JOY, PEACE, RELEASE

Note: Published in the May – June issue of Miracles magazine (Jon Mundy, publisher).

by Celia Hales

There is one thought in particular that should be remembered throughout the day. It is a thought of pure joy, a thought of peace, a thought of limitless release—limitless because all things are freed within it. (ACIM, COA ed., M-16.6:1-2)

Drape your persona in a mantle of peace and joy. Let who you are shine through the personal self who continues to walk this world a while longer. (ACOL, T2:13.6)

Hold in the mind’s eye all of your domain—your relationships, your careers, your physical objects—and say, “Behold, it’s been a lot of fun!” (WOM, “The Way of Knowing,” Chap. 35)

I have used the words, “pure joy” and “limitless release,” here quoted from A Course in Miracles, almost as a mantra over the years. There is such hope in the promise of joy and release. Previously, we have been so doubled up in agony over the machinations of the ego. And it is such a blessing to know that we need not live this way. We can live in the hope of continual joy and release, and this is just what Jesus is asking us to do in this passage.

A Course of Love continues the theme. We are still here, on earth, walking this world a while longer. And peace and joy are the hallmarks of a well-lived life. It is true that we often think that we have to achieve to merit grace. Yet this is a false concept. We are accepted just as we are, even with all of our mistakes and false notions of an ego-oriented self.

The Way of Mastery introduces a new concept, perhaps a startling concept to us who are still so very serious about life (“serious” itself a plague of the ego). “Have fun!,” these words of Jesus say. It is in the limitless release from ACIM that we discover how to truly enjoy our fun. We relax into our days, knowing that the God Who created us and loves us knows that our lightheartedness is the very way that we need to walk. We only thought that God didn’t want us to have a good time.

Limitless release will lead to a peace and joy that knows no bounds. Say a mantra today that will attract the Love that enfolds us, never to let the seriousness of the ego intrude again.

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Heartfelt Joy in “Being”

The answer lies in the simple statement of as within, so without. By living as who you are in the world, you create change in the world. You create change in the world through relationship. All live and create in relationship. Those called to the way of Mary, however, are called to the creation and anchoring of the new relationship in the new world. Their relationship of union, upon which their contentment is based, is the birthplace, the womb of the new. Their expression is expression of this union. (ACOL, D:Day19.6)

We want to live as who we are. “Being who you are” is the ultimate message of A Course of Love. But it is the real Self, the Christ-Self, who comes to us totally and completely when we have reached Christ-consciousness. Until that time, we do catch glimpses, and these glimpses are sweet.

If we are called to the way of Mary, we will focus on “being” rather than “doing” in this world. Many of us, in this new era of Christ, will be a blend of being and doing. A blend of Mary and Jesus, for Jesus was the “doing” aspect of life in this world. The example life. We too can be example lives, though those called to this way of living are few.

Being is more open to us, because we are heading into a world where being will be the watchword. The way of Mary will emerge in all its glory. While we may still “do,” (for nobody can live here and not do), our heartfelt joy will be found in the being. We will anchor new relationships in this world. We will keep the home fires burning.

Sexist categories will break down, for men and women both will focus on being rather than constantly seek to do in the world. The way looks bright to us, and indeed it is. Our hearts more often tilt toward the fact of being, and however warm and fuzzy, mellow, we can be, the better.

Life doesn’t get any better than this.

Joy

“Again, those that are truly committed will find that they begin to enjoy this process, and they begin to apply it more and more to other events in their lives. They begin to reawaken the childlike joy of building a castle in the sandbox. For in truth, that is all you are doing here. Consciousness is your sandbox and you are creating castles. You have simply forgotten to enjoy them.” (“The Way of the Heart,” WOM, Chapter 2, Page 22)

We are creating sandcastles. And, like children, we are encouraged to enjoy what we create.

All too often we don’t. We let ourselves lapse into depression, sometimes mild, sometimes more profound. Because we don’t see the part that our focus plays in creating our sandcastles of consciousness, we don’t see that we are the pivotal player. Our play has turned deadly serious. And this is where we make our mistake.

Can we see life as play? Can we really do that? Or are we way too serious-minded to even entertain this novel thought?

Let us put aside our overly serious minds, and let the joy of our heart take over. The joy of our heart will lead us now, lead us to discover all manner of good in this very world that we can enjoy. Sure, we are going to be creating a new world, but the same ole one will suffice in the beginning. Change is gradual, not an all-at-once miracle. We CAN create a prettier sandcastle out of the joy of our heart.
Let’s do so today.

Highest Joy, Peace, Bliss

“For although you are given complete free will to create as you choose, the soul begins to learn that what brings it the highest joy, the highest peace, and the highest bliss imaginable is that which flows from the Mind of God through the mind of the channel, the soul, and expresses itself in the field of experience. It is for this reason that the Father’s will is that you be happy. And your happiness is found in choosing to restore your perfect alignment with only the voice for God.” (“The Way of the Heart,” WOM, Chapter 2, Page 14)

Do we not want the “highest joy, the highest peace, and the highest bliss”? Of course we do.

But we are not smart enough to know how to bring these blessings to ourselves. That is why the Holy Spirit’s promptings are so important. He knows how to bring these blessings to us. A short while honestly invoking His guidance will prove to our satisfaction that God’s will for us, and our own, are actually identical. The Holy Spirit is, of course, the Voice for God.

Sometimes we wonder if happiness is the best purpose in our living. We wonder if we ought to be about good works, that somehow God will like that better.
We naturally do good works (or what we hope are good works) when we are happy. A person who is caught up in conflict is not well-suited to reach out to others. All of our conflicted thinking is just tying us up in knots, and we don’t have enough love to give to others, enough sanity to try to assist them. All of our energy is caught up in our own selves.

This is why happiness is a lofty goal. We can be there for others as well as ourselves when we are in joy. But this is not the whole truth. God wants us happy because He loves us. Do we not want happiness for our own children?

He is no different, in this sense. He reaches out with the intermediary, the Holy Spirit, His own Voice, and He tells us how to proceed to the life we were meant to have while on this plane of earth, this world.

We are right where we want to be. Are we satisfied with this place? If not, ask some serious questions of the Voice for God, and see if the Answer satisfies.

It will.

Add Joy to the Kingdom

“God is praised whenever any mind learns to be wholly helpful. This is impossible without being wholly harmless, because the two beliefs must coexist. The truly helpful are invulnerable, because they are not protecting their egos, so that nothing can hurt them. Their helpfulness is their praise of God, and He will return their praise of Him, because they are like Him and can rejoice together. God goes out to them and through them, and there is great joy throughout the Kingdom. Every mind that is changed adds to this joy with its own individual willingness to share in it.” (ACIM, COA ed., T-4.X.10:1-6)

We could well make “helpful and harmless” an affirmation, to good effect. This is the way that we want to be.
“Helpful” means that we reach out to our fellow man and woman, our brothers and sisters, with words and deeds that will offer solace. It is often solace, for this world seems cruel, and many are those who suffer in it.

“Harmless” means that we will not attack or respond in anger, regardless of the provocation. This can be a hard affirmation to live up to, but live up to it, we must. We cannot attack and expect to take our place in heaven, which on earth is known as the Awakening (enlightenment or Christ-consciousness). When we go easy, often keep a low profile, and ask if making waves is really appropriate, then we are more likely to be harmless. While we still need to be appropriately assertive, aggressiveness can get us into trouble. We do not want to be patsies for the wrong deeds of others, but we will find a lot less to complain about when our attack mode is silenced.

We want to add to the joy of the Kingdom, and we spectacularly do when we are both helpful and harmless. Anything less, and we are less than we are meant to be.

Ask the Holy Spirit how we might best fulfill these attitudes. He will have lots of ideas.

Misery with the Ego / Joy with the Spirit

“I am conditioning you to associate misery with the ego and joy with your spirit. You have conditioned yourself the other way around. But a far greater reward will break through any conditioning if that reward is repeatedly offered when the old habit is broken. You are still free to choose. But can you really want the rewards of the ego in the presence of the rewards of God?” (ACIM, COA ed., T-4.VIII.23:1-5)

The ego has never brought real joy; at best, we have had flights of fancy that were high enough in tone that we felt an exhilaration. Then, invariably, we were dashed downward to a sense of depression—mild or severe. These dramas were endless, and so unnecessary now that our knowing has expanded.

Jesus speaks of conditioning in this complete edition of A Course in Miracles, from the Circle of Atonement. The use of the word “conditioning” would make eminent sense to Helen and Bill. And we have enough general knowledge of psychology from everyday life to comprehend as well. What does Jesus mean by this conditioning?

We thought that the dramatic highs that the ego gave us were all that we could expect on earth. We were mistaken. A joyous spirit offers far more. This joy does not become inverted, to dash us downward into depression. This joy extends, more and more, as we are receptive to it.

This joy is often calm, and in the mild manner of it, we may not recognize what we have. Calm is sometimes a factor in depression, and we may even think that, when we are calm, we are depressed. We have much to discover. We are meant, according to A Course in Miracles, to remain “perfectly calm and quiet.” This new demeanor may not even seem desirable. We will see its value as we do quieten ourselves down and invite the Holy Spirit to inform our minds. We will see value when we let ourselves see value.

“Joy with the spirit”! Yes! Our new lives will mean much to us when we have given joy a welcome in our hearts. The ego will fall away, and, if we are careful and do nothing to reinforce it, the ego will never rear its ugly head again. It is not the same ego that Freud championed, a persona that we needed to live adult life. In Jesus’ use of the term ego, he means a false persona.

Let us ask for joy with the spirit today—and every day!

A Choice Bringing Peace and Joy

“You have very little trust in me as yet, but it will increase as you turn more and more often to me instead of to your ego for guidance. The results will convince you increasingly that your choice in turning to me is the only sane one you can make. No one who has learned from experience that one choice brings peace and joy while another brings chaos and disaster needs much conditioning.” (ACIM, COA ed., T-4.VIII.10:1-3)

In the beginning chapters of A Course in Miracles, where we are now, Jesus counsels turning to him; he has not yet focused on turning to the Holy Spirit in ACIM, and it is not until much later, in A Course of Love, that he will counsel that the time of the Holy Spirit is past, and that in this time of Christ, we ought to turn to our inner Christ-Self, the mind that is one with God, found deep within us.

If we turn to Jesus, we will turn away from the ego, the ego as defined as a false persona (not in the Freudian sense of a persona that we need to develop to live well). And turning to Jesus will give both peace and joy, two aspects of what we want with all our heart. Turning to the ego is the choice for insanity, and insane thinking, because it is so convoluted, is the choice for chaos and disaster. We know this way well; we have lived it for eons. Now is the time for something better; now we are ready to leave all this chaos behind.
When Jesus senses that we are becoming too dependent upon him, he will withdraw, letting us make our own decisions, but decisions made without the ego in ascendancy. When we make our own decisions, we will look inward, where both the Holy Spirit and the Christ-Self dwell.

We can still have the peace and joy, for guidance from within does guide us truly. Our days of being insane, mad, are drawing to a close. We know better now; we know to let inner guidance wipe our minds clean of conflict.

Gently we come to know what to do. When we have faith that this is so, we certainly do discover that it IS so.

Joy & Emotional Peace

“When your mood tells you that you have willed wrongly, and this is so whenever you are not joyous, then know this need not be. In every case, you have thought wrongly about some brother that God create and are perceiving images your ego makes in a darkened glass. Think honestly what you have thought that God would not have thought, and what you have not thought that God would have you think. Search sincerely for what you have done and left undone accordingly. And then change your mind to think with God’s.” (ACIM, COA ed., T-4.VI.3:1-5)

When we are not joyous, we have let something go wrong. This is true because our natural state of mind, when we are One with God, is joy. If we simply look at nature, we will know that God’s primary emotion is joy, though storms, earthquakes, and the like, can let us doubt this. The fierceness of nature is part of its charm, though when people die in natural “acts of God,” we wonder what kind of God we really have.

God does not mean us ill. I am absolutely certain of that. Our suffering cannot be understood on this plane of this world; our finite mind cannot see the whole. But God doesn’t make the decision to rain pestilence down upon our heads. His gestures are all loving.

And when we know that God is loving, we can rest in joy, for we are well-protected. If any harm comes to us, we can rail against fate (though this is a futile gesture). God wraps us up in His arms, and all is well.

Emotional peace is more important than physical ailments. If our minds and hearts are at peace, we are right where we need to be, resting in God.

Joy of the Spirit

“The ego is afraid of the spirit’s joy, because once you have experienced this, you will withdraw all protection from your ego and become totally without investment in fear. Your investment is great now, because fear is a witness to the separation, and your ego rejoices when you witness to it. Leave it behind. Do not listen to it and do not preserve it. Listen only to God, Who is as incapable of deception as are the Sons He created. As a teacher or therapist, release yourself and release others. Do not preset a false and unworthy picture of yourself to others, nor accept such a picture of them yourself.” (ACIM, COA ed., T-4.II.20:1-7)

We ought to think well of ourselves, not coming from the ego, but from the spirit. The ego has kept us in chains, and the flights of joy that we have known have been balanced by a fall into depression and despair. The dramatic highs and lows were very pronounced. This is the way of egotism. This is what we want to gently turn aside from now.

When we have tasted real joy of the spirit, we will know that this alone is real. This is God’s blessing upon us as we emerge from madness, the insanity of the ego. When we taste joy, we know that we are beloved. We also know that we are capable of loving not only ourselves, but also our brothers and sisters who travel this road with us.

This joy is well-grounded, not a euphoria that is unsettling and unsettled. This joy is what will accompany us on the journey home to God, the separation healed, the Awakening in sight.
We do need to think well of ourselves, for as God’s creatures we are born of the spirit. And this spirit will allow us to present a picture of ourselves to others that will do us credit. Unfortunately, we are so used to denying the ego in ourselves, that we may think that such creditable awareness of ourselves is a step backwards.

It isn’t. Let the inner spirit that is our Christ-Self emerge from the inside wrappings. Be assured that this is what God wants of us.

