A Cup of Tea — With Milk, Sugar, and the Spacious Self
By Derek Neilson
[Editor’s note: The “spacious Self” is an important element of Jesus’ message in A Course of Love, one he does not mention until the final part of the book, in The Forty Days and Forty Nights. It is a consciousness, he says, that includes all time, all feelings, and is part of the process of merging wholeness and separation.]
Recently, while standing in my kitchen boiling the kettle for a cup of tea, I received a ‘felt-knowing’ of what the spacious Self is. In an instant it came to me as a clear thought: The spacious Self is a thought-less space where our feelings are the navigational system. We feel our feelings. Our feelings lead us in each moment.
I breathed and smiled in gratitude. I so enjoy receiving these knowings that can come at anytime—like, for instance, while making a cup of tea! Yet, are we ready enough, willing enough, and receptive enough to receive the unknown through us?
Mari Perron mentioned in her inaugural article for The Embrace newsletter that conscious awareness is a place of feelings in a full way or sense. I agree. Like the title of this newsletter, conscious awareness, or the spacious Self, ’embraces’ all, the same way that God’s Love embraces the spacious Self.
Thoughts interfere with the evenness of conscious awareness or the spacious Self. And so, I find it helpful to sit several times throughout each day to re-centre my Self as conscious awareness Itself. This is a devotional practice. Periods of inattention can allow thoughts to appear again to block our connection with our Self, which is our union with God.
When I re-experience the spacious Self a light smile re-appears on my face. I feel deep peace again. I feel love again. I feel being-ness again. There is no room for a ‘concept’ of peace, or for a ‘concept’ of love, or for a ‘concept’ of being to exist. The spacious Self is re-experienced as wholeness Itself, free of concepts!
What helps me to re-access the spacious Self again is breathing right down into my belly. Even in a restful state, breathing right down into my belly is invaluable for assisting me to notice feelings and to re-open to spaciousness. I recommend that the next time you sit to re-open to spaciousness, try breathing right down into your belly. Notice how helpful this is for re-opening to spaciousness and quieting the mind.
Until wholeheartedness is experienced, spaciousness can easily ‘come and go.’ Thankfully, as one reads and takes in A Course of Love, mind and heart naturally realign into wholeheartedness. Spaciousness is then available in any present moment that it is desired. Maintenance of this state is then needed until it can be sustained—hence, my regular periods of short sits throughout the day. Nothing need be formal. One can sit and practice opening to spaciousness anywhere, anytime, anyhow. For instance, I almost always have a cup of tea in my hands, or nearby, while settling back into spaciousness!
The spacious Self embraces all feelings—good and bad—within Itself, as this passage from Day 16 states:
“Consciousness, of the spacious Self, thus includes feelings of sadness, loneliness, and anger as well as feelings of happiness, compassion, and peace. …”. D:Day16.14
My experience is still one of moving from maintenance to sustenance of the spacious Self. And lots of practice coming from a place of devotion helps! This is the ‘work’ of those committed to awakening and staying awake.
Please, come join me, in this present moment adventure, while sipping tea together along the way!
In 2014, Derek Neilson started a Facebook Group called ‘A Course of Love – Australia’ to join with other brothers and sisters in Australia reading A Course of Love. This Facebook Group now has both Australian and International Members. Derek writes and shares weekly Reviews of ACOL on the Facebook Group. These Reviews express his relationship with ACOL and help deepen his understanding of it. Derek is open to being contacted on Skype by anyone who is curious about, reading, or living ACOL for heart-to-heart conversations! His skype address is derek_neilson (Newcastle, NSW).
By Paula Hardin
We let down buckets
Into the wells of our lives
Drawing up memories
So we can heal
And love this time.
But some wells
Are far, far too deep
To do this alone.
May 8, 2015
Paula Payne Hardin appeared on the Oprah Winfrey Show when her first book, “What Are You Doing With the Rest of Your Life? Choices in Midlife” appeared in 1992. She is also the author of “Love After Love: Stages of Loving” (1996).