A Dialogue on Embodiment of Christ Consciousness

Michael Mark and I began to share written “dialogues” in March, 2013. He wrote me first to thank me for my part in bringing A Course of Love into being, and to join the Registry of readers that was on the ACOL website “that was” before the new publication. Right away we began to do so much more than exchange mari-debbie-michael-nyemails…as we exchanged emails!  In 2015 he and his wife Debbie came to meet me while I was in New York for the that year’s ACIM Conference. (The photo is from that visit.) They also attended last year’s conference and the first ACOL Gathering in Las Vegas. Now, almost four years since we first “met,” we’re still in dialogue. Michael introduces his essay and my part in this contribution to the Expressions Page below.

written by Michael Mark

What follows is a short piece that I wrote about Christ Consciousness in response to a request from Mari that I write something for this Expressions Page. I wrote this in a single sitting, and though I did some tinkering with the language and minor editing, I basically wrote it top-to-bottom and sent it off as a draft to see what Mari thought of it. In her response, she questioned some of my language, and what I had really meant when I wrote it, which led to a back-and-forth that was—I think—quite enjoyable and illuminating for us both. After our brief series of exchanges we each had the thought that the article with the dialogue that followed was worth sharing as one whole piece.

So the article that follows remains in its original form, and even though I talk about editing it in the subsequent discussion with Mari, this was never done. The subsequent dialogue we’ve attached more than takes care, I think, of the shortcomings of the original piece.

m-mark-photoOn Embodiment of Christ Consciousness
by Michael Mark


If you’re reading this you’ve probably had the sensation at least once, at the core of your being, of what is called Christ consciousness. It is joyous. It is complete. It is inseparable from your breath, your awareness, your touch. It isn’t out there somewhere, and yet it is plain to see in everything you behold, as if the whole world is somehow singing with the very same awareness that you are.  You feel as though you know each flower and blade of grass in the field by name, though names don’t really matter so much, since the intimacy of this awareness is deeper than any symbol. What is most obvious is the way each and every aspect of Creation is the fullest possible expression of precisely what it is. The stalk of grass is different than the raven, but when you are experiencing Christ consciousness those differences reveal what is ultimately the same, albeit in ways that illuminate, surprise and gladden. This paradox makes sense. It computes. It feels like home.

Then the phone rings and you remember you owe the hospital money and you haven’t made the payment this month. You thought the enthusiasm you felt at the very core of your being two years ago was directing you to open a small business, that now is folding up. Your brother has cancer, and you’re nowhere closer to knowing what to do about it than you ever would have been before. Never mind the children who are suffering in the Siege of Aleppo, in refugee boats and encampments, or who are being bullied in the elementary school three blocks away. Never mind your own child is still caught in the stifling noose of drug abuse, or is investing in their own demise in some other, less direct way. On the face of it, you are back where you started.

I think this back-and-forth is the essence of what Jesus describes as “becoming” in ACOL. We flicker between the certainty and safety we seek, and the suffering we see that keeps us from surrendering completely. The difficulty we encounter at this fork in the road can be summarized in our individual reactions to this statement from very early on in ACOL, “There is not a soul that walks this earth that does not weep at what it sees. Yet the Christ in you does not weep, for the Christ in you sees with eyes of love. The difference is the eyes of love see not the misery or despair.” (C:2.10)

I know I balk sometimes at this one. It has the look and feel of suggesting we need not–perhaps ought not–feel as we do. It seems to suggest the problems of the world are figments of our imagination, a strange precipitate reduced from our misperceptions. Maybe I should just steel myself from being touched by all the pain and suffering. Maybe it’s okay to just look away.

But I don’t think Jesus is suggesting we look away at all. Of course he is not. Nor is he suggesting we put the suffering of the world on our back, and toil beneath its weight. He is not asking for martyrs or guilt-assuaging feats of cathartic service, where we offer but a pittance of hope against a tide of doubt and annihilation. I’ve had to think about this one a lot as I flicker back-and-forth, wondering what response I should be offering to this world, wondering if I’m being enough, giving enough, doing it right, making a difference.

I’ve slowly come to the conclusion that what we fear is always an exaggerated distortion of what is. Fear brings out this tendency in us to extrapolate a paper cut to this entire home movie of an infectious disease, grinding on us day and night, wearing us down to a painful passage into non-existence. As excessive as that example is, I think the point is relevant. It is the ability of Christ consciousness to remain centered upon what is–to retain its balance, its wholeness, its clarity–that allows it to extend love to any circumstance. The reality is that nothing is quite as big, bad or ugly as it seems, but when we take the bait, we find ourselves whisked into a world of illusion where difficulty is magnified to insurmountable proportions. We are crushed by it. We don’t know how we could possibly make a difference. Our math is all upside down.

The challenge is that to see sustainably with the eyes of Christ, we have to let go of so much we once held dear, because if we retain the value structures we’ve held in the past we’ll be unable to see beyond the sensation of loss. And when we see the loss, we’ve taken the bait, and we’re trapped again. Try as we may, we’ll have nothing to offer. The real challenge here is that many of us have sought to develop the ability to empathize with those around us. Though it is a beautiful and necessary skill, it can leave us vulnerable to being pulled into another’s misperception. We put ourselves in their shoes and we see and sense their loss, tangibly even, and we recognize the way that it hurts and confounds. We feel that visceral, tugging disconnect between what is desired, and what seems to be. We feel the brokenness, the aloneness, the despair. We’re right there with them, but we’ve stepped out of Christ consciousness. We’re right there with them, but we’ve nothing to offer.

In A Course of Love Jesus describes Christ consciousness as seeing what is–not what has been or what will be. The miracle we require is this discovery of what is, for in our fear and misperception we have lost touch with the holiness alive in every instant. We have lost touch with unity.

What happens when we look into the face of seeming tragedy and we are able, through the grace of a miracle, to retain the awareness of Christ? What do we see? I think we see that what seems like a dead end has already been redeemed. We see that the only thing at stake is the timing of Love’s return. We see the Love that already is, held safely in Christ’s arms, beyond the ruin of all that a feeble misperception once surrounded itself with, in its mistaken efforts to conjure its own validity, its own power, its own reality. And when we see this we don’t see the loss, the entrapment–the reasons for despair. But we still see our brother or sister. In fact we see them more fully than ever.