A good Self-image will speed us along our journey with alacrity. We will know that this is the way to live well.

God’s Joy Makes Its Way into This World

“The dreamer who doubts the reality of his dream while he is still dreaming it is not really healing the level-split. You have dreamed of a separated ego, and you have believed in a world which rests upon it. This is very real to you. You cannot undo this by doing nothing and not changing. If you are willing to renounce the role of guardian of your thought system and open it to me, I will correct it very gently and lead you home.” (ACIM, COA ed., T-4.I.9:3-7)

This is Jesus’ promise to us: He will correct our thought system “very gently and lead you home.” Let us take him at his word. Let us see what he has to say to us in A Course in Miracles and other recent channeled works like A Course of Love and The Way of Mastery.

We have been dreaming a world. That is why we learn in ACIM that the world does not exist, that it is all illusion. When we awake, the world will be called the “real world,” and we will see clearly for the first time. In the midst of the dream, we will know how to live. We will live in peace and harmony with never an egoic nightmare to disturb our peace. This is why the meek shall inherit the earth. The meek have humble egos, and this, their secret, will become ours when we listen to the inner leading of the Holy Spirit (or the inner leading of the Christ-Self, as set forth in A Course of Love).

We do have to be willing to change, and this is hard for us, because we have slowly built up a world that seems to make sense to us. The fact that this world truly does not make sense just shows the extent we have gone into madness. Our minds, entrapped by the ego, have been anything but clear. Our minds have been lost in a special form of insanity in which we were joined by most people on earth.

This insanity is slowly ending. Jesus says elsewhere that the return may take millions of years, as long as the separation took to happen and maybe longer. This depressing thought does not have to be viewed as depressing if we realize that God’s joy makes its way into this world as well. Our joy is complete when we cease to nurture suffering and listen to guidance that signals love.

Pain doesn’t have to turn to suffering, when we understand enough. When we walk a joyful way, with God, we know that the vicissitudes of this world are intangible and unreal. We turn to the truly magnificent blessings given to us, in gratitude for the sight of a world that Jesus calls “real.”

Let us walk on in hope for the glory of a mind and heart returned to our Creator.

Joy without Sorrow

“Remember only the feeling that a place of union exists in which you know God, in which you know love, in which you know of joy without sorrow, and life everlasting. This is the great unknown that you can make known.” (ACOL, D:Day22.11)

We are encouraged to make known the joy coming into our lives. “Joy without sorrow” has been an unknown for us, for in egoic thinking, the highs were always matched by the lows, the high and low of drama. Now life is smoothing out for us. We know a serene peace that embraces everything we experience.

It is true that at first we may not be used to peace, and we may think that this new serenity is actually a form of depression. It is not. It is being on an even keel, and we are unused to even keels. Dramatic events—anger, attack, hostility, followed by relative calm—have characterized our lives. Now we know better. We know that these negative emotions simply separate us from God, and He is our Life. Now we know that calm peace is the best.

We can still know flights of joy. We are not condemned to a placid existence, for who would want that? But we will know the peace of quietness, and when we truly experience this peace, we will know that it is the peace that passeth understanding. It is this that we are to encourage in our brothers and sisters.

We know that we want love in our lives. And this peace brings it to us, just all the time. We are living union with God. We have come home.

Dear God,

Thank You for soothing me when I get uptight. This feeling that You induce is a great blessing. I never want to lose it. This is my peace, the peace that I have longed to know—with love—for eons. And now it is mine for the asking.

It is a good time to be in the time of Christ. I long to know all that this new era holds out for me. Lean close to me, and tell me.

Thank You.

Amen.

Limitless Release & Joy

“What is the drive that kept you reading this Course, caused you to enter this dialogue, kept you examining, kept you attempting to move beyond learning to a new means of knowing? Christ-consciousness. This is why it was said in the beginning pages of the Course that the Christ in you was the learner. The Christ in you is what was created to inspire movement beyond simple awareness to knowing.” (ACOL, D:Day17.4)

This passage is a reminder that the Christ in us is finite, because this Christ-Self is the learner, and an unlimited being would not require learning. We don’t remain satisfied with the Christ-Self solely, though, for we reach inside, deeply, and approach our knowledge from the Self Who is a part of God. We are always intuiting something grander for ourselves. We are always reaching beyond ourselves for what will satisfy. And this is good. We are always moving into ever-expanding circles of greater knowledge, helped along by the universe, and we give up limited ideas about what we can accomplish when we draw on a Higher Power.

The Christ in us is the way that we become aware of knowledge, leaving behind simple perception as being of the ego. Knowledge is of God. Perception is very limited in awareness, but it is all that we had until we left behind egoic thinking, something that we have done now.

Christ-consciousness, even for those who have not reached it, is ever pushing us onward. This state of mind and heart would have us discover far greater things about ourselves than we have heretofore. This state of mind and heart is the closest that we can come on earth to being limitless and full of joy. A thought of limitlessness and pure joy was recommended in A Course in Miracles. Nothing has been said in A Course of Love that contradicts this. We are further released when we transform into what God would have us be: Christ-conscious. This is the ultimate that this life offers us.

Christ-consciousness will come to us when we have become more aware of love. We still, many of us, have blocks to love in our minds and hearts. We need to let this go. And prayer will heal this false thinking very easily. Turn to our God when we are discouraged that enlightenment is taking so long to get here. Turn to God, and live as He would advise. Indeed, He will give us advice on how to live as a free offer. And His way always works.

Dear God,

I would keep my thinking flowing in and out of Your thought today. A movement to and from Your Godhead, keeping me close to Your Heart.

Be with me for a continuation of this good day. Be with me as I seek to draw on Your knowledge as to how to live my life.

Amen.

Wondrous Outcome / Joy and Pain / No Suffering

““I” did not suffer, for I knew who I was and chose no suffering. This is what is meant by the idea that has been repeated as “I died for your sins.” My death was meant to demonstrate that the end of suffering had come, and with it, eternal life.

“Here, then, is where you need to make the choice that those in my time could not make, the choice to end suffering. This is the choice I made “for all.” This is a choice you make for all as well.

“Willingness is now upon humankind. What my life demonstrated but needs to be demonstrated anew. But this will not happen if you cling to suffering. If you do not accept your Self, all of yourself, you cling to suffering.” (ACOL, D:Day2.24 – Day 2.26)

If we accept our Self, all of ourselves, Jesus is bluntly telling us that we will see an end to suffering. This means that any pain that we encounter will not escalate into suffering, because suffering nearly always is the emotional component of pain—the “why me,” “Why I this happening to me?” And we lapse into great rejection of what we are going through, the opposite of the acceptance that Jesus is calling us to have.

When we accept our Self, we accept the joy as well as the pain, and we don’t allow the pain to escalate into suffering. Surely Jesus felt pain on the cross, but he didn’t focus on a query to God of why—most of the time. Some of the words spoken from the cross do indicate a wavering of his intent upon knowing who he was (“My God, my God, why hath Thou forsaken me?”). So acceptance of all they we come upon is necessary, and the most necessary of all is that we accept our Self, the Self of union, the larger Self, the God within. Our little selves will fall in line, then, with not escalating pain into suffering.

Willingness was not upon humankind 2,000 years ago. But things are different now. We can accept in this time of Christ, in this time of the second coming of Christ (though in A Course in Miracles and A Course of Love, Jesus never tells us that this will be a physical embodiment of himself). The times are different now, though, and we will be able, with God, to effect change that has eluded this world until now. We will change the world; we will create a new world. Everything is in place for this. If we see parts of the world that make us say, “I doubt that,” then we need but turn to Jesus’s channeled words to get back on track. Remember that eternity is not the same as time, and what seems long to us may be only a fraction of a second in eternity. So we don’t know how long it will take to actually create a new world.

Jesus is very keen on this new world, and so I don’t think that the outcome will be long. If we accept ourselves, accept him, follow intuitive guidance, and ask to be shown what to say and do, the result will be wondrous—far beyond anything we can now comprehend.

Give ourselves over to God. He knows how to reform the world; we don’t. Let us listen to the whispers that come from our Oversoul, our Self, and fall in line with our part in this great endeavor.

Dear God,

Thank You for turning this day to joy for me. I awoke and spent most of the morning in a lower state of mind and heart, but You would not have this recur. I would not have pain escalate into suffering, however small that suffering might be. I would fall in line with Your expressed words to me, whispers that tell that everything will turn out alright, that I need have no fear.

Thank You for guiding me so precisely. This day, may it be a joyous hymn to You. A joyous hymn that ensures that I will listen to the words.

Amen.

Joyous Discoveries

“The first is that what you will be discovering, what you will be coming to know, will be coming to you from the state of unity, which is a shared state. Although what you will be coming to know is already known to you, it will still come in the form of a surprising discovery, a joyous discovery of the previously known but long forgotten identity of the Self and all that lives along with you. This knowing will, for a while yet, be surprising because it will be reversing the insanity of your life as you have known it thus far. These reversals will be among the first revelations and will seem quite simple and pleasing as they enter your awareness, but they may come to be seen as quite complicated as you begin the practice of living with what you come to know. (ACOL, D:13.3)

The quotation for today seeks to give us solace and comfort as the very ground is shifting beneath our feet. We are coming to know from a space beyond us, a space of unity, a space of the Self of union. This Self is not really distinct from the inner Christ-Self whom we all have. There is a flow from one to the other, and we can imagine that the flow from the larger Self of union happens more frequently than that our thoughts and feelings get communicated to It (an interpretation, not stated in A Course of Love). If it is true that we “hear” from the Self of union increasingly, then it stands to reason that we ought to open ourselves, totally, open to this knowledge. Knowledge is of God; perception is our own rendering of what we “see,” even during the previous time when we were egoic.

Surprising discoveries of that which we have always known, remembering (as it were), is a wonderful spot to invite. We are told in this quotation that we will know joy as we come to discover what we have actually always known, what we are now remembering. And don’t we all wish for joy?

Let the joy sink upon our heads, and go deeper, into our minds and hearts. As one Self, we will intuit from each other as well as the larger Self of union. And this can only give us comfort and solace, as, as one Body and Mind and Spirit, we are joining with wholeness. Wholeness will be the way from now on.

Prayer

I ask for Your comfort and solace today. I ask for the joyous discovery of that which I have forgotten. Guide my thoughts in the art of thought, the prayer, the miracle-mindedness, the miracle-readiness, the miracle itself.

May I stop being a hare, as the fable talks about. The tortoise will catch up with me. May I take things one at a time, producing for You, and producing without forming a new ego that would trip me up big time.

Thank You for guiding my life.

Amen.

Talents that Require No Effort but Reap Joy

“This idea will aid you too in your understanding of discovery, as your natural abilities or talents were discovered and in that discovery, you real¬ized that although you had not previously known that this talent or ability existed, it was there awaiting but your discovery. You may also have seen that in the expression of this talent or ability new discoveries awaited you and that you greeted these discoveries with surprise and delight. As was written in “A Treatise on the New”, these surprises of discovery have, and will, cause you to laugh and be joyous. There was never any need, and will never be any need, to figure them out—for surprises cannot be figured out! Surprises are meant to be joyous gifts being constantly revealed. Gifts that need only be received and responded to. Not learned.” (ACOL, D:8.6)

We see here why hard work and much effort is no longer needed in our world. Our discoveries about our innate talents will be easy to find, once we are attuned to finding. And these gifts—talents—are far superior to anything that we labored so long and hard to learn on earth, previous to knowing better, previously to understanding what Jesus is here telling us.

We have talents from deep within our Christ-Self, just waiting to come out, to be discovered. In the past, we might have dismissed these talents precisely because using them in our lives was so very easy. We imagined that anything that we didn’t work for wasn’t worth much.

This was the ego speaking. And now that we have established a new identity that is shorn of the ego, we are in for great surprises that will fill us with much joy. Surprises! We will discover how to develop the talents that we have, all without tedious labor. And we will discover new talents—new gifts from God—just awaiting our discovery to come into their own.

The future looks bright. Our best-laid plans go awry, but we don’t need plans any longer. We need simply to lean back in the Arms of the Almighty, and let his gifts wash over us. Then we put those gifts to work in our troubled world. And it is all effortless! We just needed to know how to accept the offerings from our God that we had resisted when we were trying to do it all ourselves.

Prayer

I must remember that the talents that You give are not given for hard work in their emergence. These gifts are heartwarming, beneficent, and loving. And my slightest effort will generate far more than my hard work—for I am a hard worker—ever did.

Be with me today, to see that Your gifts, as talents, begin to be sent out into the world. Never let me form a new ego as these gifts disseminate, for to do so would be to lose so very much, let You down. I don’t ever want to let You down.

Amen.

Joyous Challenges

“Pass on no more of the prevailing learned wisdom. I told you once we would create a new language and thus we shall! We are creators of the new and we must start somewhere. Why not here?

“Think and speak no more of the suffering of the past. Spread the joyous news! Tell only joyous stories. Advance the idea of joyous challenges that allow for all the creativity you have put into challenges of the past but without the struggle. Let not the idea of struggle take hold in the new. Let not the idea of fear take hold in the new. Let not the idea of judgment take hold in the new. Announce far and wide freedom from the old ideas, the learned wisdom of old. What could be more invigorating, more challenging, more stimulating to your enrichment, than throwing out the old and begin¬ning again? And doing so without effort, without struggle. What could be more looked forward to than the chance to create the new through sharing in unity and relationship with your brothers and sisters in Christ?” (ACOL, T4:12.17 – 12.18)

We are in a new era, learning in a new way. And the quotation for today just sound joyous to read it! We will listen to guidance from within, the guidance that comes from the Christ-Self, the part of God who dwells within. This guidance will take us forward into a new time. It will tell us what to do to create a new world, for Jesus is never specific in A Course of Love. He never tries to be proscriptive; he is letting us listen to our own interpretations of truth, of true reality, and not trying to influence any and all guidance that each of us receives personally.

