A Course in Miracles Chapter 21: Reason and Perception

The title for chapter 21 is Reason and Perception. Within this chapter are the following sub-titles: The Forgotten Song, The Responsibility for Sight, Faith, Belief and Vision, The Fear to Look Within, The Function of Reason, Reason versus Madness, The Last Unanswered Question, and The Inner Shift.

What we project out into the world around us is like a mirror of what we are thinking and feeling inside. If we do not understand this we will look around at the world we live in and complain about everything we do not like and blame it on everyone but ourselves, expecting others to fix the problems. “Projection makes perception. It is the witness to your state of mind, the outside picture of an inward condition. As a man thinketh, so does he perceive. Therefore, seek not to change the world, but choose to change your mind about the world.”

As long as I can remember I have been taught to embrace painful situations, that it is through these that we grow and mature. You all know the phrases, no pain no gain. Thank God for the hard times of your lives. If this is what you believe, this is what you will manifest in your life. Reading through this book has caused me to question this idea and change my belief that everything I need to learn to grow and mature can come through happy experiences. I have found this a much more enjoyable way to live. “There is no need to learn through pain. And gentle lessons are acquired joyously, and are remembered gladly. What gives you happiness you want to learn and not forget.”

We have been taught that we have little control over what happens to us and sometimes it does feel like this.  It is a hard concept to accept when “bad” things happen to us that it is because we asked for them. Yet this is what this course teaches. I am still working to fully understanding how this works. “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. It is impossible the Son of God (mankind) be merely driven by events outside of him. 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.”

This chapter asks 5 interesting questions:

  1. Do I desire a world I rule instead of one that rules me?
  2. Do I desire a world where I am powerful instead of helpless?
  3. Do I desire a world in which I have no enemies and cannot sin?
  4. Is this what I would see? Do I want this?
  5. And do I want to see what I denied because it is the truth?

Unfortunately, many of us were taught through our society, families and religion that we have little control over our lives, that we are helpless to change anything and that we need to fear anyone who is “different” from us, turning them into enemies. This is what the ego teaches us to keep us in a state of apathy, helplessness and fear. It takes courage to honestly ask ourselves what we really do believe and why we continue to believe these things. The Holy Spirit reveals to us the Truth of God that we are magnificent, creative, powerful and loving people. How different the world will look when we choose to believe this. “Listen to what the ego says, and see what it directs you to see, and it is sure that you will see yourself as tiny, vulnerable and afraid. You will experience depression, a sense of worthlessness, and feelings of impermanence and unreality. You will believe that you are hopeless prey to forces far beyond your own control, and far more powerful than you. And you will think the world you made directs your destiny. Do you not see that all your misery comes from the strange belief that you are powerless? If you choose to see a world without an enemy, in which you are not helpless, the means to see it will be given you.”

A Course in Miracles Chapter 12: The Holy Spirit’s Curriculum

The title for chapter 12 is The Holy Spirit’s Curriculum. Within this chapter are the following sub-titles: The Judgment of the Holy Spirit, The Way to Remember God, The Investment in Reality, Seeking and Finding, The Sane Curriculum, the Vision of Christ, Looking Within, and The Attraction of Love for Love.

I like the way this chapter interprets fear. It defines fear as “an appeal for help, a call for love in unconscious recognition of what has been denied. Fear is a symptom of your own deep sense of loss.” We all innately know that we were created to receive and give love. However, the ego is afraid of love as it understands when love is fully known, the ego will cease to exist. Fear and love are the two root emotions and you cannot feel both simultaneously, so one or the other is always going to dominate. When you deny or minimize your fears, they will continue to hold you under their control. It is only when you are willing to face your fears and allow them to rise to the surface that the Holy Spirit can come in and dispel them. “If you raise what fear conceals to clear-cut unequivocal predominance, fear becomes meaningless. You have denied its power to conceal love, which was its only purpose. The Holy Spirits interpretation of fear does dispel it, for the awareness of truth cannot be denied. Thus, does the Holy Spirit replace fear with love and translate error into truth. The Holy Spirit cannot shine away what you keep hidden, for you have not offered it to Him and He cannot take it from you. Learn how to offer the Holy Spirit everything you do not want.”

