~https://acourseoflove.org/the-embrace-103-dear-god-give-me-a-sign/~https://acourseoflove.org/wp-content/uploads/2023/10/Jinnae-Joe-Rodrigo-Anderson-2.jpg~The Embrace #103: Dear God, Give Me a Sign!~

At first we could only see his back, but something seemed strange as the elderly man smoothed out and re-arranged the San Francisco T-shirts on their hangers. Adding to the puzzle, the man didn’t acknowledge or greet us, but instead walked to the refrigerator magnets and began to feel them with his hands.

~Featured Article Dear God, Give Me a Sign! By Jinnae Anderson   t first we could only see his back, but something seemed strange as the elderly man smoothed out and re-arranged the San Francisco T-shirts on their hangers. Adding to the puzzle, the man didn’t acknowledge or greet us, but instead walked to the refrigerator magnets and began to feel them with his hands. When he found an empty space, he moved the magnets to fill it in. Realization was just dawning on me when our son Joseph called out, “Excuse me. How much are your water bottles?” Immediately the man came over and took care of our request. As he was working the register, Joe held out the money. The man did nothing, so Joe dropped the bills onto the counter. Then the man held out his hand for the money. There was a hiccup of hesitation on our side. I quickly recovered by picking up the bills and placing them directly into his hand. He asked, “How much is this?” I told him. He gave us change, and we walked away. When we were out of earshot, I asked Joe, “Did you notice something unusual about that man?” Joe had not noticed the novel fact that a blind man was working that booth all by himself. Our day in San Francisco continued with long walks and sea lions and ice cream and a bay cruise. Tired, toward evening we made our way to BART, the subway that would take us to our neighborhood. It was a Saturday. The train was quiet and uncrowded. But as it approached our stop, a young man stormed into our car, looking angry, upset, and terribly impatient. He stopped suddenly, waiting for the doors to open, hands balled up in fists, eyes looking fierce. When we all exited, he turned to Joe and mumbled something. Joe called us over and said, “This man wants to talk to us.” I looked at the poor guy, listened to him mumble, said, “We’re going to head off,” and quickly steered Joe away. Both my husband and I had noted this man and his unusual behavior. I’d chalked it up to either mental health issues or drugs, but either way, my inner red flags were waving hard. Once again, the conversation ensued with Joe about what we’d seen that he did not see, the signals we’d picked up that had passed him by. Joe is so competent now in so many ways. Sometimes I fall into the illusion of thinking he’s no longer autistic–until once again it becomes obvious. In four short months he’ll be leaving the safety of home and his ever-watchful parents, to make his way without us. Oh baby, baby, it’s a wild world. It’s hard to get by just upon a smile. What if a nice-looking woman shows up at his door or on his computer screen, wanting to “get to know” him? What if he’s enticed somewhere dark and evil, and he’s taken advantage of? What if he’s sexually trafficked or sexually harassed by a stranger or even someone in the program? What if he doesn’t see the signs to avoid any of those horrible things? “What if?” screams my mind. “WHAT THE **!!*’9@% IF???” Love or fear, Yoga Mother. There are only two choices: love or fear. Breathe. All the way to the belly. Come back to the present. Pull the mind away from that hellish place into THIS moment, where none of that is happening. Again, I come to two choices: projecting fear or extending love. And then the quiet voice of my soul whispers, “What if?” “What if we look to Joseph’s future with wonder? With innocence and curiosity? With expectations of a life made up of loving relationships, meaningful work, and overall happiness?” “But that rarely happens for people with autism,” argues my mind. “Look at the stats!” Then I am gently reminded of these questions from A Course of Love: Do I really need to worry about this situation, or can I affect this situation simply by not worrying about it and allowing it to be and unfold as it will? While I realize that the facts would tell me this or that is true, I wonder what would happen if I disregarded the facts and was open to this being something else? D:14.5 Oh, Jesus. Literally oh, Jesus. Once again, I see my life mirrored in Joe’s. Do I ignore the signs from my soul, from God Him/Herself, and live instead in an insane world of fear and illusion? Or do I pay attention to the still, small voice within to remember that there is so much more going on than how it looks? That miracles happen? That life gives each of us our own individually-designed, perfect curriculum? I choose inner stillness, a so-close relationship with God that I see the signs I am constantly given. And I choose love. I choose positive expectations. I choose radical trust. And in this trust I allow my life, and Joseph’s life, to unfold as it will. And so it is~~~https://acourseoflove.org/the-embrace-102-a-most-remarkable-mystical-experience/~https://acourseoflove.org/wp-content/uploads/2023/09/Margaret-Dulaney.jpg~The Embrace #102: A Most Remarkable Mystical Experience~

I’ve been thinking a lot lately of the belief, shared by many of those whom I admire, many whom I read, some centuries old, of the eventual coming of a new era of peace to the planet.

