Tag Archives: philosophy

A Physical Self Is Not Inconsistent with the Laws of God

Robert Hagan 1947 - Australian Impressionist painter - Tutt'Art@ (17)“The choice to express who you are in physical terms was not a choice made of fear but made of love. A physical self is not inconsistent with the laws of God or of creation. It is simply a choice. (Treatises of A Course of Love: Treatise on the Personal Self, 12.9)”

Affirmation: “I will rejoice in my physical body today, living in love only.”

Reflections:

1 – No Degrading the Physical

We see that the physical body is not to be degraded as inferior in experience to the things of the spirit. We can live in love with the physical body. And we did not make a “bad” choice when we decided to live in physicality. We simply made a choice that can be glorified.

2 – Body

So many religious traditions deemphasize the body and especially see it as unfortunate. We are taught that we need to bring it under control, that the body will lead us astray.

3 – Ego

Actually it is the ego which will lead us astray. The physical body is neutral (from A Course of Love). It is what we make of the ego that determines how we will live on earth. If we choose out of fear, we will live in a body that seems to react to every stress. We will often regret the body, because its reactions seem to have a mind of their own, and we suffer accordingly.

4 – Illusion

This is all the way of illusion, and if we sense this fear, we are living much of our time under our egoic influence. Let us not do so today, or any day. May we drop egoic influence, and the best way to begin to do that is to do nothing about of egotistical reasons. We can drop the ego; it is choice that we are empowered to make. And when we drop the ego, we will recognize that the body does nothing. It is a thing that allows us to express our self, a means of expression as well as communication, and nothing more. We need neither to fear its reactions or to glorify those reactions.

5 – Body as Communicative Tool

Be with the body in love today. Let the body be a means by which we can communicate with our brothers and sisters. And let us not use the body willfully. We need to recognize that the body does nothing of itself; it is the mind and heart that determine what the body does.

6 – Today

And let the body do only good things today.

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

Thank You for the insight, given in the passage for today, that Your will and the body are not at odds. I can be glad that I have a body to serve as a means of communication in this world with my brothers and sisters. I can be thankful for my body as a means of expression. And I do not have to wait for the Other Side, where bodies are ethereal and obey laws different from what I know on earth.

May I use my body well today. May I keep it healthy and strong, physically, and may my emotions be tranquil. May I have emotional stability in my physically healthy body. Illness need not come near me if I create rightly in this world. And illness that does come is a form of external searching, and I would search only internally, in You.

Amen.

Embodying a State You Have Not Even Dared to Dream

Monet_Water_Lilies_1916“As it dawns upon your once slumbering mind that change on a grand scale awaits you, you will grow fearful if you do not realize that what is being proposed to you here is something completely new, something you have not even dreamed of. This state you have not even dared to dream of is a state in which only God’s laws of love exist even within the realm of physicality. (Treatises of A Course of Love: Treatise on the Personal Self, 12.7)”

Affirmation: “I would experience God’s laws of love today.”

Reflections:

1 – Physicality

The passage for today shows us that physicality is not bad, that it is a good state. This is the attitude throughout A Course of Love, which seeks to lead us to the elevated Self of form, a state in which Christ-consciousness is sustained. Of course, we are told that absolutely nobody has sustained Christ-consciousness yet. And Jesus is asking us to reach that state of sustainability. But the idea that the physical body is good is to be celebrated is a departure, in effect, from A Course in Miracles.

2 – Gnostic Influence

There was a heavy Gnostic influence in ACIM, and the world of maya, or illusion, was seen to offer us nothing that we would want. The world did not have anything to offer except the hope of happy dreams, from which we were eventually led beyond to Awakening and the real world. And we were led to believe that the Teachers of teachers were no longer born into this world, but that we receive their teachings from the Other Side (from the Manual of A Course in Miracles).

3 – Elevated Self of Form

But if we live God’s way of love, we can enjoy the physical body in this world. We are no longer looking to the ego for satisfaction in that physical body, but to our Christ Self. And then, if we are faithful to our learning, we will eventually sustain the elevated Self of form.

4 – No Curse!

What a blessing to know that the body is not a curse after all! There is much that we enjoy in this world, and we do not have to wait for the afterlife to enjoy ourselves. And we can enjoy ourselves in innocence borne of an elimination of the ego in ourselves. This analysis, unique to ACOL, is cause for rejoicing.

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

I would embody this new state sooner rather than later. I would see that the physical body is not to be lamented, but to live in, under Your laws. Now nothing is missing. I will eventually die, and my ethereal body may be different from the physical body that I have now, but nothing has to be missing now. I can fully enter into Your laws right now, here and now.

