Invite the Warmth of God’s Closeness

The holy relationship has been accomplished by the joining of the mind and heart in unity. (ACOL, T3:15.10)

The first and most important relationship is with the Self–the inner Christ-Self–and God Himself (called the Self in Its largest dimensions). When this relationship is formed anew and aright, it changes everything. Our heart and mind are melded into one, and this one is the same One with Whom we are merged in the Godhead Himself/Herself. With this joining of heart and mind, we are primed to have all good things to come to us. We are, at last, on the right track, “separate” from God no longer, even in illusion. And we are not in illusion any longer, but the supreme reality, true reality, a reality that does not fade with each passing day.

When mind and heart are joined, I feel a warmth that is not of this world. I once was accosted at night by a stranger who did not mean me well. Just before he touched me, I felt a Warmth that gave me a tremendous sense of safety and God-given care. And this sense carried me through the experience without any trauma. I ran and I screamed, and he fled. My voice and God’s grace had saved me. In that moment, with the warm feeling, I was in unity of mind and heart with that warmth, though this was years before A Course of Love was channeled. I only knew that God had been very, very close to me in that moment.

How do we invite the melding of heart and mind? We get quiet, we invite warmth, we invite God. If we open ourselves to God’s grace, He will descend upon us, prompting us to join mind and heart into a Unity that will solve all problems, release all neuroses, give us a new lease on life.

Be quiet today, just for a moment. A moment is all that it takes to allow God to speak to us in the Unity in which He abides.

Advertisements

We Are of One Mind with God

“Creation and communication are synonymous. God created every mind by communicating His Mind to it, thus establishing it forever as a channel for the reception of His Mind and will. Since only beings of a like order can truly communicate, His creations naturally communicate with Him and communicate like Him. This communication is perfectly abstract, in that its quality is universal in application and not subject to any judgment, any exception, or any alteration. God created you by this and for this. The mind can distort its functions, but it cannot endow itself with those it was not given. That is why the mind cannot totally lose the ability to communicate, even though it may refuse to utilize it on behalf of being.” (ACIM, COA ed., T-X.5:1- 8)

We are created of “God-stuff.” This is the basic message of this passage. We are beings in communication with each other and with God. We never lose this ability to communicate, however deep into egoic darkness we have traveled.

We are meant to communicate. We were never meant to attempt independence from our brothers and sisters, nor independence from God. Moreover, we cannot be happy in such a scenario. Our mutual joining with others prepares us to live a full and glorious life. Isolation from others keeps us in defeat.

We can open to fuller communication by looking to others with love. When we look to others with fearful thoughts, we will always find reason to be threatened by these others. Then the dialogue breaks down. The fact that others may be on edge, frustrated, or otherwise unavailable to us, is not germane to our communication.

Communication, in love, can also be silent.

Ask for a Balanced Mind

“It would be very intelligent of you to set yourself the goal of really studying for this course. There can be no doubt of the wisdom of this decision, for any student who wants to pass it. But, knowing your individual weaknesses as a learner and being a teacher with some experience, I must remind you that learning and wanting to learn are inseparable. All learners learn best when they believe what they are trying to learn is of value to them. But values in this world are hierarchical, and not everything you may want to learn has lasting value. Indeed, many of the things you want to learn are chosen because their value will not last. The ego thinks it is an advantage not to commit itself to anything that is eternal, because the eternal must come from God.” (ACIM, COA ed., T-4.VII.10:1-7)

The ego is afraid of God, that is the insanity of it. Our mind, taken over by the ego, believes that it will be punished for imagining itself separate from its Maker, Whom it knows to be all-powerful.

If we can open our mind ever so slightly, and realize, even if we don’t feel it, that God is not vindictive, then we will have a reason to trust Him. If we can just entertain the possibility, indeed the certainty, that we have let our mind go insane, and that now we are attempting to retrieve sanity, then we will have motivation to learn A Course in Miracles. Motivation is all that it takes. Jesus can work with a reluctant learner, but he can do nothing for one who refuses the innate inclination to listen to reason. He doesn’t go against our free well. We can refuse to listen, refuse to learn—but who would when suffering and pain, in our egoic state of mind, have been so devastating.

The suffering and pain were inevitable, and these are no cause to blame God. Suffering/pain are a cause-and-effect relationship. Given our strange thinking, we need a Power from beyond us to set all things aright. Without that, the deleterious effects continue. And surely we don’t want that.

Ask for a balanced mind. This mind will welcome guidance. This mind, as prompted by the heart, will take us, finally, back Home.

Way Out of Fear

“Whenever you are afraid, it is a sure sign that you have allowed your mind to miscreate; that is, you have not allowed me to guide it. It is pointless to believe that controlling the outcome of misthought can result in real healing. When you are fearful, you have willed wrongly. This is why you feel you are responsible for it. You must change your mind, not your behavior, and this is a matter of will. You do not need guidance except at the mind level. Correction belongs only at the level where causation is possible. The term does not really mean anything at the symptom level, where it cannot work.” (ACIM, COA ed., T-2.IX.4:1-8)

Jesus knows that we have not given up fear, that we still have misthought, and we feel the results, in pain often. He emphasizes that a change of mind is far more important, and pivotal, than a change in behavior. A change in behavior will happen when we have changed our mind, then and only then.

He wants us to correct our thinking, and then we will see an improvement in our behavior. It seems that he is not so much concerned with the outcome of misthought as he is with the problem of the mind itself. He wants us to think aright.

A Course of Love, channeled later, emphasizes that we change our mind when we listen to our heart—a heart that has always known what to think, say, and do. Our heart does not need any teaching, but our mind, so long egoic, has still patterns of the ego lingering. And so we need a sounder basis for making decisions, and that sounder basis is our heart.

Everyone knows what the heart means without a tedious telling. Our heart will inform our mind, which will inform our behavior. Then we will really be healed.

When We Unite Mind and Heart, We Unite with the Self

“Yet you have not remembered that the first union is of mind and heart. The first union is union with the Self. This union with the Self is resurrec¬tion or rebirth. All are capable of this life-giving union. All are capable of birthing the Self.” (ACOL, T1:9.7)

This passage for today is a summation of what has gone earlier (and will be expanded upon as we read farther on). First, we unite mind and heart, and when we do that, we have united with the Self Who is deep within us, a part of God Himself. What has actually happened in a resurrection or rebirth of this Self, a Self Who has been cloaked by the egoic, false, self for eons.

And this miracle is not limited in any way. All of us can—and will—have this union eventually. Our part, if we want this union now, a union that is Christ-consciousness, is to remove the blocks to love’s emergence. It is love that emerges, in full form. Our own form becomes “elevated,” in that we are living the truth in a way that has not been possible heretofore, because the ego has held sway over us.

All of us can birth this Self. As A Course in Miracles says, God Himself reaches down and lifts us up—when we are ready. And so asking for this miracle is in His Will. We don’t have to ever be shy about asking. It is the way of creations created by a Creator. It is the way that life is meant to be lived.
“Ask and ye shall receive,” as the New Testament tells us.

The passage for today can be memorized to good effect. It gives us the gist of much that Jesus is telling us in the totality of A Course of Love.

Prayer

I would seek to realize the union of mind and heart, the union that I have been wanting with my deepest Self. When I am deep within myself, I can feel Your warmth, and this warmth is a great blessing, a great blessing indeed. Thank You.

I would feel Your warmth when I am out and about in the world, not just when I am quiet and focused inwardly. I thank You for this assurance that You are always with me, that You love me unconditionally. Help me to love the people in my life unconditionally as well. We all are starved for love. May each of us give it as best we can, leaning on You and our Self for guidance as to how to do that.

Amen.

Rest for a Tired Mind

“The mechanics of your over-worked and over-stimulated mind were what you were asked to leave behind as this act of leaving behind was the only means by which you could allow your mind to be restful enough for it to even contemplate union or the new learning required in order to facilitate your return to union. Your return to union is your return to love and it is accessed at the center or heart of your Self. Your mind was in need of silencing in order for you to hear the wisdom of your heart and begin your return. Now, in order to complete your return, mind and heart must work as one.” (ACOL, T1:1.7)

Most of us have long sensed that we have been working too hard; in Jesus’s words, we have an “over-worked” and “over-stimulated” mind. Isn’t it a great blessing that we give our minds a rest now?

In peace we can contemplate the heartfelt counsel that Jesus gives in A Course of Love. If the mind is restful, it can contemplate union, the union of mind with heart that becomes the oft-touted (in ACOL) “wholeheartedness.” We are going into new learning, at least for a time, the time that we study the Treatises. We are returning to love, and surely this will be welcomed by all of us.

Many of us have long prized our intellect, but we surely have recognized that intellect can take us only so far. And if it has been an egoic leaning, a prideful thing, then we need to leave that prizing behind. Ultimately, we realize that the fact that one person has a higher IQ than another means nothing. We are not our IQ. We come much closer to being our heart, and in the teaching of the heart, union, which is what we need to be, will blossom.

Union is at this point a composite of mind and heart into wholeheartedness. Later on, we will see union in ACOL as the joining of the Self with the All, a blessing that is Christ-consciousness or Awakening. None of us need to wait long for this change, if we live in peace and harmony, if we don’t judge, attack, or make plans against uncertain contingencies to come.

Union is what we are about today. And the art of thought, which we will learn in this treatise, will take us up to the door. All we need to do is knock, and the door will be opened.

Dear Father/Mother,

I would live in peace today, not struggling with my intellect to make progress in this world. I am not about striving today. I know that my own striving actually avails nothing.

May I have Your help to be at peace? May I have Your help to find my way safely and in good grace, today?

Thank You.

Amen.

Remembrance Sets Us Free

“What you gain in truth is never lost or forgotten again, because it returns remembrance to your mind. What your mind remembers cannot not be shared.” (ACOL, C:31.24)

This passage gives an puzzling truth: How can we not forget again? We have to realize that what Jesus is talking about is a remembrance of ultimate things, of God and the universe. Of Christ-consciousness. And once this knowledge is truly gained, there is no turning back to forgetfulness.

And we will share these truths, for “What the mind remembers cannot not be shared.” We will want to share what we have learned. We would not feel whole unless we shared it.

Isn’t it good to realize that remembrance of ultimate things is returning to us? That the long, sad separation from God is coming to an end? Those of us who have been grateful for our good minds will especially invite the truth that we will remember even better in the future: Remembrance will return our minds to ourselves, allowing the illusory ego no say in the matter. This is really what remembrance means: No ego, and so the mind is once again free.

Jesus says a great deal about truth in A Course of Love. Truth may mean many different things to different people, but certainly here Jesus is speaking of God and His wisdom, the wisdom that He will share with us, and we in turn will share our interpretations with others. This truth does not go away; it is permanent. If we lapse, the knowledge comes back, and so when we gain in truth always. We certainly do not lose this knowledge, nor do we forget it. Our ways become the ways of God, and He leads us surely down the pathways of truth.

Dear Father/Mother,

I would know the truth that will set me free. I would know this truth today. I would not remember, and then lapse into forgetfulness; I would hold steady. Help me to do so.

Truth is a great benefit to the struggling individual. If we ask for the truth, it is given us, for You would leave no one out. With Your truth beckoning to our mind, we need worry no more. The things that we need to know will come to us; this is the remembrance, and I thank You for it.

Amen.