One of the concepts that this book discusses is the inner and outer world. This can be difficult to comprehend the first few times you hear it as it is in opposition to what we are taught and what our physical senses tell us. The ego perceives the world as outside of ourselves. This book states that everything we see outside is a reflection of what is happening inside of us, that we do not want to own, and so we project it outward onto the world around us. We feel anger but believe it is not okay to feel or show this anger so we will do and say things to cause the people around us to feel anger instead of us. Because we believe we are not lovable, we will do and say things to push people away from us and then turn around and complain about how lonely we are. We complain about the world around us; wars, prejudice, discrimination, violence without realizing that all of this is being created by us energetically projecting outward the parts of us we do not want to own. It is only when we are willing to go inward and accept all of us, the bad and the good without judgment, for we are all a combination of both, that we will begin to take responsibility for our actions and feel peace, love and acceptance for who we are. We will then start projecting this out into the world around us and the outer world will become a more peaceful, accepting, loving place to live. We create the reality we live in based on the thoughts, beliefs, feelings of our inner world being energetically projected out into the world around us. “He does not realize that he makes this world, for there is no world outside of him. Everything you perceive as the outside world is merely your attempt to maintain your ego identification. You have projected outward what is antagonistic of what is inward. That is why you must realize that your hatred is in your mind and not outside it before you can get rid of it, and why you must get rid of it before you can perceive the world as it really is.”

 

 

A Course in Miracles Chapter 11: God or the Ego

The title for chapter 11 is God or the Ego. Within this chapter are the following sub-titles: The Gifts of Fatherhood, The Invitation to Healing, From Darkness to Light, The Inheritance of God’s Son, The “Dynamics” of the Ego, Waking to Redemption, The Condition of Reality and The Problem and the Answer.

This chapter talks about how our perceptions of truth and reality are based on our experiences which then lead to our beliefs. In Christianity, we are encouraged to understand and accept truth as it was taught and passed down to us through the history of the church. We are not encouraged to question the traditional Easter story or consider anything beyond the literal interpretation we have been taught. This is the week leading up to Easter, sometimes called the passion week in Christianity. Most of you know the story of what happens to Jesus during this week where he goes from being adored on Palm Sunday, to the night he was betrayed in the garden, to the trial, the crucifixion and then to the resurrection. I have always been taught the literal interpretation of this event, that it had to do with sin, sacrifice, forgiveness and eternal life. In this chapter it looks at this week with a higher, spiritual understanding. From this perspective, the crucifixion represents the ego and the resurrection represents Christs victory over the ego through love.

Let me start by focusing on the crucifixion. Jesus spent his life preaching a message of love that was rejected by both the religious and political authorities at that time who represent the ego. They were motivated by fear; that the people would choose Jesus over them, that they could lose their power, that life as they controlled it could change if they could not find a way to get rid of Jesus. They projected their fears onto Jesus by attacking him with words of judgement, hatred and condemnation, inflicting physical pain onto his body. They required a sacrifice, Jesus over the other criminal had to die. Jesus hung on the cross, later buried, symbolic of the ego in complete control with all the power and about to declare victory over the message of love Jesus had taught.

But 3 days later, love won. Jesus was alive, walking and eating with the people in his community. A life that had looked dead was renewed. The one who lived his life in daily communion with God transcended the power of the ego. The darkness of the grave turned into the glorious light of God’s presence.

“The love of God surrounds his son whom the god of crucifixion condemns. Teach not that I died in vain. Teach rather that I did not die by demonstrating that I live in you. For the undoing of the crucifixion of Gods son is the work of the redemption in which everyone has a part of equal value. The resurrection is the complete triumph of Christ over the ego, not by attack but by transcendence. For Christ does rise above the ego and all its works, and ascends to the Father and his Kingdom. Believe in the resurrection because it has been accomplished, and it has been accomplished in you. For we ascend unto the Father together, as it was in the beginning, is now and ever shall be, for such is the nature of Gods Son as his Father created him.”

“Each day, each hour and minute, even each second, you are deciding between the crucifixion and the resurrection; between the ego and the Holy Spirit.”

A Course in Miracles Chapter 6 The Lessons of Love

The title for chapter 6 is The Lessons of Love. Within this chapter are the following sub-titles: The Message of the Crucifixion, The Alternative to Projection, The Relinquishment of Attack, The Only Answer, and The Lessons of the Holy Spirit.

