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~https://acourseoflove.org/the-embrace-94-becoming-never-years-old/~https://acourseoflove.org/wp-content/uploads/2023/01/allan-ishac-2.jpg~The Embrace #94: Becoming “Never Years Old”~

I was in the company of a six-year-old recently who finished a fanciful story at a family dinner by stating, “That happened when I was never years old.” It was such an offhand but beautiful comment about aging, and in spiritual terms, about the absence of time and death.

~Featured Article Becoming “Never Years Old” By Allan Ishac

 

It was such an offhand but beautiful comment about aging, and in spiritual terms, about the absence of time and death. I thought about this innocent remark for weeks afterward and concluded that a very noble goal for any life would be to always remain “never years old.”

How? How do we become ageless regardless of the number of years we’ve lived? We all know people in their 70s or 80s, even older, who seem to defy their age, going through their days with vigor, optimism, and resilient good cheer. We admire and even wish to emulate their energy and enthusiasm. In response, we might seek the latest age-defying diet, undertake a transformative wellness program, or follow some other external path to the fountain of youth.

But A Course in Miracles tells us that the body is not the source of true health, youthful energy, or enduring happiness, and no amount of body-focused training will work. It is the mind that must be retrained, not the body.

This is perhaps where children can be our greatest teachers.

I have always been intrigued by the Bible verse, “Truly I tell you, unless you change and become like little children, you will never enter the Kingdom of Heaven.” (Matthew 18:3)

What does that mean? The traditional, theological interpretation is that the Kingdom of Heaven can only be entered by recognizing that we are powerless, like children, over the circumstances of our lives, and must remain humble and dependent on God to manage our daily challenges.

But maybe there’s more to it than that. Maybe the verse has less to do with a childlike willingness to submit to an all-powerful force, and everything to do with a child’s curiosity and unencumbered imagination. To become like little children is to be in a natural state of constant curiosity, fully engaged in the present moment, noticing life’s smallest details and exploring every dimension of the everyday.

“There are no seven wonders in the world in the eyes of children; there are seven million,” wrote the educator Walt Streightiff. He points to wonder and awe as the hallmarks of childhood, and possibly the keys to keeping our adult hearts and minds open to help foster a supple agelessness.

What happens, then, to our wonder and curiosity as we get older? ACIM hints at the answer, suggesting that the trouble begins when we think we know how the world works and what it’s for, when in fact we don’t know what anything means at all (ACIM, Lesson 25). The adult mind (the ego mind) becomes hardened and uncompromising in its need to know and to be right. Children, on the other hand, know they know nothing and, therefore, remain wide-eyed and willing to be surprised by whatever comes next.

This notion is similar to the famous Zen proverb about emptying our cups. As we grow older, our cups become filled with our sternly held beliefs and fossilized opinions, our righteous judgments and stubborn knowings, and there is no room for anything new to enter. If we want to see through young eyes, we must humble ourselves and empty our minds of what Mooji, the contemporary mystic, calls our “learned ignorance.” Only then is there hope of seeing with fresh eyes and experiencing the world anew, as children do.

There is another quality in children that most adults have lost, what ACIM calls a “suspension of faithlessness”—also known as believing that anything is possible. Grown-ups might call this naïve, but there is a deep truth here that’s completely consistent with the Course: if the mind is all there is, and our world is nothing more than our thoughts crystallized and projected into perception, then Santa Claus, or a Jedi Knight, or Scooby-Doo are as real, or fake, as anything else in this made-up, illusory world. Everything we’re looking at is an animation created from the inner mind clay of our imaginations.

Once we accept this idea fully, then it is easy to make the leap to ACIM’s “there is no order of difficulty in miracles,” or the Biblical assurance that we can move mountains with faith as small as a mustard seed. Perhaps it is exactly this “suspension of faithlessness” that Jesus is speaking about when he asks us to become like little children—this is the consequential change that will allow us to enter a heavenly realm where there are no bodies that can age, wither, and die.

Here’s a final thought—another plucked from the Childhood Handbook of Agelessness. It is about playing.

In a recent New York Times article, the well-known, whimsical cartoonist Lynda Barry says that child’s play is not frivolous, but essential to preserving mental flexibility at any age and nurturing our creative side: “Adults think that kids playing is some nothing thing. But play is a different state of mind, and it can help us do so many things if we just allow ourselves to get back to it.”

One of the co-scribes of the Course apparently knew all about this. In Never Forget To Laugh, Carol Howe’s biography of Bill Thetford, she writes about his endearing playfulness, his love of punning, his laughter and his sense of wonder at the world. In the last days of his life, Bill is described as literally dancing across the floor, filled with a kind of childlike glee, so light that he was almost lifted off the ground.

It is worth noting that he had a practice to lighten his burden in his later years, one that we can all apply. When asked how he spent his time, Bill would reply, “I am practicing forgiveness.” ACIM tells us that nothing depletes our minds and spirits (i.e. ages us) like holding onto our grievances, guilt, judgments, anger, envy, worry, irritations and annoyances (think of how quickly children let these go). And nothing brings us back to the possibility of eternal peace and ageless joy like forgiveness. Bill was a wonderful demonstration of this liberating principle.

So, yes, our bodies might die, but we never have to grow old. We can retain an energetic spark, an agile mind, a playful disposition, and the ability to inhabit the Course’s “happy dream” throughout our lives by becoming as little children again.

allanishac.com^~https://acourseoflove.org/the-embrace-93-celebrating-our-oneness-an-experience-in-a-conference-in-brazil/~https://acourseoflove.org/wp-content/uploads/2022/12/Rodrigo-and-Budhi.jpg~The Embrace #93: Celebrating our Oneness: An Experience in a Conference in Brazil~

When we landed in Brazil in March, 2020, we would never have imagined that two years later we would be part of a team organizing their first national gathering of ACOL readers. After all, we were living in Mongolia, just visiting Brazil for one month. Second, ACOL had not yet been translated into Portuguese.

~Featured Article Celebrating our Oneness:An Experience in a Conference in Brazil By Rodrigo Cayres and Budhi N.

