Tag Archives: universal experience

Atonement = Correction of Perception

1 – Terminology?

“This is not a course in philosophical speculation, nor is it concerned with precise terminology. It is concerned only with Atonement, or the correction of perception. (C77)”

2 – Atonement

Some of the most viewed postings in this blog concern Atonement. We all want to know what it means. And here we find out: the correction of perception.

3 – Resurrection

That, of course, is not the whole answer. Jesus has paved the way for us, but it is not the crucifixion to which we look for Atonement, but the resurrection. The crucifixion is a benign lesson that shows Jesus not fighting back, as he would have us not fight back. He did not defend himself, because defense makes what it would defend against (ACIM tenet).

4 – Forgiveness

“The means of the Atonement is forgiveness. The structure of ‘individual consciousness’ is essentially irrelevant because it is a concept representing the ‘original error’ or the ‘original sin.’ To study the error itself does not lead to correction if you are indeed to succeed in overlooking the error. And it is just this process of overlooking at which the course aims. (C77)”

5 – Universal Experience

“A universal theology is impossible, but a universal experience is not only possible but necessary. It is this experience toward which the course is directed. Here alone consistency becomes possible because here alone uncertainty ends. (C77)”

6 – Simple Course

“The course in simple. It has one function and one goal. Only in that does it remain wholly consistent because only that can be consistent. (C77)”

7 – Ken Wapnick

Ken Wapnick said that A Course in Miracles was simple, but it was not easy. He was the primary scholar for ACIM in his lifetime, though there were others who also took up the banner for ACIM (notably Robert Perry, as a scholar).

8 – Awakening

The function is forgiveness, and the goal is Awakening (though we are not in charge of when that goal will be reached, for God alone decides).

9 – Consistency

Consistency is important.

10 – One Goal

The fact that there is one goal in A Course in Miracles keeps the Course simple. We bring our own ego’s complexity to what we read, and that is why we make what is simple very complicated. It is not easy, as Ken said, because our minds are too ravaged by blind ego to take the easy words and apply them. We always want to make something easy into something hard. We are so prone to such foolishness in daily life that it is no question that we bring this trait into our spiritual seeking.

11 – Ego

“The ego may ask, ‘How did the impossible occur?’, ‘To what did the impossible happen?’, and may ask this in many forms. Yet there is no answer; only an experience. Seek only this, and do not let theology delay you. (M77)”

12 – Beginning of Time

This passage refers to the beginnings of time as we know it. How did we separate from God? What tiny, mad idea did we entertain? The ego wants to know, and maybe we do also.

13 – Practical Course

The Course is always practical, and elsewhere tells us that it is concerned with only the practical. It says that a universal theology is impossible, but that a universal experience is not only possible, but necessary. The Course does not waste much, if any, time debating theological issues, and recommends that we not do so either. It suggests that theology is heavily influenced by the ego, which is our false concept of ourselves.

14 – Ego-less

We need to seek the experience that the Course holds out to us–an ego-less form of living that marches us straightway toward Awakening. We get there, as we have said repeatedly, by following the guidance of the Holy Spirit. Jesus would not have us delayed on this “journey without distance,” and so bids us to seek the experience and not to let theology delay us.

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

Theology is the preoccupation of so much religion. Please let my religion, my spirituality, be different. May I seek an experience of spirituality, one that You lead me to discover.

Thank you for Your guidance always. May I better follow Your guidance this day.

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.

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.

The Truth Is Not a Secret

giverny-3 - monet - garden“Your ego thoughts can never share the truth with you nor with anyone else.  The ego invented the idea of ‘telling’ the truth and using it as an opposite to telling an untruth or lie.  Thus were born ideas of being able to keep truth a secret, one of the most ridiculous ideas of the ego thought system.  (A Course of Love, 31.25)”

Affirmation:  “I forget my ego’s version of the ‘truth’ today.”

Reflections:

1 – Non-Dualism

A Course in Miracles and A Course of Love present a non-dualistic view of reality.  This non-dualism is the fact that God is All, and that anything else is illusion, projection, or dreams.  Thus the “truth” of the ego, which is illusory, means nothing.  All of this is part of the theology of both ACIM and ACOL.

2 – Don’t Let Theology Delay You

If the theology bothers you, don’t let it cause you to dismiss ACIM and ACOL out of hand.  Jesus says in ACIM that theology can delay us, and we would not be delayed.  We would have the universal experience that he says is possible.  And a universal expereince threatens no one.  A universal theology, on the other hand, is impossible.  (These are paraphrases from ACIM.)