I would choose to experience the elevated Self of form—as much as I can do the choosing, for I know that the final decision is in Your hands. Be with me as I seek to follow the path back to You. Let me turn inward today as I walk a close walk with You.

Amen.

Afraid of God?

monet - garden at Giverny“While God is nothing but the Source of Love, you have, in your doubt, made of God the source of fear.  Pause a moment here and let the enormity of this confusion sink in, for this is the reversal in thinking that will pave the way for all the rest.  Because of this confusion you have responded to Creation with fear.  Is it no wonder a new response is asked of you?  (The Treatises of A Course of Love:  Treatise on the Art of Thought, 4.26)”

Affirmation:  “I now choose to let fear of God melt away.”

Reflections:

1 – Fear of God

“Fear” of God, in the Bible, is, to my own of interpreting, actually a form of respect that is asked of us.  But along the way, we have also feared God in a more concrete way, in that we have been made anxious when we thought of Him.  This fear was of the ego, for the ego knew only fear, having been made out of a separated state (an illusory separated state) of being.  We became so used to fear that we did not even realize the extent to which we were dominated by it.

2 – Blaming God

We blamed God for this fear, because our ego could not accept that we ourselves had made the fear (through the ego).  So we were in a quandary.  We did not know how to escape the ego, and we may, as students of Freud, believed that the ego was necessary for our successful living in this world.

3 – Freud’s Definition of the Ego

Freud’s definition of the ego is not quite what A Course in Miracles means.  For Freud, the ego mediated between the superego and the id, and gave the personality stability.  In A Course in Miracles, the ego is seen as a false self, a part of ourselves that has gone awry, a belief about ourselves that does not mean us well.  And so, with this understanding, we want to rid ourselves as quickly as possible from a false sense of self that the ego perpetuates.  We do not need this self-image to form our personality in such a way that it can function in the world.  It is a persona, a self-image, that is best let fall away.

4 – Personal Self

When the ego has withered away, the personal self will change greatly.  I have earlier called this personal self, the “little” self.  And indeed it is little, for it partakes of illusion.  We still live in this dream, this maya, this illusion, but the real world will dawn on our inner sight as a little more time goes by.  Then the inner Self/Christ, the elevated Self of form, will take predominance.

5 – At Home

And we will be home in God.

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

I would be at home with You today.  Thank You for the good beginning to this glorious day.  May my day go well.  May I say and do for my significant others what they need.  May I be there for them.

Help us to respect You, but not to be afraid of You.  Surely it would be disappointing to You to see Your children cringe in fear before You.  May I love You unreservedly.  And may I love with respect but not fear.  I sometimes feel awe, and I understand from A Course in Miracles that this is alright.

Be with me throughout this day.  May I feel Your Presence in a tangible way.  Thank You for the times in my life when I am conscious of Your Presence.  And may this feeling overwhelm me today in a cocoon of love.

Amen.

How to Read A Course of Love

images

“This creating like unto the Creator may be used as a definition of the art of thought.  (The Treatises of A Course of Love:  Treatise on the Art of Thought, 2.22)”

Affirmation:  “I seek to create as my Creator creates.”

Reflections:

1 – How?

Here is the long-awaited definition of the art of thought.  But how do we create like our Creator?  We listen to the Christ/Self within, which is identified with God, the Creator.  We do not “make” as we did when the ego was in the ascendancy.  We may, of course, not even be aware that we are creating as does God.  But the good that goes before us will alert us that we are indeed using the art of thought to create in a new world.

2 – Abstract Writing

The Treatise on the Art of Thought is quite abstract in the writing.  We cannot “learn” it as we did A Course in Miracles.  It requires a different kind of thinking, and this kind of thinking is needed with all books in the trilogy of A Course of Love.  This is the art of thought, and it is in this treatise that Jesus seeks to acquaint us with the new mental abstraction necessary.

3 – Read like a Story

Don’t try to understand with the left brain.  It can’t be done.  Read the treatise as though it were a story and let the right brain take over.  There will be much less frustration this way.

4 – Reread

We will not “get it” on a first reading.  We will need to reread when the mind is relaxed.  Then and only then will the concepts begin to sink in, to become a part of ourselves.

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

Help me to comprehend A Course of Love with the more abstract portions of my mind.  This includes paying attention to what my heart is trying to tell me as I read.  Thank You for the ease with which the reading progresses, as I relax.  I do not need to diligently study, and indeed stern study just acts as an impediment to understanding.

