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OUR EGO

How can discussing the ego help us to cope with our everyday lives?

Accept that it is part of our split mind. Then we are able to accept the Holy Spirit’s help to thwart the ego’s presence and influence. It’s a fire in our mind which leads us to act in ways which are outside of normal behavior. Denying that leads us deeper into the illusion of the separation.

Here in California one spark from a chain dragging on a truck towing a trailer set a fire that burned for weeks. Within seconds the dry grass on the side of the road ignited and the fire went wild. Such is the case for our ego.

We have many current and distressing examples of ego gone wild.  Our current president displays bouts of egocentric behavior well outside normal behavior for any citizen, much less a president. Wild egos are displayed when men use guns to murder our fellow citizens.

It is essential to acknowledge that all of us are capable of that sort of conduct. It usually starts with what we think is insignificant egocentric behavior. The Course teaches that what we think is a petty display of ego is the same as that which results in murder. It applies the same way as the first miracle principle, but is a reverse way.

There is no order of difficulty in miracles. One is not “harder” or “bigger” than another. They are all the same.”

Likewise: there is no order of the effects of the ego. They are all the same. Dissing a driver who cuts us off in traffic is the same a murder. As we all know, sadly, road rage has indeed led to murder.

When we see the ego as an integral part of our split mind can then learn how it functions. That is an integral part of A Course in Miracles’ curriculum.

The best explanation of Course teaching about the ego I have found is in Chapter 2, The Separation from God, from Ken Wapnick’s book, The Message of A Course in Miracles. I won’t summarize it because Ken’s Chapter is a complex description of how we split our mind to make the separation. I do though recommend it highly. Go to facim.org to order it. I include the following Course passage Ken includes in his chapter because it supports my position that we need to accept that the ego is part of our split mind.

[Do not be afraid of the ego.] It depends on your mind, and as you made it by believing in it, so you can dispel it by withdrawing belief from it. Do not project the responsibility for your belief in it onto anyone else, or you will preserve the belief. When you are willing to accept sole responsibility for the ego’s existence you will have laid aside all anger and all attack, because they come from an attempt to project responsibility for your own errors. But having accepted the errors as yours, do not keep them. Give them over quickly to the Holy Spirit to be undone completely, so that all their effects will vanish from your mind and from the Sonship as a whole. [T-7.VIII.5.]

Here we see how we project egocentric thoughts, and how acknowledging that leads us to the part of our mind where the Holy Spirit helps us to dismiss them, not only in our mind, but in the minds of all of our brothers/sisters here in this insane illusory separation.

Following is the first paragraph of the Introduction to Text Chapter 11, GOD OR THE EGO. It includes more very helpful passages that help us to understand and transcend egocentric thoughts.

Either God or the ego is insane. If you will examine the evidence on both sides fairly, you will realize this must be true. Neither God nor the ego proposes a partial thought system. Each is internally consistent, but they are diametrically opposed in all respects so that partial allegiance is impossible. Remember, too, that their results are as different as their foundations, and their fundamentally irreconcilable natures cannot be reconciled by vacillations between them. Nothing alive is Fatherless, for life is creation. Therefore, your decision is always an answer to the question, “Who is my father?” And you will be faithful to the father you choose. [T-11.in.1.]

“Who is my Father” is a way of asking, “how do I feel?” How do I know if I am listening to the ego or the Holy Spirit? If I feel at peace I am listening to the Holy Spirit. If I am not at peace then I’m listening to the ego.

The old warning, “Stop, look and listen” is a simple and clear way to deal with the ego. But I’ll change the order. “Look, stop, and listen.” Look at the ego, stop and affirm its presence and listen to the Holy Spirit. This process will help us to recognize our ego and turn to the Holy Spirit for help, set it aside, and act in a kind and loving manner

LIFE

In a tense scene from Moonstruck (one of my favorite movies), Loretta meets Ronnie for the first time in his cellar bakery.  Loretta tells him his brother Johnny wants him to come to their wedding.  Ronnie then exclaims,

I have no life. What is life? They say that bread is life. I bake bread, bread, bread. I sweat and shove this stinking dough in and out of this hot hole in the wall, but I have no life. 

