Jesus’ Example

We must never forget that we and our brother are always “in this together.” If we imagine that we can be treated unfairly, we are trying to combine our innocence and his attack. The world doesn’t work that way. Because projection makes perception, it is our own attack thoughts that have prompted the cry of “unfair.” Attack is simply a mad reaction, and the notion even if a “fair attack” is without meaning. Moreover, we do our brother an injustice when we blame him for what we perceive as unfair attacks upon ourselves. We see him as guilty, and thus damn him, figuratively, to a hell of our own making. We have consented to this attack, for whatever reason, good or bad. A Course in Miracles says, “Walk you the gentle way, and you will fear no evil and no shadows in the night.” (T-27.I.1:3)

Even Jesus’s own suffering is an example of this dynamic. He did not share his tormentors’ view of attack (that it was “fair”) nor of his friends and apostles (that it was “unfair”). Thus he did not strengthen the attack in any way whatsoever. And a short while later he demonstrated that resurrection (for all of us, not just him) always follows death, showing that death is essentially an illusion of this time and place only. Jesus made no defense at all, the posture that he recommends for us as well, for to react defensively is to acknowledge that there is some evil therein to be defensive about.

So in the days following death and entombment, Jesus appeared in a body that could manifest itself among the apostles behind shut doors, and could walk along a road and almost not be recognized, and could “break bread” and eat. Surely he had entered a realm of living about which the rest of us know nothing. But the most important point was that the cross had not hurt him in any lasting way at all. By this truth we see an example of defenseless living wholly without reproach. Jesus says, “Let it [the body] receive the power to represent endless life, forever unattacked.” (T-27.I.10:6) In order for this picture to be true, we must not let the past intrude, much as we must not let the picture of Jesus’s crucifixion intrude on the glorified body that he occupied in the 40 days on earth following his resurrection.

Yet healing is to many a threatening idea. We cling fast to our sickness, even unto death, for we still blame our brother for the suffering that we, in actual fact, have allowed ourselves to endure. Withdraw the blame, and part of the reason for sickness (i.e., the reproach) is gone as well. Only the healed can truly pardon, because their (formerly) sick bodies do not stand in mute testimony that a brother is guilty of attack upon one’s self. And because only now is eternal and real, the illusory past has vanished, taking its causeless suffering with it.

Forgiveness

People who are particularly fearful of sin (though they may not call it that) will be particularly prone to find a victim in an attempt to ease their consciences at their own “unforgivable” wrongdoing. Their attacks upon another will be very pronounced, reducing her to an object deemed unworthy of esteem, but very worthy of damnation for “sins.” This is projection! The one who feels guilty, who cannot accept those mistakes of hers that seem black enough to be sins, will thrust her poor self-image onto another–the scapegoat. Know that this is simple insanity, and try no longer to make sense of it. Forgive the indiscretion, and this understanding will dawn upon an overwrought mind. Know that if we are the victims today, in other times we have been the perpetrators. Leave this insanity behind for all time. It is a replay of the mistaken message that we have long viewed by looking at the old, rugged cross.

We do not need the cross as expiation of sins. We do need the wholly benign lesson of the resurrection, and Jesus in A Course in Miracles bids us look to the resurrection rather than the crucifixion. A Course in Miracles affirms that all sickness is an illusion caused by our belief in unforgivable sin and brought into being by our guilt (over the “sin”) that asks for punishment. The Course does not really believe that sin, if true at all, is forgivable. And it implies that we do not believe sin, if true, is forgivable either.

The Course’s way out of this impasse is to say that the wrong that we do is really illusion, and that Reality has not be affected at all. So sin is not “real,” and only in illusion have we made errors that cry out for correction.

Calling an error a “sin” seems to make it “real,” and to call for punishment. And because belief makes an illusion, we will experience the punishment that we have asked for. We can seem to make error “real” by concentrating upon it, thereby elevating its status. What we need to do is overlook the error, perhaps offering simultaneously our forgiveness of it. But certain it is that we will make it “real” to ourselves if we focus on it, analyzing it as the ego is always prone to do. If we forgive first, we will then come to understand. We ought not to seek to understand before forgiving because that is a certain way to engage the ego and ensure that we will find it harder and harder to forgive, having made real to ourselves the deeds that we need to overlook.

Jesus

The belief in sin sets up the need for sacrifice—a scapegoat or victim upon whom our wrong can be dumped so that we will not suffer for it. This is essentially why the cross has played such a huge part in the drama of 2,000 years ago. If Jesus, the innocent one, the best of the flock, was sacrificed to an angry God, then we were off the hook.

The fact that Jesus did not see an angry God but only a loving Father was a detail overlooked in the scenario. He would do anything God might ask, even death unto the cross. The drama was complete.

But what if we somehow missed the point? What if it were our ego that gave this interpretation to which was essentially a cruel death to one who upset the authority of the priests? In the Course Jesus bids us look at the resurrection, which, however it is understood, does seem to point beyond death to a life that continues. The New Testament gives eye-witness accounts of a Jesus who appeared in the midst of the apostles, though the doors to the room were shut. This does not appear to be the usual physical body, but one that could be “made physical” at will.

Do we really doubt that there are more things in Heaven and earth than we dream of? This seems to be one of these cases–a body that could come and go from other regions at will.

A Course in Miracles says, “. . .specialness cares not who pays the cost of sin, so it be paid. . . .” (T-25.VIII.11:1) So for almost 2,000 years, many of us have believed that the cost of our specialness demanded a victim to expiate our “sin.” What if there need be no victim because there is no sin–only error borne of madness? We would rush to the side of our brother to do what we can to heal his mind.

Maybe that’s exactly what we need to do today: Rush to our brother or sister’s side to heal his/her mind.

Crucifixion & Resurrection

“The crucifixion did not establish the Atonement; the resurrection did. This is a point which many very sincere Christians have misunderstood. Nobody who was free of the scarcity fallacy could possibly have made this mistake.

“If the crucifixion is seen from an upside-down point of view, it certainly does appear as if God permitted and even encouraged one of His Sons to suffer because he was good. Many very devoted ministers preach this every day. This particularly unfortunate interpretation, which actually arose out of the combined projection of a large number of my own would-be followers, has led many people to be bitterly afraid of God. This particularly anti-religious concept happens to enter into many religions, and this is neither by chance nor coincidence. The real Christian would have to pause and ask, ‘How could this be?’ Is it likely that God
Himself would be capable of the kind of thinking which His Own words have clearly stated is unworthy of His children?” (ACIM, COA ed., T-3.III.1:2-4 and 2:1-6)

God did not command Jesus to die; he set up his own drama, making his own decision. His Self, his Christ-Self, was the God within of Jesus.

When growing up, Jesus observed the temple sacrifices. And the thought likely arose in him that the ultimate sacrifice would be his own body. This is something that ego-oriented human beings could understand. And this idea, that Jesus was the sacrificial lamb, has been played out throughout the centuries, and still is being played out in fundamentalist circles.