This will be a challenging chapter to read for those of you raised in traditional Christian thought as I was. We have been taught to understand the crucifixion as Jesus being punished and becoming a sacrifice for our sins. In this book, Jesus states that, “The crucifixion was not a form of punishment. Those who interpreted it as this were understanding it from a place of fear.”  Jesus teaches that the crucifixion was a teaching moment for us to realize what happens when we project our anger onto another person by assaulting them. It was the result of two clearly opposed thought systems, the ego and the Son of God. The ego represented those who hated what Jesus was doing and teaching and felt threatened by him so attacked him. The Son of God represented Jesus who only walked in love, doing nothing wrong and when attacked, did not fight back. “The message of the crucifixion is perfectly clear: Teach only love, for that is what you are. If you interpret the crucifixion in any other way, you are using it as a weapon for assault rather than as the call for peace for which it was intended. The Apostles often misunderstood it, and for the same reason that anyone misunderstands it. Their own imperfect love made them vulnerable to projection, and out of their own fear they spoke of the “wrath of God’ as His retaliatory weapon. Nor could they speak of the crucifixion entirely without anger, because their sense of guilt had made them angry. These are some of the examples of upside-down thinking in the New Testament although its gospel is really, only the message of love. If the Apostles had not felt guilty, they could never have quoted me as saying, I come not to bring peace but a sword. This is clearly the opposite of everything I taught.”

All of us get into the habit of projection and do not always realize when or why we are doing this. To project is to take the parts of yourself that you do not like and project them onto someone else so you no longer feel or own them. While it may appear to be an attack on the other person, it is actually an attack on yourself. Your inability to fully love every part of who you are. This is a game the ego loves to play. It perpetuates the belief that you are separated from self and others. As long as you continue to believe that you are separated from God, you will fear retaliation and abandonment and believe in attack and rejection. Since this is what you perceive, it is what you will teach, learn and identify yourself with. ACIM teaches that “Everyone identifies himself with his thought system, and every thought system centers on what you believe you are. The way out of two opposing thought systems is to clearly choose one and relinquish the other. This will replace conflict with peace in your mind. The Holy Spirit sorts out the true from the false in your mind, and teaches you to judge every thought you allow to enter it (take every thought captive) in the light of what God put there. Whatever is in accord with this light, He retains, to strengthen the Kingdom in you. What is partly in accord with it He accepts and purifies. But what is out of accord entirely He rejects by judging against. This is how He keeps the Kingdom perfectly consistent and perfectly unified. Remember however, that what the Holy Spirit rejects, the ego accepts. This is because they are in fundamental disagreement about everything, being in fundamental disagreement about what you are.” The Holy Spirit sees you as wholly perfect and lovable so there is no need to project anything. Instead, the Holy Spirit takes the belief that this is who you are, and extends that out to others by sharing your love and nonjudgmental attitude with people and seeing all people as equal and one with each other and with creator God. “You are a child of God, a priceless part of His Kingdom, which He created as part of Him. Nothing else exists and only this is real”

 

 

 

 

 

 

A Time to Reflect

Earth is like a school that provides you with many opportunities to learn life lessons. However, when you cling to what you have always done and believed, you leave less room for God to come in and transform you.When you study the message of Jesus, it is one of transformation, change, growth, maturity, letting go of fear and learning to trust God. It is important that we take time to reflect and purge as needed to make room for more of everything God wants to bring into our lives in the new year. The end of the year is a great time to do this. Some of you have had a great year and are eagerly awaiting 2017, while others of you have had a difficult year and are not so sure 2017 is going to be any better. Either way, taking the time to reflect on the past year can be very helpful; what worked, what failed, what you learned and how you grew in different areas of your life. You can then take this information and use it to help you set new goals for the coming year.

For myself, I divide my life into the following areas: spiritual, physical, personal, social/relationships, business and financial. When I was raising our kids, I also had a family category. At the end of each year I look back on the goals I had set for myself in each of these areas and see how many of them I accomplished, what I learned and how I grew from the year’s experiences. When you do this, you want to be kind to yourself and not beat yourself up for things not accomplished or perceived failures. Each new year is an opportunity to forgive yourself, release the things that did not work and start over. I then look to the next year coming and adjust my goals for what I want to accomplish. I spend some time in prayer and meditation seeking the Holy Spirit for guidance in what God’s will is for my life and what I need to do to bring it about.

Do not fear the coming year. You get to participate in how it turns out through the choices you make and how you choose to respond rather than react to the world, people and circumstances around you. Your beliefs determine your thoughts which determine your emotions and actions. Choose wisely and 2017 can be your best year ever!

