A Course of Love is the beginning of a life journey . . . not an end.
Opening your Mind to the Wisdom of your Heart, the first ACOL Online Conference . . . is also a beginning, not an end.
This conference, Open your Mind to the Wisdom of your Heart, may be the only of its kind. There may be another conference, there may not. But one thing is sure: there will never be another like this one.
It is a beginning, because it was new.
Thank you to all who joined and shared with me, and many warm and insightful friends and colleagues, for this twentieth anniversary of the reception of A Course of Love. These recorded sessions are still available to experienced. For those of you who missed it, see: https://acourseoflove.org/online-conference/
The sharing of this conference was a joy! The first part of the joy was it’s initial suggestion by James Kelly (pictured), who became our host. I probably said it three or four times during the conference—how touched I was that he had the idea for a celebration of this particular anniversary, of this day that my life changed forever: the day in which Jesus spoke the first words of ACOL to me: “This is a course in miracles. It is a required course.”
These words were as startling to me when they came as was “how” they came. How did it happen, how could it be, that it began just as ACIM did? It’s even more startling now, as I recall the impact of the next lines of the two books:
This is a course in miracles.
It is a required course.
Only the time you take it is voluntary.
This is a course in miracles
It is a required course.
The time for you to take it is now.
You are ready and miracles are needed.
The time for you to take it is now. You are ready…
These received words are the start of a transformation that begins from the inside out. It’s the one thing I wasn’t sure the conference fully captured, and maybe that is the way it is. . . the transformation too pervasive to have words assigned to it. This transformation doesn’t stand apart from us, something we can see as “elevated.” The “elevation” exists, a response of the heart to the receiving we each did, a response that shows up in our living and relating: one to one, and one to many. This course starts with the transformative, which slowly and surely becomes an intimate sharing of who we are. This is what Jesus asks of us, isn’t it? This very movement, through giving and receiving as one, in union and relationship, is what becomes dialogue and creation of the new.
When we start realizing that giving and receiving truly are one, we know not to elevate the giver and discount the receiver—not me, and not you. This is essential to realize. There is no separation between giver and receiver in truth. This is the change asked of us! Being who we are in unity and relationship is giving and receiving as one in truth. This is our “elevation” and what propels the movement of The New into the world.
While we are all receivers, for me the reception was also participation in the creation of A Course of Love. I shared a lot on this during the conference. In general, people have been quite interested in how this course came to be, and it was fun to share.
ACOL has been at the center of my life for twenty years, and I am given to shepherd it to it’s true potential, a potential that can’t be realized through “learning.” I haven’t watched every video of the conference yet, but I’ve watched almost everything, and I am assured that very little occurred in the category of teaching or learning, and that something new was demonstrated. As Jesus says, to demonstrate is to show our feelings. Feelings abounded! Feelings, I trust, were evoked!
I spoke of both the joys (relationship with Jesus and with friends) and the practical life difficulties of being the first receiver. Even while we can trust that all is happening as it’s meant to, I shared my challenges to assure you: it’s not “unspiritual” to admit to the tough times, especially as you and I have remained willing and more—eager—to continue.
And I want you to know that I will continue.
Words continue to come to me from time outside of time. I’ve begun (https://www.mariperron.com/the-jesus-chronicles) and will slowly share these additional revelations with you, as I’m more clear that ever, that sharing is the way of the new: sharing in union and relationship. What we know in truth comes in relationship as well as union. Jesus has been insistent on this throughout ACOL.
ACOL is the beginning of a life journey . . . not the end.
This life journey is to be shared. That is very close to being the whole of it. You and I, in our holy relationships, SHARE THIS JOURNEY TO THE NEW TIME and CREATE THE NEW as we go—THROUGH THIS SHARING. There is no other way. It happens in relationship. Intimate relationships are the very essence of giving and receiving as one. They allow us to know…together. And it is there, in togetherness and dialogue, that the new is discovered, experienced, explored . . .and created.
