Tag Archives: Theology

Our World Has No Boundaries

“Through this transparency, the reality of the One Self being also the many, or the all, is apparent. The spaciousness of love, the lovely complexity of form, the awesome majesty of nature, all are visible within the One Self because of the invisibility of the one boundary-less Self of form.” (ACOL, Dialogues, Day 13, 13.6)

This quotation is part of the theology of A Course of Love, and it needs some context. We are said, once we reach Christ-consciousness, to live in a “spacious self.” This spacious self, encompasses areas outside of ourselves, enfolding others, whether they be exhibiting positive or negative traits. But others are not badly influenced by this enfoldment; they are helped by it, for we are all One Self, One with God. Our Self is therefore “boundary-less,” even though we have form, physical bodies.

We see many other bodies that don’t all look as we do, and this is part of the “complexity of form.” But we don’t make judgments, as did the ego, about these other bodies that are diverse. We welcome such complexity, some diversity, yet knowing all the while that we are really One with others, One with God, and One in our innermost being, the inner Christ Self.

Don’t let the theology throw you. Jesus doesn’t require that we understand with our thinking mind. He wants us to experience with our open heart. And in the openness of heart, we will come to experience and to understand.

And that is all that is required.

Is Reincarnation So?

1 – Not to Deal with Now

“Reincarnation would not, under any circumstances, be the problem to be dealt with now. If it were responsible for some of the difficulties the individual faces now, his task would still be only to escape from them now. If he is laying the groundwork for a future life, he can still work out his salvation only now. (M60)”

2 – Take No Stand

“For our purposes, it would not be helpful to take any definite stand on reincarnation. A teacher of God should be as helpful to those who believe in it as to those who do not. If a definite stand were required of him, it would merely limit his usefulness, as well as his own decision making. (M60)”

3 – Litmus Test?

Many people would use reincarnation as a litmus test for the validity of the Course, if we were to take a public stand on where we stand on this issue. Jesus is not interested in controversy, but only in what will work for us in our lives in a practical way. So he recommends that we avoid the question of reincarnation publicly, for to engage in debate would only lessen our usefulness.

4 – Jesus

Elsewhere Jesus says that the Course can be used by both those who believe in reincarnation and those who don’t. Jesus is not interested in theological interpretation, but only in the day-to-day lives of his followers. Elsewhere he says that there can be no universal theology, but a universal experience is necessary.

5 – Only Way? No

This universal experience he spells out in the Course. This is not to say that the Course is the only Way. It is one way that many people have now chosen for salvation in this world. And the introductory pages of the text say that this is a required course, with only the time that we take it to be voluntary. Our way is to have brothers and sisters in significant relationships–holy relationships–with ourselves. This eliminates the tedium of long hours spent in meditation. All special relationships, the Course says, are meant to become holy. This is the practical means that the Course is bringing us Home.

6 – Reversal of Thought

“It cannot be too strongly emphasized that this course aims at a complete reversal of thought. When this is finally accomplished, issues such as the validity of reincarnation become meaningless. Until then, they are likely to be merely controversial. (M61)”

7 – When It Is OK to Discuss Reincarnation

This passage gives the reason that we are not to discuss reincarnation unless we are with people of a like mind. We don’t need to invite controversy. I myself have tried very hard, over the years, to keep controversy out of my blog. My innate reaction is to avoid controversy, to keep life smooth, and I would like to feel that people who read my blog are looking for a calm reassurance that all is well.

8 – Our Witness

Controversy would just interfere with our witness. We don’t need to start arguments; we need to avoid them. We don’t have to dissemble, but we can be circumspect is what we say.

9 – ACIM Leaders

Leaders in the ACIM movement differ on how they feel about reincarnation. Based on his writing, I have concluded that Jon Mundy, publisher of Miracles magazine, does not believe in reincarnation. Most other leaders have not taken a stand, and so I don’t know how they feel. I find that I can read the words of ACIM two ways, and so there is much room for disagreement.

10 – Silence

But the benefit is that we don’t have to proselytize for our opinion. We can remain silent on this issue unless and until we are in a group of kindred spirits. Then we are encouraged to discuss reincarnation, if we so desire.

Dear Father/Mother,

Remind not to engage in controversy, because this will only limit my helpfulness. May I discuss reincarnation only in intimate circles of like-minded individuals. Publicly to take a stand on reincarnation might limit my usefulness.

I know that You will guide my speech. May I not be tempted to run ahead of Your guidance.

Amen.

The Miracle of Easter

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

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

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

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

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

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

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

Amen.

The External World Is but a Reflection of the Internal

pennsylvania-impressionist-impressionism-painting-by-george-sotter-autumn-gold-1930-original-size-22-x-26-bucks-county“The thought system of the truth realizes that the external world is but a reflection of the internal world. Thus you can observe with your eyes closed as easily as you can observe with your eyes open. You can observe by having an idea of another’s health, abundance, peace, and happiness. You can observe this within yourself because it exists within your Self. (Treatises of A Course of Love: Treatise on the Personal Self, 18.10)”

Affirmation: “I would know that my external world is a reflection of my internal world.”

Reflections:

1 – Projection Makes Perception

The passage for today paraphrases what was said, but perhaps not always understood, from A Course in Miracles: “Projection makes perception.” What this means is that the external world which we see is but a reflection of the internal world that we experience. We can observe the outer with eyes open or closed; it makes no difference. We see what we feel within, and we perceive without what has first found a home within our minds and hearts, the internal.

2 – How Many Angels?

This is the reason that the medieval question, “How many angels can be on the point of a needle?,” is so far beyond its time. There is no world! Jesus says in ACIM that this is what we must ultimately comprehend. We are projecting what we have made real within, and this projection causes us to use our perception (though informed by the ego) to see what we see in the external world.

3 – Hallucination

We are part of a mass hallucination. This is a theological point, but one that will help many to understand what ACIM and A Course of Love are trying to tell us. Certainly all is illusion before we let go of the egoic mind, but whether or not the real world is truly “real” is a question of theological debate. Is anything outside our minds? If God is the All, and we are part of a hologram (another concept that may be useful), then it means that each part is part of the Whole, and that the Whole is present in each part.

4 – Health, Abundance, Peace, Happiness

We can see health, abundance, peace, and happiness. Maybe not exclusively, but more and more as time passes, and our minds and hearts work in tandem. We first see these positive experiences when we listen to the Holy Spirit, and He brings happy dreams to us. The dreams expand so that even tough times often lose their sting. We can be sure that a lovely God watches over us, just as we learned long ago in Sunday school. We may have moved away from our childhood understanding of God, but the germ of an idea may never leave us. And traditional Christianity still is there for us, expanded and enlarged by Jesus’s channeled writings for our era.

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

I would not worry so much about how many angels can balance on the point of a needle, but how many are watching over me now. I would hope that there are a few doing just that. My life does not work well without help—help from others on this plane, in this world, and help from an unseen world. Thank You for giving me the assurance that I do have assistance, and that this assistance is with me always.

Amen.

We Learned the Untrue

“It may seem ridiculous to say that the untrue can be learned, but this is exactly what has been learned during the time of your experience in physical form. Since your true Self could not learn the untrue, a new self, which we have called the ego self, was made. Since the ego self cannot learn the true, your true self had to be appealed to for this learning to take place. (Treatises of A Course of Love: Treatise on the Personal Self, 17.5)”

Affirmation: “I would leave off the learning of the ego today.”

Reflections:

1 – Theology

This passage for today reflects a theological point in A Course of Love: that the true self, which could learn, was called upon to save the ego self from itself, for the true could be learned only by the true self. Meanwhile, the ego was busy teaching us—or trying to teach us—the untrue. And we assimilated much of this untruth into the persona that we presented to this world.

2 – Christ Self

Now is the time to let such foolishness fall away. We are leaving behind the ego self, which is withering away, and we are recalling the true, from our true self, which never actually disappeared (though we thought that it had). This “true self” is the Christ Self, to whom we turn now to learn what to say and to do next. The Christ Self, in this time of Christ, is our guidance, even as the Holy Spirit was our guidance in the time of the Holy Spirit. We have moved beyond just what A Course in Miracles said, that the Holy Spirit would guide, to what A Course of Love (channeled later) says, that the inner Christ Self will guide. I am of the opinion that there may be overlap within a given person, and certainly there is overlap in this world in general. Many are still engrossed in the wonderful message of ACIM and have not moved onward to ACOL; indeed, many do not yet know of ACOL.

3 – ACIM vs. ACOL

A Course of Love is dense reading, and in many ways more difficult than a Course in Miracles. I find that I cannot study ACOL as I did ACIM; the meanings do not easily come to mind as memorized passages. I suspect this is because the beautiful language is not in iambic pentameter, a rhyme scheme of poetry, and therefore the memorization is more difficult.

4 – Rereading ACOL

Even the passage for today is difficult reading, but worthwhile when one rereads. In fact, rereading may be the best way to learn ACOL, and certainly the fact that the real self is trying to learn the true will shine through. We are learning through observation, though, not intense scrutiny. Some have recommended that we read A Course of Love as though it were a story. There is much repetition, intended I believe, by Jesus to drive home his points, which are fewer in number in ACOL than in ACIM. But these points truly do take us home, for we have been prepared, first through ACIM, and now through ACOL, to inhabit the elevated Self of form. Would that we could do so consistently. At least we know that this consistency is where we are heading.

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

I would do what You say today to allow Your blessing of Christ-consciousness to come sooner rather than later. Thank You for the glimpses that I have seen. Thank You for the glimpses that my brothers and sisters have seen.

May I read A Course of Love today in the best way that will help me to assimilate its concepts. Help me to remember the beautiful words, to remember the beautiful sentiment, and to learn what I need to learn in growing ever more closely toward You.

Amen.

The Ultimate in Salvation

san Marco Renoir painting“It should be becoming clear to you by now that, although you dwell in the house of the truth, you are capable of bringing with you old patterns of behavior. Once the translation of the new thought system for the old is complete, this will no longer happen. (Treatises of A Course of Love: Treatise on the Personal Self, 14.3)”

Affirmation: “I would avoid old patterns of behavior today.”

Reflections:

1 – Christ-Consciousness

We need to translate the old thought system into the new—the old egoic patterns into the new truth of reality as it is meant to be lived through Christ-consciousness, the ultimate in salvation. But we are still caught in the fears of the old pattern, and as long as those fears stay with us, we will have a problem. We will not be moving forward.

2 – Fear

Take time today to contemplate, with God, what we might do to speed along the process to completion of salvation. Many of us have had mystical experiences along the way, even glimpses of Christ-consciousness, but these have most usually not been sustained. Ask, and ye shall receive (from the New Testament). Ask to reach Christ-consciousness and to sustain it. To do so will mean that we make a conscious choice to leave fear behind.

3 – Divine Help

Can we leave fear behind on our own? No! We cannot. We need divine power to leave behind something that has become so ingrained in us. But God’s will for us is surely to leave behind the old thought system of egoic fear, and to walk into the sunlight with Him. He would have us transform ourselves, and ultimately the world. And time does not mean the same to Him that it does to us. What may seem a very long time, even millions of years (from A Course in Miracles), will pass very quickly in the grand scheme of things.

4 – Paradox

Don’t be afraid to leave fear! This assertion sounds paradoxical, and indeed it is. But do we not cling to the past in thousands of ways? Are we not afraid to let go and let God? His truth for us is far greater than we can imagine. He can show us how to lose the past by an all-encompassing movement, even run, toward the future.

5 – God

Let God show us today.

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

I need to leave fear behind forever. I have often prayed a prayer for the lessening of anxiety, yet despite the glimpses of the ultimate in life, I still invite anxiety from time to time by my attitudes.

Let me leave this foolishness behind now and each day in the future, taking one day at the time. It is not Your will that we cower against this world, though it is true that this world can hurt us. I would not invite hurt by my attitude. I would enjoy tranquility and peace today and every day. Help me to do so.

Thank You.

Amen.

A Physical Self Is Not Inconsistent with the Laws of God

Robert Hagan 1947 - Australian Impressionist painter - Tutt'Art@ (17)“The choice to express who you are in physical terms was not a choice made of fear but made of love. A physical self is not inconsistent with the laws of God or of creation. It is simply a choice. (Treatises of A Course of Love: Treatise on the Personal Self, 12.9)”

Affirmation: “I will rejoice in my physical body today, living in love only.”

Reflections:

1 – No Degrading the Physical

We see that the physical body is not to be degraded as inferior in experience to the things of the spirit. We can live in love with the physical body. And we did not make a “bad” choice when we decided to live in physicality. We simply made a choice that can be glorified.

2 – Body

So many religious traditions deemphasize the body and especially see it as unfortunate. We are taught that we need to bring it under control, that the body will lead us astray.

3 – Ego

Actually it is the ego which will lead us astray. The physical body is neutral (from A Course of Love). It is what we make of the ego that determines how we will live on earth. If we choose out of fear, we will live in a body that seems to react to every stress. We will often regret the body, because its reactions seem to have a mind of their own, and we suffer accordingly.

4 – Illusion

This is all the way of illusion, and if we sense this fear, we are living much of our time under our egoic influence. Let us not do so today, or any day. May we drop egoic influence, and the best way to begin to do that is to do nothing about of egotistical reasons. We can drop the ego; it is choice that we are empowered to make. And when we drop the ego, we will recognize that the body does nothing. It is a thing that allows us to express our self, a means of expression as well as communication, and nothing more. We need neither to fear its reactions or to glorify those reactions.

5 – Body as Communicative Tool

Be with the body in love today. Let the body be a means by which we can communicate with our brothers and sisters. And let us not use the body willfully. We need to recognize that the body does nothing of itself; it is the mind and heart that determine what the body does.

