Tag Archives: real world

Veil Will Be Lifted. . .to Forgiveness

“Keep in mind during this journey that the world is a great illusion; and that the day will come when the veil will be lifted and in the forgiven world you will see the true creation of God. . . .”  Choose Only Love bk.3, 1:III

We are seeing an illusion when we live in this world.  Our best insight tells us this as well.  We cannot fully understand how all that we see is illusion, but there it is, in this quotation from the channeled work, Choose Only Love.

But we will live to see Heaven, the forgiven world.  This is true creation, and it is just a change of mind.  While the world, objectively, may still not be real, we will experience it as real in a way that is veiled to us now. This is what the “real world” truly is.

We project from our minds what we see.  Projection makes perception, as A Course in Miracles says.  Our vision, a more exalted concept, will show us a better world.  The Workbook of A Course in Miracles has us declare, early on, “I am determined to see.”  It does take our determination to see Heaven.  It does take our choice for a better world.

What we focus upon becomes our experience.  Never forget that we are beholden to God for our take on this world.  He always soothes away troubles, soothes away difficulties.

He does not leave us alone to fend for ourselves.

Taking a Look at the Real World that God Created

“Let me say again that this is your misguided attempt to follow in creation’s way. God gave all power to his creations, and you would choose to do this as well. Your intent is not evil, but guided by the guilt and false remembering of the separated self. As much as you have desired anonymity and autonomy from God, still you blame God for creating a situation in which you think you have been allowed to hurt yourself. How could God allow all this suffering, you ask? Why does He tempt you with such destruc¬tive forces? Forces beyond your control? Why did not God create a world benign and unable to harm you?” (ACOL, C:9.46)

These questions, which Jesus suggests we would ask, are good questions indeed. But the primary Answer is that we have been given free will, and the secondary Answer is that we have remembered incorrectly how to make illusion—remembering just a bit of true creation, enough to trip us up. We are mimicking true reality when we make illusions in our world, but we have been protected by God. All that we see that is not an intangible benefit of love is illusion. And illusion does not truly harm anyone or anybody at all.

This is the false remembering of the separated self, and this false remembering is why we have gotten ourselves in such a mess. We don’t create truly when we are in our egoic frame of mind. We “make,” not “create.” And what we make does hurt, but only in the illusion, and only coming out of the illusion will save us. This healing of the separation is what A Course of Love is about. And even this separation has been illusory, for we could not separate from God, of whom we are a part, and still live.

A Course of Love indicates, in just the next paragraph from the one quoted, that God did indeed create a benign world. Of course, we can’t understand this while we are in egoic consciousness. We see misery and despair, but Jesus says in ACOL that we will not see this with our vision (our Christ vision) when we have joined God in union. I think that this assertion comes because our interpretation of what we see with Christ eyes will be different. We won’t look on misery and despair, and callously say that it is not there! No, not this at all. But we will actually see through understanding eyes, and we will know that the illusory misery and despair are not real. We will truly understand how this changes everything.

Does this make sense to us now? No, of course not. And Jesus is not just twisting words around to confuse our egos. He really means what he says, and he means it with love. Walk a little further in the heart-based commentary that A Course of Love really is, before we say that this can’t be true. What the heart sees with eyes that are not physical is a far cry from what our physical eyes and our limited understanding show us now. What our heart will show us is a benign world, created by God, not made by us. And we will thank heaven that this is so.

Does Illusion Fall Away in ACIM’s Real World?

“The real world is all that the Holy Spirit has saved for you out of what you have made, and to perceive only this is salvation, because it is the recognition that reality is only what is true.” (ACIM, T-11.VII.4)

Perhaps reality, being “only what is true,” is not illusion at all, is no longer the dream in which we perceive the world. A Course in Miracles and A Course of Love do not develop this idea very much at all; it is left to tantalize us with its innuendo. Certainly the eternal in our experience, the intangibles of love, harmony, peace, joy, happiness, are not illusion, and it may be these intangibles that Jesus is discussing. Honest people have differed on what he is saying, dedicated students/teachers, all, of A Course in Miracles.

We are teased out of thought when we wonder if seeing the real world, which ACIM notes happens only briefly, is not an illusion. We are caught up in Awakening by God Himself, and through this action do we know peace for the first time. Whether or not the images that appear before our eyes are perception or knowledge is not made clear to me in ACIM. Maybe I am too dense, but I still have questions.

How could the illusion of our eyes, in this outside world, suddenly, with the advent of the real world, true reality, be “real”? This is one question for us to puzzle over, because none of us has a definitive answer. This much is certain: the intangibles are eternal, and therefore true—but the eyes don’t see these intangibles.

“This is a very simple course. Perhaps you do not feel you need a course which, in the end, teaches that only reality is true. But do you believe it? When you perceive the real world, you will recognize that you did not believe it. Yet the swiftness with which your new and only real perception will be translated into knowledge will leave you but an instant to realize that this alone is true. For as Heaven and earth become one, even the real world will vanish from your sight. The end of the world is not its destruction, but its translation into Heaven. The reinterpretation of the world is the transfer of all perception to knowledge.” (ACIM, T-11.VIII.1)

Will Heaven be a physical manifestation of truth? And will Heaven be here and now?

This quotation certainly seems to say “yes” to both questions. But A Course in Miracles can be obscure, and I seek to say nothing that is controversial, because controversy is divisive in that it separates us from each other in the study of ACIM.

We can ask to see this real world sooner rather than later. And we can do what we can to remove the blocks to love’s awareness.

This much we can do.

And it will be no mystery why we are healed.

“Reserve not one idea aside from truth, or you establish orders of reality that must imprison you. There is no order in reality, because everything there is true.” (ACIM, T-17.I.5)

This defines “true reality,” if we have ever needed a definition.

“How does one overcome illusions? Surely not by force or anger, nor by opposing them in any way. Merely by letting reason tell you that they contradict reality. They go against what must be true. The opposition comes from them, and not reality. Reality opposes nothing. What merely is needs no defense, and offers none. Only illusions need defense because of weakness.” (ACIM, T-22.V.1)

This quotation explains why we need be defensive about nothing. Defense weakens us, making what we would defend against. This is an axiom of A Course in Miracles.

We can get ourselves so caught up in illusion, and so defensive, that we let the ego run wild in our psyches again.

We do not need this. Nobody needs this. The ego, so apparent to others, will keep us weak for eons—if we let it. Now is the time to turn aside gently from the ego, take heed no longer, and know truth for the first time.

“Where once you recognized only illusion and called it reality, the mind joined in union will now, more and more, recognize only truth and experience only the truly real.” (ACOL, 1.10)

This brings back the quandary with which I became this posting. Will we experience only the “truly real”? Does this go beyond simply intangible emotions (love, peace, etc.)?

Certainly it seems to say this. And what a great promise this is, if this should be true! We don’t have to fear being lost in illusions any longer. Our dreams are over, maybe in physical manifestation as well.

Ask deep within for the answer to this quandary. I suspect that honest people will vary on their interpretations, but that is no reason for us to be divided one from the other. We do realize that the intangibles are not dreams. And joy, peace, love, harmony, happiness, will beckon us forward every step of the way, paving the way for Heaven on earth.

Illusions

“No sacrifice is possible in the relinquishment of an illusion recognized as such. Where all reality has been withdrawn from what was never true, can it be hard to give it up, and choose what must be true?” (ACIM, T-26.III.7)
We don’t have to struggle to give up our illusions. They are very easy to give up, once we recognize that they have brought us images of sacrifice and pain, pain that often turned to suffering. The giving up of illusions represent a milestone on our journey.

“Illusions are illusions and are false. Your preference gives them no reality. Not one is true in any way, and all must yield with equal ease to what God gave as answer to them all.” (ACIM, T-26.VII.6)
We have some illusions that we like, and these are the hardest to give up. But if we are clinging to what has no true reality, we will be disappointed sooner or later. Why not entertain the idea that now is the time to walk into true reality?

“This is how all illusions came about. The one who makes them does not see himself as making them, and their reality does not depend on him. Whatever cause they have is something quite apart from him, and what he sees is separate from his mind. He cannot doubt his dreams’ reality, because he does not see the part he plays in making them and making them seem real.” (ACIM, T-27.VII.7)
We made this dream in which we live, and in the making, we got what we wanted. This may seem hard to believe when we realize that some of our dreams are actually nightmares. And we can give up those nightmares as easily, and perhaps more easily, than pleasant dreams.

Do so today.

“The gap between reality and dreams lies not between the dreaming of the world and what you dream in secret. They are one. The dreaming of the world is but a part of your own dream you gave away, and saw as if it were its start and ending, both.” (ACIM, T-27.VII.11)

This explains how to outer world can seem real when it is actually just a dream as untrue as inner imaginings. We made this world, made it easily because the matter is actually illusory. This can be hard to envision, but the sooner we contemplate the truth of this assertion, the better our outer “reality” becomes. The happy dreams brought by the Holy Spirit will overwhelm us with blessings.

“What grieves is not myself. What is in pain is but illusion in my mind. What dies was never living in reality, and did but mock the truth about myself.” (ACIM, W-248)

“This illusionary world is full of things you have told yourself and been instructed that you have to do, but that you do not want to do. The more your life consists of such things, the smaller your reality becomes. All that would join with you and become part of the real world of your creation remains beyond your reach.” (ACOL, 5.18)

We don’t have to do those things that we detest. If we don’t want to do them, we need to ask why these things are a part of our “truth.” What do we gain by keeping them in our lives?

Of course, all of us have responsibilities that ought not to be shirked. Others depend upon us, especially our significant others, our spouse and our children, our aging parents. But we can change our minds in the midst of resistance, and then our resistance changes to an embracing of our legitimate responsibilities.

This then becomes a part of our real world. And we are living in illusion no longer.

“Whether you believe the virgin birth was reality or myth matters not as myth and reality have no concrete distinction in the illusion within which you live. In other words you live as much by myth as by truth and myth often more accurately reflects the truth than what you would call real. This is not a call, however, to embrace myth, but to embrace the truth.
Jesus does not answer definitively whether or not the virgin birth occurred. He leaves his message open to any and all, regardless of their beliefs about this possible miracle.


“Mary is called upon now as the myth to end all myths for in this example life alone is the key to the riddle provided.” (ACOL. 8.11 – 8.12)

Mary gets a lot of attention in A Course of Love. She is said to have lived a life of “being,” not “doing,” and this is said to be the wave of the future (not an exact quote). She was an example life, just as was Jesus.
When we contemplate the myth/truth of Mary, we come closer to understanding why the Atonement happened at all. Not the crucifixion, but the resurrection. This was Jesus’s most important contribution, and never does he say in A Course in Miracles or A Course of Love that the resurrection never happened. We are left to wonder “how.” And in the wondering, we rise above doubt and embrace truth as we see it.

“To realize the difference between truth and illusion is not to call one right and the other wrong but to simply recognize what they are. This is an important distinction that must be kept in mind as we proceed so that you are not tempted to judge those living in illusion or their reality. Their reality does not exist. Believing in the reality of illusion will never make it the truth.” (ACOL, Treatise on the Personal Self, 11.13)

Many are still living in illusion. All are living in illusion until the truth dawns. And then things are never the same again. We are freed to live in reality.

We are not to judge others. This is traditional Christian thought, of course, and Jesus says the same in the Treatise on the Personal Self, in ACOL. If we give up our judgments, we will be removing one barrier to coming Christ-consciousness.
Need we not to make this choice today?

Our Real Home, Our Real Temple, Our Real Self

“Being is completely without these distinctions. It is a state in which the mind is in communication with everything that is real. To whatever extent you permit this state to be curtailed you are limiting your sense of your own reality, which becomes total only by recognizing all reality in the glorious context of its real relationship to you. This is your reality. Do not desecrate it or recoil from it. It is your real home, your real temple and your real Self.” (ACIM, T-4.VII.4)

“Being” is another name for God. And when we are in communication with Being, with God, we are in communication with all that is real. This is, by the way, the term that religious teacher Eckhart Tolle uses to refer to God, because he feels that the term God has been misused.

This communication doesn’t happen until farther down the pathway to Awakening. In the early stages of our walk to salvation, we would be much too fearful of God to meaningfully communicate with Him. So we have been given the Holy Spirit, God’s Voice, our Teacher and Guide, Who is less fearful to us (in our own perceptions).

When the mind is communication with the All (another name for God), we are living rightly. We are living our reality, what is truly real.

Because we are a part of God, when we understand that we live in Him, we are coming to the intellectual knowledge that will save us. Previously, we have not recognized that God is the divine spark within us. We have seen Him as a Creator outside of His creation. Many still believe this, for the universe, in this way of thinking, is seen as God’s handiwork. But of what would He have created the universe? There is only He. His “God-stuff” created all that exists.

We need to recognize that we exist in relationship to the All. This is one of the messages of A Course of Love, which builds on the ideas, to some extent, in A Course in Miracles. We are in unity (because the All is One) and in relationship (the diversity of creation) to the All. These ideas from ACOL help us to see what is really there for us to experience in this world and worlds beyond this one.

So Being is there for us to experience. Being is God. And reality is all that is really true, freed from illusions and an illusory world.

We Are All Part of the One Son/Daughter

1 – Christ

“The term mind is used to represent the activating agent of spirit, supplying its creative energy. . . .Spirit is the Thought of God which He created like Himself. The unified spirit is God’s one Son, or Christ. (C79)

2 – Term “Soul”

Jesus does not use the term “soul” very often at all in A Course in Miracles; he does use “spirit,” and this term refers to the animating Self, of which all of us are One. We all are Christ in our highest Self, but this takes some understanding, for we do not all manifest Christ in our daily lives. We often make grievous mistakes, and this propensity to take the wrong step does land us into trouble, even when help in the form of the Holy Spirit is so near to us. We cannot know our highest Self until we have walked far enough on the pathway home that we know that we HAVE a higher Self. We don’t know that in the beginning, and we lose the way—though help will rescue us.