We may not, in that moment, witness the curing of every disease, the lifting of every eye, the calming of every heart–but at least we will be free of our fears, and able to know, maybe for the very first time, what it is like to truly offer our response. For it is only when we are unafraid, when are at peace, when we are neither striving, nor performing, nor hoping, that what is truly alive within us is free to express without interference. I suspect the power of this authenticity transcends our ability to imagine it, and that its scope is universal even if it seems quite small in the moment. As we sustain this practice, it will change the world.

For those of us who yet wobble between worlds, our task in this time is to know that this is so. Our task is to greet the difficulties we see with new life, to hold them in a new way, to recognize we are in precisely the moments in which our willingness to see with the vision of Christ is most needed. I think we have to trust that each extension of our heart leads gently to the next, and that these are the bricks we lay down in the creation of the new. If we are patient, and willing, what arises will surprise us.


As always, Michael, you offer a beautifully written and deeply felt piece. I loved the beginning with the “back and forth.”  I will certainly put it up just as it is but I want to ask you some questions, more on a personal level than due to the article. Because I feel a little differently – which is perfectly okay. We don’t have to agree. And I’m not even certain I “disagree” so much as that…well…I wonder.

It’s because you make the ability to empathize sound like something to be left behind and suggest that when we “are right there with them” we’ve stepped out of Christ-consciousness and have nothing to offer. If we step into their fear maybe this is so, but I don’t see empathy as working that way. I see empathy as being all about love and connection and relationship and I’ve lived it quite a few times to deeply felt and miraculous ends.

When, for instance, someone is sick, I want to be the person to whom she or he can reveal all of their fears (does anyone really not have them?), the person who she can cry to or swear about it with, the person with whom he can wrestle with those questions—like Why me, that invariably are going to arise. I want to see the whole, the human and hurting, and hold the knowing that being sick is one aspect of wholeness…you know?

My experience with my friends from The Grace Trilogy days also showed me something. —Mary had lost her baby. She was full of love and longing and grief, and it opened the very doors that I’m certain made me ready for ACOL. To share in that—in union and relationship—with great empathy, was not to focus on the details of what was happening—but was an opportunity to share our fears and our griefs and to support each other in healing. I mean—we saw love. It was all an exploration of human love and loss and at the same time human love and divine connection. Is it “looking on misery and despair” to “be there in compassion”? Is it compassionate not to see misery and despair in a time of grief—which is really all about love?

Of course, now I sound like I’m trying to convince you of my point of view, which I am not, as I have loved those who have stayed steady in a storm too. But there’s different ways of staying steady, and I am wondering if you mean to suggest there is one way that is a “right” way to be steady and loving.

Ha! Maybe I took it that way because of my experience!

I’m just saying that you may want to look at this again and then send me whatever you like. I’ll always honor your way of seeing and expressing ACOL.


I think that the empathy part should be clarified a little, because I don’t really see empathy as problematic, except in a particular way which I don’t think is plain enough to see in what I wrote. What I see as problematic is when it results in our stepping fully into the other person’s darkness, without bringing the light with us so to speak. It is hard to describe this nuance, but I think the key is the misery and despair. I mean, some people can be in a really difficult situation, and not be in despair. Despair to me means a sense of hopelessness, like being suicidal perhaps, trudging through meaninglessness and bearing its weight. It’s the worst. It’s when you’re locked into some form of slavery, when your dignity has been robbed, when your will has been crushed, when you’re in chronically disheartening circumstances and can see no way to influence them or bring about transformation. This is what I interpret misery and despair to mean… It’s coming face to face with precisely what ACIM and ACOL and every other teaching in the world has been given to help us transform.

So, when a person is in this place, and empathy results in our being pulled into it in such a way that we perceive it as valid, then that interpretation for suffering AND Christ’s interpretation cannot both be true. This particular type of empathy that I’m suggesting isn’t helpful. It is a bit like jumping off the boat to save someone who can’t swim, when you can’t swim yourself, and in doing so you’ve left behind the life vests to boot. Maybe it’s just projecting your own fears onto the other person, which I could see as a big part of it. If I am afraid of something, and the other person seems to be embodying that fearful situation, empathy can lead down a strange road.

I would say there’s an “idea” of Christ Consciousness that can be pretty brittle, and that’s the one where you deny experiences around you because of what I just described–for some intellectual reason basically–and in doing so you remove your heart from the situation and become almost robotic. I’d say that’s partly why ACOL was given in the first place, because a particular way of practicing ACIM led to this sort of robotic denial–a sort of anti-empathy– between persons. And I’m not in favor of that at all.

I think what you are describing is companionship, actually, and not necessarily pure empathy. When I said empathy I really meant wholly sharing a state with another–becoming as they are, down to taking on their fears, their doubts, their littleness–and I think the companionship you offer in Christ Consciousness is a little different. You don’t get “lost” in the other person’s doubts and fears.

But there’s still another scenario to envision, and perhaps it is a spiritual fantasy on my part, but it is this question about what it looks like–what it feels like–to be truly wholehearted in the presence of those who are suffering. And by this I don’t just mean sharing one’s heart with another–which is quite profound–I mean resonating with whatever that knowing, or truth, or presence is, that brings healing to the moment. I imagine for instance, Jesus telling a blind man to smear mud over his eyes. I don’t think you say that to someone because you “hope” it might bring healing, or you want to “leave the door open” that healing may occur. I think the only way to participate in a moment in that way is to embody the knowing that what another is experiencing need not be. To know that it need not be, and to be open to working with the moment in such a way that allows that power to express.

Is this a spiritual fantasy? It could be, but I wonder about it, and in wondering about it I can’t reconcile my sensation that if we see/witness as Christ does, then doors can and do open, as you described. But if I get too “lost” in another’s difficulty, then the doors do not appear.

What do you think, Mari? The core realization for me in writing that piece was that fear gives the moment trappings it need not possess, and that if we can approach it without fear, then we can be wholehearted, and then the options (the miracles) may arise.