He tells Loretta how his brother caused him to lose his hand and then his bride; blaming Johnny for his life without a loving relationship.   Ronny believes that having a life here must include a love partner.  Yet, in A Course In Miracles we learn that life does not reside here in our illusory world of being separate from God.  Life resides only on the level of  God’s Love in Heaven.

Communication with God is life.
Nothing without it is at all. [T-14.IV.10]

The above two sentences mirror my oft cited passage from T-3.

God did create spirit in His Own Thought and of a quality like to His Own. There [is] nothing else. [T-3.V.7.3]

In Manual for Teachers Question 20 is, What is the Peace of God? paragraph 5 we find a clear answer to Johnny’s belief.

Forgive the world, and you will understand that everything that God created cannot have an end, and nothing He did not create is real.  In this one sentence is our course explained. In this one sentence is our practicing given its one direction. And in this one sentence is the Holy Spirit’s whole curriculum specified exactly as it is.  [M-20.V.8-10]

The final scene in Moonstruck is set in the family kitchen where Ronnie and Johnny reconcile and Ronnie and Loretta become engaged. Then Johnny with all of the family joins in a toast declaring, “A la familia.”

We yearn for togetherness, and our families are the basic source of that. They are the biological source for new humans, to which we refer to as new life. Our common belief aligns with Johnny’s. We associate life with our body’s existence, and death comes when it ceases to function. Salvation is the process the Course gives us that leads us to remembering our true life in Heaven. This is stated in this succinct line from Chapter 20, The Awakening.

Salvation seeks to prove there is no death, and only life exists.   [T-29.VII.10]

Nevertheless, in far too many ways, we yield to the desire to end ours and others illusory existence here. If we think that way we must consider Jesus’ words in this passage from Chapter 12, The Holy Spirit’s Curriculum.

When you are tempted to yield to the desire for death, [remember that I did not die.] You will realize that this is true when you look within and [see] me. Would I have overcome death for myself alone? And would eternal life have been given me of the Father unless He had also given it to you? [T-12VII.15]

Thus Jesus returns us to the truth of our real existence in Heaven.  There we are still and always are joined as One with God.  For help in everyday existence here in this insane world accept these words. They reflect the first sentence of the new Lord’s Prayer at the end of Text Chapter 16.

Forgive us our illusions, Father, and help us to accept our true relationship with You, in which there are no illusions, and where none can ever enter.

O Death where is thy Sting?

J. S Bach set the above line from Corinthians to music. Bach, as a devout Lutheran, believed that his path to eternal life lay in following Biblical Teaching within his Church. There the belief that Jesus Christ’s crucifixion removed the sting of death gave him access to eternal life.

Then on the other hand, in the movie “Moonstruck” Mrs. Castorinni asked her daughter’s fiancée, “Why do men chase women?” He answers tentatively, “Because they fear death?” She quickly agrees, “That’s it, that’s it.”
I ask: do men gain immortality by womanizing and fathering children?

Ken Wapnick in his, Journey Through The Manual of A Course in Miracles, explains how in ACIM Jesus leads us to a more helpful answer. Ken brings together teachings from Manual Section 27 along with Text Chapter 19 part IV and Workbook lesson 163 to dispel that most sinister fear. Section 27 begins with this declaration,“Death is the central dream from which all illusions stem.” The paragraph then lists all of the struggles of life here in the separation which we accept as “The way of nature,” and then believe that God creates them. The final sentence, “And no one asks if a benign Creator could will this,” is important to accept the following where Section 27 ends with this helpful idea.

And what is the end of death? Nothing but this; the realization that the Son of God is guiltless now and forever. Nothing but this. But do not let yourself forget it is not less than this. (my emphasis)

We are guiltless because we are now and have forever been at home as God’s one son in Heaven. The world we project is an illusion where we split our mind to accept the ego’s making of the body as the Hero of our dream.