3 – Spirit

“Spirit is the part that is still in contact with God through the Holy Spirit, Who abides in this part but sees the other part as well. . . .The other part of the mind is entirely illusory and makes only illusions. (C79)

4 – Baptism of the Holy Spirit

Spirit is our focus when we have received the baptism of the Holy Spirit, a blessing that comes to all who ask. The illusory part of the mind is the persona that we have made with the help of the ego, the egoic mind. And this persona never wishes its maker well. We see that the ego is constantly being undone; this is necessary, by God, to ensure that our deviation from the pathway is not so severe that we can’t find our way back. So with the ego constantly being undercut, what do we have left but to choose another way, and for us the other way is A Course in Miracles.

5 – Ego

If the ego is making only illusions, we are going to be lost in illusion, and nothing that is made in that state of mind means anything. We walk a way that will not work, however long and hard we try to make it work. We are like prisoners who become accustomed to their chains (Jesus uses this metaphor in A Course in Miracles), and when the light is finally seen and we are freed, we don’t know what to make of freedom in the beginning. We are dazed by the light. But help is always near, and we will soon find that our new way is much preferred to our old.

6 – Right-Mindedness

“Right-mindedness listens to the Holy Spirit, forgives the world, and through Christ’s vision sees the real world in its place. . . .Wrong-mindedness listens to the ego and makes illusions; perceiving sin and justifying anger, and seeing guilt, disease and death as real. (C79)”

7 – Contrast

Right-mindedness and wrong-mindedness are opposites, and only the former will get us where we want to go. Only the former is blessed by God. And only the former will ease our way in this troubled and difficult world.

8 – Wrong-Mindedness

Wrong-mindedness is the state of mind in which mistakes predominate, mistakes predominating because of the ascendancy of the ego. We don’t really want to adopt a persona that is unworthy of ourselves, but we do it, even when we have invited the Holy Spirit to guide us. We fall down, we make mistakes, we don’t see our way clear to walk the charmed pathway.

9 – Light

These mistakes can all be undone by welcoming in Light. This Light is the Light of Christ, and Jesus is the spokesperson. Jesus will set us aright, if we follow A Course in Miracles with an open mind. He speaks the truth, and we are well-advised to follow carefully what he says. The beauty of the language, the depth of the thinking, the clarity of what is said—all work together to give authenticity to A Course in Miracles as a legitimate, channeled work of Jesus. Who else could say such things? Who else speaks with such authority?

10 – Worlds

“Both this world and the real world are illusions because right-mindedness merely overlooks, or forgives, what never happened. Therefore it is not the One-mindedness of the Christ Mind, Whose Will is one with God’s. (C79)”

11 – One-Mindedness

We want to head toward this One-mindedness, and that, I believe, is what happens to us when we have awakened. Then our will is truly one with God’s, and our walk is completely unencumbered.

12 – One Will

The One-mindedness is when we recognize that God’s Will and ours is the same, and, most importantly, when we acknowledge God’s Will and consistently choose His Way, as shown us by the Holy Spirit.

13 – Consciousness

“Consciousness has levels and awareness can shift quite dramatically, but it cannot transcend the perceptual realm. At its highest it becomes aware of the real world, and can be trained to do increasingly. Yet the very fact that it has levels and can be trained demonstrates that it cannot reach knowledge. (C80)”

14 – Theory

These are the theoretical underpinnings of the Course. This passage indicates that achieving the real world, a world of love devoid of the ego, is a gradual process. Moreover, perception can be cleansed, and we seek to train our minds to increase our perception in order to get us out of the ego-oriented world that we see. But knowledge is of God, in revelation, and this cannot be taught. It is a gift of God, when we have removed the barriers to the presence of knowledge.

15 – Consciousness

Our consciousness is important to us, and we have learned falsely, through psychology, that a strong ego is necessary to live in this world. We do not need ego in the sense that the Course refers to the “ego.” But this word is slippery, and it is does not mean the same to all people, even psychologists. In the Course, the word “ego” is a false perception of ourselves, a false image that leads us into pain and suffering. It is not a thing that we would want, and we are bade to leave it behind.

16 – Ego Being Undone

In this world, the ego is constantly being undone. We are pricked at the point of our greatest pride, an egoistic trait. We are constantly brought low when the ego has been in ascendancy. This is no accident. It is the way of salvation for us, according to the Course.

17 – Real World

We may not realize it, but the real world is what we want while on this earth. The real world will sparkle with joy, and our eyes will light up at the thought of another day. Let us not be discouraged if we don’t achieve this boon on a constant basis. Elsewhere Jesus says that here we will not be without limitations, but that our task is to escape from them. This we will do increasingly as we study the Course and make its tenets our own.

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

May I be increasingly conscious of the real world of joy and love. I realize that this is still a perception, and so it is not the knowledge that only You can give. I hope to walk further along the pathway, so that I am ready for the knowledge that only You can impart.

Thank you for being there for me. As I pray so often, help me to follow in Your way and by Your guidance.

Amen.

Prayer

1 – Prayer of the Heart

“Strictly speaking, words play no part at all in healing. The motivating factor is prayer, or asking. What you ask for you receive. But this refers to the prayer of the heart, not to the words you use in praying. (M53)”

2 – ACIM

The Course does not say a tremendous amount about prayer, though, we might realize, much is implied (an interpretation of the Course). Here we see the “asking” prayer, and we receive a warning: What you ask for you receive, if it is the prayer of the heart. Elsewhere we learn that if we pray for something, and are actually afraid of it, we will not receive it, because our fear contradicts our asking. Being afraid is a certainty that what we are asking is not a prayer of the heart.

3 – Unanswered Prayer?

All of us have prayed for healing and have seemingly not had some of those prayers answered. Jesus says that we have chosen various symptoms of pain, and if we remain unhealed truly, we may just replace one chosen symptom with another. We do not know, usually, what the Self truly wants–even unto death. We may pray for our healing, and to remain alive, when the Self has decided that this body is best laid aside. We are assured that there is no true death, that we are creatures of eternity.

4 – What Does the Self Want?

So keep in mind that turning to the Holy Spirit for guidance about what the Self wants may be the best choice.

5 – Symbols of Symbols

“Let us not forget, however, that words are but symbols of symbols. They are thus twice removed from reality. (M53)”

6 – Prayer of Silence

So I surmise here that the prayer of the heart that works best—if efficacy is what we want—is a prayer of silence, a darting, longing toward what we view as God, however we view Him. I am thinking of the anonymous medieval treatise on mysticism, entitled The Cloud of Unknowing. This writer emphasizes just a wordless longing that we feel when we are in our best moments in prayer. We reach out to God as we conceive Him (and A Course in Miracles says that God is the All, the One), with a heartfelt longing that is close to our heart. In so doing, we will experience the Presence of God—unless we are caught in the throes of suffering a dark night of the soul (when God seems absent, but only absent in illusion, for He never departs).

7 – Mother Teresa

Mother Teresa is said to have mostly, throughout her long life, failed to find the sweet tenderness of God’s love in her prayers. Her letters have testified to this. She did not waver in her faith, though she missed the sweetness. Atheists have brought this unusual aspect in Mother Teresa to try to claim evidence that God does not exist, for would He withhold Himself from so faithful a servant as Mother Teresa?

8 – Barrenness in Prayer

No one knows why absence was Mother Teresa’s experience of God. But knowing this can give us solace when we go through a period of barrenness in prayer. We are not to seek the sweetness as an end in itself. We are to seek God for Himself alone.

9 – Experience

“The prayer of the heart does not really ask for concrete things. It always requests some kind of experience, the specific things asked for being the bringers of the desired experience in the opinion of the asker. (M53)”

10 – Asking

So here we are encouraged not to spend all of our time, at least, asking for specifics. We are actually wanting to experience something, and our heartfelt words, often rendered silently, are believed to bring about this experience in our daily life.

11 – The Heart

The prayer of the heart, we are told elsewhere, is always answered. If our words deny the heart, then our words are not answered. The heart always knows what it wants, and this is what is answered. If the heart contradicts something that we say, in prayer, that we want, we will not receive that something. If we are afraid of having something that we ask for, we will not receive it, either, for the fear means that the heart has not spoken.

12 – May Not Recognize

The heart always is quiet and peaceful in its asking for a specific experience. And the prayer is answered, though we may not always recognize the answer when it comes. This latter point is important, for all too often, in our limited way, we rail against God for not answering our prayers.

13 – Folk Wisdom

It has been said that God always answers: Sometimes yes, sometimes no, and sometimes, wait. This is not repeated in A Course in Miracles, but in my reading there is nothing in ACIM that contradicts this folk wisdom.

14 – Words

“The words, then, are symbols for the things asked for, but the things themselves but stand for the experiences that are hoped for. (M53)”

15 – Real World

So we use words, often, in prayer, and they are symbols that are actually removed from the real world. The real world is God’s gift to us when we have fulfilled the conditions of salvation. And it is not really physical. It is an experience that immediately precedes our Awakening, a step that only God can take for us. He metaphorically reaches down and lifts us up, against all reasoning. We cannot achieve Awakening, and the striving for it will mean that the ego has created a problem that will not be dissolved until we get ourselves out of the way.

15 – Be Careful

We can ask for any experience, but the most stern warning is also folk wisdom: Be very careful what you set your heart upon, for you will surely receive it.

16 – Overwrought

With that in mind, it behooves us to ask God what is really best for us before we engage in prayer. He will answer in the quiet of our heart, when our mind is stilled and our emotions have settled down to peace. We cannot “hear” when we are overwrought.

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

Please bring my prayers into my heart, asking for what the Self truly wants, and only for what is good in Your sight. May I receive the assurance that prayers of the heart are always answered.

Thank you for the guidance of the Holy Spirit as I pray. Thank You for being there for me.

Amen.

Definition of the Real World

“The real world is the state of mind in which the only purpose of the world is seen to be forgiveness. (T-30.V.1)”

1 – Forgiveness Reigns

So here, nestled in among other gems of inspiration and knowledge, is the definition of the real world: a state of mind in which forgiveness reigns. This would mean that we have come home to God, that we have finally ended the reign of the ego. Elsewhere we learn that the real world dawns on our sight, and then, in a short while (but how long this period of time is is not defined) God Himself reaches down (metaphorically) and lifts us up to Awakening. Awakening is the same concept as Christ-consciousness, the term used in A Course of Love, as well as the same concept in Eastern religions of enlightenment.

2 – Holy Relationship with Our Brother

The means of finding our way back to God through our holy relationship to our brother is the particular way of A Course in Miracles. We are told in ACIM that this means saves us time, that we do not need to spend long hours in contemplation (though contemplation will succeed as well, because of its purpose). Jesus is keen on saving time, as he warns that the world is very old and weary, worn out and tired. We ourselves may feel this way sometimes. Or maybe we have moved past this feeling of tiredness in the world as we move closer to the Holy Spirit in daily life.

3 – Holy Spirit

The Holy Spirit will in fact save us from much weariness. He paces our day with His guidance, and He shows us how to rest.

4 – Forgive, and Then Understand

“The value of forgiveness is perceived and takes the place of idols, which are sought no longer, for their ‘gifts’ are not held dear. No rules are idly set, and no demands are made of anyone or anything to twist and fit into the dream of fear. Instead there is a wish to understand all things created as they really are. And it is recognized that all things must be first forgiven, and then understood. (T-30.V.1)”

I ran across a passage, before ACIM was written, that recommended that we forgive, and then we will come to understand. I kept this admonition on an index card for a long time; indeed, I may still have it in my files. Certainly ACIM agrees with this recommendation. The words are the same in the above passage.

5 – Idols

We do not want idols, and perhaps most of us have had many over the years. Most particular may be our special relationships, the ones that haven’t turned holy. We want a particular individual romantically, but we are still entrapped by the ego, and what we see in him/her is only a false gem, a persona, not the real person at all. We are projecting onto that person the characteristics that we ourselves would like to have. And the heights of joy fall into the depths of despair—the way of the ego. So special relationships do not hold value for long.

6 – Materialism

Likewise, many of us may have wanted security in this world in the form of material advantages. But we can never have enough money to be secure, and paradoxically, the more we have, the more uncertain we are about being able to keep it. So even though we long for objects of this world, we cannot be happy with them for very long. They do not satisfy, for only the emotions of joy, love, harmonious living, can satisfy for long. These long-lasting emotions are of God, for He is our real Hope. We will never be satisfied for anything very long that is not in some way an attribute of God.

7 – Simple Course

“This is a very simple course. Perhaps you do not feel you need a course which, in the end, teaches that only reality is true. But do you believe it? When you perceive the real world, you will recognize that you did not believe it. (T-11.VIII.1)”

This passage is forward-thinking and recognizes that we are still on the pathway to the real world, though we may catch glimpses of it ahead of time. What is true? Reality. What does this mean, for truth can be very subjective, can be based on falsities, and may lead us down a pathway that is not actually true for anybody but ourselves. Truth is a God-granted certainty about the world and our place in it.

8 – Definition of the Truth

I once worked for an afternoon for a man who needed some editing done for a newspaper article that he hoped to publish. His was a fanatical view of the world, and emphasized in the article, over and over, was his insistence in only seeing the “truth.” I realized that afternoon that truth could be a very subjective concept, for this man’s truth and my own were very, very different. Radical political views are usually perceived by their holders as being “true,” but many people may not hold these views. There is a wide range of views about politics, religion, and the like. That is why we are bade never to discuss politics and religion at a dinner party or other social occasion. The differences in our personalities are so obvious, and the egos of us all do love a good argument.

9 – One Way Is Not Way for All

So here in ACIM we still must realize that the truth that it develops is not the truth for everyone. Some will violently object to what others embrace. Our way to salvation is not the way of all, and thus it behooves us to walk softly.

10 – Real World Will Vanish

“Yet the swiftness with which your new and only real perception will be translated into knowledge will leave you but an instant to realize that this alone is true. And then everything you made will be forgotten; the good and the bad, the false and the true. For as Heaven and earth become one, even the real world will vanish from your sight. (T-11.VIII.1)”

This is a passage not easily understood. It seems to be far in the future, but perhaps that is only true for this world and the people still living in it. Gradually, one by one, we will make our way beyond this world. We need not fear the end of the world. It will end in stillness, not to be touched, but simply to fail to be (from the Manual of ACIM). This is Jesus’s great promise. We do not have to fear violent destruction of this world.