Thanks for this, Michael. I was a little concerned you’d be mad. I don’t always say things in the best way.

And I know what you mean too. I’ve been caught in empathy gone bad more than a few times, especially in my family. Yet when a person knows that I am open to hearing how she or he feels (and maybe doesn’t want to admit), it appears that it gives them the ability to get what is inside out–to release that fear or worry or anger. It’s not to share so that it’s taken on, but so that it can be acknowledged, released and let go. The “sharing” almost always works!

I truly feel your article will convey a lot more with whatever clarification of empathy you add. Thank you so much for being willing to talk about it and to do that.

You know, as time goes on, I feel we all do “miracles” in our own way. There are people out there who are doing “healing” miracles. That’s amazing. But there are other “miracles” so to speak. Yours and mine may come to be through writing and expressing things so that another “sees” newly and becomes new. You know? We may be miracles in people’s lives by being who we are and not have any idea!

You’ve been that for me from time to time~


I like to explore these ideas Mari, so please never worry about me getting mad. It is, I think, one of the functions of dialogue to explore these ideas together, rather than just alone, and I feel we learn something from it. I pulled Deb into a discussion of this tonight and talked my way into what I thought was an interesting revelation for me…

If you’re good at something and you know it, and you experience a moment of difficulty in that field, in all likelihood you will proceed unfazed and in trust that the way will appear. Take something simple, that you’re good at, like writing. If you’re writing along and you can’t figure out how to proceed, you don’t shrivel up and wish you could crawl under a rock, or think you’re not worthy or good. You just work the problem, trusting that your feeling is correct–there is some bit of energy not quite right–and in time you naturally find the way through or around it. No big deal. It may feel great, nevertheless, and probably does. And it may have been difficult in the moment, and you may have struggled quite a bit, but if it is something you love and you’ve had the experience of being good at it, of being talented in that arena, you have developed the ability to go with the flow until the opening appears.

So that’s a very long paragraph, but the idea we hit upon in our conversation is that Jesus wants us to remember that we’re good at the miraculous. We’re good at healing, at saving the planet, at transformation. But we’re not acting like that, and we’re not experiencing that, and we’re caught in these patterns that begin with the idea we’re not good at it. So we don’t behave like we’re good at it! At the first sign of uncertainty or ambiguity or difficulty, we bail. We dive out of the way. We go, “Of course, I knew I wasn’t ready for this anyway! What was I thinking!?” I feel that if we KNEW we were good at the miraculous, if we KNEW we could count on the good, the true and the beautiful, we’d ride out a lot more punches, and hang in there with a totally different attitude, until the opening emerged. And then it would just be so. Like the writing. We’d just know if we hung in there and let things squirm and wiggle and fret and yell and scream, the opening would appear.

I know you’re right about the miracles as you described them, and agree we all have these areas where we touch people. But I also really do think there is an experience within me, not fully birthed, of being a channel for even more goodness in some moments. Not that I have to declare what I’m doing. It’s such a subtle thing, isn’t it? I mean, imagine you go to an experienced writer and you’ve never published and you’re stuck and you’re overwhelmed, and they just look at you and see this tremendous potential. They KNOW you are going to write something, even though you don’t. They see that it already exists! And that KNOWing rubs off on you. So you get renewed somehow by it, and you get back to work.

I think Christ consciousness is a bit like being able to sustain that KNOWing without being pulled into another person’s fear and doubt. It is the fear and doubt that I think produce the misery and the suffering. But if we’re confident, and we have this knowing, and we ride things out a bit, what might emerge?

Honestly, this has been a bit of a revelation for me so I’m glad we got into all this! It doesn’t mean, for me, that tomorrow I go around healing people, or realizing how to end poverty, or snapping my fingers and fixing the healthcare system, but it does mean I can see that with this KNOWing I could sit with someone in a rough spot and roll with the punches for longer than before. I’m not honestly so great at that, unless I know a person and feel safe with the mutual vulnerability it requires. But if all you need to know is that… you’re good at this… maybe we can impart a little of that knowing from one to the next… and then I just have to believe it opens doors…

I’ll get to revising the article later this week or this weekend, Mari. Bear with me! I was at work for about 12 hrs today so rolling with the punches!


I felt a feeling of such joy when I began to read your response to me, Michael. This feeling of sumptuousness, as if I’d been getting tidbits and now was getting a meal. It was the feeling of dialogue that came over me, that we were “together” investigating something, and Deb too. How wonderful, and how fantastic that you felt it. The whole “not having to be in agreement” thing, leading to ways of seeing more fully.

I love it that we both understand your writing example. I’m reading a book on writing right now and it is so wonderful! It has all these quotes from writers and not as much from the author speaking of her experience as I’d hoped, but just the sense of understanding that’s come from these…people who are like me! I’m soothed and energized by it at the same time.

On the healing/miracles thing…I had an experience like you describe while in Sedona. I can’t remember if I told you more than that people were raving about my voice–not like you would for a singer or orator, but really telling me my voice “did” something to them. And then there was this one woman with something wrong with her throat and she said she felt heat in it as she listened to me and I can’t remember now if she asked me to touch it or if I just did, but when I did she said she felt the heat again. And so, I do not rule out miracles but neither do I want to consciously attempt them. I love having a way of prayer that’s more a way of being, and it may be said about miracles too, and you’re right about it being a sort of “knowing” — but for me not of anything in particular. It feels like if I’m “being me” being my full Self out in the world, miracles may flow in all kinds of ways I don’t know and don’t need to know.

So sort of a knowing/unknowing thing!

You’re awfully good when you’re rolling with the punches after a 12-hour work day. As I was reading this I had a novel idea of sharing “our dialogue” along with your article…perhaps! Ha! I’m actually falling in love with the idea…if not for this…for some future sharing. I mean…I’ve always been in love with the written dialogues we’ve had. So something to consider.


Just a very quick note in the middle of the work day here to let you know I thought last night while writing this it might be best shared as our dialogue, or with our dialogue. Then I wasn’t sure if you would worry that people thought “your” way was the right/only way to see things and didn’t know if that made sense or not. But then I forgot to ask you, and here you have come to the same conclusion! So that’s what we should do…

I’ll give this a go again following another twelve hour day! Ha!

