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^https://acourseoflove.org/the-embrace-107-overcoming-bitterness-finding-forgiveness/^https://acourseoflove.org/wp-content/uploads/2024/05/Jeanne-Jess-07.jpg^The Embrace #107: Overcoming Bitterness, Finding Forgiveness^

Old resentments make us feel bitter, and bitterness can make the most beautiful people appear ugly. Resentment toward others is the opposite of forgiveness. It blocks the free flow of Divine Love in all directions.

^Featured Article Overcoming Bitterness, Finding Forgiveness By Jeanne Jess   ld resentments make us feel bitter, and bitterness can make the most beautiful people appear ugly. Resentment toward others is the opposite of forgiveness. It blocks the free flow of Divine Love in all directions. The ego loves being right, as we all know. Being right is more important than being happy and at peace, as the ego teaches. I was there, more than I would like to admit. I was so good at judging others! Blaming others! I was good at the wonderful game of playing the poor victim. How my ego loved to get all that attention from others in the role of victim. Sooner or later, all that anger and bitterness brought more issues and losses into my life, and left no room for love. Bitterness, with vengeance justified and mercy lost, condemns you as unworthy of forgiveness. The unforgiven have no mercy to bestow upon another. That is why your sole responsibility must be to take forgiveness for yourself. (A Course in Miracles, TX 25.86) Then one day I realized: I have to make a new choice if I want to experience true love. It was time for me to “wake up,” stop the blame game, and lay aside that old victim role once for all. This is when I was ready to write a new script for my life and open up to God’s love. Bitterness is to your heart what the ego has been to your mind. It is the one false idea that has entered this holiest of places, this abode of Christ, this bridge between the human and the divine. It exists not in some but in all, as the ego has existed not in some but in all. Like the ego, it has not caused you to be unlovable or unrecognizable. But it has become, like the ego, so much a part of your reality that it must, like the ego, be consciously left behind. (A Course of Love, T3:6.5) You know those moments when someone says a few words that shake you awake? When a few words stay with you forever? I will always remember that unique meditation teacher who told me: “That is right, it seems unfair, I hear you. But did you ever ask if maybe you did something similar to them in one of your past lifetimes? Therefore maybe all of these situations had to do with some old karma?” In that moment I was speechless. His words had answered my lifelong question about why certain things with certain people had happened in my life. His suggestion was just one of many possible answers to the question of why certain things happen in our lives. I do not claim this to be necessarily true. But somehow his answer allowed me to step into acceptance of what happened. I was finally able to let it go. From that new place of acceptance, I was able to forgive others and to forgive myself. Of course, I did not do these steps alone, I did them with the help of my Holy Spirit and the steps of the atonement. Today I no longer feel the way I felt in the past. Yes, I really feel peace, and those memories have somehow changed. I came to realize that when I was young I spent years blaming those people. But with this new suggestion from that teacher, and with those steps of the atonement from A Course in Miracles, something really changed, and I feel very grateful for it. Was it old unconscious guilt from previous lifetimes that made me attract those people to attack and hurt me when I was a kid? Maybe. I learned that the ego uses unconscious feelings of guilt—due to our false belief in separation from God—to make us feel unworthy of God’s love and blessings. Guilt makes us feel unworthy of all good things in life. It creates the self-sabotage patterns we sometimes have. The ego tries everything to hinder us from accepting our true divine oneness. This is how I understood another level of the teachings of Jesus, and I feel grateful for these precious steps of healing. Whereas before I was only reading about the steps of atonement, I now began to apply them to all kind of similar situations in my daily life. The more I do them, the more I observe a feeling of inner peace in my heart. Bring bitterness no longer to the dwelling place of Christ and we will seal the place of its entrance with the sweetness of love so that bitterness will be no more. (ACOL, T3:6.6) Sometimes it is truly like a miracle happening, even the same day^^^https://acourseoflove.org/the-embrace-106-dont-just-think-peace-feel-it/^https://acourseoflove.org/wp-content/uploads/2022/08/Evalyn-Sorrentino-2.jpg^The Embrace #106: Don’t Just Think Peace—Feel It!^

Years ago I was amidst a group of people surrounding a person who was a bearer of great light. Throngs of people surrounded her. I spent personal time with her opening homes for new mothers and their babies who had AIDS.