11 – Translation into Heaven

“The end of the world is not its destruction, but its translation into Heaven. The reinterpretation of the world is the transfer of all perception to knowledge. (T-11.VIII.1)”

A particularly potent quotation, this passage points out that destruction is not in the future of this world. It will be translated into Heaven. And this translation will happen when we do not have to perceive, but we know. Knowledge is of the Holy Spirit, and He alone knows how to give it to us. (A Course of Love indicates that the inner Christ Self performs this translation for us.)

12 – Our Inheritance

May we come to know internally how to reach God. We are a part of Him. He is in us, as well as in our brothers and sisters. The universe is his “body,” so to speak (an interpretation, not stated in ACIM or ACOL). The knowledge we seek is our inheritance. May we ask today that it be granted us in spades.

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

May this day I move closer to the real world. May this transition happen seamlessly, as I do not wish to be hurled into reality and frightened thereby. The real world is seen before Awakening, before God takes us unto Himself in enlightenment. May I experience the real world, the state of mind that knows only forgiveness of my brother and sister.

The real world is a concept that we often overlook. As a state of mind, it can come to us in snatches before the real world is sustained. May I walk quietly and serenely toward that blessing today.

Amen.

Nothing Real Can Be Threatened. Nothing Unreal Exists.

manet - bar“This course can therefore be summed up very simply in this way:
Nothing real can be threatened.
Nothing unreal exists.
Herein lies the peace of God. (T-in.2)”

1 – Illusion

As I read this passage, it seems to me that we are encouraged, once again, to see that the world in which we live is illusion. It is not real, and therefore does not truly exist. The real, in my view, are the intangibles of hope, love, joy, peace, and the like. These cannot be taken from us except by our choice. And when we are in our right minds, we choose to keep these blessings in our hearts.

We have the peace of God when we have His intangibles. And the passage concludes, “Herein lies the peace of God.”

2 – Special Attention

This passage is the epigram for A Course in Miracles, and, as such, deserves particular consideration. Let’s take a look at the words themselves, and how they are interpreted elsewhere in ACIM.

3 – The Real

The “real” is usually referred to as the “real world,” the unplaced place that we see when we are nearing Awakening. The real world is experienced only briefly, but we don’t know what “brief” means in eternity. Mari Perron, the scribe for A Course of Love, believes that when we have experienced Awakening, we are in fact not living an illusion any longer, but are experiencing reality. Hugh Prather, in an afterlife visit to his friend Jerry Jampolsky, however, said that A Course in Miracles was absolutely correct, that we are living an illusion. And Hugh was an advanced teacher of God. So there can be no easy answers. We, each of us, need to turn within to ask what truth is for us, what we truly believe.

4 – The Unreal

The “unreal” is the illusion, the maya in which we find ourselves throughout most of our lives, before Awakening, at the least. And this unreal does not have to affect us adversely, though it usually does. The pain, the suffering, all can be seen as the mirages that they are. And we can turn aside from them just as surely as we welcomed them.

5 – Real World

There is an extremely reassuring passage that bears quoting, about the real world:

“Sit quietly and look upon the world you see, and tell yourself: ‘The real world is not like this. It has no buildings and there are no streets where people walk alone and separate. There are no stores where people buy an endless list of things they do not need. It is not lit with artificial light, and night comes not upon it. There is no day that brightens and grows dim. There is no loss. Nothing is there but shines, and shines forever.’ (T-13.VII.1)”

6 – Mystery

I do not pretend to understand what is being said here. But I know that the real world, if experienced as joy, is not dependent upon things of this world to sustain it. This is what I think is meant here. Not that there will be no things of this world, but that we will see them differently. They will not mean anything particular, just because what we see is physical. We will have our sights on the nonphysical, on the intangible. And we will be much the better for it.

7 – Take a Moment

We need to take a moment from time to time to ask what really matters, what the real world will truly show to us. And when we find an answer, we need to engrave it upon our hearts. Certainly we have progressed beyond the desire to attract material objects as a way of self-aggrandizement. But we need something to replace the physical objects with, or we will experience a sense of loss. And there is no need—ever—to experience a sense of loss. The happiness that Jesus gives as we approach Awakening, as we experience the happy dreams the Holy Spirit sends, is without parallel in the physical universe. It is not physical at all. We have our physical needs satisfied, but that is of small consequence to us. We are looking at a higher reality.

8 – All Will Be Well

So let us seek the real as we go about our world. Let us drop the unreal.

And all will be well.

Affirmation: “Let us seek for the real today.”

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

I am thankful for You today. This is a particularly good day, and it comes to me from You. May all with whom I come in contact in any way be blessed by their circumstances today.

Be with my significant others today and every day. May I fulfill what You would have me say and do for them.

Amen.

When You Are Afraid, Be Still and Know that God Is Real

paris street - rainy day“You are part of reality, which stands unchanged beyond the reach of your ego but within easy reach of spirit. When you are afraid, be still and know that God is real, and you are His beloved Son in whom He is well pleased. (T55)”

Affirmation: “When you are afraid, be still”

Reflections:

1 – Comfort

This is a comforting passage to recall in times of fear, and, especially, if we feel that we have wronged a brother. God loves us still, and all mistakes are correctable. We are His beloved Son (or Daughter) in whom He is well pleased. What a statement that is! In fact, it compares God’s love for us with the familiar passage from the New Testament, in which Jesus received God’s blessing as His beloved son. We do not usually think of ourselves in this light. We do not usually compare ourselves to Jesus, especially when in the grip of the ego–for the egoic interpretation would have us reach toward pride, a characteristic that even the ego knows is to be avoided. The whole attitude encompassed in the passage for today would seem to be arrogant to the ego, but actually our spirit knows that we can still be humble and accept such words as these from Jesus.

2 – The World We Made Is an Illusion

There is a theoretical aspect to this passage as well: the image of “reality,” as opposed to the world that we made, which is actually, as seen by the A Course in Miracles, an illusion. The ego lives in this world of illusion, and so naturally if we are listening to the ego, we will believe that we have wronged a brother, and we will be afraid accordingly. The ego feeds upon such imaginings. We do not really understand the assertion in ACIM that we made (not created) this world in which we live. This is a theological underpinning that is beyond our scope. Yet if Jesus says it, I can recognize that there is something here that speaks to me though I do not understand it. I can recognize that my mind can indeed weave illusions, and, according to Jesus in ACIM, that is exactly what my mind has done. And all our minds. We are caught in a mass hallucination (an interpretation, not stated in ACIM).

3 – Insane World

Actually we cannot truly wrong a brother in his (or her) reality, and when we move beyond the ego to the spirit, we know this. Note that reality is within “easy” reach of spirit. This reminder we may need often, as we go about in an insane world. God never leaves us alone, though; we are always shadowed by His inner essence in ourselves, and we always have the Holy Spirit for guidance. Individuals of faith have long recognized the spark of divinity that is within us all, and that is what is meant here. We can reach to true reality, though we may get only glimpses for a long while. When Awakening dawns, we walk a new earth in the real world.

4 – Fear

It is comforting to know that we can be still and ease the fear. An advanced individual does not normally feel the fear that most of us do. But until we become that advanced individual, we still need the comfort that only God can provide.

4 – Be Still

Stillness will quell fear. This is important to remember. We need to realize that we do not have to let our worried and frantic minds exacerbate conflict. We can cease the turmoil by a turning inward, buttressed by prayer.

Prayer:

Dear Father,

When I am afraid, help me to realize that You are there for me. I do not have to retain the emotion of fear; I only need to realize that You will lead me out of that emotion.

I am within easy reach of spirit. Let me always remember this. And thank you.

Amen.

Wholly Satisfying Nature of Reality

bridgepontoise2pissarro
“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 – At What Point Is Reality Satisfying?

Certainly if one has awakened, in the sense of enlightenment–what we are headed for, being prepared through A Course in Miracles–we will know the wholly satisfying nature of reality. We would under those circumstances feel little need to drop into fantasies, though I can imagine that a reflective, moving panorama of the world would elicit reveries that reflect a happy state of consciousness. Indeed, Eckhart tells of just such a state in The Power of Now. The outside world–as well as the inner–seemed fresh and new, and he was awed by what he saw and otherwise experienced. But is it right to call this reaction “fantasy”? I think not. Fantasies seem, in the teaching of ACIM, to be an example of miscreations of the mind, an idle wandering that is not actually idle at all. ACIM says that form is created on some level all the time. Now we cannot understand this, but we can imagine what is meant. And it behooves us to watch our minds and not drop into idle thoughts, thoughts that are actually not idle at all–as Jesus tells us. ACIM notes that the concept of idle thoughts is mistaken, because of the forms that are created. We are lost in miscreations of a mind ruled by the ego.

3 – Life as Easy and Joyous

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 – No Need for Escape Thoughts

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,

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.

Fantasies Are a Means of Making False Associations and Attempting to Obtain Pleasure from Them

vangogh_cafe1888“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 – Fantasies Are Untruths

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

I once spent a an unhealthy amount of time in fantasies, not just for trying to get “pleasure” in my fantasies, but because the fantasies seemed to me to be a type of dream in which I could learn something. I wanted to learn more about my life and how I fitted into my overall picture of living. I wanted to know how I fitted in with the other people whom I knew and whom I wished to know. So I let my mind rove freely in reverie, which is a kind of fantasy.

3 – Continued. . .

Of course, I derived pleasure from these reveries as well, or I would not have continued so long in them. They were particularly prevalent, as the fantasies are for many people, when in high school I discovered boys. My first boyfriend, when I was 16, was a rich source of material for fantasy. But was this healthy? And is it healthy for anybody? I think not.

4 – Fantasies from Vivid Dreams

Later on, I had vivid dreams that seemed to me to tell me something more about my life than daily life could tell. And I enlarged on these nighttime dreams by “listening” in reverie. I do not discount that some of this fantasy may have been an attempt to make contact with the knowledge of the Holy Spirit. But in this passage for today, Jesus does not recommend such meanderings in the thought process. He will later tell us that we are much too prone to “mind wandering,” and that every thought creates form at some level.

5 – Creation of Form

While we cannot understand this form creation, we can see that we are on dangerous ground. And we can pull back.

6 – This World

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.

7 – 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,

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.

May my brothers and sisters in this world also see the value of leaving behind an illusory world of fantasy. Perhaps the more we leave behind fantasy, the more ready for the real world we may become.

Amen.

Salvation = Game that Happy Children Play

Starry-Night - van gogh
“Realize that this game of chance [tension between desire and accomplishment] is a pattern of the old thought system that needs to be replaced by certainty. If you have enjoyed the game of chance, play a real game and have fun doing it. Do not bring this attitude into your new thought system or your new life. If you are tired of the old, be willing to be done with the old. (Treatises of A Course of Love: Treatise on the Personal Self, 22.15)”

Affirmation: “There is no challenge in reality.”

Reflections:

1 – No Challenge to the Advanced Teacher of God

The passage for today indicates that there is no challenge—to the advanced teacher of God (from A Course in Miracles). To my mind, the tension between desire and accomplishment IS challenge. And we do not want to reinforce this attitude. We want to be done with the old.

2 – Guidance

According to the Manual of A Course in Miracles, there is no challenge to the advanced teacher of God because he/she follows guidance. He/she chooses for all humankind at the same time as choosing for the self. He/she makes no mistakes (be careful for this, for we oscillate in and out of favor), because his Guide (in ACIM, the Holy Spirit) is sure. He/she knows that his/her decisions are based on knowledge that is far beyond anything that he/she can comprehend alone.

3 – Certainty

If we are tired of playing this game of chance, in that some things turn out well and others don’t, know that we can be through with this particular game. Instead, let us play the happy game of salvation, a “game that happy children play” (from ACIM). Let us choose what we say and do with the certainty that has been denied us previously. We can know certainly only by following guidance, and, with A Course of Love, this guidance is the word coming from the inner Self, Christ. We make no mistakes when we are on the beam with this. But we have to realize that we are not perfect in this world, and mistakes will still happen. This keeps us humble, and this also keeps us listening to the inner voice of guidance.

4 – Glimpses of the Real World

Are we weary of this world? There is a way out, and it is not death. We can, most of us, catch glimpses of the real world before Awakening turns out life aright all the time. The first turning is by grace of God, but there are things that we can do to increase glimpses once they have begun. Prayer, study, and communion with God—all increase the likelihood that these glimpses will increase qualitatively and quantitatively.

5 – A Prayer

May we know more today than yesterday, and may we know more tomorrow than today. Always, though, living in the present.

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

I would be cognizant today of taking part in a real game, not a game of conflict and disaster. I would see salvation as a game that happy children play, knowing that the lighthearted touch is best.

Be with me to clue me in to the right way to proceed. And thank You for Your presence, which always brings a feeling of warmth and a feeling of being loved.

Amen.

How Little Consequence Fears Had in Truth

paintings-by-pierre-auguste-renoir-young girls at piano“You will also clearly see all of the choices that throughout your life were caused by fear and how little consequence they had in truth. These fearful choices took nothing from you or from others. (Treatises of A Course of Love: Treatise on the Personal Self, 14.9)”

Affirmation: “The fears of the past had no consequence.”

Reflections:

1 – Fears of the Past

The passage for today is a startling statement. Is it really true, as Jesus says? Have the fears of the past really made no difference?

2 – Love

Just prior to this passage, Jesus affirms that it is the love that we have experienced that made us the persons now that we would not change. We would not be other than what we are. This statement in itself needs some understanding, for at first glance it does not appear true. Do we really want how we are now? If we believe that love has made what we would not change, then our central core is love, and Love with a capital “L.”

3 – Of the Ego, in Illusion

And the fears have been of the ego, and in illusion, and therefore do not matter in the least. We have suffered, true, but we have suffered in illusion. Nothing real has ever been threatened (from A Course in Miracles). Because we are leaving illusions, and with illusions, the ego, behind, we have nothing left to fear. We can truly realize that the fears of the past are meaningless.