This is an important point, that Jesus is not trying to influence what we think. He is certain, and reassured, that God will take us by the hand and lead us into a new world of our own creation. Jesus says in The Way of Mastery that he just put his mind to the task of atonement, intended that, and then let the movement of what would happen come about. Jesus knows that there are forces even beyond him. God is that Force. And we are well to realize that we are one with God.

Listen to our internal guidance today, and every day. If we listen well, we will never be misled. Allow the thoughts and feelings to come to the surface, being certain to let the heart influence the mind. We are beyond the ego now, and it behooves us to let a new way of reacting take over.

Our heart, one with the All, and all of our brothers and sisters, will guide us surely. And we would have it no other way. No struggle, just peace.

Prayer

I would cease useless struggle today. I would know, always, that when I turn within, to You, I am made peaceful. Calmness steals over me, and I know that all is well. Thank You for this new way of living. Thank You for Jesus’s guidance.

Be with me today, to walk into a new future that will be unlike the past, keeping only what was good and true from the past. Thank You for providing me with the solace, always, that I need. And thank You for the guidance from my Self that solves any and all problems, even at the point of recognizing those problems.

Amen.

Joyous Moments

“Why was this so? You eagerly awaited each learning challenge in the hopes that it would bring you to the state in which you now abide! You dreaded each learning challenge because you feared that it would not bring you to this state and that you would continue to need to learn, and to perhaps suffer from, the conditions of learning!

“You have arrived! The long journey that brought you here is over. Grow not impatient or desirous of a return to journeying before you begin to expe¬rience the joy of sharing and the new challenges of creating the new! This will be joyous journeying and your challenges will be joyous challenges!” (ACOL, T4:12.14 – 12.15)

We have reached a point of culmination, deep in the fourth Treatise for A Course of Love. We are giving up traditional learning of spiritual matters by reading widely, but this is only because this wide reading is normally done because we are still seeking. Reading widely doesn’t matter, if we can convince ourselves, now and forever, that we have indeed found. And Jesus makes it plain that when we turn to our heart, and let it lead our mind, leading into sharing with our brothers and sisters, that we have found what we sought.

We find this difficult to believe because habits die hard. We have sought to learn of spiritual matters through our reading as long as we have known how to read and write, as long as we have presumed to be on the spiritual pathway. Now we can indeed just stop a bit from our obsession with learning, and realize that that which we sought has been found. Christ-consciousness is only a hairbreadth away, though there is no time, and so the days, weeks, months, or years ahead do not matter.

Today’s quotation calls for a little celebration! We have been taught much by Jesus in A Course of Love, and we will now know him as a companion and partner in the mission to create a new world on earth.

Let us get a good start today.

Prayer

It is easy to fulfill Jesus’s desires, if we realize that effort is not required or even considered desirable. We listen to our internal guidance, and then we know what to do. It is just that easy. If we are resistant, we need to tell ourselves that we are getting the worst end of the bargain. Your dictates always have our best interests in mind.

Thank You for a good day, all day long. Be with me as the day ends, and night moves on toward sleep. Your constant care is always with me, 24/7. A blessing beyond belief, but I do believe it.

Amen.

Surprised by Joy

“Two changes of enormous proportions are upon you. The first is the end of learning, the ramifications of which will only slowly occur to your mind and be surprising revelations there. The second is the beginning of sharing in unity, a change that your heart will gladly accept but that your mind, once again, will be continuously surprised to encounter.

“Take delight in these surprises. Laugh and be joyous. You no longer have a need to figure things out. Surprises cannot be figured out! They are meant to be joyous gifts being constantly revealed. Gifts that need only be received and responded to.” (ACOL, T4:12.5 – 12.6)

We have a time of joy ahead of us. We are giving up learning from the wisdom of past ages in favor of listening to the guidance that comes to us from our Christ-Self, or divine guidance from the part of Self Who is God. And we are now fast heading for unity, which is the union of heart and mind into wholeheartedness, also known as the unity of God and Self. When said in this way, the changes may sound complicated and difficult to understand, but actually, when we are in the flow of greater life, the changes will be effortless. We no longer need to work hard to try to deserve God’s mercy; we know now that God’s mercy is a free offer, part of our inheritance, and the way that we will walk smoothly along a pathway all golden. We give up our struggles, and just rest in peace. We will be told all that we need to know, at the point of needing to know it.

In assuming this new identity of Christ-consciousness, we will find ourselves continually surprised by joy. We will be at first amazed that life can be so good. All of this new life is given us with no payment in return. We are just asked to give up the ego and its deadening concerns and worries. Let happiness overtake us. Let life be lived by God through us. No longer in insanity, we will walk a green earth. If anything happens that would formerly have been troubling, know that we will now accept any adversity with a new equanimity. We know that we are loved, and loved mightily. We have nothing to fear.

We need only accept gifts of great value from God Himself. We didn’t have to earn these gifts; they come to us out of love that we are only asked to share with our brothers and sisters. And ourselves, for if we don’t accept ourselves, we still have blocks to the awareness of love.

Enjoy the surprises that this new way of life brings to us. Relax and be carefree. Inner peace will overwhelm us, and with that worry and anxieties are left out in the cold.

Prayer

May I welcome Your joy today. May I cease trying to please so much, for as Your child, I am fully accepted when I don’t let my old insanity creep in. The way to a new life is given me today.

Thank You.

Amen.

World of Joy & Blessing, Peace & Love

“Learning to see anew is the precursor of learning to create anew. Creating anew is the precursor of the coming of the new world. Remember, only from a shared vision of what is can you begin to produce unity and rela¬tionship through unity and relationship. This is your purpose now, and this the curriculum to guide you to the fulfillment of your purpose.” (ACOL, T4:2.33)

Jesus has great hope in regard to what A Course of Love will do. He believes that if we follow, we will do a great deal to help this sad world. Indeed, we will create a new world, a world of joy and blessing, peace and love. The way may seem long to us now, but time is an illusion only meant to allow us to experience one section of eternity at a time.

Once again Jesus is emphasizing the importance of “unity and relationship.” He knows so well what he means, but when we hear it often, we often zone out. We are One, united but differentiated into parts of that One, and knowing through that relationship. Our unity and relationship is the key that will unlock treasures for us. It is the key to salvation, as set forth in ACOL. Ultimate salvation, or Christ-consciousness (Awakening or enlightenment).

Christ-consciousness comes first, usually, in glimpses. We have a particularly fine hour, an oasis of quiet and calm, and we know that this is how life is meant to be lived. In that happening, we have had a glimpse of Christ-consciousness. Once our thought processes slow down, we are well on the way to enjoying quiet and calm for more time in our busy days. And thought processes do slow in enlightenment. That doesn’t mean that we think any less; we just think more effectively, without the static that has hindered our forward movement.

Our purpose, then, is unity and relationship, for we can’t be both unified and out of relationship. We need others; we are living in a shared world, a shared reality. God knew what He was doing when He created us to be interdependent. The ego didn’t know what it was doing when it tried to encourage independence, autonomy above all else. We are not meant to be alone. And it is the particularly insane among us, the mad among, the neurotic, who prize being alone and separate as a way to handle life. This will never work. But we can’t tell another of this, only ourselves. Share when the brother or sister is ready to listen. In the meantime, pray, commune, with God that the insanity that we see all around us will abate.

Prayer

Help us to give up our little insane ways of thinking, the ones that keep us from enlightenment. Let us love, above all. Let us hold nothing against another, or defenses do what they would defend against. We are Yours, pure and simple. And we need You, desperately. Help us to know that we live in a safe environment, that our invulnerability is real, even when it doesn’t seem so.

We belong to You. And what a blessing it is that this is so!

Amen.

Ever Joyful with the Love Found Within

“What would be a greater step in all of creation than a physical self able to choose to express the Self within the laws of love? A physical self, able to express itself from within the House of Truth in ways consistent with peace and love is the next step in creation, the rebirth of the Son of God known as the resurrection.” (ACOL, T3:12.10)

This physical self, described in this quotation, is the elevated Self of form that Jesus will present to us in the last book of A Course of Love, the Dialogues. This is a new direction for creation, an explored road, a new path. Jesus tells us elsewhere that there is no reason that we couldn’t choose to remain physical in this world of ours, though he also tells us that it is not immortality of which he is speaking. To my way of thinking, he is hinting at reincarnation, though in ACOL he never says this, and specifically in A Course in Miracles, we were warned not to take a stand on reincarnation, lest this hurt our usefulness to Jesus’s message. (The ego, we are told in ACIM, will be enough for us to contend with.)

We are, Jesus tells us in ACOL, living in the time of Christ. And this is the resurrection. Much that has been anticipated for generations is coming forth at this time. We know this, not to be fearful of what will transpire, but to be joyful with the Love that we will find pouring forth from newly joined hearts and minds in wholeheartedness.

Jesus assures us that he will never be predictive, because he is the “I AM” of Christ-consciousness. In the Dialogues, he resigns as our teacher, because our inner Self is meant to be our means of coming to know, now. He remains our companion, though, in that all of us share the same Self, for we are all One.

The personal self will step back and let the Christ-Self come forth. This Christ-Self will be our new identity, an identity that A Course of Love was written to solidify among all of us. As we form a new identity, our old egoic personality has just disappeared. Only certain patterns of egoic consciousness now persist, and this, we can believe, is as much a habit as anything else. But the old ego itself has gone, and we need only be conscious of the need not to make a new ego in its place. Our new identity will prevent that from occurring. A new identity which we all share. The Christ-Self, emerging from deep within, our part of God present and active in the world as we know it today.

Prayer

I appreciate the warm and positive tone to the words that Jesus uses in A Course of Love. He is ever-optimistic, sure that we will do what he so much longs for, for us—new identities in a new world that our elevated Self of form will create. And I don’t have to plan for this! Revelation will show the way. Thank You!

May I remain calm and serene throughout the day, but a day with good energy and good affect. The way to downtrodden ideas can be like a well-worn groove, and I would not go there. Be with me to help me stay positive in every instance.

Amen.

Our Inner Heaven Offers a Joy that Knows No Bounds

“The life of the physical self became a life of suffering and strife only because the physical or personal self forgot that it exists in relationship and believed itself to be separate and alone. In its fear, it made an ego-self which, because it sprang from fear, was not consistent with the laws of Love or of creation. Knowing it existed in a state inconsistent with that of the laws of God, it made of God a being to be feared, thus continuing, and being unable to find release from, the cycle of fear.” (ACOL, T3:12.9)

This quotation is part of the theology of A Course of Love. If we can believe this quotation, we will find an answer to much of our previous questioning. We will know why fear intervened in a paradise that the earth could have been. We will know why we exited, metaphorically, the Garden of Eden. And we will get an inkling of how to find our way to a new Garden, a House of Truth, and with this we will exit the house of illusion, the illusion that has covered our eyes with scales, preventing our vision of something new, different, and better.

Surely when we imagine ourselves all alone in the universe, fear is not far behind. When we destroy relationships that could be an oasis of peace, we suffer. And this suffering prompts fear to arise. We wonder how we could have gone so wrong. And how could God allow us to go so wrong? How could a loving and compassionate Father not rescue us from ourselves?

He does do so, not by intervening and destroying our freedom of will, but by consoling when times are tough. When we feel love for our Creator, we are reaching for the heavens, and in this reach, we find Who we are seeking. He is reaching back down to us as well, coming out from deep within each of us, transforming our psyche so that we will never have to fear fear again. God is not “other than” we are; we are a part of Him. This is a tenet of both A Course in Miracles and A Course of Love, and when we believe it, we stop looking heavenward for a Deity. We see that heaven is really within each of us, that the elevated Self of form, being formed now, will make us well people. Our fear will be gone, our love will be all-consuming and all-transforming.

Let Love show the way. When fear beckons, know that this is the house of illusion beckoning to us once again. But don’t enter that place. Know that the House of Truth, God’s Kingdom, is our legitimate home and our inheritance. Know that our understanding of God will grow as we reside longer in this House of Truth.

Fear aside, we welcome Love into our hearts and minds. Our way home is assured, finally.

Prayer

I know in my innermost mind and heart that heaven is within me. When I don’t reach inward often enough, I forget, and then the problems start. Help me to reach inward today. Help me to find You.

Heaven is a promise to us of improved conditions. And with this promise comes a joy that knows no bounds.

Thank You.

Amen.

Live in Joyous Quiet & Calm

“This is why you do not have to “wait” to hear your calling even though some of you may feel as if you are in a time of waiting for you hear no such call. The call is to be who you are and this is happening at lightning speed, a speed that cannot be measured because of its simultaneous nature. As was said within A Course of Love, time is but a measurement of the “time” it takes for learning to occur. As this notion of time dissolves, the state of miracle-readiness becomes your natural state.” (ACOL, T2:4.18)

This passage makes clear that the primary calling is always and alone to be ourselves. To “be who you are,” which is to be ourselves. Later on Jesus does detail several specific types of callings which may come to us along the way, while we are perfecting just being who we are. But he puts our minds to rest (as he often does) here by letting us know what is most important: just to be who we are. This does take some learning, because we have been living a persona of egoic origins for eons, and we are unused to just accepting the Self. We may not, even yet, now what this Self really is, though it is just the union of mind and heart to form wholeheartedness—a frequent request made in A Course of Love.

We aren’t comfortable with a Self who is Christ, who is a part of God, for we have run from God for a long time. Even at our best, we had previously believed the ego and fallen in line with those things that gave us pride. We patted ourselves on the back when we accomplished some new goal, thinking that our striving (actually a struggle) had been all to the good. But now we are learning that the best things in life are easy, that they are adopted unto ourselves by the simplest of learning activities. We can truly relax in this new world we will be creating. We can truly be who we are without thinking that there is always and only something more we must do to be justified.

We may recall that miracle-readiness was another term for the art of thought, a new way of thinking without struggle because it is miracle-based, and is itself a miracle. This miracle-readiness comes about through a way of life that is a prayer, a prayerful attitude that inculcates all that we are and all that we are about. Jesus is very keen to want us to adopt this new state of being, and perhaps this is because the new state of being is who we really are. We can be who we are when we have allowed miracles to embrace us throughout the day. We can be who we are when we are in the receptive state of prayerful reflection. When we are Zen-like, living in a joyous quiet and calm. Being who we are is not hard; it is the persona that has asked impossible things of us, an egoic persona that asks us to struggle to effect change in our world. When we leave the ego behind, we are not faced with impossible learning tasks, impossibility being a depressing state of mind, the most depressing in the world (according to A Course in Miracles).

