Heartfelt Knowledge

“Let me be clear. The seeming lack of difficulty in this Course is where its difficulty lies. To give up difficulty for ease is more than some egos are willing to accept. To give up effort for receptivity is more than some can accept. Why? Because it is too difficult. It goes against all you have learned and the nature of the reality in which the mind has functioned. In turning to the heart we seek to bypass this difficulty as much as possible, but each will feel it to some degree, the precise degree to which they are capable of giving up reliance on what they but think has worked for them in the past.” (ACOL, A.18)

Many of us have a work ethic, work hard and succeed, not only in our jobs but in our family life as well. This is all very well, but it won’t get us to where we want to get in our spiritual life. Studying A Course of Love as though we were going to take a test on it, is the absolutely wrong way to go. If we relax in our reading/hearing of ACOL, we will let our inner Self discover in a way that the egoic mind never did.

Relaxing in reading a difficult and complicated text goes against the grain. But it is absolutely necessary. We will “succeed” in this endeavor to the extent that we let our Christ Self come out and play—yes, play—with the concepts. We have largely lost the will to play, unless it is a night on the town and involves alcohol. Our children know how to play, and we can see what play is all about by revisiting our own childhood. What did we like to do? How did we approach our first lessons in reading? It is not likely that we screwed our foreheads and concentrated with all our might. Instead, we responded with curiosity to the words on the page. The teacher was there to correct us if we read a word wrong. The Christ Self similarly corrects. We have nothing to worry about. Put some distance between ourselves and the concepts. Know that intense study won’t teach us more. A relaxed mind is not a little gift.

Here we come back to heartfelt knowledge. Let the softness of the heart teach. We will eventually give up traditional means of learning in approaching A Course of Love, with thought processes that will move beyond what we have previously encountered as “thinking.” We will let miracle-minded impulses show us the way. Always the way. And the way will be not only illuminating but also a love-filled experience.

Dear God,

I would let my heart lead when I reread A Course of Love. I won’t read with pencil in hand, ready to mark the most enlightening passages. I will let the knowledge on the page enfold me with its blessing. This takes reading with a soft heart.

Thank You for teaching me anew how to learn, how to discover. I am now at the discovery phase of taking in ACOL. And ACOL is blessing me. Thank You.

Amen.

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Knowing that Is Not Human in Origin

“As the dawn is unrestrained in its bursting forth, so has been your time of innocence. Not so the approach of day as the sun slowly rises and as slowly sets. This is a time of being both guided and restrained. A time of realizing that you can know without knowing what to do, and that this is not a mistake. Many reach this stage and, not knowing what to do with what they know, begin to doubt their knowing. This is a human response to a knowing that is not human in origin.” (ACOL, C:28.10)

Today’s quotation addresses a problem we may encounter as we proceed in listening to our heart and getting guidance from our Source, the inner Self who is part of God. We must walk easy, not forge ahead into ways that we don’t yet understand. We must sometimes hold back. Our knowing is not human in origin when we listen to our Self, a divine being. And this knowing may confuse us, for this knowing is telling us things that we have not heretofore believed, or maybe even known about.

We are being guided. If we doubt this, I suggest an exercise. Sit down with a computer, or with paper and pencil, and write out a series of questions that might trouble you about ultimate things. Get still and quiet. And then listen for answers from your heart. Let the words just come to you, for nobody has to see this. See if your confusion doesn’t begin to fall away. The Self knows how to speak to your finite mind. The heart, the center of the Self, knows what to write.

We can each reach God in our own way. He is nearer than our breath, for, as I have repeatedly indicated, we are a part of Him (ACIM and ACOL doctrine). God will not let us down. We know enough to access His wisdom, and in the access will come clarity.

Try and see. None of us will be disappointed.

Dear Father/Mother,

I have used the exercise I write about many times. Thank You for guiding my fingers to type what works for me. Thank You for being there, and guiding my heart to inform my mind.

I need Your knowledge more than my perception. This is very clear today as it is every day. May the right words come to mind when they are needed. May You give me the words to say.

Amen.