Turn Aside from the Mind to the Heart

“What is learned by the mind only rearranges reality. The mind then holds to the new reality as a new set of rules without change. It sees reality through these new mental constructs and calls this way of seeing new. In order to support its new reality it must insist that others follow these new rules.” (ACOL, 1.2)

We must understand that A Course of Love downplays the mind, in large part, I think, due to the fact that the mind has previously been ego-oriented. ACOL emphasizes the heart, which doesn’t get changed by the egoic mind, and which often gives us the solace that the mind cannot. We do learn, as we get deeper in A Course of Love, that the mind and heart need to combine into a state termed “wholeheartedness,” because we cannot function without the mind and heart working together. Our mind is now pretty much free of the ego, if we have been faithfully reading and taking to heart the instructions in ACOL.

Thus we learn at the beginning of ACOL that the mind is dealing in constructs that mislead. We also want others to follow the rules that our mind has laid down.

Quickly we can realize that this won’t work, not long and not well. What are we to do, but deemphasize the mind as we move farther into A Course of Love?

“All the mind can do is rearrange reality and hold it still and captive and rule bound.” (ACOL 1.5)

This is what the mind does to reality. Is this anything that we would want?

“The mind will attempt to understand with its own logic and fight the logic of the heart. The mind will see new rules and perhaps be willing to rearrange its reality once again.

“The mind is its own reality. You cannot escape the mind’s reality with the mind. You cannot learn how to escape the reality of the mind with the mind’s pattern of learning or of logic. You cannot live in a new and fresh world and retain the mind’s reality.” (ACOL, 1.8 – 1.9)

These quotations do not say so, but the way to turn aside from the mind’s view of reality is to trust the heart’s prompting. We have to get outside the mind to see what it is really doing. It won’t destroy its own constructs about reality. We don’t want to destroy anything, because violence makes what we would eliminate. We simply gently turn aside, basking in the warmth of the heart’s inner knowing.

And by so doing does our little world come around alright again.

Our Mind is One with God

“Your mind is not contained within your body but is one with God and shared equally with all alike. This is reality.” (ACOL, C:6.2)

This concept, that our mind is not contained within our body, is part of the theology of A Course of Love. We don’t have to understand the concept fully to entertain that what Jesus says just may be true. If our mind is part of Mind, the Whole, the All of God, then we are not limited to a finite, physical form that we call the “body.” The body is the home of the ego, but we are no longer ego; we have left that concept in the dust behind us as we walked into the sunlight with God. We are the Self that is joined, is One, with God.

The mind thus becomes a much larger concept than we have known previously. We are not fooled any longer by illusory form. Our mind will survive our body (this another implication of what this quotation says).

The mind that is One with God is not meant to be weak and frail. It is only the body that can ever appear weak and frail, and these characteristics of physical form are finite. They do not survive the grave. This in itself is comforting, for we can know that our mind will live on. We may not be certain of what overcomes death, but we can be certain that it will be good.

God makes the good on this earth as well. When we know that we are mind rather than body, our health does not so much concern us. We no longer believe the lies of the ego, which would say that we are bound by the body. We are independent of body, and, as mind, we are joined with each other—no longer a separate, finite, spot of illusion that knows not where to go or what to do.

HEALING IN A COURSE IN MIRACLES: A Review of Ken Wapnick’s Healing the Unhealed Mind

Published in Miracles magazine, March – April 2015

Review by Celia Hales

Ken Wapnick considers in Healing the Unhealed Mind the one chapter of A Course in Miracles that is unlike ACIM’s usual focus on forgiveness. He considers Chapter 9 in the Text, the theme of mind and body, basing this book on his 2009 seminar entitled “The Unhealed Healer.” He makes the point that this chapter in the Text goes to the heart of the entire Course.

Repeatedly throughout Healing the Unhealed Mind, Ken asserts that A Course in Miracles is about the mind, not the body. He contrasts this focus with the New Testament, which he says is about the body. He asserts that what has to be healed is the mind’s belief in the ego, not the ego per se.

In Healing the Unhealed Healer, Ken asserts as a main focus that we need to feel peace as we seek to help others. If we feel anything but peace, we have made a bodily identification, and we are just as sick as the person we are seeking to help. We must simply let healing be, and learning to do that is how we are healed. Here is a cogent summary of what Ken’s book emphasizes:

“The process of healing our minds consists of asking for help to choose to undo the ego: our belief in anger, guilt, anxiety, depression, loss, triumph; the belief that using other people to satisfy our own needs is good.” (Page 89)
Those of us who have read Ken know that he writes on two levels when he interprets A Course in Miracles, a level of taking literally what Jesus said (believing him to be the one who channeled the Course); and a level in which he views what Jesus says metaphorically (meaning not taking literally the specific words).

Ken does not make the mistake of fundamentalism, but we must read him carefully in deciding if we agree with his interpretations of what is metaphor and what is literal. He is the most recognized scholar for the Course (though there are other scholars, too, to whom we listen, especially now that Ken has made his transition from this world). Ken writes as one who has a great familiarity with Jesus. This humanizes this particular book and at the same time lets us know that he did enjoy a distinct relationship to Jesus, especially when he and Helen were working together on editing the Course, that is unique. This fact in itself gives great authority to what Ken says.

There is a course for every teacher of God, as the Manual of ACIM says (M-1.3:1), and in Healing the Unhealed Mind, we find one excellent example of Ken’s course. His extensive body of work is a truly one-of-a-kind contribution to our own study of A Course in Miracles.

The Altar in Our Minds Is the Only Reality

“To be in the Kingdom is merely to focus your full attention on it. As long as you believe you can attend to what is not true, you are accepting conflict as your choice. Is it really a choice? It seems to be, but seeming and reality are hardly the same. You who are the Kingdom are not concerned with seeming. Reality is yours because you are reality. This is how having and being are ultimately reconciled, not in the Kingdom, but in your mind. The altar there is the only reality.” (ACIM, T-7.III.4)

The altar in our minds is the true reality. We are not concerned any longer with “seeming” to know reality; we do know reality. We both have and we are—what we are being is consistent with our having the Kingdom of God.

This is deep understanding, and it is hard to recognize on first reading. When we wish to be in the Kingdom, we can focus our full attention upon it, and when we do that, we are no longer “seeming” to know reality, but we are truly knowing reality. Attention, mindfulness, is a way home, a way to salvation, and, ultimately, a way to Awakening, or enlightenment.

What we are in our essence, in the inner altar of our minds, is reality. Nothing else really exists. There is no world, according to Jesus in A Course in Miracles. It is purely and simply illusion, projected from our minds outward in a world, as well, of illusory bodies. Of course, everything seems solid, but that is simply part of the illusion. Projection makes perception, as Jesus also says.

Many of us do not accept that the world is not real. But if we come to see that it is, we are immediately freed from its effects. We realize that there is nothing in an illusion that can ultimately hurt us, and so we stop being defensive.

Jesus also encourages us to avoid defense, saying that it makes what we are trying to avoid.

So there is nothing in this world that can hurt us in any real sense. We see blood in the illusion, but it is not unlike catsup in a movie. We are never ultimately harmed. The only real thing is the state of our mind and heart, the inner altar that is also the home of God.

Mind and Heart Can Heal Just as the Body Can

“Atonement, or correction, is not of you but of God. You might think of this in terms of nature and look upon nature’s ability to correct itself. You are a part of nature. Your body can correct or heal itself, and so can your mind and heart. . .if they are allowed to do so.” (T3:14.12)

We can heal much as nature heals. This is a new idea from A Course of Love, not given in A Course in Miracles. But, like, ACIM, this message from A Course of Love emphasizes that atonement, correction, is of God. In a sense, we have to get ourselves out of the way. We have to let God do His work in us.

We already know that our physical body can heal itself. Here we learn that our mind and heart can heal as well. And we get out of ourselves, and into God, and then the healing occurs.

We will not have to wait long. One good thing about both A Course in Miracles and A Course of Love is that Jesus never tells us that we have to wait to experience blessings from God. Even if the healing of the separation will take millions of years (which he says in ACIM), still they can be happy years for us, living the elevated Self of form, and ministering to others who are coming to know what we have come to know.

The future looks bright for us. Once begun, the ending is sure. We will experience atonement, and we will experience Christ-consciousness, and we only need a small willingness to walk into those experiences.

Let us give the Self that small willingness today.

Mind Returns to Full Creation when Atonement Is Accepted

“Your mind does make your future, and it will turn it back to full creation at any minute if it accepts the Atonement first. It will also return to full creation the instant it has done so. Having given up its disordered thought, the proper ordering of thought becomes quite apparent. (T-5.V.8)”

This quotation is, I think, very important to the theology of A Course in Miracles, and it may be easily overlooked. We do “make” our future by projecting from within, but our better nature, once we accept Atonement, is to “create” our future in the real world, the one that isn’t all illusion. This real world comes into being as we approach Awakening.

Our minds have had disordered thought, in that our thought has really been insane. All of us are afflicted with insanity to one degree or another. The insanity starts leaving as we follow along the pathway to return home to God. But not by death. We return home to God by fulfilling the purposes for which He created us. We fulfill the function of salvation, forgiveness, happiness—for all of these are actually one.

Our minds will work right to create a new future when we have given up our insane desire to control reality (as we perceive it). We do not at first perceive true reality, but illusions. And it is these that we give up as we follow the pathway of Atonement.

The Disjoining of Mind and Heart / The Rejoining into Wholeheartedness

“The separated state was nothing more than the disjoining of heart and mind, a state in which mind attempted to know without the relationship of the heart and so merely perceived its own creations rather than the creations birthed in unity. (The Treatises of A Course of Love: A Treatise on the New, 2.26)”

1 – Wholeheartedness

This passage alludes to the joining of mind and heart into “wholeheartedness” that the first volume of A Course of Love makes so beautifully clear. We are meant to live in wholeheartedness. In fact, we see that A Course of Love is to the heart what A Course in Miracles was to the mind. Now we have both joined–wholeheartedness.

2 – Separation

We are now ready to leave separation behind, separation from God and separation from our brothers and sisters. We are ready to leave a separated self behind also, to have an elevated Self of form that is wholehearted. Mind and heart are once more joined in unity. And in this state we are able to understand, once again, what it means to be in relationship to all that surrounds us, especially our brothers and sisters.

3 – A Fortunate Fall

We have long lamented the separation from God. But ACOL indicates that this separation was part of the plan. In A Course in Miracles, we learn that this separation happened when a tiny, mad idea crept into the mind of God’s Son. There was nothing to do but to find a plan that could not be subverted, and this plan ultimately culminated in the plan of forgiveness for each other and ourselves. Our egos wanted to call our mistakes “sins,” but to call these mistakes by such a term did tend to make them attractive to us on a continual basis (an ACIM tenet). When we have a mistake, we naturally want to correct it. We have changed its status from a sin to a mistake, and we respond accordingly. ACOL makes the same pronouncement, in slightly different words. Elsewhere we learn that we can turn aside from the things in our personalities that we dislike; we are not bound to keep these lamentable traits. But we are ready to accept Christ in Christ-consciousness, despite what we may still view as flaws. ACIM says that Jesus stands at the end of the journey to undo mistakes that we have not been able to undo. These twin ideas in ACIM and ACOL thus meld into one.

4 – Elevated Self of Form

If we come to understand these concepts, we will be well on our way to the elevated Self of form. We must not let theology delay us; if anything in this interpretation does not resonate with you, then just turn aside from it. A universal experience is mandatory, a universal theology impossible. Why? We see things from different perspectives because our personalities differ. What one may need by way of his/her religion is different from another. Many of us need a personal God, and some find this personal God in the Holy Spirit. A Course in Love, though, says that today the era of the Holy Spirit is over, that we are to learn through the Christ inside of us. This Christ is a part of God Himself, as ACOL teaches. We are a part of God, and so we think with His Mind (an ACIM tenet). We may also come to realize that we feel with God’s heart, in the manner of A Course of Love’s “wholeheartedness,” and this will indeed make our pathway much smoother.

