Christina Strutt and The Essence of the ACOL Companion Facebook Group
Christina Strutt, the moderator of the first ever ACOL Facebook group, and Center for A Course of Love Board Member Emeritus, developed guidelines for sharing on Facebook that can be found in the drop down link “Essence of Facebook.” I thank her for her service and friendship, then as now.
A Course of Love’s Facebook Group
Very few of us participating in this group have before seen such groups as having the ability to share the depth that this group does. It is not a place where people toss quotes about but one where experiences, feelings, and insights are freely shared and where loving response is given. True feelings of companionship in union and relationship have arisen. You are lovingly invited to join ACOL Facebook Group.
This piece is a distillation of my experience being present – both as a participant and as a moderator – in loving relationship with all the members of the first ACOL Companion Facebook Group. During my tenure, (Mar 2015 to Sep 2016) the group grew from a dozen to over 600 in number, hailing from all over the world.
Each member participated in their own unique way, whether posting or not posting, visible or invisible, sharing a few words or many paragraphs. Each member was invited to be very much present, in relationship with all others, sharing and joining in love, all of the time. As ACOL describes so beautifully –
“All relationship is relationship with God Who Is Love. We, all of us together, are the heartbeat of the world (C30.10,13). Because we are one heart, one mind, one Self, we can only know our selves through sharing in unity and relationship. (D:Day 11.12).
Join with others who are experiencing the expanding awareness of the time of Christ, and you will begin to see the evidence that things are different now. Join with others who are coming to know through the state of unity, and the evidence to the contrary will be overwhelming. You will begin to truly understand that you are not alone and separate, and that even the coming to know of the state of unity is a shared coming to know, a coming to know in relationship.” (D:13.8)
I found that:
~Groups chronicle a daily unfolding of lives receiving and living the message of ACOL.
~Everyone present – posting or not – and everything that is happening, is perfect.
~All are held with loving intention, joining heart-to-heart. We are one Whole Heart.
~ACOL is a web of relationships, strengthened by wholehearted sharing.
~Mari sits like a fat juicy spider at the center of this web, welcoming all.
~Group members gather in dialogue, strengthening union and relationship with all.
~Resting in true dialogue, we practice listening deeply and appreciating wholeheartedly.
~We suspend our judgments, assumptions, and knowing a right answer beyond our own.
~Our dialogue welcomes all posts sharing personal experiences living ACOL.
~Experiences shared as they are unfolding in our lives—the more current the better.
~Experiences of non-ACOL words and how they evoke and echo ACOL’s message to us.
~Questions, wonderings, challenges, sorrows, joys and triumphs as we live deeply.
~ACOL dialogue builds understanding, appreciation, and deeply shared meaning.
~We weave the threads of our unique and varied experiences into a meaningful whole.
~Responding is inviting members to turn inwards, to listen first, then respond.
~There is no teaching in the dialogue, there is nothing to correct, nothing to fear.
~There is no conflict. Only distinct experiences. Uniquely expressed. And uniquely received.
~Disagreements are an invitation to remain open, spacious and inclusive.
~Building meaning, relationship and joining – inviting members back into this embrace.
~Members participate as and when they feel prompted. There are no requirements.
~Everything that happens is in loving service of our shared heart.
~Moderators are members of the ACOL web. There is no hierarchy.
~Moderators, living deeply into ACOL, are in service to all members.
~All members are moderators in truth, as all are in service to each other.
~Moderators demonstrate loving dialogue and responsiveness by example.
~Moderating is rarely needed in a ‘policing’ sense of removing posts, or blocking.
~Response to a complaint is an invitation to first look inwards, then respond from the heart.
~Response to a non-ACOL related post is an invitation to share the felt relationship.
~And so we keep on keeping on, being with each other and sharing ourselves wholeheartedly –
“Allow yourself, now, to experience your arrival, your return to your true home, your return to your Self. Laugh. Cry. Shout or wail. Dance and sing. Spin a new web. The web of freedom. In other words express your Self. You who do not feel confident in your feelings, who do not feel confident in your ability to respond, who do not as yet feel the freedom of the new, allow yourself now, to do so. Allow freedom to reign, for it is your allowance, your choice, your permission, that will make it so. The only one who can stop you now is yourself. The only permission you ever needed was your own. We will practice here to build your confidence, a confidence sorely lacking. What confidence is it of which we speak? The confidence to be yourself.” – D:Day9.2-5
(Along with Christina, I was a regular contributor in those years. For both of us it was our first time on Facebook. I wrote then: “Very few of us participating in this group have before seen such groups as having the ability to share the depth that this group does. It is not a place where people toss quotes about but one where experiences, feelings, and insights are freely shared and where loving response is given.” I made many friends through that group. While that time passed for me, I feel that for many others, Facebook can fulfill a particular need for a particular time. Whether your time is brief or extended, it may, like mine, provide lasting treasures of friendship and inspiration.