Holy Spirit = An Idea

1 – Transfer of Perception to Knowledge

“The way to recognize your brother is by recognizing the Holy Spirit in him. I have already said that the Holy Spirit is the bridge for the transfer of perception to knowledge, so we can use the terms as if they were related, because in His Mind they are. (T78)”

Perception is temporary, caught in time with us, but knowledge is eternal, and is of God. These are tenets from elsewhere in A Course in Miracles. Miracles are perceptual, and therefore do not last. Revelation is knowledge, and therefore is eternal. Revelation always comes from God, and it is intensely personal and therefore hard to convey to another. Its validity is determined by the self, the personal self that is trying to access the inner Christ Self (from A Course of Love).

2 – Holy Spirit in Our Brother/Sister

The Holy Spirit is in our brother, and when we recognize the Holy Spirit in him/her, we are seeing the other truly. The Holy Spirit is in us in a very practical sense. Though an idea, He is the Source of Universal Inspiration, the way that we come to know, as opposed to our perceiving. The ego perceives; the self which is accessing the Holy Spirit knows.

3 – Idea of Healing

“The Holy Spirit is the idea of healing. Being thought, the idea gains as it is shared. (T78)”

Ideas do increase when shared. That is why it is so important to seek first the intangibles of God, the peace, hope, joy, harmony, and the like. If we seek first for material pleasures, we will never be satisfied very long with anything we get.

4 – Increases when Shared

“The idea of the Holy Spirit shares the property of other ideas because it follows the laws of the Universe of which it is a part. It is strengthened by being given away. It increases in you as you give it to your brother. Your brother does not have to be aware of the Holy Spirit in himself or in you for this miracle to occur. (T78)”

This is a passage with deep meaning. It suggests that we do not have to get our brothers and sisters to study the A Course in Miracles before they will derive great meaning from it. They will derive that great meaning by our own living out of the principles of ACIM.

5 – A Strengthened Idea

When we give away our understanding of the Holy Spirit, we enrich our brothers and sisters. The idea of the Holy Spirit is strengthened. And they do not have to even be aware of what we are doing.

6 – Miracles

Jesus calls this sharing of the Holy Spirit a “miracle.” It will indeed seem so as we see our brothers and sisters more loving and peaceful, just by the fact that we are trying to share our understanding of the Course with them.

“The Voice of the Holy Spirit is weak in you. That is why you must share It. It must be increased in strength before you can hear It. (T79)”

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

May I share my understanding of the Course and the Holy Spirit, silently, with my brothers and sisters. May I especially share this understanding with those most close to me.

We will bless our brothers and sisters by our own understanding. May I not try to get anybody else to follow my way, but by my own following of it, may I lead others to You.

Amen.

Definition of the Ego

“I have spoken of the ego as if it were a separate thing, acting on its own. This was necessary to persuade you that you cannot dismiss it lightly, and must realize how much of your thinking is ego-directed. (T67)”

1 – Autonomous Ego?

How autonomous the ego seems to be! Yet it is only our own thinking, the part of our thinking that is insane. Insanity is a concept that some of us find hard to imagine; we think that we are thinking clearly. But, in the grip of the ego, we are quite mad. And in not thinking clearer, we give up any hope of Heaven.

2 – Ego Separate?

Is the ego a separate thing? No. We made the ego when we wanted to separate from God and His guidance. We thought that to be independent would give us something that loyalty and love for God would not. But we are never intended to fail to communicate with our Creator. We are intended to share with others, not to be separate and apart. And we will be unhappy as long as we cling fiercely to independence (or try to do so) and avoid God and others in our daily lives.

3 – Ego-Directed Thinking

“. . .[H]ow much of your thinking is ego-directed. . . . We cannot safely let it go at that, however, or you will regard yourself as necessarily conflicted as long as you are here, or as long as you believe that you are here. (T67)”

4 – Conflict

We do not have to be sorely conflicted, even when the ego is not dead in us. We can turn more and more to the Holy Spirit, letting Him guide our thoughts and actions. If we do not turn to the Holy Spirit, we ask for conflict, for how do we know what to do that will make it all turn out right?