4 – Let Love Direct

So let love direct our course. We will be what we wish when we realize that reality is created of Love, and that nothing but Love counts for anything.

5 – Sequence of Events

If, while caught in the illusion, fears still rear their ugly heads, realize that the best that can happen to us is that we gently turn aside from our fears. Then the ego will dissipate, and we will soon be living in the real world. Awakening will follow shortly thereafter. And all will be well.

6 – Millions of Years

If this degree of salvation seems unattainable today, then let us be patient. It took millions of years for the separation to occur (from the Text of ACIM), and it may take even longer for the separation for everyone to be healed (also from ACIM). But once set on our course, the ending is certain. And for those of us who follow Jesus’s directions, there will very likely be no millions of years. We will help to lead others who have not yet benefited from Jesus’s words.

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

Thank You for the knowledge that my fears do not matter in the grand scheme of things—that only Love matters. I would drop fears so immediately that my head will spin. I am relieved that those fears have not impacted anything real.

It is my choice to follow You in every minute detail as well as every grand scenario. Help me to do so. This world is a challenge only when I forget myself. There is no challenge when I gently let intuition rule, guiding each next footfall.

Amen.

Shaking Up Our World

folinsbee - pennsylvania impressionism“You have chosen many doors to the same house and but thought them to offer different things, only to find that the house you entered was still the same house, the house of illusion. You took your self into these many rooms and in some you were even capable of representing your true self. This representation of the true self within the house of illusion was like an explosion happening there. (Treatises of A Course of Love: Treatise on the Personal Self, 7.6)”

Affirmation: “I would not participate in an explosion in a house of illusions today.”

Reflections:

1 – Exit

We need to depart from the house of illusion. I have mentioned this, in different words, many times in this blog. The house of illusion is what we have been caught in for eons. And it is now time to exit.

2 – Return to Illusion?

We may think that we can save others, lost in illusion, by going back into this house of illusions. Yet this is a falsehood. We need to beckon from without, not join others in their illusions. We need to exit ourselves before we can be of any effective use to others.

3 – Glimpses

Of course, we have done some good works when we have been lost in illusions, because illusions are never total. We have seen glimpses of the real world for a long time now. But glimpses are not enough now. We need to ask for a more constant dwelling in the house of reality, the real world. And God will answer us at the time that we are ready.

4 – Explosions

We did represent our true self in the house of illusion, but by so doing, we made explosions there. And this was disturbing, not only to us but also to our brothers and sisters. And explosions rocked the boat. As they were meant to do.

5 – Set the Right Example

Our brothers and sisters will see that there is a better way if we live right, if we set the right example. But deciding to do so is arguably difficult, because deciding to do so is based on good intentions, which often fail us. So turn to guidance to see how and in what way to reach others. Don’t make elaborate plans to proselytize, because this is not the way to go. Many are not yet ready. But when our brothers and sisters see us happy and well, many will be led to ask us what is different in our lives. Then we can tell them. And in the telling we will be witnessing.

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

I would not witness today to those who are not ready, but I would also never turn down a chance to witness to those who are ready to hear. I need Your help in this. Be with me today as I walk along the pathway that You have set for me; please keep me on this right pathway.

I would not fall back into illusions today. This is a return to maya, to the ego’s traps. I would walk ahead to the real world, in as fast a pace as I can. But I would not trip over my own feet. I would walk carefully and gently, finding companions along the way who need me. And I need companions also. It is a two-way street.

Be with me today as I seek to do what I recognize as my will, being identical to Yours for me.

Amen.

No Reason to Be Afraid

monet - japanese bridge2“The Christ in you has no need to plan. A need to come to know. . .yes. But a need to plan. . .no. The Christ in you needs not for you to choose a lesson plan, but to let life itself be your chosen way of learning. (Treatises of A Course of Love: Treatise on the Nature of Unity and Its Recognition, 10.19)”

Affirmation: “May I do no planning today.”

Reflections:

1 – No Need to Plan

Jesus warns against planning, first, in A Course in Miracles. In a little-known section of ACIM, he indicates that the way to lose one’s way to salvation is to attack, to judge, and to plan against contingencies to come (unless planning has been informed by the Holy Spirit). We can recognize that all three of these–attack, judging, and planning–are defenses against an uncertain future, a future that we don’t want to be uncertain. We are scared.

2 – Fear the Future?

But do we really have to fear the future? If we are dreaming the happy dreams that the Holy Spirit brings, we will walk a smooth path. And, in A Course of Love, the dreams give way to (at least) glimpses of reality. Mari Perron, who channeled ACOL, believes that in the time of Christ we are no longer living dreams. She believes that we thrust into the real world, as indicated by ACIM as well as the “reality” of ACOL. If so, we really do not need to choose the defense of planning. We do not need to make a lesson plan out of our lives. We just need to live our lives and therein to learn from our lives.

3 – Learn through Life

So we are to learn through life itself. Actually, has not this always been the case? Many spiritual writings, though not all, believe that we are in a school room on earth. Psychic writers have said this as well. (Notably, Neale Donald Walsch in Conversations with God does not see the earth as a school room.) Whether or not we are actually in school is not a question with which we need to preoccupy ourselves. We do not need to let theology delay us, for all of us will never agree on theological points.

4 – Next Step

We do need the universal experience, though, and that is life itself. We do not give up planning entirely, if we have to catch a plane, for example (as detailed by Eckhart Tolle in a CD entitled “Even the Sun Will Die”). But we do not make sweeping generalizations about our life’s course. The next step is really what we need to know. And that next step will enter our minds unfailingly when we ask for guidance, either from the Holy Spirit (if one is following A Course in Miracles) or the Self/Christ (if one is following A Course of Love).

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

I would realize today that my fears have always been ungrounded. What I need to know comes to me in the moment, not from extensive defensive planning. I do not have to be afraid of anything. Even if the worst that I contemplate comes to pass, You are here for me. And that is all that I really need to know.

Be with me today as I seek to leave social anxieties behind. And all other anxieties as well.

There is no reason to be afraid. May I never lose sight of this truth.

Amen

Knowing through Relationship Is How Life Is

pissarro - street scene2“The relationship becomes the known.  While it is your nature to seek for more, it is also the nature of life to exist in relationship and to become known through relationship.  This is how knowing comes to be.  Knowing through relationship is not a ‘second best’ situation.  It is how life is.  It is how love is.  (A Course of Love, 23.2)”

Affirmation:  “I focus on relationship today.”

Reflections:

1 – What Relationship Means

This passage does not only mean relationship with other human beings.  This passage means relationship with all that we know, our inner Self and the world as we see it.  We stand in relationship to all, and that is how we learn, and that is what we love.

2 – Not Solitary Creatures

What does it mean to be “in relationship” to all?  We can take these words literally.  They mean what they say.  We are not solitary creatures; we were not created that way.  We are meant to be in relationship to all that surrounds us.

3 – With Significant Others

Of course, we focus most of all on our relationship to our significant others.  This is the way that A Course in Miracles defined salvation to be found.  And here A Course of Love picks up where ACIM left off, and also amplifies the concept.  It is a progression, because we were not ready for the full truth when we were dislodging the ego, as in ACIM.

4 – Reciprocity

We need to give our significant others the love that they need.  They in turn need to reciprocate, but this is not mandatory for the blessing to happen to us.  We will learn from love even when it is unrequited.  And we will learn from love when it ebbs and when it flows.  There is nothing that we learn outside of love, for Love is all that there is.  Everything else is illusion.

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

I would recognize today that the world that I see is illusion, though it seems real enough to me.  I would recognize that the love that I feel in relationship and unity is the only true reality.  Help me to live peacefully with this knowledge, for it is knowledge, not perception.

Be with me throughout this day, to make of it a good day.  You will make of it a good day, and it is only I who would rue it.  I would not rue today.

Amen.

Relationships = All that Are Real Here

“God is known to you within relationships, as this is all that is real here.  God cannot be seen in illusion nor known to those who fear him.  (A Course of Love, 5.30)”

Affirmation:  “Thank You for my relationships.”

Reflections:

1 – Our Way Home

Here we confront the idea of relationship and its pivotal place in our lives when we follow both A Course in Miracles and A Course of Love.  It is our brother (or sister) from whom we learn the way back to God, when we follow ACIM and ACOL.  Relationships are our way home.

2 – Contemplation Not Required

We do not have to spend long hours in contemplation, for this is tedious (from the Manual of ACIM).  Others who do follow contemplation will find their way back also, but why would we seek a pathway that is different from the way that we are following?  Why seek and seek and seek, only to be led in circles?

3 – Unity and Relationship

Our way, if we choose ACIM and ACOL as our lodestone, is the unity and relationship that we know in this world.  ACIM stresses relationship, and ACOL adds unity to this equation.

4 – What “Fearing” God Means in ACOL

And we do not “fear” God, if we wish to come home.  The word “fear,” in this context, is different from the “fear of God” that is described so often in the Bible.  The definitions are different.  Here we are talking about having an anxiety about God, a sense that maybe He doesn’t wish us well.

5 – One Unequivocal Call

Do we really believe such, given all that we truly know?  I think not.  We know not to blame God for the condition of our world.  We have made these conditions, and He stands ready to save us from ourselves at any moment.  Jesus is also ready to assist, always.  He says that he will come at “one unequivocal call” (from ACIM).

6 – Mists Evaporate

When we are lost in illusions, in dreams, we do not really see God, and we are likely to be afraid of Him, afraid that we will be found out for misdeeds that seem unforgivable.  But all of this foolishness.  We need to commune with God to the extent that our needs dictate.  And then the mists will evaporate, and we will see the real world–a dream (illusion) no longer.

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

I would know no fear or anxiety, because I would find my way Home to You in my relationships.  Thank You for my nighttime dreams as well as my daytime ones.  All are good and welcome in helping me to find my way back to You.

We need our relationships to live well in this world.  We are never meant to live in too isolated a fashion.  Thank You for the friends and family whom I have.  We are One with you, in union with each other and in relationship that blesses all of us.

Amen.

Joining = End of Illusion = Beginning of the Real

“What you join with becomes real.  As you take it into yourself you thereby make it real because you make it one with your real Self.  This is reality.  All you do not join with remains outside and is illusion, for what is not one with you does not exist.  (A Course of Love, 5.17)”

Affirmation:  “I would join today with that which is one with my real Self.”

Reflections:

1 – Fool’s Gold

This passage is a further elucidation of what was discussed in the passage posted yesterday.  “What you join with becomes real.”  We need to join with all that is laudable, and we need to refrain from joining with those things that appear shiny to the ego.  We need not to resist those things that satisfy the ego, for to resist is to make stronger in our concepts.  We just need to turn aside, and not give feeling, to those shiny objects of what is fool’s gold, not real gold.  The material is often only fool’s gold.

2 – Material Blessings

This statement does not mean that God does not want us to have material blessings.  He does indeed, and He will move to help us to acquire material things when we have so worked with our minds that we attract what we wish for.  But we must realize that the material, being outside of ourselves, is not real.  It cannot be brought within us, and joined with, and that is why the material is not ultimately satisfying.  We need the love, joy, harmony, tranquility–all of which are intangible and thus can be brought within ourselves, and there “joined with.”

3 – Perfectly Calm and Quiet

This interpretation means that we assent to the “perfectly calm and quiet” goal that Jesus would have us reach (from A Course in Miracles).  It means, in the words of Eckhart Tolle (The Power of Now and A New Earth), that we no longer seek for drama in our lives.  Drama is distracting, and also very satisfying to the remnant of the ego that will always be a part of ourselves.  (The ego will not be destroyed, because we made it, but it will be deemphasized into insignificance.)

4 – Intangibles of God

Let us seek for the intangibles of God today, and join with those intangibles within our heart, our Christ within, our love within.  Then love has truly done its best to make us ready for Christ-consciousness.

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

I would feel tranquility today.  I would turn aside from anxiety, regardless of what transpires.  I have this in my power, because of the cause-and-effect power of my thoughts, my mind.  I will “listen” with my heart today.  The heart knows how much better life can be when we do not become embroiled in the egoic.

Help me to leave anxiety behind from this day forward.  I do know what to do; I just have to implement.  I know what to do because You have shown me.  And Jesus has given words to Your Wisdom.

Amen.

See the Real World Truly

“To look inward at the real world requires another kind of vision:  the vision of your heart, the vision of love, the vision of the Christ in you.  (A Course of Love, 5.15)”

Affirmation:  “I would see with my heart today.”

Reflections:

1 – A Vision of the Heart

When we see the real world truly, we have seen the vision of our heart.  When we have walked farther enough along Jesus’s indicated pathway inward to God, we also know that we are viewing the Christ, the Self, within.  And we are feeling love.  Mind and heart will ultimately be joined into what Jesus terms “wholeheartedness.”  And then the ego’s reign will be over.  The heart will have made a tremendous contribution to this withering away of the ego, for the heart does not ask for proof in the way that the mind does.  The heart simply “knows,” and in this knowing is something different and more profound than the perceptions of the mind.

2 – Further Explanation of the Real World

It is a great blessing to have a further explanation of the real world.  I had personally been confused by this concept, and I struggled to understand what Jesus meant when he described the “real world” in A Course in Miracles.  Of course, struggle is always ill-advised, but that did not stop me.   I was wrongly using my mind to understand something that could only be understood by my heart, a point that Jesus seems to consider in ACOL.

3 – A Vision of Love, of the Heart, of the Christ Within

May we all have a vision of love today, a vision of the heart, a vision of the Christ within.  And may we walk farther along the pathway that leads to Christ-consciousness (a concept in ACOL that appears to be equated with the Awakening described in ACIM).

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

I would look within today with my heart and therein see a vision of love.  When I am feeling love, all is well with my little world.  And I feel a tremendous gratitude, when my mind is tranquil.  May my mind and spirit be tranquil today.

May we come to understand what the “real world” is all about.  I would not be lost in misconceptions.  We do not see the real world with our physical eyes; we see with an inward vision, the vision of the Christ/Self within.  May this blessing me bestowed upon me today.

Thank You.

Amen.

