Tag Archives: the real world

The Kingdom of Heaven is You. What Else but You Did the Creator Create, and What Else but You Is His Kingdom?

1 – Understandable?

“It is hard to understand what ‘The Kingdom of Heaven is within you’ really means. This is because it is not understandable to the ego, which interprets it as if something outside is inside, and this does not mean anything. The word ‘within’ is unnecessary. The Kingdom of Heaven is you. What else but you did the Creator create, and what else but you is His Kingdom? (T60)”

2 – Not “Within You” – But “You”

Here Jesus clarifies a quotation from the New Testament: The Kingdom of Heaven is “within” you, but this becomes, in A Course of Miracles, that Kingdom of Heaven “is” you. This interpretation is theological, and we need to be careful about theology—not to let it divide us as students of ACIM. But, for those who are interested, I think that this means, essentially, that we are the body of Christ, or of God, that God does not stand outside His creation, but that the All is He. This differs from traditional Christianity, which sees all that is created as God’s handiwork, and sees God as standing apart from His creation. Here Jesus affirms, “What else but you did the Creator create, and what else but you is His Kingdom?”

3 – God Stuff

The “stuff” of the universe—the totality of all universe(s)—is thus seen to be God stuff. There are worlds upon worlds, much beyond what we can understand. But out of the void, the First Mover moved, knowing that He did not want to be alone. Joseph Campbell gives ancient myths that help to see this dynamic, metaphorically. The Void, that is God, felt fear upon realizing that He was alone. But then He said, “What do I have to fear? There is only Me.” Then he felt lonely, and so He decided to create from within His “body.” And from the undifferentiated Mass of His Body, He created the All that exists. And He is still creating.

4 – Prime Mover

This explanation is a very rudimentary form of explanation, something that we can hold to when we wonder about the Prime Mover, God Himself. It is not the truth, for our minds are too tiny to understand the truth, but metaphorically it answers some of our questions. The “you” in the following question is the One, the All, “What else did the Creator create?”

5 – Tiny, Mad Idea

So we move to the tiny, mad idea that we allowed to happen in our holy minds, the One that was the All, and then seemed to separate:

“You project onto the ego the decision to separate, and this conflicts with the love you feel for the ego because you made it. No love in this world is without this ambivalence, and since no ego has experienced love without ambivalence the concept is beyond its understanding. (T61)”

We thought that we would be controlled too much if we allowed God to direct us. We thought that All should not be One, that to express ourselves demanded diversity. And so the Whole fragmented. And the ego, part of our belief about ourselves—nothing more—separated. Even this was an illusion, for we cannot separate from our Essence, which is God. But we could think that we had, and in the thinking, God could experience with us what He is really like. We head ultimately to being Co-Creators with Him. But right now we are caught in “making,” not “creating.” For we make illusion, a dream.

6 – Love

Our loves are tainted. Our loves are not pure in this world. And the reason for this is the ego, which sees ourselves as not needing or wanting others. We try to be independent, but this is not the way of God’s creation, and so we fall on our faces repeatedly. Pain enters, for our will is no longer free. We are not listening to the Holy Spirit, Who chooses the best for us—the will that we would have if we knew what was best for us.

7 – True Want

“Love will enter immediately into any mind that truly wants it, but it must want it truly. This means that it wants it without ambivalence, and this kind of wanting is wholly without the ego’s ‘drive to get.’ (T61)”

We sometimes limit the love that we can receive by specifying that this love must come from a particular source. Such thinking usually signals that one is dealing with a special relationship, not a holy one. But the Course would purify our special relationships, rather than remove them from us by force. All special relationships are meant to become holy eventually.

8- Source of Love

We would do better if we did not specify the desired source of the love that we invite to come to us. Then the real world can deliver our desired love in any number of ways. Love is not always found in a special relationship, even in the beginning. The love of nature, for example, is a great healer in times of stress. The love we desire does not have to be always from another person.

9 – Love Is with Us

When we truly want love in our lives, it is there already. There are no exceptions to this rule, though the ego would often make us think so. God answers our prayer for love by sending into our lives the love that is ours for the asking. We do not have to plead or to struggle. We simply need to ask. And this is truly without the ego’s “drive to get.”

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

I do want love. I want love to enter my life immediately and unconditionally. I don’t want my ego to interfere.

May I drop all desires to have something that my ego dictates. May I have, instead, the love that You have promised me.

May the theology that I posted today be acceptable to some, and may others just drop it from their minds. We are not meant to divide ourselves by theology, but we are meant to enjoy a common experience. And You have pointed out that common experience in A Course in Miracles. Thank You. For this common experience is necessary, whereas a common theology is impossible for individuals with such disparate personalities.

Amen.

