Tag Archives: sanity

Sea of Peace

“Each sane moment that you have experienced. . . each moment of grace-filled joy that you have ever known. . .has come because you have allowed your mind to slip into the sea of peace. There you have merely abided, empty, wanting nothing, seeking nothing, being merely the presence of what you are.” (“The Way of the Heart,” WOM, Lesson 7, Page 86)

When we are living sane moments, we are fully and completely in a state of peace. It is the “peace of God that passeth understanding.” And we live in an unlimited fashion, with true intimacy with our significant others, in joy. There is no better way to live.

Make no mistake about it: We have been in madness for a very long time. Of course, our secular world would not call us mad and we wouldn’t be certifiably insane. But still when the ego is dominant in our minds, we are living an insane life. It is only when we make repeated gestures to turn aside from the ego, that glimpses of Awakening start to dawn on our previously deluded minds, and sanity also begins to dawn.

We have stopped seeking at such times. Seeking, too, can be an obsessive compulsion, and this too is insane. We need to simply be who we are, no persona, no “ideal” state of mind as we try to be what we are not. We are “good enough” as we are. Sure, we still make mistakes, but God loves His children even as they falter and fall.

We may not believe that we are good enough as we are. And we can improve our persona, but the truth is that we are still innocent creatures of God. Mistakes only, not uncorrectable “sins.” And as we move to correct our mistakes, we accept ourselves better. We come to believe that maybe we truly are “alright.”

And we are. Just as we are.

We Do Not Have to Learn through Pain

What has the ego-tainted world really exemplified? Only one truth: that the Son (and Daughter) of God is at war with God. If we understood God more, we would know that this is a condition too ridiculous to be believed. The Course says, “The Son of God at war with his Creator is a condition as ridiculous as nature roaring at the wind in anger, proclaiming it is part of itself no more.” (T-23.I.4:7) In our creation, God shared His Mind with us. That is why there can never be a conflict between His Will and our real will. It is only in an illusory world that we believe that to follow God’s will is to lose our freedom. Actually the reverse is the truth: to follow the ego’s madness is to head into chaos that always, in the end, leads to pain. A harmonious universe is impossible under these conditions. Pain begets more pain, assuring that at some point we will turn and say, “Enough!”

The awful pathway is, of course, so unnecessary. Jesus says that we do not have to learn through pain. We can recognize a better way, and in our moments of greater sanity, walk that pathway a few steps closer to Awakening.

Reframe the Psyche for Sanity

“Consider how much vigilance you have been willing to exert to protect your ego, and how little you have been willing to expend to protect your higher mind! Who but the insane would undertake to believe in what is not true and then protect this belief at the cost of truth?” (ACIM, COA ed., T-4.V.17:3-4)

Perhaps, in reading A Course in Miracles, you have balked at accepting Jesus’ assertion that in our usual frame of mind, we have been mad, insane. This may be because we think that we don’t do the insane things that people who are certifiably mad have actually done. Of course, there is a difference, but I think we will see, when Awakening dawns, that our psyche has been skewed. The ego is easily recognized, then, as a form of insanity.

We have to use our imagination to project what life would really be like without the ego. We have to lay aside the definition of the ego that Freud gave, in that the ego was seen as necessary for an adult to function, that the ego would form the persona, and then we would live independent lives when grown. Jesus’ defines the ego differently, in that he sees it as a false concept, a concept to be overcome, and a concept not at all needed for responsible living as an adult. Our persona will thrive when we awaken and do not seek any longer to cling to our egoic ways. We will also realize that independent living is not the panacea we had thought, that we are meant to be interdependent, living in cooperation with our brothers and sisters.

Let the ego wither away by failing to reinforce the egotistical ideas that so call to us. Let humility lead the way. After all, Jesus said that the meek would inherit the earth. While he did not mean by “meek” any form of subservient behavior, we can, in the word, glimpse a little of what he meant many years ago when he walked the earth.

We want to follow the truth. And when the tenets of A Course in Miracles take hold, we will find ourselves triumphantly following that truth.

