fear?   All of these things comes with the separate.  And not many of them would any of us long to experience.

5 – Are We Afraid?

We may be afraid of union, not knowing what will be asked of us.  And, indeed, much may be asked of us.  But we will find that we can do these requested missions with ease and peace, with effortlessness.  God does not hold us to a work ethic that we ourselves made.  God desires good works, we might think, but He knows that we are weak and frail children, and that we need help.  Ask (a necessity), and that help will be forthcoming.

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

I would overlook all slights that happen to me currently, seeking instead the union with all my brothers and sisters, and God, that this passage recommends.  May we be forgiving, for this world is difficult, and if we forgive, we will come to understand.

May my yearning for union be without fear of any kind.  May my anxiety melt away.  And may You spend the day with me today, so that I sense Your presence.

Amen.

Better View of Life

“This is the view of life you cannot imagine bringing about, or bringing joy in its coming.  But this is what you must begin to imagine if you desire to accept love’s coming instead of to reject it once again.  For your refusal to give up specialness is your refusal of the Christ in you and a refusal of love itself.  (A Course of Love, 14.31)”

Affirmation:  “I would give up specialness in love today, replacing it with the holy in love.”

Reflections:

1 – ACIM and ACOL

Here A Course of Love echoes much that has been emphasized in A Course in MiraclesACIM postulates that special love turned to holy, in relationships, is our way home.  In the process of turning special to holy, we learn how to forgive.  And in the forgiveness, we recognize that the others in our lives have always been either calling for love or  loving.  Even their anger and attack are reconsidered as calls for help, or love.

2 – Special to Holy

We do not lose anything by turning our special loves into holy ones.  This may be what we fear, for much romantic love is actually specialness, and that is why the romantic love can quickly turn to indifference, or even hate.

3 – Leave Behind

Let us have none of this nonsense.  We are better than this.  We are God’s children, eager to do His will.  And would we turn our back on any of His children, even those who seem to have turned away from us?

4 – Forgiveness

We will never know peace until forgiveness finds a place in our hearts.  We forgive as much for ourselves as for another.  This is the ultimate secret of why forgiveness is so important.  We cannot proceed to Atonement with God until we have gotten our hearts right in love that we actually do feel for others, the love that may be hidden over by hate.

5 – Hate

Give up a refusal to love today.  Nothing anybody has done to you is worth the anguish of hate.  Know that not everyone is able to love as freely as we would desire, and this is not a failing.  All have free will, and are given the means to turn to whomever they choose.  They too may know rejection.  It does not matter.  Our hearts will soften, in forgiveness, and we will have taken giant leaps ahead on our pathway back to God.  Forgive for yourself as well as of the other.

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

I would focus on love today, love undiminished by any negative emotion.  Help me to do this.  I know that this is what You want for me.

I would not ever let hate hold a place in my heart.  Hate normally comes from being hurt badly, and I am fortunate not to have been hurt that badly.  May my brothers and sisters who have known the depths of hurting, be healed.

Amen.

Once There Is Love, It Is Forever

“Let us ask instead how loving all as one can bring harm?  If you love all the same, what loss is there to anyone, including the one you would choose to make special?  All that is lost is specialness.  (A Course of Love, 14.31)”

Renoir-La-LectureAffirmation:  “I would choose to love all in my life.”

Reflections:

1 – Betrayal?

There is little in this passage with which to disagree, if the passage is understood in its fullness.  Certainly parents love all their children, and what love is given to one is not normally taken from another.  Yet when it comes to our significant other, our brother/sister, we often think that if we love someone who was once “special” to us, then we are betraying our brother/sister, the one in our life now.  This is not so, but the explanation does take a little consideration.

2 – Love Is Forever

Any love, once experienced, never fades entirely.  Once there is love, it is forever.  Even the playwright William Shakespeare says this.  And certainly the love that is expressed in our scriptures is meant to be a forever thing.   We transform the specialness of our relationships into holy, and in a holy relationship, there is no room for jealousy.  We bind ourselves with a tight bond to the significant other in our life, but we do not put blinders on, to eliminate all thought of the other loves that we have known.  This is reality, and there is no reason to feel guilt in reality.

3 – Lose the Specialness

We would lose the specialness that, all too often, tries to cling to our loves.  Specialness can turn to hate, and to indifference, whereas genuine love remains itself–heartfelt love that knows no ending.  May we experience this heartfelt love for others today, and may we turn to God within in our experience.  There is no room for specialness in a world that can become beautiful by the love we harbor for all living creatures.

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

I would come to realize ever more deeply today that love is all one, though we have different kinds of love for the individuals in our lives.  We never outgrow a love that has once been in our lives.  We never dismiss it entirely.  And we will reconcile on another plan, as A Course in Miracles tells us.

