Tag Archives: spirit

Misery with the Ego / Joy with the Spirit

“I am conditioning you to associate misery with the ego and joy with your spirit. You have conditioned yourself the other way around. But a far greater reward will break through any conditioning if that reward is repeatedly offered when the old habit is broken. You are still free to choose. But can you really want the rewards of the ego in the presence of the rewards of God?” (ACIM, COA ed., T-4.VIII.23:1-5)

The ego has never brought real joy; at best, we have had flights of fancy that were high enough in tone that we felt an exhilaration. Then, invariably, we were dashed downward to a sense of depression—mild or severe. These dramas were endless, and so unnecessary now that our knowing has expanded.

Jesus speaks of conditioning in this complete edition of A Course in Miracles, from the Circle of Atonement. The use of the word “conditioning” would make eminent sense to Helen and Bill. And we have enough general knowledge of psychology from everyday life to comprehend as well. What does Jesus mean by this conditioning?

We thought that the dramatic highs that the ego gave us were all that we could expect on earth. We were mistaken. A joyous spirit offers far more. This joy does not become inverted, to dash us downward into depression. This joy extends, more and more, as we are receptive to it.

This joy is often calm, and in the mild manner of it, we may not recognize what we have. Calm is sometimes a factor in depression, and we may even think that, when we are calm, we are depressed. We have much to discover. We are meant, according to A Course in Miracles, to remain “perfectly calm and quiet.” This new demeanor may not even seem desirable. We will see its value as we do quieten ourselves down and invite the Holy Spirit to inform our minds. We will see value when we let ourselves see value.

“Joy with the spirit”! Yes! Our new lives will mean much to us when we have given joy a welcome in our hearts. The ego will fall away, and, if we are careful and do nothing to reinforce it, the ego will never rear its ugly head again. It is not the same ego that Freud championed, a persona that we needed to live adult life. In Jesus’ use of the term ego, he means a false persona.

Let us ask for joy with the spirit today—and every day!

Contribute from the Well of Spirit

“Why would you retain your desire to make an individual contribution, when you can now make a contribution such as this? Is not your unique expression of the whole enough for you? Is it not infinitely greater than the contributions that are possible for the individual, separated self to make? Is not the history of your world filled with individual contributions of incredible scope?

“Do you still believe that the contribution made by the man Jesus was an individual contribution? I tell you truthfully that the only contributions that endure, the only contributions that are truly lasting, are contributions that arise from the well of spirit.” (ACOL, D:11.15 – 11.16)

So here we have it. As the larger Self as well as the elevated Self of form, we will make contributions from the arena of the already accomplished, from the “well of spirit.” These are the only type of contributions that endure, Jesus tells us. We are speaking to the Self whom we share with all others when we make a contribution from the well of spirit. This means that what we say has more resonance with our brothers and sisters; they know whereof we speak because we are speaking to their innermost nature.

An “individual” contribution is just a surface contribution of what WE think is important. When we let guidance flow in from the Self (whom we share with all others), we speak from a much larger perspective, and what we say has universal appeal. Our brothers and sisters know whereof we speak, for they too have lived this spirit-filled message. I want to say that what we say speaks to the souls of others, though the word “soul” is little used in A Course of Love.

If we attune ourselves to the core of guidance that is available to us, we will make good decisions about what to say and do, what our contribution is to be. If we avoid this guidance, throw out intuition as not reason, then we will fail. It is just that simple. This world needs our best work, and when we attune to the overarching Self, we will be on the beam.

This world needs us to be on the beam.

Prayer

Guide my choice of words as I write, today and every day. Guide me to have a good attitude in whatever I do and say, for a bad attitude spoils the very best message. What we say teaches us. And we cannot show what You are really like if we are disgruntled and negative.

Be with me today; guide me in every instance. Don’t let me be resistance to what You are saying. I would let You filter through my mind and heart completely and totally, to the extent that I can sustain it.

Amen.

