ACIM Text Reading & Workbook Lesson for July 11

ACIM Text Reading for July 11

Chapter 21 ~ Reason and Perception

VII. Reason versus Madness

Reason cannot see sin but can see errors, and leads to their correction. It does not value them, but their correction. Reason will also tell you that when you think you sin, you call for help. Yet if you will not accept the help you call for, you will not believe that it is yours to give. And so you will not give it, thus maintaining the belief. For uncorrected error of any kind deceives you about the power that is in you to make correction. If it can correct, and you allow it not to do so, you deny it to yourself and to your brother. And if he shares this same belief you both will think that you are damned. This you could spare him and yourself. For reason would not make way for correction in you alone.

Correction cannot be accepted or refused by you without your brother. Sin would maintain it can. Yet reason tells you that you cannot see your brother or yourself as sinful and still perceive the other innocent. Who looks upon himself as guilty and sees a sinless world? And who can see a sinful world and look upon himself apart from it? Sin would maintain you must be separate. But reason tells you that this must be wrong. If you are joined, how could it be that you have private thoughts? And how could thoughts that enter into what but seems like yours alone have no effect at all on what is yours? If minds are joined, this is impossible.

No one can think but for himself, as God thinks not without His Son. Only were both in bodies could this be. Nor could one mind think only for itself unless the body were the mind. For only bodies can be separate, and therefore unreal. The home of madness cannot be the home of reason. Yet it is easy to leave the home of madness if you see reason. You do not leave insanity by going somewhere else. You leave it simply by accepting reason where madness was. Madness and reason see the same things, but it is certain that they look upon them differently.

Madness is an attack on reason that drives it out of mind, and takes its place. Reason does not attack, but takes the place of madness quietly, replacing madness if it be the choice of the insane to listen to it. But the insane know not their will, for they believe they see the body, and let their madness tell them it is real. Reason would be incapable of this. And if you would defend the body against your reason, you will not understand the body or yourself.

The body does not separate you from your brother, and if you think it does you are insane. But madness has a purpose, and believes it also has the means to make its purpose real. To see the body as a barrier between what reason tells you must be joined must be insane. Nor could you see it, if you heard the voice of reason. What can there be that stands between what is continuous? And if there is nothing in between, how can what enters part be kept away from other parts? Reason would tell you this. But think what you must recognize, if it be so.

If you choose sin instead of healing, you would condemn the Son of God to what can never be corrected. You tell him, by your choice, that he is damned; separate from you and from his Father forever, without a hope of safe return. You teach him this, and you will learn of him exactly what you taught. For you can teach him only that he is as you would have him, and what you choose he be is but your choice for you. Yet think not this is fearful. That you are joined to him is but a fact, not an interpretation. How can a fact be fearful unless it disagrees with what you hold more dear than truth? Reason will tell you that this fact is your release.

Neither your brother nor yourself can be attacked alone. But neither can accept a miracle instead without the other being blessed by it, and healed of pain. Reason, like love, would reassure you, and seeks not to frighten you. The power to heal the Son of God is given you because he must be one with you. You are responsible for how he sees himself. And reason tells you it is given you to change his whole mind, which is one with you, in just an instant. And any instant serves to bring complete correction of his errors and make him whole. The instant that you choose to let yourself be healed, in that same instant is his whole salvation seen as complete with yours. Reason is given you to understand that this is so. For reason, kind as is the purpose for which it is the means, leads steadily away from madness toward the goal of truth. And here you will lay down the burden of denying truth. This is the burden that is terrible, and not the truth.

That you are joined is your salvation; the gift of Heaven, not the gift of fear. Does Heaven seem to be a burden to you? In madness, yes. And yet what madness sees must be dispelled by reason. Reason assures you Heaven is what you want, and all you want. Listen to Him Who speaks with reason, and brings your reason into line with His. Be willing to let reason be the means by which He would direct you how to leave insanity behind. Hide not behind insanity in order to escape from reason. What madness would conceal, the Holy Spirit still holds out for everyone to look upon with gladness.

You are your brother’s savior. He is yours. Reason speaks happily indeed of this. This gracious plan was given love by Love. And what Love plans is like Itself in this: Being united, It would have you learn what you must be. And being one with It, it must be given you to give what It has given, and gives still. Spend but an instant in the glad acceptance of what is given you to give your brother, and learn with him what has been given both of you. To give is no more blessed than to receive. But neither is it less.

The Son of God is always blessed as one. And as his gratitude goes out to you who blessed him, reason will tell you that it cannot be you stand apart from blessing. The gratitude he offers you reminds you of the thanks your Father gives you for completing Him. And here alone does reason tell you that you can understand what you must be. Your Father is as close to you as is your brother. Yet what is there that could be nearer you than is your Self?

The power you have over the Son of God is not a threat to his reality. It but attests to it. Where could his freedom lie but in himself, if he be free already? And who could bind him but himself, if he deny his freedom? God is not mocked; no more His Son can be imprisoned save by his own desire. And it is by his own desire that he is freed. Such is his strength, and not his weakness. He is at his own mercy. And where he chooses to be merciful, there is he free. But where he chooses to condemn instead, there is he held a prisoner, waiting in chains his pardon on himself to set him free.

***

ACIM Workbook Lesson for July 11

Lesson 192

I have a function God would have me fill.

It is your Father’s holy Will that you complete Himself, and that your Self shall be His sacred Son, forever pure as He, of love created and in love preserved, extending love, creating in its name, forever one with God and with your Self. Yet what can such a function mean within a world of envy, hatred and attack?

Therefore, you have a function in the world in its own terms. For who can understand a language far beyond his simple grasp? Forgiveness represents your function here. It is not God’s creation, for it is the means by which untruth can be undone. And who would pardon Heaven? Yet on earth, you need the means to let illusions go. Creation merely waits for your return to be acknowledged, not to be complete.

Creation cannot even be conceived of in the world. It has no meaning here. Forgiveness is the closest it can come to earth. For being Heaven-born, it has no form at all. Yet God created One Who has the power to translate in form the wholly formless. What He makes are dreams, but of a kind so close to waking that the light of day already shines in them, and eyes already opening behold the joyful sights their offerings contain.

Forgiveness gently looks upon all things unknown in Heaven, sees them disappear, and leaves the world a clean and unmarked slate on which the Word of God can now replace the senseless symbols written there before. Forgiveness is the means by which the fear of death is overcome, because it holds no fierce attraction now and guilt is gone. Forgiveness lets the body be perceived as what it is; a simple teaching aid, to be laid by when learning is complete, but hardly changing him who learns at all.

The mind without the body cannot make mistakes. It cannot think that it will die, nor be the prey of merciless attack. Anger becomes impossible, and where is terror then? What fears could still assail those who have lost the source of all attack, the core of anguish and the seat of fear? Only forgiveness can relieve the mind of thinking that the body is its home. Only forgiveness can restore the peace that God intended for His holy Son. Only forgiveness can persuade the Son to look again upon his holiness.

With anger gone, you will indeed perceive that, for Christ’s vision and the gift of sight, no sacrifice was asked, and only pain was lifted from a sick and tortured mind. Is this unwelcome? Is it to be feared? Or is it to be hoped for, met with thanks and joyously accepted? We are one, and therefore give up nothing. But we have indeed been given everything by God.

Yet do we need forgiveness to perceive that this is so. Without its kindly light we grope in darkness, using reason but to justify our rage and our attack. Our understanding is so limited that what we think we understand is but confusion born of error. We are lost in mists of shifting dreams and fearful thoughts, our eyes shut tight against the light; our minds engaged in worshipping what is not there.

Who can be born again in Christ but him who has forgiven everyone he sees or thinks of or imagines? Who could be set free while he imprisons anyone? A jailer is not free, for he is bound together with his prisoner. He must be sure that he does not escape, and so he spends his time in keeping watch on him. The bars that limit him become the world in which his jailer lives, along with him. And it is on his freedom that the way to liberty depends for both of them.

Therefore, hold no one prisoner. Release instead of bind, for thus are you made free. The way is simple. Every time you feel a stab of anger, realize you hold a sword above your head. And it will fall or be averted as you choose to be condemned or free. Thus does each one who seems to tempt you to be angry represent your savior from the prison house of death. And so you owe him thanks instead of pain.

Be merciful today. The Son of God deserves your mercy. It is he who asks that you accept the way to freedom now. Deny him not. His Father’s Love for him belongs to you. Your function here on earth is only to forgive him, that you may accept him back as your Identity. He is as God created him. And you are what he is. Forgive him now his sins, and you will see that you are one with him.

***

ACIM Q & A for Today

Q #37: This question is an edited combination of two separate questions that were submitted on the theme of choice and predetermination or destiny in A Course in Miracles:

As I understand it, in this dream of separation my only real choice is which teacher I choose in every situation I find myself: the ego or the Holy Spirit. As for the dream itself, we are told that the script is already written. But I wonder, can I, as the dreamer of the dream, change the dream in terms of the specific events that unfold. Or can I change the dream only in terms of my perspective on the situation? In other words, is everything that I’m experiencing predestined when it comes to situations and relationships, etc.? That would mean that I’m walking through an old dream of separation, like watching an old movie, that my marriage could never have lasted longer than it did, I could never have had more than the number of children I have now, and the relationship I’m in now is already fully defined in terms of time, etc. As I’m given the opportunity to ‘save time’ by choosing the Holy Spirit as my teacher, it would mean only that I’m allowed to skip certain parts of the story. Is it like this?

But it also seems that the Course encourages us not to exchange an unholy relationship for yet another unholy relationship with someone else, as we search for happiness we will never find outside of ourselves, but instead to make the relationship we are in a holy one. This seems to indicate that we dohave choices in terms of the story, the people we’re meeting, etc. So then there could be several possible versions of my lifetime. One might include two or more briefer marriages with different spouses while another might involve remaining in the same marriage for many years. But Jesus says that nothing is left to coincidence and that every meeting is planned. Or does the form simply not matter and do I just see shadows, projecting my own images on them? But then why is it that the script of my life, if it is already determined, seems to have such a significant effect on other people’s lives?

Jesus also says that what we see is the judgment we first passed on ourselves, and outside of that there is no world. Does that mean that, for example, if there is a war between the United States and Iraq, I could have done something to stop it? Did it already happen and was it corrected, so that if I’m seeing a war instead of peace, does that mean that my mind still needs to be corrected because I am still choosing the wrong teacher? Or could I have done nothing to avoid the war and do I just choose which teacher with whom to view the events. And would I see nothing but innocence on both sides if I choose the Holy Spirit?

A: To address completely all the questions and issues you’ve raised could take a book (and there is a book, A Vast Illusion: Time According to A Course in Miracles by Kenneth Wapnickwhich you may find helpful to amplify some of the points that we’ll address briefly here).

The Course does say that our only real choice is between the ego and Holy Spirit, the emphasis being on “real.” But within the dream, there are nearly an infinite number — although not infinite, only nearlyinfinite, because the ego can not make anything that is either infinite or eternal (T.4.I.11:7) — of alternatives we can choose among at the level of form. But their underlying content is all the same — sin, guilt and fear – and so the Course emphasizes that there is no real choice among alternatives that are really all the same. Meaningful choice can be made only on the level of content and so the only real choice is between the guilt and fear of the ego and the forgiveness and love of the Holy Spirit. So, yes, there are many different forms or sequences of events that our lives may take as a result of our seeming choices, but so long as we are choosing with the ego, believing that happiness can be found outside ourselves, nothing will really change, although our circumstances and relationships may alter significantly. By the way, the Course does not actually encourage us to remain physically in a relationship in order to make it holy — it never advises us on the level of specifics or form. When it cautions us about “getting rid of your brother” (T.17.V.7:2), it is speaking of how we are perceiving our brother in our mind, including in particular all of the special fantasies we have associated with him that are no longer being fulfilled.

Now the Course also says, as you remark, that the script is already written (W.pI.158.4:3) and that everything in time has already happened, so that our lives are nothing more than seeing “the journey from where it ended, looking back on it, imagining we make it once again; reviewing mentally what has gone by” (4:5). And while Jesus says that nothing happens by chance, he is clearly attributing the responsibility for choice for all the experiences of our lives to our own mind (T-21.II.3:1,2,3). But this does not mean that everything in our lives is predetermined, that the sequence of events is fixed. We are always choosing from an array of many possible events that have all already occurred, but the unique sequencing and the vast number of past events we’re choosing from, combined with our repressing any memory of any of them and our belief that time itself is both real and linear, add to the feeling that it is all new. And this is all part of the ego defense to mislead us into believing something new and meaningful is happening in our lives, reinforcing the foolish hope that somehow this time our ego choice in the world of form will have a better outcome.

To understand the seeming effect of our lives on each other, we need to step back and look from outside the dream of the world, and return our attention to the mind where all choices are really being made. The nearly infinite number of possible events in time was written in one instant by the one (collective) mind, joined with the ego, before the fragmentary projection out into the world of separate individuals and lives seemed to happen. As Jesus explains, “time but lasted an instant in your mind, with no effect upon eternity. And so is all time past…The tiny tick of time in which the first mistake was made, and all of them with that one mistake” (T.26.3:3,4,5, italics added).

Now my individual dream is separate and can not truly be shared with anyone else. But since all minds are joined, any decision that I make to interact as a body with you, or that you make to interact as a body with me, must always reflect an agreement we both have made together, at the level of mind outside of time and space, to replay certain events in time and space that have already happened. And this joint agreement must be kept buried in our unconscious if it is to be effective in supporting the ego’s purpose of separation and victimization.

Jesus speaks of this joint decision, specifically in the context of our agreement to be hurt by each other, as “the secret vow that you have made with every brother that would walk apart.…Unstated and unheard in consciousness…it is a promise to another to be hurt by him, and to attack him in return.…so that [the body] will suffer pain. It is the obvious effect of what was made in secret, in agreement with another’s secret wish to be apart from you, as you would be apart from him. Unless you both agree that is your wish, it can have no effects” (T.28.VI.4:3,6,7; 5:1,2,3). This hidden joint agreement to seem to be affected by each other must be the case, for otherwise we would be the victim of each other’s decisions. While this joint agreement about form is true at a metaphysical level, at a practical level it is much more helpful to focus on the fact that in the world, as the physical self with which I identify, I am not able to control what others do, but I nevertheless always have a choice about how I will perceive what is happening in my life. I can decide which teacher I will invite in, and whether I will see my peace of mind as dependent only on my own choice — as the Holy Spirit would teach — or whether I choose to see others as having power to take away my peace of mind — accepting the ego’s teaching that I can be victimized and therefore am not responsible for how I feel.