~Featured Article A Most Remarkable Mystical Experience By Margaret Dulaney   've been thinking a lot lately of the belief, shared by many of those whom I admire, many whom I read, some centuries old, of the eventual coming of a new era of peace to the planet. Some see it as a return to the garden, so to speak: a time when we will put down our dashing-around ways, to lead a simpler, more love-filled life of small community kindnesses, with an emphasis on education and healthy gardens. This picture of the new Eden has been envisioned for thousands of years, often predicted to be imminent, so far elusive, and yet hoped for. Every day for the past fifty years or so, I have repeated the line from the Lord’s Prayer, “Thy Kingdom come, thy will be done.” Only recently has it occurred to me that it might be nice to exchange the word “come” with the word “rise”: Thy Kingdom rise. For I sense that this might be more of a rising out of the inhabitants of the Earth rather than an arrival to the Earth and its inhabitants. The idea that the New Kingdom will rise out of each of us, to eventually reach a tipping point, which will precipitate a spilling over and into peace, resonates. I have in the past two years read a series of books called Choose Only Love by an Argentinian man named Sebastián Blaksley. Sebastián is a Christian mystic of sorts. A life-long practicing Catholic, he was gifted as a child with small hints of the mystical, leaned toward a profession in the church, but made the decision as a young adult to join the secular world. He worked for international corporations, married, and had two children. It was in his middle years when he was revisited by the mystical and began to receive a series of heavenly visions. These were quite profound events, which led him to write a series of seven books on Love (Love with a capital L.) I found these writings to be revelatory, and consumed them hungrily. It was no great leap for me to embrace Sebastián’s revelations. I was raised on Christian mysticism, with a grandmother who was a follower of the writings of the Christian mystic Rudolf Steiner, and I have continued throughout my life to be drawn to the writings of the mystics of all faiths and of all eras. The overall message in this series of books is the conviction that an Era of Peace will rise out of our human hearts, filled and driven by heavenly love. This makes such practical sense to me that my inner skeptic can find little purchase to disbelieve. The truth is, I so wish to believe that this shift in global consciousness will someday emerge, that I found myself wide open to Sebastián’s conviction. His assurance brings me several steps closer to embracing as an inevitability the idea of this great change. His writings echoed my own suspicion that the New World will rise up and out of our hearts, rather than descend from the heavens, as in the traditional view of the Second Coming. In Sebastian’s visions, the light of Christ, or as I like to think, the light of pure wisdom and love given to all of us from God, will shine brighter and brighter until we can no longer exist in darkness. At which point we will lay down our arms (or divisions) and learn to love one another. Of course, there will be those who resist this shining, who are not ready for the change, but the tipping point will bring about the great shift in global consciousness, ushering in a new way of living. I was introduced to Sebastián Blaksley from an online interview I watched, conducted by the Center for Contemporary Mysticism. It was a simple affair, held online, between the interviewer Patricia Pearce and the author, who appeared a gentle man in his middle years. As Sebastian spoke from his home in Argentina, I sat on my couch in Pennsylvania with a friend whom I had invited to watch the interview with me. Somewhere about three quarters of the way through the program, Sebastian explained how he viewed the Second Coming as being more of the spirit of Love rising up from our individual hearts than the return of the spirit manifested in a single human being. It was during this moment when I began to have my own mystical vision. And please don’t think this is a regular occurrence with me. I was quite mystified, shook my head several times, looked over to see if my friend was experiencing what I was experiencing—which she was clearly not—and returned my gaze to stare with wide-eyed wonder at the screen. “What the heck?” I thought… Sebastián’s face, to my perception, was undergoing a series of marked transfigurations. He moved from Sebastián to another, completely different person, and then to another younger, totally dissimilar person, to another, wildly distinctive ethnic person (one clean-shaven, the next with a beard), and finally, on one occasion, appeared as a woman. I watched as he became at least seven distinctly different people, after which he returned to being Sebastián, and the vision ended. Of course, there was no doubt that I was to explore this man’s writings. This was just so . . . so biblical, or maybe I should say, so in line with the mystics of all traditions, with their unitive view of mankind, with the Great Spirit manifested through all our spirits. This idea of the rising of a New Era brings to mind the natural growth of a single human being. Our adult selves rise up and out of the seed of our child selves. The adult grows and becomes. The youth, at a certain age between childhood and adulthood, must be given the freedom to make mistakes in order to learn from the consequences of behavior and grow in wisdom. This is how I see what Christians refer to as The Fall, in reference to Adam and Eve’s choice to eat of the fruit of the tree of knowledge, and the free will that they were given to help them to make their own way. In the case of children, this seems the only way to bring about the emergence of the adult. Humanity must, like a child, be given its freedom in order to claw its way up and into adulthood. Perhaps this massive global consciousness of ours could be likened to a single youth, about to blossom into adulthood? Sometimes I will ask myself, when making a tough decision, “What would an adult do?” I know I’m in my sixties, but I can revert when challenged. Many of my more childish reactions are those where I decide to look away, not to get involved when someone might need my attention. My inner adult needs constant prompting, it seems. “Just go and talk to them directly, be an adult,” I will say to myself. It is a childish habit not to speak to people directly when one is having an issue. We do this when we go to the boss to complain about a co-worker, for instance, instead of first going to the co-worker to give them a chance to hear us and a chance to respond. We won’t know whether either of us has reached adulthood until we try this direct method of communication. I believe that most of my childish responses to life have involved choosing not to speak. I can imagine that some would say the opposite. That many times the childish response is to speak too quickly, and without thought. Maybe what I should say is that thoughtful, honest communication might be a sign of the blossoming of adulthood, and, interestingly, a sign of the rising of the New Era on the planet. Adults talking to one another, thoughtfully, to end division, to return to the garden. Perhaps it’s enough to practice this simple strategy of careful dialogue in our daily dealings with mankind, animal kind, plant kind~~~https://acourseoflove.org/the-embrace-101-our-direct-relationship-with-god/~https://acourseoflove.org/wp-content/uploads/2023/08/Alice-Friend-2-1.jpg~The Embrace #101: Our Direct Relationship with God~

We can all have a direct relationship with God. We each have an experience of the Divine in our human relationships. Jesus always claimed this for Himself and we can do the same. And the goal of having direct relationship with God is clearly revealed in A Course of Love, Choose Only Love and A Course in Christ.

