Tag Archives: relationships

Walking a Mysterious Pathway

            Given the fact that the A Course in Miracles links the idea of our unique role with our brother, more often than not we will find that unique role in one or more brothers.  And we must realize that we may not always recognize our function even if we are in the midst of carrying it out. 

In my own case, this phenomenon kept me on a particular pathway for years, but I was a reluctant walker. Only in retrospect did the pathway seem illuminated, the walk make sense.  Yet I never seriously considered abandoning my pathway; whenever the thought came up, I was given a self-authenticating word from God that I was to remain true to what I had perceived His Will to be.  And I yet do not know the whole of it, though I followed that particular pathway to its conclusion and found a blessing, in unexpected form, at the journey’s end.  It is very likely that I will not fully understand in this lifetime, but as I review my life eventually from the other side, I will know.  For now, I know all I need to know of a journey that seemed incomprehensible much of the time.       

            And is my experience not true for most of us?  We see only dimly, but when we take our brother’s hand, we fulfill a function that is bigger than the two of us.  It is always by way of our brother that the mission comes.  One does not do “great things” in the world without the cooperation of first one, and then another, and another, brother.  Salvation is still borne one mind at a time, and so it behooves us to place our interpersonal relationships next to God in value.  Indeed, it is frequently in our brother only that we are able to see and love God.

–from Out of the Maze, an e-book by the author of this blog.

Special Becomes Holy

            We seek this Oneness because the call for it was placed in our souls by God.  Jesus even tells us that Heaven is the awareness of perfect Oneness, “nothing outside this oneness, and nothing else within.” (T-18.VI.1:6) Because we are learning through the A Course in Miracles, we find this Oneness first through our relationships, in particular the chosen learning partner(s) who offer us unlimited ways to learn of love.  These are the ones for whom we are ready, the ones to whom we remain connected lifelong.  And these relationships generally are few. (M-3.5:3) The Course says that we may not even recognize the perfect matching that has occurred in these relationships.  But the perfect lesson, the lesson of genuine love of ourselves, others, and God, is there for us if we do not break off the relationship prematurely.  This then is the special relationship that can become holy, indeed that is meant to become holy.

            And forgiveness points the way.

Genuine Oneness

            We are not really meant to be separate one from another, encased in bodies that are separate.  In the worldview of A Course in Miracles, bodies are the symbol of separation.  Only mind can actually become one.  And this melding can and does occur, though we are fearful of losing our individualized identities.  We actually do want our minds to join as one, and this is the closeness that one normally seeks in physical relationships.  These alone will not satisfy us, because we want a true intimacy that is mind to mind. We seek this intimacy in our special relationships.  But these are hard going without forgiveness of one another, the aspect of Reality that would allow genuine closeness.  If we do not forgive, we are going to become embittered or we are going to wander from relationship to relationship, one to the other, seeking something that cannot be found.  This is the crux of the matter.  Forgive, and the boon we desire is ours.  Refuse to forgive, and we are captives of the ego, which can never give us what we desire–true genuine Oneness.

–from Out of the Maze, an e-book by the author of this blog. Note: The worldview of A Course of Love says that the “elevated Self of form” will be a desirable way to live in this world in physical bodies.

Love & Hate

            In much romantic love, the picture of our brother that we see is one of contradictions.  We both love and hate him, and the two concepts effectively cancel each other out.  So we are left with nothing.  We do not know whom we see in our brother any more than we know whom we see in ourselves.  A Course in Miracles counsels that we will be given a picture to replace what we thought, an image of our brother that we will prefer over all our contradictory images.  Even this is not all of him, for it is a perception, and it remains for perception to be translated into knowledge before we will ever see our brother truly.  This final step remains in the future for all of us, because it is our translation into Heaven, a step taken at the end of our pathway by God himself.

Romantic Love

            The impetus for most romantic love, in the beginning at least, is that one sees in the other what she lacks within herself.  The unholy alliance starts, then, from a wrong premise: that there is lack, and then goes on to a wrong conclusion, that one can “take” from the beloved what is lacking, making a whole out of two halves.

            Even popular psychology recognizes that fallacy in such reasoning, but the reasoning itself does not see the light of day because its maker is “crazy in love.”  Many popular treatises on romantic love enjoin that two halves do not make a whole, that one must be a whole person, seeking wholeness, to have anything akin to a lasting environment for love.  Surely many successful loves look back on the beginning of their relationship as a time that grew fruitfully upon a happy present.  The lovers were contented within themselves before finding love in another.  Conversely, most people’s past is also strewn with the remains of wrecked relationships, of love gone wrong.  For some, even for many in today’s climate, these relationships culminated in what promised to be an idyllic marriage, but turned out to be a little bit of hell on earth.  All of these dynamics are addressed in A Course in Miracles’ view of the holy and the unholy relationship. (T-22.intro)

–from Out of the Maze, an e-book by the author of this blog.

Spiritual Gifts of God

            The particular way that A Course in Miracles offers restitution and reunion with God is through our relationships to each other, especially through the relationships that have been special to us.  Specialness is an illusion like all the rest, and it is only as we realize that we ourselves are not special that we can come to see that even our “special” relationships are not special.

            The Holy Spirit transforms these people so special to us into something more real.  The purpose of the relationship is transformed from ego orientation to the spiritual gifts of God. We see in our brother what we want to see in ourselves; that is what we begin wanting when we perceive specialness in another.  But as the relationship proceeds (if we do not choose to break it

off), we come to see that even this interpretation is a mirage. As we see and love these people as they really are, we come to forgive them of their ego foibles, and we love almost in spite of ourselves.  That is when we begin finding our way Home.

–from Out of the Maze, an e-book by the author of this blog.

Light in Our Brother

            We find a peaceful joy in forgiveness.  As we absolve our brother of “sin,” we are ourselves absolved.  The gift we long to give to our brother has at long last been given to us.  We idolized our brother, and thereby made of him a god, but in doing so we dreamed that we were special.  When we see our brother aright, an idol no longer but a true equal brother worthy of love, our sense of guilt dissolves and we are placed in our proper relationship to God and to each other.  Such is the miracle that the A Course in Miracles promises.

            The Course can be said to be based in part upon the biblical injunction, “You are your brother’s keeper,” because it is through our relationship one to another that we find salvation.  It is declared that failing our function of fully forgiving our brother will haunt us until this function is fulfilled, and he and we are risen from the past.  Just as our brother condemned not himself alone, so do we not save ourselves alone.  We are here on this plane, indeed, for one purpose only–the healing of our brother.  That is why, in trying to discover meaning in the world, the interactions of person to person are everything.  Until we see our purpose as healing, we will follow the various elusive goals of the world, be they artistic or merely achievement that we might be “successes,” and we will know the ways of the world only.  Pain and turmoil will dog our paths, and we will learn by cause-and-effect, not Jesus’ way, which is actually by grace.

            And, yet, the lamentations of the earth are all so unnecessary.  Jesus in fact proclaims succinctly that we do not have to learn through pain. (T-21.I.3:1)  Such welcome news, but, oh, so unbelievable in the beginning!  We are enjoined to see our brother as sinless, a person who has committed no unpardonable “sins,” but only an individual making mistakes due to his madness.  Once this evaluation is firmly adopted, the whole earth will appear different, bright and sparkling in the sunlight.  We are warned, though, “not one sin you see in him but keeps you both in hell.” (T-24.VI.5:4) One must see holiness in a brother in spite of his mistakes.  His mistakes can cause delay, but in a miraculous sense, it is given us to overcome his mistakes for him, and at the same time for ourselves as well, for he is the mirror of ourselves. 

Joy Calls

The universe exists in reciprocal relationship or holy relationship. . . .It is a joyful relationship, as the nature of relationship is joy. Once you have given up your belief in separation this will be known to you. (ACOL, C:29.17)

Once we give up our belief that we could actually separate from God, and have done so, much good will result. We will know that holy relationship is the nature of the universe(s), and we will realize that holy relationship does not take anything away from our nearest and dearest. Holy relationship will expand our love to meet the whole world. We will not know the separatism that has characterized our various special relationships, relationships that have often ended badly.

My friend Carol knew what it is like to suffer special relationship, and “suffer” is the salient word here. As mentioned, she once fell very hard into a love that was strong on ego, though she did not realize it at the time. If the special love had ever been transformed into holy, then her sense of desolation at the end of the “relationship” would have saved her from needless regret.

There was something eminently good about the love that Carol felt. It was not a love that would be easily surpassed. That was the clue that something else was going on here. She was being led, ever so gently and before A Course in Miracles was published, to give up her interest in being special (and having someone else be special as well). In retrospect, holiness is the transforming key to relationship that goes sour. And there doesn’t have to be any continuing contact with the other at all to effect a holy relationship. Relationship that is holy is thus seen to be mystical.

We are meant to enjoy joyousness is our relationships. Special love invites the highs and lows of drama, and egoic drama at that. A holy relationship is one that has been dedicated to the Almighty, a Source beyond just our little personality. And this dedication to Something bigger than ourselves is what makes all the difference.

When we feel united with all other people, our brothers and sisters, we know a peace that is not of this world. We are meant to live in unity, and of course, we can see that seeing one small part as more special that another would make this joyous unity impossible.

Ask to see with a greater vision today. Ask to comprehend as never before what a special love transformed into a holy one can really mean. There is no comparison, but until each of us has seen the difference for ourselves, we will remain skeptical that we aren’t losing something in the transformation.

True Love Is Limitless, Knows Only Inclusion

While one special relationship continues, all special relationships continue because they are given validity. The holy relationship of unity depends on the release of the beliefs that foster special relationships. (ACOL, C:25.11)

We don’t need special relationships, “special” in the sense that they are egoic and different from all other relationships out there in the world.

Of course, we don’t believe this. We think that there is nothing wrong with seeing our significant others, our family and friends, as “special.” But what are we really saying here? We are setting them apart as being more “worthy” of our love than other people. Is this not judgment? And haven’t we been warned not to judge? Judging keeps us from Christ-consciousness. Moreover, judging makes us unhappy, for when we point a finger at another, three fingers are pointed back at us. We damn ourselves when we judge another.

I was once rather judgmental, and I projected these ideas onto Jesus, seeing him as a figure of judgment. Indeed, traditional Christian theology invites this interpretation. When I visited the Baptistry in Florence, Italy, where a large mosaic of Jesus looms far ahead on the high ceiling, I saw judgment in Jesus’ eyes. Or thought I did. After years of studying A Course in Miracles, though, my judgments had softened, and when I looked overhead on another visit, I saw a blank slate in Jesus’ eyes, ready and willing for me to write my projection there.

There was no judgment in the second visit. And so there was no “specialness,” even in regarding Jesus. And this was a giant leap forward.

We are seeking to be united with all of our brothers and sisters on our earth. We want unity with them, and we can’t have that if we divide others up into separate little parcels. We can’t fully appreciate all others if we are judging them as less worthy of our love than our nearest and dearest.

Of course, our nearest and dearest have taught us how to love. And now we extend (not project) this love on everyone.

We don’t make distinctions between worthiness and lack of worthiness. We know that all are equal in the sight of God, and that all ought to be equal in our sight as well. Our beloveds will not lose anything. We will be so love-conscious that they will see a new persona in us. They will know a love from us that has been heretofore veiled.

Specialness is a limited love. Holy love is limitless, knows only inclusion.

Being “Special”

Note: I’m starting a new series on relationships today.

“The special relationships of the world are destructive, selfish and childishly egocentric. Yet, if given to the Holy Spirit, these relationships can become the holiest things on earth—the miracles that point the way to the return to Heaven. The world uses its special relationships as a final weapon of exclusion and a demonstration of separateness. The Holy Spirit transforms them into perfect lessons in forgiveness and in awakening from the dream. Each one is an opportunity to let perceptions be healed and errors corrected. Each one is another chance to forgive oneself by forgiving the other. And each one becomes still another invitation to the Holy Spirit and to the remembrance of God. (ACIM, Preface, “What It Says”)

We are used to thinking that finding our beloved “special” is a good thing. For those of us (many of us) who have studied A Course in Miracles, we know that finding loved ones “special” is a mistake. A Course of Love agrees, and so we start these reflections with this quotation from ACIM.