I really resonated strongly with your point about not wanting to consciously attempt miracles. In fact, I couldn’t agree more, and if it seems to the contrary perhaps there is something of a paradox at work here. The writing example we share I think is a good way for us to reveal very subtle things to one another. So to keep with that, the desire to have the experience of grace through writing–which I would describe as that experience when ideas or particular phrases, or even a certain word–are simply given; when we just dissolve into it and our “efforting” fades and our judgment of it wanes and we realize only after the fact we’ve just been “creating”… that is quite a beautiful experience. And I think really miracles occur in that same way.

When our writing is laborious–when I judge myself going in as needing to produce something to make me worthy, when I have an agenda, an expectation, etc. then I’m not really in the miracle-minded state. But paradoxically, I’m drawn to “try” hard… to labor with difficulty… to try through my own efforts to turn it around. And I think we agree there’s no place for that in miracles really. But we desire miracles. We KNOW, just like we remember what it was like to write that one time… that this is available to and IN us. And so there’s this question of how to get back to that grace-filled state. That is THE question is it not?

So I don’t think it’s by trying to consciously control miracles, but–just as we might in writing–allowing ourselves to dissolve into a certain goodness that whatever is needed that we can offer can come forth. It’s almost as if we have to forget we’re even doing anything at all. We have to forget the idea of miracles, of “doing” something, of being the one from whom they arise, and get lost in relating. Then I think it happens of its own accord.

But there is this paradox I think…I’ll call it the memory of heaven. I think we have access to the memory of heaven and part of what Jesus is asking us to do is bring that memory into the present. This is another way, I think, of describing that sensation of “knowing we’re good at miracles” that I described last night. Knowing our memory of heaven is valid. But it doesn’t compute with the old way of seeing so well. So, to have that memory in the present, we have to forget a lot of stuff–a lot of judgments, a lot of ideas about what heaven should look like, and all kinds of stuff. Focusing on the memory of heaven is not the same as trying to consciously produce miracles, somehow. Because it’s really… just this feeling. Like looking back at our writing and realizing we disappeared for a little while–got lost in a place of beauty and knowing. Can we focus on this? I think perhaps. I think maybe this decision is part of what Jesus calls witnessing?

And maybe as we give ourselves to it, new things open up just as you described. But the instant we try and control it, it’s gone. Because what need of control is there in heaven? I mean, really…! There’s zero need for it. It is completely irrational!


Completely irrational! I like that!

Not writing “for” something is what I’ve had little time for of late, and am only beginning to get back to it. I need it so. When I’m writing “for” something it is very hard to lose myself in that way you describe, and there is an intent standing behind what I’m doing. I’m back now to my unstructured mornings in the cabin and even so, after being in a more productive phase for a while, it is often as if the freedom to just “be there” stands a footstep away. It is a grace, and it’s a grace that I’ve been through this enough times now to know that this simple sitting and seeing what comes is exactly what I need to truly express what is in me, waiting to get out, and that it always comes…eventually.

Thank you for sharing what is in you.

(A post script I have to add as I re-read Michael’s eloquent and thoughtful passages and my own short and casual ones, a little giggle in me that says, “Who would think” (as he questions briefly) that “my” way is the “right” way, as if I’m some authority? This is the beauty of the role of companionship and dialogue. There is no “authority” but only what is revealed . . . in relationship, to our own waiting hearts.)

Expressions with Mary Deeny: Humanity, the world, and the ego

Mary Deeny

Mary Deeny

I came to know ACOL via the UPS guy!  Being a book lover, my best friend is hands down Amazon.  I can’t seem to help myself.  If I don’t have a few books on hand that I haven’t read yet I seem to get the shakes.

Excitedly opening that distinctive box with the smiley face and seeing “A Course of Love” in it I said, “Awe shit!  I ordered the wrong book!”  I’ve never returned a book, so I gave it a glance over.  As I started to read, I was amazed that it seemed “up my alley.”  Being an ACIM’er I was super skeptical.  I didn’t even know ACOL existed.  I remember saying, “How come I’ve never heard of this before?”  The further I read the more skeptical and drawn I was.  I never expected another book like ACIM.  It was different and yet the same.  It was with great trepidation that I continued reading.  Somewhere within the first book I was struck deeply.  “I know this voice.”  And just like that my brother came to me personally to continue the job he started.

Meg Wheatly, in her book on conversations,* suggests that, as we work together to restore hope to the future,Mari Publicity5V “We need to include a new and strange ally—our willingness to be disturbed.” This quote came to mind as I read Mary Deeny’s expression. Mary is bold enough to be disturbed and brave enough to be disturbing.

There is a change taking place. As we move from the ego to the true Self with ACOL, (or through other ways) it suddenly becomes rather difficult to give any credence to the ego. We want to lock that closed door, because there’s no value in the ego that we have closed the door upon. But it’s hard to change, and it’s hard to challenge what others see as truth, or even as illusion.

Why, you might ask, would anyone bother? I think of it a bit like the old notions of sin that many of us grew up with. When you outgrow the idea of sin, hearing about it in a context that suggests it is real is awful, hearing it suggested that it is inescapable is just as bad, and eventually, hearing of it at all grows old and wearying. You begin to want to abide in a new environment, where that old idea is no longer a topic of conversation at all. And, you can become exasperated when old ideas sneak in where new ideas are taking root.

Why bother? In at least some churches, and definitely in some wonderful priests, rabbis, nuns and monks, that old idea of sin is given no space in which to abide. It is dropped from the vocabulary of love. This can have an amazing effect. Hard edges soften, the language of love returns, and new ways restore the promise of our true nature. Then, the reason for the emphasis on sin that once seemed so needed, vanishes. In this same way, many in the ACOL community are finding this can happen with the ego and the ego’s illusion. I welcome Mary’s voice to this Expressions page.

*(Turning to one another: simple conversations to restore hope to the future, Margaret K Wheatley.)