^Featured Article Don’t Just Think Peace—Feel It! By Evalyn Sorrentino   ears ago I was amidst a group of people surrounding a person who was a bearer of great light. Throngs of people surrounded her. I spent personal time with her opening homes for new mothers and their babies who had AIDS. She was humble. She was strong. She was a beacon of light, never judging anyone and seeking only equality for herself and others. She took no advantage of being this person. If someone wanted to treat her differently than the others, she would refuse their gift and instead would be asking that the same kindness be extended to everyone, or not at all.  I literally felt something from her preceding her physical presence in my company so I would know she was coming. I wondered why few, if any, others could feel the samething? Feelings are constantly emanating toward and from us. Very few people recognize these powerful body sensations because most people live in the world of their thoughts, which places them in the future or the past in thoughts, thus avoiding the present, where the peace and its sensation is.  Unless we feel peace, we cannot feel the acrimony of our conflicting thoughts.  Until we feel the acrimony generated by thoughts, emotions, judgments, and beliefs, we cannot really want peace because we think peace and fool ourselves. It is essential to feel peace^^^https://acourseoflove.org/the-embrace-105-entering-the-awakened-world/^https://acourseoflove.org/wp-content/uploads/2022/09/Patricia-Pearce-3.jpg^The Embrace #105: Entering the Awakened World^

Many years ago I had a dream that shed light on the awakening process that is taking place on this planet. Since it has been such a touchstone for me in this time of collective turbulence and fear, I’d like to share it with you.

^Featured Article Entering the Awakened World By Patricia Pearce   any years ago I had a dream that shed light on the awakening process that is taking place on this planet. Since it has been such a touchstone for me in this time of collective turbulence and fear, I’d like to share it with you. I have been taken into the future. I look around, and see that the Earth is flourishing and the people are living simply and in harmony with nature. I can feel that the world is at peace. Ecstatic, I say to myself, “Yes! We did it! We humans did it! We made the shift in consciousness!” As I walk around I come to a circle of children seated on the grass. Sitting with them is a woman wearing a gown and kufi made of embroidered fabric, clothing that conveys both earthiness and wisdom. I realize she is their teacher. The children are reading for her short pieces they have written. As one boy reads his, something in it suggests judgment. The teacher gently tells him that in Eudomy, and this I realize is the name of this place, there is no judgment. The Land of Truth When I woke from the dream, its feeling of peace and wellbeing lingered with me, and I was intrigued by the name of the land where Earth is thriving and all living beings are at peace: Eudomy. What was the dream telling me with this name? I began to listen in for its meaning. The Greek prefix eu- means true, right or good, while dom, which comes from the Old English, refers to a state of being, such as freedom, or an area of jurisdiction such as a kingdom—the area in which a king has jurisdiction. So Eudomy is a realm or state of being in which truth and goodness have jurisdiction. The name Eudomy also suggests eudaimonia, a Greek word referring to the state or condition of “good spirit,” often translated into English as “happiness.” This, according to Aristotle, was the highest human good. Getting to Eudomy This state of wellbeing and a world of peace is what so many of us long for, and sense is on our collective horizon. So the question becomes, how do we get to this state of being in which truth and goodness have jurisdiction? How do we come into the land of Eudomy? Thankfully, the dream makes it quite clear: Eudomy becomes our reality when we recognize that judgment doesn’t exist. If you look around the world today you will see judgment running rampant. In fact, judgment has become so extreme that it has clouded our ability to see the humanity in one another. But in a way that makes perfect sense. As we are on the cusp of this new level of consciousness, the patterns of the old are becoming amplified, burning themselves out in a sense, becoming so hyperbolic that we can finally choose to leave them behind. Judgment is at the core of the dualistic mind. It is one of the cornerstones of the consciousness of separateness that has given rise to so much devastation and suffering on this planet. In fact, we have been so convinced that judgment is real that we have assumed it to be an essential attribute of the Divine. If you look closely you will see how much our god-concept was built upon this foundation of judgment. And yet, as the dream was revealing, judgment has never actually existed except in our imagination. As we are becoming increasingly aware—and the unbridled spread of conspiracy theories demonstrates this for us—the human mind is capable of imagining many things and taking them to be real, when in fact they are not. Living in Eudomy In the dream, one of the things that moved me was the teacher’s loving response to the young boy when he was beginning to venture into judgment in his writing. She didn’t judge him for judging, or tell him that in Eudomy we don’t judge because judgment is bad—which would itself be a judgment. Rather, she simply sees his judgment for what it is—an innocent mistake that, even though he was able to imagine it, is not real and never could be. Allow these words to land in you: there is no such thing as judgment. Can you begin to feel the relief and liberation that realization brings? Can you begin to feel a new world dawning from this awareness? Since having that dream several years ago, I have become aware of all the subtle, and sometimes not so subtle, ways judgment shows up in the world around me and in my own imagination. And when it does, like that young boy, I am learning 1) to not judge it and 2) to trust that is it simply an innocent error in my mind. I can also feel how both of these dream characters live in me, the young boy who is able to conceive of judgment and the wise Teacher who knows it isn’t real. I find that welcoming them both and allowing them to be in a trusting relationship within me, just as they were in the dream, is the way to experience inner peace. The New Earth Arises from a State of Being Although in this moment of so many intersecting global crises we might be tempted to believe that we need to go out and construct the land of Eudomy with our effort and dedication, that isn’t the way it works. The New Earth arises naturally from our state of consciousness, from our awareness of the unreality of judgment, of the universality of Love, and of our union with All That Is. In other words, Eudomy isn’t the product of our effort but the expression of our true being. Nor is Eudomy a place “out there” or off in the “future.” It exists within us and has always existed within us, even when we were asleep and dreaming our dream of separateness, judgment and fear. What a gift it is to be alive on this planet at this moment of historic awakening, when consciousness is stirring from its fearful, judgmental dream and coming to know itself as the radiant expression and extension of Love^^^https://acourseoflove.org/the-embrace-104-the-power-of-love/^https://acourseoflove.org/wp-content/uploads/2022/08/Glenn-Hovemann-2.jpg^The Embrace #104: The Power of Love^