5 – Theology

Don’t let theology delay you, especially if differing interpretations of God’s Word are causing you conflict. Conflict is of the ego, not of either the Holy Spirit or the inner Christ, and certainly not of God Himself. If we are experiencing conflict, we have let the ego intrude once again in our lives, and the results of allowing that mistake could be deplorable.

6 – Come Home

Come home to God today. Never let interpretations lead you to cut back on your moments of solitude with God.

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

Be with me today as I try to meld my heart and mind into wholeheartedness. Thank You for being with me in the difficult moments. Life is not always smooth, but You are there for me always.

May I turn aside from my mistakes, and may I let Your grace repair my wrongdoings. It is with joy that I look forward to this day.

I find that reading interpretations of Jesus’s words sometimes confuses me. I would not have it so. I would go to his words directly, and interact with those words in as elemental a fashion as possible. Help me to do so. Help me to listen to what You are saying to me about Jesus’s words. Be with me today as I seek to have a good day in Your grace.

Amen.

Perception Can Make Whatever Picture the Mind Desires to See

1 – Justice

“Neither justice nor injustice exists in Heaven, for error is impossible and correction meaningless. In this world, however, forgiveness depends on justice, since all attack can only be unjust. Justice is the Holy Spirit’s verdict upon the world. (M49)”

2 – Heaven

What a wonderful place that Heaven will be! Error impossible! And, of course, we are told that we can enjoy Heaven on earth. Of course, too, if we get enamored of believing that we can make no mistakes, we will be deluded big time.

3 – Holy Spirit

We don’t render justice at all. We turn over justice to the Holy Spirit, who knows all circumstances. We don’t let judgment of ourselves interfere, either. If we judge, we are sure to judge wrongly, and so we let guidance show us the way.

4 – Attack

Attack is unjust, because our brother is actually innocent, even though he/she does things or says thing that hurt. He/she is doing the best possible, given the world view subscribed to. We are living a dream that we ourselves have devised; the Self has devised it. And nothing happens to us that our Self has not approved.

5 – The Path

“The path become quite different as one goes along. Nor could all the magnificence, the grandeur of the scene and the enormous opening vistas that rise to meet one as the journey continues, be foretold from the outset. (M49)”

6 – Personal Experience

Things normally get better as we go along. My immediate supervisor, years ago, asked me one day, in a fit of pique on her part, “Do you live a charmed life?” I think she had recognized that I had far fewer grievances than she herself did, and she may also have noticed how many blessings I did enjoy. Of course, salvation is not always linear, not always a straight line. Once I got away from A Course in Miracles, and my little world started crashing down around me. At this point I didn’t much believe that I lived a “charmed life.” But when I returned to my lodestone, ACIM, life smoothed out once again. I was projecting a better dream, and so once again I knew the “happy dreams that the Holy Spirit brings (from the ACIM Workbook).”

7 – Grandeur

We cannot know when we first start out on the spiritual pathway all that the future holds of grandeur. This grandeur is different from the grandiose fantasies of the ego, and this grandeur does not hold the pain that the ego always dips into. Things will get better. We just have to surrender to our own egoistic desires, make a pact with the Holy Spirit (Who is always there for us), and follow the guidance that comes. We will not be abandoned; we will know real peace for the first time.

8 – Concepts

“All concepts of your brothers and yourself; all fears of future states and all concerns about the past, stem from injustice. Here is the lens which, held before the body’s eyes, distorts perception and brings witness of the distorted world back to the mind that made the lens and holds it very dear. (M49)”

9 – Persona

When we imagine our brothers, we create a perceived persona for them that is not true; this is the “concept” that this passage explains. Likewise, when we fear for the future, for growing older and sinking into illness, we walk ahead of the Holy Spirit. He tries to meet us in the present, always the present, and when we are projecting ahead, we are endangering our good sense, our good dreams.

10 – Projection Makes Perception

When we project a distorted dream from our minds, we are playing with fire, for the projection may seem very disturbing indeed. Try, just today, to live a few minutes in the present—not worrying about what the future may bring. Of course, we all know that the only moment that we can live in IS the present, but we find it very difficult not to look back and not to look ahead. The past and the future are mirages that are not there. Only live in the present, planning as little as possible. If there are plans to be made, the guidance that we get will prompt us what and when to do. We do not have to fear that our lives will fall apart if we live in the present. It is actually the most powerful point available to us; we will be more available for any future problems because we will be “present” to them.

11 – God’s Justice

“Pray for God’s justice, and do not confuse His mercy with your own insanity. Perception can make whatever picture the mind desires to see. Remember this. In this lies either Heaven or hell, as you elect. (M50)”

12 – Heaven or Hell

It is a tenet of the Course that projection makes perception. This may be difficult to understand, but this passage clarifies the issue: “Perception can make whatever picture the mind desires to see.” Jesus declares that in this lies Heaven or hell, as we elect.

13 – Our Life Situation

This understanding puts our life situation back in our own hands. It is how we see the world, how we interpret it, that determines how we will experience it. Our own insanity has made of this world a hell, and we surely do not wish to stay in this perception.

14 – Judging

We are told elsewhere that it is not up to us to judge our brother or sister. God’s justice is wholly that they are innocent people, as are we, people who are doing the best that they can, given the understanding that they have at any given moment. Our understanding can help them to follow God’s way.

15 – Impartial

“God’s justice points to Heaven just because it is entirely impartial. . .Here all attack and condemnation becomes meaningless and indefensible. Perception rests, the mind is still, and light returns again. Vision is now restored. What had been lost has now been found. The peace of God descends on all the world, and we can see. And we can see! (M50)”

16 – Innocent Children

God’s justice is that we are all innocent children of His. He leaves out nobody, throwing the mantle of His care around us all. We know when we experience His Presence that attack and condemnation are ridiculous choices, and if we are very present, we let those choices fall away. When attack and condemnation fall away, we are happy again. It is just that simple.

17 – Our Vision

Our vision is out there waiting for us. Vision, as described in A Course in Miracles, is not the sight of the physical eyes. It is akin to understanding, to accurate perception, to perception verging into knowledge given us by the Holy Spirit. We can see! Our problems just drop away when seen in this light. We can, if we are lucky, have a moment of enlightenment, a satori, and experience God’s love in a way that is new to us. Our vision, restored, helps us walk along a smoother pathway. If we are grateful sufficiently, we have thanked God all that He wants. He, after all, does not need our gratitude; we do. He needs our communication with Him, though, for He recognizes that we sleep and need to be awakened. He recognizes that His channels of communication are closed. We are told also in ACIM that He is lonely when the minds that He created do not communicate with Him. If this seems like anthropomorphism, then perhaps this is OK. God is a very real Presence, and when we are lucky, when we have fulfilled the requirements, we will feel His Presence in our lives.

18 – God’s Presence

Sometimes we don’t feel His Presence, even when we have been diligent in following His way. At such times, we may be experiencing His withdrawal, allowing us a “dark night of the soul.” The only way out is to go through this bad feeling, and the bad feeling may last a very long time. But we are not left comfortless, as Jesus promised in the New Testament. The Holy Spirit will take us where we are and lead us, ever so gently, to the light again. And we will be stronger for having gone through the dark night of the soul. God has, in that dark night, shut us up to Him alone. And we will be grateful that He did.

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

May my perception be cleansed, so that I elect to see only Heaven. This does not mean that I deny insane things that I see, but it does mean that I choose to see their unreality. This world is illusory, as the Course teaches me.

Help me to see Heaven in my everyday world. Help me not to get lost in dreams that are essentially insane.

Amen.

Jesus’s Difficult Words about Healing

“Healing is the change of mind that the Holy Spirit in the patient’s mind is seeking for him. (M20)”

Affirmation: “Healing is a change of mind.

1 – Of the Mind

Yes! Healing is a change of mind—not necessarily of body! So this is why we have hesitated when we approached Jesus’s words about healing in the Manual of A Course in Miracles. Seeing the body as an illusion, he focuses on the mind.

2 – Healing

And the mind knows healing.

3 – Emotions

This sets the healing in the realm of the emotions, which everyone can recognize is a much easier place to be than the physical. All too often we are “caught” in the physical, seeing effects of illness, and we cannot get beyond this. That is why we doubt healing because of continuing symptoms.

4 – Jesus

But Jesus is talking about a healing of the mind, for the mind, unlike the body, is real. Of course, there may be healing of the body as well, but we do not have to depend upon this to believe Jesus’s encouraging words.

5 – Change of Mind

This passage summarizes the idea that we have been exploring for the last several days. Healing comes about with a change of mind, a change from a desire for illness–external searching–to a desire for health. Nowhere is this concept made clearer in A Course in Miracles than in this one sentence.

6 – Health

It is clear here that the Holy Spirit is for health all the way. Yet He will not stand between cause-and-effect, if our minds desire illness. Even when we don’t recognize that we desire illness, this still is true. It is frequently an unconscious choice.

7 – Death

Death would best come by just laying down the body as finished, its usefulness over (ACIM concept). There is no reason for a prolonged illness to overcome us at any time in our lives, unless we mistakenly think that this external searching will lead us to what we need to know. And often it appears to do so. A Course in Miracles would not choose this for us, though. ACIM would choose health, and by reading such passages as this one, we can see that health is the choice of the Holy Spirit as well.

8 – Holy Spirit

“And it is the Holy Spirit in the mind of the giver Who gives the gift to him. How can it be lost? How can it be ineffectual? How can it be wasted? (M20)”

The Holy Spirit gives healing. This is familiar territory for us, for long have we talked about guidance and the place of the Holy Spirit in our lives.

9 – Giver

The “giver” is the individual seeking to be a conduit to healing for another person. We must not doubt; that is imperative. And we must recognize that the healing will be accepted when it is not a threat.

10 – Sickness as a Way of Life

Elsewhere Jesus talks about healing that must stand aside if an individual has used the sickness as a way of life. He notes that perhaps depression would result from a sudden healing, that the person might even attempt suicide, his loss being so great. So, in such cases, healing must stand aside as too dangerous for the personal self (the “little” self).

11 – Gifts

“What concern, then, can a teacher of God have about what becomes of his gifts? Given by God to God, who in this holy exchange can receive less than everything? (M21)”

12 – God Within

“Given by God to God” is an indication that God is within each of us. God is the All, in the interpretation of A Course in Miracles.

13 – More Certain Healing

This whole exchange about healing in the Manual is an example of the level of the ideal to which ACIM points. Some are ready to meet Jesus at that level, but some are not. And it behooves us to commune with God to reach that level of the ideal. Then healing is far more certain.

14 – Body an Illusion

Certainly healing is of the mind, for the body is only an illusion. So emotional healing will get us home free every time. We won’t worry so much, even about pain, for we know that we are safe.

15 – Home

We have found the medical treatment that works—a healing of the mind. Let the physical symptoms remain, if they seem stubborn. We have found the way home.

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

Help me to realize that true healing is a change of mind, and that if continuing physical symptoms are present, it does not mean a lack of healing.

Thank you for the many healings that I have known in my life. I know that all of them came from You.

Amen.

Jesus: “I Need Devoted Teachers Who Share My Aim of Healing the Mind.”