As Christina shared with me recently, “This page records an important piece of our work together . . . a precious and tender time of beginning something new. We didn’t know what we were doing. Yet we did it. One heartfelt step at a time! Trusting in our collective experience and knowing.
Think of all the new people we welcomed in. All the hearts we reached. It was, and is, a beautiful thing.”
We pass this along with love ~ Mari and Christina)
Drop down item: ACOL Mission Statement, for Connect Page (7)
From within the center, the core of unity,
your accomplishment goes out to the world. C:29.8
Center for A Course of Love Mission Statement
A place of love and re-union
The Center is not a religious, spiritual, or educational organization but serves to support the sharing of A Course of Love and each reader’s growth into a realization of who she or he truly is.
A Course of Love “offers no walls to confine you. It becomes not dogma to restrict you. It is new life come to extend the way of creation, the way of love, the way of living, the new way.” A.45
The Center guides and ensures this purpose by strongly encouraging the path of the book:
from teaching and learning to sharing as equals
from the expectation of knowledge to that of revelation
from solo spiritual journeys to sharing in union and relationship
to moving beyond the book and into dialogue and creation of the new
Holding sacred space for all
From the center, we form bridges that span every distance, leaving no one out. The Center holds sacred space and embraces all people in their diversity of faith, age, race, ethnicity, sexual orientation and income levels.
[T]his call to return to your Self is being sounded far and wide… [I]t goes out to humble and ordinary people like yourself. There is no exclusivity to this call. It excludes no race nor religion nor ones of either sex or sexual preference. It but calls all to love and to live in the abundance of the truth. T3:21.21
Support for the emergence of the feminine way:
We of the Center Board (Mari Perron, Mary Love, and Christie Lord) have, individually and with each other, delved deeply into matters of the heart and the power of who we are. We are creative women living life in relationship to family, work, and world. Each of us are also aware of living as true Selves within a greater spaciousness of knowing and being. With a wider council of women; in dialogue with men and women who have, through ACOL, embraced a new way; we are imagining and discovering a true balance of the feminine and masculine, the inner and the outer. These ways are presented in ACOL as the symbiotic ways of Mary and Jesus in equal measure of awareness. We hold space for the way of Mary now emerging.
Dialogue and Creation of the New:
We envision wholeness expanding outward from the center of love, expressing in dialogue and creation of the new.
Creation of the new has begun. We are an interactive part of this creative act of a loving Creator. Creation is a dialogue. Creation—which is God and us in unity—will respond to our responses. Will respond to what we envision, imagine and desire. T4:12.34
And a short-form statement of purpose:
The broad purpose of this Center (a 501(c) 3 nonprofit) is to increase awareness of the transforming message of A Course of Love and to support the movement it engenders to the end of learning, and onward to dialogue and creation of the new.
Drop down item: Guidelines for Sharing ACOL, for Connect Page (7)
Guidelines for Sharing A Course of Love
In this Time Beyond Teaching and Learning
In A Course of Love, as well as in A Course in Miracles, Jesus says that love cannot be taught. What can’t be taught is a mystery. These messages from Jesus are both mystery and revelation of mystery. ~Mari Perron (Forward to A Course of Love)
Sharing Groups for ACOL are coordinated on the acourseoflove.org website. In these groups, readers share the content of ACOL together in lovely and varied ways. “Learning in the Time of Christ” (currently the addendum to ACOL and available on the Course of Love website) is a clear description of this movement, given by Jesus himself. The suggestions that follow are meant to make way for the prophetic nature of this work and the coming of “the New” time that is predicted within it. The Time of Christ is the time of our acceptance that we each carry the Christ life within us, that we can live that life as who we are in the world, and in this way create a new reality.
The prophetic nature of A Course of Love will not be realized if learning continues.
Learning, as Jesus says many times, in needed only to heal the separation. It is the ego that learns and so each of us are walked gently through releasing the ego and coming into a time that is beyond learning. Without an acceptance that the time of learning is over, this new time will not be realized, or made real. Looking for truth outside of ourselves can change to sharing truth intimately with one another.