Safe, Sure, and Secure World–within You

“Within you is all the world safe, sure, and secure.  No terror reigns.  No nightmares rule the night.  Let me give you once again the difference between what is within and what is without:  within is all that has joined with you.  Without is all that you would keep separate.  Within you is every relationship you have ever had with anything.  Outside of you is all that you have kept apart, labeled, judged, and collected on your shelves.  (A Course of Love, 5.14)”

Affirmation:  “I would choose the real life within me.”

Reflections:

1 – Joining Inside of One’s Self

This “joining” inside of one’s self is a new concept in A Course of Love, not discussed specifically in A Course in Miracles.  We can take within, we know, but often the only world that we observe is the one outside of ourselves–the one we enter to earn a living, to find a mate, to make friends.  But Jesus says here that it is the inner joining that creates the real.  And the real is inside of us.

2 – More Complete Definition of the Real World

This is a more complete definition of the “real world” than A Course in Miracles ever gives.  If we believe that Jesus channeled A Course of Love, perhaps to clear up misconceptions and to lead us farther onward, then this more complete definition of the real world, of reality, is a blessing.  We join with that which we love.  And love is the overriding aspect of A Course of Love.

3 – We Have Judged What Is Outside

We have judged what is outside of ourselves.  And that is where our errors lie.  ACIM did say that we were not to attack, judge, or make plans against contingencies to come (unless the Holy Spirit so prompted us to make plans).  So we have made a mistake (but not a sin) when we have judged.  And the judgment has made happiness impossible for us.  We cannot love those whom we judge.  Oh, we love them sometimes, and we hate them sometimes, but this is not love as Jesus mean the word.  We need to love unconditionally, and in A Course of Love he is trying to teach us how to love unconditionally (an interpretation of ACOL, not stated therein).

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

I would join within today, and with this “within” I will reach outward to my brothers and sisters–and those are all of us.  May this view of the real world satisfy me.

There is no better way to live.  To join with all that we are, and reach outward to all that we see.  Thank You.

Amen.

Beyond Our Deepest Imaginings

“To truly see is to begin to see the formless.  To begin to see the formless is to begin to understand what you are.

“All that you now see are but symbols of what is really there before you, in glory beyond your deepest imaginings.  (A Course of Love, 3.3 – 3.4)”

Affirmation:  “a glory beyond my deepest imaginings”

Reflections:

1 – See the Formless

May we see the formless, beginning today.  This is a real function for ourselves, though it is not herein described as a function.  We need, though, truly to see.  This is real vision.  This is the real world.  Here we are living forgiveness, and we are living love.  A Course in Miracles sought to have us experience “vision,” and A Course of Love does the same (in this respect).  May we move into this greater vision, for with it will come greater understanding.

2 – From Forgiveness to Understanding

We are often told to forgive, and then we will come to understand (an interpretation, not stated in ACIM and ACOL).  I have found this sequence–from forgiveness to understanding–to be a true manifestation of the way reality works.  We get it backwards when we hold grievances, but yet try to understand–for we are trying to do what will never work; we are trying to do the impossible.

3 – Forgiveness Clears Our Minds

But forgiveness clears our minds of negatives, and we are then prepared to have the vision that God would have us see.  This is one of the greatest blessings of both ACIM and ACOL.

4 – Home

I would see what is really before me today.  I would see the glory that is beyond my deepest imaginings.  And then I would know that I am truly home.  And I will rejoice that it is so, for home is where I long to be.  And I do not have to die to experience this home.

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

I would truly see today, and to see I need to forgive, for then I will come to understand.  It always seems to work in this direction–forgiveness to understanding, never the reverse.  And may I truly realize this distinction today.

I do know that even this world can hold glory beyond our deepest imaginings.  I would pray to see some of that glory today.  

Be with me as I seek to forgive myself and others today.  May this be a good day in all respects for not only myself, but also all others whom I encounter in any way.

Thank You for listening to my prayer.

Amen.

God / Real World / Love / We Ourselves = Formless

“You are not form, nor is your real world.  You seek the face of God in form as you seek for love in form.  Both love and God are there, but they are not the form that your body’s eyes see.  Just as these words you see upon this page are symbols only of meaning far beyond what the symbols can suggest, so too is everything and everyone around you, those you see and those you only can imagine.  To seek the ‘face’ of God, even in the form of Christ, is to seek for what is forever without form.  (A Course of Love, 3.4)”

Affirmation:  “The real world is not form.”

Reflections:

1 – Being without Form

This passage, like many others that we have considered, is a part of the theology of A Course of Love.  We do not have to be delayed by theology (A Course in Miracles tenet), unless we so choose.  We need only to seek the practical (also an ACIM tenet).  But we may be interested in this theology.  Just what does being without form really mean?

2 – Positive vs. Negative

If the real world, as well as God and Christ, are without form, then we do not have to pay too much attention to the images that we make in our minds.  They are images that are symbols only–symbols of a great reality that we cannot, in this world, fully comprehend.  But we can get some idea that the intangibles–the love, joy, peace, harmony, serenity–are real.  The negative emotions that the ego/fear make, though, are not real–the anger, hate, stress, anxiety, attack.  These negative emotions will only hold us back from experiencing our inheritance in this world.  Let us leave these negatives behind today.

3 – Symbols of the Real World

We are in a world that is composed of symbols of the real world.  Even, Jesus says, the words on this page are symbols of a more real reality.  May we seek the fact of God today, but may we realize that seeking His face is a dead end, for He is not there in our images.  Be with God in communion today, and see if His reality does not touch us.  He will answer when we call.  Jesus will also, as he promised in A Course in Miracles.

4 – Time of Christ

We are heading into Christ-consciousness, for now is the time of Christ.  This is a further development from A Course in Miracles, which was the time of the Holy Spirit.  Let us try to come to terms with these differences between ACOL and ACIM.  But let us take unto ourselves the concepts only that we are ready to accept.  And then our lives will smooth out and we will live at peace in this world.

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

Of course, most of us have recognized for years that to image what You might look like is to make an image of a human being out of You, and we know that this is an incorrect way to imagine You.  But we are just beginning to learn that we too are formless, that reality is actually formless, and, of course, that love is formless.  In illusion, but in illusion only, is there a form.

Later on in A Course of Love, we will be led to join our inner Christ/Self with an elevated Self of form that we will live in as part of the physical world.   This is where we are headed when we head for Christ-consciousness in this world.  May we all accept the things that Jesus tells us so that that day might be soon.  And thank You for the blessings that such a transformation promises.

Amen.

Yearning for Love

“This is what you have made this world for:  To prove your separate existence in a world apart from your creator.  This world does not exist.  And you do not exist apart from your creator.  Your yearning for love is what tells you this is so.  It is the proof you do not recognize.  (A Course of Love, 1.15)”

Affirmation:  “I am a part of my Creator.”

Reflections:

1 – Maya

This passage harkens back to A Course in Miracles and it familiar refrain, “projection makes perception.”  ACIM also said that this world does not exist.  So what are we seeing?  We are seeing an illusion, maya (in Eastern terms).  What we see inwardly, without physical eyes, is then projected outward to what appears to be a wholly concrete reality that cannot be denied.  But deny it we must, if we are to have peace.  Yet first we must change the nature of our inward look.

2 – Calm Oasis in Our Hearts

If we look inwardly and see rancor in our mind, we cannot be at peace outwardly.  And we will perceive rancor outwardly.  Our hearts are always at peace (whether we recognize it or not), always a part of God and a calm oasis, regardless of the emotions that seem to besiege the mind.  We, in A Course of Love, are told to make a distinct difference in  understanding the thoughts of our minds, and the feelings of our hearts.  ACOL seeks to bypass the mind, because the mind is what is so important to the ego, which we would see end in our experience.  In bypassing the mind, ACOL‘s words of Jesus influence the heart to see (inwardly) more clearly.  These are not physical eyes that see; this is true vision (and vision is discussed in A Course in Miracles as well).

3 – Solitary?

We do yearn for love, the love of our Creator and the love of our brothers and sisters.  We are not meant to be solitary creatures, though some of us are more introverted than others (and this is just an aspect of personality not to be denied or denigrated).  Jesus tells us here that it is our yearning for love that will prove to us that we are a part of God (though he uses other words in the quoted passage).

4 – Talk to God

We do not recognize that this yearning for love is proof that we are meant to communicate with our Creator.  A Course in Miracles said that we have taught ourselves the most unnatural habit of not communicating with our Creator.  But we can open our hearts to the love of our Creator, and the love of our brothers and sisters in union and relationship to ourselves, and then we will be at home in God, at last.

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

I ask You to listen to me today when I talk to You, even when my thoughts are peevish and irrational.  I am not always living the life that You would wish for me.  I know that You listen, and respond–especially, perhaps, when I am least likely to comprehend a response.  I need You today.  I need to know that the yearning in my heart is my wish for You.

Thank You for the words of Jesus, communicated to Mari, that we would wish to be close to You.  All of us have always known this in our hearts, but we have for eons allowed our egos to rule our minds, and so we have felt very lost.  I know that we have never been lost, but to think has made the illusion so real as to seem insurmountable.

Let us take down all barriers today that separate us from You.  You are within, waiting for us to talk to You.  Gently remind me today, when I forget.

Amen.

In This Sentence Is ACIM Explained

“Forgive the world, and you will understand that everything that God created cannot have an end, and nothing He did not create is real.  In this one sentence is our course explained.  (M-20.5)”

Affirmation:  “May I forgive the world today.”

Reflections:

1 – Forgive and Then Understand

I do not fully understand this passage for today, and I do not fully understand the link between forgiveness and understanding.  I do remember a quotation from my college days, which said “Forgive, and you will come to understand.”  And now Jesus seem to be saying the same thing.

2 – Real Creation

No end to real creation!  That means eternity, and such a blessing it is!  We have made illusions, by projecting outward from within.  And our illusions, our dream, will not stand.  It will last awhile and then disappear.  But what I have termed the “intangibles” of God are lasting–the peace, joy, harmony.

3 – The Real Is Indestructible

And surely, somewhere, on some level of creation, there is the real that is indestructible, though A Course in Miracles does not describe any of this.  Perhaps we could not understand now.  Ruth Montgomery’s Guides said that there was much on the Other Side that would be incomprehensible to our limited minds.  May our minds lose some of their limitation, and may we see glimpses of the real.

4 – Nothing Real Can Be Threatened

The fact that today’s passage is said to explain the whole of A Course in Miracles is very, very important, of course.  It is akin to the epigram with which the Text begins:

Nothing real can be threatened.
Nothing unreal exists.  (T-in.2)

May we revisit this introduction to the Text in our quiet time today.  The words are beautiful, and the meaning incomparable.

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

May I forgive the things in my life that seem to go wrong, and then, as Jesus says, I will come to understand.  I do pray that the real will be shown to me.  I would step away from the unreal, because the unreal is a product of the egoic mind, and I would let that ego of mine wither away.  Be with me to ensure my safety as I make the transition to the real world.  You time this; I do not.  Help me to do what You say to me to ready myself for this pivotal transition.  May Awakening come sooner rather than later.

Be with all lives that I touch today.  There is no harm intended by me, and I ask that no harm ensue.  May my conscious and unconscious minds find peace in Your mercy.  And may I also find the love that we all seek in our everyday lives.  May my appeals for help be heard by those best equipped to heal.  Thank You.

Amen

Anger Recognizes an Illusory Reality

“Can nothing give rise to anger?  Hardly so.  Remember, then, teacher of God, that anger recognizes a reality that is not there; yet is the anger certain witness that you do believe in it as fact.  Now is escape impossible, until you see you have responded to your own interpretation, which you have projected on an outside world.  (M-17.9)”

Affirmation:  “I would not believe in the things that anger shows me.”

Reflections:

1 – “Nothing”

The “nothing” is the illusion.  And this passage for today also indicates that projection leads to perception.  We project outward what we are seeing and feeling internally.  We project an illusion, a dream.

2 – Anger at Interpretations

Remember that nobody can be angry at a fact.  It is always an interpretation that gives rise to anger.  (Paraphrases from ACIM.)  And the interpretation is always false, if it brings forth any emotion akin to anger or any action akin to attack.

3 – Projection Makes Perception

“Projection makes perception” is part of the theology of A Course in Miracles, and Jesus would not have us delayed by theology.  He is concerned with only what everyone can accept.  Theology may only delay us.  And we do so like to engage in debate!  Yet, for those who are ready to accept the theology, it is there for us in ACIM.  There is nothing without (from the Text).  There is nothing outside of ourselves (also from the Text).  When we come to see this, it will be a revelation that has shown the truth of it to us.  And we cannot convey revelation from God to another, because it is intensely personal to ourselves.  God knows how to speak to each of us in a manner that we can understand.

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

I would not be angry today.  I would not be agitated today, for stress leads, for me, inexorably toward anger.  Anger is not justified, because we are always interpreting, and we are interpreting illusions.  Why would we get mad at an illusion?

Thank You for these statements from Jesus in A Course in Miracles.  I am grateful everyday for the magnificence of ACIM, for what a blessing it is!  Be with me as I seek, everyday, to understand this channeled work of Jesus all the more.

Amen.

Starting Point = Truth = Not Ego

“Your starting point is truth, and you must return to your Beginning.  Much has been seen since then, but nothing has really happened.  Your Self is still in peace, even though your mind is in conflict.  You have not yet gone back far enough, and that is why you become so fearful.  As you approach the Beginning, you feel the fear of the destruction of your thought system upon you as if it were the fear of death.  (T51)”

Affirmation:  “My starting point is truth”

Reflections:

1 – Philosophical Backdrop

This is a difficult passage; it hints at a philosophical backdrop for the Course.

2 – Returning, but Still in Heaven

We are told that we are actually “returning,” even though we have never actually left Heaven.  This returning leads us to the Beginning, before the ego, in its madness, was made.  Naturally, to the ego, its own destruction is terrifying.  We can perhaps gauge the amount of ego still in us by the fearful nature of our thinking as we study the Course.

3 – Living an Illusion

“Nothing has really happened.”  Here is the point made again that we are  living an illusion, and should any of us really fear an illusion?

