“There is no doubt that the spiritual eye does produce extreme discomfort by what it sees. The thing that you forget is that the discomfort is not the final outcome of its perception. When the spiritual eye is permitted to look upon the defilement of the altar, it also looks immediately toward Atonement. Nothing which the spiritual eye perceives can induce fear. Everything that results from accurate spiritual awareness merely is channelized toward correction. Discomfort is aroused only to bring the need to correct forcibly into awareness.” (ACIM, COA ed., T-2.VIII.8:4-9)
The concept about the “spiritual eye” will allow us to realize that God is always and forever looking to move us closer to Him. If we realize that our own altar, the inner place in us, has been defiled by our choices, we can immediately look to the solution provided by Jesus, the Atonement, which will give us comfort and ensure us that the defiled altar will not stand when we are confronting Atonement. We begin to feel better. Our spiritual eye has saved us.
We all have this spiritual eye, and the eye is informed by the Holy Spirit (or the Christ-Self, if we are following A Course of Love). The spiritual eye is the discernment of our Wisdom, and this Wisdom is accessed in the present moment, especially when our heart is filled with gratitude about what life is presenting to us. Even if outer blessings appear to be minimal, there is still much to praise. And it is this praise, this gratitude, that will save us. It is this praise that will set us back on the pathway.
Let our spiritual eye discern today. Let our spiritual eye show us what needs to change, for all of us have desert places that need to be left. If we utilize our spiritual eye, we will walk a fresher path.
We will know the Love that spiritual discernment will always show us.
“The healer who relies on his own readiness is endangering his understanding. He is perfectly safe as long as he is completely unconcerned about his readiness, but maintains a consistent trust in mine. Errors of this kind produce some very erratic behavior, which usually points up an underlying unwillingness to cooperate. These errors inevitably introduce inefficiency into the miracle worker’s behavior and temporarily disrupt his miracle-mindedness.” (ACIM, COA ed., T-2.VIII.2:1-4)
At this point in A Course in Miracles, Jesus is asking us to rely on himself to note when and if a miracle is warranted. He has not yet made the Holy Spirit’s role plain. He does make clear at this point that if we don’t follow himself, we will lose our way. When we depend on ourselves to try to determine what expressions of love we might offer, we depend amiss.
Depending on ourselves seems such a good goal, being independent in our spirituality seems OK. But it is not. Why? We don’t know enough. We are never encouraged, in A Course in Miracles or A Course of Love, or in The Way of Mastery, to depend on ourselves. It is a slim reed indeed if we attempt this.
Our minds and hearts need to be attuned to a greater understanding than we personally have. That is the only way that we can succeed in this miracle readiness of ours. It is the only way to offer love that will be accepted fully.
“The value of the Atonement does not lie in the manner in which it is expressed. In fact, if it is truly used it will inevitably be expressed in whatever way is most helpful to the receiver, not the giver. This means that a miracle, to attain its full efficacy, must be expressed in a language which the recipient can understand without fear. It does not follow by any means that this is the highest level of communication of which he is capable. But it does mean that it is the highest level of communication of which he is capable now. The whole aim of the miracle is to raise the level of communication, not to impose regression (in the improper sense) upon it.” (ACIM, COA ed., T-2.VII.10:1-6)
When we engage in expressions of love, miracles, we need to be well aware of what we perceive the understanding level of the recipient really is. It is not enough that we understand what we are trying to do when we express love; it is vitally important that we correctly figure out what the receiver is ready to accept. Then the miracle, prompted by Jesus, can find a true home. Then the miracle truly heals.
We need to be sure that our communication, expression, of love does not contain any elements that might cause the other person to feel fear. Knowing what to say and do then requires guidance, for who among us would know how to couch our words in a wholly benign and loving way? If another feels threatened by what we say, the miracle would be lost. No love would have been felt, no miracle truly received.
Let your expressions assume miracle status by asking for guidance in this matter of giving. Not only do we need to ask if a miracle is appropriate, but we need also to ask what to say or do. So all aspects of our miracle readiness draws on a higher Source.
“The body is merely a fact in this world. Its abilities can be, and frequently are, overevaluated. However, it is almost impossible to deny its existence in this world. Those who do are engaging in a particularly unworthy form of denial. The use of the word ‘unworthy’ here implies simply that it is not necessary to protect the mind by denying the unmindful. There is little doubt that the mind can miscreate. If one denies this unfortunate aspect of its power, one is also denying the power of itself.” (ACIM, COA ed., T-2.VII.7:1-7)
Our minds are the salient point, not the body. The body is merely an effect. In this world the body seems very real to us, but true reality actually stems from the mind, and, as A Course in Miracles makes clear elsewhere, “projection makes perception.” What the mind projects, then becomes our “reality” in this world.