 

In quick succession after its publication in 2021, online groups formed and the number of group facilitators increased. Online events started being organized by the facilitators, including us. In February, 2022, the first in-person gathering of facilitators took place, with Glenn Hovemann present. Last month we celebrated the first-ever national gathering of ACOL/UCDA readers in Brazil.

On the first day of our four-day event, a young participant said her mother had registered for her, and told her she needed to get out of her little box. “Mother, I don’t want to go to this event. This is not for me!” But she went anyway. She told us she didn’t know what she was doing there. Yet on the last day, despite having little familiarity with ACOL, she was elated—transformed—and very grateful to her mother and to the nearly 60 participants who cocreated this remarkable experience. She won’t need her mother’s nudge to be in the next event!

This was a “conference” like no other. There were no teachers, no students, no speakers, no lectures, and no presentations. We sat in a circle, as equals. The purpose was to experience relationship in unity or oneness, where we see each other’s true Self—our shared identity that has no levels. Rather than gathering in a business-like hotel, we—the eight event organizers—chose a place with abundant nature in an event center run by nuns devoted to St. Francis of Assisi. The nuns who assisted us during the event were so touched by the group’s energy that they told us they had never seen a group so loving, appreciative, and integrated with each other as ours. One of them purchased a copy of ACOL/UCDA; another said she wants to attend next time.

The theme was Transformative Relationships. We gathered quotes from ACOL and put them together in groups that span seven aspects of relationships: (1) with Physicality; (2) with Nature and Other Beings; (3) with Money; (4) with Spouse and Family; (5) between Mind and Heart, Masculine and Feminine, Human and Divine Self; (6) with Our Feelings; and (7) with God. Each aspect was introduced to the group by a pair of facilitators, who read a few quotes and shared personal insights and experiences. Participants joined the conversation naturally, exchanging feelings, questions, and understandings about the theme.

For example, a mother whose young daughter had taken her own life just a few months before the event was visibly sad on the first day. She held the microphone with shaky hands, and shyly spoke a few words before letting tears flow down her face. As the activities unfolded, she felt the power of the embrace to let herself be loved within the transformative field of consciousness that is formed when joining in union and relationship. On the last day, she spoke with joy and gratitude, moving around the hall and expressing herself with self-confidence, with certainty that nothing real can be threatened as she remembered her and her daughter’s innocence.

Um Curso de Amor^first in-person gathering of facilitators took place, with Glenn Hovemann present. Last month we celebrated the first-ever national gathering of ACOL/UCDA readers^rodrigo@acourseoflove.org^~https://acourseoflove.org/the-embrace-92-letting-go-of-perceptions-of-being-unfairly-treated/~https://acourseoflove.org/wp-content/uploads/2022/09/Scott-Grace-2.jpg~The Embrace #92: Letting go of Perceptions of Being Unfairly Treated~

The year was 1993. Strolling through San Francisco in a buoyant mood, I had been lifted by the success of a juicy musical performance I had just given. Since my latest self-love stretch was learning to be more generous with myself financially, I decided to have dinner at a nice Japanese restaurant.

~Featured Article Letting go of P-BUT’s(Perceptions of Being Unfairly Treated) By Scott Grace

 

Since my latest self-love stretch was learning to be more generous with myself financially, I decided to have dinner at a nice Japanese restaurant. I sat down at the sushi bar, humming a tune and spreading my joy. The waitress approached and asked if I wanted to try the restaurant’s most popular and respected sake. “Of course!” I said. My “yes” had the conviction of a man enjoying being prosperous with himself.

At the end of a delicious meal, I perused the check. The drink I’d ordered was eighteen dollars, about twelve more than I had ever paid for sake. Calling the waitress over, and reaching down for my New York City attitudinal roots, I gave her a piece of my ego-mind. “What’s with this check?” I barked. “I would never have ordered this sake if you would have told me the price. You should have said something about how expensive it was!”

She apologized timidly and repeatedly. I requested not-so-timidly that she just charge me the price for regular sake. Still bowing in apology, the waitress let me know that she would have to pay the difference if I didn’t pay full price. I paid for it begrudgingly and left the restaurant steaming with resentment. How unfair!

Making my way down a steep San Francisco street, it occurred to me how dramatically downhill my mood had gone compared to what it had been an hour earlier. Before, I was happy and carefree. Now I was anything but.

I was convinced that her ‘mistake’ was a grave injustice, a sin by omission, deliberately manipulating me into buying an expensive brand of sake. It didn’t even taste much better than what I was accustomed to. I got ripped-off! “How unfair!!” I whined to myself.

Then something happened that, at first, pissed me off even further. A passage from A Course In Miracles found its way into my mind, the kind that makes it impossible for me to continue cherishing my grievances and enjoying my righteousness.

Oh, how I hated the Course in that moment!

Nothing in life ruins perfectly good whine as quickly as a sobering line from its pages. I could no longer pretend I was a victim. The quote that rained on my charade was this:

“Beware of the temptation to see yourself unfairly treated.”

Ouch! “But I WAS unfairly treated!” my ego child ranted back at the Course. After giving that child a chance to huff and puff a bit, and be heard with compassion, I was ready to listen to what Spirit had to say.

“Scott, why are you giving twelve dollars and a sweet Japanese woman the power to get you this upset? Could it be possible she saw you in your celebration, perceived you as prosperous, and figured you weren’t one to guard your pennies so fearfully? Is it possible that she was responding to your prayer to treat yourself more generously in the physical universe? Are you willing to consider that underneath all this righteous anger is your own difficulty in seeing yourself as worthy of love and deserving of fine things?”

Whoa! That was quite a jump. Was being stingy with myself behind all this? Was it my own guilt that I projected onto this waitress and the price of Sake?

“Beware of the temptation to see yourself unfairly treated.”

I suddenly remembered two more lessons from the Course, and my righteousness dissolved completely:

“I am not a victim of the world I see.”

“I am never upset for the reason I think.”

The waitress was clearly not the source of my pain. In an instant, a holy instant, my case for her guilt was thrown out of court, and I was set free as well.

Tears came to my eyes. How sad that I’d acted on assumptions rooted in fear and paranoia and attacked this lady, ruining a perfectly splendid celebration by letting unexamined anger dictate my behavior. And then, how liberating to uncover the hidden sense of unworthiness driving my feelings, and let them all go.