4 – Reason to Fear?

If we are truly walking a pathway that was over in an instant, long ago, and we only seem to be reliving it now–then what is there to fear at all?  We chose correctly, for God, in that tiny mad idea that arose in our minds, when we forgot to laugh (from the Text).  If this theology helps us, then we would be well to try to understand it.  But if the theology is a stumbling block, we are bade not to embrace theology that would divide us from one another, but instead seek the one experience that we all can share.

5 – We Share Love

And this experience that we all can share is always one of love.  We fall many times.  We attack verbally, we have misunderstanding and regrets, but all of this is meaningless when we recognize that we are caught in illusions, and that these illusions are madness.  Certainly we cringe at being called “insane,” but it is the best way, is it not, to describe the hold that the ego has over us.  The ego has never given us anything to keep.  It has always tangled prizes out in front of us, but prizes that rust and decay.  And then we cry, for we do not have what we really want.  And what is it that we really want?

6 – The Real World

The real world, as described by A Course in Miracles, is a world free of vengeance and rebuff, a shining world of joy and peace.  This is not “pie in the sky” thinking, because our projections make our perception (an ACIM tenet), and we can make any world that we want.  If we see something that we do not want to see, we turn inwardly to the Holy Spirit, and we ask for a new picture.  Indeed, ACIM says that we are seeing these distasteful things because we do not want to see them.  They are an outward indication of an inward condition, and only when that inward condition is healed will we, once again, walk a green earth.

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

As I study the Course, I may become fearful.  This is because my ego senses its elimination.

Help me to realize that this fear can be abated by Your strength.  Help me to realize that the elimination of the ego is what I really want.

Amen.

Be Still

“You are part of reality, which stands unchanged beyond the reach of your ego but within easy reach of spirit.  When you are afraid, be still and know that God is real, and you are His beloved Son in whom He is well pleased.  (T55)”

Affirmation:  “When you are afraid, be still”

Reflections:

1 – Comforting Passage

This is a comforting passage to recall in times of fear, and, especially, if we feel that we have wronged a brother.  God loves us still, and all mistakes are correctable.

2 – Guilt as a Barrier

A personal issue is often that we feel such remorse that we do not forgive ourselves.  Indeed, I sometimes wonder if that is the great need of our time.  We are instructed in A Course in Miracles to forgive our brother, but often we cannot do that because of the guilt that we still feel, the guilt that is keeping us mad and unable to forgive ourselves.  Then we need to realize that Jesus would not have us react this way.  He always forgave, in part because his understanding was greater, and he knew that his brothers were, at heart, innocent of wrongdoing.  Do we know the same?  It is true, and knowing this and taking it to heart will go a long way toward smoothing our own pathway through this sometimes troubled and insane world in which we find ourselves.

3 – Real World / Dream or Illusions

There is a theoretical aspect to this passage as well:  the image of “reality,” as opposed to the world that we made, which is actually, as seen by the Course, an illusion.  The ego lives in this world of illusion, and so naturally if we are listening to the ego, we will believe that we have wronged a brother, and we will be afraid accordingly.  The ego feeds upon such imaginings.

4 – In Reality, No Harm

Actually we cannot truly wrong a brother in his (or her) reality, and when we move beyond the ego to the spirit, we know this.   Note that reality is within “easy” reach of spirit.  This reminder we may need often, as we go about in an insane world.  God never leaves us alone, though; we are always shadowed by His inner essence in ourselves, and we always have the Holy Spirit for guidance.

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

When I am afraid, help me to realize that You are there for me.  I do not have to retain the emotion of fear; I only need to realize that You will lead me out of that emotion.

I am within easy reach of spirit.  Let me always remember this.  And thank You.

Amen.

Attack Is Always Made upon a Stranger

“If you attack error in another, you will hurt yourself.  You cannot know your brother when you attack him.  Attack is always made upon a stranger.  (T41)”

Affirmation:  “Attack is always made upon a stranger.”

Reflections:

1 – We Are Not Seeing the Holy

When we attack, we are not seeing the holy in our brother.  We are not seeing his (or her) innocence.  So we are not seeing truly.  We have made of him (or her) a stranger.  I would see truly today, and that means that I forgive what has never happened in the real world.  I am always lost in illusions when I attack.  This is not the way to live peaceably in our world.

2 – Personal Experience

I once verbally attacked when a brother did not respond as I would have wished, and this is among my greatest regrets in life.  Be careful of how you respond, even if great stress is making for the insanity.  We do not want to look back on our lives with regret of any kind.  We can ask for forgiveness internally, and sometimes externally–to the one affected.  This will give us a measure of peace of mind.

3 – The Insanity of Guilt

When we attack, we may feel momentarily better, but then the insanity of guilt will overcome us.  We will feel worse than before, and this comes from knowing that we have betrayed both our brother and ourselves.

4 – Our Brothers and Sisters Are Innocent

Recognizing the innocence in our brother even if he (or she) has attacked us first, is to know the evidence of insanity in our world.  A special relationship is usually filled with attack, once the bloom of infatuation is off the relationship.  A holy relationship, however, has moved beyond the specialness (which was always a lie), and knows one’s brother as the loving Self that he (or she) truly is.

Prayer:

Dear Farther/Mother,

May I make no brother or sister a stranger by attacking that person.  May I realize that I have always made him or her a stranger when I have attacked.  I would make nobody a stranger unto myself.  Help me to stay true to this resolution.

May I understand that I make a stranger of my brothers and sisters when I attack them.  We also turn inward to attack ourselves at this same time.  We are all One.

May I see the innocence even in attack received from another.  Attack is a form of insanity–nothing more.  May I forgive and walk into the light.

Amen.

Perfect Love

“Know first that this is fear.
Fear arises from lack of love.
The only remedy for lack of love is perfect love.
Perfect love is the Atonement.  (T30)”

Affirmation:  “The only remedy for lack of love is perfect love.”

Reflections:

1 – A Poem

This is another beautiful blank verse poem from the Course.  It is also a syllogism, which Jesus seems to appreciate a great deal, for there are several in the Course.

2 – Fear and Love

It is unlikely that we will understand this poem completely without reading our way through the entire Course.  Basically, the poem refers to the fact that the only two emotions are fear and love, and that only lack of love makes fear.

3 – Do We Still Cling to Fears?

This passage can be very demoralizing if we are not patient with ourselves.  We know that we are not experiencing “perfect love,” because we still cling to fears.  And these fears, remnants of the ego, can have a strong foothold in our minds.

3 – To Ease Anxieties, Commune with God

We need to commune with God to allow our anxieties to ease.  I speak from personal experience.  Often if I awake deep in the night, I start to pray, and I quite literally feel such peace that the prayer itself puts me at ease enough to drift off into sleep again, without realizing what has happened until the next morning.  God does not mind that we pray to Him and then drift off to sleep.  The apostles slept at Gethsemane.  So there is a long history of slumber overcoming those who would watch and wait for God.

4 – Falling Asleep While Praying

I also do not think that falling asleep by praying shows a lack of love or even respect for God.  He is inside us, and we project the world outside.  When we commune with our depths, we are actually being true to our Self.

4 – Atonement = Shift in Perception

The Atonement is a shift in perception that allows us to see that we are actually innocent children of God.  Heretofore we have believed that we were guilty of black sins that will require retribution.  Through the Course, we learn that reaching perfect love is the ultimate end of our journey here.  Knowing only love, we will fear no longer.  This too is the Awakening.

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

When I find the day hard-going, may I realize that my love is imperfect.  Imperfect love makes for a bad day.  May my day today, the part that remains, be perfect in Your sight.  This does not mean that I am above making mistakes, but it does mean that staying on Your pathway is my aim and my goal.  I would not allow useless and foolish fears to counterbalance the good day that You would send.  I would not allow minor lassitude to turn me from Your course.  Be with me as I seek to live am emotionally and physically healthy life.  I know that You are “for health” all the way, and I would not let any sense of vulnerability turn me from You.  I am not vulnerable, but in Your love, I am strong.  Be with me to give me enjoyment in this beautiful day that You have offered to me, free and clear, constant in the guidance that You send to me via the Holy Spirit.

I would have good energy today as I seek to feel perfect love.  I would disregard any fears that seem to arise, knowing that they are illusions, for only love is real.  May I live in the real world today, even if only in glimpses of reality–Your reality.

May I find the perfect love that You have promised all of your children.  May I leave fear behind as I find this perfect love.

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.

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.

Knowledge of the Divine Order

“A miracle is a correction introduced into false thinking by me.  It acts as a catalyst, breaking up erroneous perception and reorganizing it properly.  This places you under the Atonement principle, where perception is healed.  Until this has occurred, knowledge of the Divine Order is impossible.  (T5)”

Affirmation:  “I would invite miracles today.”

Reflections:

1 – Definition of a Miracle

The selected passage gives one definition of the miracle, a definition offered by Jesus.  The wording of this passage is straight-forward, but may be difficult to understand on first reading.

2 – Two Aspects of the Miracle

Jesus links the miracle with Atonement.  In addition, he says that our perception will be healed.  These two aspects of the miracle make it imminently desirable.

3 – Atonement

What is meant by the Atonement?  There is no single definition given in A Course in Miracles.  I think Jesus assumes that we will understand, but many of us remain puzzled.  We remain puzzled because traditional Christianity sees the crucifixion as having purchased our salvation from an angry God by the sacrifice of His only Son.  A Course in Miracles differs on this, though.  ACIM sees the resurrection as the crucial point.  ACIM does not try to describe the resurrection, but A Course of Love does describe the Jesus following the resurrection as having a “new form.”  The resurrection is never denied, though we do not presently understand, through our limited science, how the resurrection could have happened.  (We may also question the New Testament raising of Lazarus.)

4 – Take the Understanding that We Can

I think that Jesus would take us where we are, and have us accept as much as is needed for Atonement to be effected in us.  We are at one with him in Christ (shared by the Self of all–A Course of Love tenet).  We are justified by God’s sight when we have turned our way over to a Higher Power.  We do not try to blindly save ourselves anymore.  We may study ACIM diligently, but we know that the Awakening is only a God-given gift.

5 – Perception – Healed?

Second, how can our perception be healed?  We will no longer have the kind of mind that projects evil onto the world.  And, as we have seen repeatedly in A Course in Miracles, projection makes perception.  All is within; there is nothing without.   That is a theological concept in ACIM, and if we find it difficult to accept, then Jesus would not have us delayed by theology.  We look within, see what we wish to see there, and then project with our human eyes the outside; we perceive the exterior world.

6 – Mass Hallucination?

Of course, I believe that we are part of a mass hallucination (an interpretation, not stated in ACIM).   It would be particularly pernicious to deny what our physical eyes show us.  But we do know, from ACIM, that what we see is illusion.  A Course in Miracles says, “There is no world!”  That is what we must ultimately see (ACIM tenets).

7 – Healed Perception

When our perception is healed, we will not look out on the same world, because projection makes perception (a Course concept).  Our lives will work better in this new world (called by the Course the “real world”), and we will live in calm and quiet.  This indeed is what miracles hold out for us.  What a blessing!

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

I would look out on the world with a healed perception today.  That is my goal for today.  Help me to reach it.

I may not sustain a healed perception, but I ask You to take me farther along the pathway today.  May we understand the Atonement as much as is humanly possible.  May we realize that there are physical laws of which we are as yet unaware.

Be with us as we live through the illusion of this world.  May we join with our brothers and sisters to we seek to find the reality that underlies our world–Your reality.  I would see the real world with healed perception today.

Amen.

Nightmares

“[Miracles] thus atone for your errors by freeing you from your nightmares. By releasing your mind from the imprisonment of your illusions, they restore your sanity.  (T5)”

Affirmation:  “I would be free of nightmares.”

 

Reflections:

1 – Sanity

The restoration of our sanity is the great need of all humankind.  It is not sanity as perceived by the world, but sanity as perceived by the Awakening.  Miracles will bring this great event closer in time.

2 – What Does “Insane” Mean?

We are not all locked up in our insanity, but we live at large in the world.  Some who are certifiably “mentally ill” may have a deeper awareness of the real world than any of us who are supposed to be mentally healthy.  It is not a coincidence that much of the delusion of the mentally ill has to do with religious convictions.  They are living closer to reality, but they have drowned in the light.  As Joseph Campbell said, the insane are drowning, while the mystic is swimming in the same waters.

3 – Made Mad by Guilt

We have indeed been lost in nightmares.  We have been made mad by guilt (a Course concept).  Happy dreams will arrive as soon as we let the miracles replace our madness.  And the real world, according to the Course, will arrive soon afterwards.  Then it is only a brief moment in time before God Himself will take the last step, the Awakening.  This is not something that we can effect ourselves.

4 – Nightmares and Illusions

“Nightmares” and “illusions” are linked in this passage.  May we reach toward the promise of sanity in the real world when we give up our illusions, and, with them, our nightmares.  Fear will subside, and in calm and quiet we will live in the guidance of the Holy Spirit.

5 – The Real World

Nowhere in A Course in Miracles is the “real world” concisely defined.  We are simply told that its presence will be brief, and then we will be awakened by God.  Time (an illusion anyway) is not measured in eternity the same way that it is measured on earth.  And so we really have no guidance in ACIM about how long we will perceive the real world.  Let us hope that the real world will come soon to us, and may we remove all blocks to love’s awareness that keeps it from us (paraphrases from ACIM).

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

I would live today as sanely as it is possible for me, caught in this world, to live.  I would not scare myself with my own fears.  I would seek guidance of the Holy Spirit about my goings and comings.  I would not try to direct my life, for I cannot judge aright.  But my Guide can judge aright, and it is to Him that I will turn today.

Help me to keep these resolutions.  Thank You.

Amen.

Attack Thoughts

“I can escape from the world I see by giving up attack thoughts. (WB34)”

Affirmation:  “I can escape from the world I see by giving up attack thoughts.”

 

Reflections:

1 – The Affirmation Works

This is a magnificently truthful statement.  On the surface of it, it sounds too easy, but it works.

