Tag Archives: The Power of Now

Happiness in the Midst of Adversity

“You are the one who can bless creation.  It begins when you are willing to assume responsibility for what you want to use time for.”  (“The Way of Transformation,” WOM, Chapter 13, Page 161)

In The Way of Mastery, Jesus says quite a lot about assuming responsibility for ourselves.  We so often want to think of ourselves as victims, when just picking up the phone and opening up lines of communication might be all that is lacking.  As the Don Miguel Ruiz’s Four Agreements says, we need to ask questions when we are unsure.  We don’t need to make assumptions that are possibly wrong; in fact, we don’t need to make assumptions at all.

We have a responsibility to use time well.  What do we have to lose but a poor self-image?  Using time well will give us a good experience of life.  And when we enjoy our days, we are blessing creation.

Let today be different from the past by letting go of the past and clinging to the Now, as Eckhart Tolle says in The Power of Now.

We can be happy, even in the midst of adverse circumstances such as we have now in our world—isolation, quarantine, coronavirus.  If we aren’t sure what we can do to be happy, then an Answer is only a heartfelt question away.

Embodying Joy, Effortlessness, and Love

“For every being there is a natural state that is joyful, effortless, and full of love. (The Treatises of A Course of Love: ‘A Treatise on the New,’ 3.6)”

1 – Natural State

Again, today, we see that our being can embody a natural state that is, as stated, “joyful, effortless, and full of love.” What a wondrous promise! We spend so much of our time in effortful endeavors. Is it not a glorious promise that we don’t have to spend our time this way any longer? Why did we struggle so, when the Holy Spirit and the inner Self were there to help all along. God’s help is a free offer, totally free. He wants to assist us. But we have been so stubborn. Let’s seek a better way today.

2 – Can This Be?

I think that we have trouble believing that this natural state is actually attainable, at least prior to receiving Christ-consciousness. The full gift is present only in the awakened state, of course, but before that blessing we can have peace. As we give up the ego, we can and do have peace. There is no other way. Choose to do the egoless thing. Turn aside from the egotistical. We can tell when the ego beckons to us, and we fall before our face in senseless worship of what the ego says to us. This makes no sense. The ego gives us nothing that we want. Nothing that we need.

3 – Ego

Every time that the ego beckons, stand firm. And then the day will arrive sooner rather than later for the blessing of Christ-consciousness.

4 – Study of ACIM and ACOL

How do we find this natural state? Study of A Course in Miracles and A Course of Love is a first step. A great deal is not said about prayer in either set of volumes, but much is assumed. A miracle, though not chosen consciously (because that might be misguided, which is an ACIM tenet), can bring about the desired natural state. It is true that we may not stay within this blessing, but, as time passes, we will see this real world (an ACIM tenet) more and more often. And ACIM also tells us that revelation may occasionally reveal the end (Awakening) to us.

5 – Mountain Top with Jesus

The journey to the mountain top with Jesus, in the Forty Days and Forty Nights of the ACOL Dialogues, ends with our acceptance of the elevated Self of form, the acceptance of Christ-consciousness. More and more individuals in our world are reaching this state, as other writers, such as Echhart Tolle (The Power of Now, The New Earth), have stated.

6 – For Today

May we take more tentative steps along this pathway today.

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

Please be with me today as I seek an anxiety-free, natural state that is effortless and joyful. I know with all my being that this is what You wish for me. May my little self not get in the way. May the ego remain withered away.

Whatever the day brings, I know that I am surrendered to You. That in itself is a blessing, just to know that. Thank You.

Thank you for this glorious day, a gift of another day from You. May I do nothing to rue the day. May I enjoy my moments, my minutes, and my hours. Then coming home to You before bedtime is the culmination of a day well spent.

I would spend the day well today.

Amen.

A Tranquil Mind Is Not a Little Gift

“Stop for a moment now and think of this: Is conflict what you want, or is God’s peace the better choice? Which gives you more? A tranquil mind is not a little gift. Would you not rather live than choose to die? (M51)”

1 – Would You Rather Be Right or Happy?

The question in this passage is akin to a question asks elsewhere: “Would you rather be right or happy?” The idea is similar, because we so often get caught up in our own turmoil, thereby making the turmoil worse.

2 – Drama?

Surely all of us would choose a tranquil mind, unless our ego has us so addicted to drama that we choose the negative drama over peace of mind. A negative drama is a form of dying, because real living is meant to be peaceful. Elsewhere Jesus says that we are intended to be perfectly “calm and quiet” all the time. Most of us find this hard to accept, so accustomed to conflict are we. The ego has a deep inroad in us.

3 – Tranquility

Tranquility is a better gift, though, and as we progress in our training as teachers of God, we will readily recognize this. A lack of drama in living is an attribute of those who have awakened, and one goal of the Course, for us, is an Awakening. We may not all reach this, but we can have moments of time in which we are awake. This is advice from Eckhart Tolle (author of The Power of Now and A New Earth), not from the Course per se.

4 – Joy

“Living is joy, but death can only weep. You see in death escape from what you made. But this you do not see; that you made death, and it is but illusion of an end. Death cannot be escape, because it is not life in which the problem lies. (M52)”

5 – Warning?

If read in one way, this passage is a stern warning. If we have envisioned our problems as ending when we die, perhaps—just perhaps—we are told here that if we do not resolve our problems in this life, we will still face those problems after death.

6 – Comforting

It is comforting to imagine that our aches and pains, physical and emotional, will disappear when we cross the veil into life after death. We can imagine that we won’t need to take medication any longer. We can imagine that our back won’t ache, for example. And I think that this would be true.

7 – Psychic Pain

But inner psychic pain may take its toil even beyond death. If we have not worked out our problems in this lifetime, perhaps we will face some of that working out in another realm. It behooves us to walk carefully, for I am actually commenting on something that only psychics have described. And their commentaries differ.

8 – Pray

If we diligently seek to pray away our difficulties here, facing those difficulties but also seeking an end to them, then whatever comes in the next life will be a blessing. We will be ready for that next life.

9 – God

“Life has no opposite, for it is God. . . . Forgive the world, and you will understand that everything that God created cannot have an end, and nothing He did not create is real. In this one sentence is our course explained. In this one sentence is our practicing given its one direction. And in this one sentence is the Holy Spirit’s whole curriculum specified exactly as it is. (M52)”

10 – Powerful

This excerpt, “Everything that God created cannot have an end, and nothing He did not create is real. In this one sentence is our course explained,” is a powerful statement that cries out for explanation. It is akin to the epigraph at the beginning of A Course in Miracles. We don’t have to fear the physical, for it is illusion and therefore not real. And the mind’s genesis, the inner Self, is real, for God created it. And this Self has no end. What a blessing! We don’t have to fear mortality. We don’t have to fear that life does not continue, for we do have immortality.

11 – Holy Spirit

The Holy Spirit would have us realize that nothing here that we experience is, in itself, a tragedy, for it can be easily undone if understood as the learning experience that it is. The Self approves all things that happen to this mind and body. Nothing escapes. Nothing occurs that was not agreed upon by the Higher Self, the Christ who is within us all.

12 – Turmoil

We need to remember this truth when we seem beset on all sides by turmoil. When we are in anguish. And pain. And just the minor, numerous irritations of this life. We may stay too busy in this life, because we see no way to live differently. We may feel that our jobs are asking for their pound of flesh (from Shakespeare), but on some level we have agreed for this circumstance to be our lot in life. If we don’t like what we are experiencing, sometimes it takes only prayerful contemplation to rectify the situation. We do have helpers from the Other Side. And we can ask for, and receive, help whenever we need it. Help will always, always, arrive. And we will recognize this help when we have gotten calm enough to accept it.

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

I ask for Your peace. I ask to be happy being perfectly calm and quiet all the time. May I leave drama behind as I move toward Awakening. May I have a tranquil mind.