~Featured Article Our Direct Relationship with God By Alice Friend   e can all have a direct relationship with God. We each have an experience of the Divine in our human relationships. Jesus always claimed this for Himself and we can do the same. And the goal of having direct relationship with God is clearly revealed in A Course of Love, Choose Only Love and A Course in Christ. But what does it mean? How does it feel? We do not need anything outside ourselves to bring the direct experience of God into our hearts. We no longer need intermediaries (and never really did need them) to tell us what God says. We have the inner-hearing ability ourselves. It’s all within us, and the experience is always a heart-centered one. The “ears of my heart,” the eternal heart within my temporary physical one, hears my Creator communing with me. Is this the Voice for God, the Holy Spirit? God tells me, "yes." Holy Spirit and God are united. Of course! Come with me now and let’s play with time. Let’s time travel back 2000 years and eavesdrop on Jesus standing among olive trees, wild rosemary, and thyme bushes in a garden at dawn, talking with God. The “channel” between them completely open, free, and lucid. Jesus is inviting God to guide and help him to know what and how to say and feel for the day ahead. Through the inner language of the soul, God accompanies Jesus and they unite in Divine Love. All is available and freely revealed. Giving and receiving are the same in Love. Jesus becomes God and God becomes Jesus, knowingly. There is no separation. Feel the holy union taking place in that garden. Feel the inner dialogue between them. Feel the peace, love, joy, and total faith moving automatically through the body and mind of Jesus in this holy union. Is this not familiar to your soul? To witness this joining with Jesus and God is also to witness your own union with your Maker. It gives permission to be completely uninhibited in a direct personal communion with the Divine. Jesus sets the example, being fully who He is so I, too, can be fully who I Am—the I Am is the Holy Union, the Holy One that communes with my Self. Communing with God is my birthright, natural and joyous. It is always filled only with pure, clear love. It is Love that I am communing with, and it is direct and unimpeded. It is my personal experience and built-in as an eternal part of myself ("I am as God created me"). How can anyone, any organization, or anything outside tell me it is wrong to talk directly with God? How can anyone tell me that to do so is forbidden because I am a woman? How can any source outside of me place their authority over the Author of my life? God is my Creator, my Author, and we are one. The communication between us is built into my being and all beings. Many years ago I asked God who or what is the anti-Christ. I received an immediate answer: "The anti-Christ is anyone or any organization that denies you are Christ." In other words, any source that would deny me having a direct relationship with the Christ I Am. So simple and so true. When I read spiritual books, I know whether the author is writing from his or her direct experience with God, with Love. Love's messages are familiar to my soul. They bring forth the awareness of my own Christ Self. As it says in Choose Only Love, "The living Christ that lives in you is what keeps you united with God. The living Christ that lives in you is the relationship you have with your being and its source, being both your being and your source, since they are of the same nature." Direct communication with the Divine is true wisdom and guidance. It is tender, sweet, yet strong in its power and the presence of Love. Often the words from small children can awe me when I hear uncensored and loving wisdom coming from them. They know. They have brought their knowing with them—until they forget and doubt it. Many years ago a client came to me for a “reading” with my guide, Golden Flame. She asked why she could not have a healthy, loving romantic relationship. She asked why she was always wanting to change whoever she was with. This was the answer: "Deep within us there seems to be an empty space that we think can be filled with a romantic relationship. Think of this space having a shape much like a puzzle piece that only the perfect shape of that one puzzle piece can fill. When you have a relationship you try to force and mold the other, in vain, to fit that empty space, and it never does fit perfectly. When you fill that empty space with your loving relationship with God, it fits perfectly, and you do not feel that emptiness any more. It is then that you can have healthy human relationships because the most important one has been filled and there is a completeness inside you. All other relationships come from that One." Even though that answer was for someone else, it was also for me. I have never forgotten it. Our uninhibited, trusting, joyous, loving relationship and dialogue with God is already within us all. When we have the faith to use this Holy Communion we are blessed, feel that life is easier, and have a deep peace that goes beyond human understanding. Without doubt we all have a direct relationship with God~~~https://acourseoflove.org/the-embrace-100-the-embrace-continuing-the-dialogue/~https://acourseoflove.org/wp-content/uploads/2022/08/Glenn-Hovemann-2.jpg~The Embrace #100: The Embrace: Continuing the Dialogue~

Dear readers of The Embrace, even though I’ve been publishing this little newsletter for almost eight years, this is the very first time I’ve written for it. Not because I’m shy or have nothing to say. But because it’s intended to be a way for YOU, our spiritually-alive readers, to share your inspiration arising from A Course of Love (ACOL) or Choose Only Love (CHOL).