Spirit and Form Work Together

“Spirit is your more direct link with the one Source. Spirit is directly from the Source, while form is a by-product of spirit. Thus form is once removed, or further away from the Source. Again working backward, however, the form you have created is still a step necessary in the return to the Source. The necessary step is that of moving beyond form—recognizing and acknowledging form for what it is and then continuing on, working backward to change your belief, to allow imagination to serve you and spirit to fill you.” (ACOL, C:23.20)

Many of us who are students of A Course in Miracles have looked to our physical forms as an impediment to all that is good. We need to realize that this physical form we have can be a help as we seek to get back to God, as we seek to heal the separation. This passage from A Course of Love says that, for us, our form is a necessary step to the return to Source. We are caught in matter, and there must be a way out, to allow us to heal the separation and to return to God.

Of course, in my reading, all matter is illusory. This builds upon the assertion in A Course in Miracles that “There is no world!” Other interpretations are indeed possible, though, and we do not need to be delayed by the theology of ACOL. Our universal experience will be enough for us.

So how do we use form to get back Home to God? We know that form, driven by the ego, has taken us away from Him. And we rest in the knowledge that form can also return us to our Source. Our spirits animate matter, our form, and this is what will lead us back to God.

We would be ill-advised to just long for the afterlife, when form is no more (or so we believe). Outside time and space, the afterlife seems a cozy place to dwell. But we are not there yet, and we are called to Life in this world. This world can give us a good and satisfying life, and to do so we need not to denigrate our form. It is part of what we are.

Prayer

Dear Father/Mother,

As much as my form sometimes seems an impediment, I know that this is not the way that You would have me look at my physical body. Physicality can be a great blessing, and I ask to see that blessing today.

Be with me as I seek to follow the pathway that You have laid out in front of me. Your way is best, as always. Curb my impatience to understand all. Let me realize that I am finite while in this body, and this state does not have to be denigrated.

Thank You for guiding me.

Amen.

Nourishment & Rest for Our Spirit

“My words call you to the eternal, to nourishment and rest of the spirit rather than the body. That your sights are set on the care of the body alone is another example of choosing an opposite for replacement.” (ACOL, C:9.22)

All of us long, all too often, for comfort of the physical body. And here Jesus encourages us toward something more—comfort of the spirit. The spirit knows invulnerability far more than the body, for the body and its thoughts and feelings can be subdued by fear. The spirit cannot be subdued by fear, for the spirit is the part of us that is joined to the Christ Self. The spirit and the Christ Self are One, and herein is the appeal to the heart made complete.

When we choose an “opposite” for “replacement,” meaning the body, we are seeing in contrasts. This seeing in contrasts was a method that the Holy Spirit used in His time, but we have now moved beyond the time of the Holy Spirit and are in the time of Christ, where a direct knowing is the norm. Previously the contrast enlightened us, but now we know without proof, for we are listening and feeling with the heart. We don’t need proof when we draw in the heart.

Jesus calls us to the eternal, and this eternal can include a new vision for the body (though he does not say so in this passage). This new vision for the body is the Christ-conscious physical form of the Self that Jesus later on calls “elevated.” This means that we can live in physical form for eons, if we so choose. We might come to understand that it will take many of us choosing to live in physical form on this earth to lead the billions back to God. The billions who still live in separation, an illusory separation (of course), but separation indeed. In A Course in Miracles, Jesus said that the separation occurred over millions of years, and that millions more might be needed to heal the separation. And if so, many of us need to be embodied, on earth, to effect this change.

Our brothers and sisters need us here in this world. We can do much good, though A Course of Love is not a call to proselytize. The people in our world will signal when they are ready to hear our truth. Then and only then do we have the golden zipper removed from our lips, and we are free to share what we have come to know.

Spirit and Nature, by Ivor Sowton

One question that often comes up for me and others I’ve talked to is how much to trust ourselves with knowing what is really ours to contribute in life. After all, many of us have been led by Jesus or some other Great Master into some pretty dramatic changes over the years, and before we “resigned as our own teachers” we generally had some pretty egotistical ideas about our contribution. Back then we might have figured that our contribution would be 1) what we were naturally good at already (so it would be easy), 2) would make us look really good to others, and 3) would make us wealthy, powerful and famous.