Your peace is all that I want. When something upsets me, let me think of my real goal of peace before all else. Thank you for Your help.

Amen.

Mind Awakens from Its Sleep and Remembers Its Creator

“Nothing can prevail against a Son of God who commends his spirit into the Hands of his Father. By doing this the mind awakens from its sleep and remembers its Creator. (T39)”

Affirmation: “the mind awakens from its sleep.”

Reflections:

1 – Awakening

This statement by Jesus is a paraphrase of one of the cries made from the cross. Here we are asked to also commend our spirit into the Hands of the Father. What happens is the greatest miracle A Course in Miracles holds out to us: Awakening. “. . .[T]he mind awakens from its sleep and remembers its Creator.”

2 – Is There Anything that We Can Do to Hasten Awakening?

There may be some things that we can do to hasten Awakening. Eckhart Tolle, in The Power of Now, identifies certain “portals” that are possible. The principal one is living, as he says, in the Now, the present. And we will have glimpses of Awakening before this blessing is sustained. We will have satori, an Eastern concept, of these glimpses. Most that I have read about come when the individual is very, very present. There is a story, told by Eckhart, in which a master and his pupil go along, and the pupil asks, in effect, how one enters into greater life. The master is quiet for a while, and then says, “Do you hear that mountain stream?” The pupil had not heard it, but then he did. The master continues, “Enter through that.” And the pupil, the seeker, receives his first satori, his first glimpse of Awakening. So living in the Now is a very, very powerful way to see what Awakening on a sustained basis might actually become.

3 – Glorious Promise

Awakening is such a glorious promise! Here, in the passage for today, is the way is pointed out to us in a very few words: Commend our spirit to God and all will be well. We will be at home with God, even while in this world. We will inhabit the real world, where projections are cleansed, and thus perceptions are seen afresh. We may know pain still, but we will not know suffering. And to know pain without suffering is a glorious promise as well. It has been said that Jesus did not suffer on the cross. Maybe this is wishful thinking on the part of his followers, who love him. But maybe there is something grander at heart in this assertion. He was at one with the Father, and so he knew that his pain was not personally intended. The fear that God is bringing pain upon us is often the reason that pain turns into suffering. And this is indeed anguished suffering, for which of us would wish to believe that God is cruel? Jesus says elsewhere in ACIM that none of us have escaped this thought in this world, that God is cruel. Yet if we turn to our heart, as A Course of Love, encourages us to do, we will know that there is nothing at all cruel in God. We ourselves are responsible for the sorry state that our world is in, and we have brought this upon ourselves by the wayward practicing of our own free well–a blessing that could and should be our greatest blessing.

4 – Surrender

“Nothing can prevail against. . .” is a powerful introduction to this idea. “Nothing!” What a boon this really is. And what a beautiful promise from God. We do not have to fret that the world of special relationships, not yet holy, will impede our progress. True, we want our special relationships to transform into the holy, but until they do, we are protected, because we have accepted God’s protection (from ACIM). “Nothing” can prevail against us once we have made the decision to surrender completely to God and to His guidance through the Holy Spirit, or if we are following A Course of Love, His guidance through the inner Christ Self.

Prayer:

Dear Father,

May I know what it is to commend my spirit into Your hands. By so doing may I awaken from my sleep in this world.

All will be well with me when I do commend my spirit into Your hands. Thank you for this great promise.

May all of my special relationships turn to the holy, for my brothers and sisters are my way home, according to A Course in Miracles. These relationships are the special means that we find our way back to You. I would return to You, yet remain a part of this world, today. Allow me to do so, for my inner guidance is that this is Your will, and my own as well.

Amen.

Wholly Satisfying Nature of Reality

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“Fantasies become totally unnecessary as the wholly satisfying nature of reality becomes apparent to both giver and receiver. (T15)”

Affirmation: “the wholly satisfying nature of reality”

Reflections:

1 – Eckhart Tolle

Eckhart Tolle (The Power of Now) says a good bit about his own Awakening and his joy in the immediate experience of the reality he knows now. His reality is now wholly satisfying, and, as he once said, no thought has made him unhappy since the shift into Awakening.

2 – At What Point Is Reality Satisfying?

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

3 – Life as Easy and Joyous

We learn through A Course in Miracles that we will leave fantasies behind when we see how satisfying reality really can be. Of course, this is not the reality that most of us find ourselves a part of now. But, as we walk the pathway pointed out by the Course, we will find that life becomes increasingly easy and joyous.

4 – No Need for Escape Thoughts

With life now easy and joyous, we will feel no need to escape into fantasies. We will thank God for the new ease that we have found, now that we follow His dictates instead of trying, in vain, to depend solely upon ourselves.

Prayer:

Dear Father,

Fantasies are seductive, but ultimately unsatisfying. As we follow A Course in Miracles, we see the world turn into a wholly satisfying place. We have no need for fantasies then.

May we turn to the Holy Spirit for guidance as we seek to enter the real world, the one where fantasies are not needed.

Amen.

No Need to Learn through Pain

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“The thought system of the truth sees no value in suffering and so sees it not in truth. The thought system of the truth is a thought system that is not split by varying goals and desires. It is a thought system of unity. It is a thought system of one thought, one goal. That goal is the original thought that began the experience in physical form, the thought of expressing the Self in observable form. (Treatises of A Course of Love: Treatise on the Personal Self, 19.9)”

Affirmation: “I would follow the thought system of the truth today.”

Reflections:

1 – When Captured

How do we escape from suffering when captured by it? Is there a way out? If we don’t get out of suffering, are we thinking wrongly? What about people who grow in faith through their suffering? What do we say to saintly people who fall victim to illness or misfortune?

2 – Illness

The questions above all come to mind swiftly as I read, “The thought system of the truth sees no value in suffering.” And truth sees not suffering at all. What can we make of these assertions? Are they just for the very advanced? What if the very advanced soul gets cancer, or heart disease, or diabetes? What do we say to them?

3 – An Ideal

I think that here, in this passage for today, we are dealing with an ideal, and this world does not always support ideals. Even the most advanced teacher of God makes mistakes here, and would all others be bereft of help if that teacher of God falls down? No, Jesus assures us in A Course in Miracles. All of us here fall victim to temptation, but there is a way out.

4 – No Need to Learn through Pain

What is that way out? We can recognize, however dimly, that we don’t have to learn through pain (from the Text of A Course in Miracles). And, as Eckhart Tolle has said so eloquently, we don’t have to turn pain into suffering. We have that much available to us. Even here we will not always succeed, but the way is clear, once we are calm enough to call on God’s help and turn to Him for the way out that we need. He is always there.

5 – Choose Once Again

So we can choose again. We can choose once again (also from ACIM). The disease may not abate, but we are no longer trapped by it, even if it is a sickness unto death. After all, death comes to all, and normally there is a physical cause, either identified or not. We can cry out to God, in our infirmity, and he will lessen the burden of this physical life. He will see to it that our truth does not see pain, or suffering, or death, for He always chooses for life—which equates to health, abundance, peace, and happiness.

6 – Change in Circumstances

This is not pie-in-the-sky thinking. The mind and heart, working in conjunction with each other, are very powerful, and a change of mind moves to a change in circumstances. We don’t have to wallow in our misery. We can, through a change of mind, effect an acceptance that sees the truth that God does not bring suffering upon us. However bad the situation, always is this true. We have chosen the events through which we live. And though those events can get very bad, they are not the master of our lives. We can affirm for the truth in the creation of the life that we live, and we can recognize that if bad things have come upon us, we had a hand in creating those bad things. We may never know the “why,” but our heart knows. And our heart and the Christ Self within can offer, in alignment with God, the answer to our most fervent prayer for release. We may not know an end to this “thorn in the flesh” (from St. Paul in the New Testament), but we will live peacefully in this world until our time comes to leave it.