3 – Personal Experience

We need to tell the truth.  We need to drop lies from our pantheon of impulses.  But that does not mean that the truth has any truth in it when the idea that we are expounding comes from the ego.  It is quite possible even to tell the ego’s truth in your nighttime dreams; I did that just last night.  And I awoke in a good mood, but I quickly told myself that this good mood was an appeal to my ego, and not something that I wanted to encourage.  The ego dies hard in us, even when we have studied carefully for years.

4 – Appeal to Sanity

Today’s passage is an appeal to sanity.  The ego is not sane (and neither was my nighttime dream).  We would drop the insanity or madness from our lives, and the only way to do that, if we are working in the framework of our courses,  is to be diligent in our practice of the tenets of ACIM and ACOL.  (There are, of course, other ways to reach God, but our way is ACIM and ACOL, if we so choose.)

5 – The Ego

Don’t fret or worry if the ego intrudes, as it did in my nighttime dream.  Don’t resist, either, for the ego is strong in strife.  Just turn aside gently, and choose again (an ACIM tenet).  Choose again on this journey without distance.

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

The truth is not a secret, kept from us.  We are fully able to ascertain Your truth, but we must do so without the intrusion of the ego.

I would know Your truth today.  I would drop all egoic and egotistical ideas from my mind slant, and I would welcome You instead.

Be with me as I walk along my pathway for today.  There is nothing that being with You in Your presence will not improve.  Thank You.

Amen.

Relationships of the Self/Christ

“Is it such a huge leap to go from saying you only exist in relationship to you only exist as Avenue-de-lOpera-Rain-Effect-artist-Camille-Pissarrorelationship?  You think it is, and feel your self further diminished and lacking in identity just by contemplating such an idea.  And so you must be reassured of the Self you are.  (A Course of Love, 27.10)”

Affirmation:  “Help me to understand that I exist as relationship.”

Reflections:

1 – Definitions

What is the difference between existing “in” relationship and existing “as” relationship?  “In” relationships we are still two entities (extended to many) that are in concert one to the other.  “As” relationship means that we are not unique in any way, but that the one Self that we are is simultaneously everywhere.

2 – Hard Point

This may be a hard point to grasp.  The subtleties are great.

3 – Selves/Christ in Union

To accept that we are “as” relationship, we must recognize the One that is everywhere and everything.  This is another way of speaking of God.  And we have already grasped that our one personal self is a part of Him.  Is it such a giant leap to see that our Self is actually Selves–Christ in union with all?

4 – Theology

This is part of the theology of A Course of Love.  It is not necessary to take this understanding unto yourself if it seems obtuse.  Jesus says in A Course in Miracles that theology may only delay us, for a universal theology is impossible; a universal experience, though, is indeed possible and is to be sought out.

5 – Be Patient

Let the concept in today’s passage rest lightly on your mind.  As time passes, think of “in” and “as” again, and see if this distinction is beginning to be more acceptable to you.  But do not fret if it is one of the last concepts in ACOL to find your nod.  We are learning much by observation, and as we progress, in the future, through the other two volumes of ACOL, we will find much that will support the distinction of “in” and “as.”  Then the difference, though great, will not seem so forbidding.  (Note:  Two earlier portions of this blog covered parts of the Volumes 2 and 3.  These were the “Forty Days and Forty Nights,” covered from April 1 – May 14, 2010, and “Treatise on the New,” covered from May 22 – December 31, 2010.)

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

I would seek to understand today that my Self is part of the One, the Whole, and that all Selves are One.  Thus to say that we all exist “as” relationship makes sense.  Help me to comprehend today.

May this day good well.  Thank You for the good beginning.  May all of us answer each other’s needs, and may our wants that truly are needs be answered as well.  The solution is with the problem.  And may obsessions drift away.

Amen.

The Undoing of Fear

“Miracles represent freedom from fear.  ‘Atoning’ means ‘undoing.’  The undoing of fear is an essential part of the Atonement value of miracles.  (T5)”

Affirmation:  “I welcome the undoing of fear.”

Reflections:

1 – The ACIM Definition of “Atoning”

This passage gives a definition for atoning that is at variance, perhaps, with traditional Christianity.  Jesus gives “atoning” a very benign meaning:  “undoing.”  It says little about the crucifixion, a happening meant to describe that Jesus did not blame his tormentors for anything that they did in illusion.  He remained defenseless.

2 – The Crucifixion and the Resurrection

Traditional Christianity frequently teaches that the crucifixion is some way “bought” our atonement with God.  A Course in Miracles would have us look to the resurrection, which it never denies actually happened, as the way in which our eyes should travel.  If we find trouble with accepting the resurrection, believing that it disobeys all known physical laws, perhaps we need to realize that science has not yet caught up with many concepts in religion.  But Jesus would not have us to accept concepts for which we are not ready.  In an interpretation (not stated in ACIM), I would say that if we have to see the resurrection as metaphorical, we are not to be find ourselves at fault and chastise ourselves.  Take time, and accept all that does not cause conflict within ourselves.  Jesus always in ACIM counsels against theological concepts that are divisive.  He says that a universal theology is impossible, but that a universal experience is not only possible, but necessary.