2 – A Personal Story

I was once in a place of employment where there were many political pressures, and I had many political problems.  I did not “fit in” in that group of people.  I knew it, and they knew it, and perhaps as a result, they found much in my work performance to criticize.  I had recently discovered A Course in Miracles, and I read and reread the passage quoted above.  I stayed in that position for three years, and I left to much happiness for 19 years in a similar, but better position in another part of the country.  So this is why I know that this passage works.  I gave up my attack thought; I was not defensive; and soon I was led away from that work environment that was not “my” place.

3 – Projection Makes Perception

Our thoughts project the world that we experience.  That is a fundamental philosophical tenet of the Course.  If the world we see has much to regret, then perhaps it is because we are attacking it in our minds; we are having attack thoughts.

4 – Out Perception of the External Will Change

This statement has the potential to change totally the world that surrounds us.  This is true whether or not outer circumstances, the true externals, change very much.  Our perception of these externals will change.  And that is all that is needed.  We walk into a better world, one that we cannot recognize as long as we are futilely harboring attack.

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

I have been rereading favorite passages from A Course in Miracles.  I realized that I was not in a very positive mood, and ACIM, to date, has always soothed my troubled emotions.  Thank You for the gift that ACIM is for all of us.  And thank You for Your son Jesus, who channeled these magnificent words.

Be with us today as we go about a normal day.  Make light the pressures of the day, knowing that when we are stress-free, we will not normally attack anyone.  We are at peace, and do we not wish the same for all that we encounter?  May today be a time of special recommitment to Your way, knowing that attack never works at all, and knowing that giving up attack thoughts changes everything.

Be with us today–all who read these words.  And be with out significant others, so that the impetus to attack will not be caused by the baiting of our ego by another.

Amen.

Self-Accusing Shrieks of Sinners Mad with Guilt

“Forgiveness is the only thing that stands for truth in the delusions of the world. . . .It does not heed the self-accusing shrieks of sinners mad with guilt.  It looks on them with quiet eyes, and merely says to them, ‘My brother, what you think is not the truth.'”  (WB249).

Affirmation:  “I look out on the world with quiet eyes.”

Reflections:

1 – Guilt

Guilt is a great bugaboo in our world:  “the self-accusing shrieks of sinners mad with guilt.”  Guilt makes hell for ourselves.  It is only through our forgiveness of others as well as ourselves that we emerge from this self-made hell.  Guilt is even said in ACIM to “be” hell.  We probably do not fully understand this, but probably can relate to the idea, also in ACIM, that our way to salvation is forgiveness.  And we inevitably feel guilty when we have not forgiven.

2 – The Place for Forgiveness

Eventually we see that not even forgiveness is needed, because there is nothing to forgive in illusions.  We have not actually been harmed in any real way, because the real way is only the way of love.  Notice that “quiet eyes” are needed to perceive the truth.  Forgiveness looks with quiet eyes.  Our wrongful deeds toward another have always been a call for help, and when we receive attack from others, we can therefore recognize that this time they are asking for help.  If we perceive all that happens as either an expression of love or a call for love,  we will be well on our way home.  I have never found in ACIM this exact quotation, though many commentators on ACIM use it.  Certainly the sentiment is implied in A Course in Miracles.

3 – ACIM’s Language

This passage is filled with vivid images.  Vivid images are a hallmark of the Course.  The words are terrifying, but strangely beautiful, and we do well to heed them.

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

I would look out on the world with quiet eyes today.  I would not live in hell out of a sense of guilt.  I would forgive when I have held offenses in mind; I would know that illusions are not part of the real world, and it is in the real world that I would live today.

I would not overreact to terrifying images.  Hell only seems terrible.  In truth it cannot touch me as long as I keep my eyes on You.  Only when I fall away from following my Guide do I make mistakes that lead me to feel guilty.  I would avoid those mistakes, with their attendant guilt, today.

Amen.

Anger Is Never Justified

“Anger is never justified.  Attack has no foundation.  It is here escape from fear begins, and will be made complete. (T638)”

 

Affirmation:  “I choose neither anger nor attack.”

Reflections:

1 – Attack and Anger Out of Bounds

Let’s just recognize the truth of these statements, even when the withered ego rebels.  Remembering that attack and anger are out of bounds is a great liberator.  It will help in the tough times that we go through with our loved ones.

2 – See the Relinquishment of Fear

There is a great boon here as well:  Leaving behind anger and attack leads to the relinquishment of fear.  Fear has dogged our every step, even when we have not been aware of this.  As the Course teaches, there are only fear and love, and, of the two, only love is real.

3 – Anger and Attack = Grievances

Anger and attack are usually present because we hold grievances.  And it is only when our grievances have been left behind that we know safety (from the Workbook).  It is said in ACIM that it is as though we held a dagger above our heads, and it will fall or be averted as we choose to forgive or to attack.  Our brother or sister attacks us because each is calling for help.  And it is our duty to rush to his/her side with assistance.  Doing so keeps our rights from being removed.  We recognize the truth of the situation, and we will find that we ourselves also get help when we need it.  As we give, we do receive (from the Treatises of A Course of Love).

4 – Our Innocent Brother

The underlying idea here is that our brother and sister are actually, in essence, innocent.  They have, like we all, been guilty of mistakes, but these can be overlooked–if we don’t at first make them real by thinking too much about them.

5 – Only Love Is Real

We are living a dream in which nothing except the love is real.   That is why anger and attack are never justified.

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

I know that when I feel anger what I am involved in an interpretation which is not true.  If I am outraged, it is even more certain that I am misperceiving.  In this world, of course, we are very human, and, for most of us, our fallibility includes being embroiled from time to time in arguments.  I would not let this state of affairs continue in my life, in the life that You have given to me.  Help me to recognize when I am misperceiving, and help me to forgive–regardless of how great the error of my significant others actually is.

I would accept that I am seeing a bad scene because I do not want to see it.  Help me to understand this paradox from A Course in Miracles.  I would choose to see only those scenes that will honor You, and that will give me the peace that only You can offer to me.  Be with me today if attack and anger become temptations.  I would turn to my Guide at such times.  I would ask to see the real truth, which is that I live in an illusion, and only the real things of peace, joy, serenity, and the like, are true.  I would find truth today.

 Thank You for leading me in recent time to a more peaceful pace of living.  May stress not overwhelm me, because I never get angry unless I am stressed.

Amen.

Dream of Your Brother’s Kindnesses

“Dream of your brother’s kindnesses instead of dwelling in your dreams on his mistakes.  Select his thoughtfulness to dream about instead of counting up the hurts he gave.  Forgive him his illusions, and give thanks to him for all the helpfulness he gave.  And do not brush aside his many gifts because he is not perfect in your dreams.  He represents his Father, Whom you see as offering both life and death to you. (T585)”

Affirmation:  “I dream of kindnesses.”

Reflections:

1 – How We See God

The final sentence in the above passage is pivotal; we see God as offering both life and death to us, and we think that it is our brother (or sister).   In other words, as long as we are caught in the ego, we will see our brother as offering both life and death to us, because we see God the same way.  We see God in our brother, though we are not usually aware of this.  When we progress, we gradually realize that God offers only life, and then our brother’s significance to us becomes clearer and more benign.

2 – Intimate Relationships

The earlier portions of this passage help a good deal in our intimate relationships.  We can choose what to fantasize, what to think, about our loved ones.  We can think of the times that we have been disappointed or hurt, or we can dwell on those times of happiness, when our brother has been all that we might wish in a loved one.  The obvious choice, for happiness, is to choose to focus on the good aspects of our relationships.

3 – Overlook Mistakes

Note that the more negative times with our brother have signified his mistakes, not his real self.  We may also see that we contributed to the situation by our own mistakes.  But the Course stresses that mistakes, once recognized, will be corrected, because we will desire to correct them.  We will dream of happiness rather than sadness.

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

May I forgive totally all that I have not yet forgiven of my brothers and sisters who, I think in my weaker moments, have mistreated me.  I realize that there is no other way to You.  And there is not value in clinging to grievances.  I will know that I am safe when I have given up all grievances.  I would know that I am safe today.

May I dream, in my illusory world, of all that my brothers and sisters have done that is right.  May I recall to mind the good times, the times when we were very close and all was well.  May I never dip into negative thoughts that I do not immediately forgive myself for this irrationality.  There is no better way to approach You than through my holy relationships to my brothers and sisters.  It is the way to You, the salvation that A Course in Miracles counsels.  May I never forget this.

I am not so advanced that I am free of dipping into negative thoughts about my loved ones, my closest relationships.  But help me to realize that this is my most important task, to let go the negativity and turn to You for the guidance of what to do next.  And You will always counsel forgiveness, because nothing has gone wrong in the real world.  It has all been illusion, my dream.

Amen.

Do Not Make Errors “Real”

“To perceive errors in anyone, and to react to them as if they were real, is to make them real to you” (T167).

Affirmation:  “I will not make errors real today.”

Reflections:

1 – Do Not See Error

A Course in Miracles would have us see our brothers and sisters as innocent, caught in a dream of attack and grievances, but able to find their way to a real world that is very different, through the help of the Holy Spirit.  To effect this change in our perceptions is easy, once we turn over our judgments over to the Holy Spirit.  We literally do not see error in our brothers and sisters.  We extend love to them, and our perceptions are modified accordingly.  This is really all that we have to do.

2 – We Have Sinned in Time, but Not in Eternity

A Course in Miracles notes that we have “sinned” in time, but not in eternity.  And there is, ultimately, no time, because time is an illusion.  We have only made errors or mistakes in eternity, and we are strong and wise enough to recognize the value in forgiving errors in ourselves and our brothers and sisters in this world.  If we are blaming God for anything, we can likewise let go of those grievances–a gesture that will be freeing to us.

3 – Let Us Seek to Live in the Real World

To live in the “real world” is not described conclusively in ACIM.  But much note is made of the fact that following the ego is only following illusions, and that following the ego makes it impossible to live in the real world, otherwise known as simply “reality.”  We can interpret ACIM by realizing that the real world is composed of the attributes of love–the joy, the peace, the forgiveness.  Sometimes we do reach the real world fleetingly.  All of us remember times when all seemed right with our little world, and we were completely at peace.  We may have recognized this as a “peak experience,” a term used by Maslow and receiving much press in popular psychology.

4 – Peak Experiences

If we want more peak experiences, we need to live in the flow that will give us the real world (an interpretation, not stated in ACIM).  Living in the flow is a concept that all of us can appreciate.  We throw ourselves into some task, and time disappears for us.  We realize, minutes or even hours later, that we have experienced a peace in those moments that usually eludes.

5 – Forgive = the Secret

Jesus would have us forgive ourselves and others, and thereby to invite the forgiveness of the errors that we all, without exception, make.  Then those errors do not become “real” in our experience of them, and we are walking gaily on the pathway home.

Prayer:

 Dear Father/Mother,

 I would begin this new year with high hopes and many expectations that I will live in You and not in my ego.  I would let the ego wither away.  By this I mean that my false sense of self needs to go.  You know this better than I.  Thank You for the words in ACIM that caution my reliance on the ego, a part of my belief about myself.

 I would invite peak experiences this year.  I know that You would have me live in a better way than I did last year, and I would hope not to disappoint You.  Be with me as I seek to come to understand Your wishes for me ever more completely.

 Let me be good to my significant others as well as all others who cross my path this year.  We need each other.  We need to let attack and anger go, knowing that poor behavior is a sign that we need help.  All of us will still need some help along the way, but I would live in Your love so completely this year that I do not cause others to distress. 

 Help me to live up to my resolutions this year, to be a better person, to love ever more deeply, to let the ego just disappear as a part of my belief about myself.  Thank You for your ever-present help.

 Amen.

Peace So Deep and Quiet

ACIM Workbook Lesson 305 – for Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Affirmation:  “There is a peace that Christ bestows on us.”

“Who uses but Christ’s vision finds a peace so deep and quiet, undisturbable and wholly changeless, that the world contains no counterpart.  (WB452)”

Reflections:

1 – Christ’s Vision Sees the Real World

Christ’s vision sees the real world, the world informed by the Holy Spirit by following His guidance.  It is not the egoic world, definitely not.  The real world, reality, is God’s world, and it behooves us to ask to spend more time there.  If we seek peace, calm, tranquility, and serenity, we will automatically seek silence more.  We will live in God’s presence.  And we will live the way of A Course in Miracles and A Course of Love (viewed by some as a sequel to ACIM).

2 – The Peace that Passeth Understanding

This peace is, I believe, the “peace that passeth understanding” of the New Testament.  Jesus has not really changed in 2000 years; he has simply adapted with the times.  Perhaps there is much in the New Testament that was a misreading of his message, and, if so, the world was ready for his channeling of A Course in Miracles.

3 – Living the Workbook of A Course in Miracles

Now that we are far along in the year of the Workbook for Students, we know better the tenets of ACIM, and it is up to us to incorporate these truths so that we actually live them.  We will find this peace that is “deep and quiet, undisturbable and wholly changeless” (see above).

4 – The Self Lives in the Real World

May we ask for the Self, the Christ (not Jesus alone), to bestow on us today this peace that we so crave.  This Self has never been incarnated; it is the real Self upon which we can draw for the “elevated Self of form” (from A Course of Love).  May we live today in a Self that is ever closer to being sustained.  And this will be the truly real world, the true reality.

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

I would see with the vision of my Self, the higher Self that is known as the Christ.  I would not attach egoic notions to this appellation.  I would remain only myself, knowing that it is You who effect change in me.  Jesus has pointed out the Way in A Course in Miracles.  Please, today, help me to live what he has pointed out.

I would live in the real world, the world of peace, joy, harmony, and reconciliation with all of my brothers and sisters.  Let me not even hint at attack or anger today.  This, I ask, is to be a day of special dedication to You.  Be with me as I make this dedication to You and Your peace.

Amen.

Christ Reborn = Our Real Self

ACIM Workbook Lesson 303 – for Sunday, October 30, 2011

Affirmation:  “The holy Christ is born in me today.”