Many are turning away from this interpretation. And Jesus himself turns away in these passages, lauding the resurrection as the real miracle. He doesn’t say how this can be, but if we believe in materialization and dematerialization, we have a peg to tie it to.

Jesus does not ask us to follow in his footsteps with sacrifice. The days of sacrifice die with the ego that caused them.

The World’s Plight

“The Atonement actually began long before the resurrection. Many souls offered their efforts on behalf of the separated ones. But they could not withstand the strength of the attack and had to be brought back. Angels came, too, but their protection was not enough, because the separated ones were not interested in peace.” (ACIM, COA ed., T-2.V.3:1-4)

This quotation highlights the importance of some belief in the resurrection, though many of us believe it in many different ways. In A Course in Miracles and A Course of Love, Jesus is never explicit as to whether it was a bodily resurrection or an ethereal one. But the belief in a resurrection galvanized his disciples and others of the time. I think something happened, even if we cannot be sure what.

Jesus is very clear that the crucifixion did not address the Atonement. He simply did not defend himself when he was brought for crucifixion, and in this he is our example, because he doesn’t want us in a defensive posture either. The resurrection is the salient point.

The idea that others came before, and could not withstand the attack from separated people is important, never stated before. Angels, Jesus says, came, too. Nothing seemed to work. Now Jesus, after the resurrection, is spearheading a “celestial speed-up” to try to help suffering people everywhere. A Course in Miracles is part of that speed-up, as he told Helen and Bill. We can imagine that other channeled works from Jesus are also part of the speed-up. Certainly we have been on the brink of destroying ourselves for many long years now.

Jesus deserves our gratitude. We have gotten ourselves in a grand problem, and entities far more advanced than are we are seeking to find a solution. Let us hope that we can add our little part to make a positive change as well.

The Resurrected Christ in All of Us

“As I no longer suffer the separation, you need no longer suffer the sepa¬ration. Even though the resurrection returned not life to the form I once occupied, it returned me to you in the form of the resurrected Christ who exists in all of you, bringing resurrection even unto your forms. I became
the Word incarnate upon my resurrection rather than upon my birth.” (ACOL, T1:8.5)

This passage is a tantalizing glimpse at what the resurrection some 2,000 years ago actually meant, what actually happened. This passage says that the resurrection “returned not life to the form I once occupied,” and so this would seem to say that Jesus, in his appearances after death, was occupying an ethereal body. This does fall in line with part of the New Testament, which has Jesus appearing suddenly within closed doors. But he was the resurrected Christ, and he makes plain that, though he was first, his accomplishment was for all of us, “the resurrected Christ who exists in all of you.”

This resurrection for all of us will involve an elevated Self of form, as we learn in the third book of A Course of Love, the Dialogues. He does not say that this form is real, and certainly in A Course in Miracles, Jesus championed a non-dualistic view of the world, saying that it (the world) does not exist! There are some different interpretations in the ACOL community about what the elevated Self of form really means, whether or not it is real. But it is not wise for us to demand that everyone agree on everything. Theological concepts are slippery, and our finite minds cannot comprehend ultimate reality except when we are in mystical states of mind and heart. Theology also divides us as a community, and we certainly don’t want that.

The resurrection is a very mystical concept in A Course of Love. Jesus says elsewhere that he changed the world for all time with his resurrection, and that he changed the world for us. He also says that there is nothing that he achieved that we cannot also achieve. We are one with him, one with everyone, one with God. Thus there is no reason for division to reign among us.

May we occupy resurrected bodies today. This is where we are really headed, and there is no reason that, in this time of Christ, we cannot follow Jesus’s new teaching and assume that he means it when he says that his resurrection was meant for all. Elsewhere he says that it takes time for a truth to be realized, and he indicates that it may even take more than 2,000 years for the real truth to be understood. If so, we are in a fortunate position today, for we have the new revelations of A Course in Miracles and A Course of Love. We can see and understand what was veiled before, what was only hinted at, and not understood very well—if at all.

Prayer

Be with me today, to give me a good day. I ask this so often that I feel like a broken record. But You do answer, for when I have prayed, first thing in the morning, the events of my day do smooth out. Thank You for that.

Help me to come to understand what resurrection is all about. It is a hard concept, this matter of resurrection. And we all resurrect with Jesus, in forms that have been elevated to a new comprehension of life and what it is about.

Be with me today. Be with all of us today. Your Presence turns any day into the good.

Amen.

The Glory that Is Ours

“Again I offer my life as the example life and reiterate the message expressed in A Course in Miracles: The true meaning of the crucifixion is that it was the last and final end to all such fears and myths. All such fears were taken to the cross with me and banished in the resurrection of the glory that is ours.” (ACOL, C:26.4)

Here Jesus addresses the crucifixion. He asserts that it was not meant as a propitiation for our sins. He asserts that the real value is to say that he has killed the suffering and pain of human life on that cross, and then he would have us look to the resurrection for the glory that is beyond it. Fear has been banished (though we may still fear sometimes and this should not be cause for being morose). Fear is understood as an archaic experience, not meant to be assimilated into our new lives, the new lives that we are creating in a new world.

Jesus did live an example life, and many have gained much from studying what we know that he said and did. Now he is guiding us once again, as he did in A Course in Miracles as well. These new revelations, in ACIM and A Course of Love, are meant to provide solace in a world on the brink of disaster. Jesus is taking us by the hand and leading us back from the abyss.

Jesus chose a very dramatic way to get his point across. He doesn’t ask us to do the same (lest we tremble with fear that he is asking for crucifixion). He has already led the way; it is now up to us to assimilate that way into our daily lives.

The crucifixion served as a powerful symbol of killing violence with gentleness. Now Jesus would have us look to his resurrection, a resurrection in which he emerged in a new form (he says this in ACOL). The resurrection heals because it is so positive. And with our propensity for pain and suffering, we need a harbinger of better days. It is time that we understood this meaning of the resurrection for the glory that it is. Eternity is ours; time is only temporary, and an illusion as well.

Turn to our inner voice to see what healing message the crucifixion and the resurrection might mean in this day and time. The message is the same, but the way that we will interpret will likely differ. We are looking to new revelations to show us the way.

Dear Father/Mother,

So many of us are repelled by the crucifixion, and perhaps it is right that we are. We don’t know what to think of the resurrection, and Jesus offers only clues in A Course in Miracles and A Course of Love. Whatever are we to think?

I ask You to guide my intuition to a response. I would not try to make definitive answers that Jesus leaves alone in ACIM and ACOL. I would instead ask that my inner knowing step to the forefront, and that I see in the resurrected Christ a model for myself. This is not ego, but the strictest humility.

Amen.