As to whether or not a healed mind sees war and has any choice about it, it is apparent that Jesus recognizes the conflicts of our ego — he spends a great deal of the Course pointing out the ego’s sick dynamics to us — but that does not mean his mind is not healed. What is important is that he is not judging us as he uncovers our ego’s machinations. He sees everything as either an extension of love or a call for it (T.12.I.3:1,2,3,4). When we are joined with Jesus in our minds, we will see any conflict in the world, at either an individual or an international level, in that same light. We will not deny what our eyes see, but our interpretation will be different from the world’s interpretation. In the context of sickness, the Course observes that “the body’s eyes will continue to see differences. But the mind that has let itself be healed will no longer acknowledge them. There will be those who seem to be ‘sicker’ than others, and the body’s eyes will report their changed appearances as before. But the healed mind will put them all in one category; they are unreal” (M-8.6:1-4). And this healed perception can arise only after our mind has released its belief in the value of conflict and war as a means for projecting the guilt of separation outside of our own mind. We may have agreed to participate in a collective dream where an external war is played out in order to reinforce the ego’s perception of the world as one of victims and victimizers – but we can in any instant ask for help, first recognizing the ego’s purpose for war and then deciding we no longer wish to reinforce that insanity in our own mind. And before we would see innocence on all sides of the conflict, we would first see the insanity on all sides, and recognize it is the same insanity we share with everyone else when we are identified with the ego.

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ACIM Text Reading & Workbook Lesson for July 6

ACIM Text Reading for July 6

Chapter 21 ~ Reason and Perception

III. The Responsibility for Sight

We have repeated how little is asked of you to learn this course. It is the same small willingness you need to have your whole relationship transformed to joy; the little gift you offer to the Holy Spirit for which he gives you everything; the very little on which salvation rests; the tiny change of mind by which the crucifixion is changed to resurrection. And being true, it is so simple that it cannot fail to be completely understood. Rejected yes, but not ambiguous. And if you choose against it now it will not be because it is obscure, but rather that this little cost seemed, in your judgment, to be too much to pay for peace.

This is the only thing that you need do for vision, happiness, release from pain and the complete escape from sin, all to be given you. Say only this, but mean it with no reservations, for here the power of salvation lies:

“I am responsible for what I see.
I choose the feelings I experience, and I decide upon the goal I would achieve.
And everything that seems to happen to me
I ask for, and receive as I have asked.”

Deceive yourself no longer that you are helpless in the face of what is done to you. Acknowledge but that you have been mistaken, and all effects of your mistakes will disappear.

It is impossible the Son of God be merely driven by events outside of him. It is impossible that happenings that come to him were not his choice. His power of decision is the determiner of every situation in which he seems to find himself by chance or accident. No accident nor chance is possible within the universe as God created it, outside of which is nothing. Suffer, and you decided sin was your goal. Be happy, and you gave the power of decision to him who must decide for God for you. This is the little gift you offer to the Holy Spirit, and even this He gives to you to give yourself. For by this gift is given you the power to release your savior, that he may give salvation unto you.

Begrudge not then this little offering. Withhold it, and you keep the world as now you see it. Give it away, and everything you see goes with it. Never was so much given for so little. In the holy instant is this exchange effected and maintained. Here is the world you do not want brought to the one you do. And here the one you do is given you because you want it. Yet for this, the power of your wanting must first be recognized. You must accept its strength, and not its weakness. You must perceive that what is strong enough to make a world can let it go, and can accept correction if it is willing to see that it was wrong.

The world you see is but the idle witness that you were right. This witness is insane. You trained it in its testimony, and as it gave it back to you, you listened and convinced yourself that what it saw was true. You did this to yourself. See only this, and you will also see how circular the reasoning on which your “seeing” rests. This was not given you. This was your gift to you and to your brother. Be willing, then, to have it taken from him and be replaced with truth. And as you look upon the change in him, it will be given you to see it in yourself.

Perhaps you do not see the need for you to give this little offering. Look closer, then, at what it is. And, very simply, see in it the whole exchange of separation for salvation. All that the ego is, is an idea that it is possible that things should happen to the Son of God without his will; and thus without the Will of his Creator, Whose Will cannot be separate from his own. This is the Son of God’s replacement for his will, a mad revolt against what must forever be. This is the statement that he has the power to make God powerless and so to take it for himself, and leave himself without what God has willed for him. This is the mad idea you have enshrined upon your altars, and which you worship. And everything that threatens this seems to attack your faith, for here is it invested. Think not that you are faithless, for your belief and trust in this is strong indeed.

The Holy Spirit can give you faith in holiness and vision to see it easily enough. But you have not left open and unoccupied the altar where the gifts belong. Where they should be, you have set up your idols to something else. This other “will,” which seems to tell you what must happen, you give reality. And what would show you otherwise must therefore seem unreal. All that is asked of you is to make room for truth. You are not asked to make or do what lies beyond your understanding. All you are asked to do is let it in; only to stop your interference with what will happen of itself; simply to recognize again the presence of what you thought you gave away.

Be willing, for an instant, to leave your altars free of what you placed upon them, and what is really there you cannot fail to see. The holy instant is not an instant of creation, but of recognition. For recognition comes of vision and suspended judgment. Then only it is possible to look within and see what must be there, plainly in sight, and wholly independent of inference and judgment. Undoing is not your task, but it is up to you to welcome it or not. Faith and desire go hand in hand, for everyone believes in what he wants.

We have already said that wishful thinking is how the ego deals with what it wants, to make it so. There is no better demonstration of the power of wanting, and therefore of faith, to make its goals seem real and possible. Faith in the unreal leads to adjustments of reality to make it fit the goal of madness. The goal of sin induces the perception of a fearful world to justify its purpose. What you desire, you will see. And if its reality is false, you will uphold it by not realizing all the adjustments you have introduced to make it so.

When vision is denied, confusion of cause and effect becomes inevitable. The purpose now becomes to keep obscure the cause of the effect, and make effect appear to be a cause. This seeming independence of effect enables it to be regarded as standing by itself, and capable of serving as a cause of the events and feelings its maker thinks it causes. Earlier, we spoke of your desire to create your own creator, and be father and not son to Him. This is the same desire. The Son is the effect, whose Cause he would deny. And so he seems to be the cause, producing real effects. Nothing can have effects without a cause, and to confuse the two is merely to fail to understand them both.

It is as needful that you recognize you made the world you see, as that you recognize that you did not create yourself. They are the same mistake. Nothing created not by your Creator has any influence over you. And if you think what you have made can tell you what you see and feel, and place your faith in its ability to do so, you are denying your Creator and believing that you made yourself. For if you think the world you made has power to make you what it wills, you are confusing Son and Father; effect and Source.

The Son’s creations are like his Father’s. Yet in creating them the Son does not delude himself that he is independent of his Source. His union with It is the source of his creating. Apart from this he has no power to create, and what he makes is meaningless. It changes nothing in creation, depends entirely upon the madness of its maker, and cannot serve to justify the madness. Your brother thinks he made the world with you. Thus he denies creation. With you, he thinks the world he made, made him. Thus he denies he made it.

Yet the truth is you were both created by a loving Father, Who created you together and as one. See what “proves” otherwise, and you deny your whole reality. But grant that everything that seems to stand between you, keeping you from each other and separate from your Father, you made in secret, and the instant of release has come to you. All its effects are gone, because its source has been uncovered. It is its seeming independence of its source that keeps you prisoner. This is the same mistake as thinking you are independent of the Source by Which you were created, and have never left.

***

ACIM Workbook Lesson for July 6

Lesson 187

I bless the world because I bless myself.

No one can give unless he has. In fact, giving is proof of having. We have made this point before. What seems to make it hard to credit is not this. No one can doubt that you must first possess what you would give. It is the second phase on which the world and true perception differ. Having had and given, then the world asserts that you have lost what you possessed. The truth maintains that giving will increase what you possess.

How is this possible? For it is sure that if you give a finite thing away, your body’s eyes will not perceive it yours. Yet we have learned that things but represent the thoughts that make them. And you do not lack for proof that when you give ideas away, you strengthen them in your own mind. Perhaps the form in which the thought seems to appear is changed in giving. Yet it must return to him who gives. Nor can the form it takes be less acceptable. It must be more.

Ideas must first belong to you, before you give them. If you are to save the world, you first accept salvation for yourself. But you will not believe that this is done until you see the miracles it brings to everyone you look upon. Herein is the idea of giving clarified and given meaning. Now you can perceive that by your giving is your store increased.

Protect all things you value by the act of giving them away, and you are sure that you will never lose them. What you thought you did not have is thereby proven yours. Yet value not its form. For this will change and grow unrecognizable in time, however much you try to keep it safe. No form endures. It is the thought behind the form of things that lives unchangeable.

Give gladly. You can only gain thereby. The thought remains, and grows in strength as it is reinforced by giving. Thoughts extend as they are shared, for they can not be lost. There is no giver and receiver in the sense the world conceives of them. There is a giver who retains; another who will give as well. And both must gain in this exchange, for each will have the thought in form most helpful to him. What he seems to lose is always something he will value less than what will surely be returned to him.

Never forget you give but to yourself. Who understands what giving means must laugh at the idea of sacrifice. Nor can he fail to recognize the many forms which sacrifice may take. He laughs as well at pain and loss, at sickness and at grief, at poverty, starvation and at death. He recognizes sacrifice remains the one idea that stands behind them all, and in his gentle laughter are they healed.

Illusion recognized must disappear. Accept not suffering, and you remove the thought of suffering. Your blessing lies on everyone who suffers, when you choose to see all suffering as what it is. The thought of sacrifice gives rise to all the forms that suffering appears to take. And sacrifice is an idea so mad that sanity dismisses it at once.

Never believe that you can sacrifice. There is no place for sacrifice in what has any value. If the thought occurs, its very presence proves that error has arisen and correction must be made. Your blessing will correct it. Given first to you, it now is yours to give as well. No form of sacrifice and suffering can long endure before the face of one who has forgiven and has blessed himself.

The lilies that your brother offers you are laid upon your altar, with the ones you offer him beside them. Who could fear to look upon such lovely holiness? The great illusion of the fear of God diminishes to nothingness before the purity that you will look on here. Be not afraid to look. The blessedness you will behold will take away all thought of form, and leave instead the perfect gift forever there, forever to increase, forever yours, forever given away.

Now are we one in thought, for fear has gone. And here, before the altar to one God, one Father, one Creator and one Thought, we stand together as one Son of God. Not separate from Him Who is our Source; not distant from one brother who is part of our one Self Whose innocence has joined us all as one, we stand in blessedness, and give as we receive. The Name of God is on our lips. And as we look within, we see the purity of Heaven shine in our reflection of our Father’s Love.

Now are we blessed, and now we bless the world. What we have looked upon we would extend, for we would see it everywhere. We would behold it shining with the grace of God in everyone. We would not have it be withheld from anything we look upon. And to ensure this holy sight is ours, we offer it to everything we see. For where we see it, it will be returned to us in form of lilies we can lay upon our altar, making it a home for Innocence Itself, Who dwells in us and offers us His Holiness as ours.

***

ACIM Q & A for Today

Q #782(ii): I am a new student and I have started from Lesson 181, the lesson of the day when I received my book in the mail. I am a Catholic and my mother tongue is Chinese. Is there a specific way to learn A Course in Miracles ? I find listening to the lesson while I am looking at the text helps me to understand better. Is there a way to listen to other lessons besides the lesson of the day?

A: It also would be helpful for you to read the Introduction to the workbook and then begin with the first Lesson instead of continuing with the later ones. There is nothing wrong with starting where you did, but since the later lessons build on the earlier ones, your learning and practicing could be even more effective if you were to go back and start with Lesson 1. The numbering of the lessons does not correspond to the days of the calendar year, so it does not matter what day of the year you begin the lessons.

We are not sure of what you mean when you say you look at the text as you are listening to a lesson from the workbook. It is fine to read and study the text during one part of day, and during another part of the day listen to a lesson, if that is what you mean. In the very first paragraph of the Introduction to the workbook, Jesus points out that his teaching in the text make the exercises in the workbook meaningful, and also that the workbook’s purpose is “to train your mind to think along the lines the text sets forth” (W.in.1) . You do not have to complete the lessons before you begin studying the text, nor do you have to finish reading the text before you begin the workbook lessons. Just don’t put pressure on yourself as you proceed. The only thing Jesus emphasizes is that you not do more than one lesson per day. His main objective is that you grow in experiencing his love and trust: that is the message or the content of his course. The lessons are training exercises for our very undisciplined minds, but only so that we will be better able to recognize the message and then integrate it into the way we live our daily lives. So it would be a mistake to get too caught up in rituals or form.

We have many books and tapes that you might find helpful in your study and practice, along with material on our Web site, under “ACIM teaching materials.” In addition, some other questions on this Service discuss the language of the Course and the relationship between Christianity and the Course: Questions #709 and #710.

Know Yourself

ACIM Text Reading & Workbook Lesson for February 13

ACIM Text Reading for February 13

Chapter 5 ~ Healing and Wholeness

VIII. The Decision for God

Do you really believe you can make a voice that can drown out God’s? Do you really believe you can devise a thought system that can separate you from Him? Do you really believe you can plan for your safety and joy better than He can? You need be neither careful nor careless; you need merely cast your cares upon Him because He careth for you. You are His care because He loves you. His Voice reminds you always that all hope is yours because of His care. You cannot choose to escape His care because that is not His Will, but you can choose to accept His care and use the infinite power of His care for all those He created by it.

There have been many healers who did not heal themselves. They have not moved mountains by their faith because their faith was not whole. Some of them have healed the sick at times, but they have not raised the dead. Unless the healer heals himself, he cannot believe that there is no order of difficulty in miracles. He has not learned that every mind God created is equally worthy of being healed because God created it whole. You are merely asked to return to God the mind as He created it. He asks you only for what He gave, knowing that this giving will heal you. Sanity is wholeness, and the sanity of your brothers is yours.

Why should you listen to the endless insane calls you think are made upon you, when you can know the Voice for God is in you? God commended His Spirit to you, and asks that you commend yours to Him. He wills to keep it in perfect peace, because you are of one mind and spirit with Him. Excluding yourself from the Atonement is the ego’s last-ditch defense of its own existence. It reflects both the ego’s need to separate, and your willingness to side with its separateness. This willingness means that you do not want to be healed.

But the time is now. You have not been asked to work out the plan of salvation yourself because, as I told you before, the remedy could not be of your making. God Himself gave you the perfect Correction for everything you made that is not in accord with His holy Will. I am making His plan perfectly explicit to you, and will also tell you of your part in it, and how urgent it is to fulfill it. God weeps at the “sacrifice” of His children who believe they are lost to Him.

Whenever you are not wholly joyous, it is because you have reacted with a lack of love to one of God’s creations. Perceiving this as “sin” you become defensive because you expect attack. The decision to react in this way is yours, and can therefore be undone. It cannot be undone by repentance in the usual sense, because this implies guilt. If you allow yourself to feel guilty, you will reinforce the error rather than allow it to be undone for you.

