Tag Archives: thinking

Leave Thinking Behind

“Thinking in this time beyond learning, could be rightly seen as a constraint you but try to impose on all that is natural. Your thinking, since it is a product of learning, does nothing but attempt to learn or teach. These are the natural responses of its training. Thus, a major key to your discovery of all that exists within you in the state of unity, is an end to thinking as you know it.” (ACOL, D:Day4.30)

When we think about our breathing, it becomes labored and unnatural. Jesus is saying the same about our thinking, which might be understood best as obsessional thinking. When thoughts just come and go, we are alright. But when we cling to a thought, it is as though we are placing our hands over our eyes to block our vision. When an athlete thinks of how to throw the basketball, he falters; likewise, when a pianist begins to think about the notes as she places her hands on the keyboard, she too falters.

This is exactly what obsessional thinking does for us. Jesus is trying to take us into a new world by asking us to drop thinking as we have known it. In Christ-consciousness, Awakening, the thought processes slow way down. We read about this in the writings of Eckhart Tolle. And this is where Jesus is leading us. We need fear nothing; he knows what he is doing.

In the state of unity, we are in another way of living entirely. We have entered Christ-consciousness. Jesus seems to be saying here that in slowing our thinking, and then ultimately stopping most of it—just cessation—we will be doing something to remove the blocks to Awakening.

The way to do this is to go with the flow as we go about our days. Just let events unfold as they will; don’t try to stop anything and analyze it. Analysis is often of the ego, and of egoic patterns, and we are leaving those patterns, as we left the ego, behind. Don’t dam up our thoughts and then obsess about them. We will become unhappy, for this is an unnatural way to live. And it is the natural with which we are most concerned.

Ask to leave, first, obsessional thinking behind. Then ask to leave all thinking as we have known it, behind. This prayer may be answered right away, or there may be a delay. But a positive answer is ultimately assured, because we are asking in God’s Will for us.

Dear God,

Today I would drop all obsessional thinking. I would just say “stop” when the record starts turning around and around again. And I would prepare the way to stop thinking as I have known it entirely. I don’t fully understand. But I don’t have fully to understand, because You do. And You will right my world when You have my cooperation.

Thank You for guiding me so precisely. Help me to be sure that I am hearing correctly at all times.

Amen.

Rules for a New Way of Thinking

“Thus, these are the basic rules of the art of thought: First, to experience what is and to acknowledge what is, both as a fact of your existence as a human being and as a gift of the Creator. Second, to acknowledge the rela¬tionship inherent in the experience, the call for a response, and the nature of all gifts as being given to all.” (ACOL, T1:2.19)

Become familiar with these rules for the art of thought. They need further explanation, and Jesus does try, with a whole treatise written to explain the art of thought.

This concept, the art of thought, is not easy to understand. We can’t begin to understand until we have let loose our egoic thinking, for the art of thought is diametrically opposed to the ego-mind. When we are letting our inner Self hold sway, we will understand more. And when we let miracle-readiness and miracle-willingness come into play, we will learn even more. Prayer, also, is never far from the art of thought.

If confused, return to the treatise itself, and in Chapter 2 of the first treatise, read carefully the example of the sunset. We can see how we would enjoy making a response to a beautiful sunset. And this elemental example will prime us for seeing further examples crying out for the art of thought, examples from our everyday life.

The response that we need to make is one of love, though Jesus does not place the concepts side by side in this treatise. We are definitely acting from love when we are in miracle-readiness, carrying out miracles, and in prayer—three concepts that elsewhere in A Course of Love are identified with the art of thought. This will be enough to set our sights high, high above the egoic mind that has held sway for so long.

We are in relationship one to the other, and we do need genuine responses to one another. When we open ourselves to miracle-minded thought, we are as close to following the art of thought as it is possible to come.