5 – Intuition

If at first we don’t “catch” an intuition, then we can always ask again for advice. Jesus says in ACIM that we always seek advice before taking action, either of the ego or the Holy Spirit. We cannot take action autonomously. And if we are resistant to the advice that we get from the Holy Spirit, it would be wise to wait. If we have already forged ahead, then stop as soon as we can make ourselves, and then follow the guidance as we perceive it. Our perceptions can always lead us astray, of course, but our perception of what the Holy Spirit is saying is likely to be less wrong than is our perception of what the ego says. The ego advises to confuse.

6 – A Part of Your Belief

“The ego is nothing more than a part of your belief about yourself. Your other life has continued without interruption, and has been and always will be totally unaffected by your attempts to dissociate it. (T67)”

This is the best succinct definition of the ego in A Course in Miracles. “A part of your belief about yourself.” Such a definition removes some of the allure that the ego will continue to have until we have found our way home. It deemphasizes the ego as a major difficulty; it implies that a “part” of belief can be disrupted without too much trouble.

7 – Motivation

Is this true? Can we dissociate ourselves from the ego easily? That depends on motivation (a concept of A Course in Miracles). Jesus seeks to encourage our motivation to learn, and then, through learning, to remove the blocks to love’s awareness. Our guide is the Holy Spirit. ACIM spells out the means.

8 – Another Life

Very reassuring is the statement that we have another life continuing without interruption. This implies that there are parts of ourselves elsewhere, in other dimensions, but this is an interpretation, and A Course in Miracles is not specific about what is meant. We can hope that we have another life in other dimensions, the Self that we have forgotten in this world. Truly this is a great reassurance, and a great cause for giving thanks. We have not lost everything by the tiny mistake that we made when we chose this world of the ego over heaven.

9 – Escape from Illusion

“In learning to escape from illusions, your debt to your brother is something you must never forget. It is the same debt you owe to me. Whenever you act egotistically towards another, you are throwing away the graciousness of your indebtedness and the holy perception it would produce. (T67)”

When we love our brother/sister, we know that we are indebted to him/her for a good life, for we are not in this alone. Others play gigantic parts in what we believe to be our reality. And when we love, we see the good parts of others. We are not blinded by what we imagine, rightly or wrongly, to be their “faults.”

10 – Significant Other

This passage also suggests that our way is in our relationship to our most significant other—as ACIM says, our “brother” (which also includes our “sister”). This is the way of A Course in Miracles, and cementing our relationship to a significant other is how ACIM is saving us time. “Save time,” and “learn what time is for.” These are quotations from ACIM, and we are encouraged to take to heart the truth that time is to bring us closer home, to Awakening, to Heaven on earth. What better way is there to spent time? We need to help others, but we ourselves are limited in what we can do when we are still stumbling about in the shadows. “Love thy brother as thyself” is still operative. But traditional Christian orthodoxy has not always stressed the social gospel. The traditional indicates that we have to get our heart right first before we can make a meaningful contribution to the lives of others.

11 – “Holy”

“The term ‘holy’ can be used here because, as you learn how much you are indebted to the whole Sonship, which includes me, you come as close to knowledge as perception can. The gap is then so small that knowledge can easily flow across it and obliterate it forever. (T67)”

This passage emphasizes the distinction between “perception” and “knowledge.” Perception is our own contribution, and it is temporal. It is also often wrong. Knowledge is of God, and it cannot be effectively imparted to us as long as the ego rules. Miracles are perceptual, and therefore none of them is lasting. But revelation is of God, and is therefore knowledge. Of course, with our limited perspective, we cannot always see the difference between what is happening. We can ask, “Is this my perception or is God granting me knowledge?” Then let one’s heart be the guide.

12 – Knowledge vs. Perception

Knowledge usually comes as an inner process, a sense that, “Yes, this is right!” We are surprised by knowledge, whereas we often reason our way into a perception. Knowledge does not ask for the ego’s analysis, knowing that by definition the ego’s analysis is faulty, inaccurate, incorrect. Ask for knowledge of the Holy Spirit and do not let our mind run amuck with musings about the real state of what we are viewing in the world. Because we will usually be wrong. And we will always be wrong if the ego is, at the moment, in ascendancy.