Recently I participated in a one-day mini-retreat at Wild Grace Community. We were each asked to make a little presentation. It occurred to me to explore the “power of love,” which Jesus mentions in both A Course in Miracles and A Course of Love (four times in each) but uses 36 times in the seven-volume Choose Only Love.

^Featured Article The Power of Loveand How to Bring It to Daily Life Compiled by Glenn Hovemann   ecently I participated in a one-day mini-retreat at Wild Grace Community. We were each asked to make a little presentation. It occurred to me to explore the “power of love,” which Jesus mentions in both A Course in Miracles and A Course of Love (four times in each) but uses 36 times in the seven-volume Choose Only Love. As I looked further, how he uses the phrases present a compelling path. In addition, on the very same day I had edited a section of another not-yet-published book received through Jesus, tentatively entitled “The Consciousness of Resurrection,” which seemed perfectly on point. Here is the gist of what I shared in the retreat. From Choose Only Love: This is a call to allow the explosion of the power of love that you are. You who read these words are ready to let the love that you are manifest. Do not choke it off. Be pulled by the wings of the spirit of God. BkI:3.IV.4 Begin to remember the irresistible force of love. Begin to remember, now, the strength of the pure love that embraces the universe. Begin to remember how attractive is God's power. Stay with those memories. Carry them in the silence of your heart. Become one with them. Join with the power of love. Fulfill yourself in it. Let its immeasurable, unfathomable force penetrate you and transform your mind and heart with the ecstasy of peace and truth. BkII:4.IV.1 The power of your will is immense, even immeasurable. You fear it above all fears. The power of your will is the power of God, which is the power of love. Because you feared it, you chose to enslave it to reduce its power. You wished to subdue and control the power of your will. When you were repeatedly told to "let yourself be loved," it was meant to trust and "let yourself go," as your will permits. BkII:11.I.4 Do not look for power of any kind—just let yourself be loved. The power of love has nothing to do with what the old world called love. Rather, the power of love resides in its sweetness, in the softness of its words, in the delicacy of its gaze, in the transparency of its being, in its perpetual benevolence. BkII:15.II.7 By remaining in the silence of your heart you are the perfect expression of the power of love. BkIV:17.V.8 Remember that we are not advocating the non-expression of feelings, emotions, or thoughts; we are advocating the power of love and its necessary relationship with truth. To live in truth is to live consciously in the truth of everything that is happening in your inner world. The Kingdom consists of ideas, memories, thoughts, desires, emotions, feelings, intuitions, and many other things. It is the realm to which the consciousness of every place, time, and circumstance must be brought for the alchemy of your soul to be completed. BkIV:18.III.2-3 Outside of love there is no power possible because outside of love is nothing. Remember, only love is real. Therefore, only the power of love is real. BkIV:21.III.12 Creation exists because of the power of love. The power of life that you see is the power of God manifested in form. BkIV:21.III.13 You have replaced the power of love with the power of anger, which is nothing but fear. That apparent ego power, which is all that you associate with violence, aggression, anger, and many other different forms of fear, is the substitute for love. Fear seems powerful but is not. Your weakness is evident, and that is what you fear most. Thus you fear fear. In other words, you are not afraid of fear because of its power but because of its weakness. Fear weakens. BkIV:21.IV.2-3 The fear of the power of love is so great that it is buried in your mind and heart, and is the fear of not knowing what to do with power. BkIV:21.IV.8 The power of love cannot be used. It can only serve the cause of love. It cannot be for anything else. BkIV:21.IV.11 Once you recognize and accept the absolute inoffensiveness of God's power, you begin to feel comfortable with it as your own power. BkIV:21.IV.13 or those who have lived for so long without the joy of living, the power of love has become a mystery, even though it is the best known power in the universe. BkV:4.I.4 Those who live in God have nothing to fear. They can afford to be happy and