I wish I could tell you that I went back to the restaurant and apologized. But I did not consider that practical with my time commitments ahead of me, so i did the very next best thing.

I imagined the waitress before me, and out loud I exclaimed, “I forgive myself for losing my sanity with you. I apologize and ask for your forgiveness.” As if I were back at the restaurant, I lifted my imaginary glass and said, “I offer us both the very best sake, and make a toast in celebration of a lesson learned and a job well done.” I saw myself paying the waitress, this time with gratitude and friendliness, as well as a big tip.

I went on to review other situations in which I have seen myself as unfairly treated. The telephone company putting me on hold for longer than I would like. A storeowner who never paid me for the CD’s she sold on consignment. People not returning my phone calls. A lover who rejected me. My mother being so negative. How unfair! How unjust! What a war I had declared on life with my list of grievances! How personal it all has seemed to my ego! I made a commitment to catch these kinds of perceptions earlier on in their process, before they can cause me such anger and grief.

A week later I jumped on an opportunity. A driver cut me off while I was about to get on a freeway. I slammed down on the judgment pedal and was just about to accelerate into righteous anger. In a split second I saw that there was a choice, that the attack thoughts and angry feelings were arising in me like clouds, and I could either engage the ‘I’m right!’ energy or just witness both his haste and my own reactivity passing through me. This time I was able to remain the witness, never fully identifying with the point of view that I was unfairly treated by this rushed driver. The clouds passed quickly, and my mood easily returned to clear and sunny.

Of course, a driver I am not personally intimate with doesn’t push the same buttons as mates and mothers can, but I am very interested in refining my practice of letting go of P-BUT’s (Perceptions of Being Unfairly Treated) more quickly as they arise. The better I get at it with the minor irritations of daily life, the more transfer value my practice has to the larger stuff.

I used to think that as I dedicated my life to serving God I would be asked to become pure in diet and drink, and that pleasures like sushi and sake would have to be relinquished. What I have been finding is that Spirit is much more concerned with my ‘whine’ intake, my mental sobriety. It is when I am thinking the hard stuff that I am most in trouble!

Teach Me How To Love, and Oh the Places Your Ego Will Go. His ACIM-inspired songs can be enjoyed on Spotify under his old name, Scott Kalechstein. He has a life coaching practice, and moonlights as a spiritual stand-up comedian. www.scottsongs.com^~https://acourseoflove.org/the-embrace-91-blindness-my-greatest-gift/~https://acourseoflove.org/wp-content/uploads/2022/10/Eddie-Lee-2-1.jpg~The Embrace #91: Blindness: My Greatest Gift~

LYNN: Today we have a really interesting topic: seeing with the eyes of the heart, no longer looking out but looking in. Our guest is Eddie Lee from Jacksonville, Florida. Just so everyone knows, Eddie is blind. And he is going to give us a little bit of a history on what happened.

~Featured Article Blindness: My Greatest Gift Eddie Lee, interviewed by Lynn Kidd

 

And now we begin to see with the eyes of our heart. We are no longer looking out but looking in. . . . Within the embrace our sight clears and what we see is known rather than understood. (C:20.8)

Eddie, take it away.

EDDIE: We really do have what I call eyes of the heart. And when we look in instead of looking out is when we truly do know because we're no longer using the mind, we're using the heart with the mind. I'd like to share how this has become so important to me.

Ten years ago I lost my eyesight to a rare genetic form of glaucoma. Needless to say I was depressed. I could no longer put toothpaste on a toothbrush. I couldn't spread mayonnaise on a piece of bread. By Christmas of that year I was absolutely lost.

I had originally found A Course in Miracles two decades before that and had been introduced to A Course of Love, but even with those Course materials I was still depressed. It was Christmas time, two days before my birthday, when I just began bawling, tears just rolling down my face. I thought my life was over.

Then I remember distinctly hearing the voice for love speak to me from deep within. The first thing heard was, “Go to blind school.” Okay, and ultimately I did.

But the second thing that I heard that night was that my life was not over, it was just beginning. That was profound. I’d had to leave work—I was a professor—and I just didn't know what I was going to do. But there was comfort in the voice and I didn't question it.

I knew how important forgiveness work was, but I heard that voice for love say to me, “You haven't forgiven your eyesight for disappearing. Why are you resisting forgiving that?” And at that point I was bawling because I realized I was holding a resentment against my own eyes and even against my genetics.

Well, it was in forgiving my eyesight and in going to blind school that I realized I didn't have to look out, I had to turn within and then I could see more clearly than I had ever seen before. There was a knowing. Please understand the difference between comprehending what you see out there versus knowing from within. There really are no words to describe it. It just is. I can even say that when I'm up and about there can be physical objects in my way that I don't know about, but I can know of them from within. I know it in here so I can then follow the internal guidance to navigate around them.

Sometimes people stand in absolute amazement. “How did you know that was there?” I don't say I can see it because that's not how I know. I can feel it, yeah, I feel it with the heart. That’s the difference. Intellectual understanding is just thought. But with the heart there's a feeling, and with that is a knowing.

These feelings open up whole new hallways and doorways of things that I had no idea existed.

But it's all within me. This has been a blessing in disguise.

LYNN: Maybe say a little more about this communication, this inner experience of the feelings and this new heart-to-heart way of communication. Does it come through images?

EDDIE: We're so used to communicating through language, yet there is a deeper level of communicating and that is from heart to heart. I know in A Course in Miracles it says that our minds are joined, that all minds are joined. We also must allow our hearts to join. Then we are in true communication, the language of the heart. There are no words, it is all feeling, but from the feeling pops up these images within the mind. And from the image I can—um, there’s no other way to put it—I can read the person. But not like psychic reading, it's reading heart to heart.

There is no misunderstanding as there could be from mind to mind. There is no conflict because there is no misunderstanding. It's true communication. It's the flow of the feelings. But the beauty of it is, it still brings images to mind. And those images now help with the communication, helping to draw a picture of what's being said from within the heart in that moment. I'm getting that they're coming from the shared consciousness of unity. There's no past attached to them. You're seeing something that's truly present and authentic.