Be with me today as I walk another day through this world.  Thank You for my many blessings.  Thank you for the benefits of a healthy body, mind, and spirit.  May others who may be experiencing illness today turn to You for a lessening of their discomfort.

May I follow You all the days of my life.

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.

Happy Dreams the Holy Spirit Brings

“God’s teachers choose to look on dreams a while.  It is a conscious choice.  For they have learned that all choices are made consciously, with full awareness of their consequences.  The dream says otherwise, but who would put his faith in dreams once they are recognized for what they are?  Awareness of dreaming is the real function of God’s teachers.  (M-12.6)”

Affirmation:  “awareness of dreaming”

Reflections:

1 – The Degree of Insanity

We dream, but our progress back to God is either pleasant or unpleasant, depending on our degree of insanity in the dream.

2 – We Dream

To say “we dream” is to mean that are in an illusion, not the real world.  We live with an imprisoned will when we are caught by the ego, and all of us have experienced the bad times of the ego.  When we follow its guidance, we know pain and suffering.  We may know heights of joy, but these are eclipsed by an equal number of low points (a paraphrase from ACIM).  We would not choose to live a labile life, when we know better how to live.

3 – “Happy Dreams the Holy Spirit Brings”

The better way is to follow the guidance of the Holy Spirit, Who changes the kind of thinking that we do.  We start attracting a better life, the “dreams the Holy Spirit brings” (from the Workbook).  And we know a quiet peace that heretofore may have been unwelcome to ourselves.  In fact, in ACIM we learn that being “perfectly calm and quiet” all the time is to be expected as we reach home.

3 – The Real World = A Condition of Mind

The real world is not easily identified, but it is the condition of mind that we enjoy when we are almost ready gor Awakening, when God Himself metaphorically reaches down and lifts us up.  We know happiness, which ACIM says is our function.

4 – Insane World

When we know that we are dreaming in an insane world, we will not be upset by what we see.  We will know that it is all illusion.  We will empathize with our brothers and sisters who are caught in pain, but we will  not overdo our sympathy, lest we contribute to making pain part of their self-image (a paraphrase from ACIM).

5 – Have a Better Day

Let us be aware of dreaming today.  And, with that, a better day is set before us.

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

I would have a better day today, ever better, day by day.  Thank You for the many blessings conferred upon me so recently.  When I am unsure of what to do, I just need to listen to guidance.  And the Answer will come, unfailingly, into my mind.  A Course in Miracles promises this; You promise this.  The Holy Spirit fulfills His role splendidly.

Be with me today in my dream of what life can offer.  May I know the “happy dreams the Holy Spirit brings.  And may I move ever closer to Awakening, an Awakening that will be sustained.

Thank You.

Amen.

All Cause of Sorrow Disappears

ACIM Workbook Lesson 195 – for Saturday, July 14, 2012

Affirmation:  “Love is the way I walk in gratitude.”

“Gratitude is a lesson hard to learn for those who look upon the world amiss.  The most that they can do is see themselves as better off than others.  And they try to be content because another seems to suffer more than they.  How pitiful and deprecating are such thoughts!  For who has cause for thanks while others have less cause?  And who could suffer less because he sees another suffer more?  Your gratitude is due to Him alone Who made all cause of sorrow disappear throughout the world.  (WB372)”

Reflections:

1 – Do Not Compare

We would be wise not to compare ourselves to others.  There will always be those who seem to have more, as well as seem to have less.  This practice of comparison is not a good practice that could ever lead us to a sane mind.

2 – Cooperation

We need cooperation, not competition, in our world (an interpretation, not stated in ACIM).  And in cooperation we find the gratitude due our brothers and sisters that is so lacking when we are competing with them for the “top” spot in our world.  We find ourselves loving each other more when we cooperate toward a common good.  We do not find ourselves in a loving mood when we are competing.

3 – Public Schools

Even the public school system is learning this truth.  Research in educational circles has been going on for a quarter of a century, and more, that recommends “cooperative learning” in our schools.  It is conceivable that this wide-based endeavor will turn out very different young adults than in our generation.  Our world needs a new system, and perhaps cooperative learning and living will emerge in the next generation.  (These ideas are not discussed in ACIM or in A Course of Love.)