Eternal Easter, by Ivor Sowton

Here is a quote from the Third Treatise of A Course of Love (ACOL), in which Jesus further defines resurrection, the central theme of Easter:

“Resurrection or rebirth must be total to be at all…We are writing a new first page, a new Genesis. It begins now. It begins with the rebirth of a Self of love. It begins with the birth of Christ in you and in your willingness to live in the world as the Christ-Self.” (14.13, 14.14)

Here we have themes of resurrection as being reborn into a much much greater state of awareness and of agency than we had before. And it’s not an automatic thing–we have to consciously choose it. We don’t just live out our earthly lives and then die and vault into Heaven, according to Jesus in ACOL; though God is spoken of by Jesus as the most loving Force and Source there is, He has given us free will, and will not renege on that gift. So it is we who have to CHOOSE that greater existence ourselves–now or later.

Thus Easter is eternal because it represents a truly timeless potential for all us humans.

And it seems to me that Easter is also eternal because all humans that we have ever known about throughout history have contemplated death and what it means for our lives here on Earth. Anthropology tells us that much of the very earliest evidence of humans working together is around ceremonial burials, replete with artifacts suggestive of continued life for the departed in some other realm.

All parents I know of, including my wife and I, have had to field some amazing questions from our kids (when they were young I mean) about death and dying. “But where did Grandma go?,” asks your little one after Grandma’s death. And as a parent, you most likely didn’t brush your child off with an early dessert or something; instead you probably felt deeply called to handle the question with a lot of compassion and love, for you could see that your child was really serious with her honest and completely relevant question. So many of us responded in a very sincere and age-appropriate way as best we could at the time, saying something like “her body got all worn out and so her Spirit went to another place that’s really beautiful.” One parent I heard of illustrated the whole concept to their child by putting on a glove and saying “this glove is like our body, and when we die we take off the glove. Our hand is like our Spirit: it keeps on going but it looks a lot different (brilliant, huh?).

So in Jungian terms, we are talking about one of the deepest archetypes there is, obviously. It is a universal concern for all of us.

And into that deep archetypal field is born this amazing tradition of the crucified Jesus dying– for sure– and then just as surely (for believers at least) RESURRECTING, that is,actually reappearing many times to many close people after his death in a an identical, solid form, just like he had never died!

That is truly a miracle, at least for me! But Jesus then and Jesus now so clearly taught that we can and really should be reborn into the unity of the love and peace of God, with all of us feeling That and being That. Then, as if sensing that he was losing us, Jesus gave us an Intermediary–the Holy Spirit–as a living Presence that could help us spiritually to grow toward that Oneness at our own rate. Further–and for me most importantly, Jesus then promised each of us personally “And I will never leave you comfortless.”

For me, A Course in Miracles, (ACIM), has Jesus speaking to us collectively much more currently, in our time, giving us the reachability a lot of us needed in Jesus now, in our lives as we were experiencing them.

And then in A Course of Love, an even further and very welcome update, to allow for all the exponential growth of our species, which has reached or surpassed critical mass.

So Jesus is still with us, thank God! Which makes for eternal Easter!

May you be blessed with That in this Holy Season, in whatever way you receive Jesus and his great message into you life.

The Release from Guilt by Guiltlessness

“The crucifixion had no part in the Atonement. Only the resurrection became my part in it. That is the symbol of the release from guilt by guiltlessness. (T-14.V.10)”

This quotation states categorically what I have explained earlier. Here Jesus says it himself: the crucifixion did not atone; the resurrection did. The resurrection was achieved by one (Jesus) who was guiltless, and in this act he symbolized for us what is the reality for us: We live in an eternity. We never die. We simply move from one dimension to another. We live in the Now, the present, with time an illusion that nevertheless allows us to experience life in this world.

This assertion flies in the face of traditional Christianity. But Jesus is not trying to be controversial. The idea of a God who required His only Son to die in order that we might live suggests egoic tendencies in our God. And that, according to A Course in Miracles, would be impossible, for the ego is mad, and God is sane. Our God, even of the New Testament, is a loving God, and how might he require of His perfect Son such a sacrifice?

I have long believed that Jesus saw in the sacrifice of small birds and animals in his day the germ of an idea that might draw all men and women to him. If a human being who had helped many, healed many, and was believed by many to be the Christ, were to die—would this not be a sacrifice to end all sacrifices? Would this not be what would draw all men, steeped in the ego, to him?

But what he actually did was put an end to the idea of death. He does not make clear what survived the cross. He notes that he died, but he doesn’t say that his resurrection was physical or ethereal. He leaves that to our discretion to decide. He allows us to see the truth as we need to see it.

Jesus is always practical in A Course in Miracles. If he delved into controversy, he would divide his students. And he has no wish to do that.

It is enough just to see that Jesus’s leadership of the Atonement was made certain by the resurrection, not the crucifixion. This will be enough for us to contemplate.

CHAPTER 4: ATONEMENT AND HEALING

Jesus Is in Charge of the Atonement

“I have said before that I am in charge of the Atonement. This is only because I completed my part in it as a man, and can now complete it through others. My chosen channels cannot fail, because I will lend them my strength as long as theirs is wanting. (T-4.VI.6)”

This is an exact statement from Jesus that he is in charge of the Atonement, that he is our leader. God has so chosen him, we have so chosen him, and he accepts that designation.

When we falter, he will right our posture. We will do it right, with the guidance that Jesus sends to us. We don’t have to question our abilities; we need perhaps to question our dedication. When dedication is strong, and motivation is strong, with Jesus’s help we cannot fail.

Jesus says elsewhere that his part in the Atonement 2,000 years ago was the resurrection, not the crucifixion. This statement is in direct contrast to what traditional Christianity has long taught. But he wasn’t “punished” because we “were bad”! He actually says this in ACIM! He asserts that the wholly benign view of his part is lost when we cling to the rugged cross.

The cross, according to Jesus, just displayed his defenselessness, the fact that he made no move to attack his betrayers overtly. This, he says, is a benign lesson. But we get lost when we think that a savage God required sacrifice of a good man, of a perfect man. We get lost, and we blame God for such a travesty. We cannot imagine requiring such of our children, and that is the only reference that we have.

Jesus says, in other words, that the theology that we have been taught has it all wrong. He proved eternal life by his resurrection, though nowhere does he say how his resurrection actually happened. He does not say if it was a physical resurrection or an ethereal one. And we can only guess, or something more if guidance leads us to a different answer.

We need to follow Jesus’s lead. He says that we can imagine that he is holding our hand, and that this imagery will be no “idle fantasy.”

He is right here, with us. We can’t understand how this is true, but we can believe that someone who had it so right about so much (as exemplified by A Course in Miracles, our lodestone) must have it right again.

Share the Atonement when So Prompted

“My part in the Atonement is not complete until you join it and give it away. (T-5.IV.6)”

Jesus says repeatedly in A Course in Miracles that he is in charge of the Atonement, that his resurrection was the event that started the Atonement principle (not the crucifixion). He does not express any understanding for the skeptics among us about how his resurrection might have been a true happening. He never downplays his resurrection also. He simply assumes that, somehow, in some way, the resurrection happened, and it started the whole movement of Christianity that transpired from then on.