~Featured Article The Embrace: Continuing the Dialogue By Glenn Hovemann   ear readers of The Embrace, even though I’ve been publishing this little newsletter for almost eight years, this is the very first time I’ve written for it. Not because I’m shy or have nothing to say. But because it’s intended to be a way for YOU, our spiritually-alive readers, to share your inspiration arising from A Course of Love (ACOL) or Choose Only Love (CHOL). This newsletter doesn’t teach anything, it’s about sharing. I think of it as a dialogue of inspired voices. And just consider the variety! “Depression, Acceptance & Transformation” by our late dear friend Douwe vanderZee from South Africa. Paula Hardin’s “Wild Ride” upon discovering ACOL. Sebastián Blaksley’s “Miracles in Buenos Aires,” how ACOL came to him. Miguel Carvalho’s “My Greatest Experience—Ever,” a revelation received during a conference call dialogue. When I discovered ACOL in March, 2013, I knew, from my 35-year association with A Course in Miracles, that Mari Perron had received a spiritual masterpiece from Jesus—a continuation into the spiritual territory begun in ACIM. Mari had been self-publishing ACOL in three volumes for quite a few years when she asked me to publish it. I did so beginning September, 2014, as a single “combined” volume. A “normal” thing to do to promote a spiritual book would be to launch a series of seminars, create a certificate program, or even ordain ministers. But ACOL is far from normal! It’s fundamentally about sharing inspiration through dialogue. And so I launched The Embrace as a place for readers to share inspiration. Mari was willing to write for the inaugural issue in October, 2015. She wrote about how to live simultaneously as humanity and divinity. You can read it in full here. She began, A Course of Love asks us to enter new territory. The territory of conscious awareness. This territory is not only the territory of the heart, but of feelings beyond the ordinary senses. . . . I like to speak of these sensations—these "thoughts we don't think"—as feeling states. “Thoughts we don’t think”? Mari had put her finger on a central aspect of living in Christ-consciousness. We might call this kind of thinking “wholeheartedness” or “the art of thought.” It’s a particular attitude of heart that integrates mind and heart. Thoughts we don’t think come to us through our direct relationship with God. And merging into a direct relationship with God is at the core of both ACOL and CHOL. (CHOL, received by Sebastián Blaksley, was published by Take Heart in seven volumes beginning in 2019). Reading spiritual books like these is a powerful start, but they cannot fully quench our hunger and thirst. We ask, “What is next?” In ACOL Jesus answers that question. Your next step, he says, is “to create in community, in dialogue, in commitment and togetherness. You are to be the living Covenant of the New.” Notice particularly the word “dialogue,” a key word that Jesus uses around 168 times in ACOL and 106 times in CHOL. What is “dialogue”? Please don’t think of a dialogue as a “conversation.” Rather, it’s an active form of giving and receiving from the well of spirit. Dialogue becomes possible through a direct relationship with God. The Embrace newsletter is a form of dialogue. But even more important, it’s been a catalyst for hundreds of dialogue groups worldwide. That’s where the real action is—both in-person and online, folks coming together to dip into the well of spirit, and sharing. It’s transformational! Jesus asks us in ACOL, in the strongest possible way, to join in dialogue: Bring your voice to this continuing dialogue. This is all that is asked of you. This is the gift you have been given and the gift you bring the world: your own voice, the voice of Who You Are. . . . It is what will usher in the new and change the world. It cannot be accomplished without you. In CHOL Jesus speaks constantly of dialogue: Listen with joy. This is a direct dialogue between your enamored soul and its mother, the mother of love. It is the perfect dialogue between you and me, a dialogue of love and truth. . . . Through our dialogues, the world becomes more and more illuminated. Heaven extends to Earth through this holy relationship. Merely by reading this newsletter you are bringing your voice, your energy, and your spirit to a continuing dialogue, a relationship with love and truth. Whether you realize it or not, you are broadcasting the voice of love, for that is what you are. Please don’t underestimate the power of your consciousness! Your part in creating the New is essential. Thank you for playing your part, in your own unique way. I wish to acknowledge and thank Rodrigo and Budhi, who for over a year have sensibly handled publication of The Embrace and have given it a new look and fresh content~~~https://acourseoflove.org/the-embrace-99-bills-great-success/~https://acourseoflove.org/wp-content/uploads/2023/06/Bill-Thetford-2.jpg~The Embrace #99: Bill’s Great Success~

By all accounts from many witnesses, by the end of his earthly life Bill had become playful, participating, flexible, light, joyous, and free—aware of his true identity. Many people had served him throughout his life as he owned his shadow side, and ownership allowed his fears to fade away.