Let us allow naturalness to enfold us. Relax in the arms of God, and His emissary on earth, the Christ-Self. We can and do have much to effect in creating a new world, but these lessons will be joyous, and the work will be what comes naturally to us. We have always been trying to be something that we are not, and therein has lain the strain. Naturalness has no strain.

Prayer

I want to live the natural way, the way that my soul is designed to live. And this is to welcome miracles from You, miracles that will allow me to live naturally, as who I really am, just being myself. I want to live in this world in an accepting way, given up any tendency to complain against fate. Fate does not determine my future; my alignment with the Christ-Self does.

Be with me today as I seek to walk in Your pathway. Living naturally takes no effort, and it is this I would remember today.

Amen.

Respond to Our World—and Live Joyfully

“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.

“This is an enormous shift in your habit of thought as you become the center of the universe.” (ACOL, T1:4.6 – 4.7)

A “response” may not seem to us, at first glance, to be putting ourselves in the center of the universe. And we may bristle at this description, thinking that it is an egoic statement. But when we respond to that surrounds, faithfully and truthfully, we are not in the ego. We are in relationship to all others—all others, God, and the Self deep within, where the center is.

Think of the example of the sunset again. This simple, everyday occurrence, will soothe us as we try to come to terms with what the art of thought really means. We appreciate the sunset as a gift of God—that is the first rule of the art of thought. And then we are moved to respond, usually internally, to that sunset, and this is the second rule of the art of thought. We see ourselves in relationship to the natural world, the sunset being an especially beautiful example of the natural world.

The sunset has been given to us. The All has been given to us; there is no difference. This All is God Himself, present in all that exists. This form of pantheism, presented in both A Course in Miracles and A Course of Love, still sees the All as One. This is why, from every point, that point is the center of the universe. That is why we can begin to see ourselves, in a non-egoic response, as the center of the universe. It is like a hologram; the whole is present in each point. And that point is the center, for the center if actually everywhere.

We need to recognize that we are given gifts by God, gifts for our pleasure and enjoyment. And, in return, we are asked to respond to the whole universe, the universe with which we are in relationship. These are the two rules for the art of thought. And when we begin practicing the union of heart and mind, and our own union with our deeper Self, we will know a joy that has eluded us until now.

Ask for the joy to rain down upon us. Just ask.

And we will be met with a happiness unexpected in common hours.

Dear Father/Mother,

Thank You for your guidance. Thank You for ACOL. Its heartwarming passages do indeed teach us a new way to live, a new way to think. And we are made the better for the transformation that we are about.

Be with me today, as I seek to increase intimacy with others. I need them, as they need me. Isolation doesn’t become any of us, for we are meant to be in relationship, to be interdependent.

May the rules of the art of thought inform all of my comings and going today.

Thank You.

Amen.

Joy that Knows No Bounds

“The joy that will come to you from the thoughts of a mind joined in union will be unparalleled in your experience here. “Ah,” you will say with a relief and joy that knows no bounds, “this is what it is to experience and know the truth. This is what it is to create, for this is what it is like to think as God thinks.” Where once you recognized only illusion and called it reality, the mind joined in union will now, more and more, recognize only truth and experience only the truly real.” (ACOL, T1:1.10)

Union in A Course of Love means two things, related but not identical. First, union means the joining of heart and mind to form wholeheartedness. This change will transform us. It will make the second thing possible: the emergence of the Self from within, and in this emergence will come union with this Self and union with God.

Of course, all of this change will mean that enlightenment, or Christ-consciousness, is now possible for us, at first to be seen in glimpses, then in lengthening glimpses, and finally to be maintained and then sustained. It is possible for there to be a sudden change that is disorienting, but this form of change occurs less often than the gradual, quiet Awakening.

And we will know joy in union with God and in union with our Self, the part of God Who dwells within each of us. This promise is an enlargement from the dictates in A Course in Miracles, when happiness is seen to be our function (along with salvation and forgiveness). I don’t think that we need to quibble over the difference between the joy that Jesus describes in ACOL, and the happiness that he encourages in ACIM. The point is that our future is much brighter than what we have been living through, suffering because we failed to recognize and to live miracle-readiness.

The art of thought, discussed so obliquely in this first book of the Treatises, is variously described as creating like unto our Creator (God), or miracle-readiness, or prayer, or the miracle itself. The art of thought is also seen a diametrically opposite the thinking of the ego-mind, and so it is imperative that we be certain that we are no longer motivated by egoic ideals.

Let’s welcome this joy today, knowing that union is finally being reached. We live wholeheartedly, and in this new way of handling our world, we merge with the Self, the part of us Who is God Himself.

With such a change, could anything be less than ideal? Aren’t we truly and completely on our way now to a glorious new day, creating the new world that Jesus so longs to see us do?

Dear Father/Mother,

I would be grateful today for the many blessings poured out upon me previously, and the promise of ever greater blessings now and in the future. I would wait patiently for Your action in my life, for the glimpses of Awakening to lengthen, for the Awakening that You want for me to come about. When I am at peace in this world, the future seems bright indeed. And all of us can welcome a little more peace.

Be with my brothers and sisters. May I reach out when I can, and may I draw inward for sustenance when this retreat is necessary. Help me always to be open to guidance, always to cease second guessing the nudges that come to me.

Thank You for another promising day in Your Presence.

Amen.

Live the Day as a Thing of Joy

“This is the truth of your existence, an existence in which your eyes deceive you but your heart believes not in the deception. Your days are but evidence of this truth. What your eyes behold will one day deceive you while what your heart beholds will the next day see through the deception. And so one day lived in your world is misery incarnate and the next a thing of joy.

“Rejoice that your heart is not deceived, for herein lies your path to true remembering.” (ACOL, C:8.29-30)

We have highs and lows in this world. A good day, a bad day, a day full of drama so that there are both highs and lows in the same day. This is what Jesus understands so well. When we look with our physical eyes, we often see something bad. But, he says, looking with the heart gives a different and much better view to our living. When we are deceived into thinking that all is lost, we wake up the following day with a better viewpoint. And this following day we are listening to our heart. The heart holds the key. A Course of Love emphasizes the heart repeatedly.

What can we do to ensure a good day? The day that begins right has an advantage over one in which we struggle to get out of bed. It is always possible to start the day over if things go badly, but time is saved if we get off to a good start from the beginning. Getting out of bed right away is a tip of mine for a better day. To lounge around is to invite speculation about one’s life, and when one is in a fog from heavy sleep, the speculation often turns negative.

Mornings are frequently the worst time for anyone who battles depression, and a mild depressed spirit follows many of us around who are trying to make a way through this world. As the day proceeds, our mood may lift, and what we can do to cause that lift to happen sooner and sooner is to focus on what we feel in our heart. What would our heart have to say about this situation in which we find ourselves? What solutions present themselves that are filled with love? These two questions are identical. When we follow the way that love prompts, we are setting ourselves up for success. Nothing the physical eyes can show us will ever succeed by nearly as much.

Jesus understands our predicament. The passage for today bears repeated readings, for the compassion that emanates from it is palpable. We need also to treat ourselves with the compassion that comes of authentic self-love, for not only do we need to love God and other people. Without a genuine self-love, our days will seem lackluster, and any depression to which we are prone will deepen.

See today if we can’t look to the things of the heart, particularly the love that the Christ Self embodies. This Self will heal us, being an extension of God Himself. Then the highs and lows of our lives will smooth out, and the heart will have directed us to a new high in spirit-filled living.

A World of Joy

“Remember now one lovely day, for each of you has had at least one that was a shining light in a world of darkness. A day in which the sun shone on your world and you felt part of everything. Every tree and every flower welcomed you. Every drop of water seemed to refresh your soul, every breeze to carry you to heaven. Every smile seemed meant for you, and your feet hardly seemed to touch the soft ground on which you walked. This is what awaits you as you join with what you see. This awaits you as you place no judgment on the world, and in so doing join with everything and extend your holiness across a world of grief, causing it to become a world of joy.” (C:5:32)

Wouldn’t it be wonderful to wish such a day often, even everyday? Is such a blessing possible? Probable?

I think that it is, but I do think that it is rare in our world. I have read of people who never met a person they didn’t like, people who feel happy every day. But I would be the first to tell you that this is not I. Oh, I hope for better days, and I do have many good days—but constant and unremitting joy has not been my lot in life.

I doubt that it has been yours either. But we can move ever close to such a blessed state by doing certain things daily.

It is well to start the day right, as A Course in Miracles points out. And, of course, Jesus also tells us in ACIM that the day can be begun again if it starts out less than the best. How to start the day right?

We need a time of quietness. And not all of us can squeeze this in first thing in the morning. It means getting up earlier, before our family rouses It means that we give a part of each day to God, right off the bat. And we are the better for it.

I do not always do this, but when I have, the rewards have been great. I go out on our sun/screen porch, where the early sounds of the morning, and my reading and prayer, grant me peace. Having this peace first thing in the morning is the best way to ensure that the day will unfold well. If the day turns frantic, we can then go within, in memory, for that moment when everything seemed right with the world—when God was in His heaven, and we were visiting Him, so to speak.

If you can’t carve out the first part of the day to spend with God, spend time with Him as soon as possible as the day unfolds. We will never regret these moments of quiet. We will flourish in a world that seems at time to have gone mad. As it has.

Return in memory to happy times. Recall a pristine day, as the passage for today encourages us. And remember that prayer is God’s way to talk to us. Prayer is sometimes silence, for God is heard in silence.

The world today does not live by these rules. And they are my rules, my interpretation, based on A Course in Miracles and A Course of Love. When you have time, develop your own rules.

You will live far happier days. And you will the God Whom you may have forgotten somewhere along the way.

Surprised by Joy

“The heart is needed to guide the mind in a way that it does not desire to be guided, a way that is one of joining, a way that does not allow the mind’s separate stance, its rules, or its right answers. The heart is needed because it is who and where you are and responds in love to what is one with it. We are one heart.” (ACOL, C:I.6)

This assertion places love at the center of this new Course, A Course of Love. We are using the heart to join with others in love. Not meant to be living in splendid isolation, we are in a world with other people for a reason: relationship. And we are united as One with our brothers and sisters in this relationship.

Jesus emphasizes this unity by saying that we are “one heart.” Later on he will also emphasize that all of us are joined in an embrace, with him, and all the world. This is union or unity. This replicates the unity that we share with God, of Whom we are a part. We extend that unity to our brothers and sisters, and we live a happier life as a result. No longer seeking, as the mind is wont to do, to be independent, we join with others to create a new world.

We don’t listen to the rules that the mind has set up to structure this new world. Especially not when the ego hold sway. We listen to what the heart wants. And we will be surprised by joy in the undertaking that we are about. Listen to the heart today, and see if we don’t all find a new beginning in the works.

Seek Reality in Harmony, Peace, Joy

“As nothingness cannot be pictured, so there is no symbol for totality. Reality is ultimately known without a form, unpictured and unseen.” (ACIM, T-27.III.5)

Perhaps, for those of us who are interested, this quotation from A Course in Miracles is one answer to question of whether reality has a form, or if forms are always illusory. As I read it, this quotation would strongly suggest that reality is made up of non-forms, perhaps the intangibles of harmony, peace, joy, and the like.

I do not think that deciding whether or not reality has a form is a litmus test for adherents to A Course in Miracles. The same for our feelings are what illusion entails. ACIM is silent enough on this subject to leave room for differences of opinion. And we don’t want those differences of opinion to divide us.

Reality is here seen as totality. And we know, from other passages in A Course of Love, that totality cannot be experienced as one whole. There must be differences for us, even for God Himself, to experience Being. So reality was differentiated into parts, but each part as part of the whole, and containing the whole. This is one way of seeing reality, a way that is meaningful to me.
Reality, according to this quotation, is “unpictured” and “unseen.” But not unfelt, of this we can be sure. Let’s ask to experience true reality in our various paths through the world today.

We won’t be disappointed. The solution is always with the problem, and we have found unreality long enough. Now we are heading back home, and true reality lights our path to it.

Seeing Love, Harmony, Peace, Joy Will Chase Away the Demons of Unreality/Illusion

“Different realities are meaningless, for reality must be one. It cannot change with time or mood or chance. Its changelessness is what makes it real. This cannot be undone. Undoing is for unreality. And this reality will do for you.” (ACIM, T-14.IV.2)

Do we not want to undo what has no effects, something such as fear? The effects that we feel seem real enough to us, of course, but actually these effects are nothing more than illusion that has been given a pseudo reality. And it is true reality that we want.

Seeing love, harmony, peace, joy, will chase away the demons of unreality/illusion. For love, harmony, peace, and joy are real, are evidence that we are seeing true reality. And in the real world (seen only for an instant in time, though we do not know how long as “instant” really is) love reigns. We would do well to welcome the real world all the time in our experience.

“Appearances deceive, but can be changed. Reality is changeless. It does not deceive at all, and if you fail to see beyond appearances you are deceived. For everything you see will change, and yet you thought it real before, and now you think it real again. Reality is thus reduced to form, and capable of change. Reality is changeless. It is this that makes it real, and keeps it separate from all appearances. It must transcend all form to be itself. It cannot change.” (ACIM, T-30.VIII.1)

The “appearances” that this quotation mentions are the things in our world that we see and call reality, which are in actuality physical forms that are illusion. We live in an illusory world, with positive emotions our only tie to reality—love, joy, peace, etc. These emotions (which are really a bit beyond emotion) are changeless in reality. But we don’t often recognize this, for our emotions appear labile to us. We oscillate, in and out of moods of the day, and we wonder how even the positive emotions can be changeless.

Even those positive emotions can’t be changeless when we are trapped. But we do not have to remain trapped. Trapped in illusion! What a dreary thought!