4 – Pity Is Unworthy

It is particularly unworthy if we simply look with pity on another’s suffering, and use that situation to be glad that we too are not suffering that much.  Surely we ought to do what we can to lighten another’s load, and turn suffering into joy.  Surely we ought not to doubt the results of a healing when symptoms still seem evident (a Manual tenet).  But we need to recognize that, however lamentable, the suffering is not real (a Manual tenet).  It is an illusion, however much it may seem real to us or to the sufferer himself/herself.  The real Self (the “Christ” in us) has not been harmed.  Our task now is to move beyond suffering and to turn it back, if need be, simply into pain that would be avoided.

5 – Sickness as a Way of Life

Not everyone is ready for this change.  Some use sickness as a way of life, and a sudden healing might precipitate depression so deep that one would want to commit suicide (from the Manual).  So healing has to wait.  But we cannot doubt that a healing will be accepted when the individual is ready.  This can be either physical or emotional healing, and perhaps the emotional is the most important.

6 = With Grateful Eyes

Let us look with grateful eyes on our brothers and sisters, and let us help them, with more kindness, through their journey.  What better way to spend our day?

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

I do feel grateful today for my many blessings.  I would feel more gratitude than is usual for me, for this lesson today is a reminder of how much we owe to You.  Be with me today as I walk through this world.

May I never use sickness to get me something that I want.  Nothing needs to be used in such a way.  I would not feel pity for those less fortunate, though I would try to help my brothers and sisters in need.  Show me what to do and say.

Thank You.

Amen.

Psychic Ways to Hear God’s Voice

“Only very few can hear God’s Voice at all, and even they cannot communicate His messages directly through the Spirit which gave them.  They need a medium through which communication becomes possible to those who do not realize that they are spirit.  A body they can see.  A voice they understand and listen to, without the fear that truth would encounter in them.  (M-12.3)”

Affirmation:  “Only very few can hear God’s Voice at all.”

Reflections:

1 – God’s Voice

As time has gone by, I think that more and more of us can hear God’s Voice.  The Voice is that of the Holy Spirit, and following His guidance is seen by A Course in Miracles as the way out of the maze that we have made for ourselves.  His Voice shows us the way home, the way toward not only salvation but also Awakening.

2 – Bodies = for Communication

We are told elsewhere that we are to use our bodies only for communication, that we will learn that others can be reached through our words and our actions.  If we use our bodies to evoke jealousy, attack, anger, resentment, we are using our bodies amiss.

3 – The Voice of a Brother/Sister

We are not normally afraid of another’s body.  We do not fear what another says to us or does to us, in the normal sequence of events.  (We may fear another’s anger and attack, and this is entirely human.)  But if we suddenly heard interior voices, without preparation, we would be in the same situation that the scribe of ACIM, Helen Schucman, was in when she heard, “This is a course in miracles.  Please take notes.”  So often we do not hear internally, but through the medium of another human being’s voice.  And our fears are silenced.

4 – Internal Directives

As time goes by, we will “hear” internal directives.  These may come in a variety of ways, some that we recognize as “psychic” (as the world calls them).  We may receive guidance through what is commonly known as intuition; we may pick up easily on a friend’s casual comment, the one that seems just meant for ourselves and our present situation; we may run across what is to us a particularly significant passage in a book (especially A Course in Miracles and A Course of Love).

5 – Are We Insane?

Does this make us different, somehow, from those who have been categorized as mentally ill?  Perhaps.  ACIM declares that all of us are insane to a degree, because we live in a world that is impossible and also mad.  Those who are psychotic may hear voices, and so with our own situation, we need to be especially discerning.  If a “voice” ever counsels harm in any way, then this is definitely not Love speaking.  My personal interpretation is that we can ask, “Is this from Love?,” when we hear a locution, and if the answer is “no,” then we would be wise to refrain from any action.  And even if we think that we are acting from a message from Love, we may still be mistaken.  After all, we are human.

6 – Testing Locutions

So testing out our locutions (internally heard voices) and intuition does seem mandatory.  The world has suffered greatly from those who thought that they were following God’s Will, only to learn that their actions were perceived by others in this world as anything but loving.

7 – Will the End Be Loving?

Be careful of what you perceive through “psychic” means.  ACIM is quite comfortable with the psychic, as described in the Manual, but, as with anything that comes upon us that is new, we need to be careful the end will be loving.  And that the means are not detrimental to anyone.

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

I thank You for the times in which my psychic messages have given me insight and kept me on Your pathway.  I would not make mistakes, listening to my ego and thinking that it is divine guidance.  Be with me as I test out my thoughts about what has come to me via a sixth sense.  Don’t let me get carried away.