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

I would accept suffering, first of all, if it comes to me. I recognize this acceptance as the first step to overcoming suffering. If the ego is dislodged from my mind, then this step becomes easier.

Thank You for the insight that suffering need only to be accepted, and then it is oft likely to dissipate. Let me never blame another if this dynamic fails to happen in his/her life. But let me help the other to a newer life, free of those impediments to happiness and peace.

May this day go well, as I give myself up to flow and ease in that flow. If I follow my intuition, then the day will turn out well, regardless of what pain it may hold. I ask for no pain, of course, but I accept the pain if it comes. Then and only then can I transcend the pain, and especially transcend the suffering into which the pain may turn.

Amen.

An End to Suffering?

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“Could suffering really gone on for countless ages simply due to your inability to birth the idea of an end to suffering?

“Has not a part of you always known that suffering does not have to be even while you have accepted that it is? Let us now put an end to this acceptance through the birth of a new idea. (Treatises of A Course of Love: Treatise on the Personal Self, 8.12 – 8.13)”

Affirmation: “I may have pain, but I will not suffer today.”

Reflections:

1 – Eckhart Tolle

The passage for today develops an idea that Eckhart Tolle has propounded at length (The Power of Now; A New Earth). Eckhart is a modern-day spiritual teacher who is not affiliated with a particular religious tradition, but has quoted from A Course in Miracles, and is noted especially for the radical transformation he underwent around age 30, a number of years ago.

2 – Pain-Body

Eckhart notes that the “pain-body” emerges from time to time (different for each person), and that when this pain is sought, we all too often turn that pain into suffering. He says that this does not have to be the case. In physical bodies, we will experience pain, but we do not have to turn this pain into suffering.

3 – Jesus

Jesus and Eckhart agree in this regard. A Course of Love, in this passage, indicates that suffering might have been discontinued in our world if we had only realized that this was a possibility.

4 – A New Day

And we are now ready for a new idea: The end of suffering as we have known it. We will still have pain from time to time, but we do not have to activate the pain-body (given divine help), and we do not have to turn pain into suffering.

5 – Divine Help

What a blessing these ideas are! The ideas seem too good to be true, yet if Jesus has said it, then I personally find the ideas to be true. We need help, obviously, and divine help will be on the way.

6 – What Can We Do?

Practically, what can we do to eliminate the suffering? We can pause a moment and ask for help when we realize that a situation is getting out of hand, especially if someone, someone close to us, is baiting us. We can say a prayer. And we will be answered, for we are asking in God’s will. He would not have us suffer, and he would not have us activate Eckhart’s clarification of the pain-body. We do not have to invite pain.

7 – New Idea

A new idea is dawning on our world. We are living in the time of Christ now, and the blessings that will be ours are manifold. Let us set aside our doubts, and realize that we can live in a world that is better than has been previously. But for the better to emerge, we need to commune with God. And, in line with A Course of Love, we need to hold Jesus’s hand as we walk through this world.

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

I would hold Jesus’s hand today as I walk through my world communing with You. I am happier when I commune with You. This ought to tell me something. You want us happy, and our struggles are to be overcome so that we can experience happiness. I would not suffer today. I would rise above any pain.

Help me to keep a rational head. I know that confusion can be generated by too much analysis, because I have long be guilty of too much analysis—and analysis is of the ego nearly always. The ego approves of our analysis of it, for this reaffirms the ego’s importance. I would see the insignificance of the ego today.

And I would walk through my world in peace.

Amen.

Negate the Choice to Suffer

pennsylvania impressionists“What happens when you believe the choice to suffer, as well as the choice to leave suffering behind, has always been found within? Who then are you to be angry with for all that has occurred? Do you blame yourself and your ancestors for the history, both ancient and recent, that you think you would have given anything to change?. . .And do you not thus attempt to see it [suffering] not and then blame yourself for looking the other way? (Treatises of A Course of Love: Treatise on the Personal Self, 8.6)”

Affirmation: “I would leave suffering behind today.”

Reflections:

1 – Eckhart Tolle

We do not have to suffer. Such a current spiritual advisor as Eckhart Tolle (The Power of Now and A New Earth) says the same as Jesus, and he was influenced by A Course in Miracles. Certainly as long we embody the physical, we will know pain, but we do not have to turn that pain into suffering, for suffering is mental. Do you believe that? Note that emotional pain is always suffering, but physical pain is just that—pain. And we would feel pain when we must, but suffering, never.

2 – Blame

We do not need to blame our parents and our upbringing for the lacks in our lives. And we do not need to blame ancestors from farther back in regard to our genetic disposition. We have chosen this life, and we have chosen its lacks. Now Jesus would have these lacks removed, very easily and with virtually no effort on our part.

3 – Choose Once Again

The reason that we suffer is found within, not in any ancestral reason. And we can just as easily choose again. Indeed, we must choose once again (from A Course in Miracles).

4 – Mental Turmoil

Know that a quiet contemplation of suffering will ease the suffering, as well, very often, as the pain. Know that mental turmoil is aggravated by our own choices. Know that there is a way out.

5 – Commune Inwardly

And find that way today in communion with that which is within, the Christ Self informed by God Himself.

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

I would begin the day again if I think that I suffer over anything. I do not have to suffer, though in this physical world I will, from time to time, experience pain. I do not have to turn pain into suffering. And I vow not to do so today.

May I commune with You when the way seems hard. And thank You for giving me a smooth pathway most recently. May I not chaff under restrictions if that pathway turns harsh again. I have the secret—praying to You. Your smile lights my life and calms my turbulent emotions. And then, with no overwrought emotions, I don’t exacerbate the pain, turning it into suffering.

Help me to walk Your pathway, my prayer always.

Amen.

Growth and Change

China_Edouard_Manet_oil_paintings_world_famous_oil_paintings2011151746002 - roses“As a tree exists fully accomplished within the seed and yet grows and changes, you exist fully accomplished within the seed that is the Christ in you even while you continue to grow and change. Physical form and action of all kinds are but expressions of what already exist within the seed of the already accomplished. (Treatises of A Course of Love: Treatise on the Nature of Unity and Its Recognition, 6.8)”

Affirmation: “I will focus on the seed that is I today.”

Reflections:

1 – Still Grow and Change

This passage for today explains how we can be The Accomplished, and still need to grow and change. This explanation has not been apparent earlier in the Treatise. We are like seeds, embryos, who are growing and changing with every expression of Self. Like the tree, which is fully formed in the seed, we are fully formed also. But our expression of that form is not yet complete.

2 – Elevated Self of Form

But the expression of that form will become complete, when ultimately we become the elevated Self of form, the Christ Self who currently is hidden deep within ourselves. We do not have to struggle to make this transition. It will come naturally, in the course of things. And we will never be the same again.

3 – Transformation

In the meantime, the transformation may come in spurts; we may experience the Christ Self in glimpses only, maybe for quite a long while. And these glimpses will not last, although some lucky people do undergo a sudden Awakening (as did Eckhart Tolle, who details his experience in The Power of Now).

4 – Help the Seed Grow?

Do we need to help the seed grow? Somewhat, but not entirely. Anything resembling struggle will be of the ego, and we want to turn aside from the ego. We can contemplate, meditate, pray, read, and in the doing of it we will learn by observation where we are headed. But intense study is not required, and indeed would be counterproductive.

5 – Easy Does It

Go easy with yourself, and all will be well, in time, in God’s time.

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

I need to understand fully what You are asking of me. I need to know that You don’t want me to struggle to transform. But that you do want me to transform.

This change is elusive to me, and I wonder if there is anything else I need to do to comprehend more. Your way is being spelled out, but I still don’t always feel that I am The Accomplished, as said in this treatise. I see weaknesses.