Now, Jesus in A Course in Miracles (ACIM), is the one who helped me see these egotistical motives in me, which were always there, apparently, but outside of my awareness. Now the often painful awareness is being accepted as a lesson and a gift, as Jesus says in A Course of Love (ACOL):

“Acceptance of what is, is acceptance that whatever is happening in the present moment is a lesson and a gift. What comes as a lesson may not seem like a gift, but all lessons are gifts…What you have struggled to learn in the past you have struggled with only because you did not realize the nature of the situation as a lesson or recognize that all lessons are gifts.” (3rd Treatise, 10.6)

So now I can see the ego motivation clearly I often seem to be trying to renounce it with a lot of my energy. Does this happen for you? For me at least it does indeed make sense that Jesus in both these great dispensations calls us to a lot of undoing of the old– of those old ego stances that never did work, after all.

But then how to also be positive while waiting for a more Divine replacement? In general terms I understand Jesus to be encouraging me to wait with a peaceful attitude as I become more wholehearted with his help. I am trying to receive rather than plan (ibid. 22.5), and I do sometimes feel hopeful, waiting with a kind of cautiously joyful anticipation.

Right at the end of the marvelous Third Treatise Jesus equates the recommended attitude of receptivity with observation of what is, or the Truth in us and in our surroundings–people, animals, plants–all of it! He says:

“Realize that what we have called “closed eyes” observation is really the observation of a Self beyond the personal self. To call forth observance is to call forth the sight of your true Self.” (22.17)

That is actually a wonderful promise, isn’t it? Worth waiting for, worth all that ongoing undoing of the old painful ways…

How I am looking at it now is that we should actually be curious about the things we already do well, have an aptitude for. Why shouldn’t this be part of our contribution? Like a gift we have to give, but this time with pure intention.

After all, when Jesus says we have (and actually are) a true self he is talking in the context of unity and relationship–one of the great overarching themes in ACOL. The True Self in us knows its intrinsically connected with everyone and everything “else,” so it is capable of acting for the greater good and is actively seeking to do that in each situation we find ourselves in.

So I’ll call that True Self the Spirit in us in relationship with the Nature part of us–our bodies, our unique gifts, our time-bound lives as individuals here.

There is a very beautiful Sanskrit hymn that roughly translates to “Spirit and Nature, dancing together! Victory to Spirit and Victory to Nature!” Each is fulfilled in the other, in Union and Relationship.

May it be so for you, and for all of us.

Spirit Is in a State of Grace Forever

“You are free to establish your kingdom where you see fit, but the right choice is inevitable if you remember this:

“Spirit is in a state of grace forever.
“Your reality is only spirit.
“Therefore you are in a state of grace forever.” (ACIM, T-1.III.5)

Jesus likes syllogisms, using them from time to time in A Course in Miracles. Because our reality is always and only spirit, we are healed when the physical, illusory, body is not healed. Or does not appear to be so.

But we live in a state of grace. We can call upon God at any time, though in ACIM, the emphasis is upon calling on the Holy Spirit, Who mediates between God and us. The Holy Spirit is our Teacher, our Guide, God’s Voice with us. Only in A Course of Love do we move to seeing the inner Christ Self as the source of guidance.

But we are focusing on what reality really is, and we see that it is spirit. Our spirit animates our bodies. And assures us survival beyond death of the body. Life everlasting is a real gift that we sometimes question. But here we see the bottom line: Spirit survives the death of the body.

Our spirits are in a state of grace. What a blessing! This in itself gives us a good day, just to dwell on that truth. We have been justified in the sight of God. We have nothing to fear, nothing at all.

This quotation places reality in the realm of the non-physical, where it will always and only be. The physical is an illusory reality, not true reality at all. So when we see pain in the physical, we can know, right off, that it is illusory. We create our own reality, and in this spirit reality, we are always and forever one with God. We are a part of Him.

We need dwell on nothing more. God animates us.

Would you give God a good day today?

We Are All Part of the One Son/Daughter

1 – Christ

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

2 – Term “Soul”

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

3 – Spirit

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

4 – Baptism of the Holy Spirit

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

5 – Ego

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

6 – Right-Mindedness

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

7 – Contrast

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

8 – Wrong-Mindedness

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

9 – Light

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

10 – Worlds

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

11 – One-Mindedness

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

12 – One Will

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

13 – Consciousness

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

14 – Theory

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

15 – Consciousness

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

16 – Ego Being Undone

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

17 – Real World

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

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

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

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

Amen.