In the first sentence of the new Lord’s Prayer; Forgive us our illusions, Father, and help us to accept our true relationship with You, in which there are no illusions, and where none can ever enter. “in which there” refers to Heaven. When we remember that our fear of death vanishes along with all of our illusions.

The course is filled with helpful passages to gain that remembrance. Manual 28, What is the Resurrection, is just one example. In my next blog I’ll discuss that.

DAILY HELP

It’s occurred to me that in my recent blogs the discussions of mind and consciousness may not be as helpful is I would like to think they are. I’ve often quoted the passage from Text Chapter Three which ends with, “There is Nothing Else.” It means simply: other than our being as spirit with God in Heaven,   “There is nothing else.”

BUT ─ full stop. What if we can’t believe that? Then it is anything but helpful. So in this blog I offer three Course passages which I think help to accept: “There is nothing else.” Please notice that all three contrast the level of our true existence as God’s One Son in Heaven with the level of the illusory world of separation.

The following is paragraph four from Workbook Lesson 50, I am sustained by the Love of God. In it Illusions are what we are making in the world of separation. Idols, is another word for illusions. The truth about “our self” is: we are, as spirit, with God in Heaven.

Put not your faith in illusions. They will fail you. Put all your faith in the Love of God within you; eternal, changeless and forever unfailing. This is the answer to whatever confronts you today. Through the Love of God within you, you can resolve all seeming difficulties without effort and insure confidence. Tell yourself this often today. It is a declaration of release from the belief in idols. It is your acknowledgment of the truth about yourself.

The first Workbook Review comes right after Lesson 50. Following is how lesson 50 is reviewed. Important ─ God’s Voice is the Holy Spirit!

50. I am sustained by the Love of God.
As I listen to God’s Voice, I am sustained by His Love. As I open my eyes, His Love lights up the world for me to see. As I forgive, His Love reminds me that His Son is sinless. And as I look upon the world with the vision He has given me, I remember that I am His Son.

The next excerpt is paragraph six from What it is, the Introduction to the Course. Its last two sentences are helpful in two ways. One, to give us a way to interact with our brothers and sisters here, and two, to realize that people act the way they do in the present political climate because that cannot follow what is taught in the part of the paragraph I emphasize.

Only minds can really join, and whom God has joined no man can put asunder.… It is, however, only at the level of Christ Mind that true union is possible, and has, in fact, never been lost. The “little I” seeks to enhance itself by external approval, external possessions and external “love.” The Self That God created needs nothing. It is forever complete, safe, loved and loving. It seeks to share rather than to get; to extend rather than project. It has no needs and wants to join with others out of their mutual awareness of abundance. (my emphasis)

Finally here is the penultimate paragraph from the Text. The speaker is Jesus/The Holy Spirit. Temptation refers to our world of separation, and the light beyond is Heaven. Several passages in the Course use light to refer to Heaven, and songs to reflect the way the Holy Spirit connects us to God. “My own” refers to the brothers/sisters we bring to Jesus. The passage is a wonderful allegory.

In joyous welcome is my hand outstretched to every brother who would join with me in reaching past temptation, and who looks with fixed determination toward the light that shines beyond in perfect constancy. Give me my own, for they belong to You. And can You fail in what is but Your Will? I give You thanks for what my brothers are. And as each one elects to join with me, the song of thanks from earth to Heaven grows from tiny scattered threads of melody to one inclusive chorus from a world redeemed from hell, and giving thanks to You.

To avoid miss-interpreting A Course in Miracles be sure to read passages in context, recognize levels of our being, read allegories as such and not take them literally. Also, keep the teachings of the Text in mind when reading Workbook Lessons.

Easter 2017

This Easter we have great need for giving lilies, not thorns, to our fellow humans. Last Easter I concluded my blog with a section from A Course In Miracles Text Chapter 20, The Vision of Holiness.  In it Jesus contrasts lilies with thorns to help us realize that we need to see past the hurt brought by thorns to the loving view of our sisters and brothers seen through the beauty of white lilies.

