Note: Published on Amazon. To be published in Miracles magazine, January – February 2020 issue.
LOVE ON THE MOUNTAIN, by Laurel Elstrom
Review by Celia Hales
Love on the Mountain is a big book, a glorious book, that focuses upon the Forty Days and Forty Nights of the Dialogues of A Course of Love. Laurel Elstrom has climbed the mountain, first a journey for herself and friends, and now makes another climb, this one for us. And she found Jesus there, at the top.
If we have been puzzled by the Forty Days and Forty Nights, now we have help, outstanding help. Through a variety of reading aids–including a challenge for each “day,” quotations from ACOL, “inquiries,” practices, meditations, and a final section for each day entitled, “Go Deeper”—we are led ever more completely toward understanding what our trek toward Christ-consciousness really means. The experience of Awakening comes alive, our questions find answers. Laurel asks the difficult questions, and then she answers them in words that cull from ACOL the most precise meaning.
I interpret the consistent theme of Love on the Mountain: A Guide to Self-Discovery to be a constantly expanding awareness of living our experiences, without doing anything to distract us from experience or to soften life’s blows. This way of viewing the Forty Days and Forty Nights works well, for we are leaving behind a separated life (from God) and joining others in unity. Our differentiated human form is elevating, becoming the elevated Self of form, the new term that we use for our awakened mind and heart.
Laurel recommends that we work with her book in conjunction with ACOL, reading each day’s lesson first, and then moving on to her commentary. This guide can work well in either a study group or individually. In a study group, one chapter a week would normally work best. The reading aids in Laurel’s book are short and to the point, well-suited to reading aloud (as one is asked to do with A Course of Love itself). I can envision lively discussions as those of us who love ACOL are teased out of thought and into our heart in an effort to get at the “true” meaning of the text. In individual study, the various reading aids fit our short attention spans, giving us a “bite” of knowledge that we can assimilate without difficulty.
Love on the Mountain is easily digested because it is well-written. Yet the meaning is deep, and there are layers and layers of meaning, as befits a guide to ACOL. Laurel has succeeded admirably in elucidating ACOL prose, often using examples and terms from daily life that give us something to peg a meaning to.
Laurel Elstrom is a writer, teacher, and spiritual coach who has contributed to The Bridge, The Embrace, and The Miracle Worker. She has 108 YouTube videos covering each chapter in A Course of Love. She also has 30 years’ experience as a facilitator of groups studying A Course in Miracles and A Course of Love. This book was beta-tested in several study groups for A Course of Love, and so here we have a compilation of “what works.”
Several years in the making, Love on the Mountain succeeds in what it set out to do. It guides readers of A Course of Love to and from the mountain of Self-discovery, the climb that will make life different than it has ever been before. Laurel has a natural acceptance of our clay feet, and her reassuring words as we make an attempt to scale the mountain lead us to love A Course of Love all the more. She says, though, not to struggle. The end of separation from God, the next leap in human/divine embodiment—the elevated Self of form in Christ-consciousness or Awakening–is not a difficult pathway. We are returning home, the place we never actually left.
I recommend Laurel Elstrom’s Love on the Mountain enthusiastically and with love for what it can do for our journey to Christ-consciousness. In conjunction with A Course of Love, we have in Love on the Mountain the perfect text to accompany us to and from the mountain.