I’ve just returned from my first visits with ACOL groups. These were along the California coast and this subject was among those I spoke of. I thought I’d share it here. ~ Mari
It is the very essence of love to be able to hold all the paradoxes that the mind would like to reject. When we know love, we know the personal and the universal are not in conflict. When we know love, we know that our humanity and our divinity are not in conflict. When we know love we even know that our minds and hearts have no need to be in conflict. This is the beauty of the way of love. Love has the power to unite us—within ourselves—and with each other. Love has the power to bring us to wholeness.
But all of that waits on our acceptance of the ego’s end.
T3:3.10 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.
The movement from ego to true Self is the movement of ACOL. We’re told at the very beginning that this is where we’re heading, but the ego is still addressed throughout. In the first book, the Course—it is as if it’s still there—but just not being taught to. Then increasingly—as what we’re leaving behind. And finally as what we have left behind. I’ve had people say to me that you can’t say the ego is gone just because you’ve read the book, and I imagine that might be true if all you did was read. Jesus says you may do that and change the world, but you won’t be who you are or create a new world. There’s something different than simple reading that Jesus invites us to. Do you feel that?
These are changes of enormous proportions: the end of the ego—which coincides with the discovery of the true Self, and—the end of learning—which coincides with the beginning of sharing in union and relationship as well as creation of the new.
The end of the EGO
Now, what I had a hard time with, what a major stumbling block of mine was, and that I see others having the hardest time with, is very simple. We want to, and maybe even do accept that the ego is gone, but then wonder, when we still have things about ourselves that we think of as being from the ego, what’s going on?
What I’ve seen is that when I ask myself, How can I be ego free when I still feel like this?…it is about the feelings I have when I go against my nature. Really, the next time you have the thought come to you that your ego is acting up, see if this isn’t true. I’d be willing to bet these thoughts or feelings are not about trying to build up your false self, but come from your desire to acknowledge your true Self.
I believe this question of what seems to be of the ego, is about what we haven’t yet discovered about what it means to live honestly…to live true to ourselves. To be our true Selves. To liberate our true Selves. And I feel this is important to share with you.
This isn’t about the little stuff. This is about the big stuff. If we’re going to see ourselves as humanly divine, we’ve got to love ourselves first. Accept who we are first. Jesus says, “You wouldn’t be other than who you are. Herein lie your peace and your perfection.” (C:20.42) And I feel that one of the things we realize with our heart’s knowing, is that this is true. When it comes right down to it, we really wouldn’t rather be other than who we are. We don’t want anyone else’s life, not really. We just want to live our own truly.
Here’s a great quote from Day 8 on radical acceptance:
8.8 All power to effect change comes from acceptance—not acceptance of the way things are, but acceptance of who you are in the present. Not through acceptance of the way you want to be but of the way you are now. There will be many things within your life that will take some time to change, but many others that can change instantly through this radical acceptance.
What a big shift this is—what freedom. Days—8-9-and 10 of The Dialogues are so incredible that way. So liberating. “Oh. I don’t have to accept whatever comes along. I have to accept me and how I feel. Wow.” And you know why we can do that? Because the ego is gone. Jesus isn’t seeking to have us become ego maniacs! No. He wants us to be true to ourselves.
We will keep what will serve the new and let the rest go. I know I’m still doing that. I don’t know about you, but I know that’s true of me. I also know I’ve come farther in the last few years than I did in the ten before that. Still, it’s all valuable somehow—because this takes a lot of courage and, as we stumble and rise again, if we’re honest about that, we face the truth of who we are in that moment and go on. We companion others as they go on. And all the while we are in union and relationship.
Here’s a good example. I had a hard time getting the time to myself that I craved. I started going out to my cabin at sunrise because it was the only hour no one would bother me. I couldn’t find my voice to state what I needed—and this has been an issue of mine—finding my voice. Using my voice. Being true to myself. I’m doing that now, and also benefiting greatly from the gift that this early morning pattern of greeting the day has become!
We may not look like enlightened ones, but we’re doing this incredible work of merging the human and divine in the ordinary lives we live. We don’t need the one percent to lead the way anymore. Jesus says this course goes out to humble and ordinary people like us so that IN OUR MULTITUDE we will change the world. We can’t all drop out to go on pilgrimages. Yet we can all be pilgrims and pioneers of the new, and do so according to who we are, and where we are, and with the gifts we’ve been given.
And you know why we need to do that? Mainly because the world needs us in it as who we are, but also because if we’re intolerant of ourselves, we’ll be intolerant of others. If we love ourselves…this is so simple…we love all.
This is the big switcheroo here, being true to ourselves. It’s at the heart of what Jesus calls radical acceptance—accepting how we feel—not what’s “out there.” Accepting everything . . . but the ego.
Expressions with Mary Deeny: Humanity, the world, and the ego
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, “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
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 profoundly 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~
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.
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
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.
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.
Hi, I’m Mari Perron, and I’d like to personally welcome you to this page—the Expressions page, and the 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
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.