We may think that we don’t want to live in a changeless world. But that is not exactly what is promised us. The positive emotions will continue, though the particular activities in which we engage will differ. The positive emotions, I think, are the changeless factor.

The world that we see can become a real world when we look past its changing forms. And when our emotions level out. We are not meant to be constantly up and down, in a dreary round of a felt spinning world. We are meant to look to God for our constancy and for our changeless reality. We are meant to commune with our Creator, for it is very unnatural not to do so (from ACIM). We shortchange ourselves when we don’t commune, just talk, with God, as we go through our day. He will take the changeable and turn it into the changeless, and the smoothing out of our experience will be palpable.

Choose the Joy of Heaven Every Day

“You can label joy heaven and pain hell and seek the middle ground for your reality thinking there are more than these two choices. A life of little joy and little pain is seen as a successful life, for a life of joy is seen as nothing more than a daydream, a life of pain a nightmare.” (ACOL, 2.7)

This quotation is only a partial quotation, but the entire passage indicates that Jesus here is not advocating a middle ground. We don’t want to be halfway between heaven and hell. We want to be entirely in heaven, and this is not something that has to wait for the afterlife, the Other Side.

We can know joy here, joy to a substantial extent that blesses us with each and every day. We may not always have positive things happen to us, but although we may know some pain, we don’t have to see this escalate into suffering. Our attitude is everything. We can see the joy in the midst of any adverse life circumstances that come our way. We don’t have to choose the middle way of little joy and little pain.

There is some magical thinking going on in our minds when we select the middle way. We think that if we don’t reach too high, the gods won’t strike us down. But we don’t believe in plural gods. And God Himself doesn’t punish, though we probably were brought up to believe that He punished us if we did “bad” things.

Get this egoic thinking out of the way. Choose joy today. Pray for a more positive outlook for whatever circumstances surround you in your life.

The way to see life as heaven is mapped out for us in A Course of Love. We need look no farther for the newest revelations in our spiritual lives.

Pain is Illusion – Sleep – Deception / Joy Is Reality – Awakening – Truth

“Here will you understand there is no pain. This is the day when it is given you to realize the lesson that contains all of salvation’s power. It is this: Pain is illusion; joy, reality. Pain is but sleep; joy is awakening. Pain is deception; joy alone is truth.” (ACIM, W-190)

This Workbook lesson from A Course in Miracles emphasizes the central place of joy in our lives when we are following the pathway back to God. It makes clear that true reality is joy. When we are feeling pain for any reason, it is assurance that we are still trapped in illusion. Of course, all of us are trapped in illusion to one extent or another, even those who have Awakened. The gifted in Awakening do accept what is rather than try to rail against it. And they are peaceful and contented, regardless of what surrounds them. But as long as we live on the earth plane, we are subject to emotions other than joy. And pain may be experienced, though we can understand that pain does not have to escalate into suffering.

This Workbook lesson indicates that at Day 190, one can come into the fullness of knowledge. One can walk away from pain in the form of illusion, sleep, deception. And we can replace that pain with joy, awakening, truth, reality. Let us hope that this change will come to all of us, though this assertion from Jesus for this day is on the ideal level of studying ACIM. (There are both ideal and practical levels in ACIM, with the ideal something that not all of us can reach on a daily basis, though we can have glimpses of this level.)

We do not want illusion. And Mari Perron, scribe of A Course of Love, believes that we move from illusion into reality as we walk this pathway. (She was videotaped in a presentation that indicated this.) But we must be patient with the concepts to which we are being exposed. Not all of us are ready for Awakening. God alone makes that decision. Frequently, we do catch glimpses before Awakening is sustained, and in the glimpses do we see what is held out to us for the future. We know what joy there will be in Awakening.

Forgiveness Makes for Happiness

“The happy learners of the Atonement become the teachers of the innocence that is the right of all that God created. (T-14.V.3)”

We are these “happy learners.” And we are innocent, something that we don’t naturally think about as a trait of ourselves. We are so used to thinking of ourselves as guilty, but elsewhere Jesus says in A Course in Miracles that we are guiltless. That we have made mistakes is clear, but only in illusion, and only in a mad state of mind (listening to the ego).

When we follow the way of Atonement, we see innocence everywhere. When we are attacked, we see a brother calling for help, asking for love. And we overlook the hurtful way in which he is speaking. We don’t get hurt, because we recognize, on some level, that he is not responsible for what he is saying. It is madness speaking. Just insanity. And then we offer forgiveness, for what other way is there to help, what other way to love?

All of us have a right to see ourselves as innocent. Only when we can contemplate that this must be true are we in league with the Holy Spirit. Before that, seeing ourselves as guilty, we are cut off from our Source in God. Accepting the Atonement, accepting the correction in our thought processes that is necessary, we fulfill the requirements for salvation. We are saved. We are at home in God. And He will act quickly to raise us up to a new type of consciousness, a type that will surprise us and make us ever-joyous: Awakening.

Become a Being of Love without Fear, Joy without Sorrow

1 – Day 23

“As we spoke earlier of being a channel, today we speak of being a carrier. (Dialogues of a Course of Love, Day 23)”

2 – Carrying the Truth

We are carrying the truth of what Jesus is telling us. We carry this truth as a pregnant woman carries a child. We are frequently conscious of the “child,” but there are also times when we forget that we carry a “child.” We have a life in the outside world, and Jesus would have us live in both the inner and outer worlds of our experience. We have been externally directed, but now he would has us been internally directed.

3 – Easy or Hard?

It is not easy, but also it is not hard. We will become accustomed to the two levels of being. We will know union, not separation. We will know God. And we will carry these new ideas within us, as a pregnant woman carries her child.

4 – The Three Parts of ACOL

“Forget not that who you are is what you are here to make known and that thus, you must be a being who knows love without fear, joy without sorrow, and life everlasting. You must be this. A Course of Love gave you the understanding you needed in order to realize that you are this. The treatises gave you a way to apply this understanding. This dialogue is meant to give you the means to carry what you have been given. (A Course of Love: Dialogues, p. 190)”

5 – Carrying

“Carrying” within the knowledge that we have experienced is our way Home. When we carry within what we have experienced on the mountain top, we will be ready to take our place on level ground once again, with our brothers and sisters who have not yet made the trek to the mountain top.

6 – Surrender

Jesus reminds us that surrendering within is actually surrendering to our own will. As we learned in A Course in Miracles, God’s will is actually our own. We are never coerced.

7 – Never Alone

Carrying these truths within will ready us to reach outward to this world. The new will be birthed through us. But we are never alone. We do not have to feel burdened by a responsibility to carry the good news to our brothers and sisters. Our life in the future will be a joy that is the truth of Christ-consciousness.

8 – Illusion

“The clouds of illusion, even those that have gently surrounded our time together on the mountain top must now be surrendered, much as a woman surrenders her body to the growth of a child within. (Dialogues of a Course of Love, Day 23)”

9 – This World

We need to give up our illusions in this world. We need to realize that there is a reality beyond what we have been previously experiencing. The illusory reality will give way to the real, the real world. We will not have long to wait.

10 – The Real

We surrender to the real. We don’t try to force it, though, for God does not kowtow to our demands. He is not affected by such stridency at all. He wants surrender to His Way. And we have had much practice in this. Now we must make of surrender an hourly, even minute-by-minute fact of our living.

11 – God

We surrender to God. We live well under such conditions. We know that we are blessed, and we are grateful. And in the gratitude comes even greater experiences of the real world.

12 – Our Own Will

“Surrendering to the forces that move inside of you is surrendering to your own will. . .This will is divine will, your will, Christ-consciousness. It is alive within you. All that is required is that you carry it with awareness, honor, willingness. From this will the new be birthed. (Dialogues of a Course of Love, Day 23)”

13 – God = Self

God is within the self, the Self is God. So when we surrender to our real will, we are surrendering to the God within.

14 – Insulting?

This is not hard, but it may be personally insulting, for God may send us on errands that cause us to be embarrassed in our perceptions. This shabby self-perception needs to end (from A Course in Miracles).

15 – New World

We are trying to birth a new reality, a new world. And we will do so when totally surrendered to that which is within us. We will know what to think, say, and do. We will be in conflict no longer. This will, at first, not be a constant state. We will have to get used to the new. We will know glimpses of Awakening, of Christ-consciousness, in all likelihood, before we sustain Christ-consciousness. We need to ask what in our experience needs to be eliminated before we are ready for Christ-consciousness. We need to be very careful in our thinking about this matter. Ask honestly, dialogue with the inner Self, and the Answer will come.

16 – Conflicted

We have allowed ourselves to be tied up in knots to no good purpose. Now Jesus is offering us a new way, a way of harmony and peace, a way in which we see a new reality. Let us not let him down today. Let us carry the new within us as a pregnant woman carries a child.

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

May I come to understand all that Jesus has been saying to me. Thank You for the guidance that I am finding in what I am reading. May I not be burdened or frustrated by my progress or lack of progress. Once begun, the end of the journey is certain. May I rest easy in that knowledge.

May I be certain today that I have really let the ego go, wither away inside of me. May I think, do, or say nothing that reinforces the ego that I have left behind. This is a principal step that I need to take to be ready for You to reach down and lift me up. May I succeed today, with Your help.

May I know the joy that You hold out to me. I so want to feel this joy continually. May I not feel what I have learned, and what I have come to understand without learning, as a burden. May I know that You are always near to help me take up my responsibilities in this world.

Amen.

If a Magic Thought Arouses Anger in Any Form, God’s Teacher Can Be Sure that He Is Strengthening His Own Belief in Sin and Has Condemned Himself.

1 – Major Lesson

“How to deal with magic thus becomes a major lesson for the teacher of God to master. His first responsibility in this is not to attack it. (M44)”

2 – Jesus’s Definition of “Magic”

As mentioned previously in this blog, Jesus gives the term “magic” a very specific interpretation. It is the form given magic by psychology, which is to equate magical thinking with irrationality. We need to set aside our airy, fairy ideas about “magic” being something good, at least for the moment.

3 – Irrational Thinking

We don’t want to attack irrational thoughts of another, even when this irrationality is an attack on us. If we are doing what is right, we will get quiet within, maybe distance ourselves for the moment from the perpetrator, and talk to God. His Holy Spirit will guide us. And we will feel more compassionate, for our significant other is suffering, even in the attack.

4 – Thich Nhat Hanh

Thich Nhat Hanh has a wonderful book called simply Anger, in which he describes the best way to be mindful and to respond to attack with compassion. He says that we ought to speak out when we are suffering from attack, but certainly not from an attack of our own. We need to realize that the ego has taken control of us in those moments of confusion and disarray, those moments of anger. If we tell the other that we are suffering, that we are trying to be mindful and to heal, then the way may very well be open to better communication.

5 – Courage

Of course, sometimes to speak out takes great courage, for we don’t want to do anything that will exacerbate the conflict. Soft words do a lot to unhinge anger, though. Slow and quiet words of compassion are healing, and our significant other will recognize this—unless the ego has a very, very strong hold. Sometimes the only thing that we can do if the ego in another is very strong is to pray for a miracle. The miracle will come. Healing will arrive. Only believe this, try to make yourself believe this, and the blessing will arrive right on schedule.

6 – Ego

We ourselves have to have to right attitude, though, and we cannot have the right attitude if we have not mindfully rid ourselves of the ego’s hold on us. If our suffering is overwhelming, we may still blame the other, though this is not the right way to think. In such cases, a little time apart, but in the same house, may be necessary.

There is always a way.

7 – Anger

“If a magic thought arouses anger in any form, God’s teacher can be sure that he is strengthening his own belief in sin and has condemned himself. He can be sure as well that he has asked for depression, pain, fear and disaster to come to him. (M44)”

8 – Heal

This is when the attacks of another really get to us; we fail to regroup and heal, something that God only can do for us. If we get angry, we are not offering compassion. And it is compassion that will eliminate the anger.

9 – God Only?

Is it only God who can do this for ourselves? Are we really that helpless? Perhaps not. Perhaps I overstated. But it is sure that if we don’t go within and heal quietly, we will not heal at all. Venting, as Thich Nhat Hanh makes clear, is not ultimately healing. We are making the seed of the anger grow. We may think that we get rid of our anger, because after beating a pillow we are tired, but when the tiredness has dissipated, and another occasion of anger arises, we will find our anger that much accentuated. Nothing works other than to go within, quietly, where God resides.

10 – Outcome

“Nor should it be forgotten that the outcome that results will always come to teacher and to pupil alike. (M44)”

11 – Rhonda Byrne

Teacher and pupil are equals. So we experience the same. Rhonda Byrne’s books (The Secret; The Magic; The Power) say the same. What we give, we receive, and there are no exceptions to this rule. It is unclear from Rhonda’s writings if she has been influenced by A Course in Miracles.

12 – The Good

If we want something good to come to us, we must give our good things. It is that simple.

13 – Attack

“Attack can enter only if perception of separate goals has entered. And this must indeed have been the case if the result is anything but joy. (M44)”

14 – Anger

This is an important passage because it is about attack, am emphasis in ACIM. Under what conditions do we feel anger rising? Under what conditions do we attack others (and ourselves)? If we perceive that we want something different from the other, then we are prone to attack to preserve what WE want. While this is not self-evident upon first reading, if we reflect on it, we will realize that it is true. We think that we have separate goals from our brother, that we are at odds with him. And if we are not joyous, then we have perceived that he/she and we want different things.

15 – Joy

If joy is our canary in the mine, then we know when we are diving off the deep end. If we know unhappiness, we are diving off the deep end.

16 – God’s Wish

See how often Jesus mentions joy as a harbinger of better times ahead? He says that God wants only happiness for us, that happiness is our function (one of several, including salvation and forgiveness as well). Happiness is not a minor goal. We can do for others much better when we ourselves are happy. We fell like reaching out, something that doesn’t happen when we are in the throes of our neurosis.