Decision cannot be difficult. This is obvious, if you realize that you must already have decided not to be wholly joyous if that is how you feel. Therefore, the first step in the undoing is to recognize that you actively decided wrongly, but can as actively decide otherwise. Be very firm with yourself in this, and keep yourself fully aware that the undoing process, which does not come from you, is nevertheless within you because God placed it there. Your part is merely to return your thinking to the point at which the error was made, and give it over to the Atonement in peace. Say this to yourself as sincerely as you can, remembering that the Holy Spirit will respond fully to your slightest invitation:

I must have decided wrongly, because I am not at peace.
I made the decision myself, but I can also decide otherwise.
I want to decide otherwise, because I want to be at peace.
I do not feel guilty, because the Holy Spirit will undo all the consequences of my wrong decision if I will let Him.
I choose to let Him, by allowing Him to decide for God for me.

***

ACIM Workbook Lesson for February 13

Lesson 44

God is the light in which I see.

Today we are continuing the idea for yesterday, adding another dimension to it. You cannot see in darkness, and you cannot make light. You can make darkness and then think you see in it, but light reflects life, and is therefore an aspect of creation. Creation and darkness cannot coexist, but light and life must go together, being but different aspects of creation.

In order to see, you must recognize that light is within, not without. You do not see outside yourself, nor is the equipment for seeing outside you. An essential part of this equipment is the light that makes seeing possible. It is with you always, making vision possible in every circumstance.

Today we are going to attempt to reach that light. For this purpose, we will use a form of exercise which has been suggested before, and which we will utilize increasingly. It is a particularly difficult form for the undisciplined mind, and represents a major goal of mind training. It requires precisely what the untrained mind lacks. Yet this training must be accomplished if you are to see.

Have at least three practice periods today, each lasting three to five minutes. A longer time is highly recommended, but only if you find the time slipping by with little or no sense of strain. The form of practice we will use today is the most natural and easy one in the world for the trained mind, just as it seems to be the most unnatural and difficult for the untrained mind.

Your mind is no longer wholly untrained. You are quite ready to learn the form of exercise we will use today, but you may find that you will encounter strong resistance. The reason is very simple. While you practice in this way, you leave behind everything that you now believe, and all the thoughts that you have made up. Properly speaking, this is the release from hell. Yet perceived through the ego’s eyes, it is loss of identity and a descent into hell.

If you can stand aside from the ego by ever so little, you will have no difficulty in recognizing that its opposition and its fears are meaningless. You might find it helpful to remind yourself, from time to time, that to reach light is to escape from darkness, whatever you may believe to the contrary. God is the light in which you see. You are attempting to reach Him.

Begin the practice period by repeating today’s idea with your eyes open, and close them slowly, repeating the idea several times more. Then try to sink into your mind, letting go every kind of interference and intrusion by quietly sinking past them. Your mind cannot be stopped in this unless you choose to stop it. It is merely taking its natural course. Try to observe your passing thoughts without involvement, and slip quietly by them.

While no particular approach is advocated for this form of exercise, what is needful is a sense of the importance of what you are doing; its inestimable value to you, and an awareness that you are attempting something very holy. Salvation is your happiest accomplishment. It is also the only one that has any meaning, because it is the only one that has any real use to you at all.

If resistance rises in any form, pause long enough to repeat today’s idea, keeping your eyes closed unless you are aware of fear. In that case, you will probably find it more reassuring to open your eyes briefly. Try, however, to return to the exercises with eyes closed as soon as possible.

If you are doing the exercises correctly, you should experience some sense of relaxation, and even a feeling that you are approaching, if not actually entering into light. Try to think of light, formless and without limit, as you pass by the thoughts of this world. And do not forget that they cannot hold you to the world unless you give them the power to do so.

Throughout the day repeat the idea often, with eyes open or closed as seems better to you at the time. But do not forget. Above all, be determined not to forget today.

***

ACIM Q & A for Today

Q #59: After all this time of studying the Course, I’m still not real clear on what forgiveness really is. Let’s say my ego mind labels someone as being a jerk. Well, I know on one level that I can’t possibly be right in that evaluation — I don’t really know this person and besides, I can’t judge another even if sometimes I do. So, what’s the next step? Not only have I made an unfair judgment; I’ve ended up feeling guilty for it.

A: When you take a minute or two to think differently about your judgment of another person, as you describe in your question, you have begun the forgiveness process, “A light has entered the darkness” (M.1.1:4). The first step is being willing to admit that we are wrong in our evaluation, and that there is another way of looking at the person. The next steps are being willing to let go of the original judgment, ask for another way of perceiving, and accept the new perception when it comes to you. This does not mean that you will no longer see people do foolish things. It means that you will not confuse the person’s true identity with the foolish behavior, nor condemn him for it, nor consider it a “sin.” People do and say foolish things; that is a fact. There are then two interpretations: one according to the ego, which says this foolish behavior makes this person a “jerk”; the other according to the Holy Spirit (forgiveness), which says the foolish behavior does not change the real fact that this person is not a “sinner,” and does not deserve my condemnation. This applies as well to the judgment against yourself. We might say that calling another person a “jerk” is foolish behavior. This does not mean you are a sinner deserving of punishment, but that you have made a mistake, and are in need of a new perception, a correction, forgiveness. The guilt that seems to be at the end of the process, after judging a person as a “jerk,” was actually already present in the mind prior to the “attack.” The guilt was projected out to the “jerk” in the form of the judgment, which then seems to cause the guilt. This is an example of the Course teaching: “Ideas leave not their source, and their effects but seem to be apart from them. Ideas are of the mind. What is projected out, and seems to be external to the mind, is not outside at all, but an effect of what is in, and has not left its source” (T.26.VII.4:7,8,9). The origin of the process is a thought of separation in the mind, followed by a judgment against yourself for the thought, and guilt for having thought it. The guilt is then projected out to someone else in the form of an attack, and it then returns to the mind in the form of guilt for the attack. This is the circular thinking of the ego’s game of guilt. Forgiveness asks that we recognize the original thought, and accept responsibility for the process. The way to forgive yourself for the original thought of separation is to offer forgiveness to the “jerk” by seeing him as no different from yourself; i.e., being in need of healing and of correction, and no different in his true identity as a holy Son of God: “Let not the form of his mistakes keep you from him whose holiness is yours. Let not the vision of his holiness, the sight of which would show you your forgiveness, be kept from you by what the body’s eyes can see. Let your awareness of your brother not be blocked by your perception of his sins and of his body. What is there in him that you would attack except what you associate with his body, which you believe can sin? Beyond his errors is his holiness and your salvation. You gave him not his holiness, but tried to see your sins in him to save yourself. And yet, his holiness is your forgiveness” (T.22.III.8:1,2,3,4,5,6,7).


Q #60: I seem to remember a passage that states the use of “white lies” may at times be appropriate in dealing with some relationships. What is Jesus saying here? I can only seem to relate it to the 12-step saying where we should always try to make amends except when to do so would cause more harm.

A: We have all experienced occasions when it is obvious that telling someone the truth on the level of form is simply not the loving thing to do. While there are no passages in the Course that specifically mention “white lies,” there are two passages that address this issue, and that relate to the 12-step saying you mention: “The value of the Atonement does not lie in the manner in which it is expressed. In fact, if it is used truly, it will inevitably be expressed in whatever way is most helpful to the receiver.This means that a miracle, to attain its full efficacy, must be expressed in a language that the recipient can understand without fear. This does not necessarily mean that it is the highest level of communication of which he is capable. It does mean, however, that it is the highest level of communication of which he is capable now. The whole aim of the miracle is to raise the level of communication, not to lower it by increasing fear” (T.2.IV.5).

In another passage Jesus says, Recognize what does not matter, and if your brothers ask you for something ‘outrageous,’ do it because it does not matter” (T.12.III.4:1). Importantly, he qualifies this later by saying, “I have said that if a brother asks a foolish thing of you to do it. But be certain that this does not mean to do a foolish thing that would hurt either him or you, for what would hurt one will hurt the other” (T.16.I.6:4,5).

The key element in the Course’s approach is honesty, which is the second of the ten characteristics of a teacher of God, discussed in the manual for teachers (M.4). Jesus states there that honesty means consistency: “There is nothing you say that contradicts what you think or do; no thought opposes any other thought…” (M.4.II.1). In other words, there is a consistency between your words (form) and your thoughts (content). If we set aside any ego investment in the situation, then only love will flow though us, and it will be expressed in a form that would be appropriate in that specific situation. The emphasis is on the content in our minds. If we are kind within, we will be kind on the outside. Our attention, thus, should be on searching for any unkindness lurking in our thoughts, and asking for help to let that go. Once we have gotten past the unkindness, whatever we say or do will be kind, in a form that is appropriate to the circumstances.

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A Yogi’s Introduction to A Course in Miracles

INTRODUCING A COURSE IN MIRACLES

 

“This is a course in miracles. It is a required course. Only the time you take it is voluntary. Free will does not mean that you can establish the curriculum. It means only that you can elect what you want to take at a given time. The course does not aim at teaching the meaning of love, for that is beyond what can be taught. It does aim, however, at removing the blocks to the awareness of love’s presence, which is your natural inheritance. The opposite of love is fear, but what is all-encompassing can have no opposite.”

This Course can therefore be summed up very simply in this way:

“Nothing real can be threatened. Nothing unreal exists.

Herein lies the peace of God.”

Peace of God 

Here is a beautiful “prayer” from the Course that I would like to share with you here at the outset, especially as it highlights my role as both a teacher AND student – and your roles as students AND teachers…

I am here only to be truly helpful. 

I am here to represent Him who sent me.

 I do not have to worry about what to say or what to do,

Because He Who sent me will direct me.

 I am content to be wherever he Wishes,

Knowing He goes there with me.

 I will be healed as I let him teach me to heal.

i-am-here-only-meditation-6  

*

“Every good teacher hopes to give his students so much of his own learning that they will no longer need him. 

This is the one true goal of the teacher.” (T 4.I. 5:1-2)

 

The intention behind this presentation is to provide a contemporary, up-to-date introduction to the phenomenon that is A Course in Miracles (aka “ACIM” and/or “the Course”), one that brings together the most helpful information about the Course from the Web and other resources.  This is primarily intended for those who are new to ACIM, but it could also very well prove helpful to those who are already somewhat familiar with it or even “seasoned.”  Keeping with the Course’s own emphasis on simplicity, every attempt will be made to keep this as simple and clear as possible, as well as fair and balanced.   Because of this, feedback on this presentation is most certainly welcome.

 

So let’s begin…

 

FINDING ANOTHER WAY, A BETTER WAY

“Tolerance for pain may be high, but it is not without limit.

Eventually everyone begins to recognize, however dimly, that there must be a better way.

As this recognition becomes more firmly established, it becomes a turning point.

This ultimately reawakens spiritual vision, simultaneously weakening the investment in physical sight.

The alternating investment in the two levels of perception is usually experienced as conflict, which can become very acute.

But the outcome is as certain as God.”

(2.III.3.5-10)

 

The writing of the Course actually began with the decision of two people (Helen Schucman and William Thetford, research psychologists at Columbia University from the ‘50s onward) to find “another way” to communicate and be with each other harmoniously as opposed to their usual antagonistic encounters.  Perhaps you are now coming to the Course because you, too, are seeking “another way” in your life.  Well, you should know that although the Course was ostensibly a way to help Helen and Bill to find peace in their relationship with each other, it is really meant for all of us, as the Course teaches that at essence we all have a shared interest in peace, love and understanding, and in finding our true self (Self).   To help to understand this point, here are some of the issues that might have led you to this point, see if one or more of these applies to your life:

 

~ A failed or troubled relationship, whether with a spouse or significant other, parent, sibling, or friend.

 

~ Achievement of worldly success, only to find that you are still not happy.

 

~ Or conversely, failure to achieve success in life, leaving you feeling hopeless.

 

~ A sense that there must be more to life than this.

 

~ Fear about dying, or anxiety/panic about the future, for you or someone close to you.

 

~ A sense of deep regret and/or guilt about your past actions.

 

~ Confusion about spirituality and religion and how to know what the truth is regarding them.

 

~ A falling out with your birth religion, or religion in general.

 

~ A deep sense of loneliness and despair.

 

~ An unshakeable feeling that you are a fraud, a phony and/or that you really don’t like yourself, or worse.

 

~  Putting your trust in someone or something, only to be betrayed.

 

~ A perfectionism that leaves you paralyzed.

 

~ Recognizing that nothing is bringing you the happiness (love, peace, etc.) you truly seek.

 

~ A spiritual experience that left you with questions as to its meaning, one that you cannot seem to find in the world of traditional religion.

And so on…

 

Now, if any of these applied to you, then the Course might just be for you.   And in fact, the Course really is for every body, and isn’t it the case that everybody experiences one or more of those things that were just listed?    The thing is that not everybody is ready yet for the Course because it either might not be the right spiritual path for them, or they might not be at the point where they are ready to seek its guidance.

 

This could be summed up in a very simple statement:

 

“The Course is for everybody,

but not everybody is for the Course.”

 

(Or: The Course is for everyone who thinks they’re a body – more on this soon…)

 

The Course itself says:

 

‘Many are called but few are chosen’ should be,

‘All are called but few choose to listen.'”

 

I sense that your being here right now means that you have in some sense heard the “call” and are in a place to really listen to and consider what the Course says and has to offer you.  Given this, let’s get waste no time to get into the thick of it…

 

GO TO THE SOURCE

 

First off, as the Course itself advises us in various ways, it’s generally a good idea to “consider the source” and start with the original source material (though on a deeper level, “consider the source” would mean the Source, aka God), and for that you might want to purchase the following comprehensive edition of the Course put out by the Foundation for A Course in Miracles, click HERE .  To the best of my knowledge, this is the most complete edition of the Course available, and it’s also the “standard” edition in the sense that most people citing chapter and verse are referring to this edition.

 

The entire Course can also be read for free online HERE .

 

For a summary background on how the Course came to be written and what it says, I recommend starting with the following:

 

Introduction to A Course in Miracles by ACIM.org

 

“A Course in Miracles is a complete self-study spiritual thought system. As a three-volume curriculum consisting of a Text, Workbook for Students, and Manual for Teachers, it teaches that the way to universal love and peace—or remembering God—is by undoing guilt through forgiving others. The Course thus focuses on the healing of relationships and making them holy. A Course in Miracles also emphasizes that it is but one version of the universal curriculum, of which there are “many thousands.” Consequently, even though the language of the Course is that of traditional Christianity, it expresses a non-sectarian, non-denominational spirituality. A Course in Miracles therefore is a universal spiritual teaching, not a religion.”

 

The Introduction to the Course by Jesus and Helen Schucman (“How It Came,” “What It Is,” and “What It Says” – found in the Foundation’s printed edition of the Course).