live happily in love because they know they have a loving mother who watches over them as no other mother can or ever will. They know the power of love. They accept it and rejoice in it. BkV:4.I.8 The power of love is beyond all human understanding. Its force cannot be overestimated. BkV:12.IV.18 When your being remains in the peace of Christ, you remain within the transforming power of love because love resides in peace. Outside of peace you cannot access the treasures of love because out of peace is nothing. BkV:20.III.5 he creative power that resides in you is of such magnitude that if you do not first let go of the fear you have of what you are—that is, of the power of love—then you will be unwilling to create anything. Remember, you had the experience of trying to create an identity for yourself, and it seemed to turn against you. BkVI:6.III.7 Love is powerful, as is truth. They are a unit. Many underestimate that power or think of it infrequently. Thus they either feel helpless or seek to create other sources of power. To be aware of the power of love and truth is to honor God for what God is and to love yourself for who you are. You are the living expression of that power. You are the effect of that joint power. BkVI:8.III.12 Loving is not about doing this or that, or acting in any particular way, but about being authentically yourself in union with God. BkVI:18.II.15 God's plan is to live His life in you. This is the same as saying that His will is that you participate in His life. There is no other way to do it but to allow the flow of the power of love that God is to be received, accepted, and to pass through. BkVII:12.III.7 The power of the miracle has spilled over you. The power of love has touched your heart. You have found Grace and holiness. Every fiber of your being has been embedded in the divine essence that travels in my voice, as if it were a breath of love that moves human wills to love more. BkVII:14.III.11 And from the forthcoming book “The Consciousness of Resurrection": Now it remains for us to know how to put into practice in daily life what we are remembering here, while experiencing earthly life. There appear to be countless ways, spiritual techniques, medical treatments, scientific trends, belief systems, and the list goes on. There are countless alternatives available. Ask yourself: Which of all those paths allows you to live in the fullness of the risen love? The answer: all of them and none, at the same time. What is meant is that a full life, which is the expression we use here to define the state in which you live in perfect harmony with the will of God, and therefore in the fullness of love, is achieved by reason of your willingness to do so, and not because of the ritual or technique itself. Nothing external can produce any real effect on you; you are the sole creator of your experience. As inside, so outside. Actually, there is no such thing as inside and outside, but only the reality of the soul expressing itself in its beautiful vastness. When you wholeheartedly decide to find the truth, you find it. You do so whether you set out to find it through reading inspired books, through religious practices, joining groups, or even doing nothing at all. What makes you find is not the path itself, but your purpose. As you can see, everything is resolved in the field of free will, in the disposition of each of the sons and daughters of God. Once you sincerely decide to live in the truth, things begin to move in favor of that purpose regardless of the degree of awareness of this determination. The universe will conspire in favor of your disposition. It always does. There have been plenty of examples in your life that have confirmed this for you, eloquent confirmations. What is revealed here can be generalized to everything that comes from the free decision of the soul. Radiant and graceful heart, this work is saying unequivocally that you can remain united in resurrection, which is but the awareness of being the risen from love, all the days of your life on Earth, just as in Heaven. Why not live in the truth of who you are and enjoy the life-giving energy of love? You do so every time you think loving thoughts and cultivate noble feelings, whenever you deliberately decide to walk away from what is not true and to live in the light of wisdom, and when you immerse yourself in prayer or in a silence without judgment^^^https://acourseoflove.org/the-embrace-103-dear-god-give-me-a-sign/^https://acourseoflove.org/wp-content/uploads/2023/10/Jinnae-Anderson.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^^^