6 – Today

And let the body do only good things today.

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

Thank You for the insight, given in the passage for today, that Your will and the body are not at odds. I can be glad that I have a body to serve as a means of communication in this world with my brothers and sisters. I can be thankful for my body as a means of expression. And I do not have to wait for the Other Side, where bodies are ethereal and obey laws different from what I know on earth.

May I use my body well today. May I keep it healthy and strong, physically, and may my emotions be tranquil. May I have emotional stability in my physically healthy body. Illness need not come near me if I create rightly in this world. And illness that does come is a form of external searching, and I would search only internally, in You.

Amen.

Embodying a State You Have Not Even Dared to Dream

Monet_Water_Lilies_1916“As it dawns upon your once slumbering mind that change on a grand scale awaits you, you will grow fearful if you do not realize that what is being proposed to you here is something completely new, something you have not even dreamed of. This state you have not even dared to dream of is a state in which only God’s laws of love exist even within the realm of physicality. (Treatises of A Course of Love: Treatise on the Personal Self, 12.7)”

Affirmation: “I would experience God’s laws of love today.”

Reflections:

1 – Physicality

The passage for today shows us that physicality is not bad, that it is a good state. This is the attitude throughout A Course of Love, which seeks to lead us to the elevated Self of form, a state in which Christ-consciousness is sustained. Of course, we are told that absolutely nobody has sustained Christ-consciousness yet. And Jesus is asking us to reach that state of sustainability. But the idea that the physical body is good is to be celebrated is a departure, in effect, from A Course in Miracles.

2 – Gnostic Influence

There was a heavy Gnostic influence in ACIM, and the world of maya, or illusion, was seen to offer us nothing that we would want. The world did not have anything to offer except the hope of happy dreams, from which we were eventually led beyond to Awakening and the real world. And we were led to believe that the Teachers of teachers were no longer born into this world, but that we receive their teachings from the Other Side (from the Manual of A Course in Miracles).

3 – Elevated Self of Form

But if we live God’s way of love, we can enjoy the physical body in this world. We are no longer looking to the ego for satisfaction in that physical body, but to our Christ Self. And then, if we are faithful to our learning, we will eventually sustain the elevated Self of form.

4 – No Curse!

What a blessing to know that the body is not a curse after all! There is much that we enjoy in this world, and we do not have to wait for the afterlife to enjoy ourselves. And we can enjoy ourselves in innocence borne of an elimination of the ego in ourselves. This analysis, unique to ACOL, is cause for rejoicing.

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

I would embody this new state sooner rather than later. I would see that the physical body is not to be lamented, but to live in, under Your laws. Now nothing is missing. I will eventually die, and my ethereal body may be different from the physical body that I have now, but nothing has to be missing now. I can fully enter into Your laws right now, here and now.

I would choose to experience the elevated Self of form—as much as I can do the choosing, for I know that the final decision is in Your hands. Be with me as I seek to follow the path back to You. Let me turn inward today as I walk a close walk with You.

Amen.

House of Illusion vs. House of Truth

watercan - renoir
“The house of illusion exists within the House of Truth because it is where your brothers and sisters think they are. The house of illusion is not a hell that anyone has been banished to. It can at times be a chosen hell, just as it can at times be a chosen heaven. Choice and the awareness of the power of choice that exists within is all that differentiates one from the other. (Treatises of A Course of Love: Treatise on the Personal Self, 11.13)”

Affirmation: “I would leave behind the house of illusion today.”

Reflections:

1 – Change

This passage for today is a reassurance for our sisters and brothers who are not yet emerging from the house of illusion into the brighter world of the House of Truth. We are elsewhere bidden not to rejoin others in this house of illusion, if we have already emerged into the brightness of true reality. Yet the explosions within cue us to the fact that change is underway. We will not long be without our significant others, with us in the House of Truth.

2 – Hell on Earth

We do not wish for anyone a hell on earth, and the house of illusion is sometimes that. It can also be a heaven, as when we dream the happy dreams that the Holy Spirit brings (from the Workbook of A Course in Miracles). But we are in a more substantial heaven when we have emerged from these illusions. We try to make our elevated Self of form sustainable, and while this is not always a realistic goal, it is realistic to know that we can and do catch glimpses of the real world nearly every day.

3 – Choices

Our choices are open in reality, in the House of Truth. Our choices are restrained in the house of illusion, for our will is imprisoned (from ACIM). An imprisoned will induces discomfort in the extreme, even pain. And we would be free of imprisonment. Let us today resolve to live well, to emerge from illusions into truth.

4 – God’s Will Is Our Real Will

Our choices ought always to be aligned with what God’s will really is, for His will is our real will. This negates the oft-repeated sense that we are being coerced. The Holy Spirit (in ACIM) and the Christ Self (in A Course of Love) do not in any way coerce us. We live a free life, secure in the love of our Father.

5 – Heaven

Let us today live in heaven, whether we are still caught by illusions or whether we have emerged into the light of truth.

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

I would live in the House of Truth today. I would not reenter the house of illusion. And I am actually helping my brothers and sisters more by so doing. I cannot help from within the house of illusion, because my own mind would be caught in illusions again. And I would not have it so.

Be with me as I seek earnestly to live abundantly within the House of Truth. I would leave fear, as an egoic notion, behind. I would enjoy the peace and tranquility that is promised me by you, when I enter the House of Truth. Help me to know only calm and quiet today.

Amen.

Like Gravitating toward Beautiful Music

pennsylvania impressionism3“You will find that your new language will gather people to you in much the way people will gravitate toward beautiful music. Many will be eager to learn what you have remembered because they will realize that the memory of this language exists within them as well. It will come naturally to you to welcome these back to the common language of the mind and heart joined in unity. (Treatises of A Course of Love: Treatise on the Personal Self, 10.15)”

Affirmation: “I would hope today that I set a good example.”

Reflections:

1 – Our New Language

The passage for today identified the “language” that we will speak in this new world of Christ-consciousness. It will be a language of the mind and heart joined in unity. And this is the wholeheartedness of which Jesus has spoken frequently in A Course of Love.

2 – Setting an Example

We need to think a bit about the example that we are setting for others in our daily rounds. If we avoid this new language, this quiet and beautiful language, our words may be filled with anger and attack. What kind of example would that set for non-believers? How can we draw people to a new life if we, who profess to know better, are constantly falling into egoic attitudes, even though Christ-consciousness shines through in glimpses?

3 – Our Behavior

We need to be consistent in our behavior even when Christ-consciousness is not present. We need to realize that the forgiveness that A Course in Miracles proscribes is possible for us. We can overlook the baiting that others do to us, and we can overlook our own anger, if we are diligent. We can gentle ourselves by a quiet word with God at the point of being overwrought. We can ask what Jesus might do in a similar situation. Of course, he was not without anger, as witness his attitude in the temple during his last week on earth. He drove the moneychangers from the temple. I have long viewed this as a manifestation of extreme stress, for Jesus knew that he was walking toward his death, and a painful death at that, the death of crucifixion.

4 – Forgiveness

The fact that Jesus so behaved gives us an additional reason to forgive ourselves when we slip. But our temptations to slip are not normally so extreme as was his. We face much smaller temptations, though to us they may appear to be huge.

5 – Quietness

Let us vow to set a good example today. Turn aside the attacking word with quietness. Let the language of the mind and heart in unity set forth your pathway. Let us be good to each other, for the day is long and there are many times that we will be tempted to slip into stress that fuels anger. Let us vow to avoid these temptations to anger and attack today. Let us keep to the language of the mind and heart in unity.

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

I would speak the language that will set a good example in this life. I would turn aside from anger and attack and be gentle. I know that I can never set a good example of the things that I believe if I am “venting.” There is never any good reason to raise one’s voice in anger. There will always be regret afterwards.

Be with me as I seek to find the language that will attract my brothers and sisters to me, but not an attraction that will fuel my ego. I seek to have the ego wither away, and I seek to live in peace and gentleness all the days of my life.

Will You be there for me, as I make this resolution?

Amen.

You Have Not Forgotten Thought System of the Christ-Self

“What we are doing now is much like translating the learned thought system of the ego into the thought system of the Christ-self that you but think you have forgotten. As you dwell in the house of truth, if you do not resist unlearning the ego thought system, the thought system of your true Self will quite simply return to your memory. (Treatises of A Course of Love: Treatise on the Personal Self, 10.4)”

Affirmation: “I would remember the thinking of my true Self today.”

Reflections:

1 – Don’t Resist Unlearning of Ego

The passage for today is very reassuring, in that we learn that we can just not resist unlearning the thought system of the ego, and the forgotten memory of the thought system of the Christ-self will reemerge. We have just forgotten what has been buried in us all along. We do not have to struggle to learn something new. The truth has always been present, but the part of ourselves that was the ego just overshadowed our real thinking, the real thinking of our Self.

2 – The Self

Is there a difference between our Self and the Christ-self? No, there is not. I often just say “Self” because in many cases we think we are claiming something that does not belong to us when we say “Christ.” Our ego all too quickly gets involved again, and the ego tells us that we are being arrogant, that we cannot possibly share in the Christ that Jesus himself embodied.

3 – Share

But we can share in this Christ, and we can just gently turn aside from the egoistic thinking that rejects this thought as vainglorious. If we resist the ego, it will only become stronger. So do not resist, but just gently reply, when it “speaks,” with a “no.” This no will silence the ego, and we will be let ever so gently into the communion with God that will assure us that we are on the right track.

4 – Universal Christ

We do not become Jesus, of course. All too often we think that he is the only one who can be Christ. Yet it is not egotistical to claim a universal Christ of which we are a part. The ego will never be a part of this, but we in our Self will be, and this Self is found deep within, where God is. We project the world, but the point of Christ within is the essence of God Himself. And the same is true for all of our brothers and sisters, who are not illusion. Our brothers and sisters are as real as we are, and they too share the Christ that is within us. All is One in this non-dualistic universe(s), and God is One. Ask within if this interpretation can be accepted by you.

5 – Universal Experience

But do not let theology delay you. We are after a universal experience, which is necessary (from A Course in Miracles). The universal experience for today is to recognize that the Christ within is capable of transforming ourselves as well as the world that we perceive. We are on the cusp of a transforming experience when we take to heart the passage for today.

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

I would gently turn aside from the thought system of the ego so that I would easily and peacefully unlearn that thought system. I would learn the thought system of the Christ Self, one that is gained in large part through my heart. Help me to reconcile myself to this twin resolve today.

I would share in the universal experience that is the transformation of all of us from the ego-mind to the Christ-mind. I would delay not. Help me to gently turn aside from all that was unfortunate in the past and to turn gently ahead to a glorious future.

Amen.

An End to Suffering?

pennsylvania-impressionist-impressionism-art-artist-george-gardner-symons-landscape-with-houses-original-size-20-x-25
“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.

The Question of Atonement

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

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

Reflections:

1 – Resurrection

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

2 – The Cross

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

3 – Sacrifice

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

4 – Circumstances of Jesus’s Day

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

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

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

6 – A New Life

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

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

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

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

Amen.

Fill the Emptiness Within

impressionists_03 - pennsylvania“While few of you have ever before reached the emptiness caused by the complete absence of the ego, just as few of you have never felt some sort of absence. All the lessons you have drawn to yourself in your lifetime have worked toward this absence in the hopes of filling the emptiness with the fullness of the truth. (Treatises of A Course of Love: Treatise on the Personal Self, 5.1)”

Affirmation: “I would fill my emptiness with truth.”

Reflections:

1 – Truth

Truth is a slippery concept, but when we follow the truth that Jesus sets forth, we are on solid ground. So many of us think that we have the ultimate truth, so many in our world. And others of us think that the truth expounded by others is actually a pack of lies. Let us try to do better today.

2 – Wait to Be Filled

We are not suffering when we are empty. We are simply waiting to be filled, and filled with the truth as we perceive it. This must include doing no harm to others or to our personal self, however much we may think we perceive that we are right in retaliating for wrongs committed against ourselves.

3 – No Retaliation

We are not right in retaliating, in any sense or at any time. This is something that we must incorporate into our very being, for Jesus says in A Course in Miracles that attack and anger are never justified. This assertion has been much misunderstood, for we have often felt that we must repress and suppress to follow this dictate. Nothing could be farther from the truth. We do sublimate, in that we replace the attack and anger with a higher value. And that higher value always partakes of love, a loving attitude.

4 – Anger and Stress

I never get angry unless I am stressed, and that may be the situation for you as well. So the way to return to a stasis is to calm down, and the way to calm down is frequently prayer. We get quiet, and settle down our overwrought emotions, and we walk a green earth again. There is no better way.

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

I would walk calmly today. I am all too prone to get keyed up when doing many things in this busy world. But quietness gives You to me, and I would have You today.

Guide me to help others in any way that would be good today. Let me love with my whole heart. May my mind settle down and my overwrought emotions grow calm. May my heart speak to my mind, and may my Self speak to both.

Thank You for your help as I walk through this day.

Amen.

Effortless Ease in Learning A Course of Love

monet - sunrise“This is not a self-help course but just the opposite. This course has stated time and time again that you can not learn on your own and that resigning as your own teacher is the only way to learn a new curriculum. This course will not call you to effort of any kind.. . ..It merely calls you to sanity by calling you to let go of illusion in favor of the truth (Treatises of A Course of Love: Treatise on the Personal Self, 4.1)”

Affirmation: “I will resign as my own teacher today.”