Of course, we care about our significant others more than strangers. And so the teaching may seem foreign to us.

What makes the “special” a good thing is not specialness but holiness. And all of us have the power to turn all of our special relationships into holy ones. We don’t exclude anyone; we invite all in (though not in a physical or sexual sense).
Special relationships are, by nature, egoic. My friend Carol once had a very special male relationship that was platonic but very egoic. She thought that this man had all the qualities that she was seeking in another. But specialness abounded. As time proved, she actually wanted his personal qualities in herself, something that epitomizes ego.

We can and must seek to transform all of our special relationships into holy ones. And, as hard as it sounds, we need to stop believing that without the special, we will be bereft. Use of others, A Course of Love tells us, is wrong. And there is a bit of “use” in many of our relationships. Who will take care of us if not this special other? How will we manage?

These are very real concerns, very practical concerns. But we have power. And, if we believe ACIM and ACOL, we will find love wherever we turn, when our heart opens to reveal the love that is hidden there.

We will never lack for anything. Help is a call away. And everything, as both ACIM and ACOL say, is an expression of love or a call for love. Call today, and so if we are not answered. Our heart will know the answer.

Only Two Emotions

“You label love a feeling, and one of many. Yet you have been told there are but two from which you choose: love and fear. Because you have chosen fear so many times and labeled it so many things you no longer recognize it as fear. The same is true of love.” (ACOL, C:2.3)

We have been pretty mixed up. We have, all too often, confused fear with love, labeling them both two of many other feelings. But we learn from Jesus that there are only two emotions—love and fear—and that all other emotions are variants of these two.

This simplifies life for us. But how do we move away from fear, toward love?
We need help, and it is help that Jesus is giving us. We have confused fear and love, often making choices that gave us fear when we were seeking to experience love.

This dynamic is especially true in special relationships, those relationships in our lives in which certain other people are emblazoned, by our ego, with qualities that seem to set these people apart from all others. This is especially the case with romantic relationships, which nearly always start out as special. We think that he or she is the best thing that we have ever encountered, and we want to appropriate these good qualities to ourselves. We complete in the presence of the other. We feel joyous. And we feel a sense of grandeur that is perhaps as yet unparalleled in our experience in this world.

But such thoughts are actually a grandiosity. And these feelings do not last. Our special person is found to have feet of clay, and we fall away disillusioned—sometimes almost immediately, sometimes years later. And then we often turn away, for we feel that we have somehow been misled. We misconceived what was before. He/she was not “special” at all.

But that other really was special. The problem is that we didn’t realize that we needed to turn the special into the holy, something that Jesus counsels us about. Ultimately, he tells us that none of us is special, or, conversely, all of us are—for we are no different one from the other. (Only in time do we differ, and time does not really exist; we live in eternity only.) We need to make an end, as A Course of Love counsels, to the whole idea of special relationships. They will never bring us what we want. And in turning from the special to the holy, we will finally know genuine love for the first time.

The special relationship fosters fear, for we sense that we “need” this other person for our completion. And we fear, rightly, that he/she may not always be there for us.

Relationships are the primary way that we confuse fear and love. A particularly poignant way that actually holds great promise for us. But only when we take away the fearful aspects of our relationship to another. And it is hard indeed to do that, when we are new to Jesus’s channeled teachings.

A Course of Love counsels us that we must indeed give up special relationships, but also that we will not really lose anything—for special relationships are nothing, being borne of fear. We will transform these relationships with particular others into a holy experience, and then we will know true love for what it is.

We have not heretofore recognized that fear is predominant in many of our relationships. We have had our eyes blinded. But now we can come to know. We recognize that feeling uncertain in relationships fosters fear only, not love. And we want love, the real thing.

And we can have love.

Parting in Relationships

If a twinge of sadness arises because you recognize that two bodies in space are now going to go to separate parts of the planet, as that twinge arises, you will recognize it as the effect of a mistaken perception. You will move within, to the place in which all minds are joined. You will remember that your fulfillment does not rest in gaining love from another, but in giving Love to everyone. (“The Way of the Heart,” WOM, Lesson 6, Page 77)

Parting from significant others is painful. But there is a way that we accept whatever comes. There is a way that we can wish these significant others godspeed, and send them along their way. How might that be?

We need to know that we don’t gain love from others. We gain love from deep within ourselves, where God dwells. This is truly all we need to know, but perhaps we don’t understand what it means. Our fulfillment comes from giving love, for we have first received it from God Himself. If the person or persons to whom we give our love changes, we need to realize that the change happened for a reason. Often it is because our vibration changed. We were no longer on the same wavelength as the significant other.

Knowing this takes acceptance. We don’t easily give up the ones we have loved. But sometimes life asks this of us, and when we acquiesce, we listen to God’s guidance, and we are satisfied. We know that there is a larger plan at work.

Ask to see that larger plan today. Shrouded in mystery, we often have to turn to our faith to be reassured. But glimpses of reasons will come to us, for God does not keep secrets from His children. It is only our finiteness that prevents, sometimes, the whole truth from dawning on our minds.

Mysteries

The world would teach you to be a doormat so that you fit in and do not ruffle anybody’s feathers. But as you become empowered, one way you will know that it is occurring is that some people will not like you. You will push their buttons just by walking into the room, for darkness abhors light. It is that simple. (“The Way of the Heart,” WOM, Lesson 5, Page 66)

If we find ourselves rejected by the world, or even by a few individuals in our world, let us rest easy. There is a bigger reason for this. It may, of course, be our fault, and we can ask to have this remedied by God. But it may be that we, by just who we are, are pushing others’ buttons. And that is not our fault.

What a revealing group of statements by Jesus! I had thought that if people didn’t like me, it was just bad karma. Something had happened in a past I could not remember that was affecting relationships today.

And this may be the case. This may be the case when we push others’ buttons. Their souls are remembering when maybe we did them wrong, and they turn from us as a reaction from further hurt.

We do the same. We may find ourselves unaccountably nervous around certain people, and we do or say things that hinders the good relationship. We may be remembering when that person was not good for us. And maybe that person is not good for us now.

There are mysteries in the world that surrounds us. Let us put the best face that we can on this world.

And then let it go.

Choosing Our Mate

“The sex impulse is a miracle impulse when it is in proper focus. One individual sees in another the right partner for propagating the species and also for their joint establishment of a creative home. This does not involve fantasy at all. If I am asked to participate in the decision, the decision will be a right one, too.” (ACIM, COA ed., T-1.48.9:3-6)

How many of us might be inclined to have enough of a personal relationship to the Jesus of A Course in Miracles that we would invite him into our selection of a mate? Maybe we didn’t know that this were possible. According to ACIM, Jesus makes himself available to us for all manner of ordinary decisions, and marriage is certainly one of the most important. Jesus wants us to make right decisions about marriage, forming a holy relationship, not special. If fantasies predominate, he implies here, the choice is for a special relationship. And special relationships do not have the staying power of holy ones.

Our holy relationships do not oscillate between highs and lows, drama and controversy. Our special relationships are akin to a fast track to nowhere, because the one in whom we had placed such faith tends to have feet of clay. Our special relationships divide; our holy make one. It is imperative that we move forward into creating a new world peopled with the holy. We will not have peace in the special, but only in the holy. And isn’t peace an overriding desire of us all?

We find our greatest challenges in our relationships. Here we are given an option: From Jesus, “get my advice.” Of course, we don’t know how he can be in so many foci of consciousness all at once. And perhaps, he can’t, that he was speaking just to Helen and Bill when he offered all manner of help. But I think not.

There are more wonders in heaven and earth than we have dreamt of. Jesus’s help for us is a responsibility he assumed eons ago as the leader of souls coming to earth to rescue the trapped (an Edgar Cayce assertion). He has not wavered in his commitment. Can we say the same? I think not. But the future can use Jesus’s example as our way to be faithful to the God we worship.

Live and Let Live

“Fantasies and projection are more closely associated, because both attempt to control external reality according to false internal needs. ‘Live and let live’ happens to be a very meaningful injunction.” (ACIM, COA ed., T-1.48.7:4-5)

When we see something “out there” that we want but seemingly can’t have, then we are likely to indulge in fantasies that will make it ours, or (more likely) we imagine that it really IS ours by way of projection. In projection, we imagine that what we perceive internally is sent to another, “projected,” and that out there the truth is the same as our internal, fantasied “reality.”

It is unlikely that Jesus would have said so much in psychological terms if Helen and Bill, co-scribes, had not been psychologists who knew well the connotations of what Jesus was saying. Jesus returns to our understanding, a lay understanding, when he says, “Live and let live.” In other words, we must choose a better way than fantasy and projection to make our reality. We must live our real truth, and allow our brother to live his. We must live (ourselves) and let live (our brother). We must reject the notion that we can alter circumstances to suit our fancy. We come very close to the insanity that Jesus says we all have in the madness of this world. Here he uses psychological terms that will illustrate for us just how close to the world’s evaluation of madness we could come—if we are not careful.

So: Let our brother, who is our savior, meant to be in holy relationship to us, walk his own way. We each have truly holy relationships that do not evolve into intimate terms in this world.

Our Relationships Will Save Us

“The difference between you and me is that I am being God and also love, being. This is why I am all and nothing, the attribute-laden God and the attributeless love. This is why it can be rightly said that God is Love and Love is God. But I am also an extension of love, just as you are. This is all I Am means. There is no I Am except through love’s extension. How does love extend? Through relationship.” (ACOL, D:40.14)

Jesus has walked the whole distance. And from that focal point, he knows of the Godhead in a way that we don’t. He holds nothing, though, that we cannot attain. He will point out the way to us, has done so in A Course in Miracles and A Course of Love (and other channeled works such as The Way of Mastery), and his way works. If we want to fulfill our potential, we would be well-advised to listen carefully to what he has been saying.

Love in God has extended to us; extension rather than projection, and there is a subtle difference in this. Projection made images in a foggy glass, illusions. Extension creates (doesn’t “make”) true reality, and is not true reality what we really want? This extension comes to us in our relationships, our relationship to the inner Christ-Self, to the larger Self Who is the Godhead Himself/Herself, and to our brothers and sisters in this world. In this world, these three constitute our reality, and in the extension of God’s doing, we dwell in mystical awareness of Him.

Our relationships will save us. Our relationships will enmesh us in true love, holy love, no longer special love. And this makes all the difference.

Turn to our relationships today. See if we don’t make a more joyous day out of the pleasures of company, our own, our God’s, and others—brothers and sisters–in our circle.

Relationship, holy relationship, is the Answer. And is there really anything missing when we have that?

Dear God,

Your Consciousness envelops all. I feel warmth and acceptance in Your love. I pray for this for everyone else also. I need no longer worry that I don’t measure up. I am created in Your image, and I accept the limitations that are mine in a finite world. But I reach in mystical fashion toward something grander. And with intuition, Your way becomes clear.

Don’t let me mislead myself. I long for honesty in my life, honesty that sees clearly with vision that is not of physical sight.

I would see with clear vision today. Thank You for enabling this.

Amen.

Relationships Have Present Moment Meaning

“In keeping with your new self-centered focus on what life has had to teach you, you have also seen your relationships as teachers. It is here that you can begin to learn to let go of learning because it is here that learning has been least practiced through the means of studying.

“Relationship happens in the present moment. Studying takes up resi¬dence within the student; there to be mulled over, committed to memory, integrated into new behaviors. Relationship recognizes that love is the greatest teacher. Studying places the power of the teacher in a place other than that of love. Relationship happens as it happens. Studying is about future outcome. What happens in relationship has present moment meaning. What is studied has potential meaning.” (ACOL, T4:10.4 – 10.5)

In trying to get us to see that learning is over for us, Jesus focuses on our relationships, explaining that we have not normally “studied” our relationships; they have just happened as they have happened.

Perhaps it would be useful to return to A Course in Miracles a moment. Our relationship to our brother was seen as the greatest single aspect of what would lead us home. When we forgave our brother, we were touching heaven’s gate. Our special relationships, transformed into holy relationships, were seen as the fastest route to Awakening (called Christ-consciousness in A Course of Love).