Thank You for this reassurance.  May we love, and love greatly, for this is our way out of fearful and anxious thoughts.  This is our way home to You.  And I would go home to You today.

Be with me as I seek to know You ever more deeply.

Amen.

The Body Is a Tool

“The body is a tool made for your use in maintaining the illusion of your separation.  That it has seeming power can only be because you think you put your power there.  If this were true, much power indeed would it wield.  But what you have made cannot be invested with the power of creation without your joining with it.  (A Course of Love, 10.1)”

Affirmation:  “Let me deemphasize the body today.”

Reflections:Van-Gogh-Paintings-Wallpapers-olive trees

1 – Joining?

We do not and cannot join physically with all whom we meet.  That physical joining is limited to very few, or just one.  So what type of “joining” does this passage imply?

2 – Joining = of the Spirit

The joining that we must do is not of the body.  It is of the spirit.  The body is meant to affirm our separation from each other.  The body, like all illusions, fails us in this purpose.  We learn from living in separate bodies that we are not very happy being separate.  So how might we join?

3 – Join in Holiness

We join in holiness, in holy relationships that have, in many cases, been transformed from special relationships.

4 – Join in Minds

We join in minds as well as in spirit, but we do not leave it to our minds to determine all that we need to know.  We listen to our hearts.  And in the listening, we learn that we are not meant to walk along and and to be lonely.  We are made for each other and for God.  There is no better way to live.

4 – Power of the Body

What type of power could the body wield?  Only matters of power and prestige.  The ego.  The things of this world that are tangible.  Success.  Vanity.

5 – Perishable

You get the picture.  Do we really, truly, in our wholeheartedness, want such perishable things?  Let us be glad that their value will not last for us, for in them we lose ourselves.  We instead want the peace, joy, harmony, and serenity that God grants to all who turn to Him.  And He grants this peace, I believe, even to those who have not yet learned that turning to Him is the complete answer.  He is the God of the secular and profane as well as the religious and spiritual, for we are all His children, and He does not forget His own.

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

I would join in spirit and mind with all whom I meet today.  Help me to do so purely.  I know that You do not deemphasize the physical in A Course of Love, but today we are not considering physical joining.  I wish the joining that will bring me closer to being a co-creator with You.

I wish for those things which will last.  And the perishable, tangible things of this world, some of which are necessary for survival, will not last.  I know that You want my material needs met also, but today I focus on the things of the spirit.  May my egoic mind, still a burden in many ways, just diminish in intensity as I seek for the things of the spirit.

Be with me today, as always.  I know that You are with me, for life just keeps getting better and better.  My prayers are being answered, and You are guiding me to find the answers.  Thank You.

Amen.

End the Charade

“Despite your bravest attempts to remain separate, you must use your brothers and sisters in order to even maintain the illusion of your separation.  Would it not simply be better to end this charade?  To admit that you were not created for separation but for union?  To begin to let go of your fear of joining and, as you do, let go of use as well?  (A Course of Love, 9.49)”
van gogh - starry night and house
Affirmation:  “union–not separation”

Reflections:

1 – Independence

This desire that we all have had, and many of us still seem to have, in being separate, is actually the laudatory way that we look on independence (an interpretation, not stated in ACOL).  We think that not to “need” anybody, except perhaps “special” bodies, is all to the good.  But has it ever worked for very long?

2 – We Need Union

We need union, and not just genuine union in holy relationships with our brothers and sisters, but also union with God.  While union with God has never gone away, and could never go away, for we are part of Him, we can stay oblivious to this union.  And when we are oblivious, we are unhappy and we feel separated.  So in an unnatural way we turn to special relationships to solve our problems.  And these special relationships seem to work for a time, and then they fail us, for they were not made in heaven, but in hell.

3 – Interdependent

We need to recognize that we are meant to be interdependent, which is quite different from the dependence that we all fear, to one extent or another.  And interdependence is different from independence, which we never can sustain for very long at all.

4 – Union

Our union is a more positive, a more exalted, way of expressing our love with our brothers and sisters, and also, of course, with God.  And union is also a more positive way of expressing interdependence.

5 – Joining in One

We can never be satisfied or happy alone, solely alone.  We need God, and most of us need each other.  Very few people are spiritual enough to rely solely on our union with God, and in all likelihood, we are in this world with other people because we cannot sustain separatism.  May we join together today in the holy relationships that we are all intended to have.

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

May I see interdependence as the blessing that it is.  May I no longer strive to independence that leaves my brothers and sisters out in the cold.  We all need each other, and likewise we all need God.  May we come to laud the interdependent nature of our world, and may we understand enough to carry out a relinquishment of independence.