3 – Atonement

With miracles an essential part of our lives, we will live fearlessly.  Because love and fear are the only two emotions, we know that to love while experiencing miracles will free us for the Atonement.  Some students/teachers of ACIM says that Atonement does not mean “At – one – ment.”  And there are differences of opinion, but I have personally found this interpretation to be helpful.  But nowhere in ACIM is Atonement spelled out in this way.

4 – Anxiety

“Freedom from fear” is a boon enjoyed by so few of us.  But we have Jesus’s promise that it is only waiting for us to receive.  We do not have to be in bondage to fear or, indeed, to any of its component negative emotions.  Fear is frequently manifested as anxiety, and most of us cannot turn meaningfully to our brothers and sisters if we are paralyzed by anxiety.  We become very self-absorbed, which any psychologist of today would say is not to be desired.  It is just good psychology to turn outward to others, as much as we turn inward.  And anxiety is a definite hindrance to this healthy living.

5 – Defenses Make What They Would Defend Against

So we would be wise, at this early point in A Course in Miracles, to come to terms with fear.  We do not have to devise defenses against fear, because we are told in ACIM that defenses make what they would define against.  We need only to allow love to touch our hearts, and fear will wither away.  We become not so interested in our physical safety, because we know that the real Self is safe.  Once we have let all our grievances go, we will know that we are perfectly safe (a Workbook tenet).  This may mean that the Self is safe, because the little (the personal) self may still know trouble.  We are, after all, living in an illusory world where bad things do happen to good people (a concept from Harold Kushner).

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

I would today make a resolution that I plan to keep.  I would turn aside from fear in all its manifestations, and turn to You when anxious thoughts crowd into my mind.   I certainly know that praying in the middle of an anxious night will soothe me, and allow me to turn the night over to You to handle until the morning.  I pray myself back to sleep, and I don’t think that this is an affront to You.  You would have us enjoy restful restoration through sleep, while You stay awake and handle all the details of my tiny life.

Be with all of us who need You to quell anxiety in our hearts and minds.  We do not wish to be fearful.  We know that this is evidence that this world is too much with us.  Tonight as I write this prayer to You, I would know that it is one of the final deeds of the day.  And I will go to sleep with Your blessing on my life, for I have asked Your blessing upon me.  And You never fail to answer that prayer in the affirmative.

Thank You.

Amen.

Idle Dream

“Nothing more fearful than an idle dream has terrified God’s Son, and made him think that he has lost his innocence, denied his Father, and made war upon himself. (T584)”

Affirmation:  “An idle dream has terrified me.”

Reflections:

1 – What Does the “Idle Dream” Mean?

The world we view is seen by the A Course in Miracles as an “idle dream.”  But ACIM also says that there are no idle thoughts.  Form happens.  This tiny instant from the distant past caused the nightmare in which we are caught.  It all seems to be happening now, but Jesus  places time in the distant past, being relived now.  This is part of the theology of A Course in Miracles, and we probably will not fully understand, regardless of how often we revisit these passages.  That does not matter.  Jesus said that theology can delay us, and that it is an experience that he wants us to find.  A universal theology is impossible, but a universal experience is possible, and it is the latter that we should seek.

2 – Millions of Years to Escape

This is, nevertheless, a reassuring passage.  If it truly was an idle dream that caused what we see today, then the way out cannot be difficult (though the return for everyone may take millions of years, another concept of ACIM).

3 – We Are the Lucky Ones

We are the lucky ones, the ones who have ACIM to show us a simple pathway out.  We have not actually denied our Father.  That is part of the dream.  We are not terrible individuals; we have not lost our innocence.  All of our attack and anger take place in the dream.  And we think that we have made war on ourselves.  Again, the dream.

4 – We Are the Dreamer of the Dream

And we are the dreamer of the dream.  We can change the nature of the dream, with the help of the Holy Spirit, once we know that we are merely dreaming.  He will guide out steps out of the nightmare into the sunshine.

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

I would remember today that my dreams are personally directed by me.  I can choose the “happy dreams the Holy Spirit brings,” or I can get lost in dreams of revenge and unhappiness.  What will give me more peace today?  Your way is obvious, and it is obviously the way I plan to go.

May I not be daunted by the prospect of millions of years for all to return.  We are here to shorten that time, and Jesus says that each of us will shorten the wait by one thousand years.  Thank You for this reassurance.  And may I do my part today to chip away at that one thousand years.

Amen.