Dear Father/Mother,

I would respond with a full heart to the significant others in my life. I would appreciate them, as I appreciate Jesus’s example of a sunset. I would find good reasons to respond with blessings extended to others. Help me to do so.

Be with me for the remainder of this day, helping me in times of trouble. Your ways are not my ways, but I am learning from You. And Your blessings do grant me a good life. Thank You for this.

Amen.

Learning Is Not Meant to Be Effortful

1 – Thinking

“Learning was not meant to be linked with thinking. Again I’ll draw your attention to the learning of childhood. Learning begins long before the onset of the time of language that constitutes your ideas about what it means to think. (Dialogues, Day Four)”

2 – Children

This truth, that children learn before they have language, proves Jesus’s point that there is a way to learn, through observation, that is easy and requires no effort. We have long put great store by our learning abilities, that we put forth a great effort in school, and then we reap the benefits. But we make everything too hard on ourselves, way too hard. We may still sometimes choose to learn through effort, but this is not the optimal way. We learn best when we learn easily.

3 – Minds

Can we really believe that learning is meant to be linked with thinking? We give our minds way too much credit. We think that the thinking of the mind is what will get us back to Heaven, even. This is not true, actually, though learning in the old way might have been needed when we were assimilating the truths of A Course in Miracles. As we assimilate those truths, we come into a new era, an ear in which we seek to have the heart guide us, not the mind. And our learning proceeds through observation, not thinking.

4 – Language

“Even after the onset of language, children continue to learn without thinking. Does this sound odd, foreign to you? And yet this is the way learning was designed to be. Learning was given as a natural mean of access to all that was available to you, but not through effort any more than breathing was designed to be effortful. (Dialogues, Day Four)”

5 – Ego

So actually learning is not meant to be effortful. We made it that way, when we were consumed by the ego, the ego which always made things as hard as it could—thus approving its value to us. Breathing is not effortful, normally, and we are told here that learning is just as easy as breathing.

6 – Struggle

May we spend some time today deciding that what we struggle to learn is maybe best not learned.

7 – Personal Experience

I know that I worked very, very hard in college, attending a difficult school in which I ranked by ability in the middle of the class. But I wanted better than average grades, and so I sought to overachieve. College was not very much fun. My personality flattened out. I felt oppressed. And not until I had finished that dark time in my life did my personality come alive. So I know first hand that learning achieved through effort exacts a high price, a price that it would be best not to pay.

8 – Thinking as a Constraint

“Thinking, in this time beyond learning, could be rightly seen as a constraint you but try to impose on all that is natural. Your thinking, since it is a product of learning, does nothing but attempt to learn or teach. These are the natural responses of its training. Thus, a major key to your discovery of all that exists within you in the state of unity, is an end to thinking as you know it. (Dialogues of A Course of Love, Day Four)”

9 – An End to “Thinking”

So let us “end” thinking as we know it. Let’s let the heart rule, the heart that listens to intuition, or the deeper Christ Self. (A Course in Miracles had termed this listening through the Holy Spirit.) We are said to be in the time of Christ now, and listening to the Christ Self is a harbinger of things to come. We are no longer in the time of the Holy Spirit. We have moved beyond as we read A Course of Love.

10 – Fear / Love

“You must realize that here is where fear must be totally replaced by love. If you fear to go where the portal of access will take you, you will not go. Thus your desire needs to be greater than your fear. Love needs to reign. Love of self and love of your brothers and sisters, love of the natural world, of the world of form that is, love of the idea of the new world that can be, all of these must come together and be victors over the reign of fear. (A Course of Love: Dialogues, p. 113).

11 – New Temptations

The “new temptations” meant in this title are two: real choice and access. These are not negatives, but goals toward which we wish to go. We are leaving behind the time of learning, so that we learn through “thoughts that we do not think,” as a child does, and as early man and woman did–before language entered into our experience.