Humanity, The World and… the ego, by Mary Deeny

We are not the body but we ARE Being Human. I’m observing others around me lately still feeling as though being human is somehow shitty.  They’re all tangled up with form.  They feel that the body equates to being human and since the body is form it’s just a projection and therefore needs to be dispelled.  They think that when they reach “enlightenment” they won’t see a body or any bodies or the world.  That humanity is a dream in and of itself.  Are we making this assumption that since we’re told we’re not the body it somehow means the body is bad . . . something that we aren’t because what we “really” are is better (invisible spirit), more benevolent?  That what we are is better than who we are being?  Are we comparing the invisible us to who we are being in form and judging the being part of us unworthy to be called part of creation? And are we defining form as not being a “true” or “real” part of creation?

Why is form so misunderstood?  Don’t we realize this entire Course is about reconciling who we are, and that part of who we are is being human?  We’re being told all about the creation of form and yet some still hold to an idea of form being just an illusion, and therefore something to overcome so we can get back to being only the stillness within God.

“. . . Being is.  As love is.  You have attached being to being human.  In your quest to identify yourself, you have simply narrowed yourself to the visible and describable.” C:27.1

Now that we know there is an invisible part of us, have we gone to the opposite side of this spectrum and now limit ourselves to only the invisible and indescribable?

Being human is not the same thing as being a body, yet I feel that’s what some of us believe.  Believing that being human means being a body disregards the absolute incredible creation the body is and denies an actual real aspect of ourselves which is “being in relationship.”  Seriously…the body…what a freaking incredible thing!  What a tool we have!  We can’t come to know who we are through denying who we are being.

Humanity has gotten as much of a bad rap as God has.  Aren’t we told we have no idea what a feat of creation humanity was and is?

“If you can imagine for a moment yourself as a being whose every thought became manifest, as perhaps you can envision from remembering your dreams in which anything can happen without a need for you to “do” anything and then becoming a form where expressing yourself depended upon what you could “do” with the human body, you can imagine the learning process that ensued.  If your reality had been like unto the reality you experienced in dreams, can you not see that you would have to learn to breathe, to speak, to walk, much like a baby learns to do these things, and that these things were loving acts within a loving universe, a love filled learning process.  A learning process that was as known to you and chosen by yourself as it was by God, because you and God are one.” T4:8.7

“God always knew what your mind chose to rebel against: that creation is perfect.  Your mind, being of God, was constrained by the learning limits of the body and chose to rebel against the learning that was needed in order to come into the time of fullness of a being able to express itself in form, never realizing that this just delayed the learning that had to occur to release you from the limits you struggled against.” T4:8.9

Nowhere does Jesus say that not being human is the goal.  What he says is that we are to pass through a learning and an unlearning process while being human in order to come into a time of fullness of being able to express ourselves in form.  And that this learning/unlearning is an act of loving creation coming to completion.

“You who have come after me are not as I was but as I Am. Does this not make sense, even in your human terms of evolution?  You are the resurrection and the life.  How does this relate to your thinking?  You have been reborn as god-man, as God and man united.  The resurrection is the cause and effect of the union of the human and divine.  This is the accomplished.  This is in effect the way in which the man Jesus became the Christ.  This is in effect the way.” T1:8.5-6

This describes the process of creation to me.  The process by which fulfillment is made complete through the realization of who we are AND who we are being so that we can express the truth of who we are in form.

“[Y]ou must see that your Self is what is in need of identification and acknowledgment.  This identification and acknowledgment was the stated goal of A Course of Love.  It does not negate your existence as a human being nor does it deny your existence as being a gift of the Creator.” T1:4.4

Here’s what I’ve come to know:

Humanity is already divine by its very nature of being a creation.  The merging of the human and divine isn’t two separate beings merging (even though it might feel like this).  We can’t NOT be divine just as we can’t be separate from God.  The marriage is accepting that being human is being divine.  Through this idea being born and accepted the truth is made real.  “A representation of the truth not only reveals the truth but becomes the truth.  A representation of what is not the truth reveals only illusion and becomes illusion. Thus, as your personal self becomes a representation of the truth it will become who you are in truth.” T3:1.4

And what about the world—environments where we can feel, express, expand, experience and discover through form. Why aren’t we embracing our humanity?  Why aren’t we saying, “Holy shit, how freaking incredible are we!”  Hoorah!  Don’t we see how extraordinary the world and humanity is?  There’s a deep abiding love for humanity and the world.  God himself tells us how he loves the very shape of our head and every hair that’s upon it!  Look at how we’ve decorated the world.  How can we not see the beauty of love being made manifest in form for our very own delight?  Sights, sounds, smells. . ..  The senses we get to partake in through the use of the body in cooperation with the world are incredible and quite frankly magnificent!  Talk about abundance.  It’s all right there before us and yet we struggle. Why?  Because we think being human is ungodly.

“The world does not exist apart from you, and so you must realize your compassionate connection.  The world is not a collection of cement buildings and paved streets nor of cold, heartless people who would as soon do you harm as good.  It is but the place of your interaction with all that lives within you, sharing the one heartbeat.” C:20.17

I hear people say, “The world is just an illusion, it isn’t real.” (Personally, I’d like to see the words “illusion,” “ego” and “perception” get lumped into a bag with “shoulda’, woulda’, coulda’ and get tossed out of language altogether…never to be heard of again).  Well, what does “real” mean anyway?  Are we getting hung up on an absolute definition of a word instead of being open to the possibilities of what a word can infer?

The whole illusion, real, dream thing…is what we THOUGHT. Who we thought we were is the illusion, and along with it all the systems we put into place because of it—thought systems that seemed to limit our very nature. Illusion because our nature can never be limited. Isn‘t denying the truth of who we are what the ego is?  A false sense of beliefs as they pertain to us being a body? An “if this, then that” way of thought. The ego isn’t something that requires endless work to defeat and years of intense study to “overcome.”  Although some of us do just that.

We’re told that once we know truth of who we are, the ego is no more, in fact never was because it was never the truth.  Do we define knowing the truth as living perfectly?  Or having healed our bodies?  Do we attribute knowing the truth with a list of accomplishments that must be met before we accept the truth of us?  Do we notice a thought and still call it the ego and therefore decide it’s still there and hasn’t left?  Hell, even calling the ego “ego” and or referring to it as an “it” makes it something it isn’t.  We’ve turned an untrue belief into a monster that haunts us.  So we hunt it, are on the lookout for it, create all these ways of dealing with it, and hide from it like a child afraid of the dark. We’re told illusion isn’t real. Well the ego is an illusion and isn’t real.