The image gives an inward vision of what's going on in the relationship with and whomever I'm communicating with. Obviously I had eyesight for many decades before I lost it, but these images aren't images of the past, they're very much in the present moment.

Also there is guidance and direction so that while I am feeling the beingness, the flow of these images that appear in my mind are signposts which I never had before. They guide me to move through that particular experience. There is no conflict. It's all from a place of peace.

LYNN: You know from A Course of Love about “wholeheartedness” being the union of mind and heart. Do you want to say a little bit about that? It sounds like your images are arising in the mind but also from the heart.

EDDIE: Yes, exactly. I'm glad that you brought that up because it is truly wholeheartedness, where the mind and heart are now serving each other. The mind is no longer preeminent. The heart has been elevated and becomes one with the mind, so now there’s a sharing between mind and heart where before the mind didn't trust the feelings of the heart. Now there is absolute trust. And from that trust comes knowing.

I love that term “wholeheartedness” from A Course of Love. I had heard it before but didn't know what it meant. Today I not only know what it means, I've had experiences of it.

I cannot imagine going back to the old way!

In fact I shudder at the thought of it, literally, because now I cannot imagine making any choice, any decision, without being first informed by the heart.

LYNN: Oh wow, that's incredible. I wanted to hear a little bit more about the idea that in order to be who we are, we have to share who we are.

EDDIE: I would love to, because this is my favorite part of—I'm going to use the term Courses. A Course in Miracles gave me insight but I didn't have the lived experience with it. A Course of Love gave me the lived experience of beingness, where giving and having are seen as one, and the law of being is to give is to have, to have is to be, to be is to know, and to know is to feel. From this experience we become aware, and once we become aware we can manifest or extend our being—extend ourselves. And it all starts with giving in terms of service—that's how I see giving—and that brings me to the word “embrace,” which is what you started with in the reading.

It is literally embracing my beingness; and when I embrace my beingness I am free to give, to extend. I am free to be my true self in all things. And from that beingness comes the heart to heart because it recognizes the being in front of me. And remember, it has nothing to do with space or physical location.

I do not see the loss of my sight as something to be pitied. It was the greatest gift of my life. Losing my eyesight got me out of the way. And if I can give to the world even one percent of what I’ve been given as a result of it, I’ll feel blessed.

published several books, including Obstacles to Awakening, Return to Oneness, Learning to Master Your Triggers, The Age of Aquarius and the Second Coming, and others. His website is https://onenessthecourse.com and the interview with Lynn Kidd can be found here^~https://acourseoflove.org/the-embrace-90-the-great-transformation-under-way/~https://acourseoflove.org/wp-content/uploads/2022/09/Patricia-Pearce-3.jpg~The Embrace #90: The Great Transformation Under Way~

Humanity seems to be going in two different directions. There is an impulse towards allowing a new world and a new humanity to arise in which the mind and the heart are united—a new state of consciousness. At the same time, there is a reaction towards the new that is emerging—an attempt to reassert the old order, to try to hold on to what has been.

~Featured Article The Great Transformation Under Way By Patricia Pearce

 

At the same time, there is a reaction towards the new that is emerging—an attempt to reassert the old order, to try to hold on to what has been.

It’s a dramatic process we’re living through, and nature gives us a helpful perspective in the metamorphosis of the caterpillar-chrysalis-butterfly.

In David Korten’s book The Great Turning: From Empire to Earth Community, he explains how, before it begins its metamorphosis, the caterpillar gorges itself—eating as much as it possibly can, just as humanity has also been gorging on the resources of our planet.

Then it attaches itself to a branch, encloses itself into a sheath, and hangs as a chrysalis for about two weeks as the caterpillar begins a journey towards its own transformation. Its body turns into a soup. Its body dissolves. Within this soup, the DNA that holds the code for the butterfly becomes activated and gives rise to what are called “imaginal cells.” These imaginal cells begin to find one another. They begin to form what are called “imaginal buds,” which are the nascent organs of the new butterfly.

Right now on the planet we see imaginal cells—people—arising from this social soup, who are containing a vision for something new. Collectively we contain a knowing of a new thing that is coming. And we are finding one another.

But the thing that is so instructive—at least for me and for us in this moment—is that in this process of the chrysalis, as these imaginal buds are beginning to take shape, the immune system of caterpillar is still intact enough to be able to detect what is happening. And determining that these imaginal buds are actually foreign to itself, it begins to attack them. It sees this emerging thing as alien, as a threat.

The immune system of the caterpillar is unable to recognize its own transformed self as expressed by these imaginal buds. This is exactly what is happening in society today, mostly unconsciously. There is fear of what is happening—the dissolution of the old order and arising of the new—and this has triggered an attempt to reinstate the world that has been and to annihilate the expression of the New.

In the chrysalis, though, the imaginal cells do not attack back. Instead, they keep emerging. They keep finding each other. They keep connecting. They keep forming the new organism.

That, to me, is what we are called to be doing right now—not to overreact to the attacks, but to continue aligning ourselves with the energy and the frequency of the new consciousness that wants to arise, and finding others who are doing the same. Connecting. And in this connection we create the new pattern. We allow the new to take shape in our own beings as well as in the collective.

Eventually in the chrysalis, the imaginal cells become so numerous that they overwhelm the immune system and the new organism comes forth—the beautiful butterfly that lives lightly on the earth, a pollinator of flowers, a thing of beauty that has emerged from this stunning metamorphosis.

Jesus makes good use of this pattern of nature: You might think of the caterpillar as the unaltered self with which you began your journey. You might think of your body as the cocoon, the carrier of your potential. You might think of the butterfly as your spirit, revealed only after the potential has matured and been released. . . . To attempt to remain within the cocoon of the body, to attempt to contain the spirit within that cocoon, is to attempt the impossible. It is the nature of spirit to become. . . . Yet the body is not left behind. The caterpillar, the cocoon, and the butterfly have always been one and remain one. Each form is but a different stage in the becoming of the spirit. (ACOL D:Day24.5-7)

The caterpillar and the butterfly are not two separate creatures, but the same creature that has profoundly transformed. That is what’s happening now. We are one humanity, one mind, one heart, and we are undergoing a transformation so profound that it seems like a new thing.