YOU AND I ALREADY SHARE THIS JOURNEY TO THE NEW
So let’s go back to the beginning of ACOL for a moment:
A Course in Miracles opened a door by threatening the ego. All those who, with egos weakened, walked this world with the hope of leaving ego behind, with miracle-minded intent, have awakened human beings to a new identity. They have ushered in a time of ending our identity crisis. Not since Jesus walked the earth has such a time been upon humankind. P.5
The ego is what you made. Christ is what God made. The ego is your extension of who you think you are. Christ is God’s extension of who He is. In order to end the need for learning, you must know who you are and what this means. Where the original Course in Miracles was a course in thought reversal and mind training, a course to point out the insanity of the identity crisis and dislodge the ego’s hold, this is a course to establish your identity and to end the reign of the ego. p.8
This time we take a direct approach, an approach that seems at first to leave behind abstract learning and the complex mechanisms of the mind that so betray you. We take a step away from intellect, the pride of the ego, and approach this final learning through the realm of the heart. This is why, to end confusion, we call this course A Course of Love. p.44
The course does not aim at teaching
the meaning of love, for that is
beyond what can be taught. I.1
What love is cannot be taught.
It cannot be learned.
But it can be recognized. C:2.1
No matter how we take ACOL, we take it “in.” We take it to heart. By “taking it in” in this way, we’re already sharing it…with Jesus. This initial sharing prepares a place within each of us. It opens the spaciousness we need in order to invite each other “in.” This “shared” inward movement becomes our recognition of who we are in truth. It doesn’t mean constant contact, but that you and I can “hold all in our hearts” and, at the same time, move in a flow that will allow this essential movement to The New to be as rapid and expansive . . . as miracles.
We are ready. We have begun.
My thanks to go out to every single one of you who are “in it” with me. Together we begin. Together we are ready. Together we create the new! In this time of Christ, I wish you the fullness of Christ-consciousness and elegant and reflective and holy moments of joy on this road we travel.
Stop. Do something new!
A year ago, almost exactly, I wrote these questions here:
Will we choose a way of oneness and relationship? Of heaven and earth? Of form and spirit? Will we dare to live meaningful, true lives? Are we willing to see ourselves—as neither greater nor lesser, as neither bound to external authority nor to who we have been as a consequence of teaching and learning? To see ourselves as the self given when we came, tabula rasa, heart and soul? Will we live by that from which we sprang and within which rests the ground of our being? Will we manifest that which we are, as we are, with all our “seeming imperfections?” (Day9.24)
Just hours ago a friend suggested I write a blog to let you know about the online conference beginning in just a week (December 1-3), a “first” such conference for ACOL and one that celebrates the twentieth anniversary of when ACOL began. The first thing I did was take a look at my last posts and find the questions above.
I know it’s been a while. Something was calling me, the last year or so, to Stop. When I finally did, I could see that the call to stop came in order that something New could begin.
Then all kinds of joy broke out!
Stop. Do something new! Begin a new adventure and an ongoing celebration of life!
I sincerely invite you to join us in this conference because I am certain that something new is going on.Yes, we are looking at the past, especially as the conference honors the anniversary of this Course’s first day…the day it began to come to me. It honors the relationship Jesus and I shared and the bringing of those words I heard into form—taking them from something only my ears could hear, to a call of love being sounded around the world. Of course many people played amazing roles in this all coming together, and most all of them will be joining me for this conference! In doing so, we’re honoring union and relationship, which is the way the new comes into being. The birth of a new babe is New Life, and this baby has left behind its infancy and is beginning to make its way in the world.
A CALL OF LOVE IS BEING SOUNDED AROUND THE WORLD.
There is no relationship, other than this deeply felt relationship of love that Jesus brings us to, that has the power to say Stop or Go, Listen or Speak, Quit thinking and Start loving, Be Who You Are, or . . .
It’s time for a celebration!
Bringing love to life is our shared calling, one that we participate in through the union and relationship that Jesus has enjoined us to share with him and each other. How exciting it was for me then, to see that this “coming together” is a manifestation of that call and an answer to those questions. “Our” answer to:
The call of oneness and relationship. Of heaven and earth. Of form and spirit. Of daring to live meaningful, true lives. Of being willing to see ourselves—as neither greater nor lesser, as neither bound to external authority nor to who we have been as a consequence of teaching and learning. The call—to see ourselves as the Self given when we came, tabula rasa, heart and soul. The call to live by that from which we sprang and within which rests the ground of our being. The call to each of us to manifest that which we are, as we are, even with all our “seeming imperfections.”