 

After you read these, I would also highly recommend watching at least the first part of the following film (free on Youtube) that goes into more detail about how the Course came into existence: The Story of A Course in Miracles . It’s a very beautiful film and had my eyes welling up the first time I watched it.

 

SECONDARY SOURCES – BOOKS ABOUT THE COURSE

 

Ironically, most people don’t get into the Course by actually reading it first, however, because it is initially so challenging to understand; rather, people generally get into it through secondary sources such as books that have been written about the Course.   The potential pitfall and caution with secondary sources is that they are only as good as the author themselves understand the Course (every “translation” is an interpretation).   So with that cautionary word to the wise, here are a few of the most popular of these books about ACIM, and please keep in mind there are many other very helpful ones, these are just a few of the bestsellers:

 

Love Is Letting Go of Fear, Gerald G. Jampolsky

 

A Return to Love, Marianne Williamson

 

The Disappearance of the Universe, Gary Renard

 

A Course in Miracles Made Easy, Alan Cohen

 

Of these, it appears that Gary Renard’s book has been the most helpful in serving as a kind of “primer” or preparation for the Course.  Not only has the “D.U.” (as it’s been called) brought many new students to the Course, but it has also brought back many “lapsed” Course students and/or those who had difficulty understanding its message.  So of the 3 books above, I am recommending that you read Renard’s book to help get started with ACIM, yet with the following caveat …

 

There has been one big issue with Renard’s book, and it is this: While it purports to be a dialogue between the author and two ascended masters (Arten and Pursah) who teach him all about the Course in a series of meetings over the course of a decade, some have cast doubt upon this claim.   Renard’s detractors, some of whom are also long-time students of the Course and Renard’s peers, argue that D.U. draws heavily upon the teachings of Ken Wapnick, the first teacher of the Course and one of its earliest editors.

 

Without saying more about this controversy here, I would just like to acknowledge that if it weren’t for Renard’s book, many people, myself included, might never have gotten interested in the Course.  So whether Renard’s book is based on a true story or not, it definitely served its purpose for me, and many others as well.   This is why I do recommend it for those who would like to get a kind of overview of the Course before they actually dive into the Course itself.

 

 KEN WAPNICK AS A PORTAL

 

That said, let’s entertain for a moment the possibility that Renard did draw primarily on the work on Ken Wapnick, in a sense popularizing Wapnick for the masses.  Then it would be a question of: 1) Did Renard accurately represent Wapnick’s work; and 2) Is Wapnick’s own work true to the Course?  These are very important questions to answer for oneself because it is VERY helpful, perhaps even essential, to have a guide for the Course, a kind of interpreter who can put the Course’s sometimes challenging language and concepts into layperson’s terms.  After all, not a few people have put the Course down due to its seeming incomprehensibility.

 

Once again, I answer a definitive “Yes” to these questions.  Yes, Renard’s book does fairly accurately represent Wapnick’s work (again, assuming for a moment that he was borrowing from it), and yes, Wapnick  (who just passed in 2013) did have a very trustworthy understanding of ACIM, perhaps better than anyone has ever had.   And well he should have, because after all, Wapnick was both the first teacher of the Course and also the original editor of it who worked closely with Helen and Bill from 1972 onward.  He even was present with Helen for some of the scribing of the Course, when she was receiving dictation from Jesus.  Apparently he even helped to explain some difficult passages to Helen herself(!) Wapnick oversaw the Course’s translation into many languages, etc.

 

Yes, one might ask, but perhaps Wapnick still misunderstood the Course, and what other evidence do I have to support my claim?  How do I know that Wapnick is/was a very trustworthy interpreter of the Course, especially when not everyone (such as “The Circle of Atonement” group – more on them later) agrees?  Yes, believe it or not, there have been those who sometimes radically disagree with Wapnick’s interpretation of the Course, which is one reason why I feel it important to bring all of this up here.  Because as a new Course student, you will no doubt be exposed to many opinions about the Course, and depending on who you read first, you might be led to greater confusion about what the Course says than not.

 

My answer to all of this is that after reading the Course myself, I feel that Ken Wapnick had the most comprehensive and clear understanding of the Course’s essential message than anyone I have seen.  And I do believe that he did his very best to be a true messenger for the radical message of the Course, without letting his ego unduly influence that message (to my mind, he did not unduly “mess” with nor massage the message!).  Others apparently see it differently, and that is really all good, I just feel the need to weigh in with my own two cents and six sense here.

 

And in any case, I feel that it is important to, at the very least, start with Wapnick as a guide, or read Renard’s book as a primer for both Wapnick and the Course. Starting with D.U. is not a bad idea as Wapnick is a little less accessible than Renard, whose book could be seen, again, as an attempt to present ACIM to the layperson.  (Note: Two other really useful books are D. Patrick Miller’s Understanding A Course in Miracles and Living with Miracles.)

 

So with all of that said, I definitely highly recommend you explore Wapnick’s work, starting with the very valuable information found on the Foundation for a Course in Miracles website (facim.org, and its sister website, acim.org), and Wapnick’s numerous Youtube videos, plus his books, CDs, etc.   I think that anyone with an eye to see will understand that Wapnick was a master of the material and saw himself as simply there to assist us all in better understanding what is often a challenging message to grasp (let alone practice!). [Also, highly recommended is Wapnick’s biography of Helen Schucman, Absence of Felicity, which goes into great detail about how the Course came to be written.]

 

     And YET, all other agendas aside, I do believe and strongly feel that the Holy Spirit will guide you to just the right way to get into the Course, including the books you read, websites, etc. Perhaps it was by leading you to this book…?

 

 CONTENT OVER FORM

 

Content Over Form” is a central theme of the Course and one that Ken Wapnick often highlighted.  To help make this more understandable for us, I will use Ken himself as an example, and please do note the tongue-in-cheek nature of this!

 

So when you look at Ken and hear him talk (in the many videos on Youtube, or elsewhere), at least at first look he might give the impression of a skinny, nebishy guy with a thick Long Island accent and a kind of harsh quality to his voice that makes him sound maybe a bit too snobby at times, not to mention he had a speech impediment that made him stutter.

 

But when you go beyond that superficial appearance (that is, the “Form”), you begin to see both the depth of his understanding, and his commitment to the message of the Course and helping others to understand it (that is, the “Content”).   So, too, the Course asks us to look beyond appearances to see the underlying sameness of all people, that at heart we are all just seeking but one thing, and we can call that thing Love, which is a word that it seems we can all agree upon!  And we get to Love through the practice of forgiveness.  So let’s talk about this core Course message, which beyond all of the verbiage is very simple: It’s all about love and forgiveness; or, the practice of forgiveness as a way to return to Love, our true nature.

 

[Note: For a really nice Ken Wapnick tribute video, please see Jon Mundy’s Youtube video, click HERE.  I highly recommend this video for helping to understand Ken better, as well as for an introduction to Jon Mundy himself.  Mundy is also one of the great teachers of the Course, and I also highly recommend his own introduction to the Course, which starts HERE.   And for more about Ken Wapnick: http://www.miraclestudies.net/KenWapnick.html ]

 

 SIMPLE, BUT NOT EASY

 

Okay, so thus far I’ve thrown a lot of words at you and you might be wondering why it took this long to get to this simple message of love and forgiveness?  Well, look at the Course itself!  It’s over 1200 pages of material with half a million words, most of it quite intimidating to the new reader (again, think in terms of Form & Content here).  Everyone asks at some point or another this question: If it really is all just about love and forgiveness, why so many darn words, and why did it have to be written in such a convoluted, Christian/biblical, and male-chauvinistic way?  The Course says it’s simple, but so why not just say: “Love thy neighbor as thyself… because at essence they are Thy Self!” and be done with it?  Isn’t that the bottom line of all of this?

 

The simple answer to this question is that the Course is so seemingly long and complicated because we ourselves are so complicated with so many “complexes”!  We’re not ready for the simple truth, because it’s TOO simple.  We feel, for one thing, that the spiritual quest somehow requires some great sacrifice and achievement to be won.  And we’re not ready to let go of all of our conditioned beliefs and attitudes (our “story”) that quickly, we really have to warm to that idea.   As the saying goes:

 

The truth is simple, but it ain’t easy!

 

But when it comes down to it, it is as simple as seeing everyone and everything as yourself, with the recognition that as you treat anything that seems to be outside of you is how you treat yourself, and vice versa.  So when we judge, blame or condemn others, it is only because we have already done that to ourselves.  And when we see others as who they truly are, which is totally blameless, without any sin or needing any judgment or condemnation, then we also simultaneously remember who we truly are, which is totally innocent.   And this is all as simple as a change of mind, just a little shift of perception! But to do this requires that we first truly take the Course seriously, and so that’s the next idea/theme we will turn to…

Holy Encounter copy

 

When you meet anyone,

Remember it is a holy encounter.

As you see him you will see yourself.

As you treat him you will treat yourself.

As you think of him you will think of yourself.

Never forget this, for in him you find yourself or lose yourself.

 

 

SEEING IT THROUGH

 

“Think this through with me

Let me know your mind

Oh Oh what I want to know is…

Are you kind?”

~ Robert Hunter/The Grateful Dead

 

First, let me say that this is not just about taking the Course seriously, but about taking any true spiritual path seriously in the sense of following it all the way through to the end.  Who does that, right?  Do you?  No, we all seem to take little bits and pieces from here and there and cobble together a spirituality that works for us.  While there’s nothing wrong with that in theory, it doesn’t generally work over the long haul because almost inevitably the ego gets in the way.   As the Course says in so many words (so many! — and I paraphrase), we end up bringing the Truth to the illusion, rather than our illusions to the Truth.  In other words, we end up making our illusory self and world real, making spirituality just another thing we do to feel better about ourself (small “self”) and our life in the world (making a “happy dream” as the Course puts it), and find it hard to go beyond that.  And if anyone (like the Course) suggests we do consider the flimsiness of the world and our own self-concept, we heavily, and sometimes very heavily, resist it.

 

[Resistance, by the way, is a Freudian psychoanalytic concept that the Course uses (reinterprets) to explain how the ego attempts to distract us from the process of awakening to who we truly are.   It’s very helpful to think about how resistance might be at work in our approach to the Course and what we find problematic in it.]

 

“Begin at the beginning,” the King said, very gravely, “and go on till you come to the end: then stop.”

  ~ Alice in Wonderland

 

So the point I want to make here is this:  If you really want to understand the Course, please give it your full attention and read it on its own terms as best as you can.  Here’s my suggestion (and do keep in mind that we all have our own pace to get to the peace, so this is a very general statement!): Go through the Text, the Workbook, and the Manual sequentially for a full year, doing just a section and a lesson a day.  It will make a world of difference in helping to understand the Course.  Believe me, if you have trouble with the language, such as the King Jamesian-ness of it all, or all the masculine pronouns, or even the term God or Holy Spirit, by the end of a year all of that will (in theory, at least!) drop away because you will have understood the underlying CONTENT (that is, intention, message) and overlooked the FORM.  And that’s exactly what the Course is asking us to do about everything!  Go beyond the appearance to the underlying essence, and then you shall truly see!

 

 

       Jesus is asking us to accept his terms and meet his conditions, but there is no punishment involved here at all.  We will only be delaying our own homecoming if we don’t follow the deepest urging of spirit.  Jesus is therefore only a symbol for that deepest urging within all of us.

         

GOD IS IN THE DETAILS…OR IS IT THE DEVIL?

 

One other little point I would like to make here is that even though the Course does basically say the same damn thing over and over and over again throughout its 1200+ pages (Jesus is Johnny One Note), it’s not that there aren’t a lot of nuances and subtleties that we are asked to take note of.  The Course has been likened to a symphony in which a certain theme or motif is introduced, then dropped, only to return again later to be further expanded with variations.  Numerous examples of this could be noted, but just dig in and read it and you’ll see how that works.  I will just add that this is why a close reading of the Course will make a difference in your understanding and practice, simply because of those nuances and new perspectives on the same one thing.  This very well reflects the saying that “God is in the details.”

 

And yet there is also the converse idea that “the devil is in the details,” and you will also recall Shakespeare’s famous quote that even the devil can quote scripture.   This is a caution to not get so caught up in the details that you miss the forest for the trees and get bogged down in sectarian theological disputes, something that the Course itself cautions again in several places.

 

“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”

                                                              (C.in.2:5,6)

 

 

On that note, there is a great story that shows the humor and wisdom of Helen Schucman’s co-scribe and colleague, Bill Thetford…

 

One day two Course students were heatedly arguing about the meaning of a passage in the Course.  Bill came in and they asked him which one of them was right?  Without missing a beat, Bill said to them: “Oh, just tear that page out.

 

Do you get it?  There are actually a number of places in the Course where Jesus says that it’s not about the Course – “the notes are nothing,” he says, and “forget this Course”  — cautioning us not to get too caught up in the words (again, the FORM), but do understand the spirit of it all (the CONTENT) which is to get in touch with the perfect love that resides in your heart.  Like a musician, learn your notes and scales by going through the Course carefully, but once you’ve done that, do not be afraid to tap into your own intuitive, improvisational brilliance, ever guided by Spirit, of course.  All rules are ultimately mean to be broken, after all.

 

THE LITTLE PROBLEM OF FAITH

 

Okay, so we’ve gotten a little ahead of ourselves here and we might want to go back to one of the most fundamental problems with understanding the Course, and again it does have to do with resistance, but it also is a simple matter of faith, as well as reason.  And the essential question is:  WHY should we take the Course seriously?   I mean, what proof do we have that this is all really the “Word” of Jesus?  Maybe Helen made it all up?  Maybe she did channel the words, but they were given to her by a discarnate entity that had some secret agenda of its own to delude humanity? (I heard this argument from a seasoned yogi whose opinion I respect.)  Or maybe Satan himself is once again orchestrated all of this in his mass plan to lead us like lambs to the slaughter?  Or how about this one: It’s all a CIA-hatched plot to control the minds of the many – A Course in Miracles as the opiate of the masses! (See further on for my take on this.)

 

Obviously you must know my answer to these questions, because otherwise I wouldn’t be here enthusiastically introducing the Course if I had such grave doubts about it (and you wouldn’t be here to keenly listen if you weren’t at least a little open to all of this).  But the truth is that, yes, even I have some lingering doubts about all of this because of one simple fact: I just don’t know, and how could I?  How can anybody?  And this is a key point that the Course makes: Only the ego asks questions and doubts, and so to the extent that we are still identified with the ego (and nearly everyone here is), we will be confused about all of this.  But the Course does not ask for or require perfect certainty, only, as it says, a “little willingness” to look at the contents of our mind in the light of perfect love and forgiveness.   So perfect faith is not required, nor even better-than-average faith!