I want to focus on several passages from A Course in Miracles in which Jesus is speaking directly to us about what he can and will do for us. They are as follows:

“I will substitute for your ego if you wish, but never for your spirit. A father can safely leave a child with an elder brother who has shown himself responsible, but this involved no confusion about the child’s origin. (T56)”

“I can be entrusted with your body and your ego only because this will enable you not to be concerned with them, and lets me teach you their unimportance. (T56)”

“I need devoted teachers who share my aim of healing the mind. (T56)”

1 – Reassuring Passages

These are all reassuring passages that indicate Jesus is aware of us, and he is able to be with any number of people all at once, a cloning, if you will.

2 – Ego

Jesus will “substitute” for our ego, when we still feel the need to have an ego. Psychology often tells us that we need a well-integrated ego, but this definition of ego is different from the definition in ACIM. The definition in psychology is a center around which the personality can well assimilate. The definition in ACIM is a false belief about ourselves, a persona that doesn’t cause our personality to assimilate properly.

3 – Difference

In this sense, the definition in psychology and the definition in A Course in Miracles are at loggerheads with each other.

4 – Ego re ACIM

We need to focus on the second definition, the one from ACIM. We don’t want to enhance a false sense of self, of the personal self. We want this false sense, this persona, to just wither away, and so we seek to turn aside from it to whatever extent we can at any given moment.

5 – Jesus

Let Jesus assume control of the ego that we recognize. Then the ego is in good hands, and we don’t have to worry about reinforcing it, for Jesus will grant us a positive persona that can give us good days.

6 – Ego and Body

We will not be concerned with either the ego or the body when we let Jesus be in charge. This accepts Jesus as a very personal friend, and this is all that he seeks. This acceptance is all, for him.

7 – Healing

When we let Jesus take over the ego, the healing of our minds is underway. This is the bottom line reason that letting go of the ego is so important.

8 – Healed Mind

And all of us want a healed mind.

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

May this day we listen to what Jesus has told us in A Course in Miracles. May we set outside any question that we have about the origin of ACIM. May we be healed by these words. May our day be a harmonious, peaceful way to follow the way of the Holy Spirit.

Be with us as we see an end to this day, a beginning to another one. May our day go well, in harmony and peace.

Amen.

Understanding the Lesson of the Atonement, the Sons and Daughters of God Are without the Wish to Attack

music-in-the-tuileries-gardens-1862 - manet
“Understanding the lesson of the Atonement, they are without the wish to attack, and therefore they see truly. (T39)”

Affirmation: “without the wish to attack”

Reflections:
.

1 – The Innocent

The “they” in this passage are the innocent, the Sons and Daughters of God, those who have experienced the Self as an indwelling spirit. Not all of us are ready for this blessing immediately. It takes great patience, abundant willingness, and study to see the manifold blessings that are held out to us when we experience the truth of Jesus’s words.

2 – Crucifixion

There is a built-in confusion about the word “Atonement,” because traditional Christianity looks to what is viewed as the sacrificial death of Jesus on the cross as our way out. Jesus says in A Course in Miracles that it is wrong to look to the cross, that the resurrection pointed out his part in our Atonement. And what a more joyous interpretation this is! We do not have to see an angry God who demanded sacrifice because of our many “sins,” but a loving Father who gave proof of our place in eternal life.

3 – Personal Experience

I read many years ago that Jesus, as a boy, in all likelihood saw the sacrifice of animals to God as a way of meriting God’s good graces. He may have interpreted the sacrifice of the best which existed as the sole means of finding a way back to God. And, as time proceeded, and he realized his mission, he realized what his end would be. And that end, that time of seeing the crucifixion as the propitiation of our sins, worked for many generations. But we are no longer as open to this interpretation. And ACIM has come along for our generation. The resurrection points out Jesus’s contribution to our salvation, and, ultimately, our Awakening.

4 – Definition of Atonement

In only one place in A Course in Miracles is there a definite definition of the Atonement. It reads as follows: “the restoration of the integrity of the mind. (T74)” There are also broad explanations that encompass a definition that is at odds with traditional Christianity. Jesus asserts that to cling to the crucifixion is a mistake; the crucifixion points out to us that he did not launch a defense under the extreme situation in which he found himself. Not to be defensive is a major Course tenet.

5 – Resurrection

Instead, we are to look to the resurrection, the overcoming of death–the promise of eternal life. This step will bring us peace. Our binding of ourselves to God is a lesson of the Atonement. To do so constantly is a challenge to the neophyte, but not to the advanced teacher of God. We learn more as we progress through the ACIM.

6 – At – One – Ment

Atonement is sometimes viewed as “at-one-ment,” but this is a bit limited in its interpretation. It is this and more. Atonement is the surrender of the little self to the larger Self that is allied with the Holy Spirit. When we make this surrender, we see the futility of attack, and our perceptions are therefore cleansed. Atonement is the correction, the undoing of error (from ACIM). And when our minds are returned to God, that correction has been made for us.

Prayer:

Dear Father,

May I see the futility of attack today, and if and when I am tempted to attack, may I refrain. Often no response is better than a vicious one. But You have taught me that the best response is to run to my brother’s side with love, for he is hurting.

May I look to the resurrection of Jesus as I realize that there is no death. We will all live eternally, because this is Your great promise.

Amen.

Bitterness Is to the Heart What the Ego Is to the Mind

pennsylvania-impressionist-impressionism-painting-by-roy-c-nuse-along-the-river-1930-original-size-20-x-16“You may believe that bitterness is just another word, another label for the evil you have always been convinced existed in the hearts of some, but even being that it is just another word, it is one chosen to introduce an idea of such fallacy that it rivals only the ego in its destructive potential. Bitterness is to your heart what the ego has been to your mind. It is the one false idea that has entered this holiest of places, this abode of Christ, this bridge between the human and the divine. (Treatises of A Course of Love: Treatise on the Personal Self, 6.5)”

Affirmation: “I would drop any bitterness from my heart today.”

Reflections:

1 – Drop Bitterness

Bitterness is not stressed in A Course in Miracles, but it rivals the ego in A Course of Love. Here we learn that bitterness is to the heart what the ego is to the mind. And to learn such a lesson means that we ought to drop bitterness entirely. We ought not to hold anything against anybody. We ought to forgive entirely.

2 – A Raw Deal

Why are we sometimes bitter? I think that it is largely a matter of self-pity. We think that life has given us a raw deal, not a fair shake. We think that we ought to have had it better. But is this reasoning sound?

3 – Hard Knocks

Not at all. We may believe that we planned our lives before we were born (though this is not a concept in ACIM or ACOL). Certainly we know now that we have a loving Father who wishes us only well-being. And so the hard knocks of life are there to teach us something. And certainly the hard knocks would not be so hard if we were less stubborn. Our biggest enemy, as many have said, is our own self. We made our own difficulties, and then we project outward on others who surround us.

4 – Insanity

This is insanity. We would not blame another for our own difficult times. We would recognize perhaps that there is something that we cannot understand on this earth, and we would realize that there is a better way to live. This better way is what ACIM and ACOL are trying to teach us.

5 – Madness of This World

May we adopt a smooth walk through this world today. And may we know that the hard knocks are there for a reason, however obscure we may find the way to be. It may just be the madness of this world, and we ought never to underestimate how far into madness we have gone (from ACIM). We will be happier, and life will smooth out very well, when we have come to understand more. Ask God for the answers, and see if those answers don’t begin to come ever more frequently.

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

I would seek some answers today. Why is life sometimes so tough? Is it all just madness borne of the ego and of bitterness? Is there a larger reason that I sometimes struggle? I choose not to go from one crisis to another. I choose to live, with You, in harmony, peace, serenity, calm, tranquility. Help me to live this better way today and every day.

May I do for others what I would like for them to do for me. May I realize that giving and receiving happen in concert, that one leads inexorably to the other. And may I rejoice, with You, at my happiness over the many blessings that You give to me. You want Your children happy. Being happy is a worthy goal. May I remember this always.

Be with me today as I walk through this sometimes insane world. But I would not have it insane today. I would choose only happy dreams, and I would ask for glimpses of a reality beyond what I normally see.

Thank You.

Amen.

Disengage the Ego-Mind

images -garden visit“The closing pages of A Course of Love instructed you to think no more.  A break in time was needed for you to disengage the ego-mind that produced the type of thinking that needs to come to an end.  This ending is but a beginning in truth and has led you to readiness to learn the art of thought.  (The Treatises of A Course of Love:  Treatise on the Art of Thought, 2.1)”

Affirmation:  “May I remember that thinking is not always required.”  

Reflections:

1 – Eckhart Tolle

Eckhart Tolle (The Power of Now; A New Earth), an enlightened current-day teacher, tells us that his own thinking processes are much reduced in number.  We ourselves usually have such busy minds, busy minds that match our busy bodies.  But we would not have it so.

2 – Break in Reading ACOL

A break is recommended between reading A Course of Love, the original volume, and the remaining two volumes in the trilogy.  The Treatises are the second volume, and to be read next, after the break.  Here we learn the reason for the break.  We needed to teach the ego that it was not in charge any longer.  And the ego has been bent on its kind of learning.  We are now to learn to think a new way, because that is what this treatise is about.

3 – Observation

We are beginning something very new.  The art of thought is basically observation without engaging the thinking mind and its egotistical bent.  We have in truth left the ego behind by now, but we may not fully comprehend what this means.  The Treatise on the Art of Thought will tell us.

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

May I truly leave the ego behind in the days and weeks ahead, as I study the art of thought as described by Jesus.  I would not be buffeted about by fate, succumbing to times of depression brought on by an egoic thrust toward ecstasy.  The ego always knows highs and lows, and I would have my right mind seek drama no more.  Drama is not necessary, and the sooner that all of me recognizes this, the better off I will be.

Be with my brothers and sisters today.  May I respond in a compassionate way to real need, though I would not take on obligations that do not belong to me.  May I love with my whole heart, but in no way seek love from another who is unwilling to offer it.  May the blessings of this earth be bestowed on others whom I know, and may these blessings also come to me. 

Amen.

Seek No More

images - ballet dancer“The first instruction I give to you is to seek no more.  All that you are in need of knowing has been provided within A Course of Love.  That your learning does not feel complete is not a failing of this course or of your self.  That your learning does not feel complete is the result of forgetfulness, which is the opposite of mindfulness.  Your further learning then is learning based on mindfulness or remembering.  (The Treatises of A Course of Love:  Treatise on the Art of Thought, 1.3)”

Affirmation:  “I remind myself that I need seek no more.”

Reflections:

1 – Why ACOL Was Written?

This first passage selected from the Treatise on the Art of Thought encapsulates what may possibly be one of Jesus’s primary reasons for channeling A Course of Love.  We who have studied A Course in Miracles quite a bit do not always feel complete.  For unknown reasons we have sought so long that we want to continue seeking.  But there comes a stopping point, and the only way to stop is to stop.  Jesus would have us stop our hankering for learning by giving us the assurance that we are The Accomplished, that we have learned all that we need to know for salvation,

2 – Seek No More

Our minds have been the troubling part.  Our hearts have always known more than the egoic mind.  And now we are encouraged to join our mind to our heart in wholeheartedness.  But to seek no more.  There is enough in us already.  We must just observe, not “learn.”  And in the observation of daily life we will be fulfilled (an interpretation, not stated in A Course of Love).

3 – Eastern Thought

The Eastern theories about mindfulness are relevant here.  Jesus calls mindfulness “remembering.”  We pay attention to what we do daily, hourly, and even moment-by-moment.  And we are fulfilled thereby.  We rest in the assurance that all is well, that the world is unfolding as it is meant to unfold.  Not that we can’t improve things, because we are not encouraged to forget others.  But we know that when we are peace, the world in which we live seems more at peace also.