Currently we’re in this chrysalis where things seem to be “hanging in the balance.” It is up to us to trust the process that is underway. Not be thrown off our path by attacks. Not to defend or counterattack. But just to continue to tune in to the new consciousness that is coming and to find one another. That allows the new organism to emerge. Jesus’ voice rings with power when he speaks of the New:

Creation of the new has begun. We are an interactive part of this creative act of a loving Creator. . . . Your willingness for the new, a willingness that included the leaving behind of the old, a willingness that included the leaving behind of fear and judgment and a separate will, was necessary to begin creation of the new. Your former willingness to accept the old but kept creation's power harnessed to the old.

 What will the future hold? It is up to us dear brothers and sisters. It is up to us acting as one body, one mind, one heart. It is up to us creating as one body, one mind, one heart. Because it is the new future of a new form joined in unity and relationship, the only guarantees that are known to us is that it will be a future of love, a future without fear, a future with unlimited freedom. For what more could we ask? And what more could be asked of us?

The Great Turning: From Empire to Earth Community^https://patriciapearce.com/
. The author of two books, Beyond Jesus: My Spiritual Odyssey and No One in I Land: A Parable of Awakening^~https://acourseoflove.org/the-embrace-89-from-courtroom-to-classroom-to-playground/~https://acourseoflove.org/wp-content/uploads/2022/09/Scott-Grace-2.jpg~The Embrace #89: From Courtroom to Classroom to Playground~

I’m writing this while in a playground. Where are you? Pretend with me for a moment that there are only four places you can be on Earth at any given time: a prison, a courtroom, a classroom, or a playground. The prison is where we go when we have convicted ourselves of a crime.

~Featured Article From Courtroom to Classroom to Playground​! By Scott Grace

 

Pretend with me for a moment that there are only four places you can be on Earth at any given time: a prison, a courtroom, a classroom, or a playground.

The prison is where we go when we have convicted ourselves of a crime. To do this one must believe in their own guilt with conviction. If you are practicing a case against yourself, please do be careful of things like A Course in Miracles or A Course on Love. They might just make an ex-con out of you.

Within the prison lies a courtroom. This is where most of humanity currently resides, standing trial for their trials, never realizing that there is no judge outside of their own ego, unaware that they are being tried by a jury of their fears.

Come on in. Let’s take a look and listen. Can you hear it?

The prosecuting attorney is busy making sure there is plenty of evidence for your guilt, or, when that gets tiring, someone else’s. His job is to make sure your joyful inner child never escapes prison.

By the way, when your inner child is behind bars he becomes vulnerable to being abused by other inmates.

When we believe that punishment serves a good purpose, every one of us is behind bars, and we are all doing time.

Our defense attorney is also present, with plenty of evidence for your innocence. But usually the prosecution objects so loudly the defense lawyer goes unheard. Note that the dress code in the courtroom is quite formal and very uncomfortable.

On an aside, perhaps I can explain why aristocrats are actually voted in: Scared human egos are feeling powerless, out of control, and are in the market for anyone who promises to restore order in the court! Whether it be Hitler or someone more recently, the promise of more order in the court is what seduces us into choosing a leader drunk with power.

Let’s take a recess. The schoolroom is open. Class is in session. The classroom is where we go to learn lessons, take tests, and continue to higher education. Bring on A Course in Miracles, The Way of Mastery, A Course on Love, Choose Only Love, and many other disciplines and practices.

Study, study, study!

Perhaps it’s time for a study break. The playground is where we learn our Earth lessons at lightning speed. That is why babies gobble up languages so fast. They are not trying to learn. Joy is their classroom. We can all be happy learners.

The only tool needed to go from one location to a more desirable one is awareness. Nothing more, nothing less.

Teach Me How To Love
, and Oh the Places Your Ego Will Go. His ACIM-inspired songs can be enjoyed on Spotify under his old name, Scott Kalechstein. He has a life coaching practice, and moonlights as a spiritual stand-up comedian. www.scottsongs.com^~https://acourseoflove.org/the-embrace-88-mazzie-come-home/~https://acourseoflove.org/wp-content/uploads/2022/08/Janine-3.jpg~The Embrace #88: Mazzie Come Home~

A few days ago, our sweet puppy, Mazzie, stealthily slipped out our back gate while my husband, Jere, was absorbed in his music and transporting brush from our yard. Mazzie loves to chase bunnies! It’s evident she was born for this! It is her greatest passion and gives her boundless energy.

~Featured Article Mazzie Come Home! By Janine Miller-DeLany

 

Now, normally, on such an occasion as this, Jere and I would spend the next 2 and a half hours chasing her around a 2 mile radius of our house. It's become quite a game to her, and she LOVES it! She darts in and out of the neighbor's bushes happily hiding from us and then magically appearing again if we've lost track of her. We usually end up thoroughly exhausted and recognize all the while that she will only let us catch her when she is good and tired and ready to come home.

This time was different, however. We finally got smart and put a GPS tracker on her. Sure, we chased her for about 45 mins. But then we thought, hmmm, perhaps we should just let her have some fun and we'll sit back and just keep an eye on her whereabouts through our phones. You see, the tracker updates her location at our request and we can see exactly where she is (at least momentarily) by looking at the app on our phone.

So we decided to let Mazzie have her fun this time. And we sat down to eat dinner, though a bit nervously. We had a pretty strong feeling that she knew where home was and we wanted to see if she would return on her own when she was tired and ready for food and water. Now, Mazzie is a beagle. Beagles are natural runners and hunters; it's not typically in their nature to just come when called as in many of those more eager-to-please breeds. Hence, most of our research simply suggests at least five-foot high fencing to prevent these escapades. Basically, our little experiment felt a tad bit risky.

We tried to enjoy our dinner but, I confess, we were both a little uneasy. It was evening, soon it would be dark, and trying to find her small black frame, possibly in the woods and creek behind our home, would be almost impossible.

So we sat and ate, periodically checking the GPS for reassurance that she was still fairly nearby. About an hour and a half after her romp began, Jere walked outside to see if she was in sight and looking tired yet. Relief flooded through me as I watch him walk in with a very thirsty puppy, exclaiming, "look who decided to come home!" He noted that at his first call she came happily running to greet him. Whew!! Our experiment yielded our greatest hope! She did know HOME and she would eventually decide to return!