Doesn’t Jesus tell us a thousand times (ok, I’m exaggerating) that all we need is willingness.  He even says a “little” willingness, not even a boat load.  Willingness to do what exactly?  Well, for me it’s all about acceptance.  Willingness to accept the truth and then willingness to be the truth. Jesus even gives us an instruction to interrupt these thoughts.  All we need do is say “I dedicate all thought to union.” Simply saying that interrupts the pattern of old thought. This reminds me of the “Golden Key.”  Isn’t this the same thing?  You want to interrupt a negative thought pattern, think about God instead.  Jesus doesn’t say obsess over it, dissect it, judge it, argue with it and talk endlessly about it.  Nope he doesn’t.  What he says is don’t hold onto it. Allow it pass through. Don’t be afraid. It’s just a shadow. I say kiss the ego goodbye like an old lover.  Thank it and bless it for everything it brought you and send it on its way.  Doesn’t Jesus say this is the only real use for denial?

Isn’t it possible that desiring to express ourselves in physical form is a wonderful piece of creation?  That being human is creation expressing?  That we are in the evolution of creation coming to its fulfillment in providing us with our desire?

We’re told in A Note on Being:

What will there be to strive for?  What quest will replace this quest for being?  The quest for love’s expression – the quest to see, experience, and share, as many of love’s expressions as the word needs to be returned, along with you, to its own Self.

 Does this seem like a long harrowing road?  An endless quest?  An endless quest for love’s expression is eternity itself.

 Be happy that there is no end in sight to this road you travel now.  It is simply the road of what is endlessly creating like unto itself.

 You know how to respond to love, for you are love being.  So be it. E.27-30


With Love,



Expressions with Ben Andriessen: Being the Bridge


Ben Andriessen

I am so pleased to welcome Ben Andriessen to the Expressions page. Ben first contacted me nearly four years ago. He told me the story he shares with you (below) of “finding” A Course of Love, and also shared this response to his first reading: “I have not been able to stop reading/studying it ever since. Some of it is rather challenging, almost goading my ego, while other sections are as clear as light and profoundlyMari Publicity5V helpful, revelatory almost. Thank you Jesus!” We have been communicating ever since and have witnessed the depth of our understanding growing as we’ve shared. This witnessing of our changed state is one of the many ways in which we support each other in discovering all of who we are. Ben’s poetic visage of ACOL is an enriching example of a new way of seeing, and one of the many reasons for this page dedicated to the sharing of our unique expressions of A Course of Love.  Welcome~

Mari Perron     


One of my favourite holiday activities is browsing in second-hand bookshops in search of surprises. It was in June 2012 when I found myself visiting the largest second-hand bookstore in Wigtown, Galloway, also known as Scotland’s book town. Prosaically called “The Bookshop,” it boasts having over one mile of shelving, supporting over 65,000 books. I made my way to the “spirituality” section which, disappointingly, was comprised of less than fifty volumes, one of which immediately caught my attention.

“A Course of Love” it said on its spine. What … !?

Having been a teacher/student of A Course in Miracles for 30 years, my instant reaction was: “How dare they!… a new Course?”  As I read the Table of Contents and leafed through the book, I got an immediate flavour of the power and authority of the words, very similar to my first encounter with A Course in Miracles, way back in 1983. Puzzled and curious, I bought it, having stayed only 5 minutes in that bookshop.

I wondered how a book, channeled from Jesus, became part of a second-hand bookshop’s inventory. Who would possibly discard it or sell it and why? Ah, the ways of Providence are mysterious indeed: A Course of Love (ACOL) became available in the UK in 2002 and took ten years to find me during a chance visit to a small town in Scotland. What a blessing it turned out to be!

One of the statements that grabbed me was that, with the ego gone, the time for learning was over, meaning I had graduated from ACIM and was now ready for a Post-Graduate Course, ACOL, that required no study or following lessons. Says C32.4: “Think not. This Course requires no thought and no effort.” This becomes possible when mind and heart join in relationship and are experienced as part of the Identity of Divine Self.

One of the remarkable discoveries I made is that many of the sections (or “verses”) can be printed and read as poetry, in “open verse,” to allow the deeper meaning of the words to become apparent. I give you two examples, and encourage anyone to find their own “poems.”

As with the poetry of Rumi and Hafiz, one allows oneself to “enter” the poem to explore, from within, the Spacious Self that we are:

Your being here is not
futile or without purpose.
Your being here is itself
all purpose, all honor, all glory.
There is no being apart from being.
There is no being alive and being dead,
being human or being divine.

There is only being.

Being is.
Yet being,
like love,
is in relationship

Thus your purpose here,
rather than being one of finding meaning,
is coming to know through relationship.
It is in coming to know through relationship
that you come to know
your Self.

There is, of course, no space here to explore the many concepts presented in this self-contained “poem.” My favorite is one from the third volume of ACOL, Day 39 of The Dialogues, verse 46, called The Bridge. A fellow member of the ACOL Facebook Group, Anne Solveig Elmberg from Sweden, designed the marvelous background to this. Thank you so much, Anne.

Bridge revised


A few months ago I was listening to the Commons debate on Syria (2nd Dec ’15), and I was acutely aware of this line: “You will also be the bridge between war and peace.” Will the depth of that statement ever be grasped? I feel that it is not the yes/no of doing that matters, rather the awareness of . . . the bridge between.

May your journey with A Course of Love be blessed.

Ben Andriessen
Co. Durham
United Kingdom


Expressions with Christina Strutt: Coming to Voice – The Whole Heart Chakra

Hi, I’m Mari Perron, and I’d like to personally welcome you to this page—the Expressions page, and the next, the Mari Publicity4Dialogue page—pages that have a lot to do with how I see A Course of Love (ACOL) moving out into the world. As each reader experiencing this Course comes to the “end of learning” predicted within its pages, they begin to express themselves in new ways. This is so important. This Course will live on in us and as us. It is not meant to follow the same model as previous teachings. This is one of the many ways that you and I are called to be pioneers of the new.