17 – Single Aim

“The single aim of the teacher turns the divided goal of the pupil into one direction, with the call for help becoming his one appeal. This then is easily responded to with just one answer, and this answer will enter the teacher’s mind unfailingly. From there it shines into his pupil’s mind, making it one with his. (M44)”

18 – Guidance

This passage echoes the reflections in this blog, so often recurring, of the primacy of following guidance from the Holy Spirit. This passage indicates that the answer will enter the teacher’s mind (that’s our minds) unfailingly. So we do get responses from the Holy Spirit when we engaged in his business, our function of salvation.

19 – Overwrought Emotions

The guidance is never slight. If it seems slight, our emotions may be too overwrought to hear what the Holy Spirit is trying to say to us. Go within, get quiet, and see if with calm emotions you do not get guidance as to what to do.

20 – Calm

Be calm in daily life. Our days flow more smoothly, and we live the word of A Course in Miracles that has come to mean so much to us.

21 – Facts and Interpretations

“Perhaps it will be helpful to remember that no one can be angry at a fact. It is always an interpretation that gives rise to negative emotions, regardless of their seeming justification by what appears as facts. (M44 – M45)”

22 – Angry

We will learn, as we study the Course, that wrong interpretations always happen when we are angry. And vice-versus. If we become really, really angry, it is certainly a misrepresentation that we are seeing. We have made an interpretation that is false (a Course concept).

23 – Negative Emotions

When we learn the part that we play in negative emotions, that we have interpreted facts, then we are encouraged to drop this maladaptive behavior. Facts are neutral, and it is only when we judge our brothers and sisters that we become so very angry at their behavior. If we learn that everything is either an expression of love or a call for love (a Course interpretation), then we will be ready to forgive their negative behavior and to run to their side with help. Sometimes we cannot give this help overtly, because our brothers and sisters are angry, too, and would not welcome our intervention. Then we wait for a better time. In the meantime, though, we are at peace. We have forgiven.

24 – Blessings

What a blessing it is to give up negative emotions! This will not happen all at once, at least not usually, but happen it will as we progress in our study of the Course. We are not perfect, but we will become a little more evolved, which will lighten our load and give us the joy and peace and calm that we desire.

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

May I reinterpret my anger today, knowing that I have made an interpretation that is false. I know that my brothers and sisters are innocent, that they are only calling for help–and love.

Help me always to control my temper. Help me not to fly off the handle at the slightest sign of anger. Thank you for helping me to stay calm and quiet in all circumstances.

Amen.

May We Be Faithful—Honest, Trusting, Gentle, Joyous, Tolerant

“True faithfulness, however, does not deviate. Being consistent, it is wholly honest. Being unswerving, it is full of trust. Being based on fearlessness, it is gentle. Being certain, it is joyous. And being confident, it is tolerant. (M15)”

1 – Dense Passage

This is a dense passage, dense with meaning. It builds upon the definition of faithfulness we read yesterday, and it is extols consistency in our image of the idea.

2 – Honesty

We have read elsewhere that honesty is actually consistency of thought and deed–nothing contradicts our inner beliefs and nothing that we do externally contradicts what we feel inside.

3 – Trust

Trust is mentioned again, as it was yesterday. We must place our trust in the Word of God to set all things right.

4 – Gentleness

Gentleness leads to fearlessness, because we are not always looking toward our backs to see who might betray us.

5 – Joy

When we are certain about the course that our lives will take, in love, we can feel joy.

6 – Tolerance

And then, finally, when we are tolerant we can live with the strength of confidence in our choices.

7 – Promises

Nowhere else in the Course are so many promises packed in so short a span of phrases.

8 – Strengths of the Manual

This is one of the strengths of the Manual, which can lead some readers to choose this shorter part as the one with which they begin. Jesus does not counsel against this, leaving it to the reader to choose the parts first that speak to him or her the most.

9 – Faithfulness

“Faithfulness, then, combines in itself the other attributes of God’s teachers. It implies acceptance of the Word of God and His definition of His Son. (M15)”

10 – Faith

We so often misread the concept of faith and faithfulness. In the Bible, we learn that faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.

11 – “On Faith”

Growing up, we may have rejected taking things “on faith,” because perhaps this implied to us that we were to leave our minds behind, let our intellect go. While this is probably a false conception, even when based on biblical teachings, this conception is totally antithetical from the spirit and words of A Course in Miracles.

12 – ACIM’s Take on Faith

In ACIM, we are not ever required to take anything on blind faith. We are led, step by step, to knowledge that we can accept with our intelligence even working overtime (unless this intelligence is overly informed by our egos). We are led to realize that nothing in faith need contradict reason, a tenet of St. Thomas Acquinas. We are led gently to pathways of faith. We are not ever chastised if we are not yet ready to a given concept. The Holy Spirit is eminently patient with us.

13 – Defenselessness

“Toward Them [God and God’s Son] it looks, seeking until it finds. Defenselessness attends it naturally, and joy is its condition. And having found, it rests in quiet certainty on That alone to Which all faithfulness is due. (M15)”

This use of the term “Them,” capitalized is a bit confusing in ACIM. It does mean God and God’s Son (and Daughter), as a careful reading will let us know. We do seek God; we do seek our real Selves, the Christ Self deep within us (a tenet of A Course of Love).

14 – Quiet Certainty

We do rest in “quiet certainty,” a wondrous concept. All of us thrive on certainty in this ever-changing world. Most of us don’t take kindly to change that barrels us forward at breakneck speed (though some of us thrive on the thrill of it all). Quiet certainly is calmer, and in this stressful world we often want calm.

15 – Peace of Mind and Joyous Living

Faithfulness to our curriculum in A Course in Miracles will bring us peace of mind and joyous living. This is ACIM’s promise, and the vast number of students of ACIM will attest that the books live up to their promise.

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

I can remember all parts of this great promise as I walk through the day. Forgive my limitations. Help me now to drive these ideas deep into my mind, so that they are there in my subconscious when I need them.

Help me to be tolerant of my own limitations. I know that in this world I will have limitations, but Your promises are sure, and I can depend upon the guidance of the Holy Spirit as I walk through the day.

Amen.

The Gentle Have No Pain. Why Would They Not Be Joyous?

1 – Beloved

“The gentle have no pain. They cannot suffer. Why would they not be joyous? They are sure they are beloved and must be safe. (M13)”

Gentleness works. On the days that I am most gentle, I walk a smooth pathway. Nothing fazes me. Life is good. Part of this blessing is that I know that I am safe in this world, regardless of what the world throws at me.

2 – Safety

You are safe also. All of us are equal children of God, receiving equal blessings when we come to ourselves enough to ask for those blessings. But we must ask. The Bible is filled with examples of blessings that can be ours, but for which we must ask (ACIM tenet).

3 – Greedy?

We are not being greedy when we ask for what God wants for us anyway. He wants all good for us. Never is He guilty of bringing to us pain; we do this to ourselves.

4 – Personal Experience

When I was growing up, I did not want to be greedy in any sense at all. My mother told me that she and my father had a hard time knowing what Santa should bring, because I would not name what I wanted.

5 – Personal Experience II

Later on, when I was 25, I saw a vision (hallucination) of my bad karma, and it was the fact that I wanted to “get mine.” This is technically called “rapaciousness,” and William Faulkner, Nobel Prize laureate, has a great deal to say about this character trait. It is wanting for self, a reaching forth in a negative fashion. Loosely understood, it is greed.

6 – Restlessness

But gentleness quells all this restlessness to “have.” It is quite true that God wants us to have everything good, and we will not be satisfied until we do have everything. The ego tells us that sometimes we separate out something very desirable (from the ego’s standpoint) as if to say that having this one thing, we will forego all other (ACIM paraphrase). Yet this fails to satisfy, if we succeed in getting this desired goal. For we want everything, and everything does belong to us in truth.

7 – Joy

“Joy goes with gentleness as surely as grief attends attack. (M13)”

We will be happy if we can remain gentle; this is joy. We will certainly feel remorse, at least later on, if we succumb to attack; this is the tragedy of grief experienced.

8 – Attack

It is true that momentarily after attack, we may feel better, not worse. This is because we think, erroneously, that we have gotten rid of the guilt that has otherwise dogged us on our paths. But we haven’t really gotten rid of the guilt. It has, instead, become enhanced through our giving in to attack. This is the folly that we don’t see when suddenly we “see red.”

9 – Find the Gentleness

To find the joy, we must find the gentleness. To remove the grief, we must disavow attack. This formula works in daily life. Why don’t we all give it a try?

“God’s teachers trust in Him. And they are sure His Teacher goes before them, making sure no harm can come to them. They hold His gifts and follow in His way, because God’s Voice directs them in all things. (M13)”

Yet another passage affirming the validity of guidance by the Holy Spirit, Who is identified here as God’s Voice, we know that this is true—if we have studied A Course in Miracles to any extent at all. The Holy Spirit, to Whom we give up our own puny judgment, gives us our real will. And we are made happy in this exchange.

10 – No Harm!

No harm! Yes! Even bad things lose their sting. We know that our real Self, the Christ within, cannot be harmed in any way. Let the world do what it will, we are safe.

11 – Song of Thanks

“Joy is their song of thanks. . . .How joyous it is to share the purpose of salvation! (M13)”

Would it not be a wonderful thing to be joyous all the time! That is indeed the very blessing that is held out to us in Awakening. I have a friend who experienced Awakening some 30 years ago, and she is a prime example of happiness in life. The negative does not hurt her at all. She sees the bigger picture.

12 – Awakening

And so can we all, even before we experience enlightenment. Enlightenment is increasing in numbers, according to Eckhart Tolle, but is still comparatively rare. Let us run with patience the race that is set before us (from the Bible), knowing what the glorious end will be.

Dear Father/Mother,

May I give up attack in all my dealings with my brothers and sisters. This one step will give me joy. Gentleness will also accompany this change in me.

Thank you for the courage to give up attack. Help me to realize that it offers nothing that I want, and everything that I do not want. Lead me along Your pathway to joy, led by the gentleness that You will help me to acquire.

Amen.

The World Is Very Tired. . .Our Task: the Joyous One of Waking It to the Call for God

1 – Weariness

“The world is very tired, because it is the idea of weariness. Our task is the joyous one of waking it to the Call for God. (T77)”

Have we not often awakened in the morning with a sense of weariness, thinking, ungratefully, “another day.” Our lack of gratitude for the day is what is keeping us from a great day. And our lack of gratitude is making our world weary.

2 – Don’t Rue the Day

We have better things to do with our time than to rue the day. We have a joyous function—to wake up this weary world to the Call for God. This is the sense that we are to save the world, that the salvation of the world is in our hands.

3 – A Smile

We do not proselytize those individuals who are not ready, though. Many are not, needing only a smile from us to make their day. The way of A Course in Miracles is not everybody’s way. Far from it. And there are many thousands of other courses that point the way. Indeed, even for ACIM students, each teaches a different version of the course.

4 – Joyousness

So affirm the day with an invitation to joyousness. It will make all the difference, not only for ourselves but also for others.

5 – Tired?

Do we feel tired when we wake up in the morning? That common feeling is what we see discussed in this passage. Elsewhere Jesus assures us that we are not really capable of being tired, but we are very capable of wearying ourselves. When we feel joy, we most often drop weariness.

6 – Waking the World

Our function in the world is variously described in A Course in Miracles. Here it is defined as the task of waking the world to the call for God. (Elsewhere, our function is defined as forgiveness, or even just happiness.)

7 – Helen Schucman

ACIM, according to Helen Schucman (the scribe) was sent at this time because the world is in a very bad situation. All are called to help to create better conditions. May this be our function today: to make those we meet or even think about have a better experience of their day.

8 – All Power

“My mind will always be like yours, because we were created as equals. It was only my decision that gave me all power in Heaven and earth. My only gift to you is to help you make the same decision. (T77)”

This is Jesus speaking. It is a welcome idea that Jesus is there for us, and that we are equals, or are meant to be equals. He has walked the whole pathway, and he stands at the end to rectify any mistakes that we could not alter (ACIM tenets).

9 – Heaven and Earth

The “same decision” would be the intent to have all power in Heaven and earth. Jesus is still our leader, though, for we do not usurp his power. But we have our own power to walk into. We have very big shoes to fill. And, when we do fill those shoes, we will know a joy that is unbounded. We will be home.

10 – The Mind

“I have assured you that the Mind that decided for me is also in you, and that you can let it change you just as it changed me. This Mind is unequivocal, because it hears only one Voice and answers in only one way. (T77)”

The “One Voice” is the Holy Spirit:

“The Holy Spirit is the call to awaken and be glad. (T77)”

We are to respond to this call to awaken. We must realize, though, that we cannot effect the Awakening by our own volition. God takes that step, but we will be ever more ready when we have mastered the means that Jesus is describing to us in A Course in Miracles. He says elsewhere that revelation may occasionally show the end to us, but to reach the end, we must have the means. And the means are being carefully explained to us.

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

May I drop weariness from my list of troubles. May I substitute joy as the feeling that I would experience.

May we come this day to a new understanding of our task in this world. May we take the part that God has given to us–waking the world to the Call for God.

Amen.

The Call to Joy Is So Strong that the Ego Always Dissolves at Its Sound

1 – Strong Call

“The principle of Atonement and the separation began at the same time. When the ego was made, God placed in the mind the call to joy. This call is so strong that the ego always dissolves at its sound. (T75)”

This passage identified why joy is the preferred way to come to salvation and on to Awakening. The ego dissolves when we are overcome with joy. Indeed, we could not feel such joy if we held onto the ego, for the ego does not mean us well.

2 – Blessing

A call for joy that is so strong! This is a great blessing.

3 – Separation

What did the separation accomplish? Nothing! That is what A Course in Miracles teaches. We have actually never changed in our Selves as we really are. The separation was a tiny, mad idea that is now no longer in the mind that thought it (ACIM concept).

4 – Peace and a Calm Mind

May we react to the joy that God would have us feel, and thereby leave the ego and separation behind. We will then know the peace that a calm mind induces.

5 – Holy Spirit

“The Holy Spirit is in you in a very literal sense. His is the Voice That calls you back to where you were before and will be again. (T75)”

The presence of the Holy Spirit is not abstract, is not theoretical, and is not a metaphor. The presence of the Holy Spirit in us is fact, truth, literal truth.