A tiny glimmering of memory has returned to you and will not leave you to the chaos you seem to prefer. It will keep calling you to acknowledge it and let it grow. It will tug at your heart in the most gentle of ways. Its whisper will be heard within your thoughts. Its melody will play within your mind. “Come back, come back,” it will say to you. “Come home, come home,” it will sing. You will know there is a place within yourself where you are missed and longed for and safe and loved. A little peace has been made room for in the house of your insanity. (ACOL C:10.32)

I can only imagine that Mazzie enjoyed following her bliss all the more, because she knew what we didn't know she knew. She knew where home was. And she stayed fairly close so she couldn't get lost.

Do you ever wonder, if we stayed a little closer to home in our hearts, whether that would help us to savor and enjoy this life experience all the more? You dwell not here, but in eternity. You travel but in dreams while safe at home. Give thanks to every part of you that you have taught how to remember you. (ACIM TX:12.76)

After all, Home, Love Itself, is always there tracking us and happily waiting for our return. Can we too give ourselves permission to stay close and return home when we are tired and need to replenish from this adventure we call life?

Love Itself gave me this message:

Return to Me. 

For in your release of your attachment to the body, the mind, and your preconceived beliefs, there do you feel the weight of earthly cares and forces lift from your being. 

There do you find a peace that passes all understanding and an awareness of love that never ends.

As you stay with Me, patient in your trust of what will be revealed to you, does it dawn upon you, a knowing that you exist in a realm of infinite possibilities. 

Each is there for your choosing and immediately available upon your acceptance.

As you return to Me, each moment, do you choose again the life you wish and the heaven you wish to see. For it is always and now, ever here for you.

www.theheartsway.org. Janine can be reached at janine@theheartsway.org^~https://acourseoflove.org/the-embrace-87-lightening-up-body-and-soul/~https://acourseoflove.org/wp-content/uploads/2022/07/Lana-Carolan-2.jpg~The Embrace #87: Lightening Up, Body and Soul~

Jesus was giving me the following information as I was typing. At times it seemed as if Jesus was talking, and at other times, me. Jesus: “Remember the hot and cold water flowing through and coming out of the same water spout.”

~Featured Article Lightening Up, Body and Soul By Lana Carolan

 

Jesus: “Remember the hot and cold water flowing through and coming out of the same water spout.”

So this is a blend of Jesus/Me, or Jesus coming through me as me.

My experience: I felt myself spinning around as an electron or proton and that I was an atom, every atom, and ALL atoms, an eternity of atoms. I was twirling around and around as in a rainbow-colored tornado, yet it was as gentle as could be—utter peace and the glorious feeling of Love emanating all around me, consuming me fully, like fireworks sparkling, sparkles like diamonds falling all around me. I was one of them, whiter than white, brighter than bright. Pure gold—indescribable! He/we said:

"Everything is a degree or density of energy. Energy is eternal. Even a single atom, which is actually empty space, is energy. Energy is a single reality of Truth. The denser the energy, the slower the movement of energy, and the more seemingly solid is its manifestation. It is still all empty space, just atoms jammed closer together that give the illusion of solidity. Atoms are indestructible. They can be split but not destroyed. The first atom that began life is still present. The first "Adam" of life is still alive and well in creation.

"Awareness of embodiments do not represent a separate world.

The denser energies just hide it. As we literally ‘lighten up’ we become able to become aware of aspects of consciousness that are aware of other embodiments. Dense body forms can be occupied which seem to be consecutive (many forms back-to-back) and sequential (serially, one form following another), yet always simultaneous. It is the soul ‘lightening up.’

“As we lighten up while in form, our energy starts to reflect the actual purity of the Soul, and pieces start to fall into place. Veils fall. We recognize our inner light rays of being, as Jesus did. As we drop the denser bodies, we embody less dense ones. Embodiments become lighter and lighter until none are needed.

“All embodiments exist here and now in the forever of eternity. Lighter ones are aware of the denser ones. The so-called "departed" are not departed at all, they are just a lighter density and outside of our awareness. Yet they continue to be aware of us.

“Jesus' initial transformation was to a light body at his resurrection but required no body at all after the Ascension.

“All ‘forms’ exist together in the unity of God. All form is energy, empty space seeming solid.

It is nearly impossible for dense body-like energies to see beyond themselves. Only the Atonement can accomplish this. As we undo, we ‘lighten up’ and we see and are seen with a new kind of clarity. Mental communication between embodiments is then possible. As you know, beautiful Child of Light, the lightest and most pure of all energy is love, what you call God. That is the ultimate Ascension: the pure energy of God, the spark of creation.”

Then I found my energy/consciousness in a lush and gorgeous garden and I am a part of it. Not in a human form, but in it/as it. There seems to be no delineation between the garden and my consciousness. I'm not sure exactly what I am—a ladybug? Maybe a flower? I have no idea, but my consciousness seems to be at an extremely high level of awareness. I know intuitively I am in God's world, the world He loves and gave to us. A world He wants me to know, too.

The experience is sublime. The sights, scents, and sounds are glorious. There are other senses available here that I have no words for. I never want to leave. There are colors I've never seen before and can't describe. Beautiful trees that are unimaginable. Animals peacefully travel about me and through me, with me, as me. This can't be three dimensional. It's like I'm inside a multi-faceted diamond. There are no words. This must truly be a part of Heaven. Feeling so safe, so loved and so free. (Jesus is smiling)

Jesus: “Continue non-resistance to energies, all energies. Stay light. (He winks.) Eat them up like PacMan transforming everything.”

I felt myself falling, but gently, like I had a parachute, falling back into something. I immediately felt homesick.

Facebook
or email her at lcarolan49@gmail.com^~https://acourseoflove.org/the-embrace-86-learning-to-be-100-percent/~https://acourseoflove.org/wp-content/uploads/2022/05/Cay-Villars.jpg~The Embrace #86: Learning to Be 100 Percent~

Many on the spiritual path have mentioned that there are “stepping stones” along the journey. At first, I didn’t understand. Over time I realized that when I am willing, the Holy Spirit provides the exact steps needed to help me find the way home to Love, the natural state of Peace and Joy.