How do we “give away” the Atonement? We share. We don’t share indiscriminately, because we are not called to proselytize. We are told, in one vivid point, that sometimes a smile may be all that another person is ready to accept. Salvation has come for that moment.

Thus we accept the Atonement for ourselves; that is “joining” it. Then we give it away in whatever manner the Holy Spirit prompts. And when we are on the beam, we may give it away without even being aware of a special prompting. We will just act in line with Jesus’s plan, his plan of Atonement or correction to the ways of the world.

Heal the Inner Altar

“For perfect effectiveness the Atonement belongs at the center of the inner altar, where it undoes the separation and restores the wholeness of the mind. (T-2.II.2)”

Atonement is what we need, more than anything. All of us recognize this, however dimly, though sometimes we have trouble wrapping our minds around what Atonement really means. This developing problem is due, in large part, to the fact that our traditional Christianity looks to the crucifixion, first, and only then, later, to the resurrection. The crucifixion is seen as a shedding of blood that God required of a perfect Son in order to remove the taint of sin from all of us.

This interpretation, Jesus says in A Course in Miracles, is not accurate, and, so, if we believe the Jesus who channeled ACIM, we will see that Jesus looks to his resurrection as the defining moment in Atonement. Nowhere in either A Course in Miracles nor A Course of Love does Jesus say that the resurrection didn’t happen. Of course, we may wonder exactly how he could have been resurrected, and Jesus does not stop us from wondering. He lets us decide for ourselves.

But there is great clarity around the idea that the message of the crucifixion was wholly benign, that Jesus presented himself as innocent, and totally defenseless, and he did not attack back in any way whatsoever. In this, he developed the pattern for us not to attack in circumstances that would be far less extreme than his own.

Here, in this quotation, Jesus is noting that the inner altar has become defiled, not from sin, but from mistakes that are wholly correctable. And God would have us look to the true innocence of our inner altar. This inner altar is in the same place, we may presume, as the inner Self. And this inner Self is our Christ Self, which we wish to keep as pure as it has always been. We do not want our inner altars to remain defiled.

We want the separation healed. And looking to the inner altar as a place of purity will be a healing thought. Then our minds are healed, and we rejoin the great crusade to bring others to God. Our minds are no longer split between the ego and love. They are just consumed by Love, which is God. We are a part of God, always, and now we are in communication with him, with open channels, once again. God does not need to think that His channels to us are closed. The separation has been healed, along with our minds.

Atonement = Correction of Perception

1 – Terminology?

“This is not a course in philosophical speculation, nor is it concerned with precise terminology. It is concerned only with Atonement, or the correction of perception. (C77)”

2 – Atonement

Some of the most viewed postings in this blog concern Atonement. We all want to know what it means. And here we find out: the correction of perception.

3 – Resurrection

That, of course, is not the whole answer. Jesus has paved the way for us, but it is not the crucifixion to which we look for Atonement, but the resurrection. The crucifixion is a benign lesson that shows Jesus not fighting back, as he would have us not fight back. He did not defend himself, because defense makes what it would defend against (ACIM tenet).

4 – Forgiveness

“The means of the Atonement is forgiveness. The structure of ‘individual consciousness’ is essentially irrelevant because it is a concept representing the ‘original error’ or the ‘original sin.’ To study the error itself does not lead to correction if you are indeed to succeed in overlooking the error. And it is just this process of overlooking at which the course aims. (C77)”

5 – Universal Experience

“A universal theology is impossible, but a universal experience is not only possible but necessary. It is this experience toward which the course is directed. Here alone consistency becomes possible because here alone uncertainty ends. (C77)”

6 – Simple Course

“The course in simple. It has one function and one goal. Only in that does it remain wholly consistent because only that can be consistent. (C77)”

7 – Ken Wapnick

Ken Wapnick said that A Course in Miracles was simple, but it was not easy. He was the primary scholar for ACIM in his lifetime, though there were others who also took up the banner for ACIM (notably Robert Perry, as a scholar).

8 – Awakening

The function is forgiveness, and the goal is Awakening (though we are not in charge of when that goal will be reached, for God alone decides).

9 – Consistency

Consistency is important.

10 – One Goal

The fact that there is one goal in A Course in Miracles keeps the Course simple. We bring our own ego’s complexity to what we read, and that is why we make what is simple very complicated. It is not easy, as Ken said, because our minds are too ravaged by blind ego to take the easy words and apply them. We always want to make something easy into something hard. We are so prone to such foolishness in daily life that it is no question that we bring this trait into our spiritual seeking.

11 – Ego

“The ego may ask, ‘How did the impossible occur?’, ‘To what did the impossible happen?’, and may ask this in many forms. Yet there is no answer; only an experience. Seek only this, and do not let theology delay you. (M77)”

12 – Beginning of Time

This passage refers to the beginnings of time as we know it. How did we separate from God? What tiny, mad idea did we entertain? The ego wants to know, and maybe we do also.

13 – Practical Course

The Course is always practical, and elsewhere tells us that it is concerned with only the practical. It says that a universal theology is impossible, but that a universal experience is not only possible, but necessary. The Course does not waste much, if any, time debating theological issues, and recommends that we not do so either. It suggests that theology is heavily influenced by the ego, which is our false concept of ourselves.

14 – Ego-less

We need to seek the experience that the Course holds out to us–an ego-less form of living that marches us straightway toward Awakening. We get there, as we have said repeatedly, by following the guidance of the Holy Spirit. Jesus would not have us delayed on this “journey without distance,” and so bids us to seek the experience and not to let theology delay us.

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

Theology is the preoccupation of so much religion. Please let my religion, my spirituality, be different. May I seek an experience of spirituality, one that You lead me to discover.

Thank you for Your guidance always. May I better follow Your guidance this day.

Amen.

The Resurrection Is a Change of Mind about the Meaning of the World

1 – Reawakening

“Very simply, the resurrection is the overcoming or surmounting of death. It is a reawakening or a rebirth; a change of mind about the meaning of the world. It is the acceptance of the Holy Spirit’s interpretation of the world’s purpose; the acceptance of the Atonement for oneself. It is the end of dreams of misery, and the glad awareness of the Holy Spirit’s final dream. (M68)”

2 – Immortality in This Body?

This passage is frequently misinterpreted by Course students. Many think that somehow the fact of immortality in this body will happen. But this is not what is being said. Death has no meaning, because it is merely a change of form; death is a rebirth into a new life beyond this world. We can symbolically achieve this state while in the body in this world. We will then know the end of dreams of misery, and accept the final dream from the Holy Spirit: “the happy dreams the Holy Spirit brings” (a quotation from the Course).