Reflections:

1 – Effortful Excursions

Jesus would have us recognize that the many effortful excursions that we have been on in our lives have been diversions. We didn’t recognize the insanity of the illusion in which we find ourselves. So we can not really help ourselves, try as hard as we may. We need guidance from our Self, and this guidance is informed by glimpses of the truth that Jesus is here conveying to us. There is no other valid way to learn.

2 – Not Self-Help

We have often heard that A Course in Miracles is a self-study course. Jesus says categorically that A Course of Love is not a “self-help” course, and I think by implication he would feel the same about ACIM. Self-study is a study of insanity, at least before we have experienced Awakening or enlightenment, or, as called in ACOL, Christ-consciousness.

3 – Read Leisurely

We do not need to be expending effort as we learn now. We read in a leisurely fashion, but always mindful that we are reading something that can change our lives dramatically. ACOL calls for less intensive study than ACIM. It is just not possible to retain the credo if we work at it too hard. Rereading in a leisurely fashion works best. And then the words will engrave themselves on our hearts.

4 – Memorizing Difficult

I have found it frustrating that the words of ACOL do not memorize as easily as the words of ACIM. I think that this has something to do with the fact that ACIM is iambic pentameter blank verse, a form of poetry (except in the very beginning of the Text). But the words of ACOL will be memorized as more time is spent with the volumes. And more time is needed, at least until we reach the 40 Days and 40 Nights of the Dialogues.

5 – Leave Insanity Behind

Let us leave behind our insanity today. We have been lost in illusions, and they have imperiled our way. May the way be smooth from now on. And communion with God will make it so, with Jesus, thus far, as our guide.

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

I would do nothing effortful today, and that blessing will come about because I vow not to plan my day. I will look ahead a couple of hours, but no more. And thus far today, that determination has stood me in good stead.

May we realize that we don’t have to work hard to incorporate the blessings of A Course of Love. We do find that reading ACOL can be easy. We do not have to intensely study, and indeed it is counterproductive to do so. Help me to remember this blessing today.

Be with me throughout the day. May the day go smoothly for my brothers and sisters everywhere, and may the day go smoothly for me as well.

Amen.

The Road to Hell Is Paved with Good Intentions

van gogh - wheatfield with crows“While you continue to see the call of this course as a call to goodness, you will surely fail. (Treatises of A Course of Love: Treatise on the Personal Self, 3.10)”

Affirmation: “Being good is not my ‘goal’ today.”

Reflections:

1 – Good Intentions

Jesus makes it easy on us. We don’t have to make extravagant attempts to be “good” to fulfill his requirements in this course. Why? We would surely fail. Good intentions, we have always been told, are not enough. And it is good intentions that prompt us to be “good” (an interpretation, not stated in ACIM or ACOL).

2 – Failure

Jesus makes the comparison between a failure to stick to a diet and the failure to be consistently good. We always fail to live up to our ideal.

3 – Change

Later on, Jesus says in the Dialogues that we will simply make a decision to change some trait about ourselves, because it is a mistake, and then we will simply see that trait disappear. Thus he does not feel a call to have us seek goodness in and of itself. He is not even calling us to be perfect, which seemed to be a biblical injunction. In ACIM, Jesus points out that he stands at the end of the pathway to correct all mistakes that we could not correct. Let this be enough for us. Jesus will stand by us. He will do for goodness what we cannot do.

4 – No Lament

The certainty of failure as we seek to be “good” is not a cause for lament. It is a statement of fact. And hidden in the assertion is the truth that we do not have to try to be good. This goodness will come about naturally as we walk further along the pathway. Of course, if the ego gets involved, we will fall away from the correct walk. But Jesus also says, further along in this chapter, that the ego is gone now. What a delightful thing to hear!

5 – Reread ACOL

If the ego is indeed gone, we are following Jesus’s way in A Course of Love. Don’t be sure, though. The ego is wily, and sometimes we have to read and reread ACOL to get its message. But get its message we will, and then we are assured a happier walk through the earth.

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

I was not so good yesterday, and so the message for today speaks to me as well as to my readers. Thank You for the timing of this message. It is true, so true, that my good intentions are not enough, for surely that is of the ego, and I will surely fail. May I start each day over when I get on the wrong path. Help the events of my day to stay on an even keel, with nothing going awry.

Thank You for Jesus’s help, even though I struggle with the assertion that he can be anywhere, anytime—just by my call, my unequivocal call.

Be with me so that this day goes better than the one yesterday. And may I learn from my mistakes, never to repeat the same ones. I appreciate that you call my misdeeds just “mistakes,” and not “sins.” I would see nothing attracting in a mistake, and I might be tempted to repeat a sin.

Thank You for the insights that A Course of Love gives to me.

Amen.

You Did Not Separate from God Out of Defiance

[Y]ou believed that every step in the advancement of your separated state was a step away from God and your real Self. This belief was based in logic, but the logic of the illusion in which you believed you chose to separate from God out of defiance and a desire to be one with God no longer. This could not be further from the truth and is the cause of all your suffering, for contained within this belief was the belief that with each successful step toward independence came a corresponding step away from God. (Treatises of A Course of Love: Treatise on the Personal Self, 2.5)”

Affirmation: “I can be independent and yet one with God.”

Reflections:

1 – Fall from Grace

We for a long time have believed, almost in the marrow of our bones, that we fell from grace by willfully separating from God. And that this fall made the suffering which we have known. We have lamented this lapse of ours, this lapse in good judgment, and we have sought to return to God.

2 – More Benign Separation

But might not there be a more benign way to view the separation, seeing it as separation even as it is also seen as ultimately illusory?

3 – Ruth Montgomery

Ruth Montgomery’s Guides told her (in automatic writing) that we were sparks sent out from God to experience all that we might wish to experience, returning eventually to God as enlightened beings who had known what it was to explore. It seems likely to me that this interpretation holds something akin to what Jesus tells us in A Course of Love. Of course, he does not use the same terms, but the concept is very similar.

4 – A Choice by God

In the interpretation which Ruth gave us, we were sent out from God by Himself. He chose for us to depart from Him. We did not fall from grace. We found a way to develop independence and to gain experience of good and evil. This is part of the doctrine of the “fortunate fall.” And so not so unlike traditional theologies of Christianity.

5 – Do Not Lament the Past

Jesus is about to say that we ought not to lament what has transpired in illusion and in the past. We can move forward in the sunlight today. He will be out Guide, until the our own Christ Self steps forth. And our own transformation into Christ-consciousness happens. (Remember that Christ-consciousness is elsewhere called the Awakening–in ACIM–and enlightenment–in Eastern faiths.

6 – Do Not Lament the Separation

So do not lament the separation. But know that it can be overcome without giving up any at all of our treasured independence, as long as that independence is informed by our heart as trusted guidance. As long as the ego-mind is in the ascendancy, we will not trust guidance, and we will seek to use our own judgment to make decisions. By now we have in all likelihood recognized some of the fallacy involved in such thinking, but remnants may still remain. As long as we know that we cannot know all the facts–past, present, and future–in anything at all, we will be led gently to put our faith in a deeper truth available to us, frequently, as intuition.

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

I would pray today, I would pray a great deal. You know that I need to do so. And the blessings that I pray for others, I find, come back to me. While this does not sound very selfless, it is Your way. You bless us in proportion to how much we ask for blessings for others. But this is personal interpretation, or personal experience, and I do not know if it is always Your way.

May I move closer to Christ-consciousness today. I am patient, in my better moments. The glimpses You have given me, the guidance that You give me moment-by-moment, is indeed a joyous happening. And I would wish for my significant others, today, the same joy which I feel. And that joy is great indeed.

Thank You for holding me tightly to Yourself.

Amen.

All that Is Real Is Shared

woman with a cat - renoir“[O]nly with your understanding that all that is real is shared does the ego lose its power. The ego was made from the belief in separation and all that followed from it. Thus your true identity must be re-created from the belief in unity that is inherent in the acceptance that you are a being who exists in relationship. Separation is all that opposes relationship, and the ego is all that opposes your true identity. (Treatises of A Course of Love: Treatise on the Nature of Unity and Its Recognition, 11.7)”

Affirmation: “I will share today, that the ego might die.”

Reflections:

1 – ACIM

These ideas in the passage for today are logical extensions of much in A Course in Miracles. We share with others in relationship, and this creates a unity, for all of us are actually One, with ourselves, with our brothers and sisters, and with God. When we are ready to be in relationship as our foremost endeavor, we are truly ready to give up the ego. In secular terms, this means that we choose cooperation, which is a benign concept, over competition, which is often egoic in nature.

2 – Protective Defense

We try to choose separation from others when we are being particularly protective of ourselves, trying to save ourselves from hurt. This in itself is not bad, but the ramifications are, for to separate from others is to be all alone with the ego. Only the ego wants this separation, and with the separation comes strife, and the ego is strong in strife (from ACIM).

3 – Personal Experience

I was quite retiring and shy as a teenager. And some of this carried over throughout my college years. Finally, finding reference librarianship did much to bring me out of my shell–but discovering A Course in Miracles did even more. We do not need to fear others, to turn inward in a withdrawn way. We do not have to fear others at all, for they have no power over us that we do not give them. We choose what happens to us on some level, though this choosing is not conscious, and we have to be careful that we don’t blame the victim when something bad ensues. The Self/Christ makes these decisions, and that world view is much bigger than anything that the personal self can see.

4 – True Identity

So the ego is all that opposes our true identity. Of course! What more could it be? And when we turn aside from egoic thinking, listening to our heart, we will find our way home. The “journey without distance” (from the Text of ACIM) is completed sooner rather than later. Do not, however, lament if the way still seems long. Brighter days are here as we learn to give up the ego in every way that we perceive. And the knowledge that comes to us from God will ensure that our walk is smooth and our way is well-marked.

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

May I walk a calm way today. I have been overpressing lately, trying to do too much, being on the go all the time. This is no way to live a life. Help me to regroup and to lead a more placid existence.

I would share with others, but not so as to make any others jealous of each other. Especially my significant other needs to know that I am there for him. May I make this clear today, clear to him in a way that is unmistakable.

I would choose to avoid egotistic doings today. May my choices reflect the truth that I try to follow Your guidance. Thank You for the guidance that You have already given me today.

Amen

Abdicate Not Your Own Needs

renoir - lady sewing
“The extent to which you are willing to abdicate your needs in order to attain something is the extent to which your belief in want or lack is revealed. This is the purview of special relationships. (Treatises of A Course of Love: Treatise on the Nature of Unity and Its Recognition, 9.10)”

Affirmation: “If I have a true need, I will seek to satisfy it today.”

Reflections:

1 – Lacks

We do not really have lacks, though we think we do. And these perceived lacks in ourselves are what lead us directly to special relationships, the finding of other people who will fill the need in ourselves, will fill us up with their very nature and personality.

2 – Fallacious Thinking

All of this thinking is fallacious. We do not have needs that go unsatisfied, though we may think that we do. The solution is always with the problem (from A Course in Miracles), and we get an answer virtually immediately, when we still our minds and seek guidance. Our wants are not always satisfied, though, and we confuse wants with needs. In A Course of Love, Jesus indicates that our very wants may be fulfilled.

3 – Being Compliant

We think that we have to abdicate our needs to get people to love us. We think that we need to be very compliant in a relationship, to please the other at the cost of our own peace of mind, and to long for a joining that is unnatural. We are not meant to look to others for our fulfillment, though we do need others, in relationship, to lead us to salvation. This is the way of the brother’s relationship to us in ACIM.

4 – Holy Relationships

We need, as I have said repeatedly in this blog, to transform our special relationships into holy. This is a pivotal point in A Course in Miracles, and the idea is carried over in A Course of Love. When we have all holy relationships, we will not seek to “please” in order to curry favor. We will know that we are loved just as we are.

5 – Our Heartfelt Wish

And is this not what we have wished all along?

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

I ask You for a good day, a day in which my holy relationships remain holy, and I do not seek to please in order to be loved. This desire to please is based in part on conditional love, and I would know unconditional love from Self and others. I must also give it, though. Giving and receiving are necessary in both directions.

May I be for my brothers and sisters what they need today, but not in an effort to please them, to be compliant so that they will love me. I have long sought to be somewhat passive, at times, in relationships, because I have been surrounded by strong personalities. But I would fulfill my needs in holy relationships, and for this I do not need to make excessive efforts to please.

Amen

What Changes and What Does Not

Edgar_Degas_painting_Degas_ - riders on horses
“It was said often within this course that the truth does not change. Thus the truth of who you are has not changed and you are as you were created. Form and behavior are, however, subject to change, as are your expressions of who you are. This distinction must be fully realized here in order for you to accept the truth of who you are and to come to an acceptance of the unchangeable nature of this truth. . .This is the final acceptance that you have ‘found’ and that you have been found. (Treatises of A Course of Love: Treatise on the Nature of Unity and Its Recognition, 8.6)”

Affirmation: “I must realize that I am as God created me.”

Reflections:

1 – I Am Still as God Created Me
This passage for today takes several avenues to support the assertion in A Course in Miracles that we are still as God created us (from the Workbook of ACIM). We are still innocent beings, though we ourselves have trouble accepting this. We see our mistakes and call them “sins.” Yet we will correct mistakes, and trying to call those mistakes sins causes those thoughts and actions to cling to us. We would not have it so.

2 – Truth

The concept of “truth” is sometimes seen as relative, but Jesus here in his channeled work, ACOL, declares that truth is immutable. Our abilities to recognize that truth is not always present, though. All of us see truth somewhat differently, because our personalities are quite distinct (from the Manual for Teachers of ACIM). But the truth of who we are has, as I have indicated in the first paragraph above, has not changed in all of our time as children of God. But our forms and our behavior have changed, and for this we can be thankful. Soon, we hope, we will occupy the elevated Self of form, and with that change our behavior will undergo a sea change. We can only be happy for this change.