12 – Union

We must now want union in relationship to our brothers and sisters and our God more than anything else. We must find acceptance of ourselves, despite our anger or our depression, or anything else that seems to be imperfect. We are told that we do not have to be perfect, and we are reminded of the Prodigal Son, who surely did not feel perfect when he returned to his father. He only needed to accept the father’s love. That is our situation now. And unity is within ourselves; our God is within.

13 – Access

The portal of access is love and only love. Nothing else will do at all. This is the portal that here on the mountain top, we will discover with Jesus. We are only just beginning our 40 days and nights with him on the mountain top. More is to follow. But we would do well to realize that perfection is not required of us. Acceptance of love as the only way is. Fear must be left behind forever, and when we have done that, we will be Home.

14 – Jesus

“I do not have to spell out this choice for you, for you know exactly what it means. It means you will be as I am. It means you will live from love rather than from fear. It means that you will demonstrate what living from love is. It means that you will resurrect to eternal life here and now. (Dialogues of A Course of Love, Day Four)”

15 – Guidance from Love

It is important always to live from love and not from fear. Guidance always comes from love, and if we think we hear a guidance that is telling us to protect ourselves with a sense of fear, we are really hearing the personal self that is not yet rid of the ego. Guidance does not rule us through fear, and any message that we receive that is fear-tainted is a false message.

16 – Protection

Of course, we can take prudent measures to protect ourselves from danger. But we are normally safe in everyday life, though there are those among us who find themselves in dangerous situations, and thus would find this assertion untrue in their experience. The world we inhabit can be a dangerous place, but we make it worse by our thinking of it in such a way. We defend, making that worse by our defense. We seek to protect ourselves at all costs, and we need to ask if this is really the heart-centered Self that we are protecting, or the ego of the personal or little self. It will prove to be, more than likely, the ego of the little self. And Jesus has declared that we, at this point, are free of the ego. If we have followed A Course of Love, we will know ourselves to be free.

17 – Christ Self

If we resurrect to eternal life here and now, we are living as our Christ Self. This is what we seek to do. This is home for us. Heaven is here and now. There is no waiting.

18 – Prodigal Son

“Think a moment of the story of the prodigal son. All that the prodigal son was asked to do was to accept his own homecoming. Do you think he would have considered himself perfect as he approached his father’s presence? Surely he would not have. You are asked but to accept your own homecoming. To leave behind the time of wandering, seeking, learning. To leave behind fear for the embrace of the love and safety of your true home. (Dialogues of A Course of Love, Day Four)”

19 – Seeking

In A Course of Love, I believe that we are asked to leave behind the incessant seeking—the time of wandering, seeking, learning. I suspect, but this is an interpretation, that Jesus channeled A Course of Love because he saw many students and teachers of A Course in Miracles still seeking, though finished with these books. With what were we to replace the ego? I think that ACIM does not make this point as crystal clear as Jesus wished it to be. We replace the ego with the Self, and this point is made in ACIM, but it can easily be overlooked. Jesus revisits us with iterations of the answer in ACOL. We are to give up seeking, because we have at last arrived. And to say this is not arrogance, unless we truly are still tied to our egos.

20 – Homecoming

The prodigal son only had to accept his own homecoming. So it is with us. We need only to accept, as the first two days of the 40 days and 40 nights told us. If there are things about ourselves that we don’t like, things of our personality, we can ask, humbly, that these be removed, and watch them fall away. God is very powerful, and He hears our prayers, I believe. I don’t think that we are alone because we are lost in illusion. Now we are moving into the real world, the world just short of Heaven, and we have advantages from this vantage point that we lacked previously. We will see miracles wherever we look.

21 – Choice

“This choice has come before you might have expected it to. It does not come at the end but at the beginning of our time together for a reason. This is simply because this choice is the beginning. This is the choice that allows us to continue our dialogue as one. To talk heart to heart. (Dialogues of A Course of Love, Day Four)”

22 – Hearts

We choose to listen with our hearts, and we make a choice to stop our incessant seeking. That is the choice that Jesus refers to in this quotation. We have arrived. Let us rest easy and be glad. We do not yet know everything that we wish to know, but we can rest—knowing that what we need will be revealed to us. We need not fear any longer that we will ever be bereft.