3 – Jesus’s Resurrection

Jesus does not deny his own resurrection in A Course in Miracles, though. This Christian doctrine is upheld. The point is not that we are to follow Jesus’s way in all its particulars, though. That was his contribution. We do not have to face crucifixion. And our resurrection is a means to rebirth into the real world (a Course tenet). The real world is the one sanctioned by the Holy Spirit to be a world in which our perceptions have been cleansed, and therefore we do not project misery into our lives by our own doing.

4 – Rebirth

A rebirth is the great Awakening, one of the final steps before we reach Home. We all long for this miracle, and occasionally revelation reveals this end to us. To reach Awakening permanently, though, we need to know the means, and it is this that the Course spells out for us.

5 – Invitation

“It is the invitation to God to take His final step. It is the relinquishment of all other purposes, all other interests, all other wishes and all other concerns. It is the single desire of the Son for the Father. (M68)”

6 – Awakening

The experience of rebirth or resurrection welcomes our Awakening. It is when we feel that we are finally ready for God’s great blessing: when He reaches down (metaphorically) and lifts us up to Awakening.

7 – Eckhart Tolle

None can set this time for themselves. None of us can. We do not have to be especially “good” for this to happen. This is a statement that Eckhart Tolle (The Power of Now; A New Earth) has made. The Awakening may come to people who seem to have many flaws, but God is able, for some reason, at that time to take them out of their flaws. To make them new people.

8 – Surrendered

The Awakening is not a goal to seek, as we seek goals, especially goals of the ego. To seek Awakening is to invite the ego into this greatest of all blessings, and this invitation will never succeed. We must be totally surrendered, we must not put preconditions on God. He would have us totally.

9 – Personal Experience

I have a personal friend in my town who experienced a transformation more than 30 years ago, a transformation that has been sustained. She is one of the easiest people to know whom I have ever met. And she believes that this transformation can be for everyone.

10 – Life as Salvation

“The resurrection is the denial of death, being the assertion of life. Thus is all the thinking of the world reverse entirely. Life is now recognized as salvation, and pain and misery of any kind perceived as hell. (M68)”

11 – Hell

We do not want pain and misery, which are hell to us. This means, perhaps, that the only hell that we will experience is here on earth, where pain and misery often accompany our days.

12 – Life

When we see that our very life is our salvation, then we are home free.

13 – Truth

May we see this truth, that life is salvation, today.

14 – Christ’s Face

“Christ’s face is seen in every living thing, and nothing is held in darkness, apart from the light of forgiveness. There is no sorrow still upon the earth. The joy of Heaven has come upon it. (M68)”

15 – Home

When we can see Christ’s face in everyone, then we are home. We forgive all their trespasses against us; we hold nothing against anyone. We are happy in God’s grace; nothing fazes us.

16 – Grace

Surely all of us have experienced such moments of grace already. This are mini-blessings, a foretaste of heaven on earth. We do not know or feel sorrow. We are happy. May we pray today that this blessing descend upon us sooner rather than later.

17 – Curriculum

“Here the curriculum ends. From here on, no directions are needed. Vision is wholly corrected and all mistakes undone. Attack is meaningless and peace has come. The goal of the curriculum has been achieved. Thoughts turn to Heaven and away from hell. (M68)”

18 – Vision

Our vision has been corrected when we are able to see Christ in everyone. We actually perceive his face as though he were the other person, male or female. This is no hallucination. This is very real.

19 – In Snatches

And it may first come in snatches. Be present when it comes. Be thankful. And pray that this vision might be sustained.

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

I need rebirth today. I feel weak, and I am fallible. Please give me Your insight. May the “happy dreams the Holy Spirit brings” come upon me, and then may they give way to Awakening.

Be with me today as I try to live Your Word. Thank You for Your promise always to be near.

Amen.

The Miracle of Easter

“Give faith to your brother, for faith and hope and mercy are yours to give. Into the hands that give, the gift is given. Look on your brother, and see in him the gift of God you would receive. It is almost Easter, the time of resurrection. Let us give redemption to each other and share in it, that we may rise as one in resurrection, not separate in death. (A Course in Miracles)”

Nowhere in either A Course in Miracles or A Course of Love does Jesus deny that the resurrection happened. Here he gives a very prosaic call to give redemption to each other, that we may be one in resurrection, not separate in death.

May we spend this Eastertide in joyous remembrance of the life and death and resurrection of Jesus. Whether or not you believe in a physical resurrection or not, you are still welcomed to the table celebrating Easter. Jesus does not demand, in A Course in Miracles, that we adhere to any particular theology; he specifically says that there can be no universal theology, but that a universal experience is not only desirable, but necessary.

We are seeking that experience today. Be with God in communion as we greet the spring and the time that Jesus came into his own.

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

Help me to put aside doubts and to recognize that in the spirit of A Course in Miracles specific beliefs are not demanded of me. I do not seek theology, but an experience of finding Jesus and You in my daily life. Surely there can be no better way to live a life than to commune constantly with Heavenly Powers.

Help me to have a good day today, as always. Thank You for this sunny day, an occurrence that always seems especially appropriate on Easter.

Amen.

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

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

Affirmation: “without the wish to attack”

Reflections:
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1 – The Innocent

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

2 – Crucifixion

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

3 – Personal Experience

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

4 – Definition of Atonement

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

5 – Resurrection

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

6 – At – One – Ment

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

Prayer:

Dear Father,

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

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

Amen.

The Question of Atonement

edward-willis-redfield-solebury-home-pennsylvania-impressionism-1920
“The point of the story [crucifixion and resurrection], however, was not one of sacrifice but one of gift giving. The greatest gift of all was given, the gift of redemption. The gift of redemption was the gift of an end to pain and suffering and a beginning of resurrection and new life. It was a gift meant to empty the world of the ego-self and to allow the personal self to live on as the one true self, the one true son of God. (Treatises of A Course of Love: Treatise on the Personal Self, 5.7)”

Affirmation: “I would focus on Jesus’s gift today.”

Reflections:

1 – Resurrection

We often misunderstand the benign lesson of the Atonement, Jesus’s death on the cross, followed by his resurrection. Nowhere in either A Course in Miracles nor A Course of Love is the resurrection doubted as an historical event. But there are various ways of interpreting, including the possibility that Jesus occupied his ethereal body when he was seen after the resurrection.

2 – The Cross

Jesus said in A Course in Miracles that we miss the point when we look to the cross, that he was showing that love is present when he did not defend himself, but said nothing. He says, also in ACIM, that we are to look to the resurrection for our understanding of the Atonement.

3 – Sacrifice

Certainly sacrifice was embedded into the Jewish world. Sacrifices of animals were routinely required at the temple. And so when Jesus came as the Son of God and made the supreme sacrifice, we saw a punishing God who could only be appeased by the death of his only Son. Traditional religious services today stress this idea. But is there another way to interpret what happened?