6 – Separation?

We have only fallen away from where we were “before,” before the presumed separation. I say “presumed,” because we never actually separated from God; we only thought that we did, and this thought has made all the difference.

7 – Part of God

We are part of God, and so we could not really separate from Him. But in illusion we could think that we did separate, and this tiny, mad idea built up a world of separation that has been a trap for us.

8 – Trap

Let us get out of this trap forthwith. We stay only because we prefer it, the familiar to the forgotten, the unknown. Yet the forgotten is where our real joy comes. And with this call for joy, we are well on our way home.

9 – The Voice

“It is possible even in this world to hear only that Voice and no other. It takes effort and great willingness to learn. It is the final lesson that I learned, and God’s Sons are as equal as learners as they are as sons. (T75 – T76)”

If we can get ourselves to follow guidance consistently, we will be led away from judgment and therefore on our way home. Judging our brother/sister is the only thing, repeat, the only thing, that has stood in our way. And the guidance of the Holy Spirit will take us consistently away from that tendency toward judgment.

10 – Choose Again

We cannot be unjustly treated. This is a tenet of A Course in Miracles. We are deprived of nothing except by our own choice. And we can, at any and every moment, choose again.

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

May I have a calm mind, because I have known joy that dissolves the ego. May I remember these moments of peak experience, so that I can call on them when the going gets rough.

May I realize that the separation accomplished nothing–that my real Self has continued in peace and joy with You.

May this good day go well. Thank You for my many blessings. I know that I am fortunate indeed, as are my brothers and sisters when they stop to think about it. You have never left us bereft, but are always near. The sense of Your Presence will sustain us through the darkest nightmare. And, if we remember to thank You for our blessings, the nightmares will fall away for our thinking will be straight and true.

Amen.

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

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

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

1 – Jesus

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

2 – Mission

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

3 – God’s Channels

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

4 – Misery and the Ego / Joy and the Spirit

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

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

5 – Satisfactions

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

6 – Awakening

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

7 – Atonement

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

8 – Our Leader

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

9 – Pathway

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

10 – Ego / Holy Spirit

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

11 – Higher Purpose

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

12 – Holy Spirit

He will not fail us. Try Him and see.

Prayer:

Dear Father,

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

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

Amen.

Whenever You Are Not Wholly Joyous, It is because You Have Reacted with a Lack of Love to One of God’s Creations

“Whenever you are not wholly joyous, it is because you have reacted with a lack of love to one of God’s creations. (T89)”

Affirmation: “not wholly joyous. . .lack of love”

Reflections:

1 – Being Unloving

This passage is particularly insightful. We can determine when we have been unloving, because we don’t feel any joy. I find the greatest help from A Course in Miracles in my primary relationships, past and present. ACIM resets my attitude from any grievances to a sense that we live in a dream, an illusion, and this is my dream. Regardless of how aggrieved I might feel, if I recognize that I am dreaming my dream, the dream figures can be as hateful or as vicious as they may, but it will fail to have any effect on me (from the Text of ACIM). I have noticed that others in my immediate circle seem to act much better when I am not being neurotic, when I am loving and feeling love (even if I don’t say anything). Though ACIM doesn’t say this specifically, we do share thoughts with each other, thoughts that are not reflected in what we say to each other. This is actually mind reading, and if our thoughts are dark, we are apt to encounter dark words from another. I once said to someone, “I don’t make very much progress when I am angry with you.” And this statement, true then, has been played out repeatedly with other people as I have progressed through my life.

2 – Depressed Thoughts

We are likely to get depressed if we don’t adopt loving thoughts throughout our day. Of course, this sounds extreme. Surely there are reasons for depression other than a lack of love toward God’s creations. But are there really? Virtually all of us are trapped in egoistic thinking, which is by definition unloving. We do know joy, and by this we can recognize the difference. When joy comes upon us, all seems right in our little world. We then recognize that we love the world and everyone in it.

3 – Holy Spirit

This statement can become a harbinger of the times to change our thinking to be more in line with the Holy Spirit. If we are wholly joyous, very likely we would wish to change nothing. When we are not wholly joyous, we will want to change much, and the first thing that we need to change is our own unloving attitude.

4 – Joy through the Years

I would never have followed A Course in Miracles so intently and so consistently if I were not getting a great deal out of it. I realized when I first read it that it was my way home. This is akin to the sense that Jerry Jampolsky, founder of attitudinal change as evidenced in the lives of seriously ill children, had when he first opened the books. “Physician, heal thyself,” he heard. And he has spent a lifetime carrying out that injunction. Not everyone can gain from ACIM what we who study it a great deal do. And it is important not to try to force our way upon someone else. That would only be counterproductive. Proselytizing is not the way of ACIM. My own subscriptions to this blog are modest, and I have realized, from where my blog sits in the query, “course in miracles blogs,” that those who wish to find me have done so. But maybe what I say about ACIM is not evidential to but a few. Yet it is to those few that I devote a good bit of time.

Prayer:

Dear Father,

May I know the joy that you would have me to know. To feel this love, I must love my brothers and sisters. I must react with love toward them.

When I am not wholly joyous, let me realize that my ego has interfered, and that I have reacted without love. I can change this, with Your help. Please give me Your help.

Help me to be satisfied with the life that I have built. Give me joy in relationship, and thank You for the memories of times gone by. My life has been fortunate, and I would be the first to say so. Thank You for granting me happy dreams sent by the Holy Spirit. May I give back as much as it is reasonably possible for me to do.

Amen.

A Thought of Pure Joy. . .A Thought of Limitless Release

manet - girl with earring“There is one thought in particular that should be remembered throughout the day. It is a thought of pure joy; a thought of peace, a thought of limitless release, limitless because all things freed within it. (M-16.6)”

1 – A Mantra

I have used the words, “pure joy” and “limitless release,” almost as a mantra over the years. There is such hope in the promise of joy and release. We have been so doubled up with agony over the machinations of the ego. And it is such a blessing to know that we need not live this way. We can live in the hope of continual joy and release, and this is just what Jesus is asking us to do in this passage. “. . .[O]ne thought in particular that should be remembered throughout the day.” That message to me embodies hope.

2 – Achievement Required?

We often think that we have to achieve to merit grace. Yet this is a false concept. We are accepted just as we are, in all of our mistakes and false notions of an ego-oriented self. Jesus would not have us stay in such an ignoble state, though. He would carry us through and out of misery. He would have us live a limitless release in daily life, even when bad things happen. We can rise above without suppressing or repressing the bad things. We can know that grace is there for us.

3 – Safety

Jesus continues:

You think you made a place of safety for yourself. You think you made a place of safety for yourself. You think you made a power that can save you from all the fearful things you see in dreams. It is not so. Your safety lies not there. (M-16.6)”

4 – Ego Keeps Us in Conflict

That place of safety was a supposed retreat from the world promised by an ego that recommended to us that we turn to it for safety. Yet there is no safety at all in the ego, because the ego does not wish us or others well. The ego keeps us in conflict.

5 – Highs and Lows

I have mentioned several times in this blog the highs and lows on which the ego takes us. We know exhilaration when we cater to the ego, but we drop down in affect shortly thereafter, because the ego is constantly being undone. That is the way of the world. The ego, a part of our belief about ourselves, was never meant to sustain us. We are not made this way. We are being prepared for Awakening, and the only way that we can reach this degree of salvation is to relinquish our attachment to false ways of perceiving.

6 – Egoistic Ecstasy

Why do we dip low after an ecstasy brought on by the ego? I think it is because we know that we have separated, once again, from our brothers and sisters. And we are meant to be in unity and relationship with them (from A Course of Love). Somewhere we know that our egoistic ecstasy is putting us on a pedestal of our own making, and thus the feeling does not last. In fact, as we have noted, we dip into depression, which is anger turned inward (not a concept of A Course in Miracles or ACOL).

7 – Illusions

What you give up is merely the illusion of protecting illusions. And it is this you fear, and only this. How foolish to be so afraid of nothing! Nothing at all! Your defense will not work, but you are not in danger. You have no need of them. Recognize this, and they will disappear. And only then will you accept your real protection. (M-16.6)”

8 – Depression

Another reason that we dip into depression is that we become fearful after an egoic ecstasy. Our knowledge—and it is knowledge, not perception—lends us a sense that we can do better. Indeed we can, and A Course in Miracles and A Course of Love give us the hope that we not only can, but will.

Affirmation: “I would know limitless release and pure joy today.”

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

May this day go smoothly, on an even keel. May I know no highs and lows wrought by the ego. Indeed, may I let the ego slip away entirely today. And every day. This is my hope and my wish. For this, I need Your help. Be with me. Grant me Your presence in the day that hold events that I cannot predict.

Be with my brothers and sisters. May they find peace. May I find peace. We need Your presence to find that peace.

And You will grant us the sense of You when we turn to You in prayer.

Thank You.

Amen.

Cease Struggle

“By saying that you are not only accomplished, but The Accomplished, it is being said that you are already what you have sought to be. In order to live by the truth, you must live in the world as The Accomplished and cease struggling to be other than who you are in truth. (Treatises of A Course of Love: Treatise on the Personal Self, 16.8)”

Affirmation: “I can avoid struggle today.”

Reflections:

1 – When Ego in Charge

Struggle is a given when the ego is in charge. But struggle, and its concomitant of strain and striving, is unnecessary in the new world of Christ in which we live. We change inwardly, and then we see the outer world change as well. We do effect societal change, but, as traditional Christianity has pointed out, we first must change internally.

2 – We Are Not Defective

We are not defective. Our Self has never left us, even when we were lost in the ego and its fears. Now we are called to affirm that the Self, the Christ, is motivating us—and in this motivation we have no fears that are unfounded. Fear serves only to alert us to dangers that still exist in this world. And fear does not degenerate into anxiety.

3 – Joy and Peace

We have struggled long and hard. We thought that this struggle was better than a superficial happiness that made us fail to change the world. But, as many have noted, real change starts from within. And happiness is a laudable goal, one that others would emulate. How can we change the world through salvation if we do not live lives of joy and peace? Who would want to listen to us?

4 – Be Exactly as We Are

We do no longer have to cease being exactly what we are. It is so close to the ego to say that we are The Accomplished, but that is exactly what Jesus is saying. We do not rest on our laurels, but we cease trying to turn ourselves inside out to become something that we are not. We are enough, given our dedication to God and His way.

5 – Contentment

monet - lilypadLet us vow to enjoy contentment today. Contentment assures that we will not struggle to attain salvation. Such a struggle would be counterproductive. Rest in God, and He will show us all that we need to know, through the Christ Self within.

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

I am very hopeful that I can cease struggling in any way at all. You want that for me, and I thank You. Struggle, though it does not seem like it, is of the ego. And I have asked to let the ego wither away. In Your will.

Help me to understand how I can be The Accomplished when I don’t feel it throughout my whole being. I do not understand. Open my eyes that I might understand, free of the ego, in all humility.

Thank You.

Amen.

What Has Caused Unhappiness?

van gogh - plain
“While society would seem to have done so much to cause your unhappiness, and while you have in turn blamed it as much as it blamed you, you never blamed anything quite as much as you blamed yourself.

“This is the vengeful self we eliminate now. (Treatises of A Course of Love: Treatise on the Personal Self, 3.5 – 3.6)”

Affirmation: “I would forgive myself today, letting go of any vengeful self.”

Reflections:

1 – Forgiveness of Self

How hard it is to forgive ourselves for what we have NOT done to ourselves. We blame ourselves for our pain, especially when we are not able to keep pain from turning into suffering. We still harbor thoughts that we were responsible, in some nefarious way, for the separation from God (the illusory separation). And so we blame ourselves most of all.

2 – Projection

Yet this blame is projected unto others, and harms our relationships all around. What misery we concoct for ourselves! We need to end this insanity.

3 – Vengeful Self

Jesus would have us turn aside from the vengeful self. And he offers the antidote today. We do not need to assign blame, lest of all to others and ourselves. We dipped into madness for a long, long time–all of us. And we are finding our way back to sanity and the real world now. What better way to spend our time?

4 – Self-Blame

So we blamed others, “society,” but we, most of all, blamed ourselves for our predicament. And then we found it hard to forgive either others or ourselves. This kind of thinking needs to go. It must be forsaken once and for all, if we are to make any progress at all.

5 – Better Way to View

Turn now to your better judgment, informed by guidance. Does it not seem that there is a better way to look this world in which we are embedded? Is not it really a benign world, waiting for us to paint our meanings upon it? Decide today to paint no perilous dramas on this world. Decide for a perfectly “calm and quiet” (from ACIM) day.

6 – End Result

And such can be our experience.

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

I would be happy today. The first thing that I need to do, with Your help, is to make this determination. Then I need to calm down so that serenity comes to me. Then I will be immune to anger and its all-too-often attack. Be with me today to see that I walk the straight and narrow.

Thank You for the increased happiness that You have given me for very many years now. I also owe a debt to Jesus for his channeled words in A Course in Miracles and A Course of Love. My happiness has increased exponentially since discovering ACIM many years ago. Thank You for this.

May we, together, choose happy hours in our happy day. May we reach out to others, bringing them happiness as well. While we cannot make another happy, we certainly can and do make them miserable when our thoughts, words, and actions go awry.

I would have nothing go awry today, and, with Your help, a good day is ensured.

Amen.

Joy without Sorrow

Dance Rehearsal in theStudio of the Opera

“You used your free will to choose the human experience.  Now are you willing to use it to choose the Peace of God instead?  Can you wholeheartedly choose peace?  Can you choose peace long enough to become accustomed to joy without sorrow?  (Treatises of A Course of Love:  Treatise on the Art of Thought, 10.5)”

Affirmation:  “I would choose peace today.”