When we focus too much on what the body seems to be saying to us, we make pain in the mind as an escalating force. This we don’t want to do. ACIM points to the one reality, the worldview of a united reality, monism. Thus the body’s central place in our drama becomes downplayed. We don’t want to deny the body, but just see that the mind (and heart) are the pivotal places for our experience to grow.
“The misuse of will engenders a situation which, in the extreme, becomes altogether intolerable. Pain thresholds can be high, but they are not limitless. Eventually, everybody begins to recognize, however dimly, that there must be a better way. As this recognition is more firmly established, it becomes a perceptual turning point. This ultimately reawakens the spiritual eye simultaneously weakening the investment in physical sight. The alternating investment in the two types or levels of perception is usually experienced as conflict for a long time, and can become very acute. But the outcome is as certain as God.” (ACIM, COA ed., T-2.VI.8:1-7)
When we misuse our will, it becomes imprisoned. This seems to me to a check on our miscreation. God knew that His universes needed to survive, and His children needed to thrive in them, and so He sets limits. When we make poor, bad decisions, we experience pain. And this pain, when it becomes acute enough, signals to us that we have to change our ways.
It is not necessary to learn through pain; Jesus tells us this in A Course in Miracles, in another section of the book. It is much more lasting to learn through rewards, but sometimes we become extremely stubborn, and the only thing—the only thing—that will get our attention is an understanding that there must be a better way, a way without all this pain (and suffering). When we reach this point (and everybody will reach it eventually), we are primed to choose again, and this new choice is what will save us.
Miracles can shorten this period of discomfort immensely. So it is miracles that we ought to pray for, miracles as expressions of love. The only thing stronger than fear (and fear brings pain) is love. And love sets us on the flower-strewn pathway back to God, the pathway of healing the illusory separation in which we have all believed.
“For perfect effectiveness, the chalice of the Atonement belongs at the center of the inner altar, where it undoes the separation and restores the wholeness of the mind. Before the separation, the mind was invulnerable to fear, because fear did not exist. Both the separation and the fear were miscreations of the mind, which have to be undone. This is what the Bible means by the restoration of the temple. It does not mean the restoration of the building, but it does mean the opening of the altar to receive the Atonement. This heals the separation, and places within you the one defense against all errors which can make you perfectly invulnerable.” (ACIM, COA ed., T-2.VI.6:1-6)
To be perfectly invulnerable! I have experienced the feeling of this, years ago on a solitary walk in a big city, returning to my car from an errand. If we are open to experiencing invulnerability, we will be fearless. It is a heady feeling.
The chalice is in the center of ourselves, in our heart. This is the holy Grail that sent so many knights on quests, venerated in fables and stories. But it is intangible, a secret place within where we are invulnerable to fear, seeing only love (and often Love with a capital “L”). When we let the ego go and thereby heal the separation through an all-embracing love, we will know inner peace. It won’t matter what is going on around us, for our peace will be unshakeable. It is this to which we trod.
Anxieties fall away when the love that we feel takes over our heart and mind. When we are surrounded by love through and through, fear does not assail us. We know that we are safe. We know that God is holding us secure.
And there is no better place to be.
“The evolution of humankind is merely a process by which you proceed from one degree to the next. You correct your previous missteps by stepping forward. This represents a process which is actually incomprehensible in temporal terms, because you return as you go forward. The Atonement is the device by which you can free yourself from the past as you go ahead. It undoes your past errors, thus making it unnecessary for you to keep retracing your steps without advancing toward your return.” (ACIM, COA ed., T-2.V.6:1-5)
We can understand evolution. It is harder, though, to imagine that we actually “return” as we go forward. We are getting back to the time before we left God in the separation. And the Atonement principle makes all of this possible. We know that we are forgiven, and so we can forgive ourselves. Our forgetting has merely been temporal; we will remember what has always been, true reality. And this is the means by which we are saved from all past errors.
Jesus fulfilled his role perfectly. He now stands ready to assist us if we falter. We cannot ever be alone, for we have helpers galore. The Holy Spirit was created to be just such a Helper.
As our errors are corrected, we move forward in time. And as we forgive others for what they did not do, in true reality, we know that we too have been innocent, children who took false steps because we didn’t make the right choices.
Would we condemn a child? So God does not condemn us.