4 – Circumstances of Jesus’s Day

Jesus says that there is, for he does not see his Father as punishing in any way. He sees God as wholly benign and loving. The choice to go to the cross is Jesus’s own, in my opinion, born of the circumstances of his day. That it may have been divinely ordained, though, I do not doubt. And the fact that for generations there has been a story in the sacrificial lamb means that Jesus read us well. He knew what we thought that we needed to be reconciled to God.

5 – “I Was Not Punished because You Were Bad”

Now he is giving us a new story, a new Atonement story. We are not to see God as punishing him in any way. “I was not punished because you were bad,” Jesus says in the opening pages of the Text of A Course in Miracles. And so we don’t have to feel guilty, and guilt is what has made us mad.

6 – A New Life

So let us see another way of viewing the Atonement. It was the lesson that we are reconciled to God through the example that Jesus gave of not resisting evil. He rose to a new life, as can we all.

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

Thank You for what I read years ago about Jesus’s observation, in all likelihood, of the sacrifices of his day in the temple. All of this shaped his mission. But God did not require his death, of this I am sure. It was a plan that worked, though. And I thank You for that.

Help me to look beyond the crucifixion to the resurrection, and may my intellectual doubts not becloud the issue. May I contemplate the likelihood that it is Jesus’s ethereal body that was seen after his resurrection.

Amen.

Christ-Consciousness

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“As I awaited my death, I was given the gift of knowing what would come to be through my resurrection.  This I tried to pass on in the simplest of terms.  I tried to make it known that while I would die and resurrect into a new form, you would also, that this new form would exist within you, that you would become the Body of Christ and giving and receiving would be complete.  (Treatises of A Course of Love:  Treatise on the Art of Thought, 9.9)”

Affirmation:  “I would resurrect in a new form, the elevated Self of form.”

Reflections:

1 – A Glorious Promise

In this passage, Jesus is saying to us that nothing that he experienced is closed to us.  We do not have to die in a crucifixion, but his resurrection is our own as well.  We too will resurrect, and sooner rather than later.  The time is upon us now.  What a glorious promise this is!

2 – Perfection?

We do not have to perfect ourselves for this blessing to befall us.  Jesus, according to A Course in Miracles, will correct all mistakes that we cannot correct.  And, in A Course of Love, he tells us that if we decide that we don’t want anger anymore, it will just fall from us.  We will make the changes in our personality that we want to make.  And nowhere does he say in ACOL that we have to be perfect to “merit” Christ-consciousness.  Even the Dalai Lama admits to getting angry sometimes.

3 – Body of Christ

What does it mean to become the Body of Christ?  I think that this characterization means that we are to be one with Christ, including but not limited to the man Jesus.  Giving and receiving will be one.  As we give to others, we receive.  And when we give the gift of love, we are giving of our fullness.

4 – Eckhart Tolle

Eckhart Tolle notes that his correspondence is replete with accounts of the coming of Awakening to people in many parts of the world.  He sees himself as at an epicenter, in that he has described his Awakening in several books, and people naturally write to him when they experience something similar.  The time seems ripe now for more and more of us to experience Awakening.  This is not only in line with what Eckhart says, but also indicated by Jesus in A Course of Love.  ACIM dislodged the ego, but we need to replace it with something, and that something is the Self/Christ.  The ego-oriented personal self is dying away in many, many of us.  But we need to do our part to eliminate egoic and egotistical thinking from disturbing our minds and hearts.  We need to realize that all of us are equal in the eyes of God, and this is not a new concept.  But, perhaps, it is a concept that only now we are fully ready to accept.

5 – Small Strides Daily

So let us become the Body of Christ, making small strides each day.  When glimpses of Awakening come to us, let us retain the feeling and prolong the experience.  Eventually the glimpses will smooth into a continuity that will assure us that we are well on the way to an ultimate transition to Christ-consciousness.  Some of us see this suddenly, but most are giving a gradual learning process (from the Manual of ACIM).

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

I would walk slowly, as You lead, to a greater future than I have yet known.  May I live the kind of life that You wish for me.  May I love and serve You.  May I find joy in the companionship of my brothers and sisters.  And may I know salvation in its fullness.

Thank You for the steps toward Awakening that Jesus has outlined in ACIM and ACOL.  I may not be ready, but You have given me glimpses, and for this I thank You.  May I do nothing to dishonor You.  May my days be well-filled, doing the deeds that You would have me do.  May I make the choices that You would recommend.  And may I share what You teach me as best I can.

Thank You for showing me Yourself by means of the felt sense of Your presence that comes over me.  I would walk in Your way, living by Your rules, and I would have no anxiety for the morrow.

Amen.

Tiny, Mad Idea Undone

woman with a cat - renoir“[W]ith my resurrection, which was accomplished for all, the meaning of life, the reality of life, changed, though you have known this not.  The great experiment in separation ended with the resurrection, though you have known this not.  For the resurrection and life are now one and the same.  (Treatises of A Course of Love:  Treatise on the Art of Thought,

Affirmation:  “I would choose life today.”

Reflections:

1 – Resurrection Ended Separation

Jesus has repeatedly referred to our imagined separation from God as illusory, that we cannot really separate from God at all, for we are part of Him–He is within us.  In A Course in Miracles, he refers to the separation as a “tiny, mad idea” about which the Son of God “failed to laugh,” and thus effects were born.  He continues to say in ACIM that we would laugh at such a foolish idea if it had not gained credence to us (a paraphrase from ACIM).   Now Jesus says that his resurrection ended the separation, once and for all.  We just have not known this.

2 – Christ Self

Now we do know it, as seen in this passage.  But exactly what does this mean?  It means that we too can join in the resurrection, that we too are eligible to assume our place as a Christ spirit.  This is the Self/Christ within about which so much has been said in this blog.

3 – A Resurrected Life

Our lives are now resurrected lives:  “For the resurrection and life are now one and the same.”  What will it mean to live a resurrected life?

4 – Miracle Readiness

We will be in miracle-readiness all the time.  We will recognize miracles when they occur, something that we have previously not usually recognized.  We will be at one with our brothers and sisters, who, like us, are resurrected with Jesus.  We are all life, and all life, animate and inanimate, is God.  No longer do we see God as outside His creation, observing His handiwork in the earth.  All of everything is an individuation (or a differentiation) of God.  We are not outside Him in any sense whatsoever.

5 – Theology

This is part of the theology of A Course in Miracles and A Course of Love, though the words that I have used are not part of either trilogy.  Do not let theology delay you.  Jesus says in ACIM that a universal theology is impossible, but a universal experience is not only possible, but necessary.

6 – A Universal Experience

We would ask for that universal experience on an ongoing basis.  And we are now ready to live the resurrected life, as Jesus did.  He has prepared the way for us.  And as individual parts of God, yet part of the whole, we are ready to thank Him for the length of the pathway that we have already walked.  It is because we have walked far that we are now receiving these blessings of knowledge (not perception).

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

I would let the illusory separation end for me today.  I would join, as Jesus bids, in his resurrection.  Help me to give up the folly of the “tiny, mad idea” and walk into the sunlight today.