 

Another way of saying this is: Have you experienced the miracle of unconditional love in your life?  Well, if yes, then it doesn’t matter where the Course came from, because its purpose is to help us to return that perfect, unconditional love that we have already experienced, if only fleetingly.

 

That said, I will still, briefly, attempt to answer some of those initial concerns that I mentioned…

 

So firstly, how do we know the Course really expresses the thoughts of Jesus?  Well, we don’t know, but many who have engaged with it, including myself, feel that it is the most loving, beautiful, wise and true expression of spirituality they have ever encountered.  So if Jesus is perfect love (and as the Course says, he does symbolize that) then we can say that yes, these are the words of Jesus.  And interestingly, the Course does not insist that you use the term “Jesus,” because all those who have attained the state of perfect love are ONE, and so call IT by any name you choose, because a rose is a rose is a rose.   Love by any other name is still Love.

 

Ok! So I realize that answer will not be satisfying for a lot of people; namely, the response that it doesn’t matter Who dictated the Course to Helen, because it’s freakin’ brilliant and it seems to be helping a lot of people, so who cares?  Well, YOU might care.  And don’t look at me, but I still care about this question.

 

Remember I mentioned that someone close to me, a veteran yogi whose opinion I respect, gave me a very forceful argument of why the Course is potentially dangerous if its source is a discarnate spirit seeking to delude humanity (or at the very least ACIM students!)?   While I did and do take this kind of issue with the Course very seriously, I also would posit that this is the very kind of controversial issue that the Course is wanting to tell us we will never truly be able to answer.  And thus it becomes a “delaying maneuver” on the part of the ego to keep us from actually practicing its teachings on forgiveness and watching the ego be “undone.”  (Oh yes, by the way, I forgot to mention that the Course’s practice of forgiveness does this: It undoes the ego, it dissolves it.  It’s actually a gradual, gentle process for most of us that requires quite a bit of patience and forgiveness… mainly for our own lack of patience and forgiveness!)

 

And yes, I realize that this, too, might not be the convincing argument to do the Course.  It seems to smack a little bit of cultish reasoning: Don’t ask questions because they can’t be answered, just do what we tell you to do and no one gets hurt!  Some people have actually called the Course a form of brainwashing, yet you can see from the very introduction that is says that while this is a required Course (namely, the return to Spirit will happen for all of us at some point), the time you take it is voluntary.  Not too many cults with brainwashing agendas will say that!  And the Course points out that any attempt at coercion of any kind will not work, that all spiritual work must be voluntary to really bear fruit.  So in other words: No one’s telling you to do anything, you’re here in this now moment considering all of this because you are truly seeking “another/better way” and are open to hearing how the Course might be of help to you. Verdad?

 

So at this point, let me talk about my own experience a bit more, because I feel it might help…

 

MY YOKE/YOGA IS EASY

 

“When you are tempted by the wrong voice, call on me to remind you how to heal by sharing my decision and making it stronger. As we share this goal, we increase its power to attract the whole Sonship, and to bring it back into the oneness in which it was created. Remember that ‘yoke’ means ‘join together’ and ‘burden’ means ‘message’. Let us restate ‘My yoke is easy and my burden light’ in this way; ‘Let us join together, for my message is light.” (ACIM T:5:II:11)

 

Wait, this section is perhaps better titled: “OF COURSE!” Which is also the name of this whole presentation. Because all of that heady stuff aside, what the Course did for me (and many of us, it seems) was appeal to the truth that I have always known. It was like what happened when I discovered yoga (or/and it discovered me), my thought was: “EUREKA! This is what I’ve been looking for all these years, it really exists!”

 

“This world you seem to live in is not home to you.

And somewhere in your mind you know that this is true.”

 

And in fact, my current understanding is that we’re all doing the Course, we just don’t know it yet, and we might even consciously resist it. So it doesn’t matter who its author was, whether Jesus or not, whoever it was is/was freaking brilliant.

 

I had this experience when I was 19 years old that I consider perhaps the most important one of my whole life: One night laying in bed I felt an energy surge up my body up to my heart, and suddenly, I was in bliss. The next morning, it (the bliss) was still there. Like many teens, I had had a very hard time coming of age and was dealing with a very heavy load of guilt, anger, and self-judgment to the point of extreme self-loathing. And in one night, with one fell stroke, it was all gone! Imagine that! And please note that it didn’t require accepting Jesus Christ as my Lord and Savior to happen! This exprience lasted for months, long enough to really make me realize that yes, it was really happening, and that THIS, not my old neurotic self, was my true nature, this state of unconditional love, joy, peace. And then it was gone, and thus began my search to bring it back… and so it is for so many spiritual seekers, yes? You, too?

 

And so I looked everywhere for the Beloved, and finally found “Her” again… in the yoga tradition. (Mind you, this is making a very long story very short!) And then I got into plant medicine, particularly ayahuasca, which ultimately led me to the Course, because there were things that were being revealed to me by the plants that were truly shocking… you know, little things like ego-death and tours of various hellish realms, strange meetings with demons of varying shapes and surprises. And the Course helped me make sense of those experiences, to see them in a more universal, less personal way. For example, with its help, I could begin to finally accept that there’s really nothing special about me, neither the abject misery that I’ve experienced, nor the transcendent bliss, neither the agony nor the ecstasy, the self-loathing or the delusions of grandeur. All of that is part of the one mind that we all share, it’s nothing personal, really. I am not, as I formerly thought (when I was clinging to my “specialness”) the “only lonely one” out there… no, there are, in the words of that old Police song, “a hundred million [other] castaways looking for a home.” Or 7+ billion, but who’s counting?

 

In other words, we’re all in the same boat; or, as the Course would put it: We’re all equal and integral parts of the one “Sonship.”

 

And here’s another thing to note here, and this also goes back to the “Of Course!” theme I’ve been playing on: The Golden Rule. Why is the Golden Rule what it is? Why should we, as the Hebrew Bible (Torah) commands, love our neighbor as ourselves? Deep down, we all know why, right? It’s because at our core essence we are part of the same One Self. And so to even think for a moment otherwise is to deny the truth of what we are. So imagine what it would feel to walk this earth and literally not have a second thought other than pure appreciation, compassion and forgiveness for everybody and everything? Imagine that? Well, that’s the “mind training” that the Course is leading us to, and though it might never be “perfect,” it will be far sight/cry better than what we’ve got going on right now!

 

 

THE COURSE AS A “Christian Vedanta”

 

Bill Thetford was Helen Schucman’s partner in crime in all of this, and far from being just Helen’s scribal helper, Bill also had a deep understanding of the message of the Course.  At one point, Bill referred to the Course as a “Christian Vedanta,” and this is something that has since been repeated often enough for me to bother repeating it here.

 

Bill was pretty accurate in his assessment, though what he says does require some clarification.

 

Let’s take the “Christian” part first: The Course is not actually Christian in the sense of following Church orthodoxy and dogma, but rather it is Christian in that it is Christ-centered.  In fact, in the Course Jesus says that as he foretold, his disciples did not fully understand what he was saying 2000 years ago, so the Course is a way of correcting the errors of Christianity by revealing the deeper, inner meaning of the gospel accounts.

 

Did you know there is actually a gospel that was never included in the New Testament canon, but which some scholars believe actually predated Mark, Matthew, Luke, and John?  It’s called the Gospel of Thomas and it really just a collection of sayings of Jesus without any storyline except for brief contextual clues.  The reason some scholars believe that the Gospel of Thomas (GOT) is older than the canonical gospels is because the gospel writers used sayings from the GOT in their accounts and pick up those little contextual clues in the GOT and create a story around them.

 

Now, if this is true, it’s quite ground-breaking to say the least – “earth-shattering” might be a better descriptive.  Because what Jesus says in the GOT is considerably more mystical than what we find in the canonical gospels.  Consider the following saying from the GOT:

 

“When you make the two into one, and when you make the inner like the outer and the outer like the inner, and the upper like the lower, and when you make male and female into a single one, so the male will not be male and the female will not be female…then you will enter the Kingdom.”

And also this one:

   The disciples said to him, “When will the Kingdom come?” He said, “It will not come by watching for it. It will not be said, ‘Behold here,’ or ‘Behold there.’ Rather, the Kingdom of the Father is spread out upon the earth, and people do not see it.”

[Click HERE for the translation of the Gospel of Thomas that I would recommend.]

What I am getting at by bringing in the Gospel of Thomas and these passages is that Jesus appeared to have been teaching about “oneness,” or “non-duality,” something that is not so clearly evident in the canonical gospel accounts. These are the teachings that, in reality, there is only One reality, and we can call it God, or Source, or Spirit, or Love, or IT, or you name it, but it’s something pointing beyond the world of opposites and multiplicity that we currently seem to inhabit.  Now the word “non-duality” is an exact translation of the Sanskrit word “advaita” (literally “not two”), and this word generally goes hand-in-hand with another Sanskrit word: Vedanta.  Vedanta is actually one of 6 philosophical systems found in the Hindu tradition, and it essentially the essential teachings of the Vedas (literally, it translates as “the end of the Vedas”), and primarily is based in the teachings of the Upanishads.

Advaita Vedanta, the ancient Hindu philosophy of non-dualism, is actually becoming more and more well-known these days, partly due to teachers like Gangaji, Mooji, Ekhart Tolle, and Adyashanti who have been in a sense popularizing/translating this for a Western audience (they are sometimes called “neo-advaitins”).  This is actually the world that I inhabited for years before getting into the Course, and it was the Advaita philosophy that always seemed the highest and most profound for me.   So when I discovered the Course, to go back to the issue of doubt and skepticism about its message, I can’t tell you what a confirmation it was to see how very similar the Course is to Advaita Vedanta.  I mean, it’s uncanny.  It’s like, c’mon, how could this possibly be?

Now, even though these two traditions are so similar, and even though I was so grounded in the Advaita Vedanta tradition, currently the Course speaks to me more and it has helped me as much as Advaita has, if not more.   It might well be that this is so just because it’s all so new to me, but it could also be that I’ve finally found the one thing to lead me home, which is what it feels like.  I also sense that the Course will be easier for westerners to grasp, plus it’s all in one book, so I’ve found it useful to use it as an aid in the teaching of yoga, and nonduality in particular.

The thing about the Course is that there’s a bit of a learning curve involved, and it has to do with its language – again, the FORM in which its author chose to present the material.  Essentially, to use another term from the yoga tradition, the Course is presenting us with a form of Jnana Yoga.  What is Jnana Yoga?  Jnana Yoga is actually one of 7-8 major paths to God found in the yoga tradition.  Some of the other paths are: Karma Yoga (the path of selfless action), Raja Yoga (the meditative path), Bhakti Yoga (the devotional path), Tantra Yoga (the path of sacred ritual), and Hatha Yoga (the path of transcendence through the body).   Today in the West, it is really Hatha Yoga that has really caught on with the general population, but the other paths of yoga have also taken root, though to a far lesser extent, as well.   For example, the Hare Krishna movement has brought more of the Bhakti element to the fore, Bhakti being the devotional path.  And Transcendental Meditation (TM) has brought more of the Raja Yoga path, Raja being the meditative path.  Krishnamurti introduced many to the path of Jnana Yoga, etc.

So Jnana Yoga is often called the path for the thinkers, those who are more philosophically oriented.  After scribing the Course, Helen apparently said something to the effect, “Finally, there’s something for the thinkers!”   Yes, Helen was proud of the Course and even somewhat protective of it, even though she herself chose not to practice it and even apparently renounced it toward the end of her life.  Another interesting thing she said at one point was: “I know it’s all true, I just don’t believe it!”  I feel Ken Wapnick was correct in saying that Helen didn’t need to practice the Course, it wasn’t necessary for her to do so.  She had fulfilled her purpose in her lifetime by being a pure channel for the Course’s message, and that was enough.

Helen also apparently didn’t feel the Course was for everyone, just really for a small group of people who were truly ready for it.  This may very well be the case, yet it is true that as I said before, the Course is also for every body, and everyone can be helped by its message, even if they don’t accept all of its terms and conditions and go all the way with it.  My understanding is that the Course is saying that we all wake up to what the Course is saying on our own eventually anyway, with or without the help of the Course – in fact, it’s already happened, we just missed the memo and are currently in the process of remembering that accomplished fact.

Just to give you an idea of how we are all in this process, willy nilly (whether we know it or not), even my dad has been doing the Course. One thing dad has started to say in recent years (he’s in his mid-80s now) is “you can make yourself happy, or you can make yourself sad.”  Well, that’s the Course’s essential message right there – it’s all our choice, suffering is optional.  And my dad’s also started to say: “Would you rather be right or happy?”  Which is one of the Course’s brilliant lines that has really caught on.  My dad must have heard that somewhere because he doesn’t even know what A Course in Miracles is, nor do I think he would care much for it if he did.   But my point is that we either come to these things on our own (and then if we do pick up the Course, its like: “Of Course!”), or we learn them from the Course itself, or from the many spin-offs on the Course that are out there these days.

In any case, it’s the Jnana Yogis who I feel can appreciate the Course the most, because the Course is a completely worked-out and consistent “thought system,” a whole philosophy.  It’s very logical and it also points out the extent to which we can go with intellectual reasoning.  I personally was drawn to the Course because of this element, but not just that —  it has an authority about it that I still have not found any way to dismiss.  I want to add that my early training was in philosophy and psychology, and Plato/ Socrates were my greatest inspirations early on.

Jnana Yoga is also the path of discerning between the real and unreal in each and every moment.  Simply put for our purposes, this means making choices out of Love, not out of fear. The ego and all that spawns from its thought system is “unreal” according to the Course, and God, who is also Love, is the one and only reality.  So our return to God must be through a process of searching our mind and separating out our incorrect and misguided thinking, choosing to think only as God thinks (so to speak), aligning our will with God’s Will.  Again, though, in this process we are not adding anything, only removing what is not true.

Besides Jnana Yoga, the Course does contain elements of the other yogas, too, particularly Bhakti Yoga. In Bhakti Yoga we find the elements of trust, surrender, humility, faith and devotion. Essentially, the Course is asking that we surrender to its message, and follow it to a “t” (get it?)  But everything is voluntary, there is no coercion here, no fear of punishment.  Jesus, the symbol of the Perfect Love within all of us, is saying to us: You will have to do this sooner or later, my dear, so why not now?  So the Bhakti element here would be the extent to which we can let go and accept its perfect message of love and forgiveness. May we all have Godspeed with this!

forgiveness is still

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ACIM Text Reading & Workbook Lesson for February 1

ACIM Text Reading for February 1

Chapter 4 ~ The Illusions of the Ego

V. This Need Not Be

If you cannot hear the Voice for God, it is because you do not choose to listen. That you do listen to the voice of your ego is demonstrated by your attitudes, your feelings and your behavior. Yet this is what you want. This is what you are fighting to keep, and what you are vigilant to save. Your mind is filled with schemes to save the face of your ego, and you do not seek the face of Christ. The glass in which the ego seeks to see its face is dark indeed. How can it maintain the trick of its existence except with mirrors? But where you look to find yourself is up to you.