Be with me to transform those weaknesses into strengths.

Amen

Choice to End Suffering

4_Boating_Realism_Impressionism_Edouard_Manet“While I can tell you suffering is illusion, you cannot still your fear of it nor tear your eyes away from it or remove from it the feelings of your heart.  While I came to reveal the choice of Love to you, the choice that you each must make to end such suffering, the illusion of suffering has continued and in its continuation made the choice of Love seem all but impossible.  (Treatises of A Course of Love:  Treatise on the Art of Thought, 5.3)”

Affirmation:  “I would end any personal suffering today.”

Reflections:

1 – Maya

It is not enough to say that we live in a world of maya, illusion, or dreams.  As long as we suffer, we will find it impossible to be satisfied that we do not blame God because all except the real world is illusion.  This attitude, expressed by Jesus in this passage, is electrifying and very practical.  He knows our limitations.  And he knows that we will continue to see God as less than loving when we have not yet given up suffering.

2 – Eckhart Tolle

Pain does not have to turn into suffering!  That is the secret.  Eckhart Tolle says much about this in The Power of Now and A New Earth.  His understanding of the “pain body” is described in great detail in both books, but especially in A New Earth.

3 – Pain into Suffering

How do we accomplish feeling pain that does not lead to suffering?  Ah, that is the rub.  And the truth may be that we cannot overcome the tendency to turn pain into suffering without divine help.  But we do need to end suffering in order to experience all the blessings that the elevated Self of form has been promised (from the Dialogues of A Course of Love).  We do need to pray for help, to commune with God, when challenged by pain.  He will find a way to get through to us when we are at our lowest point.  Indeed, individuals often turn to God at their lowest when they do not do so at any other time.  When human resources are exhausted, we relinquish our own attempts to solve our problems, and we turn them over for divine solutions.

4 – Prayer of Relinquishment

Catherine Marshall, an inspirational writer of the last century, said much about the “prayer of relinquishment.”  We would do well to pray that prayer often.  We do not give up, but we do surrender the problem to a higher solution, that of God’s solution.  We wait to be told what to do to make things better, and we do not have to wait long, because A Course in Miracles promises that the solution is with the problem.

5 – Jesus

Let us turn today to consideration of how to end suffering in our lives.  This may seem a pipe dream, but I trust that if Jesus channeled A Course of Love (and I think he did), and he says that giving up suffering, seeing an end to suffering, is possible for us, I believe that it is.  Let us seek within for the guidance that will tell us what and how to proceed.  Everyone’s answer will be different, but the end is sure, and the end is the same for all of us.

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

I would release suffering today.  Any little aspect of suffering needs to be gone.  And with Your help it will be.  Pain does not have to turn to suffering.  There are remedies.  May my brothers and sisters know freedom from suffering today.

Guide me to any and all remedies that I need to feel totally well in all respects.  I sense that You will do this today for me.  Thank You for that intuition.

Help others whom I encounter in any way.  We need to be there for each other in this sometimes difficult world.  Help us to have good days in Your care.

Amen.

Disengage the Ego-Mind

images -garden visit“The closing pages of A Course of Love instructed you to think no more.  A break in time was needed for you to disengage the ego-mind that produced the type of thinking that needs to come to an end.  This ending is but a beginning in truth and has led you to readiness to learn the art of thought.  (The Treatises of A Course of Love:  Treatise on the Art of Thought, 2.1)”

Affirmation:  “May I remember that thinking is not always required.”  

Reflections:

1 – Eckhart Tolle

Eckhart Tolle (The Power of Now; A New Earth), an enlightened current-day teacher, tells us that his own thinking processes are much reduced in number.  We ourselves usually have such busy minds, busy minds that match our busy bodies.  But we would not have it so.

2 – Break in Reading ACOL

A break is recommended between reading A Course of Love, the original volume, and the remaining two volumes in the trilogy.  The Treatises are the second volume, and to be read next, after the break.  Here we learn the reason for the break.  We needed to teach the ego that it was not in charge any longer.  And the ego has been bent on its kind of learning.  We are now to learn to think a new way, because that is what this treatise is about.

3 – Observation

We are beginning something very new.  The art of thought is basically observation without engaging the thinking mind and its egotistical bent.  We have in truth left the ego behind by now, but we may not fully comprehend what this means.  The Treatise on the Art of Thought will tell us.

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

May I truly leave the ego behind in the days and weeks ahead, as I study the art of thought as described by Jesus.  I would not be buffeted about by fate, succumbing to times of depression brought on by an egoic thrust toward ecstasy.  The ego always knows highs and lows, and I would have my right mind seek drama no more.  Drama is not necessary, and the sooner that all of me recognizes this, the better off I will be.

Be with my brothers and sisters today.  May I respond in a compassionate way to real need, though I would not take on obligations that do not belong to me.  May I love with my whole heart, but in no way seek love from another who is unwilling to offer it.  May the blessings of this earth be bestowed on others whom I know, and may these blessings also come to me. 

Amen.

Akin to Eckhart Tolle

claude-monet-poplars-on-the-epte-81679“In the sense of time described by the word present, there is no infinitude, but only a vague concept of now.  This is the key concept that I not only knew but demonstrated.  This is the legacy, the inheritance, I left to you.  (A Course of Love, 30.8)”

Affirmation:  “I would live in the Now today.”

Reflections:

1 – The Now

This passage from Jesus is well-described by Eckhart Tolle in his book, The Power of Now.  But our minds are like runaway puppies, eager to explore past and future, seemingly impossible to pin down to the present.  Yet the Now is Jesus’s legacy to us.  He lived in the Now, and he wants us also to do so.  It will not come to us by trying, but only by the grace of God.  And we will not lose anything thereby.  We can and should ask now for the experience of living in the present, the present that is eternity.  All moments that we experience are always Now.

2 – A Richness of Life

Why do many spiritual leaders stress living in the Now, if it is so difficult to do?  They do not choose to encourage us in such a practice because it is difficult, but because it works in our lives.  Living in the now allows a richness of life that nothing else can satisfy.

3 – People’s Choices

Many people choose daring adventures that force themselves in the Now.  They report that at such times of such peak experiences, they, for once, felt really alive.  And that is what living in the present will do for us.  It will make us feel truly alive, truly grateful for the opportunity of a life spent on earth.

4 – Just Stop

How do we slow down and stop enough to experience the Now?  The only way to stop is to stop.  Give a few moments to prayer, contemplation, meditation, and the like.  Let the mind become still.  Do not fret.  If we are especially fortunate, then the experience that we have at such moments of stillness will give us a hunger for more times like this.  We will be hooked on the Now.

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

I would recognize eternity.  This is the idea that Jesus is truly getting across.  I would understand eternity by living in the Now.  And all will be well.

I can practice living in the Now by being mindful as I go about routine tasks during the day.  Help me to follow Your way as I go through this day.

Thank You for the revelations that You have given to Eckhart.  

Amen.

The Now for Christ-Consciousness

“This Course is but a trigger.  These words the prelude to the explosion.  It is as if you have been Wheat Field with the Alpilles Foothills in the Background - van goghwaiting for someone to whisper:  Now!  The whisper has come.  The time is now.  (A Course of Love, 26.25)”

Affirmation:  “The time is now.”

Reflections:

1 – “Explosion”

The words of this passage refer to the “explosion” that will occur, from a whisper, when we are ready for Christ-consciousness.  We need, some of us, simply to accept that the time is now.  The time has arrived.  We do not have to do or say anything further.

2 – Awakening

Not all of us are ready for this blessing.  But we can rest in assurance that when we are ready, God Himself will act to (metaphorically) reach down and lift us up.