Jesus: “You Are Asked to Live So as to Demonstrate that You Are Not an Ego, and I Do Not Choose God’s Channels Wrongly.”

“My trust in you is greater than yours in me at the moment, but it will not always be that way. Your mission is very simple. You are asked to live so as to demonstrate that you are not an ego, and I do not choose God’s channels wrongly. (T68)”

Affirmation: “I do not choose God’s channels wrongly.”

1 – Jesus

Jesus seeks to bring us to him in these well-chosen words. He assures us that he is certain that we will live without the ego, that we will first live as though we are without an ego.

2 – Mission

We have a substantial mission in this world. We are one of “God’s channels.” We are meant not to find our way Home ourselves, but also to facilitate the coming Home of our brothers and sisters. Jesus’s faith in us in intense, because he knows that the only way that this world can work is if we do our part to reform the hearts and minds of our brothers and sisters–not to speak of our own. When we do this, all will be well.

3 – God’s Channels

“I do not choose God’s channels wrongly.” This is not meant to be a call to specialness. All are chosen as God’s channels; all are meant to return Home. And Jesus says elsewhere that all will return, though it may happen over millions of years. This is not cause for despondency, because we have Jesus as our elder brother every step of the way. Our own way will lighten immeasurably as we learn to put into practice the dictates of the Course.

4 – Misery and the Ego / Joy and the Spirit

“I am teaching you to associate misery with the ego and joy with the spirit. You have taught yourself the opposite. You are still free to choose, but can you really want the rewards of the ego in the presence of the rewards of God? (T68)”

We are used to the ego; we do not think its dictates strange. But we can realize, if we reflect a little, that egotistical longings have not brought the happiness that we sought through fulfilling those longings. There must be a better way.

5 – Satisfactions

At this juncture we can see where Jesus is heading. The ordinariness of everyday life is where the real satisfactions lie. This, almost paradoxically, is where the joy of the spirit lies. When we experience this joy, we will be much more inclined to give up the ego in favor of something better.

6 – Awakening

How do we do that? Reading A Course in Miracles, really studying it, will take us a very long way. It is the means that lead to the ultimate revelation of the Awakening. We can truthfully rarely find anything better to do. But this does not mean withdrawing from the world. Our salvation rests in our relationship to our brothers and sisters in the world. That is, in fact, the means that the Course is using to bring us Home.

7 – 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. (T68)”

8 – Our Leader

Jesus affirms his central place as the leader here on earth in this passage. A Course in Miracles does not require that you believe this, though A Course of Love does. But we can learn more easily if we invite Jesus’s presence into our lives. This is not a simplistic notion. It is in line with traditional inspirational writings, but in ACIM Jesus elaborates. We cannot understand how he can clone himself all over, with anybody, but I do think that there is something to this. Use your imagination, and so if you don’t, from time to time, sense the presence of Jesus in your life. You will never be the same again. You will know that you always have a friend with you, when you make “one unequivocal call” (from ACIM Text).

9 – Pathway

Jesus is strong; he has walked the whole pathway. That is why it is so important to lean on his strength in our daily walk. “My chosen channels cannot fail, because I will lend them my strength as long as theirs is wanting.” What a joy to read this! We do not have to contemplate failure in our daily lives, when we are on the beam. We can recognize that our mission will be fulfilled when we stay in line with Jesus’s thinking. We do not have to fear defeat.

10 – Ego / Holy Spirit

Of course, we can still let the ego, and with it, egotistical thinking, encroach on our lives. But we do not have to fear that this will happen when we stay in close communion with the Holy Spirit, the Universal Inspiration.

11 – Higher Purpose

Keep in mind today that there is a higher purpose to our days, beyond the mundane of work and boring life. We can see a freshness about life that will not leave us, when we invite the Holy Spirit into our lives.

12 – Holy Spirit

He will not fail us. Try Him and see.

Prayer:

Dear Father,

Thank you for the joys of everyday life. I do not seek the thrills associated with the ego, because they are not lasting, and ultimately they bring unhappiness.

May I turn to the Course more and more often, knowing that, as I do, I will meet You there. May I drop the miseries of the ego and walk into the joys of the spirit.