3 – Forms Change

If we wish our forms to change, we must realize that aging does change our forms. And this change is not to be lamented. Each age of life has its own benefits, even when we go through times of illness. Learning takes place, and for this we can be grateful.

4 – Behavior Changes

Our behavior will change also as we come closer to Awakening or Christ-consciousness. We will no longer be concerned with egoic aspects of our being, and the ego will gradually diminish. For this too we can be grateful.

5 – Guidance

Let us simply ask today for guidance on what the truth really is about our lives. We will not be let down. Our guidance from the Self, inspired by God, will show us the way.

6 – Be Grateful

And for this we can be grateful as well.

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

I thank You for my form and my behavior have changed over time. I do not lament what the passage of time has wrought, for I recognize that my wisdom has increased, my truth has increased. And my behavior is not so prone any longer to attack and anger. For this I am grateful.

May I reach out to others today, if my brothers and sisters are ready to hear what I can say.

May the day go smoothly. I need for this day to go smoothly, because stress takes me away from You, and I would stay close to You all day long.

Amen

Receiving Does Not Imply Lack

degas - dancer“You who are beginning to realize that you have much to give, realize that you have as much to receive and that receiving does not imply that you are lacking! (Treatises of A Course of Love: Treatise on the Nature of Unity and Its Recognition<, 7.18)”

Affirmation: “I do both give and receive today.”

Reflections:

1 – Trite Expression?
Giving and receiving as one has been so much talked about and written about as to be almost trite. Yet giving and receiving are very profound terms, which we must understand if we are to walk the path to salvation. Especially with A Course of Love. We are told repeatedly that we are in unity and relationship in this world, whether or not our ego still reigns. (And we are told that the ego’s reign for us is well nigh over.) Being in unity as one, but in relationship to the many, mean that giving and receiving occur naturally. It is what we are meant to do constantly in our world.

2 – Give More?

We often think that we ought to give more than we receive, though we pay lip service to the concept that giving and receiving are equal. And in today’s passage, Jesus reminds us that to receive does not mean that we are lacking. He even uses an exclamation point at the close of the sentence to emphasize his point!

3 – Lacking?

Why do we fear that we are lacking? What is the fear of being in lack so threatening to us? I think it is because of our own guilt that somehow we don’t measure up. This is an error, as we are still as God created us (from A Course in Miracles). But we are prone to disbelieve this assertion that ACIM makes, primarily because we can see, internally, so many mistakes and so much lack–as we perceive lack.

4 – An Ego-Driven Thought

All of this second guessing is ego-driven. And we are told in ACOL that we are turning aside from the ego. So we need to accept the truth that guilt is not honest, that we are not being honest with ourselves when we struggle with this complex of ours. We need to take Jesus’s word that we are not lacking! He has even told us that we are The Accomplished, though I doubt that many of us yet believe this. Any vestige of ego could not believe it, and that vestige thinks that we are wrong to contemplate such a joy! Keep in mind that the ego does not mean us well, even though we made it and we have been told that it will not be destroyed (from ACIM).

5 – Joy

We need to think today of ways that giving and receiving can be joyously felt. We need to offer our service to others, even as we accept what others do for us.

6 – Unity

Therein are our brothers and sisters one with us, in unity.

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

Thank You for being with me today, as the day has not particularly begun well. I would start anew and make the whole better. Thank You for the guidance in A Course in Miracles that tells me that I can start a day over just anytime.

May I give at least as much as I receive, though I think I recognize that there may be differences in giving vs. receiving on any given day. Be with me today to let me do for others what they need. And may I especially touch my significant others. I would offer to them the comfort and solace that they need, and I would strive not to be overly needy myself.

Amen

Considering Miracles and Time

degas - ballerinas“The recognition that you are already accomplished is a condition of your recognition of the state of unity. It is a recognition that you exist in unity outside of the pattern of time. Miracles create an out-of-pattern time interval. Thus living in a state of miracle-readiness is the creation of a new reality outside of the pattern of ordinary time. (Treatises of A Course of Love: Treatise on the Nature of Unity and Its Recognition, 6.9)”

Affirmation: “I will live in miracle-readiness today.”

Reflections:

1 – Miracle-Readiness

What does it mean to live in “miracle-readiness”? First, it assumes that we believe that miracles are not only possible, but likely, and likely to happen to us. This sometimes takes a giant leap of faith, though neither A Course in Miracles nor A Course of Love say very much about faith being required. When even once, one has experienced a miracle and recognized and remembered it, then the way is smoothed for more to follow. We don’t need to ask for a miracle that we wouldn’t recognize at high noon. But we do need to ask for miracles that we would recognize.

2 – Outside of Time

We are outside of time when we are in miracle-readiness. In A Course in Miracles, Jesus indicates that he will adjust time so that we can work miracles that he himself has chosen. So this is an example of A Course of Love following A Course in Miracles, with the same explanation–just in different words.

3 – Misguided Miracles

Why can we not choose our own miracles to perform? Consciously selected miracles are apt to be misguided (from ACIM). We do not know enough to know when to do any specific miracle. We would try to judge, and we are trying to leave judgment behind completely, because we don’t see the whole picture. In ACIM, we leave judgment to the Holy Spirit. In ACOL, we leave judgment aside, because we are following guidance from the Christ Spirit within. In ACIM, we are in the time of the Holy Spirit. In ACOL, we are in the time of Christ.

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

Thank You for guiding me to consider miracles today. You want me to see them as natural and inevitable, once I am following Your way. I know that miracles are outside time, but I do not always recognize the miracles that I do encounter. Often I overlook what You have given to me. May this pattern of events change for the better. I would recognize miracles given to me, and I would perform miracles that guidance show me to perform.

I do not want to doubt the validity of miracle-readiness. I do not want the ego to get involved, for this would mean great calamity. I thank You that You indicate in inspired writing that I can indeed perform miracles, under guidance that is devoid of ego.

I ask for Your help today to move beyond conventional wisdom to a knowledge of higher realms that includes a knowledge of my place in Your scheme of things, Your place in miracles.

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

ACIM and ACOL Linked

monet-harbour-at-argenteuilA Course in Miracles and A Course of Love work hand-in-hand because the change of thinking taught within A Course in Miracles was a change of thinking about your self. It attempted to dislodge the ego-mind that has provided you with an identity that you but think you are. A Course of Love then followed in order to reveal to you who you truly are. While you continue to act within the world as who you think you are rather than as who you are, you have not integrated these two pieces of learning. (Treatises of A Course of Love: Treatise on the Nature of Unity and Its Recognition, 4.3)”

Affirmation: “I will follow ACIM and ACOL teaching today.”

Reflections:

1 – Linkage Outlined

This passage for today links the two works, A Course in Miracles and A Course of Love. If we can believe Mari and our own analysis (and most of us can), Jesus followed ACIM with ACOL for his own reasons. Obviously he had more to say to us. The dislodging of the ego in ACIM did not leave us satisfied, though many have not yet discovered A Course of Love and do not know where to turn next. It is especially disheartening to know that many continue seeking, though in ACOL Jesus makes it clear that we do not need to continue on our search. We may not fully realize what The Accomplished means, but we would like to try. We can cease our search, certain that the combination of mind and heart into wholeheartedness will not lead us astray.

2 – Ego vs. Christ Self

We read A Course in Miracles to dislodge the ego. But we must replace the ego with something, and that something is our Christ Self, the inner Self who blends with God to allow expression through physicality in this world. A Course of Love asked us to give up the ascendancy of the mind, which so often wants proof that the heart does not need to have. The heart just knows within. We do not need proof of God, for example. Inwardly, when we listen to our heart, we know that there is Something beyond this world.

3 – Duality vs. Oneness

We do not need to be scared of the ego. It is simply a part of our belief about ourselves (from A Course in Miracles). It is the part that saw duality as the way of this world. But we are One with God. Duality does not exist. Good and evil are misnomers, bur all is good–not in illusions (as in this world), but in truth. We do not need duality, or opposites, to function effectively. The mind thinks in terms of black and white, good and evil, but when the mind is thinking in these terms, the ego is in ascendancy. We are told in ACOL that the ego will not be destroyed, because we made it, but that we will willingly turn aside from all that it represents. Then we will be ready for the Christ Self to move into ascendancy, and we will know Awakening (at the time that God decrees).

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

Thank You for leading me farther along the pathway. Thanks You for these two trilogies. The latest revelations from Jesus are indeed sweet, and studying both of them has improved my life dramatically, in part, because my interior monologue has changed–attracting different things. I can change what I choose to think about. That much is under my control, though still I can let my mind wander. I would not let my mind wander today.

Help the day to go well. May the words of these two trilogies penetrate to the innermost parts of my mind, and may my mind be joined to my heart in reverence to and acknowledgment of You.

Amen.

Without Struggle or Effort

Dejeuner-canotiers - renoir“Ego desires cause one to think of a grand piano. Thoughts joined in unity hear music. Ego desires cause one to think of an elaborately framed painting. Thoughts joined in unity see beauty. You are used to thinking that if you do not have a tangible goal, such as that of music lessons or the purchase of a piano, you will never reach the goals associated with those tangible steps. Thoughts joined in unity create without goals or planning, without effort or struggle. (Treatises of A Course of Love: Treatise on the Nature of Unity and Its Recognition, 1.13)”

Affirmation: “I would hear music today.”

Reflections:

1 – Effortless Thinking

We perk up when someone, especially someone like Jesus, tells us that there is a way to live without struggle or effort. If we join our thoughts in unity, we will know that blessing of effortless thinking. But what does “joining our thoughts in unity” really mean?

2 – Unity

A Course of Love indicates that if we share our thoughts, our deepest thoughts with our Christ/Self, deep within our minds, and we share our thoughts with God, and with our brothers and sisters, then we are living in unity (an interpretation of ACOL). We are also living in relationship. In unity, the One is emphasized; in relationships, the differentiated mass of One is emphasized. The One and the differentiated mass are both of God, and there is truly no difference between them. There is just a difference in the way we are thinking and talking of them.

3 – Christ-Consciousness

May we hear music today. May we not struggle to pay for the piano, or to take music lessons, but let us rest in the assurance that all will come to us when we are ready. And that especially includes Christ-consciousness.

4 – Planning

We are not instructed to form comprehensive goals or to plan rigidly for the future. We do not, according to A Course in Miracles, need to plan at all, unless we are instructed, at the time, by the Holy Spirit. ACOL goes a step farther, for this work tries to tell us that the impetus to know what to do comes from the inner Self/Christ. We just know. And we are the better for it.

5 – Just “Knowing”

Just “knowing” is tricky at first. How do we just know? Largely this comes from feelings, or intuition. We do not judge what to do, because we are incapable of seeing the whole picture (from the Manual of A Course in Miracles). We cannot know all factors that impinge upon past events, circumstances, or goals; we cannot see all facets of the present; and we certainly cannot discern the future without help from God. We need to realize that the way of God is, in fact, easily distinguishable once we become attuned to listening to intuition. Of course, there are other ways that guidance comes to us, and I have an article in this blog entitled, “The Gift of Guidance,” which may shed some light on the question. (Search the blog under gift and guidance and hales.)

6 – Picture Frames

If we choose to give up elaborately weaving picture frames, we will know more. This image, by the way, is a direct correlation with one from A Course in Miracles. We need to realize that a picture, lightly framed and in light, will show the best image (from the Text of ACIM). This we can look at in certain fashion. And for this we do not need elaborate goal-setting and planning.

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

I would see the picture today, not the picture frame. And I would hang all the pictures of my life in slender frames, framed in light. I would turn aside from jewel-encrusted, massive picture frames that obscure the real point–the picture itself. Thank You for this lovely image from A Course in Miracles.

May I walk through life in a relaxed, happy fashion. This is within my power, when You are with me, and I listen to You as You guide me. I would be finished with fear. As soon as fear crops up, let me turn it over to You and be done with it. The day is worth rejoicing. Thank You.

Amen.

Peaceful Resting Place

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“You may well be feeling a sense of relief in having learned that who you are right now is a being of perfection, and you may find in this a somewhat peaceful resting place to dwell in for a time. (Treatises of A Course of Love: Treatise on the Nature of Unity and Its Recognition, 1.4)”

Affirmation: “I would rest in peace today.”

Reflections:

1 – Reassuring

Jesus is very, very reassuring to us who are reading this Treatise today. He says that we, regardless of our mistakes and regardless of how much we still would like to right about ourselves, are in actuality “beings of perfection.” This phrase refers to the Self/Christ who is within, a truth that he makes clear in other places in A Course of Love trilogy. Our personal (or “little”) selves partake of the ego, and know not of perfection, but their time is limited. The personal self will be lifted up into Christ-consciousness, and we will then make choices about which personality traits we want to retain. If, for example, we want to be free of anger, we will simply resolve so to be, and this will come to pass.

2 – Choose How to Be

The last assertion above may sound farfetched, but Jesus makes this point clearly elsewhere in ACOL. We choose how we want to be, and the lesser parts of ourselves just drop away. We are perfect at our deepest, inward state. We drop off the chaff that clings to our outer selves when we move into Christ-consciousness. We may drop off the chaff gradually, or there may be a sudden transformation, with a great sudden lessening of suffering. Either way, we will move into a better world.

3 – Too Long Fear-Ridden

We need this “somewhat peaceful resting place.” We have lived too long in a fear-ridden world, believing ourselves to be inferior beings before God. We have thought too little of ourselves. We are, even as our personal selves, children of God. And He loves us in all of personal imperfections. The inner core is still as He created us, perfect before Himself. And it is this truth that Jesus wishes us to dwell upon, in peace, today.