I have said that you cannot change your mind by changing your behavior, but I have also said, and many times, that you can change your mind. When your mood tells you that you have chosen wrongly, and this is so whenever you are not joyous, then know this need not be. In every case you have thought wrongly about some brother God created, and are perceiving images your ego makes in a darkened glass. Think honestly what you have thought that God would not have thought, and what you have not thought that God would have you think. Search sincerely for what you have done and left undone accordingly, and then change your mind to think with God’s. This may seem hard to do, but it is much easier than trying to think against it. Your mind is one with God’s. Denying this and thinking otherwise has held your ego together, but has literally split your mind. As a loving brother I am deeply concerned with your mind, and urge you to follow my example as you look at yourself and at your brother, and see in both the glorious creations of a glorious Father.

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

When you are anxious, realize that anxiety comes from the capriciousness of the ego, and know this need not be. You can be as vigilant against the ego’s dictates as for them.

When you feel guilty, remember that the ego has indeed violated the laws of God, but you have not. Leave the “sins” of the ego to me. That is what Atonement is for. But until you change your mind about those whom your ego has hurt, the Atonement cannot release you. While you feel guilty your ego is in command, because only the ego can experience guilt. This need not be.

Watch your mind for the temptations of the ego, and do not be deceived by it. It offers you nothing. When you have given up this voluntary dis-spiriting, you will see how your mind can focus and rise above fatigue and heal. Yet you are not sufficiently vigilant against the demands of the ego to disengage yourself. This need not be.

The habit of engaging with God and His creations is easily made if you actively refuse to let your mind slip away. The problem is not one of concentration; it is the belief that no one, including yourself, is worth consistent effort. Side with me consistently against this deception, and do not permit this shabby belief to pull you back. The disheartened are useless to themselves and to me, but only the ego can be disheartened.

Have you really considered how many opportunities you have had to gladden yourself, and how many of them you have refused? There is no limit to the power of a Son of God, but he can limit the expression of his power as much as he chooses. Your mind and mine can unite in shining your ego away, releasing the strength of God into everything you think and do. Do not settle for anything less than this, and refuse to accept anything but this as your goal. Watch your mind carefully for any beliefs that hinder its accomplishment, and step away from them. Judge how well you have done this by your own feelings, for this is the one right use of judgment. Judgment, like any other defense, can be used to attack or protect; to hurt or to heal. The ego should be brought to judgment and found wanting there. Without your own allegiance, protection and love, the ego cannot exist. Let it be judged truly and you must withdraw allegiance, protection and love from it.

You are a mirror of truth, in which God Himself shines in perfect light. To the ego’s dark glass you need but say, “I will not look there because I know these images are not true.” Then let the Holy One shine on you in peace, knowing that this and only this must be. His Mind shone on you in your creation and brought your mind into being. His Mind still shines on you and must shine through you. Your ego cannot prevent Him from shining on you, but it can prevent you from letting Him shine through you.

The First Coming of Christ is merely another name for the creation, for Christ is the Son of God. The Second Coming of Christ means nothing more than the end of the ego’s rule and the healing of the mind. I was created like you in the first, and I have called you to join with me in the second. I am in charge of the Second Coming, and my judgment, which is used only for protection, cannot be wrong because it never attacks. Yours may be so distorted that you believe I was mistaken in choosing you. I assure you this is a mistake of your ego. Do not mistake it for humility. Your ego is trying to convince you that it is real and I am not, because if I am real, I am no more real than you are. That knowledge, and I assure you that it is knowledge, means that Christ has come into your mind and healed it.

I do not attack your ego. I do work with your higher mind, the home of the Holy Spirit, whether you are asleep or awake, just as your ego does with your lower mind, which is its home. I am your vigilance in this, because you are too confused to recognize your own hope. I am not mistaken. Your mind will elect to join with mine, and together we are invincible. You and your brother will yet come together in my name, and your sanity will be restored. I raised the dead by knowing that life is an eternal attribute of everything that the living God created. Why do you believe it is harder for me to inspire the dis-spirited or to stabilize the unstable? I do not believe that there is an order of difficulty in miracles; you do. I have called and you will answer. I understand that miracles are natural, because they are expressions of love. My calling you is as natural as your answer, and as inevitable.

***

ACIM Workbook Lesson for February 1

Lesson 32

I have invented the world I see.

Today we are continuing to develop the theme of cause and effect. You are not the victim of the world you see because you invented it. You can give it up as easily as you made it up. You will see it or not see it, as you wish. While you want it you will see it; when you no longer want it, it will not be there for you to see.

The idea for today, like the preceding ones, applies to your inner and outer worlds, which are actually the same. However, since you see them as different, the practice periods for today will again include two phases, one involving the world you see outside you, and the other the world you see in your mind. In today’s exercises, try to introduce the thought that both are in your own imagination.

Again we will begin the practice periods for the morning and evening by repeating the idea for today two or three times while looking around at the world you see as outside yourself. Then close your eyes and look around your inner world. Try to treat them both as equally as possible. Repeat the idea for today unhurriedly as often as you wish, as you watch the images your imagination presents to your awareness.

For the two longer practice periods three to five minutes are recommended, with not less than three required. More than five can be utilized, if you find the exercise restful. To facilitate this, select a time when few distractions are anticipated, and when you yourself feel reasonably ready.

These exercises are also to be continued during the day, as often as possible. The shorter applications consist of repeating the idea slowly, as you survey either your inner or outer world. It does not matter which you choose.

The idea for today should also be applied immediately to any situation that may distress you. Apply the idea by telling yourself:

I have invented this situation as I see it.

***

ACIM Q & A for Today

Q #1026: “Your ego is trying to convince you that it is real and I am not, because if I am real, I am no more real than you are” (T.4.IV.10.8). Would you comment on this sentence? It confuses me. I am not sure what Jesus is saying here.

A: There are two parts to this statement. The first part — “The ego is trying to convince you that it is real and I am not” — is what we would expect of the ego, that it would try to convince us that separation, which the ego symbolizes, is reality, and oneness, which Jesus symbolizes, is not. The purpose of A Course in Miracles is to lead us to accept the Atonement for ourselves, which means that we come to recognize that the separation never happened. So if Jesus, as the symbol of oneness, is real, then the ego is not. Since the ego’s only purpose is self-preservation, regardless of the truth, it must make every effort to persuade us that the Jesus of the Course is not real.

The second part of the statement — “because if I am real, I am no more real than you are” — is another way of saying that if Jesus is real, we are all the same, and ultimately we are all one. The ego, confronted with the reality of Jesus, can only hope to persuade us that he is very different from us — God’s only Son, divine, innocent while we are guilty, existing before us through all of eternity. If the Jesus the ego is willing for us to embrace were real, the ego could remain in business, for the separation would be confirmed. That is what has made Christianity and its central figure Jesus so popular across the centuries — they affirm the reality of separation and differences and sin, as well as attack and victimization.

But the Course’s message is that we are all the same because we are all one. There are no differences that mean anything. If the Jesus who is like us is real and exists, then the ego and all its perceived differences are meaningless. And sin and guilt are nothing but idle fantasies with no effects. And all of this, to the ego, is blasphemous.

Q #1027: I have a compulsion to make to-do lists and set goals. Is this an ego thing? How do I let go of it? I feel like I’m supposed to surrender my will and life over to the Holy Spirit and let Him run the show, but every time I try, I end up back making lists. I feel like I’m doing something wrong and it’s creating a lot of tension in my life.

A: Fortunately, nowhere in A Course in Miracles does it say you cannot make to-do lists. Nor does it tell us to change our behavior or personality traits in any way. The Holy Spirit has indeed come to help us, but He will not pay the bills, wash the dishes or clean the garage. Putting ourselves under the Holy Spirit’s guidance means becoming mindful of the thoughts of judgment about ourselves and others that continually re-cycle the guilt in the mind for not choosing the Holy Spirit. The true source of tension is in the split mind that is in conflict between choosing the ego and the Holy Spirit. That is the real problem. The first thing on the Holy Spirit’s list is to see the problem where it is (in the mind), not where it has been projected ( making or not making lists).

As long as we believe the world is real, there is a place for making lists and setting goals. Things need to be done. Jesus acknowledges this in The Song of Prayer : There are decisions to make here, and they must be made whether they be illusions or not (S.1.I.2:4) The important question to ask is with whom the decisions are made (See: Rules for Decision T.30.I) . Guided by the ego, making lists and setting goals are activities driven by compulsion and need. The underlying belief is that salvation lies in the security of having lists and accomplishing tasks, and peace is lost when task goals are not set and met. They are thus used as attacks against peace. The Holy Spirit’s goal is the healing of the mind, and the only task needed to achieve this goal is forgiveness. His help is not directed toward behavior of any kind, but with the mind that chooses to believe that certain behaviors are valuable and then judges that decision as sinful. Lists cannot keep you from Heaven any more than they can get you in, unless, of course, returning to Heaven is on the list. In that case, the work to be done is the practice of forgiveness, which begins with awareness of the judgments against oneself and others. Looking at these judgments with the Holy Spirit means seeing that their true purpose is to keep Him away. That is how we beat the ego at its own game, so to speak, and invite the Holy Spirit to be in charge. It is a process of learning to see everything, from making lists to accomplishing the tasks on the lists, as opportunities for forgiveness. If that is at the top of the list, everything will serve the Holy Spirit’s purpose of healing, thereby putting Him in charge, rather than the ego.

 

Is A Course in Miracles a CIA Mind Control Experiment?

https://truthinreality.com/2012/09/08/a-course-in-miracles-and-mk-ultra-mind-control/

http://www.eldontaylor.com/blog/2015/10/21/spirituality-as-a-tool-for-mind-control/

https://inpursuitofhappiness.wordpress.com/2013/12/19/a-course-in-miracles-a-cia-exercise-in-mind-control/

I am writing this post today to help us separate truth from fiction. Recently two friends whose opinions I respect sent me the links above which claim that A Course in Miracles (ACIM) is none other than a CIA mind control experiment. This has led both of my friends to have doubts about ACIM and question my involvement with it.

First, I want to say that these claims against ACIM are nothing new, nor do they particularly disturb me. Nor am I much bothered that my friends have a bad taste in their mouth now in regard to ACIM. So why am I writing this? I could definitely simply ignore these (and other) claims, which is what many in the ACIM community do, because they are pretty far-fetched and maybe don’t even deserve comment. But in this case, and actually in most cases, I do feel that it is appropriate to defend the truth when it is being attacked. As a yoga and ACIM student, I am by now very familiar with separating truth from untruth in my own mind, and this piece is just a kind of extension of that, if you will.

Perhaps the most important thing I will say here is this: It is just so easy to write something and sound like you know what you’re talking about, but in reality have not much of a clue about the thing you’re criticizing. As we know, talk is cheap, and opinions are even cheaper. In this case, someone might claim to be an CIA-member, or have been an ACIM student for years, but so what? If your “facts” are off, they’re off, no matter what your alleged level of experience is.

Conspiracy theories are a cottage industry these days, they clearly are proliferating on the internet. Which is not to say that they are all bogus, there is no doubt at least some truth to some of them. And in this particular case, there may indeed be some truth to the claims being made (for example, that Dr. William Thetford worked for the CIA, this is an established fact). Yet anyone who is more familiar with ACIM would see these claims as just so much speculation and conjecture.

We can also rightly ask from the very outset, why are these anti-ACIM pieces being written? Is there a bias, some stake in things turning out one way or another? Clearly there is a fundamentalist Christian bias against ACIM, and I am leaving aside for now all of the arguments against ACIM from a biblical perspective, just focusing on this one topic at hand.

Turning this question back on myself, do I have an investment in this matter? No, I do not. If someone could convincingly prove that ACIM is none other than a mind control experiment that somehow the CIA concocted as a way to control the masses, or even as a mass personality study, I would gladly accept such news. Yet as we will see, there is (as yet) only conjecture and speculation, no convincing proof…

I really don’t sense that those making these claims against ACIM are really informed about ACIM or aware of certain materials that might help them to understand the context in which it came to be. It is not my purpose to go into all of those details here, but merely to provide some primary sources for you to educate yourself more about ACIM. Here are just a few such sources. These sources make it clear that Helen Schucman was the scribe of the Course. Was the “voice” that came to her implanted somehow by Bill or someone in the MK Ultra project? Anything is possible, of course, but very highly improbable. Bill didn’t even start working for MK Ultra until 1971, and the scribing of the Course began in 1965. The entire Course was nearly complete by 1971. Why not believe what Helen Schucman and Bill Thetford and Ken Wapnick all say about the origins of the Course, instead of concluding that they all were either victims of mind control, or that Bill Thetford somehow sinisterly implanted the entire Course into Helen Schulman’s brain? Are these people not rational, sensible people, just like you and me? Why not give them the benefit of the doubt? If and when you do, you just might find yourself more at peace, and that, I maintain, is what we are all truly seeking.

Finally, read this: http://www.facimoutreach.org/qa/questions/ACIM_Manuscript_History.pdf

Thank you for listening!

 

ACIM Text Reading & Workbook Lesson for September 30

ACIM Text Reading for September 30

Chapter 31 ~ The Final Vision

VI. Recognizing the Spirit

You see the flesh or recognize the spirit. There is no compromise between the two. If one is real the other must be false, for what is real denies its opposite. There is no choice in vision but this one. What you decide in this determines all you see and think is real and hold as true. On this one choice does all your world depend, for here have you established what you are, as flesh or spirit in your own belief. If you choose flesh, you never will escape the body as your own reality, for you have chosen that you want it so. But choose the spirit, and all Heaven bends to touch your eyes and bless your holy sight, that you may see the world of flesh no more except to heal and comfort and to bless.

Salvation is undoing. If you choose to see the body, you behold a world of separation, unrelated things, and happenings that make no sense at all. This one appears and disappears in death; that one is doomed to suffering and loss. And no one is exactly as he was an instant previous, nor will he be the same as he is now an instant hence. Who could have trust where so much change is seen, for who is worthy if he be but dust? Salvation is undoing of all this. For constancy arises in the sight of those whose eyes salvation has released from looking at the cost of keeping guilt, because they chose to let it go instead.

Salvation does not ask that you behold the spirit and perceive the body not. It merely asks that this should be your choice. For you can see the body without help, but do not understand how to behold a world apart from it. It is your world salvation will undo, and let you see another world your eyes could never find. Be not concerned how this could ever be. You do not understand how what you see arose to meet your sight. For if you did, it would be gone. The veil of ignorance is drawn across the evil and the good, and must be passed that both may disappear, so that perception finds no hiding place. How is this done? It is not done at all. What could there be within the universe that God created that must still be done?