The Truth Is Not a Secret

giverny-3 - monet - garden“Your ego thoughts can never share the truth with you nor with anyone else.  The ego invented the idea of ‘telling’ the truth and using it as an opposite to telling an untruth or lie.  Thus were born ideas of being able to keep truth a secret, one of the most ridiculous ideas of the ego thought system.  (A Course of Love, 31.25)”

Affirmation:  “I forget my ego’s version of the ‘truth’ today.”

Reflections:

1 – Non-Dualism

A Course in Miracles and A Course of Love present a non-dualistic view of reality.  This non-dualism is the fact that God is All, and that anything else is illusion, projection, or dreams.  Thus the “truth” of the ego, which is illusory, means nothing.  All of this is part of the theology of both ACIM and ACOL.

2 – Don’t Let Theology Delay You

If the theology bothers you, don’t let it cause you to dismiss ACIM and ACOL out of hand.  Jesus says in ACIM that theology can delay us, and we would not be delayed.  We would have the universal experience that he says is possible.  And a universal expereince threatens no one.  A universal theology, on the other hand, is impossible.  (These are paraphrases from ACIM.)

3 – Personal Experience

We need to tell the truth.  We need to drop lies from our pantheon of impulses.  But that does not mean that the truth has any truth in it when the idea that we are expounding comes from the ego.  It is quite possible even to tell the ego’s truth in your nighttime dreams; I did that just last night.  And I awoke in a good mood, but I quickly told myself that this good mood was an appeal to my ego, and not something that I wanted to encourage.  The ego dies hard in us, even when we have studied carefully for years.

4 – Appeal to Sanity

Today’s passage is an appeal to sanity.  The ego is not sane (and neither was my nighttime dream).  We would drop the insanity or madness from our lives, and the only way to do that, if we are working in the framework of our courses,  is to be diligent in our practice of the tenets of ACIM and ACOL.  (There are, of course, other ways to reach God, but our way is ACIM and ACOL, if we so choose.)

5 – The Ego

Don’t fret or worry if the ego intrudes, as it did in my nighttime dream.  Don’t resist, either, for the ego is strong in strife.  Just turn aside gently, and choose again (an ACIM tenet).  Choose again on this journey without distance.

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

The truth is not a secret, kept from us.  We are fully able to ascertain Your truth, but we must do so without the intrusion of the ego.

I would know Your truth today.  I would drop all egoic and egotistical ideas from my mind slant, and I would welcome You instead.

Be with me as I walk along my pathway for today.  There is nothing that being with You in Your presence will not improve.  Thank You.

Amen.

Final Judgment

“But the Final Judgment will not come until it is no longer associated with fear.  One day each one will welcome it, and on that very day it will be given him.  (M-15.1)”

Affirmation:  “Let me not think of the Final Judgment with fear.”

Reflections:

1 – Personal Experience

I once had a “waking dream,” not unlike what John Keats, the poem (“Ode to a Nightingale”) describes so well.  In that semi-hypnotic state, I imagined the Final Judgment was coming to me.  I was asked a number of questions, which I tried to answer, but not always truthfully.  And my unseen questioner knew that I was dissembling.  I responded, “How do you expect me to pass this test?”  As one who always tries to tell the truth, this memory is painful.  But the experience itself was very uplifting.  My unseen questioner in this waking dream then gave me a series of directives for my life.  I have forgotten most of them, but I do recall that one was to buy an “older” house when I was in a position to purchase a house.  Through no machinations of my own, that is exactly what my husband and I did:  a house built in 1922, with well-preserved, with numerous refurbishing.

2 – Many Years Later

I do not now, more than 30 years later, know how accurate this waking dream was, or whether or not I could even call it a “Final Judgment” carried out by one of my brothers in his lifetime.  Jesus says elsewhere that the Final Judgment of all will be carried out in conjunction with his brothers (and sisters) in this world.  So I sometimes ponder this strange experience.  The waking dream has never recurred, and only once or twice had something akin to it ever happened to me previously.

3 – “Tall Order”

But I was not afraid.  I remember commenting in my dream, with all the assertions of what I ought to do with my life, “That is a tall order.”  But the parts that I have remembered have come true,, almost fated (or so it seems).  There were, of course, parts that I do not recall, for this was an altered state of consciousness.