4 – Beings of Perfection

We have not had a sense of relief about ourselves. We have both thought too highly of ourselves (as the ego thinks), and too little (as the Christ/Self thinks). We have felt ourselves to be lesser beings, and here Jesus is telling us that we are beings of perfection. Quite a difference! And if the ego is still viable in us, the ego will, temporarily, have a field day. But we will be dashed downward, for the ego takes away as soon as it gives.

5 – Respite

Let us enjoy this respite. We have not come as far as we think. Jesus will guide us by the hand to a better and a new life.

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

I thank You for this peaceful resting place, before we go on farther along the pathway. I am not perfect, and it is reassuring to know that I don’t have to be. I can make up my mind to change the personality traits that I don’t like, and in a miraculous way those traits will be changed.

Thank You for the blessings of this day, and there are many. Thank You for holding my hand when the going has been tough, and I ask that the going be smooth now. I depend on Your presence for my better feelings.

Amen.

No Idle Thoughts

1873 Dance School - degas
“There is no more self-contradictory concept than that of ‘idle thoughts.’ What gives rise to the perception of a whole world can hardly be called idle. Every thought you have contributes to truth or to illusion; either it extends the truth or it multiplies illusions. You can indeed multiply nothing, but you will not extend it by doing so. (W-16)”

Affirmation: “May I stop my mind wandering today.”

Reflections:

1 – Mind Wandering

I have been guilty of mind wandering, and this mind wandering does form illusions that, on some level, have a form of their own. These are idle thoughts that are actually not “idle” at all. We need to stop such displays whenever they occur. Just saying “Stop!” can do more than might be thought.

2 – Essence of Salvation

Jesus would not have us destroy our good mind with images of illusions. We live in a dream, at least until the real world is seen, but to us this world is quite real already. How can we navigate through this world best? We need to ask for guidance. We cannot do it alone, nor should we. The best advice that Jesus gives is included in the Manual, when he recommends giving up judgment to follow the guidance that comes to us. This alone will save us. It is the essence of salvation.

3 – Misuse of Time

Perhaps we all might recognize that mind wandering and “idle” thoughts are a misuse of our good time. We need to live well in this world, and we usually only succeed in scaring ourselves when we indulge in such fantasies. May we drop this foolishness from our repertoire of emotions today.

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

Thank You for guiding me to the understanding that following Your guidance is the only way to live a life well. And I do try, though often I fall on my face. Help me to pick myself up and try again. Always to try again.

May I understand and act on the guidance that comes to me as it unfolds. May I never substitute ego-oriented thoughts, emotion-drive thoughts, instead of what is really best for myself as well as everyone I touch. May egoic thought die in me. Thank You for having the patience to show me the way when I am capricious and headstrong. Such attitudes have no place in my communion with You. I know this, and I pray to act upon this knowledge today and every day.

Amen.

Miracles

cezanne - jas de bouffan - pool
“Ask me which miracles you should perform. This spares you needless effort, because you will be acting under direct communication. The impersonal nature of the miracles is an essential ingredient, because it enables me to direct its application, and under my guidance miracles lead to the highly personal experience of revelation. A guide does not control but he does direct, leaving it up to you to follow. (T-1.III.4)”

Affirmation: “I will ask what miracles to perform today.”

Reflections:

1 – Selecting Miracles to Perform

This passage for today is a return to A Course in Miracles, and we will focus on ACIM for the next several days. In this early passage in the Text, Jesus is asserting his authority as our guide. He tells us that we ought simply to ask (internally) what miracles we ought to perform, and we will be told. Elsewhere we are told that consciously selected miracles are apt to be misguided, and so it is necessary to follow his guidance. Then, we are also told, we will be led into experiences of revelation.

2 – Revelation

Others will not understand our experiences of revelation, should we try to describe these experiences. They are very personal to us, in the same way that dream symbols are frequently unique to ourselves (at least according to Jung). But this is not solely an illusion, as dreams as seen to be in ACIM. The miracle still is of perception, and thus of the personal self, and because it is of perception, the miracle will not last (an ACIM tenet).

3 – Perception vs. Knowledge

But revelation is never defined as being of perception, though whether or not it is might be open to question (an interpretation, not stated in ACIM). Revelation reveals the end to us, the end that I believe A Course of Love spells out. We are heading beyond the personal or “little” self (ruled by the ego), and toward the Self/Christ, within, who will guide us once we are awakened (living in Christ-consciousness). Revelation, being intensely personal, could not be described adequately, even if we tried. Visions or hallucinations may be seen as miracles, and they too do not last, for they are perceptual.

4 – Unrecognized Miracles

Most miracles will, at first, not be recognized as such (an interpretation, not stated in ACIM). Others may benefit from miracles that we do about which we have been totally unaware. We will just sense that there is a right action that we ought to take, we will take it, and others will benefit. We ourselves will benefit as well. And, later on, we will look back and proclaim, “That was a miracle!”

5 – Salvation

The way of salvation is indeed miraculous.

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

I ask You and Jesus what miracles to perform today. May I follow guidance always, never trying to do my personal will alone–for this would be misguided all too often. I would love the ones whom I see, with whom I make contact.

Thank You for this interlude of peace. May the peace extend to other times, other places. I am aware of feeling intensely grateful for my many blessings. You have been extraordinarily gentle with me as I have walked through this lifetime. May my future smooth out even more. I have need for harmony and joy as I walk ahead. May these blessings come to me, as well as to others whom I encounter.

Thank You for leading me to understand more fully about miracles. I would work miracles today, those that You and Jesus indicate, and I would do so in a joyous spirit. I have the intuition that indeed this prayer will be answered, and answered today.

Amen.

Peace

“Peace, in whatever way you find it, in whatever expression it takes, no matter what words you use to describe it, is your answer to God and God’s answer to you. Peace is the inheritance I left you. Peace of body, mind and heart. Peace is the realm of miracles, the condition of the wholehearted, the prerequisite to the art of thought, the description of heaven, the abode of Christ. Peace has come to you and you to Peace. (Treatises of A Course of Love: Treatise on the Art of Thought, 10.14)”

Affirmation: “Peace today.”

Reflections:

1 – Rest

Jesus leaves us in a Treatise on the Art of Thought with a lovely expression of what peace really means. We need to read through the passage again and yet again, and then rest in the peace that the very words instill in us.

2 – Silence

There is little to say. Let us contemplate these beautiful words, and with these words in our minds, let us just be silent.

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

Thank You for the Treatise on the Art of Thought. I do believe that Jesus channeled the A Course of Love, and I hope that I am not wrong about that. I do not want to mislead anyone. Thank You for my readership on this blog.

Be with me today as I live Your peace. And may my brothers and sisters also live in peace.

Amen.

Does God See Suffering?

cezanne.compotier-pitcher-fruit_large
“This is what has been meant by the many references that have been made to God not seeing suffering. God exists with you in peace. When you feel peace, you feel the Peace of God. There is no other peace. There is no other God. Whether you believe it now or not, I assure you, within the Peace of God is all the joy of what you have known as the human experience and none of the sorrow. (Treatises of A Course of Love: Treatise on the Art of Thought, 10.8)”

Affirmation: “God is with me in peace.”

Reflections

1 – Personal Interpretation

My interpretation to the assertion that God does not see suffering is that, to Him, what He sees he reinterprets, seeing the pain not as suffering, but as a call for help. I think that he always recognizes a call for help. There is a difference of opinion among students/teachers of A Course in Miracles in whether or not God is outside the illusion in which we are immersed, and thus does not know about us. This idea would say that God has sent us out to play, as children, and He does not care what games we play, because He knows that all our the games that we play are dreams, maya, or illusions.

2 – God

I feel, based on what I have experienced, that God is right here, knowing about every part of our experience. He does not become perturbed (for that is a perception) about our trials; he just acts to give us comfort in the midst of them. I have felt such peace, in my better moments of prayer, that I have no doubt that I have touched the edge of God’s garment (a metaphor). To live without thinking that God counts the very hairs of our head would be a demoralizing way for me, personally, to live. And we are promised in the New Testament that the very hairs of our head are numbered.

3 – Part of God

Of course, A Course in Miracles and A Course of Love are non-dualistic systems of thought, and so we are recognized as a part of God. He is within all of creation, but all is One, and so this is not really a pantheistic belief, one in which there are gods in everything. The fact of the One, and the belief that the One is totally in each part, is to my mind best exemplified by a hologram. From within, we project the world without. There is nothing outside of us (from the Text of ACIM).

4 – Theology

These are mostly theological studies, and I hasten to add that Jesus fears that theology will divide us. He says in ACIM that there can never be a universal theology, but a universal experience is not only possible but necessary. Take nothing unto yourself in these ideas, the ideas not specified in ACIM and ACOL, unless they find a place in your heart.

5 – A Comfort

Let however you view God be a comfort to you.

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

Thank You for Your reassurance to me that You are right here with us. This is my personal belief, and I realize that others may view You differently. But I feel Your presence as an almost constant, and so I do not have, ever, to feel alone.

Be with me for me to turn aside from attack and anger always. I do not need to make my significant others pained by my reactions. May I live the peaceful life that leaves out stress, for I never become angry unless I am stressed.

May I live with You in harmony today. And may I make this resolution for each day in my future.

Amen.

Christ-Consciousness

monet - iris4

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

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

Reflections:

1 – A Glorious Promise

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

2 – Perfection?

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

3 – Body of Christ

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

4 – Eckhart Tolle

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

5 – Small Strides Daily

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

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

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

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

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

Amen.

Elevated Self of Form

sainte-victoire-lauves - cezanne2“[W]e are talking now, in a certain sense, of an elevation of form.  While this is actually an elevation beyond form, it must begin in the reality of where you think you are.  In other words, it must begin with form.  You cannot await some changed state but must create the changed state you await.  (Treatises of A Course of Love:  Treatise on the Art of Thought, 9.3)”

Affirmation:  “I would choose an elevation of form today.”

Reflections:

1 – Do Not Give Up the Physical

Here Jesus is introducing the concept that will be elaborated upon later as the “elevated Self of form.”  We do not give up the physical, but we elevate it.  A Course in Miracles, in contrast, downplays the physical as illusory and perhaps therefore as less important to us.  Yet even though we live in a dream (until we experience the real world), the dream seems very, very real to us.  And Jesus is aware of that, very much so, in A Course of Love.

2 – Living Christ-Consciousness

The two works, ACIM and ACOL, have a continuity, though.  The elevation is actually an elevation “beyond form,” and that is the state that is described more frequently in ACIM.  We are told that we will experience the real world only briefly (but we are not told what “briefly” means) before God will reach down and lift us up in Awakening.  Awakening in ACOL is called Christ-consciousness, but the concept is the same.  And we are let in ACOL to see that we can live Christ-consciousness on this plane as the elevated Self of form.

3 – The Body

What a blessing this is!  We are all too happy with our physical bodies, and we are not so sure that we want heaven if we have to give them up.  (There are exceptions to this idea among human beings.)

4 – We Create the Change

We are told that we must create this changed state.  We do not wait for something to happen to us, but we are conscious co-creators with God in welcoming the elevated Self.  In ACIM, the word is that we wait, quietly, for God to act.  There appears to be a change, possibly because of our evolution, in what ACOL teaches.  We are needed to hold ourselves in readiness, but we are also to act when we see what we are to do.  And Jesus is spelling out what we are to do in the subsequent pages of the trilogy of A Course of Love (including the Treatises and the Dialogues).

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

I would create the elevated Self of form sooner rather than later.  I realize that perhaps I can do something, that because of progress in time with A Course of Love, I am able to effect some change.  Help me to understand if I am, instead, to leave everything to You.

Be with me today as I walk through this world.  The elevated Self of form will heal me from anything that is currently wrong.  Thank You in advance for this blessing.

Amen.

Mary

rouen cathedral

“Illusion is the death you need but arise from.  Arise and awaken to your resurrected self!  There is no longer a god-head to follow into paradise.  Take not the example of any of these and know instead the example of woman, of Mary, Mother of God.  (Treatises of A Course of Love:  Treatise on the Art of Thought, 8.9)”

Affirmation:    “What would Mary do?”

Reflections:

1 – Mary in ACOL

Jesus does not mention Mary in A Course in Miracles.  But she plays a pivotal role in A Course of Love.  She is said to emphasize the life of “being” as opposed to the more active life of Jesus, which was “doing” (from ACOL).

2 – The God-Head

I think that the description in the passage of the god-head is meant to encourage us not to see God as an external figure who will usher us, after we die, into heaven (if we, presumably, have so merited).  These ideas are partially derived from traditional Christianity, which has a theology of a God Who stands outside His creation, His handiwork.

3 – ACIM and ACOL Differ

A Course in Miracles and A Course of Love are different in philosophy.  We are all enclosed in God’s umbrella Self.  There is nothing outside.  Indeed, as in a hologram, there is nothing outside ourselves (the latter from the Text of ACIM).  For the whole is in each part.

4 – Theology

But, again, do not let theology delay you.  If these ideas feel foreign to you, you do not have to believe them to experience the value of A Course in Miracles and A Course of Love.

5 – Mary

Mary incorporated in herself the more passive elements of God, the “being” rather than the “doing.”  She gave birth to Jesus, and nowhere in A Course in Miracles or A Course of Love does Jesus deny the Virgin Birth.  Yet we are not required to take any particular beliefs that are theological unto ourselves if we have doubts.  We are encouraged that Jesus takes us where we are, and guiding us by holding our hands, he leads us onward.