Only in arrogance could you conceive that you must make the way to Heaven plain. The means are given you by which to see the world that will replace the one you made. Your will be done! In Heaven as on earth this is forever true. It matters not where you believe you are, nor what you think the truth about yourself must really be. It makes no difference what you look upon, nor what you choose to feel or think or wish. For God Himself has said, “Your will be done.” And it is done to you accordingly.

You who believe that you can choose to see the Son of God as you would have him be, forget not that no concept of yourself will stand against the truth of what you are. Undoing truth would be impossible. But concepts are not difficult to change. One vision, clearly seen, that does not fit the picture as it was perceived before will change the world for eyes that learn to see, because the concept of the self has changed.

Are you invulnerable? Then the world is harmless in your sight. Do you forgive? Then is the world forgiving, for you have forgiven it its trespasses, and so it looks on you with eyes that see as yours. Are you a body? So is all the world perceived as treacherous, and out to kill. Are you a spirit, deathless, and without the promise of corruption and the stain of sin upon you? So the world is seen as stable, fully worthy of your trust; a happy place to rest in for a while, where nothing need be feared, but only loved. Who is unwelcome to the kind in heart? And what could hurt the truly innocent?

Your will be done, you holy child of God. It does not matter if you think you are in earth or Heaven. What your Father wills of you can never change. The truth in you remains as radiant as a star, as pure as light, as innocent as love itself. And you are worthy that your will be done!

***

ACIM Workbook Lesson for September 30

Lesson 272

How can illusions satisfy God’s Son?

Father, the truth belongs to me. My home is set in Heaven by Your Will and mine. Can dreams content me? Can illusions bring me happiness? What but Your memory can satisfy Your Son? I will accept no less than You have given me. I am surrounded by Your Love, forever still, forever gentle and forever safe. God’s Son must be as You created him.

Today we pass illusions by. And if we hear temptation call to us to stay and linger in a dream, we turn aside and ask ourselves if we, the Sons of God, could be content with dreams, when Heaven can be chosen just as easily as hell, and love will happily replace all fear.

 ***

ACIM Q & A for Today

Q #76: A number of philosophers and psychologists have noted that Western civilization, in the development of science and the growth of the self into an individual, autonomous ego — the healthy and mature adult ego — has been characterized by an acute split between body and mind (i.e., ego mind — the brain). This division also shows up in the split between man and nature in our civilization. The psychological repression and alienation from nature has produced a lack of vitality, enthusiasm, and zest for living in our culture. Now the Course does not seem to deal with this problem and even appears to increase the alienation by saying the body and the world do not exist. It seems that in order to transcend the ego we will first need to recover much of what was lost. I think the Course is saying that as we look at our egos with the Holy Spirit and practice forgiveness, we begin to heal the repression and alienation. Is this correct? It seems that even if this is correct there is a real danger that people who study the Course will not realize the importance of having a strong, sensitive, alert, healthy body in order to have the vitality to transcend the ego.

A: There can be no doubt that the experience of the ego thought system, in whatever forms it may be manifested, will be one of profound repression and alienation. These are core elements of its basic premise — the desirability of splitting off from the Whole followed by the denial of responsibility for the decision and its seeming consequences (T.6.II.1,2,3). And so what you describe as characterizing Western civilization is just one of the many different but inevitable consequences in form of the desire for separation.

While the Course does assert the unreality of the body and the world, for the most part our understanding of this will be only intellectual and not experiential until the very end of the journey. And this should not be a student’s focus as we attempt to put the Course’s principles of forgiveness into practice, or we will risk going even deeper into denial about what is buried in our unconscious mind. It will be much more important that we acknowledge the purpose for which we have made the world and our bodies — to play the roles of victim and victimizer — than that we simply deny that they exist.

And so if we practice forgiveness as the Course teaches us — releasing the judgments we have been holding on to, thereby making the differences we have been perceiving between ourselves and everyone and everything else in the world no longer important — we will no longer see our purpose as separate from everyone and everything else. This will inevitably reduce feelings of alienation and isolation between ourselves and all that we have seen as outside of ourselves.

And since the body is really neutral in all of this (W.pI.294), our focus need not be on the body but on our thoughts about the body and the purpose for which we choose to use it. That is not to say that while we believe that our body is real and we are so intimately identified with it that we may neglect or abuse it. But our belief in its vulnerability and weakness and need for protection is nothing more than a displacement of our underlying belief about ourselves (our mind), separated from the Whole and identified with the ego. And it is that belief that needs correction and healing.


Q #77: Why does the Holy Spirit speak so softly? It seems it would be so much easier to follow His guidance if He could shout sometimes.

A: You join a chorus of many hundreds of Course students fervently pleading with the Holy Spirit to turn up the volume! Unfortunately, or rather fortunately, the problem is on our end, which means it has something to do with a choice we are making, which we can now change. It is the interference we generate that seems to make the Holy Spirit’s Voice inaudible, just as radio transmissions often don’t come through clearly because of static. There is nothing wrong with the signal. The problem is on the receiving end, not the sending end, Jesus tells us in what seems to be a gentle rebuke: “What answer that the Holy Spirit gives can reach you, when it is your specialness to which you listen, and which asks and answers? Its tiny answer, soundless in the melody that pours from God to you eternally in loving praise of what you are, is all you listen to. And that vast song of honor and of love for what you are seems silent and unheard before its ‘mightiness.’ You strain your ears to hear its soundless voice, and yet the Call of God Himself is soundless to you” (T.24.II.4:3,4,5,6). This is reinforced in the manual when Jesus says, “only few can hear God’s Voice at all” (M.12.3:3).

This is hard to take, yet rather than be discouraged, we can be grateful that at least we know what the problem is, and that we can work hand-in-hand with our loving brother Jesus to restore the communication to full clarity. If we are truly honest with ourselves, we will nod in acknowledgment that his explanation for our not hearing the Holy Spirit is indeed the truth.

As we continue to work with the material, it becomes clear that the two requirements Jesus is insistent about are honesty and humility. It is profoundly humbling to run into passage after passage in the Course in which he tells us that we are wrong about everything we think and have thought, and that we are just spiritual children, even referring to us at times as babies (e.g., T.4.II.5:2). He talks as well about the methods he must use to get through to us, because we have erected so many blockades to truth in our minds. For example, “How do you teach someone the value of something he has deliberately thrown away?” (T.4.VI.5:1). And then there are many passages that speak specifically of the “damage” we have done to our own minds, one example being: “what you have done to hurt your mind has made it so unnatural that it does not remember what is natural to it” (T.16.II.3:1). It is just so easy to forget that we are the ones who banished the Holy Spirit from our minds. We conceal this and then wind up thinking that His absence from our awareness somehow has to do with a deficiency on His part, or even with Jesus’ instructions. So we are ultimately thrust back to a very humble position, from which all our efforts must proceed.

Another important factor to keep in mind is that the Holy Spirit’s guidance can come in many different ways. We should not expect it to be only in the form of words specifically telling us what to do. His Presence could very well be felt as an impulse to be kind or compassionate in a given moment. Often His guidance is in the form of an idea that suddenly occurs to us, or something that happens in a dream, or simply while we are talking with a friend. The Holy Spirit’s correction of our wrong-minded thinking can come in any number of ways.

And finally, we always want to be careful that we have not defined the problem, and then expect the answer to come on terms we ourselves have set. This is an all too common form of interference on our part that makes access to right-minded thinking more difficult. “Be willing, for an instant, to leave your altars free of what you placed upon them, and what is really there you cannot fail to see [hear]” (T.21.II.8:1).Jesus has guaranteed that our efforts will meet with success, and in fact they already have. We need only accept this with no reservations and then the Voice for God will be the only Voice we hear.

forgiveness is still

Officially Released! Allowah Lani’s New Book, “Who Am I? Yoga, Psychedelics & the Quest for Enlightenment”

top-choice-cover copy

“With his excellent book, Allowah Lani gives us a tour de force of several major subjects. I’m not well versed in yoga or psychedelics, but I certainly learned a lot about those things from this book. And I was particularly struck by the author’s ability to move into a discussion of A Course in Miracles from the perspective of his own journey, and do a fine job presenting its message. I highly recommend this book to all seekers of the truth. I believe you’ll be blown away, as I was, by its depth and wisdom.

Gary Renard, best-selling author of The Disappearance of the Universe

ORDER YOUR COPY HERE

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Book Description

Far more than a mere history of the practice of yoga and beyond a study of psychedelic-substance use to aid the pursuit of enlightenment, Who Am I? is a broad, expansive journey told through the eyes of a scholar and researcher—a pilgrim in search of the meaning of life.

While the use of psychedelics, yoga, and the interrelatedness of the two practices have been discussed in the past, Who Am I? explores these topics through both a scientific and a personal approach that is altogether new—the author’s own journey as he transitions from spiritual and yoga purist to open-minded examiner in the realization that psychedelics have been employed by yoga practitioners throughout its history. Does their controversial use in modern yoga ease the path to spiritual clarity, or does it hinder it?

Many questions and barriers face contemporary seekers of truth in the areas of psychedelics, yoga, and general spirituality. In Who Am I?, author Allowah Lani provides guidance on how to find the personal answers that must come from within.

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About the Author

Allowah Lani has devoted his adult life to spiritual and religious scholarship, earning a BA in philosophy and an MA in liberal arts from the University of Pennsylvania and going on to study the Torah and the Bible in Hebrew in Jerusalem.

Lani began a PhD in Hebrew and Judaic studies at New York University comparing Kabbalah and the yoga philosophy prior to becoming a full-time yoga instructor. He is the founder and director of Yoga University, which offers teacher training and is registered with the Yoga Alliance.

Lani currently lives in Naples, Florida. Who Am I? is his first book.

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What Readers Are Saying…

“With his excellent book, Allowah Lani gives us a tour de force of several major subjects. I’m not well versed in yoga or psychedelics, but I certainly learned a lot about those things from this book. And I was particularly struck by the author’s ability to move into a discussion of A Course in Miracles from the perspective of his own journey, and do a fine job presenting its message. I highly recommend this book to all seekers of the truth. I believe you’ll be blown away, as I was, by its depth and wisdom.

Gary Renard, best-selling author of The Disappearance of the Universe

*

“We are in a time of resurgence, the next wave of psychedelic and entheogenic exploration and reflection. Allowah Lani tours the reader through many different perspectives and differing conclusions on this crucial subject. He observes, explores and researches with a most important tool of [inquiry] meditation and Yoga— openness and questioning as opposed to certainty. Since ancient Eleusis, and time immemorial, a philosopher stoned has always used potent psychotropic means that open windows into other realities, new perceptions and into life itself. Most serious explorers of living and dying have not denied theses powerful tools and catalysts. This book will get you thinking, and perhaps seeing.”

Ganga White, Director of White Lotus and author of Yoga Beyond Belief

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“Wow!!!!!!! Just need to tell you I can’t put it down… Reading excerpts every night even when I’m thoroughly exhausted… It’s very engaging and written from such a deeply intimate place… Truly exceptional and unique in its honesty and your sharing these parts of your history and experience are a gift to anyone who will be fortunate enough to read it.”

Marie Colandrea, Yoga student and teacher

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“Allowah Lani has written an incredible book combining deep insights from the teachings of yoga, psychedelics, and A Course in Miracles, each of which provides us with doors and windows into what is possible for us including an awakening back into the heart of God. Though I’ve had no experience with psychedelics since the 1970s, I know how incredible that experience can be. Each of these disciplines are “alchemies.” Let them “cook” inside and you will see another world your body’s eyes could never find.”

Jon Mundy, Ph.D. author of Living A Course in Miracles

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“This book MUST be read by people. Period.”

John Allen Gibel, Yoga Teacher & Scholar

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“Your insights of the Yoga tradition are original and unique. I truly hope you can make this happen.”

Estella Arias, Literary Agent, New Chapter Editions

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“The author’s new book dealing with an important topic on the history of yoga is a very engrossing read and a very unique book. In exploring its topic areas with the author, we feel as if we are falling down the rabbit hole hand-in-hand with him. He treats his exploration with the intellectual honesty, respect, and open-mindedness it deserves and the reader is drawn into the narrative by the lucidity of his prose and by his ever-expanding exploration of this fascinating area of study. Drawing upon a wide array of ‘seekers’ who have come before him, the author presents a straightforward and engaging narrative that investigates his topic for anyone and everyone on the road to enlightenment. The fact that there are no other books on the market that engages this specific subject makes this book’s appeal that much greater.”

Anne Dillon, Project Editor, Inner Traditions, Bear & Company, Rochester, Vermont

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“Incredibly well-written, highly personal and throughly researched, Allowah Lani’s new book Who Am I? explores the links between Shamanism, Rituals, Plant Medicine and Yoga. Shamans and Yogis were the original explorers of evolutionary consciousness, healing and communication with the Spirit Realms. Nature and all its tools have been their guides since the emergence of the human race. Ancient Egypt was one of the first great centers of the mystic and healing arts including early forms of what would later be refined in India as Yoga. The Egyptians developed sophisticated spiritual initiations and practices that are still alive in different forms today throughout the world. Read this book and you will learn of many of the possibilities that have existed throughout time for Humankind’s evolution and how they relate to you.”

Danny Paradise, Ashtanga yoga master

ORDER YOUR COPY HERE

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ACIM Text Reading & Workbook Lesson for January 31

ACIM Text Reading for January 31

Chapter 4   THE ILLUSIONS OF THE EGO

III. Love Without Conflict

It is hard to understand what ‘The Kingdom of Heaven is within you’ really means. This is because it is not understandable to the ego, which interprets it as if something outside is inside, and this does not mean anything. The word ‘within’ is unnecessary. The Kingdom of Heaven is you. What else but you did the Creator create, and what else but you is His Kingdom? This is the whole message of the Atonement; a message which in its totality transcends the sum of its parts. You, too, have a Kingdom that your spirit created. It has not ceased to create because of the ego’s illusions. Your creations are no more fatherless than you are. Your ego and your spirit will never be co-creators, but your spirit and your Creator will always be. Be confident that your creations are as safe as you are.

The Kingdom is perfectly united and perfectly protected, and the ego will not prevail against it. Amen.

This is written in the form of a prayer because it is useful in moments of temptation. It is a declaration of independence. You will find it very helpful if you understand it fully. The reason you need my help is because you have denied your own Guide and therefore need guidance. My role is to separate the true from the false, so truth can break through the barriers the ego has set up and can shine into your mind. Against our united strength the ego cannot prevail.