4 – Altered Consciousness

One probably ought not to plan for altered states of consciousness.  We are not usually of much help to other people when we are living in such a way.  But Jesus says in ACIM that the channels of communication in our universe are not limited to the few channels that this world recognizes.  He goes on to say that salvation would be impossible without these additional channels that this world does not recognize.

5 – Turn Aside from the Ego

Do not let the ego get a toehold in your own psychic imaginings.  When we have withdrawn support from the ego, it will, absolutely will, try to rise in ascendancy by guile.  And we certainly do not want that.

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

Thank You for the unusual experience of more than 30 years ago.  But I do not wish for altered states of consciousness.  I want my feet on the ground, even as my head is sometimes in the clouds.  Be with me to be certain that my imaginings do not mislead others or myself.

Thank You for a busy but good day.  Help me to have a flowing expereince in my thoughts.  No obsessions.  And I pray for a stress-free day tomorrow.  Be with all of us who are trying so hard.  May we realize, anew, that Your Way is effortless.

Amen.

Nightmares

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

Affirmation:  “I would be free of nightmares.”

 

Reflections:

1 – Sanity

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

2 – What Does “Insane” Mean?

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

3 – Made Mad by Guilt

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

4 – Nightmares and Illusions

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

5 – The Real World

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

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

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

Help me to keep these resolutions.  Thank You.

Amen.

Nightmares

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

Affirmation:  “May miracles restore my sanity.

Reflections:

1 – The Return of Sanity

The restoration of our sanity is the great need of all humankind.  It is not sanity as perceived by the world (which is a concept in emotional disturbance), but sanity as perceived by the Awakening.  We are indicated in A Course in Miracles to be living with a mad mind, and that includes all of us who have not yet walked the full pathway back to God.  Along the way, we probably will experience glimpses of Awakening, but they will not last beyond even a few moments, a few weeks, or a few months.  A Course of Love, which some view as a sequel to ACIM, indicates that we are to sustain, physical form, our acceptance of Atonement, which will lead to Awakening.  Nowhere in either set of volumes is Awakening fully defined, but we can surmise that it is the state of Enlightenment, which many other religions have championed as well.  It is less noted in traditional Christianity, which tends to stop with a specific moment of the experience of being “saved.”  There is some emphasis in moving onward to the baptism of the Holy Spirit, and this is the way of ACIM.  Miracles will bring these great events closer in time.

2 – Lost in Nightmares

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

3 – Time for God and Ourselves

It is wise always to remember that God’s time and our time are not identical, and so we do not know (because it is not said in ACIM) what “soon” really means.  How long to we await the Awakening after we have recognized that we are seeing the “real world.”  Even the “real world” is not defined precisely in ACIM, but I have interpreted this boon as a time in which we experience the loving attributes of salvation:  love, joy, peace, tranquility, serenity, happiness, forgiveness of ourselves and others.

4 – Nightmares and Illusions

“Nightmares” and “illusions” are linked in this passage.  May we reach toward the promise of sanity in the real world when we give up our illusions, and, with them, our nightmares.  Fear will subside, and in calm and quiet we will live in the guidance of the Holy Spirit.  This guidance will continue until after Awakening, called “Christ-consciousness” is A Course of Love.  We are then to know internally of the way in which we are to travel.  The time of Christ follows the time of the Holy Spirit (according to A Course of Love).  This is a natural transition, but not one for which all of us ready.  We must be patient, and, until the time of learning is over, listen to our guidance from our Guide, and then we will be swept up in the knowledge that our real Self, the Christ within, will give us.  (These are tenets from A Course of Love.)

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

I would live in the real world today.  I would no longer be lost in illusions.  I ask for the blessing of the return of sanity, in the sense that A Course in Miracles means.  Virtually all of us have been lost in madness.  Some have had fleeting glimpses of the Awakening, but few have sustained the Awakening.  I do realize that this is a blessing that You will offer all of us when we are ready.  And I ask for my Guide to tell me what to think, say, and do today that will prepare me for this blessing.

Be with me if I get discouraged.  Life does not have to be difficult, even when outward circumstances seem so.  You are there to comfort and to sustain us.

May I never forget this.  May I never forget to turn to You.

Amen.