6 – Mari Perron

Mary is a great icon of the Roman Catholic faith.  Her mention is ACOL may in part have been that Jesus channeled the trilogy through Mari Perron, who is herself Catholic.  As with all channeled works, Jesus speaks first to the one who is receiving the material.  But Helen Schucman, who scribed A Course in Miracles, was also Catholic (though Jewish), and Jesus does not mention Mary in ACIM.  Perhaps we are ready to see men and women as equally important to the furtherance of salvation.  And so Mary takes her place, in ACOL, beside Jesus.

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

May I spend much time today just “being” instead of doing.  May I reflect on the part that Mary played in the life of Jesus, and may I learn from her.

Be with me today through thick and thin.  You have always been there for me, even when I sensed nothing of Your presence.  I would sense Your presence today.  May I walk in Your way, as always.

Amen.

Tiny, Mad Idea Undone

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

Affirmation:  “I would choose life today.”

Reflections:

1 – Resurrection Ended Separation

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

2 – Christ Self

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

3 – A Resurrected Life

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

4 – Miracle Readiness

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

5 – Theology

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

6 – A Universal Experience

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

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

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

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

Amen.

Time of Second Coming of Christ Is Here

renoir - crowd scene

“I [Jesus] have said that contrast is a favored teaching device of the Holy Spirit.  But I have not yet said that the time of the Holy Spirit is ending even though I have stated that the time of the second coming of Christ is here.  (Treatises of A Course of Love:  Treatise on the Art of Thought, 7.4)”

Affirmation:  “I welcome the time of the second coming of Christ.”

Reflections:

1 – Guidance in a New Era

This passage will be of especial interest to students of A Course in Miracles, for ACIM was focused on following the Holy Spirit for guidance, very specific guidance in daily life.  The Holy Spirit was defined as the Universal Inspiration (from ACIM).  How do we get guidance in this new era?

2 – Holy Spirit

I think that we look to the Christ within, the Self/Christ that is one with God.  This Self can be misunderstood by our personal (or “little”) self, but if we are vigilant, we will choose aright when we look within.  If we listen to our hearts and minds in merger for wholeheartedness, we will not feel bereft to hear that the time of the Holy Spirit is ending.  He was with us for 2,000 years, beginning with Pentecost (described in the New Testament).  His role, Jesus seems to be saying, is ending because we have moved beyond Him.

3 – Second Coming of Christ

When the second coming of Christ is upon us, we will see and know much that we only dimly recognize now.  We will be able to contrast the past with the present, and we will welcome a future that is better in all respects to what preceded it.  We will love with a greater love, and we will respond from a full heart.  Our brothers and sisters will truly be soul mates–all of us (an interpretation, not stated in ACOL).

4 – A Welcome

Let us welcome the time of the second coming of Christ, even though, of course, we do not as yet fully understand what such a time can bring us.  The contrast between the old and the new will be instructive to us.

5 – Better World

And we will live in a better world.  A heaven on earth.

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

Thank You for the assurance that the time of the Second Coming of Christ is upon us, though nowhere does Jesus promise that this means a physical return.  He is silent on that question.  And so we must wonder:  Will the Second Coming be metaphorical, or will it be a fleshly being?

I do not have to torture myself with these questions.  The Answer will be as right as the question.  

May all of us come to understand, as time goes by, what the Second Coming really means, and may we thank You for that understanding.

Amen.

Miracle-Mindedness

impressionism- manet

“[W]hat happens when this oneness is accomplished is that divine memories arise to replace perception.  This is miracle-mindedness.  The accomplishment of this state of being is what you are here for.  It is your return to your Self.  It heralds the return of heaven through the second coming of Christ, the energy that will bridge the two worlds.  (Treatises of A Course of Love:  Treatise on the Art of Thought, 6.9)”

Affirmation:  “I seek oneness today.”

Reflections:

1 – Divine Memories

There is much of importance summarized in this short passage for today.  We do want divine memories to replace perception, for divine memories include memories of the real world, and the real world is not one seen through perception.  Perception is always inaccurate, to one degree or another.  It is true that miracles themselves are perceptual (from A Course in Miracles), but they are the highest form of perception.  And when we have reached miracle-mindedness as a constant state, we will know our Self/Christ.  And we will embody the elevated Self of form.  We will have reached Christ-consciousness.  And heaven will be with us, for which we do not have to die.

2 – Promises

These are genuine promises made in the Treatises of A Course of Love.  And when believed, these promises are enormously liberating.  We know that we can experience heaven on earth, even before we in fact do experience it.  We also see snatches, glimpses, of heaven on earth before this state is continuously experienced.

3 – Time of Christ

We are, according to the trilogy of ACOL, in the time of the second coming of Christ.  The books never identify if there is to be a physical embodiment of Jesus again.  The spiritual entity of Jesus is with us, though, for certain.  He comes in response to one unequivocal call, a statement from A Course in Miracles that I have often quoted in this blog.  I have found it to be true.  Not that I have seen a vision, but that I have experienced the calm that comes from imagining that Jesus is near.  And does he not immediately calm the heart as the first step to all healing?  Distraught people do not usually believe that healing is possible, and belief in healing is necessary, if we can believe the New Testament, and I believe that we can.

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

I would replace my perceptual memories today with divine memories.  This is a step toward the sustaining of Christ-consciousness.  And You are there for me, as is Jesus.  Never let doubts come to me.  May I have no dark night of the soul.  And, if trouble comes, may I always know to Whom to turn–You.

We are living in the time of Christ.  This is a great blessing.  This world does not seem yet to recognize this, for this world is very troubled.  But the healing of our world will come, and I believe sooner than we think.

Be with us today for a good day.  I ask this so often, because a string of pearls, like good days, is a beauty to behold.  Help me to know Your guidance today, and to follow it unflinchingly.

Amen.

The Value of Prayer

pissarro-montmartre-night“Prayer is but reproducing and recollecting a divine memory and divine memory cannot help but produce a divine outcome.  Said in another way, prayer reproduces the truth and allows the truth to exist as it is.  Prayer does this because it is the act of consciously choosing union.  (Treatises of A Course of Love:  Treatise on the Art of Thought, 6.2)”

Affirmation:  “I will pray often and sincerely today.”

Reflections:

1 – Personal Experience

One of the most important points of the spiritual life, to me, is the matter of prayer.  A favorite professor of mine once, in effect, witnessed to me about prayer.  In answering a question as to how he had come to a given answer, he replied, quietly, “Prayer.”  In truth he was a changed man from what he had been like just a couple of years previously.  The witness of his truth about prayer was a defining moment in my own life.  The exchange constituted a peak experience.

2 – Practice Prayer

So, in my own way, in many years since, I have practiced prayer–deep prayers when I was upset about something, deep prayers in which I felt God’s touch of healing.  A Course in Miracles refers to this action as “communing” with God, and that is, in effect, what I have tried to do in times of crisis.  Prayer rights things.  There is absolutely no emotional charge that can remain, of an upsetting nature, that in my experience is not made better by deep prayer.  And by “deep” prayer, I mean the heartfelt reaching toward God that I imagine the author of The Cloud of Unknowing (an anonymous medieval treatise) had in mind.

3 – Tenderness

Now we find in A Course of Love that prayer is counseled.  Of course, this simply reinforces in my own mind something that I have believed since I was 24, when the encounter with my professor occurred.  The joy of communing with God is exceedingly tender, for He is a gentle God.  His way is not perceived, in prayer, to be a hard or difficult pathway to follow.  His is the way of supreme good sense.  His is the way that I know, in such moments, that I want to walk.

4 – Healing

We cannot all be healed of physical ailments, and there are emotional ones as well that are not healed.  But certainly the physical and emotional ones stand a much better chance of healing if prayer has taken place.  And, in my experience, the emotional difficulties are especially prone to healing by prayer.  There is a calm that settles over one who is in deep prayer.  Sleep comes gently in such a case, if one is saying nightly prayers.  We end the day aright, and we are preparing, in our own way, for a subsequent day that will be started aright.  There is no substitute for the comfort that prayer can and does give.  This I know from personal experience.

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

Thank You for the myriad answers to pray that You have given me over the years.  Prayer works in a very practical sense, and I am not upset by “using” prayer in this way.  Of course, I do not want to use You, but to love You.  And to know that You love me.  Communing with You in deep prayer shows me that love flows in both directions.

Thank You for the experience that I lived through when I was 24, the experience of first learning how valuable prayer could really be.  Thank You that this occurrence happened so early in my life.  I am very grateful for the role that You have played in my life through the deep prayers that I have been led to have over the years.

Be with all of us today.  If hard times come, let us know that we always have You to whom to turn.  And the hard times melt away in the blessing of communing with You.  Thank You especially that healing of emotional issues comes with prayer.  I do not rule out healing of physical issues as well, but it is with the emotional that I am especially grateful today.  When our mind and heart are calm, we can live through any struggle, and we, with Your help, can turn that struggle into ease.

Amen.

Practicing Mindfulness

pissaro - beside river

“The art of thought invites the experience of the new thought system by being willing to replace the old with the new.  While this will at first be a learned activity, and as such have its moments of seeming difficulty, it is learned only in the sense of your practicing the mindfulness that will allow the memory of it to return to you.  (Treatises of A Course of Love:  Treatise on the Art of Thought, 5.13)”

Affirmation:  “May I understand the art of thought today.”

Reflections:

1 – No Longer Struggle

When we practice the art of thought, we do not furrow our brow and study hard.  We read almost as though we were reading a story, for the pleasure.  We learn, therefore, effortlessly.  We no longer struggle to gain concepts.  We let the meaning be shown to us by gentle means.  We do not negate the idea that maybe revelation is showing us the way.  Revelation is not always recognized for what it is.  And A Course of Love indicates that it is with us more and more as we walk further along the pathway to Christ-consciousness.

2 – Gestures of Love

We respond to our outer environment when we practice the art of thought.  We do not take responsibility for others, but we do try to alleviate their needs.  Again, this is not a struggle, but simply gestures of love.

3 – Observation

And we learn by observation of ourselves and others.  Observation is the new way of learning in this new world we are on the verge of entering.  We observe, we reflect, and we come to understand.  Again, this is all effortless.

4 – Gain a Whole New World

Can so much be had for so little?  Can we gain a whole new world in such effortless ways?  Indeed, we can, for the pathway is not one of struggle any longer.  We walk into the sunlight, prompted by intuition, feelings, insight–any means of guidance that comes to us.  We are not alone.  That is a primary message.  We never have to do all of this work of salvation unaided.  Indeed, salvation is not work at all, but the most glorious child’s play possible (paraphrased from A Course in Miracles, which says that salvation is a game that happy children play).

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

I would spend today in a relaxed mind and heart, listening for Your guidance and knowing that it will come when I have stilled myself so that I can hear.  Thank You for being here for me.  May I observe this world in a new way of thinking, by observation rather than intense study.  May I no longer be tempted to struggle through my days.  You do not mean this for me.

Help all of my brothers and sisters to have a good day.  You mean for all of our days to be good, even the ones that have some pain in them.  Pain in the present moment simply doesn’t occur; we are always seeing the past in our pain.  May pain never been turned by our minds into suffering.  You would choose for all of Your children to rest in Your blessings, to receive Your ease, and to solve any and all problems, with Your help, that have presented themselves and may be causing pain.  Guide us to know what to do when faced with less-than-desirable life circumstances.  May our stress remain low and our spirits high.

Thank You for Your presence, always, in our lives.

Amen.

Response, Not Responsibility

“Responsibility implies needs that would not be met without you.  Response is given and thus genuine.  It is a natural act of giving and receiving as one.  Responsibility is a demanded response, a necessary response, an obligation.  Response happens from within.  (The Treatises of A Course of Love:  Treatise on the Art of Thought, 4.13)”

Affirmation:  “I will respond to my significant others today.”

Reflections:

1 – Responsibility vs. Response

Here is the distinction made between having responsibility for another and simply giving a response, surely heartfelt, to him or her.  This passage continues the theme of the last several postings, emphasizing how very important these concepts are to A Course of Love.  We do not want to do things for others out of obligation; we want to do so with love, and this love is a response rather than a duty-bound responsibility.

2 – Giving and Receiving

Perhaps giving and receiving as one is such a commonplace part of our religious culture that we aren’t sure what it does mean.  Giving and receiving as one mean that what we give, we receive in equal measure.  The equality of giving and receiving will give us pause for thought.  If we don’t give, we don’t receive.  But I think that first we almost have to have received blessings from God that prepare our heart to respond by giving back–to Him, as well as our brothers and sisters.

3 – Demands

We do not want to do that which is demanded of us–at least, not often.  We rebel, because negative emotions such as resentment enter the picture.  But when our hearts are right with love, flowing over with love, we eagerly give a response from love.  And we do not recognize any covert demand at all.  We are too eager to give, in response to all that we have received.  Love does not keep record books; we give much as we forgive, 70 times seven (from the New Testament).  We respond with a willing spirit, and we respond because God has placed that will to do so in our hearts and minds.  He has first given to us, and with this recognition, we know that we can give and give and give, and yet our own store is forever full.  We do not give out of scarcity ever.  We know no scarcity.

4 – Look to Inner Self

The “within” aspects of this passage emphasize once again that we are to look to our inner Self for the direction that we need.  We look within and see no lack; we are therefore quite willing to respond to all needs that present themselves to us from those who are our brothers and sisters.  We do not respond when to do so would be inappropriate.  But the fact of appropriateness of response is broadened considerably when we open our thoughts to God and His way.

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

I need to tell myself that You love my significant others even more than I do.  I have said this to myself many times over the past number of years, and I know that it certainly is true.  I can love only imperfectly, but Yours is perfect love.  And You will care for my loved ones.  I never need to think that I have to carry the burden all by myself.