~Featured Article Bill’s Great Success By Carol M. Howe   Editor’s note: Thirty-five years ago on July Fourth, Bill Thetford, co-scribe with Helen Schucman of A Course in Miracles, may have become the first person liberated through ACIM. Toward the end of his life in 1988 he practically flew into spirit. This article is adapted from Never Forget to Laugh, Carol Howe’s biography of Bill. y all accounts from many witnesses, by the end of his earthly life Bill had become playful, participating, flexible, light, joyous, and free—aware of his true identity. Many people had served him throughout his life as he owned his shadow side, and ownership allowed his fears to fade away. In all ways, large and small, his loving presence eclipsed his fearful, self-serving thoughts. He reached the point where there was little more for him to say, because knowing was so deeply embedded in his psyche. He had allowed grievances and old habit patterns to be dissolved, and now experienced the truth of his being. Talk would only trivialize it. In adopting the goal of a better way to live, he instantly found himself on a path with no exit point, leading straight to the heart of love itself. The time for wearing a mask was over. Bill was always forthright about needing help with wanting to forgive. Lukewarm to the idea at first, he developed a zeal for leaving no grievance unaddressed as the years passed and his understanding grew. When he recognized that his own ego thoughts enslaved him, his final biggest “risk” was deciding to let them all go. He often said that his major prayer was “Help!” or the expanded version, “Help me do this!” It was no more specific than that. His deepest desire was to completely forgive everyone and everything. In February, 1988, Bill experienced some bronchial difficulty. For several years, he had had occasional incidents of atrial fibrillation, an arrhythmia of the heart not uncommon in older people but more dangerous for him, as his heart had been compromised by the rheumatic fever he developed as a child. Throughout his adult life he had irregular heartbeat episodes that he basically ignored; he was generally very casual about body-related issues. Bill’s good friend Hugh Prather thought that Bill understood that the greatest thing we can do for the world is to awaken individually. Hugh and his wife Gayle strongly felt that Bill awakened by the end of his earthly life, and accomplished it in a relatively short period of time. Hugh observed: “At the end of his life, Bill was going around telling everybody not to take this Course so seriously, not that one doesn’t revere or appreciate it, just don’t make it into such a rigid, deadly thing. Toward the end, he got into that wonderful state of mind where he could awaken; you could see it all so clearly.” Those who knew and loved him later in his life watched his steady transformation unfold—sometimes barely perceptible, sometimes in sudden leaps, occasionally with some discomfort, but always modestly—as his initial small willingness to practice forgiveness grew into a serious commitment. Once he made that commitment to practice complete forgiveness, he never really wavered. Everyone noticed the steady dissolution of his ego. For what would be his final visit to Tiburon, Jerry Jampolsky picked Bill up at the San Francisco airport the morning of July 3, and on the drive north to Tiburon, they found themselves ensnarled in a huge traffic jam. The drive usually takes about an hour but on this day it was closer to three and a half hours, which Jerry later recalled as a real blessing. “Bill was in a very playful, joyful mood, very light. I never saw him so exuberant; his humor was amazing. He was walking very lightly and kind of playing.” The weekend would be at the home of Judith Skutch, who had invited thirty-six people to greet him and have an outdoor meal on the deck with evening fireworks and all. Jerry and Bill were expected by about 1 p.m. Judith recounts: “Finally, around 3:00 they walked in and what I saw was so unexpected. Jerry looked kind of sheepish and Bill was smiling as if he were onstage. He was lifting up his arms in the air with grace—I never thought of Bill as a graceful person—and doing a little jig as he walked in the door. Then he kissed me and said, “You won’t believe what happened, you won’t believe what happened!” I said, ‘What?’ a little miffed. He said, ‘We had terrible, terrible traffic and Jerry didn’t get angry once!’ Oh, my goodness, he was dancing, literally dancing into our house!” Since Bill had clearly made a major shift in his thinking, he naturally saw things differently, experiencing everyone around him as more loving, open, and intensely satisfying. William Whitson recalls that on that final evening, July 3, “He was very light, literally dancing around, and I’d never seen him do that. He was very joyful, up on tiptoes as if he were going to lift off.” Everyone else who saw him those last couple of days noted that a substantive shift had occurred. Bill seemed to have cut loose all the anchors—professional ones related to his scientific persona, as well as his personal ones, the struggles and disappointments. The next morning, while serving Bill breakfast, Judy commented about it being the Fourth of July, and Bill said, “Yes, it’s my independence day!” Judith recalled, “Bill was still ‘tripping the light fantastic’ all around the living room, though there was no music playing, I asked what he was doing and he answered, ‘Oh, I feel so flexible, I feel so flexible!’ I asked if he would like to sit down to have lunch and he replied, ‘alright,’ but he was blithe, that is the only word I can think of. It was a very different Bill. He was just happy, but the happiness was not ‘good mood’ happiness, rather a joy that was radiating through the body. His spirit was transcendent. “I wondered if he was on something, thinking some medication had him stoned. I asked him what he was taking these days and he laughed, saying, ‘No, no, I’m just feeling so good, so free, so complete!’” Thereupon Judith, who knew Bill very well, quizzed him about his various relationships and concluded, “it seemed that, indeed, there was nothing left undone, so I gave him a hug, saying, ‘Well, you are free, you’ve done your homework.’ He smiled, just a big grin, and said, ‘yes, I have!’” Bill had gone from being restricted, reserved, and inflexible to expansive, flowing, and inclusive. Judith: “Bill knew I was having a large group over for the holiday; the tables were all set up and I had a refrigerator full of food. After breakfast I decided, however, that I had to go to the market and get some more chicken. Bill insisted I already had enough, but I said, ‘Yes, but I’m a Jewish mother and have to have extra.’ He then announced that he was going for a walk, as was his daily custom.” Bill proceeded down the driveway while Judith gathered her things for shopping. In about five minutes when she was ready to go, Bill was dead, lying on the driveway. The neighbor, a doctor, was already there. The autopsy later confirmed that part of Bill’s heart had “exploded” and that he had left suddenly and painlessly. Bill left on the Fourth of July—so like him to take even his own dying process light-heartedly. Some might have found Bill’s friends a curious lot, as amid the shock of his sudden death, one could hear expressions of elation and delight; “Oh, my God, he did it! He did it! He’s the first person to finish the Course, really finish the Course!”—not unlike adoring fans cheering their star quarterback over the goal line. He had asked for the Course; he received it and used it, willingly stripping himself of his persona, psychological armoring, prestige, unhelpful habits, and presumptions~~~https://acourseoflove.org/the-embrace-98-my-teachers-the-birds/~https://acourseoflove.org/wp-content/uploads/2022/09/Patricia-Pearce-3.jpg~The Embrace #98: My Teachers, the Birds~

The other morning, as I was on our roof deck doing my morning journaling, I noticed a pair of birds land in one of the planter boxes where we grow vegetables. While I watched the leaves of the bok choi and Swiss chard tremble as the birds made their way among them, I wondered what they were up to.