Thank You for the knowledge, and I know that it is knowledge, that You have shown me throughout my life.  I also know that my perceptions have sometimes, perhaps frequently, been wrong.  Help me to know the difference between knowledge and perception.  Let me drop the ego’s perceptions from my list of accustomed actions.  I would let the ego wither away.  And I know that the ego can be very wily, even when I am trying to follow Your Way.  Perhaps particularly when I an trying to follow Your Way.

I do appreciate the psychic that has improved my mood, given me insight, and led me closer to You.  Let me not take pride in any messages that come to me by psychic means, for this is surely evidence that the ego has taken ascendancy again.  Be with me in discernment, so that I walk Your pathway and Yours alone.

Amen.

If Pain and Suffering Visit

“An imprisoned will engenders a situation which, in the extreme, becomes altogether intolerable.  Tolerance for pain may be high, but it is not without limit.  (T21-22)”

Affirmation:  “Tolerance for pain is not without limit.”

Reflections:

1 – An Imprisoned Will

This “imprisoned will” is a philosophical tenet of A Course in Miracles.  When the separation seemed to arise, we were caught in a situation that seemed to make God’s will and our will at odds with one another.  Actually the two are inseparable, and only our dim understanding makes this aspect of faith difficult.

2 – Rejecting the Holy Spirit’s Guidance

When we reject the guidance of the Holy Spirit, we are caught in the bonds of an imprisoned will, which engenders pain–sometimes extreme pain.  Although the Course affirms the releasing truth that we do not have to learn through pain, the truth is that many of us do learn through pain.  We can suffer in this pain greatly, but our tolerance for pain, as this passage says, is “not without limit.”  Sooner or later we will come to see that there must be another way, a better way, to live, and this is when we turn to God and His Voice, the Holy Spirit.

3 – Another Way

Helen Schucman and William Thetford, the two individuals responsible for bringing us the Course, agreed together to seek another way.  At the time they and their department at Columbia University were embroiled in competition and attack, and camaraderie was largely missing.  Helen and Bill embarked on a seven-year project, with Helen channeling from Jesus, and Bill, each morning, typing what had come through the day before.  Tolerance for pain in these two had become intolerable.

4 – No Tolerance for Pain

May this tolerance soon become intolerable for us as well, and then we will be ready to listen, perhaps for the first time, to innermost guidance.

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

May I choose to eliminate pain from my experience.  I know that pain is not Your will, and may it not be mine either.

If I have learned through pain, may this learning come to an end.  Your will for me is total happiness.

Amen.

Finding a Wholly Satisfying Reality

“Fantasies become totally unnecessary as the wholly satisfying nature of reality becomes apparent to both giver and receiver.  (T15)”

Affirmation:  “the wholly satisfying nature of reality”

 

Reflections:

1 – Eckhart Tolle

Eckhart Tolle (The Power of Now) says a good bit about his own Awakening and his joy in the immediate experience of the reality he knows now.  His reality is now wholly satisfying, and, as he once said, no thought has made him unhappy since the shift into Awakening.

2 – Personal Experience

In my own glimpses of Awakening (which have not been sustained), I too know that the reality in which I find myself is totally satisfying.  Like Eckhart, I enjoy sitting in public places, such as a restaurant or a library, and just observing my surroundings.  I feel totally at peace with my world at such times.  And the joy is not an overwrought joy, but a peaceful one, though occasionally a thrill of ecstasy can arise.  These are the mystic moments that are not cause for praise, for then the ego will quickly move in, and we will be caught in pride that such spiritual blessings have been granted us.  Instead, in such joyful, mystic moments, we are best to feel glad for the experience, but realize that we have not done anything grand that has caused the experience to visit.  All of this is borne of the grace of God.

3 – Leave Fantasies Behind

We learn through A Course in Miracles that we will leave fantasies behind when we see how satisfying reality really can be.  Of course, this is not the reality that most of us find ourselves a part of now.  But, as we walk the pathway pointed out by the Course, we will find that life becomes increasingly easy and joyous.

4 – An Easy and Joyous Life

With life now easy and joyous, we will feel no need to escape into fantasies.  We will thank God for the new ease that we have found, now that we follow His dictates instead of trying, in vain, to depend solely upon ourselves.

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

Fantasies are seductive, but ultimately unsatisfying.  As we follow A Course in Miracles,  we see the world turn into a wholly satisfying place.  We have no need for fantasies then.

May we turn to the Holy Spirit for guidance as we seek to enter the real world, the one where fantasies are not needed.

Amen.