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Why was there no room at the inn? The story is told over and over again each Christmas, yet we may often miss this important point. The “inn” represents the seething mind, the mind that is involved in the things of the world. Very seldom does this mind-the intellectual mind, the worldy mind, the personal ego mind,- have room for the Christ. This mind is preoccupied with the things of the world. This is the responsibility each of us has to make room in the manger of our life for the Christ.

The shepherds, our thoughts, are “keeping watch over their flock by night.” The angel of the Lord is at hand to announce the coming of the King in our consciousness. Let us walk together motivated, blessed, healed, and enlightened by the Christ light that is born in us today. Let us rejoice with the heavenly host: “Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace among men with whom he is pleased.”

Christ is the one light “that enlightens every man.” The Christ is personal, real, and complete within each one of us. Christmas is a personal experience; it is the celebration of the birth of the Christ light within us.

May peace on earth be permanent, complete, eternal. Our greatest gift to others is the recognition of the Christ within ourself and the sharing of the Christ with them. Let us continue to expand our own spiritual consciousness; let us keep ourself immaculate for the conception of Christ within us; let us constantly give birth and expression in our pure virgin mind to a life of nobility, gentleness, purity, simplicity, joy Truth, faith and love. This understanding that we seek to share with all people flows out now into all the world and blesses all mankind with eternal Christmas.

Excerpt from “The Way of The Christ” by Donald Curtis

Merry Christmas
from Joyce at Holistic Healing Consulting

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The Spiritual Realm

Chapter 8 in God is Love, is the final chapter in the book and is all about the spiritual realm. For much of my life I thought I understood the spiritual realm. It consisted of heaven, hell, angels, and demons. When I became a psychotherapist, and started exploring alternative healing methods, I discovered another world that I had previously let fear prevent me from exploring. In this chapter I discuss the human energy system, the oneness of everything, extraterrestrial life, reincarnation, death and dying, the demonic, and what life is like when we cross over to the other side at death.

From the day we are born we are all on a journey toward death. Some of us will reach it earlier than others. However, death does not really exist; it is just an illusion since the word death signifies a permanent condition. I prefer the term passing over. Our physical bodies die, but our spirits and our souls—our energy bodies, the eternal parts of who we are—pass over into the spiritual realm. We are always connected to the spiritual realm in some fashion even when we are living on earth.

We live in a society that does not like to talk about death and dying and will do anything to find a way to extend life on earth even when the quality of that life is minimal. Advertisers spend millions trying to get us to buy things to make us look younger and to extend our lives here. Millions more are spent on medical care, operations, and medications toward the end of life to keep people here as long as possible. I hope someday people will be able to see death and dying as a normal part of the life cycle and learn how to embrace it with love rather than shun it in fear. When someone is near the end of life, family and friends should gather around to talk, share, forgive, discuss funeral arrangements, wills, and other related information so when the person passes over, everyone feels love and closure rather than regret, fear, or anger. Many times people are ready to pass over but will not because their loved ones have not given them permission; there is unfinished business regarding relationships that need healing. It is important that we who are left mend these relationships and give people permission to cross over, even though we know we will miss them and it may be difficult at first to go on living without their presence in our lives. Since few of us know when we or those around us will be crossing over, it is important that every day we choose to love and forgive the people we interact with.

So what is the process of passing over like? I have done a lot of reading on near-death and out-of-body experiences. These are similar in that the body appears to be dead, but then the spirit and the soul return to the body. A near-death experience usually happens when someone is in an accident or on the operating table. The people I read about and talked with who have had these experiences all said they never again feared death. The other thing I found fascinating was that everyone had a similar experience, regardless of religious beliefs, gender, country, or culture. I was always taught you had to accept Jesus to go to heaven, and yet many people who were not Christians by the traditional definition experienced heaven rather than hell. I looked more into the people who experienced hell. They appeared to be people who denied the existence of God or who were filled with fear, evil, negativity, and other low-vibrating behaviors. If you have a loving relationship with God, there should be no reason to fear passing over. Some people fear leaving their loved ones and the life they know down here. However, from what I am learning, those in the spiritual realm are able to see, know, and communicate with loved ones still on earth. Remember, everything is connected through spiritual energy, and time and distance do not exist on the spiritual plane.

God is Love, A Spiritual Journey from Fear to Love

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Belief Systems

Chapter 7 in God is Love, is about our beliefs. In this chapter, I discuss what a belief is, my definition of a Christian, and the beliefs of Gnostics, the New Age movement, and other religions.