Christina Strutt

Please welcome fellow pioneer, Christina Strutt whose writing on “Coming to Voice” corresponds beautifully with the first of the Dialogue series videos (see the Dialogue page). “Coming to voice” has so many ways of being felt and experienced, and as with all things, relates to the whole person and, as Christina suggests, the whole heart. You can hear the story of how she discovered ACOL in the second video of the Dialogue series.

Chris StruttThis paper was prompted by a request; a request that came as a result of an on-going dialogue on the ACOL USA FaceBook Group page in April 2015; a dialogue on the topic of various throat and voice issues some members were experiencing and what this might mean. This writing then unfolded for me as a lovely way of clarifying years of my own experiences, musings, and understanding; and I am so grateful to be invited to share it with you here. As you read, it may be helpful to imagine that each sentence includes a preface of “It is my experience and understanding that …” . I welcome all comments, wonderings, and explorations as we journey on together.

It was in September 2001 that I first encountered the notion of a new chakra – the color of turquoise – that was opening in the human system. It was right after 9/11, and I was joining with others creating safe spaces for people to gather, express, and heal all manner of feelings – sadness, sorrow, grief, anger, frustration, rage, hopelessness and helplessness – to name a few. This new chakra I was told, had just been cracked open in humanity, and heralded the coming of Peace – of divine love and compassion working in seamless, effortless collaboration with human being and doing on the planet. And so we used turquoise as the color of peace and healing in all we continued to offer during that traumatic time. I offered turquoise pocket stones, turquoise ribbon on door knobs (mine is still on my side door), and Chris chairsarranged a river of turquoise fabric flowing beneath each person as they sat in our circle. The deeply felt truth of these experiences, and this very vulnerable time has stayed with me. This same truth has travelled with me all these years, and when I encountered A Course of Love, I began to understand. And today I finally begin to write about what I feel and what I know to be true for me. It is this that I am happy to share with you.

Some context – Instead of the previous, fairly well-known, seven physical body centers or chakras, the newly transformed human body is purported to have eleven. This eleven-center network has two additional interdimensional (etheric) centers located above the head. They are called the ‘Universal Female’ and the ‘Universal Male’; and so in total, we will have thirteen primary chakras – two purely etheric (divine), and eleven that are part of our physical (human) selves.

It is the sixth chakra newly forming – the one I call the Whole Heart chakra (also referred to as the High Heart or Thymus chakra) – that signals a coming reality in which the body realizes itself as pure Love, pure thought-form, fully divine and fully human. It is my experience and understanding that this is synonymous with the Elevated Self of Form described in A Course of Love. How exciting is that!?

In the newly transforming Self, the Whole Heart chakra is opening in the upper chest, located just above and to the right of the heart chakra, between the heart chakra (green) and throat chakra (blue). This is the area where Wholehearted Loving Intention originates. The Whole Heart chakra connects the emotions of Divine Love, compassion, truth, and forgiveness, with the area where the expression of our thinking mind through verbal language originates. Activating the Whole Heart chakra empowers us to speak our truth courageously from our hearts AND minds in union. We are being Wholehearted.

This newly opening/activating chakra feels to be the so-called Seat of the Soul. It represents our Christ Consciousness, and is literally the bridge between our feelings and our intellect. Working intentionally with the Whole Heart chakra, enables us to create a powerful connection between our soul body (Divine Being) and our physical body (Human Being). This is the home of our authentic Wholehearted Self. It is the resting place of what I call our Compassionate Mind and Wise Heart – the One Heart and One Mind – joined in loving union and relationship.

The colors associated with the Whole Heart Chakra are turquoise, aqua, blue, green, and pink. Green is the color of the Heart Chakra, representing personal love. Blue is the color of the Throat chakra, representing the intellectual/logical expression of the mind. Pink is the color of transpersonal Wholehearted Unconditional Love. Blue-green – turquoise/aqua – is the color of wholehearted knowing and compassionate communication as the divine being AND human being we are becoming.

Blue-Green stones like Turquoise assist in opening both the Throat chakra and the Whole Heart chakra, increasing our receptiveness to Divine Love, forgiveness and the release of fear. Pink stones like Rose Quartz, assist in opening both the Heart chakra and the Whole Heart chakra encouraging us to more fully feel and express the love Christ stonesflowing through us. It is important to note that this flow includes ALL feelings associated with the emotion of Love. These include BOTH the feelings that we label as positive AND the feelings we label as negative. A Course of Love tells us, “Feelings are your awareness of the present and thus of the truth. They are your means of coming to know. They arise as Christ-consciousness. They come not in response but as creations.” (D:Day18.8)

The Whole Heart Chakra is also the seat of true forgiveness. Many of us have been unable to fully forgive, and continue to hold onto some amount of unfelt, unprocessed energy that we may well have carried for many years. As A Course of Love describes it, “What you once stopped and held in a “holding pattern” to return to later … were based on fear. You feared them because you did not understand them and could not assign meaning to them. Being inexplicable the “holding pattern” that you entered into with them was one of willful forgetting and escape. They were “shelved” like museum pieces and collected solidity within you. Like stones thrown into a clear pool, they made ripples and then settled.”(D:Day14.7)

As the Whole Heart Chakra opens we find that we are ready and able to face, enfold, and transmute these feelings. In doing this, some of us experience rather dark and intense energies of deepest grief and sorrow that are brought to the surface. A Course of Love reminds us, “You have no feelings that are bad. You embrace sadness, grief, anger, and all else that you feel because these feelings are part of who you are in the present moment. When you remain in the present moment you remain within Christ-consciousness where all that is exists in harmony.”(D:Day 16.10) While this may not be at all comfortable, these feelings are in fact surfacing so that they can be seen, recognized, felt, neutralized – literally metabolized – and integrated into the expansive, inclusive, spaciousness of the Loving Self. A Course of Love explains, “Only now, in your realization of your invisibility and spaciousness, do you look within and see the stones that settled in your clear pools. They are as specks of sand to the ocean. And yet we do not choose to keep them.”(D:Day 14.10) “Do not be too hard on yourself now. Observe these stones with neutrality and see if they do not wash away. Your willingness to have them gone is all that is required.”(D:Day 15.13) As we allow ourselves to forgive those who we feel have done us wrong, and those to whom we feel we have done wrong, we step out boldly and intentionally onto the path to fully healing – transforming – ourselves.