4 – Time of Christ

We have forgotten much, and we will call to mind what we need to call to mind when we rest in God.  He will recall those important things to mind for us.  In A Course of Love, the time of Christ, it is no longer the Holy Spirit.  But the Christ/Self within that directs our every thought and mood.

5 – Remembering

We need to ask for remembering today, while we practice the mindfulness that is meant for us.  We think about what we are doing, but we do not analyze it.  Jon Kabot-Zinn has written Coming to Our Senses, a vast compendium of guides to mindfulness in our world.  If additional help in mindfulness is desired, this would be a good place to start.

6 – The Accomplished

But we do not need to “learn” more.  We are The Accomplished.  We do not fully understand this, and to be accomplished, we do not have to be perfect.  This is a major contribution in A Course of Love.  We just turn aside from those thoughts and actions that are less than what we want, and then the thought or action falls away.  That is all, but it is enough.

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

May I take to heart what I wrote in my reflections today.  The basis of those remarks are mostly from Jesus, with some indication that religions other than Christianity have also spoken of mindfulness.  May I live in peace today, not reaching irritably after more and more.  I am enough, if I am living the Self within.  Help me to fully realize this Self within, sooner rather than later.

Be with all of us today as we embark on a new Treatise from A Course of Love.  May our reading inform our lives.  And may Jesus hold our hands as we walk.

Amen.

Time of Christ / Time of Holy Spirit Has Passed

images - impressionism“The way of the heart is the way of the Time of Christ.  The time of the Holy Spirit has passed.  The time of the intermediary is over.  The greatest intermediary of all has been the mind.  It has stood between you and your own inner knowing, caught in a dream of perception.  (Addendum to A Course of Love:  Learning in the Time of Christ)”

Affirmation:  “I would listen to my heart today.”  

Reflections:

1 – Final Passage to Consider Currently from ACOL‘s First Volume

This is the final passage from the first volume of A Course of Love that I will consider presently.  I see this passage as a summary passage, in that the heart is given ascendancy–a major theme of the Course of Love trilogy.  This passage does not link mind and heart together into wholeheartedness, which Jesus does elsewhere in ACOL. Here Jesus emphasizes the limitedness of the mind, which has, as we know, been the home of the ego for eons.  And the ego has not meant us well.

2 – Inner Knowing

We need to include the mind, but because the emphasis has been on the mind for so long, it is welcome now to address the heart.  We know with the heart, not just emotionally, but in practical terms that give us insight into the very nature of reality (i.e., the real world, as described in A Course in Miracles).  This is the inner knowing that the passage for today emphasizes.

3 – Perception of the Mind

The mind, on the other hand, has emphasized perception, which is always erroneous to one degree or another, for when we are perceiving, we are lost in a dream or illusion.  When we know, though, we cease to engage the mind to any great degree.

4 – Intent of ACOL Different from ACIM

The words of A Course of Love are far more abstract than anything in A Course in Miracles, because the intent is different.  The heart knows abstraction, and abstraction is the natural condition of the mind (from ACIM).  It is only when the mind has run amuck that we find that the specificity of detail gets us lost in a dream world.  We would not have it so.  We would awaken sooner rather than later.  And we await God’s timing on this.

5 – Glimpses of Awakening

In the meantime, we are apt to see glimpses of Awakening, from a few moments to a few months.  This is the revelation that is occasionally revealed to us, but for which preparation is needed (a paraphrase from the early pages of ACIM).  The means are explained in A Course in Miracles, which dislodged the ego, and then A Course of Love was channeled to allow us to come farther along the pathway to what our heart (rather than our mind) could show us.  We will not be finished until we give up constant seeking.  Jesus says in A Course of Love that we are the “accomplished.”  And, of course, he does not mean this in an egotistical way.  But the accomplished at stop seeking and rest in knowledge, calm in the certainty of a heartfelt understanding that is more than the mind can ever give.

6 – Stillness and Quiet

Let us rest in stillness and quiet.  Let us turn to Jesus as our companion, our teacher no longer.  He is ready to receive us as equals.  Would we hope for anything less?

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

May I rest for awhile.  The original volume of A Course of Love has been considered, and we need to take a brief break before we move to the first three Treatises.  May I have a calm mind today, supported by the comforting, abstract thinking that ACOL counsels.  May I be at peace, sure of Your love, certain of the truth of the assertions of A Course of Love.  If we are in the time of Christ, may I know what to do that is different from the time of the Holy Spirit.  Already words comes into my mind from the subconscious that seem to me to be a bit beyond me, but different from the counsel of the Holy Spirit.  Am I learning in the time of Christ?  Is this the way that it is?

We do not have firm guidance in other works for what the time of Christ really means.  ACOL counsels us, and I would do well to listen.  Help me to be relaxed and easy, to take each moment as it comes, to live in the Now.  And may I drop from thought any worry that threatens my peace.

Thank You.

Amen.

Give Up Difficulty for Ease

P1050504 - impressionism

“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.  (Addendum to A Course of Love:  Learning in the Time of Christ)”

Affirmation:  “May I know ease today.”

Reflections:

1 – Ease

Reading A Course of Love should be a task full of ease.  The difficulty arises when we try to study it as we study other courses of study, including A Course in MiraclesA Course of Love is more abstract, which is the means by which our hearts are engaged.  We do not have to study, and, if we try, we will go astray.  We will also be greatly frustrated if we try to study it as a textbook.  This is not the right approach at all.  Just let the words drift into your mind, stopping for nothing, taking deep thought for nothing.  Repeated readings will get the gist of it into your heart, actually by bypassing the mind (which wants to analyze).

2 – Beauty of the Language

The beauty of the language is enthralling.  When we let the words flow over us, we are captivated by the content as well, though we may not recognize this at first.  We may think, and rightly so, that we are missing a lot, or that we are reading things that we do not fully understand.  As we move closer to Awakening, the words will begin to make more sense to us, and without any strain at all.

3 – The Ego

Our egos continue to get us into trouble.  The ego wants to make everything hard that is actually meant to be easy, because its rule is to seek but not to find (an ACIM tenet).  Try to loosen the ego’s hold on our minds, but not by overtly resisting it, for resistance makes the ego strong.  The ego is strong in strife (another ACIM tenet).

4 – Easy Reading

A Course of Love is actually easy reading, much easier than A Course in Miracles.  Mari, the scribe, listens with her heart perhaps more than her mind, and Helen (ACIM scribe) listened to her mind.  This approach is exactly what Jesus needed in channeling to the two individuals, for ACOL is to the heart what ACIM was to the mind.

5 – ACIM and ACOL

We will do well when we realize that, after ACIM and now as we consider A Course of Love, we are ready to listen to our hearts.  They know without demanding proof of everything.  They lead us aright.

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

I would choose ease today, especially in reading A Course of Love.  I wish no more to be frustrated by the fact that my mind cannot study ACOL as it did A Course in Miracles.  

May this day morph into one of ease.  May my heart inform my mind that egoic influences are dead in me.  And may that deadness be true.

Amen.

Be True to Love

monet-soleil“This Course has succeeded in ways you do not yet understand and have no need to understand.  These words have entered your heart and sealed the rift between your mind and heart.  Be true to love and you cannot fail to be true to yourself.  (A Course of Love, 32.4)”

Affirmation:  “Be true to love today.”

Reflections:

1 – ACOL Has Succeeded

It is very reassuring to read that A Course of Love has succeeded in ways that I don’t understand.  And that I have no need to understand.  Certainly I do not recall the whole volume, but perhaps it has found a place in my heart.  And the heart does not think intellectually.

2 – How to Practice Love when It Is Hard

How are we to be true to love?  We are to practice love even when it seems hard, even when others attack us and we feel like retaliating.  Retaliating is not the way, for we will only feel worse later on.  Do what we have learned to do in the face of seeing a lack of love.  Perhaps taking a timeout is best.  Or praying in another room.  The temper can get the best of us frequently, especially when we are unwell.  Let us not succumb to crankiness today.  Remain loving, quietly, if in no other way.

3 – Wholeheartedness

In this part of the conclusion of A Course of Love, Jesus reminds us that he has led us from mind and heart being separate, to the wholeheartedness that combines the two.  This is a central theme of ACOL.  When we are true to love, we are true to ourselves.  There is no other way to be true to ourselves.

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

Help me to practice love today, even when circumstances seem to make practicing love hard.  Our significant others are not always in good moods; they may be doing something that they really don’t want to do; they may be worried about their health.  The problem can be any number of things, but I ask today to have the patience to stay sweet and to wait out the bad mood.

Be with us as we seek You in wholeheartedness, mind and heart combined.  This is the way that is being shown to us, and it is a wholly good way.  May we seek and find You today.

Amen.

Eliminating Perplexities

“While you will at times doubt that you have received an answer or that the answer you have received paintings-by-camille-pissarro-6is correct, you will soon learn to trust this quiet process of discernment.  You will know you have succeeded when you truly feel as if you have ‘turned the question or concern over’ and allowed it to be responded to in a new way.  (A Course of Love, 25.23)”

Affirmation:  “When I have a perplexity, I turn it over to God.”

Reflections:

1 – Perplexities

Perplexities do not have to remain perplexities.  There is a quick solution, as I said yesterday in this blog:  The solution is with the problem (an ACIM tenet).  We are learning better what that means as we read A Course of Love.  We are learning to turn inward, where all is quiet, to our heart, and thereby to receive an answer.  This is an elaboration of what A Course in Miracles teaches, which seems to be another indication that what we have here in ACOL is actually a sequel from Jesus.

2 – “Basket Case”

I read recently from an inspirational writer of one of his family members who came up against severe problems at various junctures in her life.  She would, in his words, be a “basket case.”  But this did not last long.  When he would visit shortly thereafter, she would be calm, though the difficulty was still there.  She would reply, in response to his comment that all seemed well, that she had “turned that over to God.”  The emotional reaction was much more muted.

3 – Turn It Over to God

If we can learn to do this on a constant basis, we will live a much calmer and saner life.  We will not be lost in insanity, the state that all of us exist in until we come to know better.  We leave behind anger and attack, we turn our lives over to God, and we are rewarded by a peaceful life, with the “peace that passeth understanding” (from the Bible).

4 – Heart and Mind = Wholeheartedness

A Course of Love constantly appeals to the heart, and only toward the end do we see that a blend of mind and heart is actually the way for us.  We have to let go of egoic notions of the mind, though.  And the emphasis upon the heart, in the opening pages of ACOL, is exactly what we need to hear in the beginning.  We will come to know better when we give up asking for tangible proof.  The heart already knows.

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

May I quickly turn any perplexity over to You.  You want to help me.  It is a free offer.  Surrender works.  Thank You.

May I be good company today with my brothers and sisters, and especially with those who are my significant others.  May this be a good day.  Help us to know how to turn perplexities into solutions.  This is something that we all need frequently.

Be with us today and always.

Amen.

How to Live in Love

“All Selves are joined in wholeheartedness.  The one Self is solely involved in living love.  (A Course of Love, 25.17)”

Affirmation:  “I am One with all.”monet - bridge and bush

Reflections:

1 – All of Us Are One

We are one, all of us, and often I have made this point in this blog.  But we don’t often believe this.  I must remind myself of the truth of it constantly.  Knowing that we are one with each other, and with God, is a freeing mechanism of the highest order.  We don’t fret any longer.  We know that we are safe.