These cautions are meant to address this time in which we stand, poised to be creators of the new, but unable to do it in the old way.
Refrain from prolonged study
With many courses, prolonged “study” becomes the norm, even to training teachers and at times reverends. While appropriate for some courses, this cannot be seen as appropriate for A Course of Love.
In Jesus’ own words, in “Learning in the time of Christ,” we hear, “The word learning is loosely used here for no learning is needed in union and relationship.” He continues:
“Yet, as your work with A Course of Love begins, learning and unlearning continue. It continues for the sole purpose for which learning has always existed—that of returning you from self-doubt to self-love. This could also be expressed as returning you from your perceived state of separation to your true state of union. Learning is needed only until perception is cured.” A.2
Jesus speaks of the ego’s demise in several ways before declaring definitively, in the Third Treatise that the ego is gone:
“The Self that I recognize as You, is not other than who you are, but who you are. All that was ever other than who you are was the ego. The ego is gone. The ego was simply your idea of who you were. This idea was a complex set of judgments, of good and bad, right and wrong, worthy and unworthy, a list as endless as it was worthless. Realize now the worthlessness of this idea and let it go.” T3:3.10
In A Treatise on the New, Jesus declares definitively that learning is over. To present your group as a Course of Love group, please follow in the way Jesus has laid out for us, and if you began with “study” or “teaching,” alter your approach at this point.
The more we come to know who we truly are, the more our way of knowing changes. This change in our way of knowing is the purpose of this Course. We have been given knowledge “about” things and our way to that knowledge has been through being taught, and then studying to build our proficiency in what we’ve been taught. We have become proficient in “knowing about” things. This is, for many, the current definition of “knowing.”
Yet no one truly desires to trade “knowing about” for “true knowing.” Why carry on anything that shields us from discovering our existence within the unity of a shared consciousness? Why not welcome the opening that allows coming to know ourselves and each other newly?
Due to the emphasis Jesus places on the end of teaching and learning, you may welcome a new way to speak of this.
Public forms of sharing
If you would like to publicly share your experience of A Course of Love for the purpose of letting people know about this wondrous and transformative work, (via online, or public gatherings) it is recommended that you use one of the following expressions. These expressions signify that you are sharing your feelings, experiences, ideas, or movement. A Course of Love invites all voices, but also asks that you sharein, and claim, your voice.
Ways of bringing your voice to ACOL:
Inspired by A Course of Love
Influenced by A Course of Love
Reflections on A Course of Love
Explorations of A Course of Love
Discoveries of A Course of Love
One experience/expression/ or voice of A Course of Love
Use “I” rather than “we” expressions as often as possible. In this way, you “own” your voice and your experience.
If you desire to do something different than a sharing group, an example of a public announcement might be: “Delve Into A Course of Love with weekly gatherings sponsored by Kate Jones.” Again, “sharing and facilitation” rather than “leading” is the way to represent ACOL.
If, in certain situations you feel in need of a title, you might offer to be a “speaker” rather than a “teacher,” as teaching is not the goal. People may still refer to you as a “teacher.” This is very hard to avoid. All that is asked is that you choose to refrain from the title and demeanor of teacher to the extent possible.
Please do NOT call a study or sharing group a dialogue group.
As each person completes their reading of A Course of Love within a group setting, it is recommended that the call to dialogue in Learning in the Time of Christ be revisited. Individuals within groups are encouraged to begin to meet in dialogue as soon as they feel ready. Sharing groups have often already experienced dialogue within the group. This occurs when the “book” as “a book” is set aside, and the sharing of one’s Self begins. Yet the sharing groups can come to offer such a secure “home base” that participants may be hesitant to leave. While that is okay for a while, to stay within them indefinitely may hamper the movement to dialogue and creation of the new.
The practice of dialogue refrains from reliance on the book, on topics, agendas, themes or facilitators. This is a crucial part of Jesus’ focus and desire for us to practice sharing who we are in ways that often are not fully met in larger settings, or in a group (no matter how close).
After practicing and engaging in dialogues with A Course of Love readers for two years, I have found that smaller settings, in which following the book has not become “the way” exchanges take place, are often an easier place to make the transition to dialogue. It isa transition, and this can be surprising, even difficult at first. It is your opportunity to come into what you know, in your unique way, and to share the becoming and being of your Self in union and relationship with others who are doing the same. Each, in this way, begin to develop their own signature way of knowing and expansion of consciousness, within an intimate relationship with another.