3 – Always Seeking

Always we have thought that there was something else that we had to read, something else that we had to do, some other pathway that we had to explore.  It appears to me that one of the reasons that Jesus wrote this sequel is that students of A Course in Miracles could not seem to cease their seeking.  Here in A Course of Love Jesus gives us the signal to cease our seeking.  We know enough.  We are ready.  Even, we are told, we do not have to be perfect (a belief that many of us have, at least subconsciously).  Just rest and receive from God.  Again, I emphasize that Jesus says that “now” is the time.

4 – Ready for the Awakening

Does not this passage for today seem too good to be true?  We have waited long to read such a passage, such an assurance that we really are ready to receive Awakening or Christ-consciousness.  At first we will see in glimpses, but these glimpses will lengthen, and when they do, we will almost imperceptibly be living in Christ-consciousness all the time.  It is true that some, such as Eckhart Tolle (The Power of Now; A New Earth) have sudden experiences of union.  But it would appear from my reading of A Course of Love that such individuals are in the minority.  Most are given, as A Course in Miracles points out, a slowly evolving pathway.  If the light were suddenly turned on for those of us still asleep, we would be very, very frightened.  ACIM makes this clear.  Our happy dreams from the Holy Spirit have prepared us, though, and now we are ready to move into the great blessing of Awakening, or Christ-consciousness, without fear.

5 – Wait Long?

Will we have to wait long?  Not if we take Jesus at his word.  But neither do we want to claim this great blessing before we sense its true arrival.  We do not want to be false prophets, here as we reach the culmination of a long road to the epitome of salvataion.

6 – Christ-consciousness

Pray for Christ-consciousness, and assume that if Jesus has said that we are ready, it is only a matter of time before we will find that his word is indeed true.

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

May I rest in Jesus’s assurance that the time is now for Christ-consciousness.  But I know that the “now” in eternity is not the “now” of this world.  And so I will be patient.  But I will need seek fruitlessly.  Constant seeking is a deterrent.  And I would not defer Christ-consciousness.

Help us to follow in Your way, knowing that You make the decision of the rightness of Awakening.  I would have it no other way, though I admit to being impatient.  Take this impatience from me, and give me peace and comfort in Your grace.

Be with all my brothers and sisters.  We need each other, perhaps as we have never needed each other before.  Help us to say and do and think what You would wish.

And may Christ-consciousness be not long delayed.  Thank You.

Amen.

Happiness So Fulfilling

“Each of you is aware of a threshold you would cross that leaves no route open for return.  That threshold is often a happiness so fulfilling that once you have experienced it you say, ‘I will take this despair no more.’  For others this threshold is the opposite, an experience of pain so great that they would rather die than continue on in such a way.  (A Course of Love, 10.21)”

Van-Gogh-sunflowersAffirmation:  “May I choose despair no more.”

Reflections:

1 – Dark Night of the Soul

When we reach the threshold that today’s passage proclaims, we are on our way to better times–that, or we choose to die (but normally not by suicide).  We have often heard that it is darkest just before the dawn, and it helps me to realize this when I feel a dis-ease or discomfort, or agitation (any negative emotion, in fact).  The turning point that is called the “threshold” is, though, an example of living in the midst of the dark night of the soul (a characterization by St. John of the Cross).  Most of us choose to put one foot in front of the other, and to go forward.  Very few choose to end their lives before the span of their years has run out.  (I speak now of choice in regard to physical ailments rather than the taking of one’s own life, for the physical ailments, even unto death, are a choice.)

2 – Accept Despair No Longer

Choosing to accept despair no longer is a choice for life, and a choice for a healthier life, both emotionally and physically.  It is also a better life spiritually, though we do not often think in those terms.  Sometimes the despair drives us to our knees, and we have an experience of God that has not come heretofore in our experience.  This is the blessing of dark nights of the soul.

3 – We Do Not Have to Learn through Pain

But we do not have to learn through pain (from A Course in Miracles).  It is said in ACIM that learning through pain is temporary, and that learning through rewards is lasting.  Here in the threshold, though, I think we are dealing with something qualitatively different.  We have reached the limit that we can withstand  in regard to pain.  And we choose pain no more.

4 – Eckhart Tolle

The experience described in the above paragraph hints at the experience that Eckhart Tolle so clearly has described as leading to his Enlightenment (i.e., The Power of Now and A New Earth).  The way of A Course in Miracles and A Course of Love is not so extreme, but this very low point can and does come to students/teachers of these two works.  We cannot predict the future; we can only ask that God be gentle with us.  And then we need to cooperate in that gentleness.  He cannot reach us until we open the door from the inside.

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

I would choose a happiness so fulfilling today that there is no turning back to despair.  I would reach the threshold that is You.  You are my goal as well as my Blessing.  Be with me as I walk along the path that You point out today.

May we live through dark nights of the soul, but may we not linger there.  They are teaching devices, but we are reaching the point that we come to know by observation, not learning, as A Course of Love tells us.  Be with me today as I seek to “learn” in the old way no more.

I cannot change overnight.  I need You to make the transition to a better life.  Help me to thank You for the blessings that You give so abundantly.  And may I never forget to thank my brothers and sisters who are also there for me.

Amen.

Joining = End of Illusion = Beginning of the Real

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

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

Reflections:

1 – Fool’s Gold

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

2 – Material Blessings

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

3 – Perfectly Calm and Quiet

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

4 – Intangibles of God

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

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

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

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

Amen.

Do Not Turn Pain into Suffering

“How can you who are so holy suffer?  All your past except its beauty is gone, and nothing is left but a blessing.  I have saved all your kindnesses and every loving thought you ever had.  (T83)”

Affirmation:  “I have saved all your kindnesses and love.”

Reflections:

1 – Suffer?

This is a hard passage to understand.  It is true that Awakened individuals acknowledge feeling pain, but not suffering.  Eckhart Tolle is one of these individuals.  But most of us have not yet known Awakening on a sustained basis, and what are we to do when bad things happen?

2 – Think Kindness

I think that the Answer is the one we so often find in the Course.  The Answer is turning to guidance from the Holy Spirit.  Jesus himself says in this passage that he has saved our kindnesses and loving thoughts.  We can, without self-satisfaction, realize that, almost despite ourselves, we have had moments of kindnesses and loving thoughts.  If these were ever a comfort to our brother, they can also be a comfort to us in our times of pain.  This recollection will help to ensure that suffering, even in the midst of  pain, will not arise.

3 – Pain but No Suffering

We can find in the pain a blessing.  The passage seems to say this.   The passage also notes that we ourselves are holy, a concept that we find difficult to accept, because we usually feel so unworthy.  May we take Jesus at his word, and believe that we do not have to suffer in this world.  As we study the Course, perhaps we will come to see this concept more clearly and to feel pain, when it comes, but no suffering.

4 – Difficulty in Avoiding Suffering

We need to realize that we transform pain into suffering by our own thought processes.  Certainly in physical pain, it is hard not to get the mind involved.  We feel so bad physically that our bodies temporarily seem to take over our minds.  Whatever we do, in this world there probably will never be one correct action to take–other than asking for the Holy Spirit to give us the guidance that we need to remedy the situation.  He will answer, though if we are agitated, we may not “hear” what He has to say.  Seek calm and quiet, not agitation, and see how much more readily the physical pain ceases to be an affliction that can only be called “suffering.”

Prayer:

Dear Father,

May I know in my innermost being that I do not need to suffer.  In the Course, Jesus says that we do not have to learn through pain.  May I feel the truth of this reassurance.

It is good that my loving thoughts have been saved.  This seems to mean that my unloving thoughts will fall away.  Thank you.

Amen.