Amen.

Memories

“While you will not realize it at first, because you have no experience but only memory of feeling yourself in such a way, you will eventually realize that the memories you recall of the spirit of others include memories that are your own, memories that are of your own Self.  For no spirit exists that is not part of you, or you of it.  (A Course of Love, 13.8)”

Affirmation:  “My brothers and sisters are one with me.”

Amazing-Van-Gogh-Paintings-dining roomReflections:

1 – Our Spirits Are One

We, our Selves, have no experience, at least now, of the fact that our spirits are one with others.  We do have memories of a time when we knew this.  And this time reaches backwards to a time beyond time, beyond hope of remembrance, except that God intervene.  This idea is alluded to also in A Course in Miracles.  But there it says that the time is past all hope of remembrance, and here we are told that the memory can return.  So there is some conflict between the two ideas.

2 -Unite with Our Spirit

How might we understand this conflict?  Our remembrance, as described in ACIM, is part of our experience, and ACOL clearly says that we can remember the experience of oneness with others.  But there is a part of us, in our spirit, that does lock away the memory.  And  when we come closer to a union with our spirit in everyday life, we will have memories that have heretofore been excluded from us.

3 – Self/Christ

Our Self is the Christ that we all share, and when God has reached down and lifted us up (a metaphor), we will know Awakening (as called in A Course in Miracles) or Christ-consciousness (as called in A Course of Love).  No spirit is alone.  All are part of the one Christ spirit, and that is how we can understand our kinship with Jesus.

4 – Jesus

Traditional Christianity avoids the issue of whether we can have what Jesus had–the Christ embodied, although the New Testament clearly points to the fact that he indicates that there is nothing that he has that we will not one day have as well.  ACIM and ACOL make this similarity conclusive; we are one with Jesus, once we, like him, have walked the whole pathway back to God.  And, because he walked it first, he will help us, and he will clear our imperfections that otherwise we would not be able to alter (an ACIM tenet).

5 – A Great Promise

What a great promise today’s passage offers to us!  May we not forget to offer our gratitude to God for such a glorious plan of salvation.

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

I would welcome memories to my mind today.  I know that it is possible to recall that which has been hidden to me until today, because Jesus says so in this passage, and I trust him.  May I put aside all temperamental thoughts and actions that would negate this great promise, this great blessing.  Be with me as I seek to walk Your way today.

Help us to recognize that the memories that we hold of others include ourselves.  We are not alone in this.  There is a definite joining of minds, and therefore spirits, one with another.  May I sense this today.  And may I give up all attack thoughts, for these are separating, and they, as well, will be felt by the people whom I encounter.

Be with our walk today, as always.  And thank You.

Amen.

The Body Is a Tool

“The body is a tool made for your use in maintaining the illusion of your separation.  That it has seeming power can only be because you think you put your power there.  If this were true, much power indeed would it wield.  But what you have made cannot be invested with the power of creation without your joining with it.  (A Course of Love, 10.1)”

Affirmation:  “Let me deemphasize the body today.”

Reflections:Van-Gogh-Paintings-Wallpapers-olive trees

1 – Joining?

We do not and cannot join physically with all whom we meet.  That physical joining is limited to very few, or just one.  So what type of “joining” does this passage imply?

2 – Joining = of the Spirit

The joining that we must do is not of the body.  It is of the spirit.  The body is meant to affirm our separation from each other.  The body, like all illusions, fails us in this purpose.  We learn from living in separate bodies that we are not very happy being separate.  So how might we join?

3 – Join in Holiness

We join in holiness, in holy relationships that have, in many cases, been transformed from special relationships.

4 – Join in Minds

We join in minds as well as in spirit, but we do not leave it to our minds to determine all that we need to know.  We listen to our hearts.  And in the listening, we learn that we are not meant to walk along and and to be lonely.  We are made for each other and for God.  There is no better way to live.

4 – Power of the Body

What type of power could the body wield?  Only matters of power and prestige.  The ego.  The things of this world that are tangible.  Success.  Vanity.