~Featured Article My Teachers, the Birds By Patricia Pearce   he other morning, as I was on our roof deck doing my morning journaling, I noticed a pair of birds land in one of the planter boxes where we grow vegetables. While I watched the leaves of the bok choi and Swiss chard tremble as the birds made their way among them, I wondered what they were up to. Were they finding bugs for their morning breakfast? Were they sampling the tender leaves of the cilantro and parsley? I soon had my answer when one of them, then the other, flew off with a beak full of twigs and dried leaves. They made several trips from wherever they were building their nest, each time carrying off ample nesting material. I felt so happy that our roof deck garden was providing them with what they needed for the home they were building for their young ones, and I had such a deep appreciation for how they made use of what nature readily offers. Birds have my deepest respect for the risks they take in learning to fly, and the truth is that not all of them make it. During fledgling season, while on my walks through the neighborhood, I sometimes see dead baby birds on the sidewalk, little birds who didn’t quite get the knack of flying, though far more often, tiny baby birds who were blown out of the nest even before they had a chance to try. That is the nature of nature that one has to accept. Lives end. Life goes on. A week or so ago when I stepped out our front door to water our flowerbeds, I encountered a young bird on the porch of our neighbor’s adjoining row home who was clearly just getting the hang of flying. I gave it plenty of space as I walked over to the hose and turned it on. A few minutes later, while I was watering, I heard an odd thumping sound coming from the front stoop of our neighbor’s house, and I went over to investigate. The fledgling, no doubt in an attempt to launch itself back into the air, had landed instead in our neighbor’s recycling bin and couldn’t get out. So I gently laid the bin down on its side so it could walk out and make another attempt. A wise master once advised us to consider the birds of the air, and this time of year I take the instruction to heart, because birds really are some of my best teachers. They remind me that the best way to greet the morning is with a song in my heart~~~https://acourseoflove.org/the-embrace-97-to-read-or-not-to-read/~https://acourseoflove.org/wp-content/uploads/2023/04/Sebastian-Blaksley-1.jpg~The Embrace #97: To Read or Not to Read? That is the Question~

While in prayer one day I felt an immense “greed” for knowledge of God, which impelled me to read and instruct myself in many things from Heaven. Then my sweet Jesus made himself present in all his beauty and goodness. During his visit, he told me what I share below.

~Featured Article To Read or Not to Read? That is the Question By Sebastián Blaksley   hile in prayer one day I felt an immense “greed” for knowledge of God, which impelled me to read and instruct myself in many things from Heaven. Then my sweet Jesus made himself present in all his beauty and goodness. During his visit, he told me what I share below, so that he can serve others just as he has served me. “Beloved soul of my soul, in less time than the blink of an eye, I can instill more wisdom into your mind and heart than you can acquire by reading and studying all the books in the world. Indeed, the less knowledge of the world you acquire, the easier it will be for you to receive the knowledge that does not come from them but from Heaven. Happy are the simple of heart. Meditate upon this.” And then it was given to me to understand to a greater degree the prayer of Jesus when he said: "I praise you, Father, Lord of Heaven and Earth, because you have hidden these things from the wise and intelligent, and revealed them to little children.” (Luke 10:21) I understood that many times our mind is cluttered with information which can in certain cases be very useful. However, by doing so our ability to receive revelation from our divine self, from that part of the soul that is in constant communication with God, is hindered or obstructed. Filling our minds with thoughts, many of which come from studying and learning, can be a real obstacle to accessing wisdom. How many times do we see brothers and sisters who seem not to be well-versed according to the intellectual criteria of the world, and yet who show us enormous wisdom? Where does that come from? Jesus explained to me that theirs is “the wisdom of life. They are the ones who have made life itself their teacher.” Meditating on all this, I asked myself: What am I to do? Should I stop reading books? Not quench my thirst for knowledge through reading, seminars, or listening to learned people? Or should I instead take the knowledge received as part of my spiritual path? And I got this answer: “The secret, my beloved, is neither to read or not to read, to study or not to study. The question is to let yourself be guided by the spirit of wisdom that lives in you. It will instruct you directly and often. Others, on the other hand, may do so through the living word, either written or spoken, or in art and other expressions. It will let you know what to read and what not, how much, and when. Read with your soul. Be instructed, not in order to know more, but as a response from your heart to the call of beautiful knowledge, which comes from the Christ in you." After having received this revelation, I freed myself from the compulsion to want to hoard knowledge, from the greed to want to know more and more, including from God. And I began a new stage in which spiritual books, which I have always loved so much, come to me. And I have discovered to my happy amazement that they do. In other words, the divine knowledge that needs to come to me comes without delay or doubt. It comes in whatever form it has to come. Sometimes it does so in the voice of those who, through their wisdom, reveal an aspect of the truth to me; I can feel that it is the Holy Spirit itself speaking through them. Sometimes that knowledge manifests itself in the events of my life. Sometimes, in it arrives through books that my heart knows how to recognize as being sent from Heaven. Then I no longer read with my thinking mind but with my heart. I “pray-read.” Often we launch ourselves to acquire more and more human knowledge, which is not always knowledge but information, and we get tired, mentally speaking. We create a mental state of limitation in which we attempt to receive the newness of Christ. Yet as Jesus also said two thousand years ago, "You do not put new wine in old wineskins, because it will spoil." I have seen that an excess of information or stimuli tires the mind and closes it to receive the soft trail of beautiful knowledge. In addition, it causes us run the risk of acquiring a fixed position on ideas and beliefs, which leads to a dogmatism that separates. For this reason often it is more useful not to fill the mind with ideas, but to empty it of all of them—making us ignorant of the world to be wise in the way of Christ. Often the less we have of worldly knowledge, the more our soul is filled with the knowledge of Heaven~~~https://acourseoflove.org/the-embrace-96-you-are-awakening/~https://acourseoflove.org/wp-content/uploads/2023/03/John-Smallman-2.jpg~The Embrace #96: You Are Awakening and There’s No Going Back~

The apparent chaos, suffering, and confusion all across the world at present is very unsettling! Therefore, remember that everyone incarnate now is in human form by choice in order to participate in the collective awakening process… There is NO ONE who is NOT assisting in this process!