~Featured Article Learning to Be 100 Percent By Cay Villars

 

I had been studying A Course in Miracles (ACIM) for a few years when I heard from the Holy Spirit/Jesus that I was to drive to Dallas to visit another ACIM student. I also had a family reunion upcoming in New Orleans. It may seem like a rather long route from Houston to Dallas to New Orleans, yet I’ve learned that Holy Spirit does not follow the conveniences of the world.

In Dallas I was guided to join ACIM groups, yet there weren’t any nearby with the right timing to join during my stay in Dallas. What did “come up on the radar” was an A Course of Love (ACOL) group only a short distance from where I was staying. Even though I didn’t know anything about ACOL, I heard the call to go to this meeting. I see now that the only way to truly reap the fruits of the Holy Spirit is to follow even when you don’t know anything.

The group leader, Judy, and the ACOL group members were very welcoming.

As they read the text aloud, I could hear the beauty of ACOL.

Now that I am willing to hear Jesus clearly and fully, he tells me that he is behind the writing of this text as a helpful means to spiritual awakening.

The most important purpose of texts like ACIM and ACOL is to start a full conversation with Jesus/Holy Spirit. As he says about ACIM, “you have to forget the Course” because there can be a tendency to read a text over and over and completely miss a full grasp of the message! This is true of all spiritual texts. Once the conversation with Jesus/HS becomes the only Voice worth hearing, following the “book” is transcended. It becomes direct experience—the full meaning of the message is an unending celebration within.

There is nothing special about hearing Jesus. Jesus says it is natural to hear him and if we don’t, there is some desire not to hear that must be cleared/forgiven. The real question is, how devoted are we to following?

Jesus does not make one spiritual text “better” than another.

Each has an important purpose as long as he guides which text is used, how it is used, and its interpretation. There is nothing quite like having a direct conversation with Jesus about these texts! Many students have fallen into the trap of arguing over texts or what versions are to be used. Jesus merely states that it is always about following guidance (the steps) for what is most helpful for ceasing to deny inner Light.

The curriculum may seem to take many forms; ultimately, however, it is always the same—“Follow my lead”; “Cease to deny what you already are”; and “If you are willing, I will show you how you are denying who you are.”

I was guided to ACOL for a while, then he sent me to the Urtext of ACIM and other teachings that he dictated directly to me. His point is, “get the lesson!” He is always the one to know which text, what timing, and specifically how to use it most effectively to save time in spiritual awakening. Jesus taught me that the ego can use various texts and “spiritual programs” for a lot of mental gymnastics to avoid the atonement!

Many hear the Voice and write down his words. But he says it is rare to find one who will follow him without any compromise to an abiding awakening, or Choiceless Awareness.

I accepted the invitation to join the ACOL group again before leaving Dallas. In addition to discovering the beauty of ACOL and devoted mighty companions, there was another step. I shared with Judy that I was on my way to a family reunion and had no idea how I was going to cook grits for 80 people. She promptly gave me two crock pots that she was planning to give away! I drove to New Orleans and cooked grits for 80 people.

Next? HS said, “donate the crock pots to a food shelter!” HS led me to a stunning holy encounter with Pamela McKay, of God’s Unchanging Hands Feeding Ministry in Covington, Louisiana. When she dropped by to pick up the crock pots, Pam launched into a full “how to follow Jesus and all the benefits of following him'' session! She shared how Jesus had told her to start the food pantry from scratch.

I was transfixed by her dedication and trust in following Jesus. Pamela knows of neither ACOL nor ACIM. What she has is the one thing that we all need, which extends beyond reading any spiritual text—the faith, trust, and commitment to fully follow without question the steps that Jesus gives.

What joy it was to email Judy and my ACOL mighty companions to share the holy encounter story of the crockpot that came full circle to Jesus.

Cay Villars is a mystic and typed the text Jesus: A New Covenant as dictated by Jesus.

Jesus: A New Covenant^join@joininginlight.net^~https://acourseoflove.org/the-embrace-85-ukraine-an-invitation-to-love/~https://acourseoflove.org/wp-content/uploads/2022/04/Patricia-Pearce2-scaled.jpg~The Embrace #85: Ukraine: An Invitation to Love~~

Issue No. 85

As I sit down to write this article, the war in Ukraine is in its fourth week. As we witness the horror and brutality being unleashed in that country, many of us are asking ourselves: How can we contribute to the healing that is so obviously needed in our world right now? What does it mean to offer a miracle in this historic moment?

It is helpful to remember that what we are witnessing is nothing new. It is but one more graphic display of the mind’s original error of separateness that has been playing out for millennia. Once the mind embraced the fallacious idea of separateness, it became inevitable that it would attempt to divide reality into good and bad, us and them, enemies and heroes, perpetrators and victims, conquerors and conquered.

But this attempt to divide reality, no matter how violently enacted, is and always will be futile. Reality cannot be divided. Love cannot be destroyed; and it is this understanding that enables us to hold all that we are witnessing with equanimity and compassion.

Going to the Headwaters

I had a dream a few weeks ago while I was on retreat that has continued to linger with me, especially in light of what we are witnessing in Ukraine. In the dream I am walking along an old, cobblestoned city street. Walking in the opposite direction was a large group of people who were participating in some sort of action or demonstration, I think having to do with the climate crisis.

As I walked I realized that what I wanted to do was not to focus on the manifestations of the climate crisis, but to go to its headwaters, to the point where it originates in consciousness. There, I know, is where healing and transformation will happen.

The same could be said for the crisis of war, or any of the global crises we are facing. They are all expressions and outgrowths of an erroneous idea that found its way into our consciousness; and the only true resolution of these crises will occur when the underlying error has been abandoned. As the well-known Vedic saying states: “War begins in the minds of men.”

Going to the headwaters is something each of us can do. When we notice that place within our own mind that is harboring the patterns that we see playing out in this war—thoughts of division, of sides, of enemies, of attack—and dissolve those thought patterns in love, we make a lasting contribution to a world of peace.