Depression / Sadness

“When you are sad, know this need not be.   Depression comes from a sense of being deprived of something you want and do not have.  Remember that you are deprived of nothing except by your own decisions, and then decide otherwise.  (T63)”

Affirmation:  “I am deprived of nothing except by my own decisions”

Reflections:

1 – Change What Hurts

This passage is part of a group in which Jesus negates negative emotions.  He makes clear at this point that we make our own decisions, and we can change conditions that hurt.  In particular, in this passage he indicates that sadness can be overcome, even when it is depression.

2 – Pills

Elsewhere Jesus notes that pills are a form of magic, but that they may be necessary if we are already fearful.  They are an intermediate step that will assist us, still caught in illusions, to overcome what is wrong simply because we believe that it will work for us.  Certainly medication for depression would seem to fall in this category.

3 – Change the Circumstances

Pills are not magic potions, though some people may disagree.  We need to change the life circumstances that are causing our discomfort, but this does not necessarily mean an outward change.  It may be enough to change our inner reflections, turning to prayer and meditation, contemplation and reflection.  God will always be there for us when we seek Him.  The Holy Spirit guides us inwardly, and He will prompt us to make change in our outer circumstances if these seem warranted.  I have found, though, that most change is best made internally, by a readjustment in thinking and feeling.  And it is the thought that leads to the feeling (an interpretation, not stated in ACIM).

4 – An Explanation of Why Depression Happens

Note the explanation of why depression happens:  a sense of being deprived of something you want and do not have.   The vast majority of us can relate to this, sometimes on a daily basis–and certainly over our lifetime.  It is a great relief to know that we have actually chosen these instances of deprivation.  We are trying to learn something.  The fact that we are learning through pain is not good, because elsewhere Jesus says that it is not necessary to learn through pain.  Eckhart Tolle (The Power of Now) indicates much that supports A Course in Miracles, but his pathway toward Awakening was in fact through tremendous anxiety and depression.  A later book by Tolle, A New Earth, makes this point even clearer by his explanation of the “pain body.”  Jesus, though, would not have us take this route if we can follow him to the uttermost that he promises.

Prayer:

Dear Father,

May I leave sadness behind, by my own decision.  May I choose the gladness that can come, also by my own decision.

If I need to use pills to combat depression, may I do so knowing that they are an aid, but not a cure.  The real cure comes through changing our minds about what we want.  And what we want is joy.

Amen.

Finding a Wholly Satisfying Reality

“Fantasies become totally unnecessary as the wholly satisfying nature of reality becomes apparent to both giver and receiver.  (T15)”

Affirmation:  “the wholly satisfying nature of reality”

 

Reflections:

1 – Eckhart Tolle

Eckhart Tolle (The Power of Now) says a good bit about his own Awakening and his joy in the immediate experience of the reality he knows now.  His reality is now wholly satisfying, and, as he once said, no thought has made him unhappy since the shift into Awakening.

2 – Personal Experience

In my own glimpses of Awakening (which have not been sustained), I too know that the reality in which I find myself is totally satisfying.  Like Eckhart, I enjoy sitting in public places, such as a restaurant or a library, and just observing my surroundings.  I feel totally at peace with my world at such times.  And the joy is not an overwrought joy, but a peaceful one, though occasionally a thrill of ecstasy can arise.  These are the mystic moments that are not cause for praise, for then the ego will quickly move in, and we will be caught in pride that such spiritual blessings have been granted us.  Instead, in such joyful, mystic moments, we are best to feel glad for the experience, but realize that we have not done anything grand that has caused the experience to visit.  All of this is borne of the grace of God.

3 – Leave Fantasies Behind

We learn through A Course in Miracles that we will leave fantasies behind when we see how satisfying reality really can be.  Of course, this is not the reality that most of us find ourselves a part of now.  But, as we walk the pathway pointed out by the Course, we will find that life becomes increasingly easy and joyous.

4 – An Easy and Joyous Life

With life now easy and joyous, we will feel no need to escape into fantasies.  We will thank God for the new ease that we have found, now that we follow His dictates instead of trying, in vain, to depend solely upon ourselves.

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

Fantasies are seductive, but ultimately unsatisfying.  As we follow A Course in Miracles,  we see the world turn into a wholly satisfying place.  We have no need for fantasies then.

May we turn to the Holy Spirit for guidance as we seek to enter the real world, the one where fantasies are not needed.

Amen.

God Himself Shall Wipe Away All Tears

ACIM Workbook Lesson 301 – for Friday, October 28, 2011

Affirmation:  “And God Himself shall wipe away all tears.”

“Father, unless I judge I cannot weep.  Nor can I suffer pain, or feel I am abandoned or unneeded in the world.  This is my home because I judge it not, and therefore is it only what You will.  Let me today behold it uncondemned, through happy eyes forgiveness has released from all distortion.  Let me see Your world instead of mine.  And all the tears I shed will be forgotten, for their source is gone.  Father, I will not judge Your world.  (WB450)”

Reflections:

1 – Judging = Lose Our Way

Judging is one sure way to lose our way.  We can see the happy dreams of the Holy Spirit for years, even, and then drop into judging, and feel lost again.  We are not lost, actually; we never are.  But we will feel lost, and we will not feel the “felt presence of Being” (from Eckhart Tolle, The Power of Now).

2 – No Weeping, Pain, Feeling Abandoned or Unneeded

This is a reassuring passage if we see that we cannot weep, suffer pain, feel abandoned or unneeded–unless we judge.  This statement seems almost too good to be true.

3 – Vow to Judge Nothing that Occurs

But try it out.  For one day, vow to judge nothing that occurs.  If we start to judge, we must say firmly (even shout) inwardly, “Stop!”  And watch to see if the day does not unfold better than any previous one in which judgment has gotten a toehold.

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

I would not judge today.  I know that I tend to judge when I am stressed–as I tend to get angry or to attack when in that same frame of mind.  All of this foolishness, and it is foolishness, is the extent–on any given day–that I have forgotten You, that I have let the ego rule again in my little world.  I would choose anew today, on this day that you warn me against judging.  The solution is always to allow my Guide, the Holy Spirit, to judge the right pathway for me to take.  His is also the means by which other people ought only to be judged.  It is never for me to do.  Help me to remember this truth wherever I walk today.

I would leave aside pain in all its forms.  I especially would leave aside anxiety, which is a particularly potent form of pain for me.  I would turn to You for the equanimity that allows a free and easy walk through this world.  

Help me to stay close to You all day long.  Thank You.

Amen.

Walking in the Real World with My Brother

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

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

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

Reflections:

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

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

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

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

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

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

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

Amen.

Fear Is Deception

ACIM Workbook Lesson 240 – for Sunday, August 28, 2011

Affirmation:  “Fear is not justified in any form.”

“Fear is deception.  It attests that you have seen yourself as you could never be, and therefore look upon a world which is impossible.  Not one thing in this world is true.  It does not matter what the form in which it may appear.  It witnesses but to your own illusions of yourself.  Let us not be deceived today.  We are the Sons of God.  There is no fear in us, for we are each a part of Love Itself.

“How foolish are our fears!  Would You allow Your Son to suffer?  Give us faith today to recognize Your Son, and set him free.  Let us forgive him in Your Name, that we may understand his holiness, and feel the love for him which is Your Own as well.  (WB412)”

Reflections:

So many of us are caught in fear.  It is the normal condition of mankind prior to seeing the light of salvation.  And fear may return even after experiences of being “saved,” though perhaps not of being Awakened.  Eckhart Tolle (The Power of Now and A New Earth) declares that no thought has brought him pain since his Awakening (from a compact disk entitled, “Even the Sun Will Die”).

If this be true, perhaps all of us would wish for Awakening in great haste.  But the time of Awakening, ACIM says, is God’s Own choice.  Metaphorically, He will reach down and lift us up when we are ready.  We are prepare for this revelation by understanding the means of getting to this culmination (a Text tenet).  The means are carefully explained by Jesus in A Course in Miracles.  In the meantime, we may have instances of revelation that do not last.  But perhaps they are meant to point the way to what awaits us at the end of our journey (the “journey without distance”–a quotation from the Text).