Prayer:

Dear Father,

May I deemphasize the ego in my own mind, as I realize the truth of the “part” of me that it is. Something that is only a “part” can be overcome, with Your help, easily.

Thank you for the reassurance that I have a Self that stands above all the doings of this world. I do not understand, but I do not have to understand to be reassured that all is well in Your world.

Amen.

You Can Know without Knowing What to Do

pissarro - trees“As the dawn is unrestrained  in its bursting forth, so has been your time of innocence.  Not so the approach of day as the sun slowly rises and as slowly sets.  This is a time of being both guided and restrained.  A time of realizing that you can know without knowing what to do, and that this is not a mistake.  (A Course of Love, 28.10)”

Affirmation  “I will be patient today in my ‘knowing.'”

Reflections:

1 – Reassuring Passage

This passage is a reassuring gesture on the part of Jesus to us who are still learning.  We may have experienced a sudden relief when we realized that we truly are innocent, but as time goes on, the movement toward Christ-consciousness slows down–as the sun slowly rises and slowly sets.  While this slow movement is not always the case and does not receive the most attention, it is the most common way.  We see glimpses before Christ-consciousness can be maintained.  Indeed, maintaining the elevated Self of form is very rare indeed, at least at this time in our history.

2 – Commune with God

But we can commune with God, we can internally ask questions of Jesus, and we can read A Course of Love–all to get a roadmap to enlightenment.  Most of the outstanding examples of enlightenment in our history have been sudden experiences, but the very suddenness may have given rise to the awareness of the existence of these people.  A more gradual Awakening is kinder to us, for then the light does not suddenly dawn upon us, leaving us perhaps a bit frightened.  (These are interpretations based in part on both A Course in Miracles and A Course of Love.)

3 – Rest in Stillness

When we “know,” but don’t know what to do, I think it would be wise to rest in stillness until we do know what to do.  We do not want to go off willy-nilly, making mistakes that will only set us back.  Ask for guidance, for the solution is always found with the problem.  We will always be answered, and my experience is that it does not take long for the answer to come.  Ask, and ye shall receive (from the Bible).

4 – Imaginary Bonds

We often strain at imaginary bonds that seem to restrain us.  We have learned so much from A Course in Miracles and A Course of Love, and we are so eager, as a result, to walk the whole pathway to Awakening or Christ-consciousness.   Our eagerness with A Course of Love is greater than with ACIM, even.  This difference, this increase, is because we finally see that we have “learned” all that is needed, and we simply need to assimilate our learning so that it becomes knowledge rather than perception.  The knowledge cannot come until we let the ego die, and sometimes this dying is painfully slow–even when we wish it to happen fast (perhaps especially when we wish it to happen fast).  The knowledge will go with us on the whole pathway to full salvation.  And we need to rest awhile in peace, before we will know what our next steps ought to be.  We are not bade to evangelize the world, but we are bade to live in it as followers of Jesus.  At this point he is fast beyond our companion, our teacher no longer.

5 – Change in This World

Help us to assimilate this knowledge so that the change can happen universally in this world.  Life is at a crisis point (as life has always been), and we need to accomplish what we can to wish our brothers and sisters well in all of their activities toward salvation.

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

Thank You for the knowledge that will lead me to Awakening.  I would be ready sooner rather than later.  I would not delay by egotistical means.  I would drop the ego.  Help me to do so, today.

Be with us as we seek to have a good day.  This is a blessing, to have a good day.  May we enjoy our companions, including Jesus, if we can believe that he is always by our side.

Amen.

We Cry Out for Healing Today

“Your choice to separate from God is but a separation from your own Self, and this is truly the separation that needs to be healed to return you to God.  (A Course of Love, 17.2)”

Affirmation:  “May I join with my Self today.”vincent-van-gogh-portrait-of-peasant-detail-resized-600.jpeg

Reflections:

1 – Personal Self

We are often moody.  Why?  We are living in the personal self, the little self that is still occupied with and identified with the ego.  The ego does not wish us well.  It welcomes conflict, because conflict keeps the ego alive and thriving.