Now we are seeing that focusing on our relationships will help us to see why learning is no longer recommended by Jesus. He thinks that we have gotten all we can from the learned wisdom of the past. He focuses now on what revelation from God can give us, revelation that makes its way from the Christ-Self, who is located deep within us and is a part of God. This Christ-Self is our new Self, our new source of guidance. For the first time in eons, we are letting this identity of ours come out to play.

We will learn from the Christ-Self and its relationships what Love is all about. And God, as we know, is Love. We don’t need to seek anymore, though seeking is a habit that at first is hard to drop. But seeking is so unnecessary, for with the Christ-Self and its guidance we have found. Just as in ACIM, now in reading ACOL we will first turn to our relationships to understand that additional learning is not necessary, and is even undesirable.

Turn to the Self within. Let it teach what it can. Let God’s living through us come through loud and clear. And let our relationships with our significant others lead the way.

Prayer

I enjoy feeling comfortable with my most significant others. I love the feeling of warmth that this love gives me. And it leads me to God’s Love, for it has always been through my relationships of love that I have developed a closer walk with God. Now is no different from times past. Now everything is coming together.

Help me to walk in a comfortable fashion today. This embraces Love—God—as well as God’s peace that passeth understanding. The day looks bright, even though there is rain outside. Everyday spent with God is bright.

Amen.

Genuine Relationships Are the Soul of Love

“Some of you have had more experience with new beginnings than others. For most mature adults, some form of new beginning has taken place or been offered. Often, those within the relationship of marriage have had occasion to choose to forgive the past and begin again to build a new relationship. Others, in a similar relationship, might have chosen to let the past go and enter into new relationships. Parents have welcomed home errant children to give them the chance to begin again. At all stages of life new friendships are formed and the relationship with each new friend provides for a new beginning.” (ACOL, T3:15.1)

We are caught in a new beginning right now, the culmination of the joining of heart and mind into wholeheartedness, and the joining of unity and relationship to form our place in this world. We can be optimistic about the future, or we can let fear overcome us, and drop into depression and self-doubt. All self-doubt, Jesus tells us, is really fear, and he has also in A Course of Love (as in A Course in Miracles) told us that there are only two emotions, love and fear. Of course, he asks us in this new beginning to choose love. And we know from our own new beginnings in our lives that the most successful of new beginnings are those that have been welcomed by love.

Relationship is everything, actually. Our individuated portions of the Self have come together in relationships that will destroy, or will transform, our world. Each of us is an individuated portion of the Self, for the Self, in unity, is One. Understanding this takes a mystical frame of mind. But mystical experiences are known to many of us, and they can be known by all of us if our mind does not close down, lost in skepticism that what we are experiencing is real.

So let us consider our new beginnings from our lives. If we formed a new relationship with our beloved after a rupture, if we formed a new relationship with a new beloved, if we welcomed home a wayward child—then we are easily led to follow Jesus’s thinking, because we know, first hand, what he is comparing real relationship to. Real relationships are the soul of Love. First, we meld together heart and mind to form wholeheartedness, and so we have an inner relationship to truth that serves us in good stead. Then we reach outward with the Self, the Christ-Self Who has been cloaked in the depths of our psyche for eons. This Self, shared with all others, forms relationships with our brothers and sisters in Love. And then we know that we will need never feel alone again.

Our union with our brothers and sisters, in relationships that are full of love, will allow us to proceed peacefully in our world. We will know intuitively and mystically that we are One with everyone, and when we know that, we cannot harm, for we know that we would only be hurting ourselves.

Prayer

I seek to expand my circle of close friends to even more brothers and sisters. This expansion of relationship will give me a broader community and help me to follow more precisely the tenets of A Course in Miracles and A Course of Love. The way back to God is paved by our relationships, our real relationship honed in love. There is no other answer as to how to live well in this world.

Be with me today, as always. Give me good energy to succeed in making a contribution to this difficult world. May I come to see this world as less difficult as I walk ever closer with You.

The way is not difficult with You hold my hand.

Amen.

Tending Our Garden

“This holy relationship is what you are called to cultivate as a gardener cultivates her garden. The gardener knows that although the plant exists fully realized within its seed, it also needs the relationship of earth and water, light and air. The gardener knows that tending the garden will help it to flourish and show its abundance. The gardener knows she is part of the relationship that is the garden. A true gardener believes not in bad seeds. A true gardener believes not that she is in control. A true gardener accepts the grandeur that is the garden and finds it beautiful to behold.” (ACOL, T2:12.10)

If we are not cultivating a holy relationship with all of our brothers and sisters, we are cultivating special relationships sponsored by the ego. And the ego would believe that the seed is everything, that there is no need for relationships, for sharing, with others. No need for earth and water, light and air. And that is why separation fails. The seed doesn’t prosper by itself—ever. And we have not done very well in our attempts to remain separate, supported only by unholy alliances that fail us repeatedly. We need the earth and water, light and air—the relationships that support a garden filled with seeds that are all good and need only sharing to blossom. A true gardener does not believe in bad seeds. The heart of all of us is innocent and filled with love. It is only the unsharing ego that is filled with fear. And, Jesus tells us, we have now left the ego behind—gone, to be unclaimed again forever if we remain in love. If we fall into fear again, we will institute a new ego where the other one withered away. And which of us wishes to do that?

The holy relationship is needs cultivation. Specialness thrives on separation and on highs and lows that know no end. There is no high that is not followed by a low, sometimes a desperate low that sends us to our knees. When we truly love another, we will recognize that our choosing of particular others to love has heretofore been flawed. We wanted what special others could do for us, special others who would supply our needs and our wants. When we truly realize that our needs are always supplied, that giving and receiving are one, we will stop trying to protect ourselves by choosing specialness instead of holiness. Our special relationships will not be snatched from us, but transformed to the holy. We will realize that in trying to meet our needs, we have chosen the form of our relationships badly. We were being selfish out of fear. With needs met, and the continual assurance of needs being met, we are freed to love in holy embrace. The embrace encompasses the whole world, the All, for the Self is shared with all others. We are, after all, truly One. And in the warmth of that embrace, we will come into our own as beloved children of God, One with Him and no longer separated by a nefarious ego that brought on much suffering and much turmoil.

So: We must be good gardeners. We must recognize that there are many elements to a growing plant, and we are that growing plant. The kernel of our Self is the seed that contains all that we have accomplished and will accomplish in life. But it does take earth and water, light and air. And these are our holy relationships, the breeze that keeps us afloat.

Prayer

Thank You for the aptness of Jesus’s metaphor of the garden. All of us, even those without gardening talents, can identify with what he says. And we do know that environmental conditions determine whether or not a garden thrives.

My environmental conditions are my holy relationships, and for these I thank You. I don’t spend a lot of time imagining exactly what “holy” does mean, for if I did I would feel unworthy. But I do think from time to time of the highs and lows that I knew when I was embroiled in a special relationship that brought me more pain than joy, more lows than highs, a fantasy of the mind and heart. Those days are over, and I thank You that You wrapped me up all to yourself during that time. I learned to depend on You. Thank You for always being there for me.

Thank You for the holiness that I am coming to comprehend. I, like everybody else, needs holiness in going about our daily lives. May Your holiness encompass my Self, and in this embrace, I will walk a green earth, filled with gardens.

Amen.

Interactions with Others Can Be of Ease & Certainty

“Certainty and ease as surely go together. There are no more decisions for you to make. There is only a call for a dedicated and devoted will, a will dedicated to the present moment, to those who are sent to you and to how you are guided to respond to them. One will be a teacher, another a student. The difference will be clear if you listen with your heart.” (ACOL, C:28.13)

A reassuring passage, this quotation for today tells it like it is—if we are strong enough to comprehend and to put into practice. If we can be at ease when we are certain about things, we will go a long way toward home today. Ease and effortless living are prized in A Course of Love; we don’t have to struggle. In fact, we are forbade struggle as a very bad idea, something that the ego got us caught up in so that we would take the credit when we succeeded after much struggle.

May we get past all of this disaster today. Let us live in the present moment, sure of the present, more sure than we have ever been of anything before. We will encounter others, some of whom will be teachers for us, some of whom will be students for us. If we are fortunate, we will fall in line with the difference.

We are to observe in the outside world, and later on we see that this observation enlarges into being “in-formed” by the larger world. When we observe and when we are informed, we will take life as it comes. We won’t be confused by the fact that some know more than we do, some know less. This is only relevant while we are in time, and time is an illusion in our world. Beyond the veils of death, time is no more. And the same for space.

If we listen with our heart, in ease and certainly, we will know which individuals we encounter are meant to be our teachers, and which we are meant to teach. Listening with our heart, as always, is extolled in ACOL.

Live today in ease and, with it, certainty of a present that will give us all that we truly need. There are actually no needs, for needs are met at the point of recognition. And when this happens, we know that needs are no more.

Dear Father/Mother,

We so easily misunderstand each other. We so easily overstep our bounds and do that which does not help another. But with You guiding us, these mistakes will vanish into nothingness. As they came from nothingness, the mistakes of the ego.

Help us to reach out to others only to the extent that they are ready to receive. We need to pull back if our gestures are not helpful to them. May we have enough sense to understand the difference.

Amen.

Don’t Make Life More Complicated than It Is

“To live in relationship is to accept all that is happening in the present as your present reality, and as a call to be in relationship with it. It is the willingness to set aside judgment so that you are not contemplating what “should” be happening rather than what is happening. It looks past percep¬tion of “others” to relationship and wholeness. To live in relationship is to live in harmony even with conflict. It is an understanding that if conflict arises in your present there is something to be learned from your relation¬ship with conflict.” (ACOL, C:27.14)

This quotation enlarges on the concept of relationship, a concept that is given great play in A Course of Love. We are to be in relationship with what happens in our world as well as with the people in that world. And even if we encounter conflict, we are to know that there is something in conflict for us to learn from. Later on in ACOL, we are taught that our learning is to come from observation of the people and things in our outer world, no longer from books of the past, what people have told us about experience. We are to experience directly through this observation.

We don’t need to argue with our experiences. We don’t need to place “should’s” and “ought’s” on what is going on around us. If something that we don’t like is going on, there is still something for us to learn from this lamentable set of circumstances. And, likewise, if there is something that we like going on, we can relax in the joy and derive pleasure from our surroundings as well.

We don’t need to get in tangles with our world. We simply, directly, observe our surroundings, just as we simply and directly observe our reactions to our surroundings. Don’t make life more complicated than it truly is. Take life by the smooth handle. Relax and be happy, joyous. The way home is not a struggle, and if we insist on struggling, we will miss the mark. The only way home is through, not around, but that “through” is not meant to be a mire. We walk smoothly and easily, along a smooth pathway. And if we find briars where we thought that we would find smoothness, if we trip and fall, we just need to pick ourselves up and try again. The briars are of our own making.

Find wholeness today in our relationship with others and with God. We are a part of that wholeness, and the wholeness is all positive—if we don’t get lot in ruminations of making things different from what they are. We take life at face value, simply and peacefully.

Then we know that we have found the right route through and beyond our troubles.

Dear Father/Mother,

I find myself in conflict from time to time, and I wonder if this is a pattern, in memory, from egoic living. I know that we don’t have to remain in conflict, because turning to You will ease our way, and turning to You will ease our way immediately. Thank You for being there, deep within me, embodying the Self who is my inner Christ. This Self is my little part of You, and knowing that this little Self is part of the All is reassuring in the extreme.

Be with us today. Thank You for the good morning that I had, and may the rest of the day unfold in just such a good manner.

Amen.

Love Is Not Limited

“Thus, while your partner in love transcends total knowing, this too is “how it is.” How it is meant to be. Love inviolate. Each of you is love inviolate. Yet relationally, you may be able to “read each other’s thoughts,” be cogni¬zant of the slightest switch in mood, finish each other’s sentences. You know the other would lay down his or her life for you, rise to any occasion of your need, share your every fear and joy.

“Non-partnered love also shares a knowing through relationship. The loved one may be on the other side of the country, separated by distance, or previous choices, or past hurts, and yet a relationship continues.” (ACOL, C:23.3 – 23.4)

We know much about our significant others in this lifetime. We can know much without making them examples of specialness, for specialness is forbade in A Course of Love. We get nowhere by imagining that we are partnered with only a few others, leaving out all the rest. We take nothing from our most precious partner when we expand our intimacy to our brothers and sisters.