Easter is not the celebration of the [cost] of sin, but of its [end.] If you see glimpses of the face of Christ behind the veil, looking between the snow-white petals of the lilies you have received and given as your gift, you will behold your brother’s face and recognize it. I was a stranger and you took me in, not knowing who I was. Yet for your gift of lilies you will know. In your forgiveness of this stranger, alien to you and yet your ancient Friend, lies his release and your redemption with him. The time of Easter is a time of joy, and not of mourning. Look on your risen Friend, and celebrate his holiness along with me. For Easter is the time of your salvation, along with mine. [T-20.I.4]

I ended my blog last Easter by quoting these sentences.

The song of Easter is the glad refrain the Son of God was never crucified. Let us lift up our eyes together, not in fear but faith. And there will be no fear in us, for in our vision will be no illusions; only a pathway to the open door of Heaven, the home we share in quietness and where we live in gentleness and peace, as one together.
[T-20.II8.10-12]

The first sentence can be seen as contradicting that Jesus was crucified, which happened in the world of illusions.  By moving our mind from the level of the separation to the level of Heaven we understand that by seeing with loving eyes the lilies of Easter we will know  that “The Son of God” was never crucified because we as that one Son, along with Jesus, are always at Home with God in Heaven.

Let us change our minds from the image of thorns, which now dominate the world’s behavior, for to Lilies we give to each other as a symbol of peace between us.  Thus we will have an Easter as offered in the two final sentences of the above passage.

CANSCIOUSNESS AND MIND

Why these blogs about mind and consciousness? How would understanding the Course’s position about them help us in our everyday life? Because that answers the questions: how did we get here; what are we doing here?

According to ACIM we are here because we choose a “tiny mad idea” for a way of being other than our home in Heaven with God. To do that we split the Mind God gave us into two parts, one that remains with God, and the other that we use to make the illusion of what ACIM calls the separation. That split part (the separation) then splits again into the Right mind which listens to the Holy Spirit, and the wrong mind that listens to the ego.

Sounds insane? Well it is. And, it makes the complicated world of illusion we call the separation.

Here are two Course definitions of consciousness: one from the Clarification of terms and the other from Text Chapter 3. First recall this oft cited Chapter 3 statement which establishes our true nature as spirit created by God.

The statement “God created man in his own image and likeness” needs reinterpretation. “Image” can be understood as “thought,” and “likeness” as “of a like quality.” God did create spirit in His Own Thought and of a quality like to His Own. There [is] nothing else. Amen. [T-3.V.7]

The following excerpt defines ACIM’s view of consciousness.

Consciousness is the receptive mechanism, receiving messages from above or below; from the Holy Spirit or the ego. Consciousness has levels and awareness can shift quite dramatically, but it cannot transcend the perceptual realm. [C-1.7.3-4] (my emphasis)

In the following “as you are” refers to our being as the One Son of God in Heaven. Mind with a small m is the split mind of the separation which perceives but cannot create. The following passage complements the above excerpt.

Consciousness, the level of perception, was the first split introduced into the mind after the separation, making the mind a perceiver rather than a creator. Consciousness is correctly identified as the domain of the ego. The ego is a wrong-minded attempt to perceive yourself as you wish to be, rather than as you are. Yet you can know yourself only as you are, because that is all you can be sure of. Everything else [is] open to question.
[T-3.IV.2] (my emphasis)

Scientists and philosophers try to make sense of mind and consciousness as functions of our body and brain. As I wrote in my previous post they have not come up with ideas which are even close to being universally accepted. Recently in an interview about his writing and thinking, Yuri Noah Harari author of Sapiens: A Brief History of Mankind, was questioned about mind. Here is part of what he said.

We know very little about the mind. We don’t understand what it is, what are its functions and how it emerged. … And because we understand so little about the mind, we also don’t know why and how it emerged in the first place. … the details at present are far beyond our understanding.
(See www.thebrowser.com for the complete interview.)

