Saturday, August 20, 2016

The kingdom of God is within me.

Luke 17:20-21King James Version (KJV):

20 And when he was demanded of the Pharisees, when the kingdom of God should come, he answered them and said, The kingdom of God cometh not with observation:

21 Neither shall they say, Lo here! or, lo there! for, behold, the kingdom of God is within you.

Friday, August 19, 2016

ACIM- The flow of peace and blessings. What are the Great Rays? (Lesson 360).

(Lesson 360)

Peace be to me, the holy Son of God.
Peace to my brother, who is one with me.
Let all the world be blessed with peace through us.

Father, it is Your peace that I would give, receiving it of You. I am Your Son, forever just as You created me, for the Great Rays remain forever still and undisturbed within me. I would reach to them in silence and in certainty, for nowhere else can certainty be found. Peace be to me, and peace to all the world. In holiness were we created, and in holiness do we remain. Your Son is like to You in perfect sinlessness. And with this thought we gladly say "Amen."

  • Peace
  • Silence
  • Stillness
  • Great Rays
  • Sinlessness

This lesson is a form of prayer and forgiveness. It is also an invitation to self-inquiry suggesting that the Self can be found within, in silence and in certainty. This may be in the formal resting practice that one performs daily morning and night, or on the hourly pauses that one performs during the day.

The lesson uses the image of the "Great Rays" which have been spoken of in the Text. Some students have taken to visualising or imagining 'light' type rays, auras etc. While this may be helpful initially, it will be a hinderance later when direct experience is required.

The reference to "Great Rays" is actually symbolic of pure awareness, which has often been likened to light in spiritual literature. Like light, awareness itself, is the source of illumination of all phenomena, including one's apparent self. Having no form, it is still and undisturbed by seemingly separate phenomena.

In becoming more and more familiar with silence, certainty, stillness, and the 'Great Rays', we come to know our sinlessness. We come to know our true Identity. We also naturally feel the peace and blessings that flow from such experiential knowledge (or gnosis) out into the projected world.

Thursday, August 4, 2016

(ACIM) Lesson 338: I am affected only by my thoughts.

This lesson from the Workbook contains pointers on two different levels. This is not fostering "level confusion", but taking the approach of offering advice for differing levels of understanding in students. To offer what cannot be understood is a sign of poor teaching. Thus, the Workbook, being a self-study guide, often gives teachings on multiple levels, like a holographic instruction. Gurdjieff's idea of a legominism is of similar import.

"I am affected only by my thoughts." (Lesson 338)

On a surface level, we are familiar with the effects of thoughts on our state, behaviour and relative state of consciousness. The Course makes the point repeatedly that modifying behavious is secondary to modifying thought and belief, which in turn affect behaviour. The "I" referred to here, is that of the changeable, personal self- the ego. The self we made and have identified with up until finding out the truth.

"It needs but this to let salvation come to all the world. For in this single thought is everyone released at last from fear. Now has he learned that no one frightens him, and nothing can endanger him. He has no enemies, and he is safe from all external things. His thoughts can frighten him, but since these thoughts belong to him alone, he has the power to change them and exchange each fear thought for a happy thought of love. He crucified himself. Yet God has planned that His beloved Son will be redeemed."

A preliminary step is offered here. The insight that the world is not cause, but rather an effect, brought about by habitual thought. In seeing the world as effect, it may be exchanged for the "happy dream" wherein guilt, victims, and separation may be released. Fear thoughts may be recognised and purposely exchanged with thoughts of love. This is the thinking behind much of the "New Thought" movement, and most positive thinking teachings. Many religions make use of substituting fear thoughts for loving thoughts. It certainly works as an aid in exchanging a fearful world for one that is happier to live in. Recall, "My thoughts are images that I have made".

However, this isn't the end, but rather just the first step. Many spiritual systems do end here, incomplete due to still being trapped in a happier dream, but a dream of separation nonetheless. The ego does not end. Duality still persists no matter how "happy" we attempt to make the world. The perceiver still sees the world.