5 – Perishable

You get the picture.  Do we really, truly, in our wholeheartedness, want such perishable things?  Let us be glad that their value will not last for us, for in them we lose ourselves.  We instead want the peace, joy, harmony, and serenity that God grants to all who turn to Him.  And He grants this peace, I believe, even to those who have not yet learned that turning to Him is the complete answer.  He is the God of the secular and profane as well as the religious and spiritual, for we are all His children, and He does not forget His own.

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

I would join in spirit and mind with all whom I meet today.  Help me to do so purely.  I know that You do not deemphasize the physical in A Course of Love, but today we are not considering physical joining.  I wish the joining that will bring me closer to being a co-creator with You.

I wish for those things which will last.  And the perishable, tangible things of this world, some of which are necessary for survival, will not last.  I know that You want my material needs met also, but today I focus on the things of the spirit.  May my egoic mind, still a burden in many ways, just diminish in intensity as I seek for the things of the spirit.

Be with me today, as always.  I know that You are with me, for life just keeps getting better and better.  My prayers are being answered, and You are guiding me to find the answers.  Thank You.

Amen.

A Call to the Eternal

“My words call you to the eternal, to nourishment and rest of the spirit rather than the body.  That your sights are set on the care of the body alone is another example of choosing an opposite for replacement.  (A Course of Love, 9.22)”

Affirmation:  “I think of my spirit today.”

Reflections:

1 – The Body

How often we think of the body first!  If we have a twinge of pain, we focus on it, and the very focusing may make it seem worse.  Even chronic pain that is very severe is overcome, in therapy sessions, with a focus on something other than the pain.  When we focus on something we would rather avoid, we only succeed in increasing its presence, even magnifying its presence, in our lives.  This we would not do.

2 – The Spirit

We are on safe ground indeed when we focus on our spirit.  We may not as of yet fully understand what Jesus means by “spirit,” but he elaborates throughout A Course of Love.  The spirit is the essence of the Christ/Self that in inward, and that combines the human and the divine.  We are still in physical form, of course, and we can even revel in that, but we know that there is something more.  And we do not let pains in the physical body distract us from our heart’s blessing.  We will find that ultimately we will combine mind and heart to form the wholeheartedness toward which Jesus is leading us in A Course of Love.

3 – ACOL vs. ACIM

The physical is emphasized a bit more in A Course of Love than in A Course in Miracles.  We may have even gotten the false impression from A Course in Miracles that the physical did not matter.  But Jesus would not have us in pain; he tells us in ACIM that we do not have to learn through pain.  Learning through rewards is lasting.  Learning through pain is temporary.  And we find, later on in ACOL, that the elevated Self of form is where we are headed.  We do not have to deemphasize or denigrate the physical; we just need to see the physical properly.  There is the truth that our spirit cooperates with the physical to bring us the glorious life that life on earth can be.

4 – Replenishment

We do want our spirit to be nourished and replenished.  All too often we have neglected our spirit in favor of trying, often in vain, to improve our physical condition.  Jesus would have both well and in excellent condition.  Such a wonderful promise is the one here!  Let us remind ourselves today of the nourishment and rest to our spirit that is here for the asking, and let us then ask for this nourishment and rest.

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

I would replenish my soul today.  I would not ignore the body, but I would realize where it is in the hierarchy, and I would choose to turn aside from attempts to emphasize the perishable.

Be with me today as I seek You.  I am in need of comfort, replenishment.  Please grant this to me.

Amen.

The Distinction between A Course in Miracles & A Course of Love

“Where the original Course in Miracles was a course in thought reversal and mind training, a course to point out the insanity of the identity crisis and dislodge the ego’s hold, this is a course to establish your identity and to end the reign of the ego.  (A Course of Love, P.8)”

Affirmation:  “Let us end the reign of the ego.”

Reflections:

1 – An Overview

This is a concise statement that will be amplified later on in A Course of Love.  It makes a clear delineation between A Course in Miracles and A Course of Love.  We are led, farther on, to the understanding that we need further instruction, because with what do we replace the reign of the ego?  A Course of Love is Jesus’s next step in clarification for us.  To end the reign of the ego is a negative, but to live “establish your identity” is a positive.  Let us add our thought to his, the thought of our heart, to try to understand and to ask for a heartfelt key to our real identity.