We Try to Find Pleasure in Fantasies

“Fantasies are a means of making false associations and attempting to obtain pleasure from them.  (T15)”

Affirmation:  “May I not indulge in meaningless fantasies.”

Reflections:

1 – May We Stop Lying to Ourselves

Many of us are prone to this unreality.  We are bade to leave fantasies behind, as they are untruths that do not lead to the real world.  The “false associations” are just that–lies that we tell ourselves.  And would we not do well to stop lying to ourselves?

2 – Personal Experience

In my early adulthood, I often indulged in fantasies.  These were not quite for the reason that ACIM seems to say, but, for me, a way to understand the world in which I lived, the world and its relationships.  I considered various scenarios in my fantasies, seeking to understand why someone had acted as he/she had.  I analyzed.  And, of course, I was caught in the ego, because the ego rejoices in being analyzed.  The ego likes for us to study it, making its importance more real to ourselves (a Text paraphrase).  But we are studying nothing, and nothing that we “learn” in such ego-oriented moments of fantasy mean anything.  We rarely figure out insanity, and insanity is just what we are caught in in this world.

3 – Lost in Fantasies

When we live totally in this world, it is almost inevitable that we will find ourselves lost in fantasies.  These fantasies are a way of coping in a world that seems far too cruel to allow us to live easily.  But there is another way, a better way.  And the Course always says the same thing:  Turn to the Holy Spirit for guidance.  He will lead us out of an illusory present into a real world that will bring happiness.

4 – We Do Not Have to Learn through Pain

We may still know pain, though Jesus assures us that we do not have to learn through pain.  In our world, though, pain as a means of learning is more common than any other way.  In the pain, we turn to God.  We do not have to learn this way, but if it happens to us, we would be foolish not to take the new pathway that God points to–away from the pain.  Fantasies then have no meaning in a world made anew by turning to spirit for answers and finding the wholly satisfying nature of true reality.

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

I have indulged in fantasies when the world seemed too cruel.  Fantasies were an escape.  May, instead, I welcome Your teaching that will free me from unreal concepts of the world.  Then I will find joy instead of sorrow.

May I leave fantasies behind as I follow the Holy Spirit into the real world, a world of forgiveness and joy.

Amen.

How Do We Find Perfect Love?

“Perfect love casts out fear.
If fear exists,
Then there is not perfect love.
But
Only perfect love exists.
If there is fear,
It produces a state that does not exist.  (T14)”

Affirmation:  “Perfect love casts out fear.”

Reflections:

1 – A Beautiful Passage

Jesus seems fond of syllogisms.  There are a number in the Course, but this is phrased in perhaps this most beautiful way of all of his syllogisms.

2 – Perfect Love vs. Fear

All of us wish to have perfect love and to show perfect love to others, especially our significant others.  Likewise, all of us would like to be free of fear, and we would like for others, the same.  According to this idealistic level of A Course in Miracles, we can have both.  We are in perfect love, but we do not recognize it.  And so, when we feel fear, it “produces a state that does not exist,” or, in other words, an illusion.

3 – We Live a Dream

We know from other parts of ACIM that its theology would say that we are living an illusion, living maya (an Eastern term).  But do we really believe this?  We are told (paraphrased from ACIM) that if others become vicious toward us, we will not be moved if we remember that this is our dream (or, in other words, our illusion).  So, when life seems difficult and we seem attacked on all sides, we can pray for a moment of calm in which we realize that we are dreaming.  And so none of it truly matters in eternity.  And in time, people have made mistakes (including ourselves), but these can be rectified by turning away from the mistakes.  Time does not matter, because time does not really exist.  Only eternity matters.

4 – Illusions

Here the Course goes to the heart of the unreality in which we live.  We live in illusions, not the real world, at all–at least most of us.  (The real world comes near the conclusion of our pathway back to God.)

5 – Incompatible States of Being

Perfect love and fear are completely incompatible.  This is what this passage is saying.  Because most of us still feel fear upon occasion, we are lost in dreams–and not the happy dreams of the Holy Spirit.  There is a danger that we will feel depressed upon reading these words.  But elsewhere Jesus cautions us not to lose heart.  If the way seems long, once begun the way back is always found in the end.  If the way seems long, we are to take heart and to know that we will find our way back, ultimately.

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

In reality, only perfect love exists.  But we frequently feel fear, and so we are not experiencing the real world on a consistent basis.

May we experience the real world.  If this seems a long way off, may we in the interim experience the happy dreams the Holy Spirit brings.

Amen.