2 – Living in Wholeheartedness

Living in wholeheartedness is, according to A Course of Love, the union of mind and heart toward which we are headed, as we know all that salvation holds out to us.  We no longer look for “proofs” of the mind that are largely ego-inspired; we listen to our hearts, who know that proofs are not needed.  But we don’t just have blind faith.  We do have understanding that is not perceptive, but understanding that is knowledge from God Himself.  We are led, step-by-step, into the larger world where we can live freely and peacefully with each other.  These are the Selves of which we are one.

3 – The Selves = One

The Selves, then, are actually One, one with everything and everyone.  Let us meditate upon this truth today, and let words fall by the wayside.

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

I would make the decision again today to turn to love rather than fear.  I ask that You accept this determination and shape my desires so that I do not have to repeat myself and pick myself off the floor because I have failed once again.  Help all of us to reach toward You with a certainty and a determination that will brook no failure.  I know that You want us to commune with You in prayer, and that it is through prayer, with the silences of listening, that we will come to know Your greatest joys for us.  Be with us today as we seek to treat all whom we meet with the love that they so richly deserve.

If I fail today, may I recognize that You will rectify all mistakes.  I need not fret that I am not perfect.  Indeed, Jesus tells us in A Course of Love that perfection is not required.  He tells us in A Course in Miracles that he stands at the end to correct any mistakes that we could not..  So thank You that we are in good hands.

May we seek to grow today in lightness, even as we grow in love.  You would not have us approach life with a seriousness that eludes peaceful and easy living.  The light touch, the light burden, all hallmarks of Jesus.  May we incorporate these traits into our own Selves.

Amen.

Wholeheartedness

China_Edouard_Manet_oil_paintings_world_famous_oil_paintings2011151746002“No matter which path you follow, the path of the mind or the path of the heart, you will not get where you are wanting to go until they are joined.  You might imagine three paths–one path representing mind, one path representing heart, and one path representing wholeheartedness.  The path of neither mind nor heart alone will take you where the path of unity will take you, and the journey will not be the same.  (A Course of Love, 21.7)”

Affirmation:  “I choose the path of wholeheartedness today.”

Reflections:

1 – Combining Mind and Heart

We have previously been emphasized following the heart, which was necessary as a contrast to following the mind.  But now Jesus is ready to guide us to combine the two, mind and heart.  And this combination results in what he terms “wholeheartedness.”  Our mind is no longer ruled by the ego, and so this is a safe combination.  We need the mind while living in this world.  We also need the heart.  And the two combined give us true direction in this sometimes difficult world.

2 – A Path of Unity

We must join the two–mind and heart.  The passage for today makes this necessity absolutely clear.  We do want to know where we are going.  And it is a path of unity.

3 – Unity as Defined Here

Unity is here used in a different sense than the “unity and relationship” that defines our connection of others in our world.  Unity here is strictly of the mind and heart, within ourselves.  But when we combine the two within ourselves, we are ready to reach out to others.  We are ready for the unity and relationship with our brothers and sisters, with Jesus, and with God.  We can follow the correct path no other way.

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

I am ready to join mind and heart into wholeheartedness.  You have prepared the way for me, and I know that when I ask Your help in coming mind and heart, I am asking in our joint will.  Help me not to inaccurately think that my heart can do better without my mind.  My heart, being the seat of emotions, can, without the rational, sane mind, lead astray.  I would not be led astray today.  Help me to stay on Your pathway.

Thank You for the emphasis on wholeheartedness that comes near the conclusion of A Course of Love.  There is a reason for this, and I suspect that it is because we have heretofore been far too dependent on the mind.  So You brought us to a dependence upon the heart, which knows without laborious and insane thinking.  Now You would combine easy and sane thinking with the emotions of the heart to form a unity.  What a glorious plan this is!  We are indebted to Jesus for bringing us this truth in a form which is easily accessible and easily accepted.

Amen.

Begin Your Transformation

“A wholehearted choice to abandon all ideas of glorifying the separated self and to let the world be what it is will begin the transformation.  This requires the first unification, the unification of mind and heart, after which unification with God is naturally returned to your awareness, for this unification returns you to the Christ in you and the one mind united with God which you have never left.  (A Course of Love, 19.4)”

van gogh - field6Affirmation:  “May I be united with the Christ in me today.”

Reflections:

1 – A Sequence

There is a sequence of occurrences in this passage that is worth noting.

2 – Do Not Glorify the Separate Self

First, we must abandon thoughts of glorifying our separated self (or the self that we think, in illusion, is separated).  So often we seek to glorify the physical, with material objects and the trappings of “success.”  But we are digging our own grave when we do so.  So let us ask today how to avoid glorifying the self.  We will be told, and then when we act on this knowledge (for it is knowledge, not perception), then we will be set on the right path.

3 – Mind and Heart = One

Second, we need to ask that our mind and heart be made one.  We know many things intellectually, for many of us have studied diligently.  But intellectual understanding is often not comforting in the middle of the night, when fears try to overwhelm one.  So we need to invite our heart to join.  This is our emotional aspect, and we do not need intellectual proof when our emotions are involved.   We simply feel the good feeling (or the bad), and we live sanely.  The lack of intellectual “proof” does not disturb the heart, for the heart knows things that cannot be proved.  And the heart does not ask for proof.

4 – Christ/Self

Finally, we seek to unite with the Christ/Self in us.  This is the Self of whom Christ-consciousness is concerned.  We have never actually left this Self, and this point (made repeatedly) is pivotal.  We can clain Christ-consciousness as our birthright, but it is God Himself who makes the decision about when we are ready to receive this blessing..

5 – The Base of ACOL

This sequence is at the base of A Course of Love.  If we can ask for and receive (for receiving is, of course, necessary), then we will have walked the whole pathway.  And all of us wish for this.  We pray for this.  And one day this blessing of Christ-consciousness will belong to us all.

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

I would ask for a transformation to begin today.  I know that I need to turn myself over to You in mind and heart for thsi transformation to happen.  Be with me as I make every effort to turn myself over to You today.

The Christ/Self who is within is my lodestone.  It is my way home to You.  Help me to sense today, if only for a moment, what this Self can do for me.  And may I reach out to others, for it is only in connectedness that we see the light.

Amen.

What Makes This Existence So Chaotic and Erratic

Starry Night over the Rhone - van gogh

“That you keep yourself from desiring anything fully here is what makes this existence so chaotic and erratic.  A mind and heart in conflict is what keeps you from desiring anything fully and thus from creating.  (A Course of Love, 18.14)”

Affirmation:  “Desire fully or not at all.”

Reflections:

1 – Comparison of ACIM and ACOL

This idea is new, not found in any form in A Course in Miracles.  Perhaps this is because the delineation is made in A  Course of Love between the mind and the heart.  We did not hear much about the heart in ACIM, but the mind’s need to dislodge the ego was paramount.

2 – Desire Fully

When we desire fully, we are not in chaos, doing erratic things.  Of course, we need to be certain that we are desiring rightly.  And this  can come only when  glimpses of the Christ/Self within are guiding us.  We must desire because we know that we are after something worthwhile.  Nothing else will do.

3 – Uncertainty

When we are unsure of ourselves, we act in erratic fashion, and we create chaos and drama because we don’t seem to know any better.  God can take away that lack of certainty.  We have all too often been afraid to desire fully, because we thought we might desire amiss.  Ask, and then we can be sure.

4 – Living Harmoniously

When the mind and heart are one in purpose. we live harmoniously, even in this world.  This world does not seem so difficult as before we made this fusion of mind and heart.  When in conflict, stop and think about why:  Is the mind out of sync with the heart?  Do you want something intellectually but not emotionally?  Here we will find the answer to our dilemma, the answer to the end of chaos.

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

May I move beyond just following my heart, into following both my heart and mind in wholeheartedness.  I would desire fully that which You wish for me, and that is salvation.  I know it, but sometimes I don’t realize it fully.  Help me to realize myself fully today.

I would desire fully those things in this world that are good and true.  I would turn aside, without emotion, those things that are bad for me.  May I encourage my brothers and sisters to follow Your way in everything.  The pathway that You point out is so joyous, and following Your guidance, moment-by-moment, is undoubtedly the more joyous of all.

Amen.

Letting Go of Mind in Favor of Heart

“Letting go of what your mind would tell you in favor of what your heart already knows is but the purpose of this Course.  (A Course of Love, 16.11)”

Affirmation:  “Let go of the mind and welcome the heart’s knowledge.”

Reflections:van gogh - field5

1 – Proof

Why do we need to turn to our hearts, increasingly?  Our minds, informed by weakened (but not absent) egos, demand proof for God that no mind can ever have.  Even those of us who think that we have an “intellectual” faith are misguided.  No mind can understand God.  But our hearts can, for our hearts know in a sense that defies explanation, while the mind craves for explanation.

2 – Purpose of ACOL

Herein, in this passage, Jesus defines the purpose of A Course of Love.  He knows that we have dislodged the ego by studying, first, A Course in Miracles, but we may not yet have understood what is to replace the ego.  It is the Self, the Christ, in all of us, and we do know enough, through our hearts, to let this miracle take place.  We do not, though, know the hour nor the day, and that is as it should be.  God Himself makes the determination for our Awakening, our Christ-consciousness, when we are ready, and He alone can tell when we are ready.

3 – Dreams

A Course in Miracles say that we will not be terrified by the light coming on, for we will have been prepared by happy dreams that the Holy Spirit brings (from the ACIM Workbook).  Jesus says that otherwise we would awake with a scream of mortal terror, so accustomed we are to our dreams in this world.  But we do not have to fear.  God will find a way to awaken us gently, and to replace all of our dreams of terror with happy dreams, and then with Awakening.

4 – Awakening and Christ-Consciousness

Awakening and Christ-consciousness seem to be equated (the former from ACIM, the latter from ACOL).  In the meantime, for those of us who await, we can reach out to our brothers and sisters, and we can, under the guidance of Jesus and his helpers, reach a better state of mind and heart, one that will welcome a new day.  When we have been healed, we will be in a position to heal others.  An unhealed healer cannot heal (from ACIM); it is an oxymoron.

5 – Wait Patiently

Be with us today as we wait patiently in this imperfect world.  We made this world, and it is one of seeming separation.  We would not live this way.  We would join with others in unity as One, and in relationship to the many, and we will know the better way that Jesus seeks to point out to us in ACIM and ACOL.  May we study well, and reach our Awakening/Christ-consciousness sooner rather than later.

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

Help me to listen to my heart today.  When disappointments come, help me to take them in stride.  When difficulties arise, help me to resolve them.  When all seems lost, help me to realize that You are always there, showing me the way.

Be with me as I listen to my heart today.  I am weary of ego-inspired goals, and I would be done with all such foolishness.  Let my heart guide me today, with Your help.

Thank You.

Amen.

Memories

“While you will not realize it at first, because you have no experience but only memory of feeling yourself in such a way, you will eventually realize that the memories you recall of the spirit of others include memories that are your own, memories that are of your own Self.  For no spirit exists that is not part of you, or you of it.  (A Course of Love, 13.8)”

Affirmation:  “My brothers and sisters are one with me.”

Amazing-Van-Gogh-Paintings-dining roomReflections:

1 – Our Spirits Are One

We, our Selves, have no experience, at least now, of the fact that our spirits are one with others.  We do have memories of a time when we knew this.  And this time reaches backwards to a time beyond time, beyond hope of remembrance, except that God intervene.  This idea is alluded to also in A Course in Miracles.  But there it says that the time is past all hope of remembrance, and here we are told that the memory can return.  So there is some conflict between the two ideas.

2 -Unite with Our Spirit

How might we understand this conflict?  Our remembrance, as described in ACIM, is part of our experience, and ACOL clearly says that we can remember the experience of oneness with others.  But there is a part of us, in our spirit, that does lock away the memory.  And  when we come closer to a union with our spirit in everyday life, we will have memories that have heretofore been excluded from us.