The “seeming imperfections” have been part of the joy of this conference. Many of the dialogues that make up the greatest part of our sharing, show these disguised blessings with warmth, humor, and a connectedness that can be felt. I fully believe you’ll feel it too. If you could know the volunteer hours that went into this celebration! The wholeheartedness with which everyone worked together! The fun that has been had. The inspiration that grew as we came together as one! I swear that I believe you can know, and will know, when you join us. And that you’ll appreciate that feeling and what it conveys as much as I do.
Also part of the “new” that Jesus called me to, is another coming together…not really new but a newly acknowledged relationship with my long-time creative partner, Mary Love, as we share “side by side” in creation of the new. You’ll get to know her at this conference and on a new website that just went live at mariperron.com
Stop. Do something new! Join us in this adventure and an ongoing celebration of The New!
This Course requires no thought and no effort. There is no prolonged study and the few specific exercises are not required. This Course has succeeded in ways you do not yet understand and have no need to understand. These words have entered your heart and sealed the rift between your mind and heart. (C:32.4)
Now that the Pope’s movie/documentary: “Pope Francis – A Man of
his Word,” is out, I remembered an article in “Science of Mind,” or maybe I was organizing and just found it—who knows. I don’t know about you, but I can rarely trace the “actuality” of the trail that leads me to start either a piece of writing or a treasure hunt for greater understanding of a fleeting insight.
This article didn’t contain any direct “heart and mind” quotes, and when I looked on-line, I couldn’t find any there, and yet I feel confident that I’ve heard the Pope speak them and that the writer of this article, “A Compassionate Heart, a Courageous Soul,” one of Pope Francis’ U.S. editors, describes this language accurately. He did so in ways that sounded just like A Course of Love.
Gary Jansen shares that, “The lesson here is that mindfulness is good, and coupled with heartfulness, it can lead to a powerful union of head and heart, ultimately leading to union with God.”
UNION OF HEAD AND HEART
“Francis would caution that our intellect is only part of who we are. In fact, our thoughts can often get in the way of our hearts….”
UNION WITH GOD
And so, I let A Course of Love speak for itself, and share some of what Jesus says about this union.
I.1 This course was written for the mind—but only to move the mind to appeal to the heart.
The heart is needed to guide the mind in a way that it does not desire to be guided, a way that is one of joining, a way that does not allow the mind’s separate stance, its rules, or its right answers. The heart is needed because it is who and where you are and responds in love to what is one with it. We are one heart. We are one mind. The route to oneness and union, to life in form that accepts oneness and union, to a humanity restored to wholeness, is through the heart of the mind. I:6.7
You were your Self before you began your learning, and the ego cannot take your Self from you but only can obscure it. Thus the teachings you need now are to help you separate the ego from your Self, to help you learn to hear only one voice. This time we take a direct approach, an approach that seems at first to leave behind abstract learning and the complex mechanisms of the mind that so betray you. We take a step away from intellect, the pride of the ego, and approach this final learning through the realm of the heart. This is why . . . we call this course A Course of Love. P:43-44
C:21.7 No matter which path you follow, the path of the mind or the path of the heart, you will not get where you are wanting to go until they are joined. You might imagine three paths—one path representing mind, one path representing heart, and one path representing wholeheartedness. The path of neither mind nor heart alone will take you where the path of unity will take you, and the journey will not be the same.
C:29.5 Wholeheartedness is unity regained. Your return to unity is your return to your full power and your ability to be of quite literal service to God and your brothers and sisters.
C:29.20 Choose anew and let the power of heaven come together to seal the rift between your mind and heart, and make you whole once again.
Through mindfulness you will remember who you are.
Through wholeheartedness you will be who are. T1:5.14
T1:6.4 Union is the mind and heart being joined in wholeheartedness. It is your union with your Self. Union with your Self is union with God.
D:7.8 [A]ll that lives is from the same Source, and there is nothing more alive than mind and heart combined in the spirit of wholeheartedness.