We are the original victims of our own mental warfare, and so this stance of love begins within ourselves. We inflict tremendous suffering on ourselves when we judge ourselves and engage in self-loathing. This inner violence towards ourselves is the same violence that ripples out into hostilities in the world.

Seeing Together

Since the pandemic first began over two years ago, I have been intrigued by the fact that Covid, were it a word, would literally mean “to see together” (co- together; vid- to see). For me, that sums up this remarkable moment in our collective dream. We are “seeing together” things that in the past we couldn’t see, or simply refused to see.

Now that technology that has connected us globally, we are seeing together the virulence of racism, the dire consequences of our alienation from the Earth, the vast inequalities of wealth. We are seeing together how eagerly we divide ourselves into camps of us-versus-them, and how enthusiastically the mind embraces falsehoods that reinforce its narrative of division. And now, with this war in Ukraine, we are seeing together the shocking insanity of war.

This is a time of great reckoning for us as a human species. Seeing the mind’s insanity so clearly manifested in so many distinct yet inter-related forms, many of us are experiencing a deepening commitment to awaken from this illusory dream of the ego. That awakening dawns fully within us when we not only see the insanity that our minds have been harboring, but also realize that we are not and never have been judged because of it.

An Outbreak of Love

So what does it mean to offer a miracle in the case of this war?

It is the same as in any scenario: to allow our own perception to be corrected so that we are able to see and stand in the divine essence of all the players in this conflict. As A Course of Love states: . . .  social causes, environmental causes, political causes. The cause of all these issues is fear. The cause and effect of love is all that will replace these causes of fear with the means and end that will transform them along with you. You are means and end. It is within your power to be saviors of the world. It is from within that your power will save the world. (D:Day 10.37)

It is to recognize that no matter how extreme or violent humankind's expressions of separateness may be, they can never achieve the impossible. They can never make illusion real. They can never destroy our divine nature. They can never sever us from love.

As A Course in Miracles says, everything is either an expression of love or a cry for love. What we are seeing playing out right now in Ukraine is a tremendous cry for love. What if we then allow this outbreak of aggression to be the impetus for an equally stunning outbreak of compassion? What if we see this war as a calling for each of us to express love in new and creative ways—not only toward those who are experiencing the direct effects of this conflict, but with every one we meet? And what if we begin that outbreak of love with ourselves—accepting, finally, the eternal and inviolable beauty of our own divine nature?

The only replacement that can occur that will accomplish what you seek is the replacement of illusion with the truth, the replacement of fear with love, the replacement of your separated self with your real Self, the Self that rests in unity.  (ACOL C:9.24)

This war, if we let it, can be a catalyst for our hearts to open as never before. This can be the moment when we commit ourselves fully and unequivocally to choose only love no matter what illusions the egoic mind is enacting. And because all is interconnected, each and every expression of love diminishes the energy of fear on this planet and hastens our collective awakening to the truth of who we are.

Receiver of the seriesCHOOSE ONLY LOVEandPublisher of A COURSE OF LOVE (Spanish Ed.) Will be interviewed on the famousBuddha at the Gas Pump showClick here for the connection Don't miss it! Submit questions! April 102 pm Central Time (Missed it? Go here or to Youtube for the recording) and Just Published!CHOOSE ONLY LOVE:The Way of Being(Vol. 7, last of the Series) Received by Sebastián Blaksley Please order from Amazon, Barnes & Noble, or from your favorite bookstore “Of course it’s happening inside your head, Harry, but why on earth should that mean that it’s not real?” said Albus Dumbledore in “Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows.”

In my experience life is real, all right! I’d have to be pretty oblivious to claim otherwise. And at the same time it’s kind of not real. I agree with Dumbledore. It’s a quantum both/and kind of thing. It all depends on who is looking and responding. My self as a lonely separate human, often terrified, struggling to survive, and competing for my fair share? Or my Self joining with all—including and especially that lonely, terrified self—part of the whole as a divine human being, knowing I am never alone, and choosing as often as I can remember to be/give/receive the love, joy, safety, and abundance I seek? For there’s no place “outside” of Oneness! No “where” to leave “out” anyone or anything! It’s all within me, and I get to choose my response.

I wrote the above words three years ago and today they still renew my moment-to-moment devotion to joining in union and relationship with all that is unfolding in Ukraine, with the devastating floods in Australia, and more importantly joining with all that is arising within me as I follow these tragic events and more. As within, so without: owning my response-ability for resolving all conflict within me. Enfolding with compassion the nameless fear, the swirling anxiety, unloving thoughts, words, deeds, as well as the myriad body aches and joint pains that seem to be calling for my attention.

How thoroughly insane is the idea that to defend from fear is to attack! For here is fear begot and fed with blood, to make it grow and swell and rage. And thus is fear protected, not escaped. Today we learn a lesson which can save you more delay and needless misery than you can possibly imagine. It is this: You make what you defend against, and by your own defense against it is it real and inescapable. Lay down your arms, and only then do you perceive it false. A Course in Miracles, W-pI170.2

In other words, loving it all—out there, in here—same thing! Dissolving all separation everywhere, not just when I feel like it or where it’s convenient. There is no room for playing helpless. There is no one out there whose job it is to fix things. There is no other out there to blame. There is no turning back. It’s time to claim our creator selves.

For every joining, every union that you enter into, your real world is increased and what is left to terrify you decreased. This is the only loss that union generates, and it is a loss of what was merely illusion. A Course of Love, C:5.28

There will never be a better time than now to walk in the world as it is, simply doing what feels loving, one step at a time, one moment at a time, trusting our heart prompts, blessing all indiscriminately, loving all unconditionally. And remembering to ask for assistance from the myriad unseen who stand at our side awaiting our invitation!

Now you are called to create reality—a new reality. This is where you begin again. Begin again with the Self you now know yourself to be. A Course of Love, D:Day36.5-6

The only response is Love. The only time is Now. And We are the Ones.

***~Beyond Jesus: My Spiritual Odyssey
and No One in I Land: A Parable of Awakening, She also hosts the free daily online WeAwakening Meditation Community. Find out more at www.patriciapearce.com^^Click here for the connection^Submit questions^here^^http://cocreatingclarity.com^~