3 – Self/Christ

Our Self is the Christ that we all share, and when God has reached down and lifted us up (a metaphor), we will know Awakening (as called in A Course in Miracles) or Christ-consciousness (as called in A Course of Love).  No spirit is alone.  All are part of the one Christ spirit, and that is how we can understand our kinship with Jesus.

4 – Jesus

Traditional Christianity avoids the issue of whether we can have what Jesus had–the Christ embodied, although the New Testament clearly points to the fact that he indicates that there is nothing that he has that we will not one day have as well.  ACIM and ACOL make this similarity conclusive; we are one with Jesus, once we, like him, have walked the whole pathway back to God.  And, because he walked it first, he will help us, and he will clear our imperfections that otherwise we would not be able to alter (an ACIM tenet).

5 – A Great Promise

What a great promise today’s passage offers to us!  May we not forget to offer our gratitude to God for such a glorious plan of salvation.

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

I would welcome memories to my mind today.  I know that it is possible to recall that which has been hidden to me until today, because Jesus says so in this passage, and I trust him.  May I put aside all temperamental thoughts and actions that would negate this great promise, this great blessing.  Be with me as I seek to walk Your way today.

Help us to recognize that the memories that we hold of others include ourselves.  We are not alone in this.  There is a definite joining of minds, and therefore spirits, one with another.  May I sense this today.  And may I give up all attack thoughts, for these are separating, and they, as well, will be felt by the people whom I encounter.

Be with our walk today, as always.  And thank You.

Amen.

Trust

“All that is required to gather this new evidence is to trust in your own heart.  Are you willing to believe what your heart would tell you?

“This exercise should take no time nor break your stride or the flow of your conversation.  All it asks you to do is to become aware of spirit and to allow this awareness to abide within you.  (A Course of Love, 13.6 – 13.7)”

Affirmation:  “May I trust in my own heart today.”

Reflections:Van-Gogh_Bedroom_Arles

1 – The Mind

If we stop giving our mind so much attention, if we put our mind into neutral, we are then more likely to listen to the spirit within.  We are also more likely to pay attention to the spirits of others, rather than the personality that is so dominated by the mind when it is in egoic mode.  When we pay attention to the spirit in ourselves and in others, we are attuned to our hearts.  And that is a very good place to be.

2 – Turn to the Heart

Jesus would have us turn to the heart increasingly.  That is the primary theme of these first pages of the original volume of A Course of Love.  (Later, he will emphasize the union of mind and heart, into “wholeheartedness.”)

3 – Intellectual Truths?

The heart does not demand intellectual truths.  The mind, when it is dominated by the ego, does so often want intellectual truths.  But the ego is never satisfied; no proof is ever sufficient.  And so we bring our intellectual doubts to the table of God, and we doubt Him.

4 – Heed the Heart

This is no way to live.  If the heart seems to be telling us something, we would do well to heed what it is saying.  We intuitively know that God exists, and that He loves us, and when we live this faith, we live truly–we don’t simply walk through our days like automatons.

5 – Use the Day Wisely

May we spend today looking for the spirit in ourselves and others, and may we pay attention to what our heart is trying to say to us.  If we can sustain this endeavor, we will indeed have used the day wisely.

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

Help me to trust my heart today.  It will soon be time to meld the mind and the heart into wholeheartedness, but for today I will listen to my heart.  I will see what it has to tell me, and I will heed.

This does not mean that I will do foolish things.  We do not need to let emotions run amuck.  That would not be worthy of ourselves or our concept of God.

Be with me today as I seek to be ever mindful of Your blessings.  You have given me much.  Help me to give back.

Amen.

Love Cannot Be Taught

“What love is cannot be taught.  Remember that your task here is to remove the barriers that keep you from realizing what love is.  That is the learning goal of this course–your awareness of what love is–and no earthy course can take you beyond this goal.  It is only your willingness that is required.  (A Course of Love, 11.5)”

renoir - womanAffirmation:  “May I love today.”

Reflections:

1 – From ACIM to ACOL

There is a movement in these words of A Course of Love that goes beyond A Course in Miracles, which had as its goal the bestowing of forgiveness of ourselves and others.  While love was certainly not absent from ACIM, the focus was on the mind and the ego, while A Course of Love looks to the heart, and, ultimately, the mind and heart in conjunction with each other.

2 – Intuitive Knowledge

We know intuitively that love cannot be taught.  We experience love, and we experience love most often as a function of the heart, without the involvement of the mind and the intellect.  We love someone, and we don’t know why–we just do.  Our emotions are involved, and the emotions, in our understanding, are heart-sent into our lives.

3 – Heart Is Central

This is why we cannot be taught love, because if we could, the mind would be the central player (an interpretation, not stated in ACOL).  And the mind is not.  We sometimes love in spite of ourselves, though often this is in special relationships.  After they turn, with our help and God’s, into holy relationships, then we come closer to the wholeheartedness that Jesus extols in A Course of Love.

4 – Love at the Center

Do not despair that love cannot be taught, because it can be learned, though perhaps not of the mind.  When we ease up, we are in a better position to allow love to overcome us, to grab us.  And then we have placed love at the center of our being, where love belongs.

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

May I offer love its central place today, in my heart, where love belongs.  I can intellectually choose to love somebody; it doesn’t work that way.  We cannot will love into being, and sometimes we love almost against our will.  

But love we will, for it is crucial to our being, the center of our being.  We may not express that love well, but even the most despised of human beings on our earth have loved, in the limited way that they knew.  Love is like a light that will not be extinguished.  And it is the way that joy comes into our lives.

May we all express love today to those closest to us.  May we receive the love that is offered to us.  And may we express and receive in totality.  You are with us always, and, today, when we need You most, You will be there for us, in love.

Amen.

The Body Is a Tool

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

Affirmation:  “Let me deemphasize the body today.”

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

1 – Joining?

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

2 – Joining = of the Spirit

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

3 – Join in Holiness

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

4 – Join in Minds

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

4 – Power of the Body

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

5 – Perishable

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

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

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

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

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

Amen.

A Full Heart

“Your heart becomes full only through relationship or union.  A full heart can overshadow a full mind, leaving no room for senseless thoughts but only for what is truly real.  (A Course of Love, 5.19)”

Affirmation:  “May my full heart overshadow my mind today.”

Reflections:

1 – No Senseless Thoughts

Jesus lets us know, right in the beginning of A Course of Love, that we have let the mind run rampant.  We are overshadowed by the mind’s activities in many cases.  This needs to end.  The heart does not need the same “proof” as the mind, in concert with the ego, often seems to require.  The heart and the ego are antithetical to each other.  And so we can safely leave the ego aside, not in a rigid rejection (which would only make things worse, for the ego is strong in strife when resisted).

2 – Wholeheartedness

The heart, according to Jesus in ACOL, is where we come close to the fullness that we need, without interference from the mind.  Later on, we will see that Jesus is not denigrating the mind, because what he really wants is for us to join the mind and heart in “wholeheartedness,” a state of wholeness from which we are to live out our lives.

3 – The Mind Leads Astray

All to often we struggle, when the mind is in ascendancy.  The ego just does not wish us well, and the mind is its home.  When we come from the heart, we are better able to function well.  We don’t get so tangled up.

4 – Mixed-Up Thinking

So often we get lost in the senseless thoughts that this passage indicates.  We worry; we fret; we imagine “what it”–and all for naught.  For what purpose do we get ourselves all mixed up?  It is a waste of our talents, a waste of our lives.

5 – Pray

But we don’t have to remain “stuck” in this mire.  We can find a way out.  Pray from the depths of hearts, and we will know comfort.  We will know joy.  And peace will find a home in our lives once again.

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

May I spend another good day with You.  There is so much to be thankful for in this marvelous world, when we don’t let the ego rule, and we don’t dip into depression because the ego has, once again, misled us.

Be with my significant others today.  May I have the energy and wisdom to do for them what they need to have me do,

Amen.

When All Fear Ends. . .

“All fear ends when proof of your existence is established.  All fear is based on your inability to recognize love and thus who you are and who God is.  How could you not have been fearful with doubt as powerful as this?  (A Course of Love, 4.5)”

Affirmation:  “I relinquish doubt today.”

Reflections:

1 – Doubt

We have not even believed in our own true existence.  We have so doubted ourselves, and love, and God, that we scarcely knew where to turn–ever.

2 – Feel Love and Fear Is Gone

We need to take to heart this message, as it is the key to leaving fear behind.  When we recognize that we are love, and that we are surrounded by love, and we really, really feel this, then we will not fear anymore.  There will be no reason for fear.  Our safety is assured.  Regardless of what we attract in this world by our wayward thoughts, we will know internally, in our better moments, that God loves us and that we are not alone.  We will find surety in this thought, when this thought has taken hold in our hearts–and our minds.

3 – Wholeheartedness

The combination of mind and heart is called in A Course of Love “wholeheartedness.”  Jesus is getting ready to introduce this idea.  But first we need to just step aside from the mind, and listen to our hearts.  Our hearts will offer the solace that we often do not find in this world.  We will, with God’s help, be healed.  We will know real love for the first time.  We will no longer be lonely, for God will provide those things that we really need.  Our needs are always met; this is a certainty.  And if we need friends and family as support, these too will be provided.  We need only ask in certainty, and our pleas will be heard.  Our needs will no longer overcome us, and we will be free to live the better life that we are meant to find in this world.  Yes, even in this world.

4 – Fears Are Made by Us

Let us step aside from fear today.  Let us know that fears are made by us and our mistaken belief about what we are.  Fears are not of God.  Let us ask today for only the things which are of God.  And because this is a prayer in His Will, we will be answered in abundance and in assurance.

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

Thank You for setting aside my fears this morning.  My routine for the morning was broken, and, as a result, my fear intruded.  This is a prime example of the danger of too much routine, too many predictable rituals.  Help me to leave these undesirables alone.

Be with me as I seek to recognize that You are with me always, that feelings of love will negate fearful thoughts.  This recognition has always been a part of ACIM and ACOL, but until recently somehow its import was lost on me.  I would lose this recognition no longer.  I would know that Your felt Presence assures me that I am with You, that You are with me, and that we are One.  

In this is my loss of fear and anxious thoughts assured.

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.

Choose the Heart and Bypass the Mind

“As you read, be aware of your heart, for this is where this learning enters and will stay.  Your heart is now your eyes and ears.  Your mind can remain within your concept of the brain, for we bypass it now and send it no information for it to process, no data for it to compute. (A Course of Love, 3.14)”

Affirmation:  “May I be aware of my heart today.”

Reflections:

1 – An Appeal to the Heart

A Course of Love appeals, in this early section of the first volume, to the heart.  (Later on, Jesus will appeal to both the heart and mind, and call this “wholeheartedness.”)  The heart does not demand proof in the same way that the mind, so recently bereft of the ego, does.  We risk falling back in to the ego whenever we rely too heavily upon the mind (an interpretation, not stated in either ACIM nor ACOL).

2 – Heart Knows Love

The heart knows love.  And therefore does not demand the intellectual gyrations that all too often the mind tries to engage in.  The heart “listens” with an inner ear to Jesus, and therein knows the truth of what he speaks.  The heart is our next step to Christ-consciousness.