D:12 We are, in Christ consciousness, one Christ. We are, in wholeheartedness, one heart and one mind.
Pope Francis is spoken of in terms of “his humanness and his divinity” in one breath, and in another, of his “simplicity, authenticity and honesty.” With our embrace of wholeheartedness, this is our promise too.
I also invite you to celebrate, along with Sebastián Blaksley, and the entire ACOL family, the publication of the Spanish edition of Un Curso de Amor. This very weekend Sebastián will be representing our Course at a book fair in Buenos Aires. He was, in younger years, before Jorge Mario Bergoglio became Pope Francis, a student, and his father a teacher, in the school that Bergoglio headed, and the family continues to visit the Pope in Rome. The coming of Un Curso de Amor to Argentina, home to the Italian born Pope for many years, is also home to Sebastian and the home base from which it will be extended to the Spanish speaking world. You can view his website here:
Quotes from “A Compassionate Heart, A Courageous Soul,” written by Gary Jansen, Science of Mind, December 2017
When I left for my trip to Philadelphia, the trees in Minnesota weren’t budded yet. They were only fringed with new growth, delicate and feather-like, too fragile to even hold color. When I returned, the change of spring had arrived.
It feels like a metaphor for the ACIM/ACOL event, “Love and Miracles in Philadelphia,” and for what the trip revealed: a change in the landscape, the blossoming of new growth.
Any time we have a “first” we are talking about change.
There were two obvious and public “firsts” at the Center for Contermporary Mysticism where “Love and Miracles in Philadelphia” took place. One was that Jon Mundy and I were presenting together to nearly a hundred women and men eager to hear of ACIM and ACOL in a spirit of unity. The other was that my long-time creative partner and spirit sister Mary Love joined me, and shared for the first time, how the transforming power of A Course of Love affected her life. While in many ways we’ve shared ACOL from day one, in others, equally true, we’re now experiencing it in a “new” way.
The experience of the audience made up another hundred “firsts,” and there were side-bar firsts of meeting each other, of sharing one, or a half-dozen heartfelt connections, or having an encounter, perhaps, with one of the two ACOL publishers who were in attendance—Glenn Hovemann who oversees ACOL’s publishing worldwide, and Sebastian Blaksley who is bringing ACOL to the Spanish speaking world. There was a sharing of inspiration, of ideas, of stories.
Jon and I began a full day together on Saturday, speaking of our mystical experiences and, for the rest of the day, spoke mainly on the complementarity of ACIM and ACOL, answering audience questions to close out the day. On Sunday Mary joined us and we were each guided by our hearts to the sharing that we did.
What expanded through this sharing was union and relationship.
A joining of Heart and Mind
A Course of Love and A Course in Miracles
There were openings upon openings, like to the budding of the trees and flowers going on as we met.
There was more at work than any of us know.
Back at home afterwards, I faced fully the new situation with the backyard cabin that is home to my writer’s soul. Now I had the time to sit looking out at the logs that are all that remain of my maple tree, the nearest, and dearest, and most profusely photographed of my tree friends. The maple was a magnificent, towering shelter where the squirrels I feed would sit looking in the cabin window as if sharing a meal with me; the tree whose limbs embraced the cabin and hid us from view. It was the tree that was dying and threatening the cabin, and that, in the first thaw of winter, before the new snows came, was taken down.
I’d looked out the window from the house during the unending refusal of winter’s yield to spring, and see the cabin standing out there all alone, looking so exposed and bare without the maple’s presence. I felt as if nothing would ever be the same and I’d be exposed too, not sheltered as I like to be in that “out of the world” way that the cabin and the maple had always provided.
Yet now the change of spring is filling in the blank spaces. The trees that remain are receiving more light, and they’re standing in all their glory, full and lush.
When things change, new life begins.
Something has begun. The field in which we meet has widened and there’s a thaw, a new spring, a new warmth, and blooming going on.
Here are links to the Love and Miracles Saturday videos, to the video of the Sunday event published to the site of our host: The Center for Contemporary Mysticism, and to Miracles Magazine.