But, Course teachings about mind and consciousness are within our understanding here in the separation. Those terms; however, denote actions apart from body/brain activity (opposite to the concept of mind–body unity). Our God given mind, which we split when we entertained the “tiny mad idea,” causes the world we project. That action is consciousness, the domain of the ego. We not only are able to understand it but we control it.

This excerpt from The Manual for Teachers, Section 19, WHAT IS JUSTICE, paragraph 5, gives us a way to do that. The crucial aspect to grasp is that in the separation we are free chose between the ego and the Holy Spirit. The ego is represented with the word perception. The Holy Spirit is represented by “God’s Justice.”

Pray for God’s justice, and do not confuse His mercy with your own insanity. Perception can make whatever picture the mind desires to see. Remember this. In this lies either Heaven or hell, as you elect. God’s justice points to Heaven just because it is entirely impartial. It accepts all evidence that is brought before it, omitting nothing and assessing nothing as separate and apart from all the rest. From this one standpoint does it judge, and this alone. Here all attack and condemnation becomes meaningless and indefensible. Perception rests, the mind is still, and light returns again. Vision is now restored. What had been lost has now been found. The peace of God descends on all the world, and we can see. And we can see!

KINDNESS II

Today’s growing uncertainty and negativity brought me to where I must again write about kindness. In my 2012 post about kindness I told how a checkout clerk in a Big Box Store taught me that kindness is the opposite of rudeness.

I went to look for wine glasses so my wife and I could enjoy wine in our Motel instead of using their flimsy glasses. After a frustrating search I found two plastic wine glasses and took them to the cashier. He couldn’t ring them up because they had no bar code, but I insisted, “they were the last two on the shelf.” I grumped, and then found a woman on the service desk and led her back to the shelf to prove that I had taken the last two. Ops, there were at least a dozen on the shelf; all with bar codes.
I apologized to her and to the cashier for being rude. He was then waiting on a Latino mom trying to pay for a toy with a damaged bar code. He smiled at me and said, “That’s OK,” and went off to find her a one with a scan-able label. Meanwhile she taught me to be patient.

After I left the store I wondered, “How does he do it; stand there hour after hour and deal with grumpy old men like me and keep his composure?” I doubt he knew about A Course in Miracles. What does that say for me? It tells me to be aware of my impatience and follow George Elliot’s heroine Dorothea as Elliot described her in her conclusion to Midddlemarch.

Her finely-touched spirit had still its fair issues, though they were not widely visible. Her full nature, like that river which Cyrus broke the strength, spent itself in channels which had no great name in the earth. But the effect of her being on those around her was incalculably diffused: for the growing good of the world is partly dependent on unhistorical acts; and that things are not so ill with you and me as they might have been, is half owing to the number who lived faithfully a hidden life, and rest in unvisited tombs.

Elliot framed Dorothea within a story replete with human foibles making her nature far nobler than the characters with whom she lived, especially the hypocrites who flaunted religion. The K-Mart cashier’s kindness was an “unhistorical act,” from a “faithfully hidden life.”

Now five years later we need kindness more than ever. It will help all of us to settle down and counteract what is happening in the world. I not going to be a “bliss ninny” and believe that our leading perpetrator of unkindness will have a change of mind. But we can be kind to counteract unkind behavior.

Many people are thinking about kindness. In Catherine Pearson’s article in the November 14, 2014 issue of Huffington Post she offered, “5 Incredibly Easy Ways to Spread Kindness Every Day.”

1. Make a personal connection, 2 Make someone’s day easier, 3 Use the talents you already have, 4.Forgive someone, 5. Meditate.

Number 1, 2 and 4 are self- evident. Number three suggests that if you love to cook; cook someone a good meal. If you are a “handyman,” repair something for someone. As for number Five, Meditate, Pearson suggests that when meditating think positive thoughts about someone.