~Featured Article You Are Awakening and There’s No Going Back Received by John Smallman from Jesus   he apparent chaos, suffering, and confusion all across the world at present is very unsettling! Therefore, remember that everyone incarnate now is in human form by choice in order to participate in the collective awakening process, thus ensuring their own awakening while greatly assisting others to also awaken. There is NO ONE who is NOT assisting in this process! That is probably very difficult for many of you to accept, so I would remind you that everyone—there are NO exceptions—is precisely where they are meant to be as they assist magnificently in this divine plan, the plan that was established at the exact moment that the collective choice to experience separation from Source was implemented. There are no accidents, no unintended events. Everything that occurs in your human lives has a purpose, even if it is not understood or accepted. You all chose to be incarnate now, knowing that when you “arrived” your memory of your divinely guided purpose would be hidden from you in order to allow you to fully experience and learn from the life paths on which, seemingly randomly, you found yourselves. You are all divinely loved in every moment of your uninterruptible eternal existence, and while living your human lives in form your intuition guides you most beautifully along your chosen paths. However, when intense doubts arise within you, as they sometimes do, when your intuition appears to you to be leading you astray, your heavenly support team is gently nudging you towards self-trust. Trusting yourselves is essential because you are divine beings and are, therefore, completely trustworthy. God always trusts you. Self-doubts are egoic attempts to distract you from your intuitive guidance, which is always valid, by presenting you with anxiety-producing “what if” scenarios. Look carefully at any thoughts presented to you in order to help you differentiate between egoic falsehoods and your intuition. If you remain unsure, delay making any decisions, ask for clarity, and your guides will respond. They are always with you and will offer guidance and comforting supportive energy whenever you call on them. Everyone who calls on their guides is answered—instantly! To trust yourself is to be yourself, and you cannot ever be, nor would want to be anyone else! Others may offer their opinions, which you may or may not find helpful, but it is always up to you to make your own life choices and decisions. Only you can know what is right for you. Of course throughout your lives choices arise and decisions have to be made. When you look back over the years there may well be decisions you now regret. Remind yourselves, when recalling life events, that your lives in form are unreal and that what you see as errors were, in that moment, the best choices that you could then have made. Let go of all self-judgment because it distracts you from living, and you become anxious about the possibility of offending someone or even God. People do take offense but God does not. To be offended is to accept another’s judgment of you. Why would you do that? No one, except God, knows you as you know yourself. You chose to experience your human life and learn lessons that you were divinely guided to place on your path. As humans you cannot avoid making errors; it is part of the learning experience. So welcome the errors, for they are demonstrating something to you of which you were unaware. To awaken is to become fully aware. You are all aware that you are conscious. But just being conscious—consciousness experienced as yourself in form—is often not enough, and so you can be quite unaware, and unaware that you are unaware. However, you are all very good at noticing when someone else is unaware! Thus your own awareness is often shut down by your ego distracting you—I need a coffee, to get gas in the car, to call my boss, to finish work and go home—and it is extremely adept at doing so. Do not judge yourselves negatively for the errors that you realize you have made. If they could or have adversely affected someone else, attempt to amend the situation but do not engage in self-blaming, as it drags you down energetically and totally unnecessarily. So many have been trained during infancy, childhood, and adolescence to believe that making a mistake is disastrous. This is seldom true, if ever. It may cause inconvenience and it may also show you a new way to address an issue. Also, once you can cease automatically blaming yourself or others the stress and emotional upheaval that mistakes tend to generate reduce enormously, allowing you to focus more clearly as your anxiety about making errors diminishes. You are all, each and every human without any exceptions, the beloved children of God. There is nothing any of you can do that will change your relationship with Her. Forget divine judgment and eternal damnation—utterly invalid ideas or concepts that humanity invented to attempt to assuage the guilt felt for attempting to separate from God. God’s only wish for you is that you be happy and return Home. Of course, you have never left! But, while in form as humans, it does seem that you are indeed far removed from God. It is a little like infants hiding their faces behind their hands and believing that they cannot see or be seen. Feeling so separated, so unloved, many seek love from others, compete with others for love, and frequently find themselves in conflict. This has been occurring since the moment of apparent separation, which is but a micro-moment ago, and over the eons of time many wars have been fought on God’s behalf! What an insane idea to fight for God and attempt to punish those viewed as His enemies. He has no enemies. He loves all His children no matter what mischief they may have engaged in. Remember, life in form is illusory, and the ongoing conflicts, pain, and suffering are unreal. Nothing that is not in complete alignment with Love has ever happened or could ever happen. You are always eternally at peace and in joy in the Presence of Mother-Father-God, your eternal Home from which you have never departed because there is nowhere else! Nevertheless, as humans in apparently very real bodies, this divine Truth is extremely difficult for you to accept. Humanity is right now finally awakening from the eons-long dream of separation and abandonment. You collectively chose to experience this unreal state, and because you have free will, given to you at the moment of your creation like all your other God-given gifts, until you collectively chose to awaken from that state, separation from Source has been your experience. The first steps in your awakening were for you to become aware that what you were experiencing was unreal. Over the last few hundred years these steps have been taken, and now your collective awareness is in the last few minutes of waking you from the dream. There is no going back. You are awakening. Your awareness of your Oneness with God can no longer be denied or ignored. There are signs of this all across the world as more and more of you come to the realization that your collective ego has fooled you into believing that the insanity you see around you is real. Nothing could be further from Truth. As you spend time daily deep within yourselves at your own individual holy inner sanctuaries, consciously at One with Mother-Father-God, allow the Love that She is to completely envelop you. You will feel Her Love, and feeling it you will respond to Her in the same manner. You are permanently in an unbreakable One-on-One relationship with Her. The only reason that you have spent most of your time unaware of the divine Truth of actually feeling the Love that is God is because you have believed in the reality of the unreal: separation, aloneness, abandonment. And that belief, invented by the ego, is one that you have been most loath to let go of, to cease clinging to, even though it has caused you such intense pain. As one of your common sayings goes, “would you rather be right or happy?” Finally you have chosen happiness, and your awakening is almost upon you. Be prepared for wonder beyond wonder as you rub the sleep from your eyes and find yourselves fully awake and engaged in the most magnificent revelries to celebrate your long-awaited awakening, your return Home to Oneness. Your loving brother, Jesus~~~https://acourseoflove.org/the-embrace-95-the-agony-the-opening-the-miracle/~https://acourseoflove.org/wp-content/uploads/2023/02/Deypa-2.jpg~The Embrace #95: The Agony, the Opening, the Miracle~