2 – Jesus

We are children of God, and we are brothers to Jesus.  He has already walked the pathway, and in A Course of Love, later on, he says that accepting him is a necessary prelude to the pathway that we have chosen.  Of course, we learned in A Course in Miracles that there are other teachers, but we who are studying together have chosen Jesus as our guide, and it behooves us to accept him fully into our heart.  He can help us, even if we remained somewhat detached from him, but he can help us so much more if we truly invite him into our hearts.  Then the glorious blessings are not stopped by doubt.

3 – End of the Ego

So the reign of the ego ends when we have been through the whole trilogy of A Course of Love.  The first volume, which we are considering in the next several months, is still a learning experience.  Later on, we will find out that there is a time for learning to cease, and for observation to be our way in this world.  But I am getting ahead of ourselves.  For now it is enough to know that the truths of A Course of Love give us a certainty of salvation that we may have missed until now.  And A Course of Love (ACOL) gives us reassurance that our own imperfections do not truly matter.  Jesus can and will step in to correct mistakes that we have not been able to change (this is also a tenet of ACIM).

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

My ego is what gets me in trouble.  It is weakened somewhat, in that I am not nearly as overtly goal-driven, in  an egoic sense, as I used to be.  I no longer thrive on competition (nor feel demoralized by competition).  So again today I ask that You help me to step aside from the egoic mind and to truly let the weakened ego just die.  When I say this, I am thinking of the ego as a part of myself that is actually an insane part of my mind.

I would follow my spirit, informed by You, from my depths.  By this I mean the Self that knows far better than my personal self what I should do next with my life.  And “next” means tonight and tomorrow, as well as years down the road.

Be with me as I seek to follow the way that Jesus points out for all of us.  May I be a good steward of the thoughts that we see in this coursework, and may I interpret with a clear mind and heart what my spirit understands.

Amen.

Misery (Ego) vs. Joy (Spirit)

“I am teaching you to associate misery with the ego and joy with the spirit.  You have taught yourself the opposite.  You are still free to choose, but can you really want the rewards of the ego in the presence of the rewards of God?  (T68)”

Affirmation:  “joy comes with spirit”

Reflections:

1 – The Egotistical Fails to Satisfy

We are used to the ego; we do not think its dictates strange.  But we can realize, if we reflect a little, that egotistical longings have not brought the happiness that we sought through fulfilling those longings.  There must be a better way.

2 – Ordinary Daily Life Satisfying

At this juncture we can see where Jesus is heading.  The ordinariness of everyday life is where the real satisfactions lie.  This, almost paradoxically, is where the joy of the spirit lies.  When we experience this joy, we will be much more inclined to give up the ego in favor of something better.

3 – Read ACIM Frequently

How do we do that?  Reading the Course, really studying it, will take us a very long way.  It is the means that lead to the ultimate revelation of the Awakening.  We can truthfully rarely find anything better to do.  But this does not mean withdrawing from the world.  Our salvation rests in our relationship to our brothers and sisters in the world.  That is, in fact, the means that the Course is using to bring us Home.

4 – Holy Relationships

We are in joy and in Heaven when we are at peace with our brothers and sisters in this world.  We are in joy and in Heaven when we have holy relationships that have brought us home.  May we always remember that the joys of the spirit are much superior to the egotistical “joy” that comes to us from egotistical motives.  We need to drop the competition that the ego fosters and walk home to God through the love that we hold for others in our world (an interpretation, not stated in ACIM).

Prayer:

Dear Father,

Thank you for the joys of everyday life.  I do not seek the thrills associated with the ego, because they are not lasting, and ultimately they bring unhappiness.

May I turn to the Course more and more often, knowing that, as I do, I will meet You there.  May I drop the miseries of the ego and walk into the joys of the spirit.

Amen.

Joy

“The ego is afraid of the spirit’s joy, because once you have experienced it you will withdraw all protection from the ego, and become totally without investment in fear.  (T55)”

Affirmation:  “the spirit’s joy”

Reflections:

1 – A Comparison to the Ego

We have all experienced the spirit’s joy, because we are not totally insane.  The ego is only a part of our belief about ourselves.  The more we can coax the spirit’s joy to come forth, the more progress we will make.  How do we do this?  It can only come from turning inward asking for assistance.  God always responds, even when we don’t readily see His response.  Be on the lookout for the next meaningful comment, be it an interior word from the Holy Spirit, a sentence in a book, or a comment made by a brother.  God comes to us in all these ways, and more.