As we bring the energy of the Whole Heart into play, we make great strides in our spiritual growth, and experience a dramatic change in the way that we experience and interact with the world. The Whole Heart chakra via the Throat chakra aids with clarity of communication – being heard in the world. Particularly if we have not been expressing – but rather suppressing – ideas or issues that are very important to us. As A Course of Love invites us, “Bring your voice to this continuing dialogue. This is all that is asked of you. This is the gift you have been given and the gift you bring the world: your own voice, the voice of Who You Are. This is not a voice of separation or of the separated self but a voice of union and of the One Self. It is how union is expressed and made recognizable in form. It is what will usher in the new and change the world. It cannot be accomplished without you—without your ability to stand in unity and relationship as The Accomplished.” (A.49) As we begin acknowledging, accepting without judgment, and expressing our true feelings, we heal ongoing problems within the throat and above it. We find ourselves coming to voice, speaking our truth with greater power and clarity; and coming to fuller expression/demonstration of the loving feelings that are beginning to flow more freely and unconditionally through every aspect of our lives.

Working with the energy of the Whole Heart chakra also enables us to discover in each moment, exactly what our purpose is on the planet – what that unique gift is that each of us alone can contribute in each situation, and offer to the world. The Whole Heart chakra has been somewhat dormant in the past in most of us. Now it’s time has come. Now our time has come. Now is the time of Christ-consciousness. The planet needs each one of us to choose to elevate our vibrations and come fully into Our Selves. As we work with the energy of the Whole Heart chakra, we find that we begin to live life with greater authenticity; and more sustainably in close alignment with the intention of the Accomplished Self.

“Jesus, the example life used throughout this course, was both man and God. … Jesus was all of God and God was all of Jesus while at the same time each was different or individuated by being in union and relationship.”(D:D37.24-26)

As newly emerging Wholehearted Beings, we literally walk the planet in our big brother Jesus’ footsteps of over 2000 years ago. The image of walking the planet as a Bodhisattva is also deeply meaningful to me; it is an image that connects me to ancient origins some 500 years before Christ, when it was taught that each one of us is a Chris bodiBodhisattva Maitreya – a budding Buddha, both fully human and fully divine – forsaking Nirvana, in order to walk the planet joining hands with all our fellow beings. I smile to think that Maitreya is always depicted wearing sandals … how practical!

And thus we come together – wholeheartedly joining in union and relationship – CoCreating the joyful, playful new world of our dreams. As A Course of Love tells us, “Be happy that there is no end in sight to this road you travel now. It is simply the road of what is endlessly creating like unto itself. You now know how to respond to love, for you are love, being. So be it.”(E.29-30)

“Beloved brothers and sisters, You are The Accomplished.”(A.50)

Offered with love,

Christina Strutt
7th May 2015 and 4th December 2015

Expressions Introduction with Elliott Robertson

Hi, I’m Mari Perron, and I’d like to personally welcome you to this page—the Expressions page, and theMari Publicity4 next, the Dialogue page—pages that have a lot to do with how I see A Course of Love  (ACOL) moving out into the world. As each reader experiencing this Course comes to the “end of learning” predicted within its pages, they begin to express themselves in new ways. This is so important. This Course will live on in us and as us. It is not meant to follow the same model as previous teachings. This is one of the many ways that you and I are called to be pioneers of the new. Willingly giving up our roles as teachers and learners, companionship and sharing become the new way, a way that fully recognizes the vital energy of our own unique gifts. Each offering from union and relationship, provides another piece of this puzzle that makes up creation of the new. You and I share, in part, so that we come to know what our new feelings and experiences are saying to us, and to see the part we play within the grand design. As each of us dare to share, we discover our Selves newly, and bring all that we are into our encounters. The catalyst that Jesus says this Course is, propels us into acceptance of our sisterhood and brotherhood, with equal acceptance of the forces that take us to that edge that creation is. To embrace these forces that can challenge us and make life confusing as well as joyous, is an act of creation in itself. This embrace is an act of love. And these pages will offer all kinds of various expressions of that love.

Today, I invite you to meet (and love!) Elliott Robertson.


The Center for A Course of Love welcomes guest poet Elliott Robertson.




“I’ll always remember my first encounter with A Course of Love.

I was at a Course in Miracles group; a lady in the group shared with me one or two pages from the text while we were waiting to begin.

I don’t recall the content nor anything my friend may have told me about A Course of Love. I only remember how delicious the words were to my soul. Never before had scripture resonated so profoundly for me.”






To the Center
By Elliott Robertson
O Spacious One,
you love to make
your home within my heart.
I am compelled to welcome you
with adoration.
You penetrate all hearts
with knowledge and with grace.
The heart must open
just as plants must greet the sun.

O Spacious One,
you have the power
to hold within you ponds and seas
and flowers. Everything that moves
is filled with spirit.
Bring me to my master’s house
so I might know the realm of plenty.
Bring me to the center
of your peace and love.


This page will continue to provide an offering of poetry, prose, art or video that reveals how Mari and other receiver/readers of A Course of Love, once deeply moved, express their heart-connection, their soul’s longing, or their journey to new life. “Expression” of our changed state is highly encouraged in ACOL, often described with the help of references to art:


Expressions you call art are desires to share the Self in a new way. These expressions you call art are expressions of a Self who observes and interacts in relationship. They are not expressions that remain contained to who you are or who you think yourself to be. They are not expressions of the self alone. They are not expressions of the self alone in terms you might consider autobiographical, and they are not expressions of the self alone that you would consider the self in separation. They are rather expressions of the Self in union—expressions of what the Self sees, feels, envisions, imagines in relationship.

A Treatise on the Personal Self T3:2.1

You can submit your expression to expressions@centerforacourseoflove.org.