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

May I recognize that, like the Prodigal Son, I do not have to be perfect to be accepted by Jesus, to reach the heights that the mountain top experience is meant to bring to me. I may resist this concept, and so please guide my thoughts and feelings so that it is acceptable to me.

Thank You for this good day. I feel especially grateful for the congenial way in which people are interacting with me this day. It is not always so. We live among people who have many problems, and it is up to us to try to heal their problems by loving more strongly. We cannot heal for them, in many cases, but we can ask for miracles that will work in their lives to heal. We can be the instrument of that healing, but only when we ask guidance as to what we ought to do. Be with us as we sense Your Presence, ask for guidance, and then carry out the impulses that arise in us. Thank You for the sense of Your Presence always.

May I be united with love. May I drop fear. These are perhaps my two greatest needs, and these build on A Course in Miracles and are further explained to me now in A Course of Love. Thank You for helping me to devote my life and myself to love.

Amen.

A New Way of Thinking

InspiringImpressionism_Morisot

“The experience of truth dispels illusion and thus the ego-mind.  The art of thought replaces the ego-mind with the wholehearted.  The wholehearted is but the heart and mind joined in unity.  (The Treatises of A Course of Love:  Treatise on the Art of Thought, 3.4)”

Affirmation:  “wholeheartedness today”

Reflections:

1 – Wholeheartedness

This passage for today is a summary statement of the importance of wholeheartedness.  We have deemphasized the ego-mind to the extent that we personally can.  It is up to God to do the rest.  And He will not fail us.

2 – New Art of Thinking

When we have truly experienced the truth of our world, we will perhaps not recognize it at first.  We need time to grow accustomed to a new way of thinking, the new art of thought.  But we will recognize that the illusions in which we have believed in the past seem to have fallen away.  We will see more clearly, but with an inner eye, not our physical sight.  This is all it takes:  To see with the inner eye.  This is the way in which the Christ/Self within experiences the world.  And when we identify most clearly with the Christ/Self within, we are well on our way home.

3 – Personal Experience

Christ-consciousness is not yet for everyone, and it particularly behooves us not to claim to have experienced it if we are not living it.  Others will take notice and realize that we have deluded ourselves.  We need to set a good example of absolute truthfulness in this regard.  Those who would claim Christ-consciousness may only be getting glimpses that will fade.  As I have mentioned, I have had two experiences of Awakening that did not last–one for three months, one for six.  These experiences were life-changing for me, and they led me to understand what would be in store for me when the change was permanent.  But a permanent change cannot be rushed.  We do our part by reading and studying, praying and communing with God, and then we wait in patience for Him to act.  He will reach down (metaphorically) and lift us up when the time is right.

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

May this day go well.  May I appreciate what is before me, never crying after something that I don’t have.  May I be satisfied as long as I am pursuing Your way, to the best of my ability and may the set of my will be strong.  There is no way that I can be of use to others if I am not well-equipped personally and emotionally.  May I find Your peace today in everything that I say and do.  May the joy of the moment replace second-guesses and ruminations.

May I find Your way amid the myriad ways that this world points out to me.  This world is not what I would have until it has been transformed before my eyes by You.  May this happen today, if it be Your will as well as mine.  May I no longer be afraid of Awakening, for if I am afraid of it, it is not the prayer of the heart, and You cannot honor my request.  May all of my requests to You be from deep within me, and may nothing be asked that is superficial.

Thank You for putting the right book in my hands at the right time.  And this is repeated with many books over the course of years.  Thank You for giving to me the significant others who do all that they can to meet the needs that are theirs to meet.  May this day go smoothly for all whom I encounter in any way.

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.