Kindness is dramatized in, “The Way,” a movie about four pilgrims who become friends while walking the “way” of St. James. In a poignant scene one pilgrim, a writer who overcame writers block during the walk wrote this about his fellow traveler Jost. “For Jost kindness is an instinct.” Let’s all embrace kindness as an instinct.

One way to do that is to think of kindness is as “a touch of Heaven,” with everyone we interact with. In the following poem from Workbook Lesson 67 the terms Holiness, Kindness, Helpfulness and Perfection refer to God. Thus we see that we were touched with heaven as God created us holy, kind, helpful and perfect.

Holiness created me holy.
Kindness created me kind.
Helpfulness created me helpful.
Perfection created me perfect.

What would it take for us to be kind to everyone in our everyday lives?
Follow the advice Greek philosopher Philo gave us centuries ago.

“Be kind, for everyone you meet is doing a hard battle.”

MIND

You’re out of your mind, don’t mind me, I’ve half a mind to, mind the stinging nettles, (that one needs a personal story), I’ll give you a piece of my mind, mind blowing, absent minded, mind the kids, mindless, open minded, small minded, change of mind. These are all common clichés we use in our everyday lives here in the separation.

Serious discussions about what mind is, where it is, how it works have been going on for centuries. The first book I read about mind was Julian Janes’ “The Origin of Consciousness in The Breakdown of the Bi-Cameral Mind.”  It’s not often cited recently because thought about consciousness has developed in different ways since Janes’ book. What I have read about mind, other than in ACIM, is complicated and uncertain. The Course gives us a more simple way to think about mind than discussions by philosophers and scientists. The following from the Clarification of Terms provides us with ACIM’s view.

The term [mind] is used to represent the activating agent of spirit, supplying its creative energy. When the term is capitalized it refers to God or Christ (ie, the Mind of God or the Mind of Christ). [Spirit] is the Thought of God which He created like Himself. The unified spirit is God’s one Son, or Christ. [C.I.1]

Notice that the following passage links directly to the first sentence in the above definition.

God did create spirit in His Own Thought and of a quality like to His Own. There [is] nothing else. [T-3.V.7.3-4]

Both of these excerpts refer to Mind as it exists in Heaven. God caused our Mind by extending His Mind to Create the One Son of God.  Scientists search for causality. We find it here as God Caused Mind as the “activation agent of spirit.”

In reading philosophers and scientists writings about mind I have not found a mutually accepted definition. Here is one by Neurologost Antonio Damasio from his 1994 book, Descartes Error. (For me it defines intelligence.)

…having a mind means that an organism forms neural representations which can become images, be manipulated in a process called thought, and eventually influence behavior by helping predict the future, plan accordingly, and chose the next action. [P.90]

Damasio’s subtitle, Emotion, Reason and the Human Brain. could summarize his book; I.E. our brain’s neurological activity causes mind. Also, he believes Descartes’ error was his position that the mind and body are separate: known as dualism.

As a course student I am an unabashed dualist. We are involved in two levels: 1. As spirit in Heaven, and 2. on the level of our body in the separation. “The Course,” as teacher Ken Wapnick often said, “is all about Mind.” Our small m mind makes our egocentric body. That gets us into the Course concept of the split mind. Large M Mind in heaven and small m mind in the separation. That will take another post.

The complicated discussions about mind by scientists and philosophers are about mind in the separation.  Damasio’s definition fits there.

In “5 Questions about “Mind and Consciousness” answered by 20 philosophers, just one, Terrance Horgan, was succinct. (two pages). Most used several pages. Douglas Hofstadter used 26.  We make mind complicated like all of the separation.

In Workbook LESSON 96. Salvation comes from my one Self, paragraph one is a clear articulation of our dualistic nature. With one caveat, sentence five reminds us to keep track of levels. The “one self” is on the level of our true reality as God’s one son in Heaven.