Be with my loved ones today.  May I respond to their needs, without feeling that I have a particular, insistent demand from them for responsibility for their needs.  This is a great burden reliever, and I thank You for these words of Jesus.

Be with me today.  I need You.  Thank You.

Amen.

Call to Respond

impressionist trees

“Your thoughts are released from their concentration on what exists outside of you as your responsibility is placed where it belongs, in the call to respond.  This response is only yours to give and is all you are asked to give.  This response comes from within the Self–the rightly identified and acknowledged Self.  (The Treatises of A Course of Love:  Treatise on the Art of Thought, 4.9)”

Affirmation:  “I will respond as my Self tells me.”

Reflections:

1 – Restatement

This passage for today is a restating of the same passage quoted yesterday.  Jesus repeats his ideas when the idea is especially important.  Maybe he wants to be sure that we have caught the meaning.  And the idea is very, very important to central themes in A Course of Love.

2 – Internal Looking

We need to look within to determine what response to the outer world is called for.  This internal “looking” is a bid for guidance from the Self/Christ, who is within all of us.  We could also see that God is within, and look to Him for guidance.  The distinction is not too important, in my estimation, for we are a part of God.  This is in line with the monistic nature of A Course in Miracles and A Course of Love.

3 – Eternity

When we recognize the Self within, we are well on our way along the pathway to Awakening.  Only time delays us, and time does not really exist.  All time is simultaneous, but it appears spread out to allow us to experience all that is happening.  Eternity is timeless.

4 – Look Within

We are not to focus too much on externals, seeking external cues as to how to respond.  We are actually becoming more introverted in our movement toward Christ-consciousness.  We no longer look to others to tell us what to do.  We look within.  And there we find our peace.

5 – Personal Experience

I personally started out as an introvert, and then moved closer to extroversion (as tested on written tests) when I practiced reference librarianship.  All of those questions from the reference, all of that interaction with library users, turned me outward.  Now that I am no longer practicing reference librarianship, I find myself naturally turning inward more, to introversion–actually my most natural response.  And it is good to know that this change is in line with A Course of Love.  We need to seek our cues from within, because listening to our brothers and sisters does not mean that what they say is “our” truth.  We can easily be misled.  We need to take nothing external unto ourselves unless it finds a welcome place in our heart.

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

Thank You for being with me today, even when I was not conscious of Your presence.  I know that You were with me, because in spite of a hectic day, I am calm and at peace now that it is the evening.  Only You could effect such an experience.

May we be transformed as we live our lives day to day.  I belong to You, and that statement is one of the most important that I remember from my early years.  A woman friend, rich with faith, said, “I belong to God.”  And I have remembered that witness all the years since.  Now I too belong to You.  And knowing that this is true gives me a life beyond my wildest dreams.  Thank You.

Amen.

Transformed Thinking

images - monet - boats

“Thus we must dispel, with the illusion of fear, the illusion of specificity.  You have not been asked to request a specific miracle.  Although your thoughts have naturally gone to consideration of the specific, this is but an indication that you are still in the habit of thinking that you learned under instruction of the ego-mind.  This Treatise must change that habit in order for all your thoughts to become the miracles that express the truth of who you are.  (The Treatises of A Course of Love:  Treatise on the Art of Thought, 4.2)”

Affirmation:  “I would relinquish the ego-mind today.”

Reflections:

1 – Thoughts

All of our thoughts will become miracles that express who we are!  That sentence is a quotation from the passage, paraphrased, and is vitally important to understanding what Jesus is trying to say to us.  We are not asked to request a specific miracle, because ultimately all of our thoughts will become miracles.  We will know the truth of who we are.  We will know that we are the Christ/Self who is within us.

2 – Hoodwinked?

Do we feel hoodwinked by this progression of thought, in asking for a miracle?  We should not be, for Jesus is teaching us something very important.  We have always thought in terms of an external God who granted miracles, or of an external Jesus who directed miracles (from A Course in Miracles).  But the real truth is that when we transform, all that we think will become a miracle.  All that we see will be experienced as a miracle.  This is the glory in which we will find ourselves when Christ-consciousness has come upon us.

3 – Wait Long?

Will we have to wait long for this blessing?  Perhaps, but it will not seem long when we have the patience to wait for God’s grace.  He will not leave us comfortless in the interim.  And He will not hesitate, when the time is ripe, to act and to act quickly.

4 – Too Specific in Our Thinking

We have been too specific in our thinking, the specific thinking of the ego-mind.  We need, before we can rightly ask for Christ-consciousness, to do what we can accomplish to let the ego wither away.  We do know when the ego is informing our decisions of what to say or what to do.  And we would not have the ego so inform our decisions.  Be patient with God, but know that He cannot act toward us as long as our own personal selves have the ego in ascendancy.  We need to get our act together first.

5 – Glimpses of Christ-Consciousness

And this is why we see only glimpses of Christ-consciousness or Awakening now.  We have not fully relinquished the ego’s hold on our thought processes.  Until this hold is abandoned, we are not ready for this great blessing that God has waiting for us.

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

It is a glorious blessing that ultimately all of our thoughts will become miracles.  How can I think this of myself?  I cannot, and certainly I cannot when in the ego-mind.  It is only with Your pleasure that I recognize miracles at all.

Could I recognize a miracle at high noon?  Could I really?  Then, if I could, I am on the right pathway.  May I walk the right pathway today.

Amen.

No Better Way to Spend a Day

rouen cathedral“The new means of thinking is referred to here as the ‘art’ of thought in order to call your wholehearted attention to the continual act of creation that is the relationship between creator and created.  Creation is but a dialogue to which you have not responded.  The art of thought will free you to respond.  (The Treatises of A Course of Love:  Treatise on the Art of Thought, 2.12)”

Affirmation:  “I will practice the art of thought.”

Reflections:

1 – Unlearning

We need to unlearn the way that we have been “learning.”  We have been using our ego-mind, and now we are encouraged to observe through wholeheartedness.  This is the art of thought, as Jesus describes it.  We arre unlearning the old way, and we are “learning” through observation.  We no longer use our left brain as much.  Our thought is more abstract.  And this is the very reason that reading and “learning” A Course of Love can seem frustrating.  We are still trying to learn in the old manner.

2 – Read like a Story

Let us stop this inefficiency of learning now.  Let us relax in our learning, reading as we would ready a story.  We do not need to concentrate with wrinkled brow.  There is a better way.  And the art of thought shows us what it is.

3 – Christ-Consciousness

We experience more real creation, rather than the things that we made with our ego.  Our Christ-consciousness creates in a way that the ego-mind never could (though it tried mightily).

4 – Create

Let us create today.  Let us ask for help in creating.  There is no better way to spend a day.

5 – Call to Create

We have not responded to this call to create previously.  We have chosen to be afraid instead.  Let us drop fear now, and create with the art of thought–the means of observation that will help us to learn aright.

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

I would observe rather than allow my ego-mind to ruin what could be a good day.  I will observe the world around me, and I will ask for help in understanding what I am seeing.  I will practice the new way of learning through the “art of thought.”

Be with me as I seek to make this transformation real.  There is no better way to proceed on my walk to You.  Be with me, with Your felt Presence, as I try to convert an old way of learning to a new, more effective way.  It is time for all of us to do what we can to effect transformation in ourselves and in our world.  But You must call the shots.  We are lost without Your guiding Presence.

Amen.

Being in the Right Place at the Right Time

images - pissaro with chalk pastels

“But now this alternative [learning with the heart] is being revealed to you and it does call for a change of thought so extensive that all thought, as you once knew it, does need to cease.  (The Treatises of A Course of Love:  Treatise on the Art of Thought, 2.8)”

Affirmation:  “May I comprehend the new way of thinking.”

Reflections:

1 – What We Need

We do need to learn with the heart.  The heart knows things that our mind does not understand.  Frequently the mind wanted proof of God, and the heart knows of His existence without proof.  I do not mean that we never question, for that would not be realistic, but we rest in assurance that all that we need to know will be provided us.  And it will be.  We do not need to check our minds at the door of salvation.  But learning through the heart takes us through the door of salvation.

2 – Cease the Old Way of Thinking

It does seem daunting that we are asked to cease to think in the old way.  How will this be accomplished?  It seems so impossible and perhaps even impractical.  But it works.  We are reminded, at the point of need, of plans that need to be made.  When we listen to intuition, we know without being told.  We follow guidance, and we are where we need to be at the right time.

3 – Jesus

Can we make this shift?  Yes, but not totally alone.  Jesus promises to be with us, and in A Course of Love, he says that it is necessary that we accept him.  He does not mean that he is the only way to salvation, but if we have made our home in ACIM and ACOL, then he is our way to salvation.  We have made our choice, and we need seek no longer.

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

May I follow the guidance that comes with today’s passage.  May I listen to intuition, guidance, and may I follow–turn on a dime.  May I learn to even think in a new way.  May I listen with my heart, and not second guess.

Be with me today as I seek to make these changes that will be more in line with Your will for me.

Amen.

Seek No More

images - ballet dancer“The first instruction I give to you is to seek no more.  All that you are in need of knowing has been provided within A Course of Love.  That your learning does not feel complete is not a failing of this course or of your self.  That your learning does not feel complete is the result of forgetfulness, which is the opposite of mindfulness.  Your further learning then is learning based on mindfulness or remembering.  (The Treatises of A Course of Love:  Treatise on the Art of Thought, 1.3)”

Affirmation:  “I remind myself that I need seek no more.”

Reflections:

1 – Why ACOL Was Written?

This first passage selected from the Treatise on the Art of Thought encapsulates what may possibly be one of Jesus’s primary reasons for channeling A Course of Love.  We who have studied A Course in Miracles quite a bit do not always feel complete.  For unknown reasons we have sought so long that we want to continue seeking.  But there comes a stopping point, and the only way to stop is to stop.  Jesus would have us stop our hankering for learning by giving us the assurance that we are The Accomplished, that we have learned all that we need to know for salvation,

2 – Seek No More

Our minds have been the troubling part.  Our hearts have always known more than the egoic mind.  And now we are encouraged to join our mind to our heart in wholeheartedness.  But to seek no more.  There is enough in us already.  We must just observe, not “learn.”  And in the observation of daily life we will be fulfilled (an interpretation, not stated in A Course of Love).

3 – Eastern Thought

The Eastern theories about mindfulness are relevant here.  Jesus calls mindfulness “remembering.”  We pay attention to what we do daily, hourly, and even moment-by-moment.  And we are fulfilled thereby.  We rest in the assurance that all is well, that the world is unfolding as it is meant to unfold.  Not that we can’t improve things, because we are not encouraged to forget others.  But we know that when we are peace, the world in which we live seems more at peace also.

4 – Time of Christ

We have forgotten much, and we will call to mind what we need to call to mind when we rest in God.  He will recall those important things to mind for us.  In A Course of Love, the time of Christ, it is no longer the Holy Spirit.  But the Christ/Self within that directs our every thought and mood.

5 – Remembering

We need to ask for remembering today, while we practice the mindfulness that is meant for us.  We think about what we are doing, but we do not analyze it.  Jon Kabot-Zinn has written Coming to Our Senses, a vast compendium of guides to mindfulness in our world.  If additional help in mindfulness is desired, this would be a good place to start.

6 – The Accomplished

But we do not need to “learn” more.  We are The Accomplished.  We do not fully understand this, and to be accomplished, we do not have to be perfect.  This is a major contribution in A Course of Love.  We just turn aside from those thoughts and actions that are less than what we want, and then the thought or action falls away.  That is all, but it is enough.

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

May I take to heart what I wrote in my reflections today.  The basis of those remarks are mostly from Jesus, with some indication that religions other than Christianity have also spoken of mindfulness.  May I live in peace today, not reaching irritably after more and more.  I am enough, if I am living the Self within.  Help me to fully realize this Self within, sooner rather than later.

Be with all of us today as we embark on a new Treatise from A Course of Love.  May our reading inform our lives.  And may Jesus hold our hands as we walk.

Amen.

Time of Christ / Time of Holy Spirit Has Passed

images - impressionism“The way of the heart is the way of the Time of Christ.  The time of the Holy Spirit has passed.  The time of the intermediary is over.  The greatest intermediary of all has been the mind.  It has stood between you and your own inner knowing, caught in a dream of perception.  (Addendum to A Course of Love:  Learning in the Time of Christ)”

Affirmation:  “I would listen to my heart today.”  

Reflections:

1 – Final Passage to Consider Currently from ACOL‘s First Volume

This is the final passage from the first volume of A Course of Love that I will consider presently.  I see this passage as a summary passage, in that the heart is given ascendancy–a major theme of the Course of Love trilogy.  This passage does not link mind and heart together into wholeheartedness, which Jesus does elsewhere in ACOL. Here Jesus emphasizes the limitedness of the mind, which has, as we know, been the home of the ego for eons.  And the ego has not meant us well.

2 – Inner Knowing

We need to include the mind, but because the emphasis has been on the mind for so long, it is welcome now to address the heart.  We know with the heart, not just emotionally, but in practical terms that give us insight into the very nature of reality (i.e., the real world, as described in A Course in Miracles).  This is the inner knowing that the passage for today emphasizes.

3 – Perception of the Mind

The mind, on the other hand, has emphasized perception, which is always erroneous to one degree or another, for when we are perceiving, we are lost in a dream or illusion.  When we know, though, we cease to engage the mind to any great degree.

4 – Intent of ACOL Different from ACIM

The words of A Course of Love are far more abstract than anything in A Course in Miracles, because the intent is different.  The heart knows abstraction, and abstraction is the natural condition of the mind (from ACIM).  It is only when the mind has run amuck that we find that the specificity of detail gets us lost in a dream world.  We would not have it so.  We would awaken sooner rather than later.  And we await God’s timing on this.