We are Sons of God, so-called not because Jesus or God is sexist, but because the language of the sixties, when ACIM was channeled, included the feminine within the masculine.  Now we can readily say “Sons and Daughters” of God, and this will be more accepted by our culture.  When “Son” is capitalized, it means the Self that belongs to God in innocence.  It is not the little self that has been consumed by the ego.  We would leave the ego behind as we open to the God within.

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

I would experience no fear today.  May I realize that the stress of daily living is actually a form of fear that what we find facing ourselves, or what we have just been through, is fearful in its essence.  We are afraid of being hurt by some circumstance, but it is usually a circumstance that we cannot control in its entirety.  May I turn over the day to the Holy Spirit, and may my daily stress be lessened by the guidance that He gives me.

Be with me today as I pray for a relinquishment of the fear that I once knew.  I am thankful that stress in my life is currently reduced, and I pray that this circumstance will continue.  May I do nothing to increase the stress that I must face.  And since I know that projection makes perception, I have it in my power to see that the circumstances that I face do not make me fearful.  I have this power, but I do not always use it, because I am fallible.  Guide me, therefore, as I walk the pathways of this earth.

Amen.

The “Felt Presence” of God

ACIM Workbook Lesson 232 – for Saturday, August 20, 2011

Affirmation:  “Be in my mind, my Father, through the day.”

“Be in my mind, my Father, when I wake, and shine on me throughout the day today.  Let every minute be a time in which I dwell with You, and let me not forget my hourly thanksgiving that You have remained with me, and always will be there to hear my call to You and answer me.  As evening comes, let all my thoughts be still of You and of Your Love.  And let me sleep sure of my safety, certain of Your care, and happily aware I am Your Son.  (WB408)”

Reflections:

1 – Joy in Spending a Day with God

This is an especially lovely description of the joy that awaits us when we spend a day with God.

2 – Eckhart Tolle

The “felt presence of Being,” described by Eckhart Tolle, seems especially relevant here.  Eckhart is a current spiritual teacher not associated with one particular tradition, but her quotes of A Course in Miracles upon occasion in his books (The Power of Now and A New Earth are primary).  He experienced Enlightenment spontaneously around the age of 30, and eventually became well-recognized for his teaching.  The “felt presence” is the sense that we can have of “God with us,” not sometimes, but all the time.  It assumes that dark nights of the soul are not being experienced currently.

3 – Turn to God

If we turn to God in prayer or “communing” (as the Text calls prayer), then we will know what the prayer, quoted above, is all about.  There are great practical benefits to living this way.  We stroll through our days in flow, with an inner sense of what to do next.  We are not left to our own devices.  We live in grace, and by “grace” is meant the good will of God as our Heavenly Father.

4 – Follow Guidance Moment-by-Moment

Following guidance on a moment-to-moment basis is extremely rewarding.  We must be flexible enough to easily change directions if we move awry.  We must also be willing, as ACIM says, of starting the day over, if we make mistakes in attitude that spoil the good feelings.  But, Jesus says, there are obvious advantages to starting each day right in terms of saving time, and time is an early emphasis in ACIM.

4 – Let’s Go to Sleep with Peace on Our Eyelids

When the day is over, a day given to God, we go to sleep with peace on our eyelids.  We have done all that we can.  We let God handle the nighttime.  And then we realize, just before falling asleep, that a one day, just over and spent with God, is the best assurance that the next day is going to be good also.

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

I would spent this day with you, feeling Your presence as I go about my activities.  I would feel anxiety for nothing, as You have assured me I need not.  I would begin the day with a thought of you, walk in peace with You as the day unfolds, and go to sleep, sure that You are still awake and keeping me safe.

Help me always to thank You for Your attention to me.  I never have to feel along.  Not only are there mighty companions surrounded me, companions I cannot see, but You are within me–directing the vision that I have of what surrounds me, outside of my body.   May all of my sights today be benign.

Amen.

How to Have Perfect Happiness

ACIM Workbook Lesson 101 – for Monday, April 11, 2011

Affirmation:  “God’s Will for me is perfect happiness.”

Selected Passage:

“God’s Will for you is perfect happiness because there is no sin, and suffering is causeless.  Joy is just, and pain is but the sign you have misunderstood yourself.  Fear not the Will of God.  (WB182)”

Reflections:

1 – Mistakes Are Not Sins in Eternity

If there is no sin in eternity, then we must recognize the fact of mistakes.  We know that not all is right with our world, and “mistakes” that have been made are the culprit.  We can feel pain, though Jesus tells us in the Text that it is not necessary to learn through pain.  We do not have to feel suffering, though many of us do.  Pain can be accepted fully, and in the acceptance, the suffering does not arise.  Eckhart Tolle has much to say about this in both The Power of Now and A New Earth.  (He is an enlightened current teacher.)

2 – Do Not Fear the Will of God

We do not have to fear the Will of God, as did Jonah in the Old Testament.  Our understanding has moved beyond this.  As we have said repeatedly, God’s Will and our real will are the same.  The Holy Spirit, the Universal Inspiration, understands this well.  Our own intuition, if informed by the Holy Spirit, will tell and show us this as well.

3 – Joy Is Our Birthright

So joy is our birthright, and we would do well to welcome joy into our daily lives.  If at any time, we are so burdened that we cannot “feel” joy, let us know that it is waiting for us.  We can commune with God (a Text tenet), and feel the peace that will, soon enough, invite the joy.

4 -Joy Goes with Gentleness

The Manual says, “Joy goes with gentleness as surely as grief attends attack.  (M13)”  And, in the same paragraph, Jesus says that joy is the inevitable result of gentleness.  May we be gentle, that we do not harm to anyone–ourselves or anyone else.

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

May I be gentle today, that I may know joy.  Your will for me is perfect happiness, and I know that what is Your will comes about once my will has joined with Yours.  May I correct any mistakes immediately after they happen.  I know that I am not perfect, or I would not even be living in this world.

May I feel Your presence often today.  I ask this very frequently, and, as soon as I am open to Your presence, You are there for me.  Help me to be open to Your presence often today, throughout the day.

Amen.

Overcome Loneliness

ACIM Workbook Lesson 41 – for Thursday, February 10, 2011

Affirmation:  “God goes with me wherever I go.”

Selected Passage:

“Today’s idea will eventually overcome completely the sense of loneliness and abandonment all the separated ones experience.  Depression is an inevitable consequence of separation.  So are anxiety, worry, a deep sense of helplessness, misery, suffering and intense fear of loss. . . .You can indeed afford to laugh at fear thoughts, remembering that God goes with you wherever you go.  (WB63-64)”

1 – Not to Feel Fear

If we can truly live this lesson, our lives will never be the same again.  If we know that God is beside us, and in us, and if we truly feel His presence, we will not feel fear of any kind.  Eckhart Tolle in The Power of Now has much to say about the “felt presence of Being.”  (“Being” is his term for God, because he believes that the term “God” has been misused.)  We are to invite this felt presence.

2 – How Do We Invite the Presence of God?

How do we invite the felt presence?  Prayer is a mighty way, and prayer is mentioned early on in the Text, in the 50 principles of miracles.  Later on it seems to be simply assumed in ACIM that we will pray.  But do we really?  Norman Vincent Peale, in the fifties, believed that about five minutes of prayer a day was average, even for the true believer.  And he felt that this was not nearly enough prayer time.

3 – Prayer

So, let us increase our prayer time, and, if we feel drawn to the meditative aspects of the Workbook, let us use our practice time to draw closer to God.  (Meditation, as such, is not used as a word in ACIM, and contemplation is described as “tedious.”)