The way in which I discuss independence with You does not rule out isolated times of independent thinking and doing.  But we cannot sustain isolation from You and from others for an extended period of time.  We are social creatures; that is the way that You created us.  May we accept Your intentions today.

Amen.

Union

“Instead of recognizing your union, a state in which you are whole and complete because you are joined with all, you have determined to stand separate and use the rest to support your separate stance.  Do you see the difference in these two positions?  In what way is your way better than the way God created for you, a way that is completely free of conflict?  (A Course of Love, 9.49)”

Vincent-Van-Gogh-painting-wallpaper-Paintings-Wallpaper-19
Affirmation:  “union–not separateness”

Reflections:

1 – What Does “Union” Mean?

What does Jesus mean by “union”?  It is the same idea, I think, that he alludes to earlier in the first volume of A Course of Love–the holy relationships that we develop as we drop the separate stance that is actually the special relationship (an interpretation, not stated in ACOL).  Why is it so important to let go of the superficial values that special relationships provide?  For they provide for an illusion of safety, an illusion of a haven–not the real thing.  In this world our holy relationships normally being as special ones, but, if we follow Jesus, the special turns into the holy.  We see our brothers and sisters for their intangible values, and we walk in union with them.  We do not separate as we will, when we are disenchanted because he or she has not fulfilled some part of the secret bargain that we have made with them.  We stay the course, and we look for the peace and joy that is a part of all that is holy.  We do not mind the fading beauty as years go by; we don’t even see fading beauty.  All of our holy relationships simply become more precious as time goes by.

2 – The All = God

We join with the All, the God in All.  This is union; this is not separatism that masquerades as union.  We do not let disappointments that our brothers and sisters are not perfect interfere with the love that we have for them.  We bask in the glory of their union, and ours, with God, and we join hands to walk toward Christ-consciousness.

3 – No Conflict

We are not in conflict at such times.  We do not encounter conflict very often, even though the Dalai Lama said that he sometimes feels anger.  That is the human part of the human/divine joining that we will come to know.

4 – Need to Love

We need to love, and to love deeply.  We especially need to love when we are feeling unloving.  Holy relationships do not demand that we be perfect.  Jesus does not demand that we be perfect (from ACOL).  We are human beings on a divine mission, with a spirit inside that is both human and divine.  When we recognize the divine, we will have walked at least a few steps along the pathway to Christ-consciousness.  And all will be better for us.

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

I would choose union with the All today, and that includes my brothers and sisters as well as You.  May we have a good day together.  May we join, knowing that this is Your will for us, and we need You and each other.

Be with us as we seek to have a good day.  There is no reason for conflict when You are sensed by us.

Amen.

A Valley Full of Lilies

“You realize not that if you were to stop and take your brother’s hand, the race course would become a valley full of lilies, and you would find yourself on the other side of the finish line, able at last to rest.  (A Course of Love, 9.40)”

Affirmation:  “holy relationships”

Vangogh-bridge

Reflections:

1 – Holy Relationships

This passage from ACOL is another phrasing of a pivotal assertion of A Course in Miracles.  The passage is especially beautiful in wording.  The central point is that we need to have holy relationships with our brothers and sisters, and that when we reach out to touch them, we are finding our way to heaven.  Heaven is not a place or a condition, but Oneness (an ACIM tenet).  When we hold our brother or sister’s hand, we are aiming for oneness with him or her.

2 – Lilies

The “race course would become a valley full of lilies,” which is a lovely reminder of the lilies mentioned in the Bible as well as A Course in Miracles.  Surely lilies must be one of Jesus’s favorite flowers.

3 – We Want to Rest

We would not have to race about to achieve.  Our achievement is found in the closeness with which we hold our brother and sister’s hand.  We want to rest, for we are very weary.  This world is a place of weariness, and we would not want that if we could change it.

4 – A Blessing

To be on the “other side of the finish line” is a blessing indeed!  May we, in sweetness and light, join our brothers and sisters today in holy relationship.  We do not ask for special relationships, unless we see the means to transform those special relationships into holy.  When we do that, all is well.

5 – Transforming Special to Holy

Our special relationships will not be snatched from us (an ACIM tenet), but transformed into holy ones.  The transformation may be a bit difficult, even very difficult, but the change in goals for the relationship makes the period of transition hard.  We have transformed a relationship entered into for unholy reasons (e.g., attractiveness, ambition for success, ambition for worldly glory) has been transformed into a relationship that will take us home to heaven.  How could we ask for more?

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

I would know that there is no need to rush about and hurry so.  I am holding my brother’s hand, and that is sufficient.  I ask that all of my holy relationships remain holy, that no attack nor anger mar their beauty.

Help us to find the will to rest.  Often we push ahead when we would be better off to wait, to rest in serenity that You offer to us.

Be with me today.  Help me to know that You are always present with the solution of every problem that presents itself, at the time that the problem presents itself.