I would experience salvation fully.  Help me to say and do the things that You want of me, and may my cooperation and my faith in You sustain me.  I would not fight You ever again.

Amen.

Every Miracle Accomplished

“Accept Atonement and you are healed.  Atonement is the Word of God.  Accept His Word and what remains to make sickness possible?  Accept His Word and every miracle has been accomplished.  (M-22.1)”

Affirmation:  “May I accept Atonement today.”

Reflections:

1 – Atonement in ACIM

Atonement is different in A Course in Miracles from traditional Christianity.  In ACIM, we look to the resurrection, not the crucifixion, for Atonement.  And we make a change of mind in the way that we look at the world.  We let our errors be corrected for us.  And, with this, we have accepted the Word of God.

2 – Theology

All of these ideas are part of the theology of ACIM, and theology can delay.  ACIM does not look for controversy, looking only for the practical, for what works in making changes, corrections, in our lives.  And then we are said to be healed.

3 – Trust

Certainly this is not always a physical healing, though we are told by Jesus in the Manual that to doubt a healing because of the continuing presence of symptoms is a lack of trust, and trust is the bedrock on which all of our salvation rests.  Trust is the bedrock for the teacher of God, and therefore for students as well, for only time separates us, and time does not really exist.

4- Hard to Understand?

These are hard words to understand, but we are not asked to accept anything for which we are not ready.  We are told not to appeal to “mysteries,” in our acceptance of ACIM.  We are asked only to walk along the pathway as far as we can, using our minds and hearts to accept Jesus’s word when we are ready.

5 – Healing

I believe that the ethereal body may be healed when this world’s body, the physical, continues to have symptoms (a personal interpretation, not stated in ACIM).  But one thing that we can probably all agree on is that the emotional body can be healed, given time, the right medication, and the right attitudes.  (Jesus says pills are sometimes needed, and so he is not opposed to medical intervention.)

6 – Probable Realities

What does it mean:  “. . .every miracle has been accomplished”?  Perhaps we will not know in our lifetimes.  But perhaps we will.  There are blessings ahead for all of us who are ready to accept God’s Word, and while we can attune to the Unknown, we cannot always predict it.  There are probable realities that make fortune telling unreliable (not an ACIM tenet).

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

I am very glad that You have promised healing.  Perhaps we will not understand in our lifetimes in this world what it means to doubt a healing when there are continuing symptoms.  This is an Ideal that not all of us are ready to accept.  But we want to walk as far along Your pathway as we can.  And we trust that Jesus knows what he is talking about.

Be with us today.  If we need a healing, may it come today–not tomorrow, nor in some far distant time.  May we accept that healing is a part of Your plan, and may we react accordingly.  May all of our brothers and sisters be healed along with us.

Amen

You Need Not Have Tribulation

“In this world you need not have tribulation because I have overcome the world.  This is why you should be of good cheer.  (T56)”

Affirmation:  “be of good cheer”

 

Reflections:

1 – Differs from the New Testament

This passage from Jesus is a paraphrase of what he is quoted to have said in the New Testament.  But in the New Testament, we are led to believe that we will have tribulation.  His resurrection is meant to counter all of that; the resurrection happened after his teaching that said the reverse.  And the Course stands by the resurrection as truth.  The Course does not say if the resurrection was revelation or a miracle, but, given the definitions found therein, it seems to be a miracle.

2 – Tribulation Is Pain

Tribulation is pain that we would want to avoid at all costs.  Remembering that Jesus overcame the world, and harkening to good cheer are mental actions that we can take at any time.

3 – Recite the Passage on a Bad Day.

When we are feeling down, it is wise to recall such passages.  We can conjure up good cheer, even when the day seems drab.  It takes only a moment to recall us to ourselves.

4 – We Cannot Be Hurt

We need to know that Jesus did not blame his accusers.  He knew that he could not be hurt.  He knew also that he could not be abandoned, though his disciplines slept in Gethsemane–while Jesus prayed.  May we take a moment now to pray, as Jesus taught.  He will restore our good spirits, for he has told us that we are never without his counsel; we need only to ask, and he is there.  (This may not be a concept that we all can readily accept at this moment, but walk as far along this pathway as possible, and let the Holy Spirit guide ever further.)

Prayer:

Dear Father,

Thank you that in this world we do not have to have tribulation.  We can be of good cheer, because Jesus has overcome the world.

It takes only a moment of reflection or of prayer to recall us to ourselves.  We can know peace as well as good cheer, even in this world that too often seems filled with woe.

Amen.

The Undoing of Fear

“Miracles represent freedom from fear.  ‘Atoning’ means ‘undoing.’  The undoing of fear is an essential part of the Atonement value of miracles.  (T5)”

Affirmation:  “freedom from fear”

 

Reflections:

1 – Atoning

This passage gives a definition for atoning that is at variance, perhaps, with traditional Christianity.  Jesus gives “atoning” a very benign meaning:  “undoing.”  It says little about the crucifixion, a happening meant to describe that Jesus did not blame his tormentors for anything that they did in illusion.  He remained defenseless.

2 – Atonement = Relinquishment of Fear

Here the passage from A Course in Miracles links the atonement with the relinquishment of fear.  What a wonderful promise this is!  We need to live fearless lives, because all too often our good works and good thoughts are marred by the anxiety that pervades our society.

3 – Our Usefulness to Others

We let our own personal difficulties hinder our usefulness to others.  When we fear for our own safety and personal welfare, we also project this onto others.  And sometimes we are paralyzed by this fear about our personal well-being.  Then we are of no use to others, including Jesus and his message to humankind.

4 – Live Fearlessly

With miracles an essential part of our lives, we will live fearlessly.  Because love and fear are the only two emotions, we know that to love while experiencing miracles will free us for the Atonement.  Atonement signals a certainty that we are living lives in line with what Jesus would approve.  We are right with God, though it is still not beyond us to continue to make mistakes.  God does not need to forgive us for these mistakes, but we need to forgive ourselves.  (God does not forgive, because he has never condemned–a Text tenet.)

5 – Freedom from Fear

“Freedom from fear” is a boon enjoyed by so few of us.  But we have Jesus’s promise that it is only waiting for us to receive.  We do not have to be in bondage to fear or, indeed, to any of its component negative emotions.

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

I would, beginning today, so relinquish the ego and its fear that I would live fearlessly.  Guide my faltering steps to this goal.  I realize that anxiety has been one of the issues in my life, but You would not have it so–this I know.  So I must remove the conditions that lead to fear, and walk into the sunlight with You.

May I have no moments of anxiety today.  May I walk in peace, comfort, joy, and serenity.  Be with me so that I can feel Your presence.  The felt presence of You gives me great happiness.  Thank You for staying with me, inside, and may I commune with You often today.  Yours is the way that I would forever choose.

Amen.