Of course, this intimacy says nothing about sexual intimacy. And, prone as we are in our culture to think of sex, we can get confused if we don’t spell out the difference. Intimacy is love of the highest magnitude, and we don’t have to single out individuals in a “special” sense to bestow this love upon them.

We share with others at a distance through psychic means, though Jesus does not spell this out in the quotation for today. We do communicate across the miles, though, and we form love relationships that are lasting. Once we have loved, we never give up that love. And that is the way love is intended to be.

We are in relationship with all others, all of our brothers and sisters. And when we realize that we don’t have to make these individuals “special” in our own sight, we have taken a giant leap forward in our understanding. We take nothing away from those closest to us by loving all others. When we love with a deep love, we know that there is enough love to go all around.

Prayer

Dear Father,

Be with me today as I seek to love the ones whom I encounter. May my interaction with all others be easy and peaceful, joyous and in harmony. The truth is that we will never be satisfied until we are in love relationships with all others.

May my day go smoothly. May the difficulty that I have in getting going in the mornings just fall away as the bright sun burns off the mist from my eyes. Be with me as I seek to keep a good attitude about all things. And thank you for Jesus’s hints about how to live well.

Amen.

Lasting Love

“This can be most clearly seen in relationships that were once “everything” to you and have since failed you. This can be a memory of any relationship, and each of you has one. It can be of parent and child, of best friends, of a marriage or a partnership, or even that of a mentor or student. Whatever the relationship’s configuration, it was one that truly brought you joy. Within it you were happy and felt as if you needed nothing more than this. It was a relationship so intense that at its peak you would have begun to see its continuation without change as the major goal of your life.” (ACOL, C:14.11)

Here Jesus is taking a look at the special relationship(s) that once seemed to be “everything” for us. He indicates later on that while we learned much from this relationship(s), it is now time to turn to the holiness that is possible in relationships.

Jesus indicates that we have all had such a relationship, and that it can take many forms. Yes, indeed. We often found rejection in relationships such as this, and this rejection has wounded us, making us wary of future relationships.

We don’t have to let the past dictate our future. The fact that we once loved deeply but paves the way for future love. While it seemed that the other person was the real reason for our love, the love that we were feeling was coming from deep inside us. We were capable of that much love, and that is a welcome idea indeed.

Walk on into new love relationships, but make them holy—wanting only the best for the other, not choosing to make of the relationship something that is self-serving. We do know the difference, though the acknowledgment may come only later on.

Holy relationships with all brothers and sisters are the way that we are walking. We are eliminating special relationships, but we will lose nothing by this elimination. Keep our minds and hearts solely on the good, the true, and the blessed, and we will know happy times in love again. This time to last.

Love Is the Answer–Still

“The word love is part of your problem with this Course. If I were to take the word love and change it to some sophisticated-sounding technical term, and say this is the stuff that binds the world together in unity, it would be easier for you to accept. If I were to say you know not of this sophisticated term and this is why you have believed in your separation rather than in your unity with all things, you would be far more likely to nod your head and say, ‘I was but ignorant of this, as was everyone else.’” (ACOL, C:12.1)

This passage quotes in full what I alluded to in the blog yesterday, the allusion to imagining love to be something new and different, a new something that we have never heard of before.

Now we know that this is not true, and can we fool ourselves that we know not of love? That we don’t realize that it is the stuff of unity, one to another?

Of course not. We know enough from our reading of A Course of Love that we are seeking to know union with God, with Self, with others. We share in one world and one universe, and it is only in the sharing that we come into our own. And Love is the “stuff” of which God is made. Our Christian tradition has long told us that God is Love. But have we believed this?

Now is the time for belief in love as the Answer. And the means of coming to know this true reality is to listen to our heart. Until we do, all is truly lost. But it is an easy decision to listen to the heart. Feelings come from the heart, and from A Course in Miracles, we have learned that guidance frequently comes through feelings. If it doesn’t “feel” right, we have schooled ourselves not to do it. And rightly so.

So if we have tried love and failed (or so we think), let us try again. What failed was the egoic love of special relationships, but we have learned in ACOL that holy relationships are the only way to go. The only meaningful and lasting way. An end to the special, but not an end that we would rue. There is no reason to think that we will lose in giving up special relationships, though our egoic minds tell us that we will. The heart knows better. We will gain and gain fully in loving all with a holy love. Of course, this doesn’t mean that we seek physical expression for this holy love. We may still limit our displays of physical affection. But the gist of holy love can be for all.

And it will be no mystery as to why we are healed.

Miracles vs. Magic

“Let us talk a moment here of miracles. Simply stated, miracles are a natural consequence of joining. Magic is your attempt to do miracles on your own. In the early stages of your learning, you will be tempted to play a game of make believe. You will not believe that you are not your body, but you would make believe that you are not.” (ACOL, C:10.11)

Do we believe that we are our body? Pure and simple? Just the body, or are we beginning to see that the body is something that carries us, and that we ourselves are something else entirely?

Coming to this understanding is something the miracle will do for us. We will begin to believe in the intangible. We will see that we are spirit, occupying the space that is the body. And we will know beyond a shadow of a doubt that life goes on after the “death” of the body.

This belief in life after death is a major blessing of the miracle. Many of our fears have centered on the belief that we didn’t survive the death of the body, or we survived in a hell (of our own making), or we survived in we knew not what. We still don’t know the what of our survival beyond the death of the body, but we can intuit that what we will find will be good. And the miracle does that for us.

When we join with each other, we know miracles as a natural consequence of this joining. We are recognizing that we are not separate, as we have thought for eons. So what is there to fear? Many of our fears, just like uncertainty about the afterlife, have centered on the fact that we thought ourselves all alone, with nobody on whom we could depend except those in our special relationships. Joining, by implication, moves beyond special relationships to something better—holy relationships. We let go when we need to, but we will always have people in our lives who are there for us. We don’t have to fall in line with the drama of special relationships, for we know the true and the real of the holy. And with this another miracle has happened.

Let miracles happen today. Join freely with the others who surround us. What we give, we receive—as we have long known but didn’t know how to put into practice.

Now we know. We just reach out in love, for we have cast fear—at least for today—aside. And the miracle that envelops us will keep fear at bay.

Just love without expectations. And what we get in return will dwarf our expectations. Love is the thing. The only thing.

Open Our Hearts to Union

“Joining happens in relationship, not in physical form. Joining is not the obliteration of one thing to make another—joining makes each one whole, and in this wholeness one with all. This union has never really ceased to be, but as long as you do not realize that it exists its benefits are unavailable to you.” (ACOL, C:10.2)

A Course of Love talks about “joining” in a way that A Course in Miracles never did. This joining is the way in which we come into holy relationships with our brothers and sisters. We are in union with them, union and relationship. We are made whole by this joining, as the quotation says. We don’t need to feel any longer, at all, that we are separate and apart in this disastrous world. We are One with the All, including all others as well as God Himself.

As long as we thought that we needed to be independent and autonomous, we couldn’t know the benefits of joining. “Joining,” for us, only meant a physical bonding. This is not all that joining means, though. It is a spiritual bonding one to the other. And by it we are saved; it is out way home.

We know joining when we left down our barriers against love. And all of us have these barriers against love, thinking that we will be safer if we don’t open our heart. Of course, we are learning that just the reverse is true: We need to open our hearts to others and to God. This is the ONLY way that we can finally be at peace.

And it will be no secret that we are finally and ultimately saved, when we open our heart to joining with each other. The blessings are many, the drawbacks, none at all.

Try to soften your heart today for the love that is all around us. As we give, we receive. And there is nothing better to give and receive than love.

Holy Relationships Offer Harmony in Daily Life

“Despite your bravest attempts to remain separate, you must use your brothers and sisters in order to even maintain the illusion of your sepa¬ration. Would it not simply be better to end this charade? To admit that you were not created for separation but for union? To begin to let go of your fear of joining, and as you do let go of use as well?” (ACOL, C:9.49)

We are meant to be in union with all that exists, our brothers and sisters, our world, and God Himself. We have maintained our desire to be separate and autonomous, believing that this is what we want. But has it gotten us what we want? Haven’t we fallen into special relationships, constantly, even as we tried to maintain some apartness?

This apartness is surely what we have found in our special relationships, because we want others to be with us, but not too close. We are afraid of closeness, fearing that it will take something from us. And so we are engaged in a delicate dance of approach and avoidance of our special others. And this scenario makes drama for us. Indeed, we have become addicted to drama in our lives, and this is not the way to welcome peace and harmony.

We have used others in special relationships to ourselves. Used them for what they could give us that we thought that we lacked. Indeed, when we seek a special romantic relationship, we look for those things that are unique in the other, what that person has that we can steal to make ourselves more whole. We imagine that we are half a person, looking for our other half in a soul mate relationship that will offer solace to us and help us make our way in this dangerous world. When we seek to take from the other his/her very life essence, we are using that person for nefarious ends. We don’t feel right about it, really, but we don’t yet, many of us, know any other way to interact.

Let us be done with this charade now. Let us realize that independence, autonomy, is a myth for us. Why? We are not made to be alone. We are made to be living in holy relationship with our Self deep within, our brothers and sisters, even God Himself. This holy relationship, in which we do not seek to take any more than we seek to give, is where we will find solace. We will recognize that our holy relationships are our way home. We will be happier than ever before, as we give and receive as one.

The dynamic of special relationships turned holy is not something that can be taught. It is a matter of the heart, and love cannot be taught so that it becomes learned. But we can remove blocks to love’s awareness, and the first and most important is to recognize that we don’t like how we are living now. The high’s and low’s of special relationships preclude the harmony that will prevail when we have mastered the “holy” in holy relationships. Give it our all today, to love and be loved in return, and see if our independence doesn’t fall away quickly, and we experience a peace that is beyond anything previously encountered. We won’t be made dull or bored by this peace; it is the height of aliveness. And then we will know that we have truly found home at last.

The Quest for Right Relationships

“Your quest for what is missing thus becomes the race you run against death. You seek it here, you seek it there, and scurry on to the next thing and the next. Each person runs this race alone, with hope only of victory for himself. You realize not that if you were to stop and take your brother’s hand, the racecourse would become a valley full of lilies, and you would find yourself on the other side of the finish line, able at last to rest.” (ACOL, C:9.40)

“If you were to stop and take your brother’s hand.” Yes! Here A Course of Love is saying the same thing that A Course in Miracles does. In ACIM, we are encouraged to realize that our way home is in a holy relationship with our brother. And this method, for Jesus, has not changed. We find our way back to God by loving our brother (or sister).

We are constantly looking for salvation alone, fruitlessly. But even Ruth Montgomery’s Guides said that we have to take our brother’s hand, that we cannot find our way back to God in a solitary and lonely search. Yet we still try, and it is such a pity! We need only acknowledge our relationship, in sharing, in joining with all, to know the ultimate in salvation, the enlightenment process itself.

Jesus’s language in this passage is so very beautiful. “The racecourse would become a valley full of lilies.” He invoked herein the same image as A Course in Miracles as well. Jesus likes lilies, and we do, too. Our Easter lilies are a case in point.

So what do we do now? We simply and humbly make a decision that we will join with our brothers and sisters in the walk homeward. We will no longer seek to be solitary seekers. Our seeking does have an end, we will learn in A Course of Love, but in the Course proper, we are not yet at that point.

Join today with the significant others in your life. Let their turmoil and troubles be your own as well, but not to disturb your peace, for this turmoil is illusory. Never forget that this world is an illusion—at least until we reach the real world toward which we are heading. And then, it is very likely that the real is intangible, being of God, Who has no form.

The best thing that we can do today is to determine that we are One with our brothers and sisters as well as One with God. God, being within, is always available for our communion with Him. He never does forsake us, as traditional Christianity has often said. Be humble today. Ask what we should do next. And it is very likely that that next action will be a gift to our brothers and sisters, the others in our world. There is no better way to spend a day, for giving and receiving are one, and what we give to others is returned to us many times over.