5 – Glimpses of Awakening

In the meantime, we are apt to see glimpses of Awakening, from a few moments to a few months.  This is the revelation that is occasionally revealed to us, but for which preparation is needed (a paraphrase from the early pages of ACIM).  The means are explained in A Course in Miracles, which dislodged the ego, and then A Course of Love was channeled to allow us to come farther along the pathway to what our heart (rather than our mind) could show us.  We will not be finished until we give up constant seeking.  Jesus says in A Course of Love that we are the “accomplished.”  And, of course, he does not mean this in an egotistical way.  But the accomplished at stop seeking and rest in knowledge, calm in the certainty of a heartfelt understanding that is more than the mind can ever give.

6 – Stillness and Quiet

Let us rest in stillness and quiet.  Let us turn to Jesus as our companion, our teacher no longer.  He is ready to receive us as equals.  Would we hope for anything less?

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

May I rest for awhile.  The original volume of A Course of Love has been considered, and we need to take a brief break before we move to the first three Treatises.  May I have a calm mind today, supported by the comforting, abstract thinking that ACOL counsels.  May I be at peace, sure of Your love, certain of the truth of the assertions of A Course of Love.  If we are in the time of Christ, may I know what to do that is different from the time of the Holy Spirit.  Already words comes into my mind from the subconscious that seem to me to be a bit beyond me, but different from the counsel of the Holy Spirit.  Am I learning in the time of Christ?  Is this the way that it is?

We do not have firm guidance in other works for what the time of Christ really means.  ACOL counsels us, and I would do well to listen.  Help me to be relaxed and easy, to take each moment as it comes, to live in the Now.  And may I drop from thought any worry that threatens my peace.

Thank You.

Amen.

Give Up Difficulty for Ease

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“Let me be clear.  The seeming lack of difficulty in this course is where its difficulty lies.  To give up difficulty for ease is more than some egos are willing to accept.  (Addendum to A Course of Love:  Learning in the Time of Christ)”

Affirmation:  “May I know ease today.”

Reflections:

1 – Ease

Reading A Course of Love should be a task full of ease.  The difficulty arises when we try to study it as we study other courses of study, including A Course in MiraclesA Course of Love is more abstract, which is the means by which our hearts are engaged.  We do not have to study, and, if we try, we will go astray.  We will also be greatly frustrated if we try to study it as a textbook.  This is not the right approach at all.  Just let the words drift into your mind, stopping for nothing, taking deep thought for nothing.  Repeated readings will get the gist of it into your heart, actually by bypassing the mind (which wants to analyze).

2 – Beauty of the Language

The beauty of the language is enthralling.  When we let the words flow over us, we are captivated by the content as well, though we may not recognize this at first.  We may think, and rightly so, that we are missing a lot, or that we are reading things that we do not fully understand.  As we move closer to Awakening, the words will begin to make more sense to us, and without any strain at all.

3 – The Ego

Our egos continue to get us into trouble.  The ego wants to make everything hard that is actually meant to be easy, because its rule is to seek but not to find (an ACIM tenet).  Try to loosen the ego’s hold on our minds, but not by overtly resisting it, for resistance makes the ego strong.  The ego is strong in strife (another ACIM tenet).

4 – Easy Reading

A Course of Love is actually easy reading, much easier than A Course in Miracles.  Mari, the scribe, listens with her heart perhaps more than her mind, and Helen (ACIM scribe) listened to her mind.  This approach is exactly what Jesus needed in channeling to the two individuals, for ACOL is to the heart what ACIM was to the mind.

5 – ACIM and ACOL

We will do well when we realize that, after ACIM and now as we consider A Course of Love, we are ready to listen to our hearts.  They know without demanding proof of everything.  They lead us aright.

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

I would choose ease today, especially in reading A Course of Love.  I wish no more to be frustrated by the fact that my mind cannot study ACOL as it did A Course in Miracles.  

May this day morph into one of ease.  May my heart inform my mind that egoic influences are dead in me.  And may that deadness be true.

Amen.

Inevitably Receive the Answer

Impressionist-Paintings-020“In unity and relationship, each is not only capable but will inevitably receive the answer and come to the understanding or interpretation that is right for her or his heart.  (Addendum to A Course of Love:  Learning in the Time of Christ)”

Affirmation:  “May I interpret life well today.”

Reflections:

1 – We Are One

We are One, in unity as One and in relationship to the All.  These two words, “unity and relationship,” are used repeatedly in A Course of Love.  And well they are, for they emphasize a major theme that complements the idea that mind and heart need to work together in wholeheartedness.  If we are wholehearted, we will rejoice in the camaraderie that we know with others, as well as with ourselves and God Himself.  There is no end to the joy that we will know.

2 – Interpret Life Well

We will come to interpret life well.  We will no longer be lost in a maze of confusion.  The things that we need to do will occur to us at the point that knowing what to do becomes important.  We are led, and led gently and well by God, Who knows us better, of course, than we know ourselves.

3 – Life Improves

Be with us today as we seek to interpret well.  May our analysis of the day be benign, slighting no one.  May we know that life gets better as we seek God more often.  When He becomes our constant companion, the one to whom we refer all perplexities, we will be well on our way Home.  And Home is not the Other Side, but the real world that A Course in Miracles tells us about.  This is the world that we will see when enlightenment is sustained in our elevated physical Self.

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

May I come to know, to interpret, my life as it is meant to be interpreted, in an accurate way.  May I know what to do and when.  And may I remain calm and joyous, letting confusion drop away.  When anxious moments arise, may I just let them go.  And let them go in the moment, the Now.

Be with me as I travel through this day.  May I no longer pay my “pound of flesh,” as a Shakespearian character did, but know that being anxious is not a talisman to keep bad things from happening.  I would live in trusting You.  May that strong degree of trust engulf me today.

If my mind strays to worry, may I know that I am failing to have enough faith to get through the day.  You don’t send bad things, but in our world bad things do happen.  And there is always a good lesson in these things that will eventually, and sooner rather than later–in faith–take us home to You.  A home in this world that is heaven on earth.

Thank You.

Amen.

On Rereading A Course of Love

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“In wholeheartedness then you are ready to return to a second reading of A Course of Love.  In wholeheartedness you will find difficulty falling away and understanding arising.  You are beginning to know yourself in a new way.  You are beginning to know yourself without the perceptions and the judgments of the mind.  You are beginning to know yourself as you truly are and you will begin to hear the language of this Course as the language of your own heart.  (Addendum to A Course of Love:  Learning in the Time of Christ)”

Affirmation:  “I am beginning to know myself as I really am.”

Reflections:

1 – No Judgment

We need to let judgments fall away.  Judgments and expectations are two major barriers that we erect against intimacy with out loved ones.  And we would be rid of these barriers.  A Course in Miracles counsels that we will fall away from our salvation if we attack, make judgments, or weave plans against contingencies to come.  This is a somewhat hidden warning, but there in the Text nevertheless.  And we would today take a look at judgment.

2 – Wholeheartedness

Wholeheartedness is the natural state of our being.  In wholeheartedness, we have woven mind and heart together to form one.  And we will know ourselves better.  At this point we are bade to reread A Course of Love, and it is intimated that therein we will come to know ourselves better.  We will be without the judgments of the mind when we have moved completely into wholeheartedness.  The heart does not ask for “proof” as does the mind.  The heart just knows, with a sureness that comes from God.

3 – Know Thyself

If we only could know ourselves as we truly are!  And this is the promise of the passage for today.  We have so often thought that we did not know ourselves, and certainly, with the ego in ascendancy, we did not know our real Self.  Our real Self is the elevated Self of form, the physical being that lives in this world, but who derives sustenance from high realms.

4 – The Self

The Self is a blessing.  And when we glimpse this Self, even in fleeting moments, we will know what the future holds for us.  And it is good indeed!

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

Today I would listen to the language of my own heart, not only in ACOL, but also in everyday life.  What is my heart trying to tell me?  What is my heart saying?

This turning inward to ascertain what is truly important is a giant leap toward the life that I want.  I look to the future, but always I am also satisfied in the present, trying to live in the Now as much as possible.

Help me know what my loved ones need from me today.  And may I provide what is mine to provide.  If their needs are for something that I cannot provide, may You see that they receive the prayer of their heart.

Amen.

How to Read A Course of Love

water and sailboats - images“Listen to the words as if they are spoken to you, for such they are.  Listen as you would listen to a friend in conversation.  Listen simply to hear what is being said.  Listen simply to let the words enter you.

“This is recommended for your first reading of this Course.  (Addendum to A Course of Love:  Learning in the Time of Christ)”

Affirmation:  “Let me read ACOL as I would listen to a friend.”

Reflections:

1 – Don’t Study

It is hard to study A Course of Love.  We are told in this passage for today that such studying, such learning, is not necessary–or even desired.  It is preferred that we listen lightly to what we read, that we let the words come into us in what I would describe as an abstract way.  We are learning through observation, not study, and observation is the new way of learning in the new world of Christ.

2 – Mari

Learning in an abstract way may be frustrating to us.  Indeed, I found it frustrating, for I was used to the real study that A Course in Miracles required.  Different people respond differently.  Mari herself (the scribe of A Course of Love) said that she had forgotten much of what was in ACIM, despite reading it seven times before channeling A Course of Love.  Her mind is simply different from that of some of us.  And in her case, we can be glad indeed!  Otherwise, Jesus’s wise words might never have reached us at all.

3 – Relax

So let us relax as we read A Course of Love.  A calm and tranquil spirit will find all that we need to find in such relaxation, such easy reading.  Do not think that you have to catch it all on the first reading.  Jesus recommends repeated readings in this addendum.

4 – Gentle and Easy

The conversation with a friend, which reading A Course of Love compares, is gentle and easy.  Let us be gentle and easy as we seek to incorporate into our hearts all that ACOL says to us. Then and only then will we be ready for the wholeheartedness that is largely the goal of A Course of Love.

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

As I read A Course of Love, help me to approach it in an easy and relaxed way.  May the words wash over me without effortful thinking.  You mean for us to assimilate ACOL differently from A Course in Miracles.  I thank You that we are farther along on the pathway home.  May I find the right approach to enlarge my understanding and to truly hear the words that this trilogy conveys.

Be with us this day to keep as calm as ACOL would have us be.  Just as ACOL is meant to be read from a serene viewpoint, may I carry this attitude over to interactions with people as well as books.  Be with me for a day that will make for great strides toward home to You.

Amen.

What Would Love Have Me Say?

Monet-Field-of-Poppies-II-font-b-famous-b-font-hand-made-Oil-font-b-Paintings“That Source is Love, and it is available in every situation but for the asking:  What would love have me do?  What would love have me see?  What would love have me say?  (A Course of Love, 32.2)”

Affirmation:  “I would choose Love consistently today.”

Reflections:

1 – God = Love

Love is not just an emotion.  As we know, Love is another Name for God, another name for the Divine.  We do not understand this mystery in our minds, but our hearts do understand, and it is our hearts that A Course of Love frequently appeals.  And when we join mind to heart, we have the wholeheartedness that is required of us by ACOL.

2 – Akin to ACIM

This series of questions in today’s passage are reminiscent of year another series of questions, along the same lines, from A Course in Miracles.  But in ACIM, we are bade to ask these questions of the Holy Spirit.  And here the three questions are bade of love, another way of viewing emotion in the heart.  So Love does partake of emotion.

3 – Certainty

We can know certainty, when we look within and see no lack.  We respond in Love, and then we know what to say, do, and even think.  There is no confusion on this point.

4 – Look Within

This indeed is the certainty that this world has lacked heretofore, and the certainty that we have craved.  As previously noted in A Course of Love, we have looked to this certainty in our relationships, where it cannot be found.  But when we look within, lo, there it is indeed.  And our words, actions, and thoughts smooth out so that we attract all that is right and good in our world.

5 – Law of Attraction

Much has been written about the law of attraction, in which like attracts like, and we can have anything in our world if we realize that we “create our own reality.”  Many have found that this practice of thinking and making affirmations does not always work as promised.  That is because we are trying to make a formula of God, and He will not be pigeonholed that way.  We cannot carry God in our hip pocket, as my freshman professor of religion warned us in class one day.  God is too big to be manipulated by our mere words.  Even our feelings are not enough, for this is simply the wrong way to get what we want.  We may succeed for a time, but all will turn to ashes and dust in our hands if we do not place the Divine at the center of our lives.  He is the only certainty in our changing and unstable world.

6 – Will All Go Smoothly for Us?

God does not give guarantees that all will always go smoothly for us.  It is certain that following a faith will make us happier and more joyous, but we will always have difficulties, for difficulties are part of the human condition.   These difficulties will not seem so onerous, though, when we know that there are higher laws of which we know nothing.  God has not revealed all of his secrets to our limited minds and hearts.  We could not sustain these secrets if He tried, and so He gives us only what we are ready to have, and this is not always the same as our heartfelt wishes.  Having all that we want would not always be good for us, for often, in our frailty, we ask for the wrong things.  And he protects us from ourselves in such cases.

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

Help me to choose what Love would do, say, and even think.  This is asking of You what You would have me do, say, and think.  There is no formula that would make of You a genie in a bottle.  You do not respond in the affirmative to our every affirmation, even the ones that we seek to “allow.”  You are too big for that.  You are also too caring of us, for sometimes we ask awry.  We ask for what would not be good for us.

I would ask today only for what is right and good in Your sight.  Then and only then am I certain of getting what I have asked for.  Thank You that this, in my interpretation, seems true in my experience.  Anything else smacks of a pact with the devil (i.e., the ego).

Amen.