Nothing Real Can Be Threatened. Nothing Unreal Exists.

manet - bar“This course can therefore be summed up very simply in this way:
Nothing real can be threatened.
Nothing unreal exists.
Herein lies the peace of God. (T-in.2)”

1 – Illusion

As I read this passage, it seems to me that we are encouraged, once again, to see that the world in which we live is illusion. It is not real, and therefore does not truly exist. The real, in my view, are the intangibles of hope, love, joy, peace, and the like. These cannot be taken from us except by our choice. And when we are in our right minds, we choose to keep these blessings in our hearts.

We have the peace of God when we have His intangibles. And the passage concludes, “Herein lies the peace of God.”

2 – Special Attention

This passage is the epigram for A Course in Miracles, and, as such, deserves particular consideration. Let’s take a look at the words themselves, and how they are interpreted elsewhere in ACIM.

3 – The Real

The “real” is usually referred to as the “real world,” the unplaced place that we see when we are nearing Awakening. The real world is experienced only briefly, but we don’t know what “brief” means in eternity. Mari Perron, the scribe for A Course of Love, believes that when we have experienced Awakening, we are in fact not living an illusion any longer, but are experiencing reality. Hugh Prather, in an afterlife visit to his friend Jerry Jampolsky, however, said that A Course in Miracles was absolutely correct, that we are living an illusion. And Hugh was an advanced teacher of God. So there can be no easy answers. We, each of us, need to turn within to ask what truth is for us, what we truly believe.

4 – The Unreal

The “unreal” is the illusion, the maya in which we find ourselves throughout most of our lives, before Awakening, at the least. And this unreal does not have to affect us adversely, though it usually does. The pain, the suffering, all can be seen as the mirages that they are. And we can turn aside from them just as surely as we welcomed them.

5 – Real World

There is an extremely reassuring passage that bears quoting, about the real world:

“Sit quietly and look upon the world you see, and tell yourself: ‘The real world is not like this. It has no buildings and there are no streets where people walk alone and separate. There are no stores where people buy an endless list of things they do not need. It is not lit with artificial light, and night comes not upon it. There is no day that brightens and grows dim. There is no loss. Nothing is there but shines, and shines forever.’ (T-13.VII.1)”

6 – Mystery

I do not pretend to understand what is being said here. But I know that the real world, if experienced as joy, is not dependent upon things of this world to sustain it. This is what I think is meant here. Not that there will be no things of this world, but that we will see them differently. They will not mean anything particular, just because what we see is physical. We will have our sights on the nonphysical, on the intangible. And we will be much the better for it.

7 – Take a Moment

We need to take a moment from time to time to ask what really matters, what the real world will truly show to us. And when we find an answer, we need to engrave it upon our hearts. Certainly we have progressed beyond the desire to attract material objects as a way of self-aggrandizement. But we need something to replace the physical objects with, or we will experience a sense of loss. And there is no need—ever—to experience a sense of loss. The happiness that Jesus gives as we approach Awakening, as we experience the happy dreams the Holy Spirit sends, is without parallel in the physical universe. It is not physical at all. We have our physical needs satisfied, but that is of small consequence to us. We are looking at a higher reality.

8 – All Will Be Well

So let us seek the real as we go about our world. Let us drop the unreal.

And all will be well.

Affirmation: “Let us seek for the real today.”

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

I am thankful for You today. This is a particularly good day, and it comes to me from You. May all with whom I come in contact in any way be blessed by their circumstances today.

Be with my significant others today and every day. May I fulfill what You would have me say and do for them.

Amen.

Perfect Love Casts Out Fear

vangogh_selfportrait1889“Perfect love casts out fear.
If fear exists,
Then there is not perfect love.
But
Only perfect love exists.
If there is fear,
It produces a state that does not exist. (T14)”

Affirmation: “Perfect love casts out fear.”

Reflections:

1 – Syllogisms

Jesus seems fond of syllogisms. There are a number in the Course, but this is phrased in perhaps this most beautiful way of all of his syllogisms.

2 – Perfect Love

How is it possible to live in perfect love? We are aware of how often we fall short of this ideal. And this makes us feel that there is no hope for progress toward Awakening. By ourselves, we cannot live in perfect love. But with the help of the Holy Spirit, we can move closer to satori, which is a glimpse of Awakening. These glimpses can come more and more frequently as we walk the pathway. We will be so warmed by these satori that we will know that our walk is not in vain.