Saturday morning, Part 1: Jon Mundy https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zniT1irRkcM
Saturday morning, Part 2: Mari Perron https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=C1Oyqx1eYzE
Saturday afternoon, Part 3: Mari Perron & Jon Mundy https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rIN0EtdQ0KA
Saturday afternoon, Part 4: Q & A, Jon, Mari, our host Joe Irwin, and the audience https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ejltW7Tt8OI
Sunday afternoon: Jon Mundy, Mari Perron, and Mary Love with an additional question and answer period.
Miracles Magazine: http://www.miraclesmagazine.org/
[Y]our heart is the well of spirit from which true answers are drawn. Your heart is a full well, a wellspring from which you can continually draw with no danger of ever drawing an empty bucket. You need never thirst again when you have accepted this. D:11.10
I was drawn out of myself by love during the 2018 Course in Miracles Conference (CMC), mainly by one person or another, or by different configurations of people engaging in dialogue. But I was also “drawn out” by the quirkiness and inclusion of this particular conference, a conference hard to describe to anyone who has never attended one. The organizers are dressed in sparkly vests and hats and have been known to disrobe from time to time in controversial and revealing ways of sharing vulnerability and forgiveness. In the spirit of all this weirdness, no one questions being led in song by a man whose voice croaks (Rev. Tony), or having a Mick Jagger-esq performer (Rev. Rudy, who definitely can sing) strut the main aisle. It is a dramatic display, birthed primarily from the creative zeal of Rev. Tony Ponticello, who’s genius, once you get familiar with him (which you can’t help but do) is a blessed force laced with comedy and control.
You can’t help it. You are drawn out of yourself by love.
From within my quiet life, I am not particularly eager to participate in such events ahead of time—and must recover afterwards. This is my third CMC Conference though, and I’m feeling now that I’m beginning to hit my stride with the things—with their over-the-top nature and the intensity of it all. I actually enjoyed myself and was “in joy” over the people I got to meet and to know on a deeper level than I imagined could occur.
One of my favorite contemplatives, Thomas Merton, first spoke to me of “being drawn out of ourselves by love.” He also speaks of love as a “happening.” I spoke during the conference of the three things I feel most surely bring us out of the sphere of subject/object relating and into the sphere of happening: sharing, dialogue, and creation of the new. They all happened there—in San Francisco. These ways ask us, no matter our proclivity for solitary pursuits, to remain open and available to human encounter and exchange, and to embrace tolerance over fundamental beliefs.
The conference is serving now—sort of sneaking up on me to serve as a touchstone to the question that I’ve been hanging out with since November when, for various reasons, the busyness of my life increased, and my creative/contemplative time decreased. When I get away from that zone of deep interiority, I admit that I feel away from myself and my way of being. Then I begin to yearn for it.
Strangely enough, what I feel in that deeply interior place, is similar to what I felt at the conference. It is a spacious place where I am the same as everyone else…and most uniquely me. How that can be I cannot say, but I can feel. It has to do with the way that art is one person’s expression and yet has a universal voice (which is what makes it art). It is the way that we are many and that we are one. It is the way of our Creator’s love. Never is one loved more than another, yet each are loved for who they are.
This is, and was, a great breeding ground for connection and dialogue.
I left San Francisco with a list of folks interested in engaging in dialogue, and with a sense that dialogue thrived in that “coming together” atmosphere that crossed boundaries of thinking, loyalties, and solo reasoning. A dialogue between ACOL and ACIM—has begun. The dialogue between those of us representing ACOL and the publishers of the Course in Miracles Society (CIMS) edition of ACIM, (often referred to as the “original” or “pearls” edition)—felt like a reuniting, and a dialogue between those wedded to the “standard” (FIP) edition and those who embrace the original scribing was furthered.
We are drawn out of ourselves by love.
From the third treatise of ACOL:
[I]t will matter that someone will look at you and see that you are not so different than he or she. It will matter that someone will look at you and be drawn to the truth of him- or herself that is seen reflected there. What I am saying is that your differences can serve our purpose until differences are no longer seen. What I am saying is that you can remain confident in your personal self, knowing that your personal self will serve those you are meant to serve. What you have seen as your failings or weaknesses are as valuable as are your successes and strengths.
What has separated you will also unite you.