“Let Christ be welcomed where He is at home.  And let Him hear the sounds He understands, and see but sights that show His Father’s Love.  Let Him no longer be a stranger here, for He is born again in me today.  (WB451)”

Reflections:

1 – What It Means for Christ to Be Born in Me

When Christ is born again in us, we are living the Self that is our real Self.  We are no longer the little self (as I have called it), the egoic self.  May we take this step into the sunlight today.

2 – Welcome the Self and Know Peace

If we welcome the Christ, the Self that we really are, we will know peace.  We will no longer be followed about by dreams, illusions, of disaster.  Even if bad things happen (and they may, though they are less likely), then we will rise above, with the help of the Holy Spirit.  We create our own reality, and we will not miscreate anymore.  We will know how to live well, and we will not dwell on mistakes and misdeeds.  We will forgive ourselves and others, and then we will create aright in our little world.  Joy follows inexorably.

3 – We Create Our Own Reality

Jane Roberts, in the “Seth” (an entity she channeled) books, often said that we “create our own reality.”  Jesus says the same in ACIM.  And that reality will be good if we learn how to think with God.  We do not have to suffer in silence.  We do not have to suffer at all (though we may, for we are fallible).  When we dream the happy dreams the Holy Spirit brings (from the Workbook), we are being prepared for the real world, which sees only good.  Mother Teresa wrote about seeing “Jesus in all his distressing disguises.”  She certainly saw much suffering in her life, even in her own life.  But she kept the faith.  And Jesus would ask us to do the same.

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

Help me to understand my Self, Who is Meant by the Christ.  These final thoughts in the Workbook are puzzling, and I need Your help not to let the ego intrude.  None of us has anything that everyone else does not have.  We are all One.  Help me to know that to say that Christ is born in me is not an egoic statement.

Be with us today as we seek to create the reality in which we live.  May that real world be inhabited by each of us for longer and longer periods of time.  We need to let this illusory world fall from our sight and be replaced with a seeing that is almost incomprehensible to us now.  May we look only with love, and may we have the vision that You would have us understand.

Amen.

The Real World

ACIM Workbook Lesson 293 – for Thursday, October 20, 2011

Affirmation:  “All fear is past and only love is here.”

“Father, let not Your holy world escape my sight today.  Nor let my ears be deaf to all the hymns of gratitude the world is singing underneath the sounds of fear.  There is a real world which the present holds safe from all past mistakes.  And I would see only this world before my eyes today.  (WB445)”

Reflections:

1 – How Long Will We See the Real World?

We would see the real world.  A Course in Miracles is not specific about what this means.  We are told that the real world will arise before our eyes, and then God will act swiftly to reach down and lift us up to Awakening.  Time, though, is not measured our way.  We may see the real world for awhile before we are awakened.

2 – What Is the Real World Like?

The real world is a world of peace, serenity, calm, and tranquility.  A place of love.  No ego intrudes on this idyllic scene.  We are almost at home.  We have been dreaming the happy dreams the Holy Spirit brings (a Workbook tenet), and we are relaxed enough to welcome, not to fear, Awakening.  The Holy Spirit has brought us this far so that we will not be terrified by the experience of Awakening.  We are ready.

3 – Let Us Ask to See the Real World Today

Ask today to see the real world.  I don’t think we will be disappointed.  We may see glimpses of the real world many times before the vision is sustained (an ACIM tenet).  The Holy Spirit prepares us; we do not have to make elaborate plans to prepare ourselves (an ACIM tenet).  Let the Holy Spirit guide today to the reality that God wants us to see.

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

I ask, simply, to see glimpses of the real world today.  If there is anything that I need to do to sustain this awareness, please, may my Guide, the Holy Spirit, let me know what to do.  May my world today be brightened by this prayer.  And may I realize that I am ;praying in line with Your wishes for me.  If I am not yet ready, help me to be patient.

I would see love today.  If this is the love brought by happy dreams, then let me be content.  But I would pray for the real world itself, the world beyond the dreams brought by the Holy Spirit.  May today be a blessed day in my life.  Thank You for listening to my prayer.

Amen.

Feeling Abandoned

ACIM Workbook Lesson 279 – for Thursday, October 6, 2011

Affirmation:  “Creation’s freedom promises my own.”

“The end of dreams is promised me, because God’s Son is not abandoned by His Love.  Only in dreams is there a time when he appears to be in prison, and awaits a future freedom, if it be at all.  Yet in reality his dreams are gone, with truth established in their place.  And now is freedom his already.

“I will accept Your promises today, and give my faith to them.  My Father loves the Son Whom He created as His Own.  Would You withhold the gifts You gave to me?  (WB436)”

Reflections:

1 – We Are in the Eternal

In the present our dreams are gone.  This is the eternal present, the eternal Now (an interpretation, not stated in ACIM).  We will get past even the “happy dreams the Holy Spirit gives” (a quotation from the Workbook), and know the real world that God will grant us to see when we are ready.  Only He knows the place and the hour.  But we can pray that our experience of the real world comes soon.

2 – See the World with Vision

In reality, our dreams are gone.  The world will look different because we will see with vision, with new eyes.  We know that this blessing is on the way when we have seen little edges of light around familiar objects.  Real vision is coming.  It may take a long time, but time itself is an illusion, and so this truly does not matter.  The end is sure, now that we have started of the pathway.  (These are paraphrases from ACIM.)

3 – The Gift of the Real World

The gift of the real world would not be withheld by God.  The prayer for today counsels this.  May we wait in expectation, not beset by preoccupations that only scatter our consciousness.  May we wait for God to act, and may we know that He would choose for us to listen to the Holy Spirit and let Him act in us, to bring about our readiness.  We do not have to do a lot, only a “little willingness” (a Text quotation) is required.  The Holy Spirit accomplishes the vast majority of the change that we wish to see in ourselves.

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

I long to see the real world on a sustainable basis.  May my dreams of this illusory world stay happy, and edge into reality.  I long for the vision that only You can give.  May my eyes see with real vision today.

Be with me as I do the small part that the Holy Spirit requires of me.  I know that His part is much larger than mine, and that this is a blessing.  I would only choose amiss, without His guidance.  Be with me today as I seek to follow Your Voice, Your Universal Inspiration, throughout any temptations of the day.

Amen.

How to Cure Madness and Fear

ACIM Workbook Lesson 278 – for Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Affirmation:  “If I am bound, my Father is not free.”

“Father, I ask for nothing but the truth.  I have had many foolish thoughts about myself and my creation, and have brought a dream of fear into my mind.  Today, I would not dream.  I choose the way to You instead of madness and instead of fear.  For truth is safe, and only love is sure.  (WB435)”

Reflections:

1 – Choose Reality

If we would not dream, we must choose the real world; we must choose God’s reality.  We are caught in dreams, still, most of the time.  Most of us do have glimpses of Awakening, glimpses of the real world that precedes Awakening.  The dreams that the Holy Spirit brings are meant to calm our frantic minds so that we welcome Awakening and are not fearful of the experience.  Jesus tells us that if a light is turned on while we are asleep, we will initially be afraid be afraid of this light, thinking it is part of our dream (or our nightmare).  But once we awaken, we realize that we are no longer dreaming and that we have returned to the world.  So we are no longer afraid of the light.  (These are paraphrases from ACIM.)

2 – Dream Not of Fear

We would not dream of fear today.  We would not dream at all, but pray to awaken.  We would not be insane any longer, for that is exactly what we have been in this disturbed world.  We have been mad, just as surely, though less obviously, than the unfortunate individuals who are committed for mental illness.  Our mental health is precarious also.  We need to know that just because we are walking freely into the world and not behind locked asylum doors, we are not necessarily sane.  Most of us are not sane.  May we come to understand the Voice that speaks to us of the reality of God in which we can walk away from madness.

3 – Take Steps to a Sane Reality

If we love, we are taking steps to a sane reality.  By love, we do not mean special love relationships, unless these special love relationships are well on their way to being holy relationships.  Our way home is through the love that we bear for our brother (and sister), and this is the way in which we practice forgiveness.  It is the way of A Course in Miracles.  When we are together with our brother (or sister), we are forgiving, kind, generous, and in so being, we are learning God’s way.  We do not need to contemplate (or meditate) for extremely long periods.  This is a way meant for others, and ACIM is meant for us.  Let us follow the way of ACIM today, and let us start by totally forgiving our brother (or sister), knowing that to do so is the way home for us.

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

I would follow God’s Voice today.  I would do so knowing that I wish not to be misled into believing that my illusions, fueled by the ego, are masquerading as God’s Voice.  Be with me to ensure that I make this distinction between delusion and sanity.

May I walk into the real world as quickly as my steps can take me there.  You have prepared me, and it is up to me to follow Your Way with joy.  When I am truly joyous and at peace, then I am less likely to listen to the ego and to be misled back into insanity.  Be with me today as I seek only what You bid me to find.

Amen.

Walking in the Real World with My Brother

ACIM Workbook Lesson 250 – for Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Affirmation:  “Let me not see myself as limited.”

“He is Your Son, my Father.  And today I would behold his gentleness instead of my illusions.  He is what I am, and as I see him so I see myself.  Today I would see truly, that this day I may at last identify with him.  (WB418)”

Reflections:

This prayer is another example of the idea that we are all One, including being One with God.  Perhaps we are forgiving of another to the extent that we identify with him or her (not stated explicitly in ACIM).  Certainly identifying with another is a sure way to invite intimacy, a term used often by Mari Perron, who scribed A Course of Love and authored The Given Self.  We need the intimacy that Mari extols, because otherwise our sense of separation from each other in this world, and perhaps our perceived separation from God only is accentuated.  As we have noted previously, we have not separated from God; we have simply made illusions and lived in an illusory world.  We would return home to the real world as soon as our learning can take us there.  (And A Course in Miracles is very helpful to returning us to the real world.)

The real world is not defined precisely in ACIM.  We are told that our stay in that “place” will be of short duration, that shortly after we perceive the real world, God will act to awaken us.  We will then not be identified with God (unless we are not drawn to stay on earth any longer), but we will recognize ourselves as His Sons and Daughters.  We will embody the Self that we have been meant to be all along, before a “tiny, mad idea” came along about which we “failed to laugh” (the quotations are from ACIM).  When the tiny, mad idea came along, we thought that we wanted to have a will different from God’s, and, while we could not actually separate from Him, we could imagine that we had.  That was the beginning of our insanity.  ACIM does not state precisely when in our history this occurred, but does used the symbolic Adam to illustrate.  This first man fell into a deep sleep, and ACIM notes that nowhere in the Old Testament (or Hebrew Bible) is it said that he awoke.  There has been no comprehensive Awakening in all the eons since, but we may be on the brink of a breakthrough.

Eckhart Tolle, an enlightened teacher (The Power of Now and A New Earth), sees himself as at the epicenter of a new Awakening.  Those who sense that enlightenment (another term for Awakening) is upon them frequently contact Eckhart for counsel.  He is arguably the most visible example of an Awakened individual in our midst, at least in that he talks openly and writes often about how we too might have what he has.  He quotes from A Course in Miracles, but his pathway to Awakening was one of pain rather learning through rewards (as ACIM counsels).  Jesus tells us in ACIM that pain can bring only a temporary effect, and that the lasting comes through rewards.  But Jesus also recognizes that pain is part of the human condition, as he says that the threshold for pain may be high, but that sooner or later all will recognize that there is a better way.  (These are paraphrases from the Text.)

One of the inheritances of the Son or Daughter of God is trust.  It is the one trait on which all the rest are built (an idea from the Manual).  We need to trust our God to join us a we seek to leave illusions behind and to experience the real world, with Awakening promised soon to follow.

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

I would notice only the gentleness that is in the Self that my brother has, the inner Self that is as You created him.  And I would see this gentleness in the real world, which I hope that he and I will share sooner rather than later.  Help us to be good to each other in our holy relationship.  May my most significant other love me as I love him.  May we be there for each other, both under Your loving gaze at all times.

I would find You inwardly.  Please help me to understand this fully, and to project the best of You that I can reach within.  When I project the best, my perception is cleansed, and then my brother and I walk into the sunlight always.  Thank You for the many blessings that are ours today.

Amen.

Consciousness

“Consciousness has levels and awareness can shift quite dramatically, but it cannot transcend the perceptual realm.  At its highest it becomes aware of the real world, and can be trained to do increasingly.  Yet the very fact that it has levels and can be trained demonstrates that it cannot reach knowledge.  (M80)”

Affirmation:  “May I become ever more aware of the real world.”

Reflections:

These are the theoretical underpinnings of the Course.  This passage indicates that achieving the real world, a world of love devoid of the ego, is a gradual process.  Moreover, perception can be cleansed, and we seek to train our minds to increase our perception in order to get us out of the ego-oriented world that we see.  But knowledge is of God, in revelation, and this cannot be taught.  It is a gift of God, when we have removed the barriers to the presence of knowledge.

Our consciousness is important to us, and we have learned falsely, through psychology, that a strong ego is necessary to live in this world.  We do not need ego in the sense that the Course refers to the “ego.”  But this word is slippery, and it is does not mean the same to all people, even psychologists.  In the Course, the word “ego” is a false perception of ourselves, a false image that leads us into pain and suffering.  It is not a thing that we would want, and we are bade to leave it behind.

In this world, the ego is constantly being undone.  We are pricked at the point of our greatest pride, an egoistic trait.  We are constantly brought low when the ego has been in ascendancy.  This is no accident.  It is the way of salvation for us, according to the Course.

We may not realize it, but the real world is what we want while on this earth.  The real world will sparkle with joy, and our eyes will light up at the thought of another day.  Let us not be discouraged if we don’t achieve this boon on a constant basis.  Elsewhere Jesus says that here we will not be without limitations, but that our task is to escape from them.  This we will do increasingly as we study the Course and make its tenets our own.

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

May I be increasingly conscious of the real world of joy and love.  I realize that this is still a perception, and so it is not the knowledge that only You can give.  I hope to walk further along the pathway, so that I am ready for the knowledge that only You can impart.

Thank you for being there for me.  As I pray so often, help me to follow in Your way and by Your guidance.

Amen.

Workbook Lesson for Day 84:

These are the ideas for today’s review:

Love created me like Itself.

Love holds no grievances.