Amen.

Holy Relationships vs. Special Relationships

“Your natural state is one of union, and each joining that you do in holy relationship returns a little of the memory of union to you.  This memory of your divinity is what you seek in truth from each special relationship you enter into, but your true quest is hidden by the concept of use that gets in its way.  While your heart seeks for union, your separated self seeks for what it can use to fill the emptiness and ease the terror of its separation.  (A Course of Love, 9.36)”

Affirmation:  “holy relationship = union”

Reflections:ProjectVanGoghMBE

1 – ACIM vs. ACOL

The concept of “use” is new in A Course of Love,  not mentioned at all in A Course in Miracles.  But the other concepts in this paragraph are reminiscent of ACIM and follow precisely some of the familiar terminology.

2 – The Gap

A holy relationship does seek union as its goal, but special relationships are first sought to fill a gap that we might sense in ourselves.  Yet gaps cannot be filled by special relationships, because the special can so quickly turn to unpleasantness and even hatred.  Holy relationships are not seen as always romantic relationships, though romantic relationships are certainly not excluded.  We need to change the goal of our special relationships from a focus on finding what we lack to sharing what we both have.  We don’t gain by taking from the other, something that we seek to do when the relationship is only a special one.

3 – “Using” Another

We use the other person when we seek to find in him or her something that we lack.  We are seeing to be made whole through the other person.  And our secular psychology has even made clear that it takes two whole people to form a new whole in a relationship that will seek to be permanent.  In special relationships, we may think that our “half” added to the other’s “half” is enough to form a bond that will be a whole.  This is a fallacy, though, and most individuals who have formed special bonds with another, over time, come to see the fallacy of this sort of thinking.

4 – Transform the Special Relationship

So seek to make of your special relationships a holiness that will stand the test of time.  The Holy Spirit (re ACIM) will not snatch our special relationships from us, but will seek to transform them into the holy.  At this point, many relationships are broken off, but the greatest blessings await those that survive this change in focus to the holy.  And then we will know truly what it means to love unconditionally another person.

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

I would seek to turn all of my special relationships into holy ones, excluding no one.  Thank You for the holy relationships that I have known.  And thank You for the ones that have endured, as well as the ones that have not.  Be with me as I seek to live the life that You intended for me.

May we all turn our special relationships into holy ones, for special relationships, we find, hold much pain.  When the pain is realized as inevitable, eventually, we will know that there is something better awaiting.  And that something better is a holy relationship.

Amen.

Relationships = All that Are Real Here

“God is known to you within relationships, as this is all that is real here.  God cannot be seen in illusion nor known to those who fear him.  (A Course of Love, 5.30)”

Affirmation:  “Thank You for my relationships.”

Reflections:

1 – Our Way Home

Here we confront the idea of relationship and its pivotal place in our lives when we follow both A Course in Miracles and A Course of Love.  It is our brother (or sister) from whom we learn the way back to God, when we follow ACIM and ACOL.  Relationships are our way home.

2 – Contemplation Not Required

We do not have to spend long hours in contemplation, for this is tedious (from the Manual of ACIM).  Others who do follow contemplation will find their way back also, but why would we seek a pathway that is different from the way that we are following?  Why seek and seek and seek, only to be led in circles?

3 – Unity and Relationship

Our way, if we choose ACIM and ACOL as our lodestone, is the unity and relationship that we know in this world.  ACIM stresses relationship, and ACOL adds unity to this equation.

4 – What “Fearing” God Means in ACOL

And we do not “fear” God, if we wish to come home.  The word “fear,” in this context, is different from the “fear of God” that is described so often in the Bible.  The definitions are different.  Here we are talking about having an anxiety about God, a sense that maybe He doesn’t wish us well.

5 – One Unequivocal Call

Do we really believe such, given all that we truly know?  I think not.  We know not to blame God for the condition of our world.  We have made these conditions, and He stands ready to save us from ourselves at any moment.  Jesus is also ready to assist, always.  He says that he will come at “one unequivocal call” (from ACIM).

6 – Mists Evaporate

When we are lost in illusions, in dreams, we do not really see God, and we are likely to be afraid of Him, afraid that we will be found out for misdeeds that seem unforgivable.  But all of this foolishness.  We need to commune with God to the extent that our needs dictate.  And then the mists will evaporate, and we will see the real world–a dream (illusion) no longer.

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

I would know no fear or anxiety, because I would find my way Home to You in my relationships.  Thank You for my nighttime dreams as well as my daytime ones.  All are good and welcome in helping me to find my way back to You.

We need our relationships to live well in this world.  We are never meant to live in too isolated a fashion.  Thank You for the friends and family whom I have.  We are One with you, in union with each other and in relationship that blesses all of us.

Amen.