2 – Withdraw Protection from the Ego

Perhaps it seems fearful to withdraw protection from the ego.  Our world has put much store in developing a strong ego, one that is meant to protect us in an often hostile world.  But a strong ego is not the way of the Course.  The ego, in fact, is always being undone, and we will know humiliation and much fear as long as we try to depend upon it.  It may not always be easy to relinquish the ego, but to do so is our way home.

3 – Still on the Pathway

Perhaps all of our days will not be filled with joy, for we are still on the pathway home.  But the more that we adjust our attitude to Jesus’s recommendations, the better days we will have.  If we are hurt, we will know that we are experiencing an egoistic attack, for actually we, our Self, cannot be hurt.  Only the ego can experience hurt, and if we relinquish our investment in the ego’s way of looking at the world, we will be the wiser for it.  If we come in anger, whether acknowledged or under the surface, we are strengthening the ego.  We do not want o strengthen the ego.  We want to open our hearts to the spirit’s joy, the innermost part of ourselves that has never been either hurt or angry.  We need to return home to God.  We may not know how to do this now, but if we learn of the spiritual truths that confront, we will know more, and, not incidentally, have more faith that God is in His Heaven, and all is right with the world (Robert Browning, though he wrote this in a poem that was satirical; we do not want to see it as satirical).

4 – Joy of the Spirit / Fear of the Ego

When we recognize that joy is of the spirit, and fear of the ego, we will not lack for motivation.  Jesus is teaching us to equate joy with the spirit.  Once we have done this a few times, we will doubt no longer.

Prayer:

Dear Father,

May I experience the spirit’s joy, and thereby be led to withdraw all protection from the ego.  The ego was always insane, and when I followed it, I was following blindly down a dark alley.

It is great news that when experiencing the spirit’s joy, I will want to withdraw all protection from the ego.  May this happen now and always.

Amen.

Your Worth Is Not Established by Teaching or Learning

“Your worth is not established by teaching or learning.  Your worth is established by God. . . .Again,–nothing you do or think or wish or make is necessary to establish your worth.  This point is not debatable except in delusions  Your ego is never at stake because God did not create it.  Your spirit is never at stake because He did. (T54)”

Affirmation:  “My worth is established by God alone.”

Reflections:

1 – Conditional Love

This is a passage for those of us who were reared in conditional love, particularly achievement in the eyes of the world.  This achievement may have been good grades, more money, “success.”  It really doesn’t matter what form the conditional love took.

2 – An Insane World

This is an insane world, and so it stands to reason that we were reared with many errors being made.  Because we were young and vulnerable, we believed that we had to play by the rules that our elders made up.  And, of course, they too had been victims of faulty upbringing.

3 – Jesus’s Healing

The good news of ACIM is that Jesus can heal a neurotic.  We do not have to look back with lament to our past, thinking that there is no better for us because our childhood was so flawed by faulty reasoning.  We can overcome, with God’s help and the guidance of the Holy Spirit.

4 – We Are Acceptable to God

In this passage, Jesus tells us that our worth is not established by teaching or learning.  And he goes on to repeat the idea in the same paragraph.  Indeed, we are acceptable to God just as we are.  Of course, the point of A Course in Miracles is to bring us closer to God and to happiness.  And forgiveness of our brother, in the context of a relationship to him, is the way.

5 – God Loves Us Just as We Are

Keep in mind that our achievements will never be good enough, but they are not needed.
We may feel a great sense of reassurance at this point.  God loves me just as I am!  What a blessed thought, but have we ever believed it before?

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

You know that I was reared in conditional love, though I always tried to please my family, and I knew that they were happy with me.  They wanted me to achieve so that they could be proud of me.  But none of them had the joy of studying A Course in Miracles, and so the mistakes are easily forgiven.  I would not love anyone with conditional love.  Help me to reach out, always, with unconditional love.

May I be for my closest family what they do need in me.  May I eliminate the stress that gives me difficult times, and may I reach out with the love that You have shown me.  May I always remember to thank You.

Amen.