Focus on the Love that Remains

“Seeking what you have lost in other people, places, and things is but a sign that you do not understand that what you have lost still belongs to you. What you have lost is missing, not gone. What you have lost is hidden to you but has not disappeared nor ceased to be.” (ACOL, C:9.39)

There is a tenet in A Course of Love that the relationships that we have known are never really lost to us, that even if separated by distance or even death, we have an ongoing connection. A Course in Miracles says something very similar; it says that all who meet are destined to meet again, for it is intended that all special relationships will eventually turn holy. If we can believe these two ideas (and I believe we can, of course), then we need not fret when there are endings in our lives. Those we have loved are never really lost to us, in part, perhaps, because (as we know) love is eternal.

Thus what we have lost in people, places, and things is not really gone, though it may be missing at any given point in time. Love is not gone, and nearly always love is present, still, in some form that we can appreciate. The forms change, but the eternity of love felt by God’s children does not change.

Of course, we can get stubborn. If we are still clinging to special relationships (even though ACOL says that special relationships must end), we may not be satisfied with anything holy that enters our lives. We may insist, angrily, that we want what we want. And then we are not at peace.

The smart thing is to take love where it is to be found. Holy love lets the other go, leave entirely, without pain or suffering. After all, we know that we are protected and that we are never alone and lost to a remedy. Although another person cannot substitute for the lost person, we can gracefully see the other go—if only because we know that somewhere, somehow, there will be a reconciliation.

This attitude may take a great deal of faith, but it constitutes true love. We do not wish someone to stay with us who wants out. And all the universe will rush to our side with remediation, if we are not too stubborn to accept the love that still abides with us—despite a loss.

A young person, feeling special love for the first time, and then finding rejection, will not easily see this point of view. It takes more maturity to see the whole picture. But an eternal love exists, as this passage implies, and we would do well to focus our eyes on the love that remains in our lives.
We have no other choice, really. And then we open ourselves to new joy, not renewed stubbornness at refusing to let go.

Our Love Is Not in Vain

“Think not that these are senseless questions, made to bring love and pain together and there to leave you unaided and unhelped, for pain and love kept together in this way makes no sense, and yet makes the greatest sense of all. These questions merely prove love’s value. What else do you value more?” (ACOL, C:3.21)

Senseless questions are not real questions, and they don’t accomplish anything in this world. But Jesus asks questions full of sense, questions asking where we are going from where we have been, questions that ask us to take another look at true reality. And when we do take another look at true reality, what do we find but a world enveloped in God’s love?

We don’t value anything above love, though we may, in egoic clutches, reach for those things that will hurt us. True love never hurts. Only egoic special love does that. True love is abundantly kind, above all else.

We all remember the drama of special relationships that we thought were true love. My, how we remember that! But, if we are lucky, that special relationship will morph into a holy relationship, and our hurt will subside. We will know that our beloved is after the same thing that we are—true love, which knows only peace. And kindness. The Dalai Lama once said that kindness was his religion. And surely we can understand what he is trying to say. A kind demeanor for the world is sure to bring more kindness in its wake. And we will know, for a sure thing, that our love has not been in vain.

Eternal Love Is the World’s Only True Reality

“Every loving thought that the Son of God ever had is eternal. The loving thoughts his mind perceives in this world are the world’s only reality. They are still perceptions, because he still believes that he is separate. Yet they are eternal because they are loving.” (ACIM, T-11.VII.2)

We have all heard platitudes about how important love is to our very existence, but this quotation does not mouth platitudes. We are told that our loving thoughts are eternal, that they are the world’s only reality. Yet as long as we think we are separate, we will be caught in a perceived world. Only when we move beyond perception to knowledge do we reach the reality that we long to find.

Love is God, and we are a part of God, and so we are love as well. While this does not mean that God is an emotion, it does mean something very close to the emotion of love that we understand as holy. It is very far, on the other hand, from the emotion of love that we thrust upon others whom we deem are special to ourselves.

Special love will not last, and for those of us first caught up in romantic love, we need to take heed. The special love that is the first bloom of romance must move forward into the holy love that sees that the perfection we envision is truly real. The perfection of our beloved is the only part of special love that is right and true. And the first bloom of special love does see this clearly.

I often think that talking of mature love sounds so deadly. We are told, in effect, to grow up and love more sanely. But real love is not needed as a test of sanity. The part of special love that is seeing perfection is seeing truly. And then we expand this perfection to a wide scope, and we extend this sight into the future, and then we have the holy love that is lasting.

“Love is the condition of your reality. In your human form your heart must beat for the life of your self to take place. This is the nature of your reality. Love is as essential to your being as the heart to the body.” (ACOL, C:1.3)

We need love. We all know this, but we also feel powerless, sometimes, to keep the loves in our life that we want. People come and go, and loves seem also to come and go.

A true understanding knows that the ones we have loved are never lost to us. That love that we felt is a part of eternity, and eternity means “lasting.” We don’t have to see, speak to, or write the person whom we once adored. He or she may have no part in our lives.

But the loves lives on, taking on a life of its own.

And this early love does not mitigate against later loves. Love, once present, expands the heart so that other love comes more easily, for the measure of our love is what it has done to us. We have changed internally by the very act of loving. And this loving lasts and lasts, making new and fresh incarnations along the way.

We don’t have to worry about being bereft of love. Our hearts simply need to be open to what God has for us. He never departs; he never allows us to feel alone for very long. He knows that we need other people, as we also need Him. And He will supply that need with every heartfelt cry.

Struggle Is Not Meant to Be

“Just as you eat to still your hunger only to become hungry again, so does the rest of your life need constant maintenance to retain the reality you have given it. ‘Struggle to succeed and succeed to struggle yet another day’ is the life you have made, and the life you fear heaven would replace.” (ACOL, 6.13)

We have made such a mess as we sought to make the reality that we wanted in this world. How many of us really are addicted to struggle, think that it is virtuous?

I think many of us are. We think that hard work is its own reward, but, oh, are we so wrong. Life is not meant to be a struggle. We are meant to live peaceably and in contentment. Until we change our goals, we will not understand this directive. We will think that we are missing the mark if we drop struggle, because the ego made everything a struggle, as though we wouldn’t measure up unless we constantly worked.

“And yet the very reality that you have set up—the reality of not being able to succeed in what you must constantly strive to do—is a situation set up to provide relationship. Like everything else you have remembered of creation and made in its image, so too is this.” (ACOL, 9.26)

We still find ourselves in relationship one to the other, even in our egoic state of mind prior to getting a glimpse of true reality. We have “remembered” part of what creation really meant for us, but we have remembered it in only a pale reflection of what it is. This remembering is commonplace in our world, but we don’t normally recognize what we are remembering—that we are seeing a pristine world prior to the fall into insanity.

We can let ourselves off the hook. We have so often chastised ourselves for failing. But this is not the issue. Our egos have set up the world for us to fail, because the ego is constantly being undone. If the ego were not being undone, we would ultimately be lost, seeing no way out. That the ego fails repeatedly is a lesson that we will one day come to see, and this lesson offers us the first glimmerings of our way out—our way to salvation.

Choose a day without struggle. If there is something that you don’t want to do, but think you should—just choose not to do that activity. Find out from your reticence what is going on is this non-productive state of mind. You may find that you have been walking along the wrong pathway, and your true reality is trying to let you know. You can always try this activity tomorrow if the experiment proves unfruitful. But I think that you will learn great things by listening to the small Voice that warns against the activity for which you have no motivation. There is a reason for no motivation. Listen and be forewarned.

No Longer Isolated, We Are One In Relationship

“Relationship is the invisible reality only expressed in form.” (ACOL, Dialogues, Day 14, 14.9)

We are individuals meant to be in relationship one to the other; we don’t have to imagine that the best way is to be isolated, alone, independent, doing it “our way.” We are meant to share with others this existence on earth. We were created for each other. That is why there are so many of us.

So: Relationship is the reality, expressed in form. If we didn’t have our physical bodies, our forms, we would be less inclined to imagine that we ought to remain concretely separate. Since we do have form, but we know that we are really One in unity with the All, then it is in relationship that our identity is best expressed.

This assertion, in the quotation above, is a milestone in our attempts to understand what Jesus is saying in A Course of Love. If we can understand unity (we are One) and relationship (we are nevertheless many), then we will have solved a great puzzle. And we won’t stand independent and isolated, by choice, any longer. We will know that we were created for each other.

You Are Never Alone

“You must forgive reality for being what it is. Reality, the truly real, is relationship. You must forgive God for creating a world in which you cannot be alone.” (ACOL, 6.1)

We thought that we wanted independence, autonomy. We thought that it was right and good that we stand on our own feet and make our own lives, to “do it my way.” But has this made us happy? And happiness is a function for us, as described in A Course in Miracles. Our “splendid isolation” has brought us nothing but grief. There must be another way (as Bill said to Helen, shortly before ACIM was channeled).

It is a startling idea to read that we must “forgive God for creating a world in which you cannot be alone.” We don’t realize that we have, in a sense, blamed God for the failure of our egos to establish our happiness as independent creatures, creatures not even needing God.

But it is also reassuring to know that we don’t have to struggle in isolation. We were never meant to be alone. We were meant to be sharing individuals in a caring world. This is our inheritance when we see aright. This is where we are heading as a world. To get there may take a very long time, but once begun, the end is sure.

So this definition of true reality tells us that it is relationship. Our holy relationships one to the other, I might add. This is what we will enjoy when we have given up the primacy of special relationships, relationships that are actually filled with the fear that we will be left alone and isolated. In the holy world, filled with our holy relationships, we are never alone. Others are there for us, and God Himself becomes Someone Who is not fearful to us, and so we can touch His Essence as well. Our inner Christ Self is joined to God, and with this sure foundation we walk a good earth.

The Star Shines Still

“You have not two realities, but one. Nor can you be aware of more than one. An idol or the Thought God holds of you is your reality. Forget not, then, that idols must keep hidden what you are, not from the Mind of God, but from your own. The star shines still; the sky has never changed. But you, the holy son of God Himself, are unaware of your reality.” (ACIM, T-30.III.11)

There is a way in which these special relationships become holy, for at the beginning of the specialness, we have actually glimpsed what the holy will be, later on. We want to get past the grievances when love seems to fade. We want to touch the holy in our relationships.

If the Thought God holds of me is true reality, how can I come to know what that Thought is? A Course in Miracles answers this question. The Thought is one of pure essence, of a being of love with no dark fear intruding; a thought of love, with no egoic notions compounding our sorrows into suffering. We do not really want for idols, but we have found many in our walk in this world. Those idols keep us from the true God.

Often our special relationships start out as a search for idolatry. We make of our beloved an idol, and in the making does the ego loom large. Only this ecstasy does not last, for we find that our special love has very human characteristics. And then we are off again, searching once again for a perfect love that is in actuality an idol.

Special relationships turned holy are the special means that A Course in Miracles is taking us back home to God. When we realize that the negative aspects of our beloved, newly seen by us, are actually the insanity of the ego, then we are led to love on a deeper level. It is sometimes helpful when anger emerges, or attack looms, to say to ourselves, “This is just insanity.” For it is. And insanity is the madness is which we have been lost to God and to ourselves.

Until we change those special relationships into holy, we do not know our true reality. The true reality has not changed, but we have been oblivious to it.

Decide today to seek what is good and pure, true and honest. The blessings that we will know will surface our highest imaginings.

Valentine’s Day, by Ivor Sowton

Through the observation of others recommended by Jesus in A Course of Love (ACOL), through which we can experience the truth in others directly, rather than through our egos, we can perhaps get a new “take” on Valentine’s Day that can be helpful to us.

Valentine’s Day is another of those popular holidays that has gone widely cross-cultural, having achieved wide observance in big parts of Asia and Africa after its obscure beginnings in Western Catholicism. I say obscure beginnings because if you look into its roots you find at least three early Christian saints associated with its founding, and various accounts of their lives are not consistent. Nevertheless, all of these founding saints had names close to “Valentine,” and all of them were martyred for their faith (that used to be the usual requirement for being declared a saint–ouch!). Further–and here we get to the ACOL connection–these saints all had certain special people in their own personal lives to whom they sent short, fervent love notes (smuggled out of prison in their case!)

Now I don’t mean to suggest that these saints were “in love” with the recipients of their notes (although this apparently could be argued!) The point here is that they touched a very deep chord in us collectively and cross-culturally, as evidenced by the tremendous world-wide popularity of Valentine’s Day today.

The Jungian reading of this phenomenon would be that a deep, collective unconscious archetype had being activated here–and these deep archetypes are POWERFUL!