3 – Fear

And we must let fear fall by the wayside. How do we do this? My greatest way is to pray, heartfelt prayer. I am especially likely to become fearful when I awaken in the middle of the night, sometimes after a bad dream or even nightmare. I feel anxious, and I do not always even remember that prayer is what I need (though prayer is an obvious answer). When I get out of bed, get a drink of water, breathe deeply a few times, then return to bed, my next step is simply to ask God (or the Holy Spirit) for help. God cannot resist a request for help, and He comes immediately. The help usually comes by way of remembered conversation, reading, or my own earlier musings. These words come to mind unbidden. And they comfort in the extreme. If I am lucky, I will drift back off to sleep. But if I don’t, I tell myself that there is a reason that I am awake, praying. I recall from the New Testament that Jesus often went away from his disciples and prayed deeply. Can we not follow his example?

4 – Unreality

Here, in the exposition of the difference between love and fear, A Course in Miracles goes to the heart of the unreality in which we live. We live in illusions, not the real world, at all–at least most of us. (The real world comes near the conclusion of our pathway back to God.) When we live in illusion, we know that all of our brothers and sisters are innocent; nothing has actually happened, except in illusion, and so how could we and others not be innocent of actual happenings of wrongdoing? We are all worthy of forgiveness, and this matter of forgiving one’s brother is the way to salvation, from the viewpoint of ACIM. We do not pardon real happenings. Everyone is doing the best that he/she can, given understanding at the moment. All of us try.

5 – Self

Our illusions mean that we do not have to fear what comes, because our real Self has not been touched.

6 – Bad Dreams

Perfect love and fear are completely incompatible. This is what this passage is saying. Because most of us still feel fear upon occasion, we are lost in dreams–and not the happy dreams of the Holy Spirit. There is a danger that we will feel depressed upon reading these words. But elsewhere Jesus cautions us not to lose heart. If the way seems long, once begun the way back is always found in the end. If the way seems long, we are to take heart and to know that we will find our way back, ultimately.

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

In reality, only perfect love exists. But we frequently feel fear, and so we are not experiencing the real world on a consistent basis. When I feel anxious, I know that the best antidote is to pray to You. You set all things right–not some, but all. And in that assurance is my anxiety always eased.

May we experience the real world. If this seems a long way off, may we in the interim experience the happy dreams the Holy Spirit brings.

Amen.

Worship

Towpath_Bridge - gordon hass“You must constantly remember that your observance is now an act of worship and of devotion and that you are called to observe the truth rather than illusion no matter how real illusion may still seem to be. (Treatises of A Course of Love: Treatise on the Personal Self, 18.8)”

Affirmation: “May I observe in reverence today.”

Reflections:

1 – Reverence

The term “reverence” seems to my mind to be the best way to find a synonym for both “worship” and “devotion” in regard to the observance of the truth as opposed to illusion. We need reverence in our daily life, as it calms our minds and gives us a settled good will toward divinity. God does not need our praise, according to A Course in Miracles, but we need the act of communing with Him, and in this there is an element of devotion, if not outright worship. We need worship of, and devotion to, God, even if He doesn’t need or require either of these from us.

2 – Reality

The section of A Course of Love that we are considering does repeatedly stress the pursuit of truth as opposed to illusion. This leads me to conclude that truth, or reality, or the real world, is available to us. Previously truth, reality, or the real world had not been available; we were lost in illusion, or maya (the Eastern term), and there was little we could do about it other than ask for the “happy dreams that the Holy Spirit brings” (from the Workbook of A Course in Miracles). Now, it seems, we have traveled farther along the pathway, and, while I do not want us to get lost in theology, we are perhaps, most of us, able to at least catch glimpses of the truth, glimpses of reality or the real world. ACIM says that this experience will be fleeting, because God will act quickly to reach down and lift us up to Awakening—once we have experienced the real world for a time. Because time differs in eternity from our world, we cannot know what a short time in experiencing the real world would be like. We do not know how long we must wait for Awakening (or enlightenment, or Christ-consciousness—all synonyms).

3 – Impatience

Let us hope today that the wait is brief. We are impatient, but this is often an egoic notion that is best left behind. We need to cultivate patience with others, our brothers and sisters, in part because this helps to create the holy relationships that we long to have. And holy relationships are our ticket to the ultimate in salvation.

4 – No Injury to Others

Let us open ourselves to the truth today, but take care that what we perceive to be the truth is not injurious to anybody.

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

Unless I am anxious, I sometimes forget how important communing with You really is. I go about my business in this world, safe in Your love, but not realizing fully where my safety lies.

My safety lies with You. I would not choose anxiety as a goad to greater prayer. I would pray willingly and repeatedly, for communing with You is life-affirming. It is the best that this world offers. The sense of Your presence brings a serene and calm outlook on this world. It alleviates stress, and all of us need to have that, given the state of our world.

May today be the first day of a new sense of continuing communion with You. May I never forget You. I know that You will never forget me. Thank You.

Amen.