Our belief system creates a foundation on which to build our lives and provides guidelines to help us navigate through life. It determines our values, help us understand who we are, why we are here, and how we interpret the world around and beyond us. It is also what often separates us from other religions and causes wars to break out among us. When we don’t understand what others believe, we tend to fear them and either avoid them, lash out at them, or defend our position. Rarely are we encouraged by others to set aside our fears, question our own beliefs, and look beyond what we have been taught, or to seek to understand the beliefs of others and why they choose to hold these beliefs without judging them.

Our beliefs can become like idols in our lives. We fear changing them, so even when we know they no longer serve us, we cling to them, caring more about being accepted by people, society or by the church. A belief is different from truth, it is not set in stone but is something that guides us through life.  Every time we learn new information or have a new experience it should affect our beliefs. People previously believed the earth was flat but had to change that belief based on new information. People believed that women should not work, but now they work. So do not fear changing your beliefs as you experience more of life.

Every religion has false beliefs within it because every religion was created by imperfect people incapable of completely understanding God. Every religion also has true beliefs within it because every religion has people who are genuinely seeking God, and when you seek God you will find him and his truth. When people claim that their religion is the only truth, they place themselves above others and become prideful, believing they are somehow better than others, more spiritual, or superior in some way. This then creates division and conflict. People are no longer seen as fellow beings to love but as targets to convert. In the Bible, I never read about Jesus threatening to send people to hell for not believing in him. Jesus did mention the religious things people were doing that were based in fear, power and control rather than love, but did he not condemn their core belief system. Jesus, Buddha and many of the other religious teachers never asked to have a religion made out of their life and teachings.

I believe religions were not created by God but were created by man. From the beginning of time man has known there was something beyond this earth; a spiritual connection, a moral code, a God of some kind existed. Every culture created a way to express and to define these ideas, which became known as religions. These religions were then given hierarchy and structure to try to bring unity among followers and to control the people through one common, agreed-upon belief system. When Jesus was alive, many religions had long existed, and yet he never warned people to avoid certain ones or their beliefs. I do not believe any of them has all the truth, but they all have parts of it, and if we can let go of our fears and replace them with love, understanding, and respect, we will find much to learn from the different religious belief systems. I believe when we get to heaven we will see people from all religions and belief systems because God looks at the heart or the intent of a person, whether someone was motivated by love or by fear, rather than the person’s man made religious affiliation.

My prayer is that we can all stop putting labels on people and learn to love and to appreciate them for who they are, what they believe, and where they are in their own life journeys.

God is Love, A Spiritual Journey from Fear to Love

www.amazon.com or www.balboapress.com

Jesus

Chapter 5 of my book, God is Love, is about Jesus: who he was, his teachings, where he was during the missing years and the purpose for his death.

The teachings of Jesus took on a whole new meaning for me when I began to understand the Aramaic language in which Jesus spoke. This language uses lots of idioms, mysticism, and amplification of words. Most of what Jesus said was not to be interpreted literally as we have been taught but had a deeper spiritual meaning for those with ears to hear and understand. Idiom is a figure of speech that says one thing but means something else, such as the phrase “raining cats and dogs.” The Bible contains more than a thousand idioms that were translated literally and not identified for what they were. Genesis 19:26 says Lot’s wife “looked back and she became a pillar of salt.” This is an idiom meaning that she suffered a stroke, became paralyzed, and died. Jesus told his followers that “they will pick up snakes with their hands; and when they drink deadly poison, it will not hurt them” (Mark 16:18). “Will pick up snakes” means they will handle fearlessly the challengers and enemies of his gospel. “Drink deadly poison” means the power to overcome all malicious gossip and false accusations made against his disciples. Paul’s “thorn in my flesh” (2 Corinthians 12:7) means a troublemaker.

I have a section in this chapter on where Jesus was during the missing years. I always thought it odd that this information was not in the Bible. Anyone over thirty knows how your teens and twenties affect who you are as a person and what you believe. So wherever Jesus was and whatever he was doing had to have had a big impact on his spiritual perspective on life. I found a variety of sources that attempted to answer this.  When I found out where he was I understood why it was left out of the Bible as it brings in a whole other dimension to who Jesus was and where he learned to do the healing miracles. I won’t give the you the answer in this blog, you’ll have to read the book to find out.

You can purchase God is Love, A Spiritual Journey from Fear to Love at:

 www.amazon.com or www.balboapress.com