"Your plan is sure, my Father,—only Yours. All other plans will fail. And I will have thoughts that will frighten me, until I learn that You have given me the only Thought that leads me to salvation. Mine alone will fail, and lead me nowhere. But the Thought You gave me promises to lead me home, because it holds Your promise to Your Son." (Lesson 338)

There can only be one will ultimately in all creation- that of the Source. Setting up the ego as a separate 'will', thus results in having to deal with fearful thoughts UNTIL the separation is healed and no more. How? By finding one's true Identity, the Self, which is referred to here as the Thought (of God). This is not a thought in the usual sense of the word, but THE "Thought of God" (ie pure consciousness) that exists prior to, and part of, all seeming arising and passing thoughts.

This primal "Thought", when sought with earnestness, leads to salvation, and the undoing of the separation, which is not done of myself (as "I"), but by the Holy Spirit, as God's promise that His Son (the Self) may come to know Itself once again. The Lesson thus achieves its aim, starting in time, and ending back in eternity.

Wednesday, August 3, 2016

Lesson 337: My sinlessness protects me from all harm. (ACIM). Recognising the Self.

This is such a pivotal lesson found towards the end of the Workbook, that it merits some discussion. It can be seen as a brief summary of the whole Course in one Lesson. This lesson also shows how the Course fits in with other nondual teachings in terms of structure and aim.

"My sinlessness protects me from all harm." (L337)

The sinlessness spoken of here is none other than the Self. The Course has been using the term "sinlessness" (noun) over the last few lessons. Here it is shown to be the Self, which is as God created It (unchanging, eternal, whole, at one with all creation etc.)

"My sinlessness ensures me perfect peace, eternal safety, everlasting love, freedom forever from all thought of loss; complete deliverance from suffering. And only happiness can be my state, for only happiness is given me. What must I do to know all this is mine?"

The Lesson then brings in a central idea running through the Course- that of the process of the Atonement.

"I must accept Atonement for myself, and nothing more. God has already done all things that need be done. And I must learn I need do nothing of myself, for I need but accept my Self, my sinlessness, created for me, now already mine, to feel God's Love protecting me from harm, to understand my Father loves His Son; to know I am the Son my Father loves."

The acceptance of something that already exists is not a 'doing' initiated 'of myself', but rather an allowing, opening up, and stopping to see what is actually present now.

"5 When you have been restored to the recognition of your original state, you naturally become part of the Atonement yourself." (from the Text)

The Course mentions that the Atonement is a process, which seems to take place in time. However, it is merely the recognition of what already Is. Accepting Atonement for one's self is thus nothing more than the recognition of What one truly is, the Self, ever present and without sin. Through the recognition of one's Self (sinlessness, purity, suchness), harm is impossible in whatever form, simply because What one truly is (which is prior to the body, mind, thought, feelings, etc.) cannot be harmed. Protection happens by the recognition that there is nothing threatened. Harm could only take place in the dream of death and guilt made by the ego, in which the Son equates himself with a body-mind bound burdened by debt, in time and space.

Now, what exactly is the Self? The Course leaves this answer in the hands of the Holy Spirit, God's Answer. Through practicing the Workbook, receptive listening, contemplation, and silence, the Self must reveal Itself, and the dream of the ego be seen through in its unreality (or as a mere concept). This becomes the "happy dream", where although the ego may still be in place and operative, it is known as just an habitual concept present in the mind of the Son of God, until it is no longer required.

Borrowing from other nondual teachings however, one can aid this process, in knowing the Self as one's own present, alive, conscious, beingness here and now. Self-attentiveness. That which is aware of the body, mind, thoughts, ego, and illusory identity within the dream. Becoming aquainted with this is the end and object of the whole Course, and will in time, and with 'a little willingness' and 'silence', be known through the grace of the Holy Spirit, which is none other than the Self.

"T-28.II.12. This world is full of miracles. 2 They stand in shining silence next to every dream of pain and suffering, of sin and guilt. 3 They are the dream's alternative, the choice to be the dreamer, rather than deny the active role in making up the dream. 4 They are the glad effects of taking back the consequence of sickness to its cause. 5 The body is released because the mind acknowledges "this is not done to me, but I am doing this." 6 And thus the mind is free to make another choice instead. 7 Beginning here, salvation will proceed to change the course of every step in the descent to separation, until all the steps have been retraced, the ladder gone, and all the dreaming of the world undone."