I was born blind into a family that did not want a blind child, and I was much abused. As I was blind, all my memories were recorded in full body representation. Over the years I have healed many events. Still, you cannot heal what is still deeply buried.

~Featured Article The Agony, the Opening, the Miracle By Deypa Deyas   was born blind into a family that did not want a blind child, and I was much abused. As I was blind, all my memories were recorded in full body representation. Over the years I have healed many events. Still, you cannot heal what is still deeply buried. Late one Thursday evening, I was struck as if hit by lightning when my entire consciousness was filled with memories of being beaten and sexually abused by my dad from the ages of 2 to 6. I felt every detail in my physiology. It was excruciating, both physically and emotionally, as if the abuse was happening right then. Welts raised on my body and I was flung into a terrifying PTSD (post-traumatic syndrome) event for the next three days. At first, all I wanted to do was hide. I was in so much pain that I wanted to die. Holy Spirit made sure the means I would have used were out of the house, and I could not leave. I could not think. I could not read. Yet, Holy Spirit finds a way to communicate—in this case, It controlled all the music that was playing on Youtube. One inspirational song came after another: Andy Grammer's “Don't Give Up,” “Lease on Life,” and “Good to be Alive.” John Denver's “I want to Live,” “The Gift You Are,” and “Hold on Tightly.” And many more. All day long. There were no commercials for three days. Slowly these messages worked into my consciousness, dismantling deeply held beliefs. To calm down my physiology so it would not feel so overwhelming, I tried using every body-oriented modality I had ever practiced. Nothing worked. It was annoying to be in the A Course in Miracles review period in which one repeats, “I am not a body, I am free, for I am still as God created me.” I was yelling “Yeah, right!” The words were distant, unhelpful. This body was contorting, flinching, tightening, electrocuted on the inside, completely short-circuited as if I was being raped. The messaging through music continued. By Monday I knew I needed to communicate with a few people with whom I had been working to bring light to this darkness. I knew contact with others would not allow me to continue to hide it. I wanted to heal. Contact with others brought me out of the frenetic event. Sensations and contortions remained, but now I could begin to process these events. For another 15 days, I tried to figure out how to deal with what was still going on in the body and in memories. How am I to forgive this? I ruminated on the concepts of “allow and accept” versus “grin and bear it.” Did I have to put up with these sensations until they go away? I was wrestling still with: “I am not a body. I am free. For I am still as God created me.” I cogitated on all these ideas. What finally took root was the realization that I was still running away from my sensations – trying to shove them, stop them, soothe them. I could not run away. They were not going away. While lying in bed I finally understood that I had to face the event. I felt horror and anger. I remember thinking, "How could he hurt a child like that?" And almost as quickly the answer came: "Because to him I wasn't a child. I wasn't anything." In that answer, immediately it seems, I was shown a different perspective of a man who was so angry that he was lashing back at the light through me and simultaneously I received the knowledge that angels were singing behind me, laughing at the notion the light could ever be snuffed out in such a way. I felt some comfort, and my anger loosened. Guidance came with my decision to look at everything. I could extend loving kindness to any thought and physical sensation. No matter how small, to each I would say: May you be free from pain and suffering. May you release who you think you are for whom God would have you be. May you be peaceful and at ease. May you live in this world joyfully, gratefully, and graciously. I want you to feel you are loved. I did not need to be perfect about it. Sometimes all I could think was, “I just want loving kindness instead of what I am experiencing right now.” As I practiced, I realized that the only thing I could do was to extend love to whatever these feelings represented. All were coming up to be healed. This is what it means to allow and accept. I quit judging the sensations as horrendous. I wanted only what the healing would be. I treated each as if it were a child needing to come in from the cold. I just wanted to love. The idea of “I am not a body, I am free, I am still as God created me” came easily now. I did not defend against it. I felt eager to greet this experience, letting go any sense of needing to be done. Next was a horrifying recognition that I am the one who had allowed these actions of my dad upon this body to define my entire life; that I had allowed it to mean that I was bad, undeserving, unworthy, a “thing,” an "it." I felt a deep sense of loss to life itself trying to take hold of me, and yet I answered immediately with: The Holy Spirit will undo all the consequences of my wrong decision if I will let Him.” I chose to let Him. It was freeing. I felt increasing light. The body did not seem real now. I glimpsed the understanding of the body to be a communication device. I became expansive, touching infinite Oneness. I was so filled that everything disappeared. All pain was gone. My heart burst with love. For a while, it did not feel as if I was even here. Sharing the story brought me to connect with everything~~~https://acourseoflove.org/the-embrace-94-becoming-never-years-old/~https://acourseoflove.org/wp-content/uploads/2023/02/Allan-Ishac.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   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. 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. Then we can answer truly when asked our age, “I am, and will always be, never years old~~~