Although you are one Self, you experience yourself as two; as both good and evil, loving and hating, mind and body. This sense of being split into opposites induces feelings of acute and constant conflict, and leads to frantic attempts to reconcile the contradictory aspects of this self-perception. You have sought many such solutions, and none of them has worked. The opposites you see in you will never be compatible. 5 But one exists. [W.L96.1] (my emphasis)

The one that exists is our true relationship as Mind with God in Heaven. Our true being there is non-dualistic. Remembering that is only fleetingly possible while we are mired in the separation. In paragraphs 9-11 of Workbook Lesson 96 Jesus gives us a way to hold that in our mind.

Salvation comes from my one Self.
Its Thoughts are mine to use. [W-96.9]

Here a two key sentences from the final paragraphs. The one Self is our Mind which remains with God.

4 Then seek Its Thoughts, and claim them as your own. 7 Salvation is among them; find it there. [l-96.9.4+7]
3 Restored in strength, it will again flow out from spirit to the spirit in all things created by the Spirit as Itself. [L96.10.3]

These words help us during our days here. For that we need to stop just a little and search in our right mind for our one true self. It’s waiting to be remembered in the unity of Mind with God in Heaven.

MIRACLES

Here are the first words Course Scribe Helen Shuchman heard in her mind from the voice she knew was Jesus.
“This is a Course in Miracles. Please take notes.”

Ken Wapnich. close friend of Helen Shuchman, and Long-time teacher of the Course led his first workshops on January 8 and 13, 1985, which focused on the 50 Miracle Principles.  Ken told those attending how this quote from Alice in Wonderland, “You begin at the beginning, you go until the end, and then you stop” (given to him by his wife Gloria), convinced him to have his first subject be miracles

The basic and unrelenting subject of ACIM is miracles ─ a change of mind. Here is Ken Wapnick’s four part miracle definition found in his Glossary Index. (4th ed. P.144) (Parts are divided by semi-colons)

Miracle
The change of mind that shifts our perception from the ego’s world of sin, guilt, and fear, to the Holy Spirit’s world of forgiveness; reverses projection by restoring to the mind its causative function, allowing us to choose again; transcends the laws of this world to reflect the laws of God; accomplished by our joining with the Holy Spirit or Jesus, being the means of healing our own and other’s minds.

(Note ─ not to be confused with the traditional understanding of miracles as changes in external phenomena.)

Miracles help us to change our mind from believing the world is created by God to seeing that it is an illusion we make happen by projection our thoughts. It certainly would take a miracle for religious people to change their mind about the age-old belief that God created the world.

For a business perspective about mind changes consider this Warren Buffet quote from John Von Neumann’s recent article Unrecognized simplicities of effective action #1: expertise and a quadrillion dollar business, I found in “The Browser.”

I’d say that the history that Charlie [Munger, his partner] and I have had of persuading decent, intelligent people who we thought were doing unintelligent things to change their course of actions has been poor.…
We don’t really believe in buying into organizations to change them.

It is even more difficult, and unsettling, for people of faith to change their minds. Folks who believe in God but have no religious orientation find it less complicated: Still, miracles are needed.

The brief introduction to A Course in Miracles begins this way,

This is a course in miracles. It is a required course.

and concludes with these words.

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.

Thus, the Title for the first Chapter of the Text is;

THE MEANING OF MIRACLES
I. Principles of Miracles
Number one of 50 miracle principles is,
There is no order of difficulty in miracles. One is not “harder” or “bigger” than another. They are all the same. All expressions of love are maximal.

This first principle is re-stated in many ways all through the Course. Since there is nothing outside of our mind no projection is more difficult to reverse than any other. Every time we express love it is “maximal.”  In my previous blogs I emphasized passages which contained thoughts which help us get through our days of dualistic activity here in the separation. A Miracle is behind all of those passages. For instance, this final sentence from the New Lord’s Prayer:

And let us receive only what You have given, and accept but this into the minds which You created and which You love. Amen. [T-16.VII.13]

The miracle behind that sentence is God’s most miraculous gift: creating us a spirit. Here is the Course passage about that.