Along with others who have practiced dialogue, what is recommended is no more than four to a group. We offer that the intent to “practice dialogue” often interferes with actual dialogue. Accordingly, “informal” dialogue is often most effective. The “feel” of dialogues might be described as sharing inspiring or stimulating conversation with a friend. There is an “energy” to dialogue that comes of “not” having a theme or a plan. One enters the unknown, trusting where it may take you.
To find one or two good dialogue partners, you might look back at where such conversations have previously taken place. There is an affinity or resonance needed between dialogue partners and this is not a time to avoid being selective. Dialogue is for you as well as for the discovery of all that lies beyond the book. (See “beyond the book” on Mari’s website): https://www.mariperron.com/into-the-new-with-mari/beyond-the-book/
As The Dialogue Movement is new, we are eager for all news of your experiences and to help open this way that allows us to come to know together. Use the Contact button to share with us.
Check-in Before you Begin
The names “A Course of Love” and “ACOL” hold both copyright and trademark protection in the name of this Center and ACOL’s first receiver, Mari Perron. The tendency for great works such as ACIM and ACOL to be taken up and represented by many is a fine testament to these holy works. However, the “newness” A Course of Love calls us to, is not the “usual.” Most “courses” have a studying and practicing component that gets taken up by various enthusiastic teachers and become long-standing programs. Such an enterprise that relied on teaching and learning would simply not be the way Jesus has given to share A Course of Love.
This is the only reason for this request to check-in before you begin. We hold a clear intention to discourage teaching and learning as a permanent feature in this new time. Jesus says we will need a new language. We can begin, together, to develop such a language that features our movement beyond learning.
Please use the models of sharing that Jesus encourages when producing any printed materials that will be widely disseminated. If you feel insight from Mari Perron will be useful in a book you might want to write, you may contact her. Small adjustments in language can often make an enormous difference. If you speak to the reader as you would a friend, rather as an authority, this can make all the difference.
Checking-in is not meant to discourage use, but Jesus gave his name to this work, and provides the way and the language that is specifically meant to discourage life-long students or teachers. It is Jesus who emphasizes the “movement, being and expression” of the Course, and calls us to dialogue, creation of the new, and ultimately to “put the book away and go be it.” Surely it is clear that it would not be appropriate for the name of A Course of Love to be used in ways that encourage the formation of teachers, leaders, or hierarchical organizations that perpetuate learning.
It is much more challenging to do things in a new way, but together, we can find those ways. Your ideas are welcome.
Center for A Course of Love, 2019
From A Course of Love:
“You now exist within a shared consciousness. The pattern of a shared consciousness is one of sharing in unity and relationship. There is no pattern within it for learning (which is individual), for individual gain, or for individual accomplishment.” T4:12.24
From Learning in the Time of Christ:
“While you continue to put effort into learning what cannot be learned, as you continue to see yourself as a student seeking to acquire what you do not yet have, you cannot recognize the unity in which you exist and be freed from learning forever.” A.4
“This is not to say that you will find this Course or the end of learning to be easy. Yet it is your difficulty in giving up your attachment to learning through the application of thought and effort that creates the perception of this Course’s difficulty. Thus it is said to you to take this Course with as little attachment to your old means of learning as is possible for you.” A.5
“What you will find yourself accepting through this method is precisely what cannot be taught. What you are learning through this method is precisely what cannot be sought after and attained through your seeking. What you are finding through this method is receptivity. You are coming home to the way of the heart. What you gain by sharing with others is a situation in which you “learn” in unity through the receptivity of the heart.” A.11
“This is what dialogue, particularly the dialogue that is an exchange between “two or more gathered together” reveals. It reveals Who You Are.
“This relationship between Self and Other, Self and Life, Self and God, Humanity and Divinity, is the dialogue of which we speak. It may seem to suggest duality but it suggests relationship. The idea of unity and relationship must fully enter you now.
“You are not a “student” of The Dialogues but a full participant in The Dialogues. A:40-42
“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.
“Beloved brothers and sisters, You are The Accomplished.” A:49-50
A Course of Love (ACOL) and A Course in Miracles-Original Edition (ACIM-OE)
Together in One Powerful Search Tool
Inviting deeper and fuller understanding
of the symmetry between the two courses.