At any rate, Valentine’s Day quickly became about romantic little notes to those we are (or want to be!!) romantically involved with. Very early on in the history of the printing press there were mass produced love notes called “valentines,” and a famous book was soon printed containing short romantic poems to help people express the love they were feeling for that special person in their lives. The phenomena of Valentine’s Day had gone viral, as we would say today!

So, we are looking at the special relationship here, right?

Let’s use observation now, as defined by Jesus in ACOL:

“The power to observe what is is what what will keep you unified with your brothers and sisters rather than separating you from them.” (4th Treatise, 2.17)

So, let’s start with humility. We can’t pretend that “other” people might have the problem of special relationships, but not us. In a way it doesn’t seem fair, I admit. I mean, here we’ve diligently studied “special relationships” in ACOL and maybe A Course in Miracles (ACIM) too–shouldn’t that confer on us some kind of immunity? But we have to remember that our egos thrive on a sense of superiority over others, and are certainly capable of misusing this kind of insight to maintain their own specialness!
Here’s another relevant quote

“A new relationship exists now between the physical and the spiritual…This new relationship is the only state in which observation of what is can occur…It is believing that you exist in relationship and union with all and that each encounter is one of union and relationship…” (ibid, 2.25, 2.26, 2.32)

For me what this means at least for now is that unity and relationship with others is our natural state. As we start to observe others more and more in that light of unity we are going to love them more. But not as special beings outside of us whom we then become dependent on, for that is the old way of separation, rather than the new state of unity in relationship that Jesus is calling us to.

So go ahead and send that Valentine card and gift, but in the new way rather than the old way! The subtext will then be: “I am so glad to finally be able to see you for Who you really are. In doing so we are both ennobled, observer and observed as one in Christ consciousness.”

But the actual words you might write can be innocent, unschooled, and trite, even! We get to be sweet and childlike in the new way, thank goodness!

“Observation is an extension of the embrace that in turn makes the embrace observable.” (ibid, 3.1)
Isn’t that beautiful?

Happy Valentine’s!

Use Free Will to Join with Our Brother

“But one was needed to end the separation, and in this one are all the rest joined. For what alone in all creation could be affected by your free will but your own self? But one was needed to, of his own free will, join his will with his Father’s for it to be done for all. This is all correction or atonement means, and all that is in need of your acceptance. Join your brother who made this choice for all and you are reunited with the Christ in you.” (ACOL, C:12.14)

Jesus frequently speaks of “one” when he is getting us to understand that we need only join with our brother—one brother—to effect salvation for all. He makes a similar statement in the Manual of A Course in Miracles, that one individual only was needed to bring atonement to all the world. And many of us see that one as Jesus himself, 2000 years ago. But Jesus does not take anything unto himself that cannot be exemplified in each of us, in this day and time. Elsewhere he says that there is nothing that he has that all of us cannot have, only that he has nothing else, that what he has is potential in us.

We use our free will, a our real will that is one with God’s, to join with our brothers and sisters. We make the decision to forgive and to join. And we are never the same after this. Anything that the other can do is not sufficient to rue our choice to join with him or her. We always forgive, knowing that nothing bad has actually happened, that we are lost in illusion and so bad things don’t affect us, with this understanding.

So we, each of us, find our way home by loving our brother, by walking hand in hand with our brother in holy relationship.

A Part of Heaven Is Laid in Our Relationships

“Before a holy relationship there is no sin. The form of error is no longer seen, and reason, joined with love, looks quietly on all confusion, observing merely, ‘This was a mistake.’ And then the same Atonement you accepted in your relationship corrects the error, and lays a part of Heaven in its place. How blessed are you who let this gift be given!” (T-22.VI.5)

We can easily accept Atonement when we accept it through our special relationships turned holy. A holy relationship, we are told, is a means of saving time. And when we turn to our brother, overlooking his mistakes as just mistakes (not sins), then we see Heaven itself in our relationship. We have walked further toward the grace that is always held out to us.

We have been confused when we fail to overlook mistakes in our brother. Of course, overlooking is hard when we believe ourselves to have really been attacked, and to have suffered from this attack. But to think in such a way is to compound the error, the mistake.

Our brother had only attacked us because his mind is lost in illusion, and we ourselves are attached to that illusion as well. Our real Self has not been harmed in any way. We are intact. And being intact, we can show our brother an innocent face, a face that has not been hurt, and in the showing of this unhurt face, our brother will receive (as do we) a part of Heaven itself.

Living the Way of Mary

1 – Day 19

“Those of you who are the forerunners of the way of Mary may have felt confusion over your sense of calling. You know you are called to something, and something important, but it does not have a form within your mind and so you see not how it can become manifest in the world. In other words, you know not what to do. You perhaps see no ‘specific’ accomplishment in your future, but see instead a way of living as the ultimate accomplishment. (Dialogues of A Course of Love, Day 19)”

2 – Way of Living

A way living is the ultimate way of Mary; it is not achieving, out in the world, as doers have done in the way of Jesus. This becomes a reflective way of life, a way of relationship, often in the family, and is sometimes understood, perhaps, by women more so than by men. This is according to the stereotype of how women have been viewed in a patriarchal society. And in the new world, men and women both will be far more likely just to live, just to live in relationship, than to try to achieve, even if that achievement is ego-less.

3 – Comforting

This way is a comforting way, this way of Mary. It is a very loving way, this way of relationship. We move in circles that are near to us; we heal each other in ways that are impossible if one is out in the world trying to make a mark, to actively change the world for the better.

4 – Change Happens from Within

A Course in Miracles and A Course of Love both emphasize that change of the world happens only when we first see an inward change. We change amiss when we attempt to overturn the old order by force of external means. We change what we perceive, and then we change what we know, and in the doing, we change quite a bit in the outside world. Even followers in Mary’s tradition will change quite a bit in the outside world, but it will be a by-product of that change that happens closer to home, closer to the heart.

5 – Contented

“Being content is being fulfilled by the way in which you express who you are—by the way you express your content—your wholeness. Those who use their gifts to create the truth they see are those who in ‘doing’ find their way to true contentment and true creation. . . .Those called to the way of Mary are called to be what they want to see reflected in the world and to the realization that this reflection is the new way of creation. In their being they become what they want to create. (Dialogues of A Course of Love, Day 19)”

6 – Becoming

Those of the way of Mary are in the midst of “becoming” a being whom they want to create. In their Selves they embody change. If one first becomes something that is actually desired in the outside world, we truly make a change over which we have some control. We can always change our own selves. And in the changing does the world itself change as well.

7 – Being

We rest content when our very being has been transformed, and if the way of Mary is our way, then this is what we are about.

8 – Interaction

“The way of Mary is not a place or state of non-interaction however. This is not the state or place of the monks, nuns, or the contemplatives of old. It is not solitary nor isolated, nor confined to a specific community. It is a way of existence in which relationship is paramount. It is not listening to a calling to ‘do’ but a calling to ‘become.’ (A Course of Love: Dialogues, p. 180)”

9 – Relationships

Relationships do matter a great deal. And when we are following Mary’s way, we major in relationships. They are our focus, they are our reason for living. Cannot we see that women have historically played this role, even when the ego was the dominant inner force?

10 – Rest

There is rest in the way of Mary. We no longer try to change anybody or anything that is outside of us, unless that change happens naturally through our interaction with them. We aren’t trying to a role model for anyone; we are just “being.” We are not “doing” in the active way that Jesus was doing. His example life is not called for by those who follow Mary.

11 – Not “Doing”

The way of Mary is not a “doing” so much as a way of “being.” This does not mean that doing will be absent from our brothers and sisters who follow Mary’s way, but their primary mode of living will be in relationships. They will not always be as known by our world as those who are actively doing. But they will not dwell in obscurity. As we fulfill the obligations and mission for which we live in the world, we will naturally move more toward being rather than doing.

12 – All

Eventually all will follow the way of Mary. This may be hard for us to understand at this time in our history, when there is so much that we perceive as “wrong” with this world. But as we all learn to “be” rather than to try (sometimes misguidedly) to “do,” then we will see that no change is lasting that does not include an internal change. This is a largely unexpressed but implicit tenet of Jesus in both A Course in Miracles and A Course of Love.

13 – Anchors

Both Jesus and Mary are anchors in this time of transition. Both ways–doing and being–are needed as we seek to bring to our world a new, transformed world.

14 – Acclaim

“This is not to say that those called to the way of Jesus will find acclaim and those called to the way of Mary will find obscurity. Many called to the way of Mary will ‘do’ much that is greatly desired in the world but what they do will be a byproduct of their way of being rather than a means of facilitating that way of being. (Dialogues of A Course of Love, Day 19)”

15 – In Relationship

So we live, first of all, in relationship when we are called to the way of Mary. And we may find acclaim, but it is no longer foremost to us, even when we are outside the realm of the ego. We don’t have to “do” to achieve our purpose in life; we just “are.”

16 – Way of Jesus

“Without those pursuing the way of Jesus, those pursuing the way of Mary would have a much more difficult task. There would be little space in which to anchor the new. Those following the way of Jesus create the openness of the spacious Selves who allow for the anchors of the new to be cast and thus to ride out the many storms of this time of transition. (Dialogues of A Course of Love, Day 19)”

17 – New Age

Those of the way of Jesus have paved the way for the new age, those who will follow in the way of Mary. Someone needed to actively work in the world to bring about change—by setting an example, and, earlier, by teaching and learning. Now those goals have been achieved, and many of the way of Mary have gained much from the accomplishment. Now the time is ripe for simply “being,” no longer out in the world creating a new order.

18 – New Order

Yet the way of Jesus, the new order, needed to be achieved, to give the Marys of the world a place to rest content. Now those of the way of Mary can walk serenely in a world that did not exist a few years ago. It exists now, for a few followers of Mary—and more followers of Mary will come in the years henceforth.

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

I have spent most of my life “doing”–sometimes in a feverish pace. I am so relieved that Jesus does not ask me to “do” compulsively any longer. Thank You for the words that indicate that “being” in relationships is also a good thing. Help me to truly understand the way of Mary.

As I balance the way of Jesus–the doing–with the way of Mary–the being–may I have Your constant support. I cannot live well in this world without Your guidance every step of the way. Thank You.

Amen.

Lifelong Relationships Are Generally Few

“The third level of teaching occurs in relationships which, once they are formed, are lifelong. These are teaching-learning situations in which each person is given a chosen learning partner who presents him with unlimited opportunities for learning. (M8)”

1 – Examples of Lifelong Relationships

This third level of learning is most often seen in parent-child relationships. In bygone eras, it was also seen in life-long partnerships, but with divorce so prevalent, this is no longer true. If we are extremely fortunate, we will know a few individuals throughout our lives who offer unlimited opportunities for learning. Be this parent-child, or partners for life, the potential is reason for rejoicing.

2 – Our Society

Sometimes, in our society, we move far away from our birth city, and far away also from our parents. The same holds true for our children. If our primary relationship is intact, we will continue to learn from our partner. But one source also is the friends that we make along the way. Most will eventually fade from our lives, and therefore not be the lifelong relationship that this passage proclaims as so pivotal to our lives.

3 – Keep Relationships Intact

It is good to keep our relationships intact, even if separated by distance. In this era of e-mail, this is more easily done than previously. Phone calls, of course, can continue as well. We would be wise, in all likelihood, never to let anybody fade from our lives permanently–at least, anybody who was once significant. This is an ideal, though, and few of us will be fortunate enough to find it.

4 – Lifelong Relationships Are Few

“These relationships are generally few, because their existence implies that those involved have reached a stage simultaneously in which the teaching-learning balance is actually perfect. (M8)”

We won’t have many lifelong relationships, though those with our parents, until death do us part, are the most common. Those with our siblings are next. But the best, for us, is a lifelong partnership with our significant other—if we are so lucky, for divorce is so very common these days. Nothing seems stable in an unstable world.

5 – “Brother” as Significant Other

The “brother” that is often mentioned is, I think, your significant other. If we don’t have one significant other, it is likely that A Course in Miracles will not interest you quite so much. A widow whom I tried to interest in ACIM (she was a minister) just did not find anything which resonated with her, and I think it is because her beloved husband had died several years earlier.