3 – Bypass the Mind

Note that Jesus here says that he will give no more words to the mind to comprehend.  He will bypass the mind.  And this is good.  For too many of us have sought and sought, gone from one system of thought, especially religious thought, to another.  And we have never gotten the green light to just stop and be satisfied.  Until now.  In A Course of Love, Jesus says that the seeking is over.  We are accomplished.  We have reached the conclusion of the pathway.  And we are safe in Jesus’s arms in an embrace (to be considered later in this blog).

4 – All Is Well

Be grateful to the one who walked before us on this pathway.  We do not have to feel alone ever again.  Of course, most of us know intellectually that we are not alone, but here we feel the solace in our hearts.  And all is well.

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

I would “listen” with my heart today.  I would not try to understand through the limited ways of the mind, the learning that we are leaving behind in A Course of Love.  May I entertain some of those “thoughts that I do not think,” just as Mari scribed ACOL.  May this new way of discovery be the way that I walk, beginning today.

Amen.

Living with Happiness and Love and Miracles

“Without your vigilance it [the ego] may even seem to have become stronger than before and fiercer in its criticism.  It pretends to hold you to new standards, only to use what you have learned to increase your guilt.  Thus it wins in daily battles and works for your final abdication, the day that you give up and admit defeat.  It challenges your right to happiness and love and miracles, and seeks only to have you claim that living with such fantasies does not work and will not ever be possible here.  (A Course of Love, 2.19)”

Affirmation:  “happiness and love and miracles”

Reflections:

1 – Reminiscent of ACIM

This passage reflects the attitude of A Course of Love in regard to the ego, an attitude that is in agreement with A Course in Miracles.  The ego was dislodged by our study of ACIM, and this previous reading was necessary as a precursor to A Course of Love.  (Mari Perron herself, the scribe, read A Course in Miracles seven times prior to channeling ACOL.)  But we need to go beyond just dislodging the ego, and that is, I believe, why Jesus channeled the later work, A Course of Love.  We need his definition fo “wholeheartedness” to replace the void that perhaps we have felt with no dependence on the ego.  We have to step forward and let the heart take over a bit from the mind.  We do not ignore the mind, but we combine the heart and the mind into what Jesus calls “wholeheartedness.”  So mind and heart work in conjunction with each other.

2 – Mind & Heart = Wholeheartedness

The paragraph above is a paraphrase of a good bit of what is told us in the opening pages of ACOL.  If we can keep these distinctions between mind and heart and wholeheartedness close to ourselves, we will come a long way toward understanding the new way of learning, dubbed “observation.”  But in this first volume of ACOL we are still learning in a somewhat anomalous way.

3 – The Ego = the Nemesis

As Jesus describes the ego, a part of our belief about ourselves, the ego sounds a lot like previous conceptions of the “devil.”  Yet all of this idea is internal.  There is not outer devil, in the understanding of A Course in Miracles and A Course of Love.  We do it all to ourselves (though we do not blame the victim, as the Self makes decisions that the personal self knows not of).  We would recognize that in an egoic world, we cannot conceive of the good without the bad, God without the devil.  And this is also madness.  But it is the way that our minds work.  We need to better than this, and we can when we study ACIM and ACOL.

4 – Into the Time of Christ

We do have a right to happiness, love, and miracles.  And we would do well to step forward to claim that right.  The Christ within us, the Self, will guide us as we move beyond the time of the Holy Spirit, into the time of Christ.

5 – Move Forward

And may we move willingly, not clinging to the past because it is all that we have known.

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

I would spend today being sweeter, and this means that I look aside from the ego.  I don’t resist the ego, for that would increase its power in my life–but I just turn away, focusing on the love that is at the center of my being.  I focus on the Self/Christ that is internal to me.  I focus on the happiness and love and miracles that are mine to choose.  And they are mine to choose.  We do not have to live a paltry life.  Glorious blessings are our birthright.

Be with me today as I seek to be a sweeter person.  That is all that one member of my family ever asked of me, and I have remembered his blessing fondly.  His desire was in stark contrast to the push to “succeed” and to “achieve” that everyone else in my family wanted.

But You want us only to follow Your pathway, and Your pathway is a way of ease and the cessation of difficulty.  You will lead us to every miracle that You have saved for us.  Our health can improve daily, our dispositions as well.  And we can be the sweet creatures that You, too, want us to be.

Amen.

The Distinction between A Course in Miracles & A Course of Love

“Where the original Course in Miracles was a course in thought reversal and mind training, a course to point out the insanity of the identity crisis and dislodge the ego’s hold, this is a course to establish your identity and to end the reign of the ego.  (A Course of Love, P.8)”

Affirmation:  “Let us end the reign of the ego.”

Reflections:

1 – An Overview

This is a concise statement that will be amplified later on in A Course of Love.  It makes a clear delineation between A Course in Miracles and A Course of Love.  We are led, farther on, to the understanding that we need further instruction, because with what do we replace the reign of the ego?  A Course of Love is Jesus’s next step in clarification for us.  To end the reign of the ego is a negative, but to live “establish your identity” is a positive.  Let us add our thought to his, the thought of our heart, to try to understand and to ask for a heartfelt key to our real identity.

2 – Jesus

We are children of God, and we are brothers to Jesus.  He has already walked the pathway, and in A Course of Love, later on, he says that accepting him is a necessary prelude to the pathway that we have chosen.  Of course, we learned in A Course in Miracles that there are other teachers, but we who are studying together have chosen Jesus as our guide, and it behooves us to accept him fully into our heart.  He can help us, even if we remained somewhat detached from him, but he can help us so much more if we truly invite him into our hearts.  Then the glorious blessings are not stopped by doubt.

3 – End of the Ego

So the reign of the ego ends when we have been through the whole trilogy of A Course of Love.  The first volume, which we are considering in the next several months, is still a learning experience.  Later on, we will find out that there is a time for learning to cease, and for observation to be our way in this world.  But I am getting ahead of ourselves.  For now it is enough to know that the truths of A Course of Love give us a certainty of salvation that we may have missed until now.  And A Course of Love (ACOL) gives us reassurance that our own imperfections do not truly matter.  Jesus can and will step in to correct mistakes that we have not been able to change (this is also a tenet of ACIM).

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

My ego is what gets me in trouble.  It is weakened somewhat, in that I am not nearly as overtly goal-driven, in  an egoic sense, as I used to be.  I no longer thrive on competition (nor feel demoralized by competition).  So again today I ask that You help me to step aside from the egoic mind and to truly let the weakened ego just die.  When I say this, I am thinking of the ego as a part of myself that is actually an insane part of my mind.

I would follow my spirit, informed by You, from my depths.  By this I mean the Self that knows far better than my personal self what I should do next with my life.  And “next” means tonight and tomorrow, as well as years down the road.

Be with me as I seek to follow the way that Jesus points out for all of us.  May I be a good steward of the thoughts that we see in this coursework, and may I interpret with a clear mind and heart what my spirit understands.

Amen.

Beginning Today to Consider A Course of Love

“The separated self or the ego does not learn.  Even when the ego has taken many courses and received many teachings, the ego has not learned but has merely become threatened.  (A Course of Love, P. 3)”

Affirmation:  “I would have my ego threatened out of existence.”

Reflections:

1 – Beginning A Course of Love

Today begins a six-month consideration of the first volume of A Course of Love, channeled by Mari Perron and first published in 2001.   Mari’s belief, which many share with her, is that this is a sequel to A Course in Miracles, meant to draw together many of the ideas that Jesus wants to impart to us.  ACIM dislodged the ego, but some of us have been somewhat “stuck” since that happened, and A Course of Love appeals to both the mind and the heart, in concert with each other, to let us know that we really do not have to keep seeking.  We are learning, though, in the first volume.  This first volume, in my opinion, can be read even by those who have not been students of A Course in Miracles, because Jesus lays the groundwork for the three-volume A Course of Love by drawing comparisons with A Course in Miracles.  This blog will attempt to do the same, drawing parallels when doing so seems particularly appropriate to me personally.

2 – Seeking

Those of us who have spent our lifetime seeking do know of what  passage for today speaks.  There always seems to be another thing to learn, another book to read, another spiritual tradition to explore.  But we find in A Course of Love that this is the time for an end to seeking.  For us, Jesus is the Way, and he has spoken in the three volumes of A Course of Love to encourage us to stop our mindless exploration, to stop tantalizing the ego with yet another way.  We have our way, and that way, if we believe that A Course of Love is a sequel to A Course in Miracles, that in these two works, we have our way.

3 – ACIM Dispels the Ego

A Course in Miracles spent much time trying to dispel the hold that the ego had on our minds.  Now, in A Course of Love, we are encouraged to get beyond the ego, once and for all.  We are ready for the message of complete acceptance that Jesus offers to us, however marred we still think we are because of mistakes made and perhaps not recognized.  We are even told in A Course of Love that we do not need to worry so much about “perfection.”  Just as we were told in ACIM that Jesus will stand at the end to correct any mistakes that we ourselves cannot correct, A Course of Love (ACOL) states this promise in even stronger terms.

4 – Embraced by Jesus

So we find ourselves at the beginning of the first volume in the trilogy of A Course of Love.  We will find ourselves comforted, even embraced by Jesus.  Let us learn what we finally need to learn, and then let us realize that the time of learning is close to an end.  And then let us rejoice!  We have our pathway.  We need no others.  ACIM and ACOL will lead us home.

5 – Welcome Comments

I welcome your comments as we proceed with A Course of Love.  You will find, as I have, a certainty of salvation that even A Course in Miracles lacked.  Jesus says that we are the “Accomplished,” even though we ourselves believe that the ego is still in ascendancy.  The ego may be in ascendancy, but this problem is readily alleviated.  As we will see.

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

May I learn what I still need to learn, and then may I be satisfied.  I plan to cease my constant seeking, as Jesus has reassured me that I now know enough to live well.  Thank You for this.

May my ego wither away.  None of needs an ego, in the sense that Jesus defines it, and we will learn through observation all that we need to know.  The time is now.  And I pray that I am ready.

Amen.

How to Experience Healing

“That forgiveness is healing needs to be understood, if the teacher of God is to make progress.  The idea that a body can be sick is a central concept in the ego’s thought system. . . . If the body could be sick Atonement would be impossible.  (M-22.3)”

Affirmation:  “It is not really my body that is sick.”

Reflections:

1 – Mind Is Sick

The mind is sick that has influenced the body to present symptoms.  That is what is being said in this sometimes confusing passage.  Jesus would not have us deny what the physical eyes see, though he would have us recognize that was we are seeing, we are projecting, and we are projecting an illusion or dream.

2 – The Ego’s Part

The ego thinks that the body makes decisions, and therefore the ego affirms the importance and the primacy of the body in the ego’s thought system.  But it is all “mind stuff.”  The mind does not choose sickness, when it see s a better way.  Atonement would indeed be impossible if we believed that the body could manipulate us in such ways.

3 – Primacy of Forgiveness

Once again we see stressed in this passage the primacy of forgiveness.  Forgiveness does mean healing, and we will be healed, either emotionally or physically, or both, if we forgive ourselves and our brothers and sisters who have offended us in some way.  We do want to make progress, and only through forgiveness is this possible.  It is the one idea in our thought system that cannot be turned against us.  Forgiveness always heals, and if we can believe this, we will be well on our pathway.

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

May I realize and correct today–immediately–any concept that sickens my mind.  It is the mind that makes the body appear sick, and I would pray for a healing of my mind, so that my body does indeed stay well.  I know that I am in Your Will when I pray for a well, illusory body.

I would let the ego wither away, for it is that part of my mind that makes my body appear sick.  This convoluted reasoning is against You, and I would be with You for all time and all places.

Be with me today, to lead me further along the pathway that leads to full understanding of forgiveness in my life.

Amen.