Reflections:

1 – Relax

This passage identifies a shortcut to Christ-consciousness, and it is an easy route, without effort, for we just relax into the peace that God wishes for us.  We no longer seek drama, and if we inadvertently do make drama in our lives, we turn aside from this drama as soon as we recognize the mistake we have made in letting peace fall by the wayside.  We would know joy without sorrow, and to do so we must let go of the ego.  We must turn aside from the ego, not in resisting it, but in simply making that simple turn away.

2 – Peace of God

How much we do we want joy without sorrow?  Probably very much, and it is only our ignorance about where to begin that causes us any problems.   We need to use our free will to choose the Peace of God.  Free will is never taken from us by God, but we use free will to turn back to Him.  And then we know His Peace.  We know joy without sorrow.  And, we are farther along toward Awakening/Christ-consciousness.

3 – Simple Guidelines

The Treatise on the Art of Thought gives us simple guidelines for making progress toward Christ-consciousness.  Indeed, all of the three volumes of A Course of Love do the same.  We read them with an abstract mind, for to read them with an intense mind will not work.  We absorb the meaning, not through intense study, but through observation of “what is.”  And thus we come to understand what is required of us.

4 – Key

We hold the key.  And we make great strides when we simply choose to have the Peace of God in our minds, hearts, and spirits.

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

Following You, I will have joy without sorrow.  What a glorious promise!  Thank You.  You do want me to be happy, and happiness is not an inferior goal.  I can contribute best to this world when I am in a joyous frame of mind.  If my religion doesn’t give me cause for joy, why would anybody else want to listen to what I say or do what I do?

Once again, I turn aside from the ego.  There is no other way.  I won’t try to resist the ego, which will just make it stronger.  What one resists, persists.  I would just gently turn aside, turning away from the ego and in the direction of You.

May I drop fear and anxiety from my repertoire of emotions.  If I continue as I did when younger, then these long-held emotions will stay with me.  But I want a break with the past, a break that will put harmony and peace on the throne and dislodge fear and anxiety.

With Your help. I can and will feel harmony, peace, joy–all the intangibles that You hold in such abundance.

Amen.

Joy that Knows No Bounds

leptosiropsis_bga

“The joy that will come to you from the thoughts of a mind joined in union will be unparalleled in your experience here.  ‘Ah,’ you will say with a relief and joy that knows no bounds, ‘this is what it is to experience and know the truth.  This is what it is to create for this is what it is like to think as God thinks.’  Where once you recognized only illusion, and called it reality, the mind joined in union will now, more and more, recognize only truth and experience only the truly real.  (The Treatises of A Course of Love:  Treatise on the Art of Thought, 1.10)”

Affirmation:  “May I experience truth more and more.”

Reflections:

1 – Enlightenment

This passage for today indicates that our enlightenment proceeds, frequently, in an ever-increasing way.  We know moments of peace and awakening more and more as time goes by.  For some people, of course, the experience is sudden and can be disorienting.  But this passage indicates that for most of us, it is a gradual process.

2 – Don’t Be Frightened by Awakening

We do not want to be frightened by the coming of Awakening.  And that is the purpose of both A Course in Miracles and A Course of Love.  Jesus says in ACIM that we may be frightened if a light is suddenly turned on when we are asleep, but we will awaken and then realize that the light is not part of the dream.  Well, we are in a dream in waking life as well.  And we do not want to be frightened by the light of Awakening coming on in our lives.

3 – God within Us

We want to think as God thinks, and He is within us, as well as without (though really nothing is without).  We will experience His truth as time goes by, and we will be experience this truth in ever-larger spans of time.  This is the way that Awakening comes to many of us.  The coming is not upsetting.

4 – Joy in Union

We will know joy in union with ourselves, our God, and our brothers and sisters.  This joy will be something internal that nothing can dissuade.  We will occupy an elevated Self of form that is the Christ-consciousness of which we have heard so much.

5 – All Will Be Well

And our days will go well.  All will be well with us.

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

I ask so to live in the Now, releasing feelings of discontent continually, that Awakening is welcomed by me.  It will never come if I am afraid of it, or so I believe.  My real prayer would not be for Awakening if I were afraid of it.  Thank You for the two glimpses in my life that I have had.  Both were a long time ago, even before I found ACIM and ACOL, but they presaged what is possible.  Thank You.

Be with us today as we seek to walk the pathway together.  May I have a smooth day with my significant others.  May I have patience, which I used to think I had, but I know different now.  May patience come in ever-increasing moments.

Thank You for your comfort.  Thank You for the channeled readings that mean so much to many of us.  May today be good, and may I find the will of Yours that is mine as well.  Your will and my real will are always identical.

Amen.

Soothe Your Worries Away

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“If you do not think you are yet prepared, if you think you are not yet ready, cease to think.  Read again these words of love and let the sound of love soothe your worries away. Give to me the thoughts that remain to trouble you and I will return them to you transformed by Love.  (A Course of Love, 32.5)”

Affirmation:  “May I give my inferior thoughts to Jesus to transform.”

Reflections:

1 – Comfort from ACOL

This passage for today is very comforting.  Let us read again from A Course of Love when we are upset, for these are the words of Love.  These are words that can lead us back to God.  The very sound of words of love will ease troubles away, and in this we have help.  We are never alone, though we may imagine ourselves to be.

2 – Jesus as Primary

Jesus takes his place as a primary factor in our lives with this passage for today.  “Give to me the thoughts that remain to trouble you. . . .”  What comfort!  We cannot understand how he will transform these troubled thoughts, but we can give Jesus a chance.  And he will not fail us; that is my conviction.

3 – Troubled Words Transformed

For troubled words to be transformed by Love is to let those troubled words be transformed by God, Who is Love (with a capital “L”).

4 – A Heartfelt Appeal

We are bade to cease to think, if we think that we are not yet ready for all that Jesus holds out to us.  He is appealing to the heart, which does not need to think.  And that heartfelt appeal will draw us in.

5 – A Conclusion

This is the final passage from the main part of the original volume of A Course of Love.  It is indeed enough, for we know that Jesus walks with us, to soothe and comfort us, to lead us Home.  And that is surely what we have wished all along.

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

I would be soothed today.  I would join with Jesus as my companion, my friend, and I would listen to the internal promptings that may come from him.  He promises to be with us upon one unequivocal call.  I make that call today.  I leave with him the things that trouble me, for he is able to transform them so that they trouble not me nor anybody else.  What a blessing this is!

May I know the soothing presence of Jesus.  May I recognize that there are other teachers, but, for me, Jesus is the most important one.  I have chosen to follow the way that he has pointed out, and though I read from other individuals, my heart belongs to him.

Amen.

The Embrace II

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“The embrace can now be likened to the starting point of a shared language, a language shared by mind and heart and by all people.  It is a language of images and concepts that touch the one heart and serve the one mind.  (A Course of Love, 21.6)”

Affirmation:  “May I sense the embrace of Jesus today.”

Reflections:

1 – Beautiful Passage

The passage about the embrace of Jesus with us is in my opinion the most beautiful portion of all three volumes of A Course of Love.  We are bade to lay our head on Jesus’s shoulder, and we are comforted completely.  We know no fear in the embrace, and we are at peace and perfectly tranquil.  Jesus is not exclusive to any of us, but embraces us all.  And there is nothing untoward in this embrace.  It is a chaste embrace, something that is perhaps not entirely clear upon first reading in ACOL.

2 – Jesus, Our Companion

Jesus is not our lover, but he is our companion.  And ultimately in ACOL he will cease to be our teacher, but become our equal.  This may be a welcome change for him, so long praised by the world and so long set apart.  Here he rejoins us, and we are, like him, both human and divine.  Our elevated Self of form has reached beyond the ego in the mind to the place of the heart in our exalted body.  We trust in him, and we walk a new and infinitely better path.

3 – No Fear of Jesus

Be with me as we seek to comprehend the ramifications of the embrace of Jesus.  May we not fear him at all.  And fear has been an accompaniment of the long years of egoic rule.  We were afraid of Jesus.  And now we know that we need not to have this uncertainty about him ever again.  He is our friend extraordinaire.

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

May I rest in the embrace of Jesus, my companion, as he is the companion of all who so choose.  May I know no fear, because Jesus is with me.  May I be comforted, as Jesus intends.  The joy of the moment may surround me with a certainty that all will be well, all manner of things will be well.

Thank You.

Amen.

Determining the Distinction between Pleasure and Pain

“Determination of pleasure and pain is made with the judgment of the separated self who not only believes it is the body, but that it is at the body’s mercy.  The body has no mercy to offer the separated self.  It is only a learning device.  (A Course of Love, 18.23)”

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Affirmation:  “May I avoid judging pleasure and pain today.”

Reflections:

1 – Awaking of Christ-Consciousness

The ideas in today’s passage are echoes of A Course in Miracles.  All in all, A Course of Love is more forgiving of the body, seeing, ultimately, that an elevated Self of form is a legitimate way to live.  We can enjoy this way of living on this earth, and this is when the Christ/Self has been actualized in us.  This is the Awakening or the Christ-consciousness embodied.

2 – Separation

But in the passage above, we are still recognizing a delusional separation from God.  We did not, as we have said repeatedly, actually separate from God, for we are part of Him and thus can only fantasize that we have separated.  In this fantasy our whole world evolved.  And we lost the felt presence of God.

3 – Pleasure

But let us rise to the occasion, recognizing that we want something better (re ACIM).  We want to know God’s happiness, not the pleasures of this world.  We will have pleasure, but it will be more than pleasure, because pleasure is fleeting and never satisfies very long.

4 – Body = Learning Device

The body as a learning device is best used to communicate with others, with out brothers and sisters.  To use it as a way to get out way is a misuse, if our way would be detrimental to another.  So let us be gracious in our understanding of the body, and not try so hard to decorate it with jewelry and fancy clothes.  We may want to be presentable, but the real beauty comes from within.

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

I would see the difference between pleasure and pain today, but I would seek joy–God’s joy–rather than simple pleasure, which is fleeting.

Be with me as I see Your will for my life today.  May my decisions be sound, based on guidance and common sense.

Amen.

Nothing but Love Can Be Cause of Joy

“For at least one brief moment, this was true love, for nothing but love can be the cause of joy, nor offer a haven of safety in an insane world.  (A Course of Love, 14.13)”

Affirmation:  “I choose love today.”vangogh_sunflowers1888

Reflections:

1 – Love Deeply

If we wish to be free of fear in all its forms, we need to love deeply.  Experiencing the peace that only love gives can prove this fact for us.  We can sense the love first as a feeling, a glorious feeling of joy and limitlessness, and then we will notice that we are free of the anxiety that has dogged our steps.  This is a true miracle, and its presence shows the place that revelation also has in our lives.  For this is a message from God to us; we could not effect this change from anxiety to non-anxiety on our own.  We could not leave fear behind, except that we love–and love deeply.

2 – Uncontrolled Anger

When we slip and let attack enter because of our uncontrolled anger, the peace that we were feeling will be abandoned.  We will know anxiety once again, and recovering our peace of mind may be slow.  Let us not slip today.  Let us invite the love that will banish fear, banish anxiety.

3 – Worry

Worry too is a form of fear, and we all have had many worries over the course of our lifetimes.  We do not have to keep the habit of worry; it too can be abandoned.

4 – How to Abandon Worry

And the way to abandon the spirit of worry is to substitute love of others, keeping in mind that we too must have a humble love of self.  The best way to eliminate worry is to substitute the feeling of love of God.  And in loving God, we are also loving the Self who is in our brothers and sisters, and well as ourselves.

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

I would move ever closer today to the cessation of anxiety.  And in the passage for today, Jesus gives me the key:  love, ever-deeper love.  May I hold fast to this idea today.

Be with us as we eliminate the “what if’s” from our lives.  This is a foolishness that cannot be denied unless we welcome love.  We would leave behind worry with its “what if’s” today.  Be with me as I do so.

Help me to realize that the guidance that I need is given at the point of need, not usually ahead of time.  If the guidance were given ahead of time, we would always be out of the present, and being in the present is the way to live a heartfelt life.  We would live in the present today, practicing for all our tomorrows.

Thank You for always being there for me.

Amen.

Where Is Heaven?

“Think about this now–for how could heaven be a separate place?  A piece of geography distinct from all the rest?  How could it not encompass everything and still be what it is:  home to God’s beloved son and dwelling place of God Himself?  It is because God is not separate from anything that you cannot be.  It is because God is not separate from anything that heaven is where you are.  It is because God is love that all your relationships are holy, and from them you can find the way to Him and to your holy Self.  (A Course of Love, 6.19)”

Affirmation:  “Heaven is here, when I choose for it to be.”

Reflections:

1 – Heaven = Here / Now = Choose God’s Peace

Heaven is not a piece of real estate off somewhere in the skies.  Heaven is here and now, when we choose God’s peace.  A Course in Miracles says that here in this world we will not be without limitations, but with the help of the Holy Spirit, we will rise above misfortune and know heaven on earth.  A Course of Love makes the same point here, except that in back of the statement is the idea that Christ-consciousness will grant us knowledge of the right way to go to create heaven.  God is here with us, and we would do well to remember this throughout the day.  How can one fume and fret, when he/she knows that God is within, righting all the wrong that we look upon?  And we know also that that wrong will be created anew when we seek Christ in the faces of all of our brothers and sisters.  This Christ is the unifying Self, the one that can see both human and divine (an ACOL tenet).

2 – Relationships

As with ACIM, A Course of Love indicates, declares, that our relationships are meant to be holy, and it is through our relationships that we will find our way home.  Pray today for the grace to belief this reassurance.

3 – Holy Day

And see if the day does not turn holy indeed.

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

May I do what You would have me do to create heaven on earth today.  May I love my brothers and sisters with an ever-deeper love, and may I not forget that I too must love myself, to have anything to give to others.  May my sense of self-esteem partake not of the ego, but of the spirit.  And when self-esteem is of the spirit, all is well.

Be with me today as I walk through this day in peace and joy.  If there are challenges to my day, let me realize that there are no challenges when we are trying to be teachers of God.  And all of us are teachers as well as students of God.

May today be good.  May I do for others what they need, especially those who are my significant others.  And may Your peace fill my heart with joy.

Amen.