6 – Forgiveness

If we forgive our brother/sister of any and all wrongdoing (as we perceive it), then we are well on our way to following the pathway whom that A Course in Miracles points out. This forgiveness thing is tricky, for all too often even long-term students/teachers of ACIM will dip into what Song of Prayer calls “forgiveness-to-destroy.” That is when we think we forgive out of a sense of superiority, that the person does not really deserve forgiveness, but because we are “spiritual,” we say that we pardon. We do not really pardon. We hold the offense against them, forgetting that we are in an illusion that we ourselves have devised. It is impossible to be unfairly treated (ACIM statement). May we remember this truth when we are believing that we are treated unjustly by our brother. Even if he/she has done or said something really bad, still is this true. We may have to distance ourselves to avoid abuse, but still this is true. We cannot be unfairly treated, for our Self devises the things that we become involved in.

7 – Hostility?

“This does not mean that they necessarily recognize this; in fact, they generally do not. They may even be quite hostile to each other for some time, and perhaps for life. Yet should they decide to learn it, the perfect lesson is before them and can be learned. (M8)”

Lifelong partners do not always get along. And they will not, in such cases, realize how well-suited for each other they really are. Let us remember today. We are in a partnership for a reason, and we ought to try to learn what that reason is. We need to drop hostility from our group of emotions. Our brother/sister does not deserve this. Only when we forgive others, can we forgive ourselves. It just works this way. And our own unforgiveness thus will always return to haunt us.

8 – Saviors

“And if they decide to learn that lesson, they become the saviors of the teachers who falter and may even seem to fail. No teacher of God can fail to find the Help he needs. (M8)”

9 – Perfect Lesson

So when we learn the perfect lesson from our significant other, we can become saviors of others. We can say the right thing at the right time. We can share salvation. What better way to spend our day, than to share it with those we love?

10 – Holy Spirit

This “Help” is the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit always provides—never fear. He is there for us through thick and thin. He guides us to what is best for us. If we listen to His guidance, we will lead a charmed life. Others may not understand what causes the charm, but this is the secret: Following the Holy Spirit’s guidance. How do you do that? Check out the many ways that I identified in the blog posting, “The Gift of Guidance.” Enter gift and guidance and hales to bring it up. This is a posting based on an article featured in Miracles magazine, published by Jon Mundy. Thank you for reading.

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

Thank you for the lifelong relationships that I have, and have had. May I come to understand what a teaching-learning balance really means.

I ask you to help me keep my relationships intact. If I have lost someone from my life, and it seems feasible to reach out once again, may I have the courage to reach out.

Amen.

There Are No Accidents in Salvation. Those Who Are to Meet Will Meet. . . .They Are Ready for Each Other.

“. . .[T]he plan includes very specific contacts to be made for each teacher of God. There are no accidents in salvation. Those who are to meet will meet, because together they have the potential for a holy relationship. They are ready for each other. (M7)”

1 – No Accidents

The fact that there are no accidents in the plan of salvation is a comforting thought. Those who are meant to meet, will meet. Our potential, with each person in our personal world, is the potential to have a holy relationship. There are no exceptions.

2 – Contacts

These “very specific contacts” may give us solace as we go about our days, even as we encounter those whom we find it difficult to love. These may be our most important teachers. It is instructive that the plan of salvation, in the view of A Course in Miracles, is a detailed plan, with particular people entering our lives whom we are meant to meet.

3 – Holy Relationships

Finding the way to a holy relationship is not a straight line. Elsewhere we are bade to turn our special love relationships into holy relationships, but we are not perfect, and at times the hatred in our hearts, as yet unhealed, will surface with attack and anger. This is not a reason to despair, but one to recognize as an opportunity. When we fall down, we are helped up, often by the same brother or sister who has been the catalyst for our fall. Then we will see that special love relationships really can and do become holy, given time and the incentive to make the transformation.

4 – Teaching

“The simplest level of teaching appears to be quite superficial. It consists of what seem to be very casual encounters; a ‘chance’ meeting of two apparent strangers in an elevator, a child who is not looking where he is going running into an adult ‘by chance’ two students happening’ to walk home together. These are not chance encounters. (M7)”

For Jesus to affirm that such casual encounters as described in the passage are not accidental is a momentous assertion. It places our day solely in the hands of a benevolent Providence. Most things that we normally attribute to chance thus become something entirely different—a chance to show others what we are like, and thereby to improve the world, however minutely.

5 – Witnessing

We can witness in the most secular environment, the most secular surroundings. We do not have to make a big deal out of sharing ourselves in everyday life. It does behoove us not to resort to attack and anger in encountering others, whether they be significant others or very casual encounters with people who, at the point of meeting, are indeed strangers to us.

6 – Comforting Passage

This passage is very comforting, for it means that even when we feel alone, we are not really alone. Most of us encounter others who are strangers daily. We can see that each encounter has the potential for a holy relationship, and so we see that we are surrounded by potential friends.

7 – Casual Encounters

“Even at the level of the most casual encounter, it is possible for two people to lose sight of separate interests, if only for a moment. That moment will be enough. Salvation has come. (M7)”
This passage explains what happens in these casual encounters. Salvation has come! What an assertion and what a blessing! We reach out to another, almost unconsciously, and we are rewarded with a sense of good having been done.

8 – Alone?

We need to invite the feeling that we are losing our separate interests. We are not meant to be all alone, independent beings who don’t need each other. In our heart of hearts, we know that we do need others. Of course, our tendency toward introversion or extroversion will determine how many people we will let into our circle. This need not be a situation of conflict. Not everybody can welcome the whole wide world. Everyone can be open to the individuals given him/her to save. If we don’t get too intent on our own interests and desires, we will know when others are ready, and we will respond accordingly. Be careful not to give more than another is ready to accept. Salvation is always reciprocal, with the giver receiving even more then he/she is receiving, at least part of the time. We give and receive as one. In that One, we are teachers and students together.

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

I thank You that we have particular people whom we are destined to meet. This is one truth that gives meaning to our lives.

May I transform all the special relationships that I have into holy ones. If this seems a too-lofty goal, let me remind myself that I have started the pathway, and once on the pathway, the end is certain.

Amen.

Being Dis-Spirited / Stabilizing the Unstable

“I raised the dead by knowing that life is an eternal attribute of everything that the living God created. Why do you believe it is harder for me to inspire the dis-spirited or to stabilize the unstable? I do not believe that there is an order of difficulty in miracles; you do. I have called and you will answer. I understand that miracles are natural, because they are expressions of love. My calling you is as natural as your answer, and as inevitable. (T65)”

1 – Jesus

Jesus is again speaking here. He is emphasizing that all miracles are natural and any is as easy for him to effect as any other.

2 – Miracles

We obviously find this hard to believe, for others if not for Jesus. Yet we are told elsewhere in A Course in Miracles that miracles are our natural inheritance. It is fascinating that here Jesus reaffirms that he raised the dead in his life on earth. This, perhaps, has been an element of the New Testament that some have found hard to understand–even long-time Christians. ACIM, scribed 2,000 years later, may make this claim more plausible.

3 – Certainty

Jesus is certain that we will respond to him. This certainty is comforting to us, because perhaps we see the way to Life as long and arduous. The pathway need not be such. We can turn to

4 – A Friend

Jesus as our Friend, as he has always promised that he would be. (In A Course in Miracles, he identifies himself as an elder brother.)

5 – Mind

“Your mind will elect to join with mine, and together we are invincible. You and your brother will yet come together in my name, and your sanity will be restored. (T65)”

This passage is a reassurance from Jesus that when we join in holy relationship with our brother, we are joining with Jesus. Our sanity is restored, according to the teaching of ACIM, by this method. It is the method of ACIM.

6 – Relationships

In the way of ACIM, we are meant to see that our special relationships transform into the holy. This saves us time. It is said in ACIM that contemplation will achieve the same purpose, because of its aim, but that contemplation is tedious and time-consuming. With a joining to our brother/sister, we are well on the way to Awakening.

7 – Romance

This way of proceeding works well with our Western propensity to romanticize our relationships. We believe in falling in love, and we do so, sometimes many times over the course of a lifetime. But we never forget the ones we have loved. Love is, as Shakespeare said, not love that alters when it alteration finds, or bends with the remover to remove (from Sonnet #116). And so those of us who subscribe to this truth are particularly apt to find A Course in Miracles appropriate to our needs. We are ready for it. And we find it, this means to our way home in God.

8 – Higher Mind

“I do not attack your ego. I do work with your higher mind, the home of the Holy Spirit, whether you are asleep or awake, just as your ego does with your lower mind, which is its home. (T65)”

This is Jesus speaking. He is our elder brother (a Course concept), willing to help at any and all times. It is important that Jesus does not attack our egos. Elsewhere he tells us that attack is never justified, and he himself exemplifies this assertion.

9 – Holy Spirit

It is reassuring to know that we have help in trying to change our minds to be at one with the Holy Spirit. We surely do not understand what all of this change entails, and we need counsel that is sure and lovely. Jesus provides this, but silently, nearly always without our being aware of his presence.

10 – Holding Jesus’s Hand

There is a passage elsewhere in ACIM that invites us to imagine our holding Jesus’s hand as we go about the world. He asserts that this is no idle fancy. We cannot understand how this is possible, but Jesus is one who has made it Home, and we dare not doubt his word. We never need to feel alone or lonely again. Not only do we have Jesus, but also other companions of whom we are not usually aware. Surely there is no reason to be afraid, though, as very human people, we will probably still succumb to this temptation to fear for ourselves. In our better moments, passages such as the one above from ACIM can be our reassurance that all is truly well.

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

I need help, now and always. Help me to keep my mind in close cooperation with the Holy Spirit, and not dip into ego-oriented desires.

May Jesus help me, as he has promised. Then I can rest assured that all will go well for me in this world.

Amen.

Living in Relationship Provides. . .the Certainty You Have Lacked. The Fears You Have Experienced Will Not Arise within This Knowing.

manet - day in paris“Living in relationship provides a constant knowing of this sort, a simple knowing of a way things are meant to be. It is a knowing felt within the heart for which there still will be no proof, but for which there will be the certainty you heretofore have lacked. The typical fears you have experienced in the past will not arise within this knowing. (A Course of Love, 27.19)”

Affirmation: “May no fears arise in me today.”

Reflections:

1 – Knowing

When we live in relationship to God and ourselves, our deepest Selves, plus with others, we are living as Jesus recommends in this passage for today. We will feel a “knowing” in our heart that we are on the right pathway.

2 – Relationships

This is the pathway recommended initially in A Course of Miracles, but then the emphasis was on relationships, holy relationships with others, especially our most significant brother (or sister). In A Course of Love, Jesus expands the concept of relationship to mean a relationship not only to God, but to the Self/Christ within. When we reach deep, deep, inwardly, we are reassured, in a way that nothing else can, that all is well.

3 – Home

This is the certainty of which Jesus speaks in this passage. This is the assurance that we are on the way home, and not to the Other Side, but the heaven on earth that we can actually know here.

4 – Listen

Be with Jesus’s words today. See if they don’t make a huge difference.

5 – Certainty

The certainty that we are on the right pathway comes when we lift ourselves up mentally and in a heartfelt way, and we do the best that we know how. We don’t allow ourselves to get downhearted, if there is any way that we can avoid it. We are cheery, we are upbeat. We are not discouraged, for Jesus is with us always.

6 – A Promise

He has promised this.

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

I would know certainty of true knowledge today. I would not press to know, but I would rest in the certainty that this is what You want for me. I would not fall into a too-strong desire for Christ-consciousness, for You make that decision. You are always with me, inside of me, for I am part of You. Thank You for this knowledge.

Be with all of my brothers and sisters today. May we let typical fears that arise with just living to fall away. We need be fearful no more. Thank You.

Amen.

All that Is Real Is Shared

woman with a cat - renoir“[O]nly with your understanding that all that is real is shared does the ego lose its power. The ego was made from the belief in separation and all that followed from it. Thus your true identity must be re-created from the belief in unity that is inherent in the acceptance that you are a being who exists in relationship. Separation is all that opposes relationship, and the ego is all that opposes your true identity. (Treatises of A Course of Love: Treatise on the Nature of Unity and Its Recognition, 11.7)”

Affirmation: “I will share today, that the ego might die.”