The Undoing of Fear

“Miracles represent freedom from fear.  ‘Atoning’ means ‘undoing.’  The undoing of fear is an essential part of the Atonement value of miracles.  (T5)”

Affirmation:  “I welcome the undoing of fear.”

Reflections:

1 – The ACIM Definition of “Atoning”

This passage gives a definition for atoning that is at variance, perhaps, with traditional Christianity.  Jesus gives “atoning” a very benign meaning:  “undoing.”  It says little about the crucifixion, a happening meant to describe that Jesus did not blame his tormentors for anything that they did in illusion.  He remained defenseless.

2 – The Crucifixion and the Resurrection

Traditional Christianity frequently teaches that the crucifixion is some way “bought” our atonement with God.  A Course in Miracles would have us look to the resurrection, which it never denies actually happened, as the way in which our eyes should travel.  If we find trouble with accepting the resurrection, believing that it disobeys all known physical laws, perhaps we need to realize that science has not yet caught up with many concepts in religion.  But Jesus would not have us to accept concepts for which we are not ready.  In an interpretation (not stated in ACIM), I would say that if we have to see the resurrection as metaphorical, we are not to be find ourselves at fault and chastise ourselves.  Take time, and accept all that does not cause conflict within ourselves.  Jesus always in ACIM counsels against theological concepts that are divisive.  He says that a universal theology is impossible, but that a universal experience is not only possible, but necessary.

3 – Atonement

With miracles an essential part of our lives, we will live fearlessly.  Because love and fear are the only two emotions, we know that to love while experiencing miracles will free us for the Atonement.  Some students/teachers of ACIM says that Atonement does not mean “At – one – ment.”  And there are differences of opinion, but I have personally found this interpretation to be helpful.  But nowhere in ACIM is Atonement spelled out in this way.

4 – Anxiety

“Freedom from fear” is a boon enjoyed by so few of us.  But we have Jesus’s promise that it is only waiting for us to receive.  We do not have to be in bondage to fear or, indeed, to any of its component negative emotions.  Fear is frequently manifested as anxiety, and most of us cannot turn meaningfully to our brothers and sisters if we are paralyzed by anxiety.  We become very self-absorbed, which any psychologist of today would say is not to be desired.  It is just good psychology to turn outward to others, as much as we turn inward.  And anxiety is a definite hindrance to this healthy living.

5 – Defenses Make What They Would Defend Against

So we would be wise, at this early point in A Course in Miracles, to come to terms with fear.  We do not have to devise defenses against fear, because we are told in ACIM that defenses make what they would define against.  We need only to allow love to touch our hearts, and fear will wither away.  We become not so interested in our physical safety, because we know that the real Self is safe.  Once we have let all our grievances go, we will know that we are perfectly safe (a Workbook tenet).  This may mean that the Self is safe, because the little (the personal) self may still know trouble.  We are, after all, living in an illusory world where bad things do happen to good people (a concept from Harold Kushner).

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

I would today make a resolution that I plan to keep.  I would turn aside from fear in all its manifestations, and turn to You when anxious thoughts crowd into my mind.   I certainly know that praying in the middle of an anxious night will soothe me, and allow me to turn the night over to You to handle until the morning.  I pray myself back to sleep, and I don’t think that this is an affront to You.  You would have us enjoy restful restoration through sleep, while You stay awake and handle all the details of my tiny life.

Be with all of us who need You to quell anxiety in our hearts and minds.  We do not wish to be fearful.  We know that this is evidence that this world is too much with us.  Tonight as I write this prayer to You, I would know that it is one of the final deeds of the day.  And I will go to sleep with Your blessing on my life, for I have asked Your blessing upon me.  And You never fail to answer that prayer in the affirmative.

Thank You.

Amen.

Nailed to the Cross

“The dreary, hopeless thought that you can make attacks on others and escape yourself has nailed you to the cross.  Perhaps it seemed to be salvation.  Yet it merely stood for the belief the fear of God is real.  And what is that but hell?  (WB374)”

Affirmation:  “I would love God rather than cringe in fear.”

Reflections:

1 – Hell

We often wonder about “hell.”  This passage indicates where it is to be found in the fear of God.

2 – Interpretations of the Word “Fear”

This concept goes against traditional Christianity.  But I think that the difference is in an interpretation of the word “fear.”  A Course in Miracles would suggest that it is a lamentable way to approach our Creator, but traditional thinking merely wants us to honor God by such “fear.”  In traditional thinking, it is a humble way to approach our Creator.  In A Course in Miracles, the fear of God is linked to that which is keeping us from salvation.  The two emotions, fear and love, are said to be the only emotions; all  others are linked in some way to these two.  We are encouraged to love God, but not to “fear” him in the sense that we are afraid.  Traditional Christianity does not use fear in that sense of being afraid either.  The fear of God is seen in an awesome sense, and this type of awe is seen as perfectly appropriate toward our Creator, both in traditional Christianity and as stated in ACIM.

3 – God Is Our Friend

ACIM would always see God as our Friend.  We dishonor that relationship when we attack others, in part because we always attack ourselves first (another concept from ACIM).  The image of being “nailed to the cross” is especially important, because elsewhere Jesus asks us to look beyond the crucifixion to the resurrection (T36).  When we look to the resurrection, we are seeing A Course in Miracles in its true light.

4 – Look to the Resurrection

A Course in Miracles differs from traditional Christianity in that it does not see a suffering savior as the best way to view Jesus’s crucifixion.  ACIM would have us look to the resurrection, which it does not deny as a plausible occurrence (but, of course, one that we cannot fully understand, given our belief in the laws of this world).  Jesus did not defend himself in his trial, just as he encourages us avoid defense as a way of life.  ACIM sees the crucifixion as a benign concept, and would not have us cling to this historical occurrence as our route to salvation.  In that sense, ACIM and traditional Christianity are at odds.

5 – The Scriptures

It would be especially good, I believe, if we did not attack the beliefs of others as we feel led to encourage reading of ACIM.  There is a progression from the Old Testament (Hebrew Bible), the New Testament, A Course in Miracles, and A Course of Love.  In all cases, we would be advised that theology and theological concepts would only prolong our pathway to salvation.  Jesus calls for a universal experience in ACIM, saying that theology will only delay us.  A universal theology is impossible.  But a universal experience is not only encouraged, but is felt to be necessary (from the Text).

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

I would not speak my beliefs in any kind of strident way.  Not all are ready to believe that A Course in Miracles (and, of course, even more so A Course of Love) are the latest manifestations of Christian belief.  Those of traditional Christianity would be particular hostile to this idea.

So help me, dear God, to share only with those who feel inclined to study Christian experience differently.  I do understand that theology divides, but that a universal experience will transform all of us who seek You.  Help me to speak my truth in a way that is accessible to my readers.  Help me to share what I have learned of You in a benign way, non-threatening way.  And may I always look to the resurrection, which of course none of us fully understand, as my beacon in a sometimes difficult world.

Thank You for allow me to sense Your felt presence today.

Amen.