It is surely apparent by now why the ego regards spirit as its ‘enemy’. The ego arose from the separation, and its continued existence depends on your continuing belief in the separation. The ego must offer you some sort of reward for maintaining this belief. All it can offer is a sense of temporary existence, which begins with its own beginning and ends with its own ending. It tells you this life is your existence because it is its own. Against this sense of temporary existence spirit offers you the knowledge of permanence and unshakeable being. No one who has experienced the revelation of this can ever fully believe in the ego again. How can its meagre offering to you prevail against the glorious gift of God?

You who identify with your ego cannot believe God loves you. You do not love what you made, and what you made does not love you. Being made out of the denial of the Father, the ego has no allegiance to its maker. You cannot conceive of the real relationship that exists between God and His creations because of your hatred for the self you made. You project onto the ego the decision to separate, and this conflicts with the love you feel for the ego because you made it. No love in this world is without this ambivalence, and since no ego has experienced love without ambivalence the concept is beyond its understanding. Love will enter immediately into any mind that truly wants it, but it must want it truly. This means that it wants it without ambivalence, and this kind of wanting is wholly without the ego’s ‘drive to get’.

There is a kind of experience so different from anything the ego can offer that you will never want to cover or hide it again. It is necessary to repeat that your belief in darkness and hiding is why the light cannot enter. The Bible gives many references to the immeasurable gifts which are for you, but for which you must ask. This is not a condition as the ego sets conditions. It is the glorious condition of what you are.
No force except your own will is strong enough or worthy enough to guide you. In this you are as free as God, and must remain so forever. Let us ask the Father in my name to keep you mindful of His Love for you and yours for Him. He has never failed to answer this request, because it asks only for what He has already willed. Those who call truly are always answered. Thou shalt have no other gods before Him because there are none.

It has never really entered your mind to give up every idea you ever had that opposes knowledge. You retain thousands of little scraps of fear that prevent the Holy One from entering. Light cannot penetrate through the walls you make to block it, and it is forever unwilling to destroy what you have made. No one can see through a wall, but I can step around it. Watch your mind for the scraps of fear, or you will be unable to ask me to do so. I can help you only as our Father created us. I will love you and honour you and maintain complete respect for what you have made, but I will not uphold it unless it is true. I will never forsake you any more than God will, but I must wait as long as you choose to forsake yourself. Because I wait in love and not in impatience, you will surely ask me truly. I will come in response to a single unequivocal call.

Watch carefully and see what it is you are really asking for. Be very honest with yourself in this, for we must hide nothing from each other. If you will really try to do this, you have taken the first step toward preparing your mind for the Holy One to enter. We will prepare for this together, for once He has come, you will be ready to help me to make other minds ready for Him. How long will you deny Him His Kingdom?

In your own mind, though denied by the ego, is the declaration of your release. God has given you everything. This one fact means the ego does not exist, and this makes it profoundly afraid. In the ego’s language, ‘to have’ and ‘to be’ are different, but they are identical to the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit knows that you both have everything and are everything. Any distinction in this respect is meaningful only when the idea of ‘getting’, which implies a lack, has already been accepted. That is why we make no distinction between having the Kingdom of God and being the Kingdom of God.

The calm being of God’s Kingdom, which in your sane mind is perfectly conscious, is ruthlessly banished from the part of the mind the ego rules. The ego is desperate because it opposes literally invincible odds, whether you are asleep or awake. Consider how much vigilance you have been willing to exert to protect your ego, and how little to protect your right mind. Who but the insane would undertake to believe what is not true, and then protect this belief at the cost of truth?

***

ACIM Workbook Lesson for January 31

Lesson 31

I am not the victim of the world I see.

Today’s idea is the introduction to your declaration of release. Again, the idea should be applied to both the world you see without and the world you see within. In applying the idea, we will use a form of practice which will be used more and more, with changes as indicated. Generally speaking, the form includes two aspects, one in which you apply the idea on a more sustained basis, and the other consisting of frequent applications of the idea throughout the day.

Two longer periods of practice with the idea for today are needed, one in the morning and one at night. Three to five minutes for each of these are recommended. During that time, look about you slowly while repeating the idea two or three times. Then close your eyes, and apply the same idea to your inner world. You will escape from both together, for the inner is the cause of the outer.

As you survey your inner world, merely let whatever thoughts cross your mind come into your awareness, each to be considered for a moment, and then replaced by the next. Try not to establish any kind of hierarchy among them. Watch them come and go as dispassionately as possible. Do not dwell on any one in particular, but try to let the stream move on evenly and calmly, without any special investment on your part. As you sit and quietly watch your thoughts, repeat today’s idea to yourself as often as you care to, but with no sense of hurry.

In addition, repeat the idea for today as often as possible during the day. Remind yourself that you are making a declaration of independence in the name of your own freedom. And in your freedom lies the freedom of the world.

The idea for today is also a particularly useful one to use as a response to any form of temptation that may arise. It is a declaration that you will not yield to it, and put yourself in bondage.

50 Select QUOTES from A COURSE IN MIRACLES

50 Select QUOTES from 

A COURSE IN MIRACLES

[Please note: All of A Course in Miracles is equally profound.

 I simply chose the words that resonated the most with me on this reading.  

Please forgive any mistakes made in transcribing.  ; ) ]

1. Nothing real can be threatened.

Nothing unreal exists.

Herein lies the peace of God. (Introduction)

***

2. Miracles occur naturally as expressions of love.

They are performed by those who temporarily have more for those who temporarily have less.

***

 

3.   This course does not aim at teaching the meaning of love,

for that is beyond what can be taught.

It does aim, however, at removing the blocks to the awareness of love’s presence,

which is your natural inheritance.

***

4″You are free to believe what you choose, and what you do attests to what you believe.” II.9

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5″You are the work of God, and His work is wholly lovable and wholly loving.

This is how a man must think of himself in his heart, because this is what he is.” III.3-4

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6″Spirit is in a state of grace forever.

Your reality is only spirit.

Therefore you are in a state of grace forever.”

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7. “I am the light of the world.

Forgiveness is my function as the light of the world.

The light of the world brings peace to every mind through my forgiveness.”

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8. The mind that serves spirit is invulnerable.  IV.11

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9. Darkness is lack of light as sin is lack of love.

It has no unique properties of its own.

It is an example of the “scarcity” belief, from which only error can proceed.

Truth is always abundant.

Those who perceive and acknowledge that they have everything have no needs of any kind.” IV.1-5

***

10) “God is not partial.

All His children have His total Love, and all His gifts are freely given to everyone alike.”

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11) “Whatever is true is eternal, and cannot change or be changed.

Spirit is therefore unalterable because it is already perfect,

but the mind can elect what it chooses to serve.

The only limit put on its choice is that it cannot serve two masters.”

***

12) “You who want peace can only find it by complete forgiveness.”  (VI.1)

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13) “A sense of separation from God is the only lack you really need correct.” VI.2.1

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14) “Perfect love casts out fear.

If fear exists,

There there is not perfect love.

But:

Only perfect love exists.

If there is fear,

It produces a state that does not exist.”

***

15) “All real pleasure comes from doing God’s Will.

This is because not doing it is a denial of Self.” (VII.1.4-5)

***

16) “This is a course in mind training.

All learning involves attention and study at some level.” (I.VII.4.1-2)

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17) “Healing is of God in the end.

The means are being carefully explained to you.

 Revelation may occasionally reveal the end to you,

 but to reach it the means are needed.” (I.VII.5.9-10)

***

18) “What is seen in dreams seems to be very real.

Yet the Bible says that a deep sleep fell upon Adam,

and nowhere is there reference to his waking up.

The world has not yet experienced any comprehensive reawakening or rebirth.

Such a rebirth is impossible as long as you continue to project or miscreate.” (II.I.3.5-8)

***

19) “All fear is ultimately reducible to the basic misperception that you have the ability to usurp the power of God.” (II.I.4.1)

***

20) Some miracles may seem to be of greater magnitude than others.

But remember the first principle of the course; there is no order of difficulty in miracles.

In reality you are perfectly unaffected by all expressions of lack of love.

These can be from yourself and others, from yourself to others, or from others to you.

Peace is an attribute in you.

You cannot find it outside.” ( II.I.5.4-9)

***

21) “Illness is some form of external searching.

Health is inner peace.” (II.I.5.10-11)

***

22)  “When you are afraid of anything, you are acknowledging its power to hurt you.

Remember that where your heart is, there is your treasure also.

You believe in what you value.

If you are afraid, you are valuing wrongly.”  (II.II.1.4-7)

***

23) “True denial is a powerful protective device.

You can and should deny any belief that error can hurt you.

 This kind of denial is not a concealment

but a correction.” (II.II.2.1-3)

***

24) “Learning itself, like the classrooms in which it occurs, is temporary.

The ability to learn has no value when change is no longer necessary.

The eternally creative have nothing to learn…

Only while there is a belief in differences is learning meaningful.”  (II.II.5.4-6)

***

25) “Tolerance for pain may be high, but it is not without limit.

Eventually everyone begins to recognize, however dimly, that there must be a better way.

As this recognition becomes more firmly established, it becomes a turning point.

This ultimately reawakens spiritual vision, simultaneously weakening the investment in physical sight.

 The alternating investment in the two levels of perception is usually experienced as conflict, which can become very acute.

But the outcome is as certain as God.” (2.III.3.5-10)

***

26) “Whenever you are afraid you are deceived, and your mind cannot serve the Holy Spirit.”

***

27) “All healing is essentially the release from fear.” (2.IV.1.7)

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28) “It is essential to remember that only the mind can create, and that correction beings at the thought level…

spirit is already perfect and therefore does not require correction.

The body does not exist except as a learning device for the mind.”  (2.V.1.7-9)

***

29) “You may believe that you are responsible for what you do, but not for what you think.

The truth is that you are responsible for what you think because it is only at this level that you can exercise choice.

What you do comes from what you think.”  (2.VI.2.5-7)

***

30) “Before you choose to do anything, ask me if your choice is in accord with mine.

  If you are sure that it is, there will be no fear.” (2.VI.4.9-10)

***

31) “Few appreciate the real power of the mind, and no one remains fully aware of it all the time.

However, if you hope to spare yourself from fear there are some things you must realize, and realize fully.

The mind is very powerful, and never loses its creative force.

 It never sleeps.

 Every instant it is creating.

It is hard to recognize that thought and belief combine into a power surge that can literally move mountains.

It appears at first glance that to believe such power about yourself is arrogant,

but that is not the real reason you not believe it.

You prefer to believe that your thoughts cannot exert real influence because you are actually afraid of them…

There are no idle thoughts.

All thinking produces form at some level.” (2. VI.9.5-14)

***

32) “You have been fearful of everyone and everything.

You are afraid of God, of me and of yourself.

You have misperceived or mistreated Us, and believe in what you have made.

You would not have done this if you were not afraid of your own thoughts.” (2. VII.3.4-7)

***

33) “Confidence cannot develop fully until mastery has been accomplished…

Readiness is only the beginning of confidence.

You may think this implies that an enormous amount of time is necessary between readiness and mastery,

but let me remind you that time and space are under my control.” (2.VII.7.6)

***

34) “Nothing and everything cannot coexist.

To believe in one is to deny the other.

Fear is really nothing and love is everything.

Whenever light enters darkness, the darkness is abolished.”  (2.VII.5.1-5)

***

35)  “I have made every effort to use words that are almost impossible to distort,

but it is always possible to twist symbols around if you wish.”  (3.I.4.11)

***

36) “Good teachers never terrorize their students.

To terrorize is to attack, and this results in rejection of what the teacher offers.

The result is learning failure.” (3.I.4.5-7)

***

37) “Innocence is not a partial attribute.

 It is not real until it is total.

The partly innocent are apt to be quite foolish at times.

 It is not until their innocence become a viewpoint with universal application that it becomes wisdom.”

***

38) “Questioning illusions is the first step in undoing them.”

***

39) “If you attack error in another, you will hurt yourself.

You cannot know your brother when you attack him.

Attack is always made upon a stranger.

You are making him a stranger by misperceiving him, and so you cannot know him.

It is because you have made him a stranger that you are afraid of him.

 There are no strangers in God’s creation.”

***

40) “God knows His children with perfect certainty.

He created them by knowing them.

He recognizes them perfectly.

 When they do not recognize each other, they do not recognize Him.”

***

41) “Love created me like itself…Love holds no grievances.”

***

42) When I [Jesus] said, “I am with you always,” I meant it literally.

I am not absent to anyone in any situation.

Because I am always with you, you are the way and the truth and the light.

You did not make this power, any more than I did.

It was created to be shared and therefore cannot be meaningfully perceived as

belonging to anyone at the expense of another.

Such a perception makes it meaningless by eliminating or overlooking its real and only meaning.

7.IV.25.1

***

43) “Because God’s equal Songs have everything, they cannot compete.

Yet if they perceive any of their brothers as anything other than their perfect equals, the idea of competition has entered minds.

Do not underestimate your need to be vigilant against this idea, because all your conflicts come from it.

It is the belief that conflicting interests are possible, and therefore you have accepted the impossible as true.” (7.V.28, 1-4)

***

44) “Seek ye first the Kingdom of Heaven because that is where the laws of God operate truly, and they can operate only truly since they are the laws of Truth.

But seek this only because you can find nothing else.

There is nothing else.

God is all in all in a very literal sense.

All being is in Him who is all Being.

You are therefore in Him since your being is His.”  (7.V.38, 1-4)

***

45) “Healing only strengthens.  Magic always tries to weaken.

 Healing perceives nothing in the healer that everyone else does not share with him.

Magic always sees something “special” in the healer which he believes

he can offer as a gift to someone who does not have it.

He may believe that the gift comes from God to Him,

but it is quite evident that he does not understand God

if he things he has something that others lack.”

***

46) “You do not need God’s blessing since that you have forever, but you do need yours.

The picture you see of yourselves is deprived, unloving, and very vulnerable.

You cannot love this.

Yet you can very easily escape from it or better, leave it behind.

 You are not there, and that is not you.

Do not see this picture in anyone, or you have accepted it as you.”   (7.VIII.73.1-4)

***

47) One Child of God is the only teacher sufficiently worthy to teach another.

One Teacher is in all your minds, and He teaches the same lesson to all.

He always teaches you the inestimable worth of every Son of God, teaching it with infinite patience born of the infinite love for which he speaks.

(7.VIII.77.1-4)

***

48) “Glory be to God in the highest and to you because He has so willed it.

Ask and it shall be give you because it has already been given.

Ask for light and learn that you are light.

If you want understanding and enlightenment,

you will learn it because your will to learn it is your decisions to listen to the Teacher who knows of light and can therefore teach it to you.(8.IV.16.1-3)

***

49) “Forget not the Kingdom of God for anything the world has to offer.

The world can add nothing to the power and the glory of God and His holy Sons, but it can blind the Sons to the Father if they behold it.

 You  cannot behold the world and know God.  Only one is true.”

***

50) “No one created by God can find joy in anything except the eternal…nothing else is worthy of him.”