Reflections:

1 – ACIM

These ideas in the passage for today are logical extensions of much in A Course in Miracles. We share with others in relationship, and this creates a unity, for all of us are actually One, with ourselves, with our brothers and sisters, and with God. When we are ready to be in relationship as our foremost endeavor, we are truly ready to give up the ego. In secular terms, this means that we choose cooperation, which is a benign concept, over competition, which is often egoic in nature.

2 – Protective Defense

We try to choose separation from others when we are being particularly protective of ourselves, trying to save ourselves from hurt. This in itself is not bad, but the ramifications are, for to separate from others is to be all alone with the ego. Only the ego wants this separation, and with the separation comes strife, and the ego is strong in strife (from ACIM).

3 – Personal Experience

I was quite retiring and shy as a teenager. And some of this carried over throughout my college years. Finally, finding reference librarianship did much to bring me out of my shell–but discovering A Course in Miracles did even more. We do not need to fear others, to turn inward in a withdrawn way. We do not have to fear others at all, for they have no power over us that we do not give them. We choose what happens to us on some level, though this choosing is not conscious, and we have to be careful that we don’t blame the victim when something bad ensues. The Self/Christ makes these decisions, and that world view is much bigger than anything that the personal self can see.

4 – True Identity

So the ego is all that opposes our true identity. Of course! What more could it be? And when we turn aside from egoic thinking, listening to our heart, we will find our way home. The “journey without distance” (from the Text of ACIM) is completed sooner rather than later. Do not, however, lament if the way still seems long. Brighter days are here as we learn to give up the ego in every way that we perceive. And the knowledge that comes to us from God will ensure that our walk is smooth and our way is well-marked.

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

May I walk a calm way today. I have been overpressing lately, trying to do too much, being on the go all the time. This is no way to live a life. Help me to regroup and to lead a more placid existence.

I would share with others, but not so as to make any others jealous of each other. Especially my significant other needs to know that I am there for him. May I make this clear today, clear to him in a way that is unmistakable.

I would choose to avoid egotistic doings today. May my choices reflect the truth that I try to follow Your guidance. Thank You for the guidance that You have already given me today.

Amen

Meditation / Yoga / Affirmations

_5236338_hf“Some practices more commonly thought of as tools might be meditation, exercises of the body such as yoga, or exercises of the mind such as affirmations. These tools are all means of releasing ego mind and inviting the one mind, or unity into the present moment. When seen as such, all these tools, including needs, can ignite the combination of learning and unlearning, the letting go of one so that the other can arrive. (Treatises of A Course of Love: Treatise on the Nature of Unity and Its Recognition, 9.2)”

Affirmation: “I will let go of the ego so that the Self can step forward.”

Reflections:

1 – Practices

The practices mentioned in A Course of Love, in this passage, are not mentioned in A Course in Miracles, though the final lessons in the Workbook are thought by some students/teachers to be meditative in approach. Here Jesus names the practices that will undo the learning that we have obtained heretofore, leaving us free to welcome the Self/Christ.

2 – Present Moment

We are asked to think of the present moment, an assertion that many, many spiritual practices have recommended. We release the ego mind in the present, so that we know unity–with Self as well as others. The unity is one of unity in relationship, the One reaching out to the many, and “unity and relationship” are hallmarks of ACOL.

3 – Meditation

I practiced meditation three times a day for years for 30 minutes each time. I was deep into my career of librarianship, and the work could be and often was, stressful, and this despite most people’s assumptions that libraries are stress-free environments. But I am no longer a librarian, and in recent years I have not kept up the practice of meditation. This ought to be changed in me. Meditation is enormously comforting and calming to the emotions, and the insight that comes as a result can sometimes be profound. All practitioners say the same.

4 – Yoga

I now practice yoga most mornings, first thing in the morning. I have a meditative routine that stills my mind and prepares me for the day, and I keep at it for about 20 to 30 minutes. The day gets started right, and, perhaps, in a way, this is a form of meditation for me now.

5 – Affirmations

And affirmations are particularly helpful when I am stressed. Norman Vincent Peale often recommended this form of learning. And he prepared compilations of biblical passages that are particularly well-suited to being converted to affirmations. One favorite is entitled, “Thought Conditioners.”

6 – Turn Aside from the Ego

We need to make a concerted effort to avoid egotistical thinking and actions. This is easily done if we catch ourselves in the moment and turn aside, not to resist but simply to make another choice. And in the unity that we will know when we are living in an egoless way will much understanding come to us.

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

I would choose today to practice all three of the learning techniques mentioned herein–meditation, yoga, and affirmations. I will be the better for it. No effort need be involved. I just drop the ego and decide to follow established practices that will better my mind.

Thank You for the sense of Your presence that I enjoy. I am desirous of enlarging the number of moments during the day that I sense Your presence, and I ask that You stay with me, not withdrawing and leading me into a dark night of the soul.

Amen

By Leaps and Bounds Formerly Reserved for Angels

“Thus again is your learning advanced by leaps and bounds formerly reserved for the angels. You are your own wings, your relationships but the breeze that keeps you afloat. (Treatises of A Course of Love: Treatise on the Nature of Unity and Its Recognition, 8.8)”

Affirmation: “I am my own wings, but I need my relationships to keep me afloat.”

Reflections:

1 – Jesus’s Expectations

In A Course of Love, Jesus expects a great deal of us. He indicates that our learning will advance mightily as these days speed by. We make our own decisions, I think he is saying, but we almost desperately need our relationships to stay afloat. We cannot thrive if we are too much without others to help us along. We help others, and they return the favor. We may be introverts, but all of us need people to a degree. Extroverts already know this.

2 – What More Could We Ask?

“. . .By leaps and bounds” is a great reassurance. And this wonderful, gigantic progress was formerly reserved for angels! What more could we ask, for our God has given it all to us!

3 – Learning through Observation

We need to learn, but in A Course of Love we learn through observation. We do not study intently, with great effort, to absorb what Jesus is saying to us now. That intense study served us well in the past, especially in A Course in Miracles, but ACOL is read differently. We need to read it, and read it repeatedly, but with a casual eye, as though we were reading a story. The message will infiltrate our minds and hearts without strenuous effort, and, indeed, strenuous effort would derail our purposes in learning now.

4 – A Gentle Way

So be glad that our way is gentler now. We do not so much have the ego getting into the act. We do leave aside the ego for periods of time, periods of time that will lengthen as the days pass. And we will be led home gently, without struggle and effort. Read A Course in Love with a warm heart, and its words will take that attitude of the heart, and blossom that attitude into something that will indeed feel as though an angel has touched us.

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

I thank You for the reassurances that you are giving today. I need to hear such reassurances, for stress still comes to visit me, regardless of how often I intend to have calm and peace. My good intentions, I well know, do not suffice. I would turn to You often to keep me on an even keel. Surely You will give me the blessing of Your presence as I seek to navigate through troubled waters.

This world is sometimes difficult, but I know that the world seems this way because my perception has become skewed. I would return my thoughts to You, and in that comfort I would receive Your blessing. I ask for Your comfort as the days proceeds. And may I sleep with calm mind and body tonight.

Amen

Afraid of God?

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

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

Reflections:

1 – Fear of God

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

2 – Blaming God

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

3 – Freud’s Definition of the Ego

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

4 – Personal Self

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

5 – At Home

And we will be home in God.

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

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

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

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

Amen.

Response, Not Responsibility

“Responsibility implies needs that would not be met without you.  Response is given and thus genuine.  It is a natural act of giving and receiving as one.  Responsibility is a demanded response, a necessary response, an obligation.  Response happens from within.  (The Treatises of A Course of Love:  Treatise on the Art of Thought, 4.13)”

Affirmation:  “I will respond to my significant others today.”

Reflections:

1 – Responsibility vs. Response

Here is the distinction made between having responsibility for another and simply giving a response, surely heartfelt, to him or her.  This passage continues the theme of the last several postings, emphasizing how very important these concepts are to A Course of Love.  We do not want to do things for others out of obligation; we want to do so with love, and this love is a response rather than a duty-bound responsibility.

2 – Giving and Receiving

Perhaps giving and receiving as one is such a commonplace part of our religious culture that we aren’t sure what it does mean.  Giving and receiving as one mean that what we give, we receive in equal measure.  The equality of giving and receiving will give us pause for thought.  If we don’t give, we don’t receive.  But I think that first we almost have to have received blessings from God that prepare our heart to respond by giving back–to Him, as well as our brothers and sisters.

3 – Demands

We do not want to do that which is demanded of us–at least, not often.  We rebel, because negative emotions such as resentment enter the picture.  But when our hearts are right with love, flowing over with love, we eagerly give a response from love.  And we do not recognize any covert demand at all.  We are too eager to give, in response to all that we have received.  Love does not keep record books; we give much as we forgive, 70 times seven (from the New Testament).  We respond with a willing spirit, and we respond because God has placed that will to do so in our hearts and minds.  He has first given to us, and with this recognition, we know that we can give and give and give, and yet our own store is forever full.  We do not give out of scarcity ever.  We know no scarcity.

4 – Look to Inner Self

The “within” aspects of this passage emphasize once again that we are to look to our inner Self for the direction that we need.  We look within and see no lack; we are therefore quite willing to respond to all needs that present themselves to us from those who are our brothers and sisters.  We do not respond when to do so would be inappropriate.  But the fact of appropriateness of response is broadened considerably when we open our thoughts to God and His way.

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

I need to tell myself that You love my significant others even more than I do.  I have said this to myself many times over the past number of years, and I know that it certainly is true.  I can love only imperfectly, but Yours is perfect love.  And You will care for my loved ones.  I never need to think that I have to carry the burden all by myself.

Be with my loved ones today.  May I respond to their needs, without feeling that I have a particular, insistent demand from them for responsibility for their needs.  This is a great burden reliever, and I thank You for these words of Jesus.

Be with me today.  I need You.  Thank You.

Amen.

Listening with the Heart

guillaumin-ivry“Often you will find a desire to read A Course of Love again–to read it aloud–to hear it spoken.  This is a natural desire to let the words of this Course enter you in yet another way–the way of voice.  Again it is not required nor even recommended that these readings be interrupted by a search for meaning.  Listen.  Respond.  Let meaning be revealed.  (Addendum to A Course of Love:  Learning in the Time of Christ)”

Affirmation:  “I will reread A Course of Love, listening with my heart.”  

Reflections:

1 – Don’t Study

We are encouraged here not to “study” A Course of Love.  This is hard for us, for A Course in Miracles required study, and intense study indeed.  But A Course of Love is to be read with an abstract mind, letting its truths permeate the mind with a balm that dismisses the need to analyze.  In fact, we miss the point if we try to analyze.

2 – Read Aloud

Let us read at least some portions of A Course of Love aloud.  The language is beautiful.  Hearing the words as we will speak them will encourage a different part of our minds to respond.  And our heart will get in on the act.  And the heart is what has been the new element introduced by Jesus in ACOL.  Let us not forget that it is by way of the heart that we come to know much that has eluded us earlier.

3 – How the Heart Learns

It can be frustrating to read A Course of Love and to feel that we are not “getting” it fully.  This is the way that the heart learns, though–by inference more than direction.  And when we are frustrated, we need to slow down and let the words just roll over us.  We will not then be disappointed in what we find therein.

4 – Don’t Struggle

Be attentive to what ACOL says.  But do not struggle to learn.  Let its wisdom enter your ear as you read aloud, and then know that what is missed will be observed in another pass through its words.  A Course of Love is meant to be read and reread before its words are written on our heart.

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

I would seek to expand my learning via the heart into not only a reading of A Course of Love, but in other ways in my life.  I will listen with the “ears” of the heart, ever attune to what You are trying to tell me.  Let me relax in Your pleasure.  May I not strain to understand, but be patient as I let the truth be revealed to me.

The heart knows what the mind cannot comprehend.  I would learn with my heart in all ways today, just to see where it takes me.  And I am reassured that the heart will take me to very good places indeed.

Amen.

Be True to Love

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

Affirmation:  “Be true to love today.”

Reflections:

1 – ACOL Has Succeeded

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

2 – How to Practice Love when It Is Hard

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

3 – Wholeheartedness

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

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

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

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

Amen.