4 – Other Ways to Draw Closer to God

There are other ways that we can draw closer to God.  Mindfulness is not a tenet of ACIM, but watching carefully what we do as we go about our day is a powerful lesson in how to live closer to God.  Following the guidance of the Holy Spirit is perhaps the best way, and so let us be sure that we begin the day aright by asking that He walk beside us.

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

Help me to overcome loneliness and a feeling of abandonment by drawing close to me throughout the day.  I realize that actually a sense of Your presence is sometimes in my power, for You are always near, and only when I say or do things that make me feel separated from You do I feel lonely, abandoned, fearful, and so much more that is negative.

Help me to overcome this separation that I only think is real.  It is not real.  Help me to realize that You are always with me, and that I need only open my heart to Your reality to have my whole world change for the better.

Amen.

LIVING IN THE NOW; A Review of Eckhart Tolle’s “The Power of Now”

Reviewed by Celia Hales.  Revised and reprinted from Miracles (publisher Jon Mundy).

Tolle, Eckhart.  The Power of Now:  A Guide to Spiritual Enlightenment.  Novato,     California:  New World Library, 1999. (Originally published in Canada by Namaste Publishing Inc., 1997.)  224 pages.  ISBN:  1-57731-152-3.  Available on the Internet and in bookstores internationally.

Students of A Course in Miracles will want to read Eckhart Tolle’s book because it can deepen their understanding, honed through studying ACIM.   In Eckhart’s words, “in essence there is and always has been only one spiritual teaching. . . .Let me show you how to go more deeply into what you already have.”  There is no conflict between ACIM and The Power of Now.  Eckhart’s contribution is the amazing truth that he is one who (to use ACIM terminology) has been transported over the bridge, the little gap has closed, and he has awakened.  A Course in Miracles reads, “Healing is of God in the end.  The means are being carefully explained to you.  Revelation may occasionally reveal the end to you, but to reach it the means are needed.  (T-1.VII.5:9-11)”  For us, ACIM explains the means; but The Power of Now can assist us in our pathway to Awakening.

Did Eckhart learn “our” way?  No.  His path was the way of pain, a deep depression and anxiety that consumed him until his 29th year.  One crucial night all of that suffering was lifted from him through an experience of revelation.  Only later did he read and come to understand what had happened to him.  And ACIM was part of his study; the influence shows up in both quoted passages and core ideas from ACIM, restated and elaborated in Eckhart’s personal renditions.

Eckhart emphasizes living the present moment as the key to Enlightenment.  In this, he echoes ACIM (T-13.IV; T-13.VI; T-15.I), but Eckhart’s message is not a primary focus of ACIM.  Because Eckhart learned through pain, he elucidates this way in some detail, calling our propensity for suffering the “pain-body.”  In this, he runs counter to ACIM, which asserts, “There is no need to learn through pain.  (T-21.I3:1)”  Eckhart says that becoming more “conscious” when the “pain-body” has awakened can dissolve it and smooth the way to Enlightenment.

He describes “portals” to the “Unmanifested” (God):  going deeply into the body (as a way to bring one to the Now, the main portal); intense present-moment awareness (again, the Now); the cessation of thinking; surrender; silence; awareness of space, and “conscious death” (the final portal).  These are concepts described in ways unlike ACIM, but there is one very important concept shared by the two works:  the primacy of relationships in our pathway back to God.

Eckhart devotes one lengthy chapter to “enlightened relationships” (what ACIM calls “holy relationships”).  He declares relationships as embodying a primacy:  There is “no greater catalyst for transformation.”  Certainly ACIM students would agree.  ACIM writes of “holy encounters” and “holy instants” in which we see no past in our brothers (and therefore are living in the present, something Eckhart extols).

One Cautionary Note

I found it could be depressing when reading Eckhart to realize ever more deeply that I was not yet enlightened (or “awakened,” to use ACIM‘s term).  I found ACIM‘s reassurance helpful:

Do not despair, then, because of limitations. . .If you would be heard by those who suffer, you must speak their language.  If you would be a savior, you must understand what needs to be escaped. . . .God takes you where you are and welcomes you.  What more could you desire when this is all you need. (M-26.4:1,3-4,10-11)”

I also appreciated rereading M-22.2:4-9:

It is only the end that is certain.  Anywhere along the way, the necessary realization of inclusiveness may reach him.  If the way seems long, let him be content.  He has decided on the direction he wants to take.  What more was asked of him?  And having done what was required, would God withhold the rest?

Eckhart Tolle’s embodiment as one to whom God has reached down and lifted up, to whom God has taken His “final step” (M-28.1:8) makes Eckhart a human authority.  He is one for whom it can be said:

It [direct union with God] can, perhaps, be won after much devotion and dedication, and th en be maintained for much of the time on earth. (M-26.3:3)

ACIM students should purchase The Power of Now because it will help us to “go more deeply” (Eckhart’s words) into what we already have.

The Heart and Center of My Being

“The many forms are made one body through Christ-consciousness. . . .Awareness of this one Source of energy, and thus that this one energy exists in everything and creates the life in everything, is Christ-consciousness.  It is also what we have been referring to as heart and as the center of your being.  (The Treatises of A Course of Love:  ‘A Treatise on the New,’ 5.3)”

Affirmation:  “the heart of my being”

Reflections:

Surely we are aware that our heart is the center of our being.  Many, throughout the ages, have spoken of this.  A Course of Love joins mind and heart to “wholeheartedness,” and this is the ultimate.  We use our intellects, but we are not trapped by them.  We listen to the guidance that comes from within, and this is coming from the Divine within.  Then we are truly living in Christ-consciousness.

We are led back inward at every point.  We get the guidance that we need, then, to reach outward to our companions along the way, our brothers and sisters.

All is energy, the energy of God.  Matter is only a form of energy in which the vibrations have been slowed down.  Because of this slowness, things do not always happen suddenly.  The Now is always available to us, though, as Eckhart Tolle points out in The Power of Now.  We can have the Awakening that we long to have.  We have been prepared, and A Course of Love is one of Jesus’s avenues to show us the way.  ACOL builds on the previous understandings of A Course in Miracles.

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

May I know today that my heart is the center of my being.  May this bring me ever-closer to Christ-consciousness.

Thank You for always being there for me.  I say this often.  You do not need to hear it, but I need to say it.  Thank You for Your manifold blessings.

Amen.

A Tranquil Mind

“Stop for a moment now and think of this:  Is conflict what you want, or is God’s peace the better choice?  Which gives you more?  A tranquil mind is not a little gift.  Would you not rather live than choose to die?  (M51)”

Affirmation:  “A tranquil mind is not a little gift.”

Reflections:

The question in this passage is akin to a question asks elsewhere:  “Would you rather be right or happy?”  The idea is similar, because we so often get caught up in our own turmoil, thereby making the turmoil worse.

Surely all of us would choose a tranquil mind, unless our ego has us so addicted to drama that we choose the negative drama over peace of mind.  A negative drama is a form of dying, because real living is meant to be peaceful.  Elsewhere Jesus says that we are intended to be perfectly “calm and quiet” all the time.  Most of us find this hard to accept, so accustomed to conflict are we.  The ego has a deep inroad in us.

Tranquility is a better gift, though, and as we progress in our training as teachers of God, we will readily recognize this.  A  lack of drama in living is an attribute of those who have awakened, and one goal of the Course, for us, is an Awakening.  We may not all reach this, but we can have moments of time in which we are awake.  This is advice from Eckhart Tolle (author of The Power of Now and A New Earth), not from the Course per se.

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

I ask for Your peace.  I ask to be happy being perfectly calm and quiet all the time.  May I leave drama behind as I move toward Awakening.  May I have a tranquil mind.

Your peace is all that I want.  When something upsets me, let me think of my real goal of peace before all else.  Thank you for Your help.

Amen.