2 – Relax into Our Hearts

There is a better way to live.  We can relax into our hearts, when we are down, and still the mind.  The final pages of the Workbook of A Course in Miracles are filled with reflections that some view as meditation.  These reflections, as well as the trilogy of A Course of Love, are particularly appropriate to consider our Self, the real inner being that is the Christ.  And when we turn to the inner being, we are reconciled to ourselves and to God at once.

3 – Glimpses of Revelation

We will sometimes fail to make this transition, for the glimpses of revelation are brief in the beginning.  But gradually, as we continue our pathway, the glimpses lengthen, and our time with the Self expands.  Then we are truly being returned to God, and posthaste.  We are not alone with the ego any longer.

4 – Ineffable Peace

When we have returned to our Self, we will know peace, an ineffable peace, far more often than we will experience any other emotion.  Indeed, Jesus says in A Course in Miracles that we will be “perfectly calm and quiet” all the time.  Drama of the ego will have faded away, and we will be glad of the fading.

5 – Listen Quietly

May we return to the Self today.  We cannot do this alone.  But we can ask for help, and, if we listen quietly, we will hear.  Invite God’s peace into your heart today.  He will not disappoint.

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

I would do whatever I can today to return to my Self, the Christ in me.  I cannot do this without help, and I ask for Your help.  May the glimpses of revelation that I have known come again today, and may those glimpses lengthen in time.  I can eventually look forward to living in the Self all the time.  I welcome that day, though I know that the decision is Yours, and I respect this from the bottom of my heart.

Be with me today.  Keep me from anxiety.  If I am truly living as separated from You, I will have anxiety.  I will not have anxiety when I choose to heal the separation, the separation that has never been real anyway.  You have always been there for me, deep within me–as well as outwardly.  May my perceptions be cleansed into knowledge, Your true knowledge.  May I project outwardly only the harmony and peace that You encompass within me.

Be with me today as I sort out these complexities.  Salvation is simple, and when I get too much into complexities, I am speaking from my ego.  Correct this in me today.  Thank You.

Amen.

Following the Heart

“You who have been unable to separate mind from body, brain from head, and intelligence from knowledge, take heart.  We give up trying.  We simply learn in a new way and in our learning realize that our light shines from within our heart, our altar to the Lord.  Here the Christ in us abides. . . .(A Course of Love, 3.26)”

Affirmation:  “Christ abides in my heart.”

Reflections:

1 – Bypass the Mind

Here Jesus elaborates, in a spiral way, the thesis that he developed in the passage for yesterday.  He means that we bypass the mind in our new learning, for the mind is wily, and too insistent on proof (though Jesus does not say this).  Jesus will now go straight for our heart, the seat of the emotions, and we will learn through the love that Christ in us will bring to the forefront (an interpretation, not stated precisely in A Course of Love).

2 – Christ Is the Higher Self

The Christ is our higher Self, and this higher Self is in all of us, but unrecognized by most of us.  Those of us who do recognize the higher Self do not fully comprehend Who we have recognized.  But this is mind stuff.  And Jesus would have us move beyond this to a better solution to our problems.

3 – Heart Doesn’t Ask for “Proof”

Turn to your heart and ask, rationally, if you do not know of what Jesus speaks.  The heart does not ask for “proof” in the same way that the mind, befuddled by a lingering ego, does ask.  Jesus is not interested in proving anything to us, but only in bringing us around to his way of understanding.  And we will succeed in this, for it is God’s Will as well.

4 – Glimpses of Christ-Consciousness

Christ-consciousness at first comes in glimpses.  We do not see the whole.  And Jesus elsewhere says that no one has ever sustained Christ-consciousness (it is unclear if he includes himself in this analysis).  But he would have us prepared to sustain the elevated Self of form.  And in A Course of Love, he shows us, through observation, exactly how to do that.

Let us stay tuned.

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

I would take a special effort today to let my mind rest, and to invite insight through the feelings of my heart.  My heart does not ask for the proof that the mind demands (foolishly).  Our heart is smarter than the mind.  It knows what we need and want, and we discover through our acceptance of what “is” that we also know.

Be with me today as I hope for glimpses of Christ-consciousness.  I know that this is Your will for me.  Help me to be patient, to stay in the flow today, to welcome You.

And then all will be well.

Amen.