The statement “God created man in his own image and likeness” needs reinterpretation. “Image” can be understood as “thought,” and “likeness” as “of a like quality.” God did create spirit in His Own Thought and of a quality like to His Own. There [is] nothing else. Amen. [T-3.V.7.1-4]

The above passage is as clear and effective as any in ACIM. It provides us with a miracle that reverses projection by restoring to the mind its causative function, allowing us to choose again. [from Ken’s definition]

The “causative function” is our “spirit in [God’s] own thought and of a quality like to [God’s] own.” [my edit] The perception which is reversed is our belief in the material world. The statement, “There is nothing else. Amen,” certainly makes it evident that ACIM teaches that the world is an illusion.

Further ─ in the Manual for Teachers the first two sentences from question 14 “How will the world end?” reinforces that concept.

Can what has no beginning really end? The world will end in an illusion, as it began. [M-14.1-2]

I believe that it would help readers to accept the Course concept of miracle if they were to have a copy of Ken’s first workshops:  The Fifty Miracle Principles of A Course in Miracles. Go to www.facim.org – Book store – Books – click on M – to order the book.

Scientists and Religion

I’m passing on what I learned in Wagner and Briggs’, The Penultimate Curiosity: How Science Swims in The Slipstream of Ultimate Questions, because they imbue their story with ongoing and persistent beliefs that God created the universe. Their elaborate title hides their straightforward chronicle of Science and religion from, as their first chapter relates, “In the Beginning,” to our present time. They tell us how, during those eons, science evolved and progressed in religion’s “Slipstream.”

Stories of scientists’ discoveries were related beside prevailing restrictions from religious authorities. Scientists danced a cautious tango between their discoveries, religious beliefs and their institutional support. For instance, religious inscriptions were chiseled above the entrances of the first science buildings at Oxford and Cambridge Universities.

In my previous posts I have often mentioned this basic ACIM principle:
God has nothing to do with this world.
The following passage from the Clarification of Terms, Part 4, TRUE PERCEPTION–KNOWLEDGE, states that clearly.

The world you see is an illusion of a world. God did not create it, for what He creates must be eternal as Himself. Yet there is nothing in the world you see that will endure forever. Some things will last in time a little while longer than others. But the time will come when all things visible will have an end.
(my emphasis)

Briggs and Wagner prove that we need a miracle (aka, according to the Course definition) to change our mind about creation. Thousands of years of science wandering in “The Slipstream of Ultimate Questions” reinforced creation beliefs. No scientists discussed in this book took the position that God has nothing to do with this world. Nor do any of them now!

One reason why ACIM is difficult to accept is due to the basic Course principle we see in the above passage. But, on the other hand, Jesus’ teaching in ACIM helps us to answer our ultimate questions.
1. How did we get here? We’re not.
2. What are we doing here, and why? We are dreaming caused by our
egocentric perceptions.
3. Where are we going?
Nowhere, because we are still, as spirit, with God in Heaven.

In Jesus’ new Lord’s Prayer (below, and which I discussed at length last June) we find ways to accept and contemplate Heaven. In sentence one we ask for help to accept our true existence as spirit where there are no illusions ─ Heaven. The thoughts throughout the prayer occur in our Minds in our true reality in Heaven.

Forgive us our illusions, Father, and help us to accept our true relationship with You, in which there are no illusions, and where none can ever enter. Our holiness is Yours. What can there be in us that needs forgiveness when Yours is perfect? The sleep of forgetfulness is only the unwillingness to remember Your forgiveness and Your Love. Let us not wander into temptation, for the temptation of the Son of God is not Your Will. And let us receive only what You have given, and accept but this into the minds which You created and which You love. Amen. (my emphasis) [T-16.VII.12]

The final sentence asks that we receive only what god gives us, eternal life as spirit in Heaven.

When I let my mind wander into attack thoughts I use this prayer to change it to loving thoughts. That helps me slip into a calm sleep, and in daily behavior to be as calm as possible in ways I interact with my fellow humans.