Tag Archives: A Course In Miracles

Past, Present, Future

 

From A Course In Miracles:

“The ego has a strange notion of time, and it is with this notion that your questioning might well begin. The ego invests heavily in the past, and in the end believes that the past is the only aspect of time that is meaningful. Remember that its emphasis on guilt enables it to ensure its continuity by making the future like the past, and thus avoiding the present. By the notion of paying for the past with the future, the past becomes the determiner of the future, making them continuous without an intervening present. For the ego regards the present only as a brief transition to the future, in which it brings the past to the future by interpreting the present in past terms.

“’Now’ has no meaning to the ego. The present merely reminds it of past hurts, and it reacts to the present as if it were the past. The ego cannot tolerate release from the past, and although the past is over, the ego tries to preserve its image by responding as if it were the present. It dictates your reactions to those you meet in the present from a past reference point, obscuring their present reality. In effect, if you follow the ego’s dictates you will react to your brother as though he were someone else, and this will surely prevent you from recognizing him as he is. And you will receive messages from him out of your own past because, by making it real in the present you are forbidding yourself to let it go. You thus deny yourself the message of release that every brother offers you now.

“The shadowy figures from the past are precisely what you must escape. They are not real, and have no hold over you unless you bring them with you. They carry the spots of pain in your mind, directing you to attack in the present in retaliation for a past that is no more. And this decision is one of future pain. Unless you learn that past pain is an illusion, you are choosing a future of illusions and losing the many opportunities you could find for release in the present. The ego would preserve your nightmares, and prevent you from awakening and understanding they are past…

…”If you accept your function in the world of time as one of healing, you will emphasize only the aspect of time in which healing can occur. Healing cannot be accomplished in the past. It must be accomplished in the present to release the future. This interpretation ties the future to the present,  and extends the present rather than the past. But if you interpret your function as destruction, you will lose sight of the present and hold on to the past to ensure a destructive future. And time will be as you interpret it, for of itself it is nothing.”

You Get What You Give

 

Ego believes that by giving one loses what is given. That is why ego is so quick to pass judgment and offer guilt. The reasoning goes that when guilt is dealt it passes from the accuser to the accused. Ego believes that making others guilty cleanses one of one’s own guilt. It projects hate in an effort to purge hate.

At bottom the ego’s motivation is based on fear. Fear of judgment, guilt, shame, blame – all forms of attack. The ego’s automatic form of defense is attack. It reasons that the more it attacks the less liable to attack it becomes.  What it gives, it loses.

But a clear, objective look will reveal that the ego’s law is reversed. In reality, one gets what one gives. The more one attacks the more attack one attracts. The more guilt one dishes the more guilt one takes on. The more one judges the more shall one be judged.

This vicious cycle can be revealed and reversed. If one can manage to separate from the ego sufficiently to view it objectively, fear is manifest. And in the process fear is evaporated. What makes that exposure possible is fear’s opposite. In its presence fear cannot co-exist, just as darkness cannot co-exist in the presence of light. Its fundamental law is the precise opposite of the ego’s ‘you lose what you give.’

For some moments disregard the ego’s impulse to project guilt and replace it with an effort to extend love. Begin with contemplation of objects of love that are easy for you – your child, your sibling, your best friend, your spouse, etc. Then make a conscious effort to extend it even to those whom you believe you hate.  Go easy at first. Extend it to someone or something you have been more neutral about. Then extend it to someone or something you have loved but you haven’t been feeling so loving about lately. Just as ego’s attacks attract attacks, you will find that love’s extension attracts love.

At any time while you extend love you are liable to get an impulse to attack – an urge to attack anything, even an attack thought at yourself. There is your opportunity to have an objective look at ego. And by simply recognizing it as such, as something separate and apart from you, and carrying on with extending love you are on the road to reversing the ego’s vicious cycle.

Because the ego and ego—driven societal information channels have so cleverly co-opted the concept of love for attack purposes and justification, a point of clarification is offered. Martin Luther King provided clarity on the subject in A Stride Toward Freedom (May 1958):

“In speaking of love at this point, we are not referring to some sentimental or affectionate emotion. It would be nonsense to urge men to love their oppressors in an affectionate sense. Love in this connection means understanding, redemptive good will. When we speak of loving those who oppose us, we refer to neither eros nor philia; we speak of a love which is expressed in the Greek word agape. Agape means understanding, redeeming  good will for all men. It is an overflowing love which is purely spontaneous, unmotivated, groundless, and creative. It is not set in motion by any quality or function of its object. It is the love of God operating in the human heart.

“Agape is disinterested love. It is a love in which the individual seeks not his own good, but the good of his neighbor (1 Cor. 10:24). Agape does not begin by discriminating between worthy and unworthy people, or any qualities people possess. It begins by loving others for their sakes. It is entirely “neighbor-regarding concern for others,” which discovers the neighbor in every man it meets. Therefore, agape makes no distinction between friends and enemy; it is directed toward both. If one loves an individual merely on account of his friendliness, he loves him for the sake of the benefits to be gained from the friendship, rather than for the friend’s own sake. Consequently, the best way to assure oneself that love is disinterested is to have love for the enemy-neighbor from whom you can expect no good in return, but only hostility and persecution.

“Another basic point about agape is that it springs from the need of the other person – his need for belonging to the best of the human family. The Samaratin who helped the Jew on the Jericho Road was “good” because he responded to the human need that he was presented with. God’s love is eternal and fails not because man needs his love. Saint Paul assures us that the loving act of redemption was done “while we were yet sinners” – that is, at the point of our greatest need for love. Since the white man’s personality is greatly distorted by segregation, and his soul is greatly scarred, he needs the love of the Negro. The Negro must love the white man, because the white man needs his love to remove his tensions, insecurities, and fears.”

If you practice this, at some point love’s law will become apparent, you get what you give. And you will find that you have that much more to give.

Judgment and the Authority Problem

From A Course In Miracles:

The choice to judge rather than to know is the cause of the loss of peace.  Judgment is the process on which perception but not knowledge rests.  I have discussed this before in terms of the selectivity of perception, pointing out that evaluation is its obvious prerequisite. Judgment always involves rejection.  It never emphasizes only the positive aspects of what is judged, whether in you or in others.  What has been perceived and rejected, or judged and found wanting, remains in your mind because it has been perceived. One of the illusions from which you suffer is the belief that what you judged against has no effect.  This cannot be true unless you also believe that what you judged against does not exist. You evidently do not believe this, or you would not have judged against it. In the end it does not matter whether your judgment is right or wrong. Either way you are placing your belief in the unreal. This cannot be avoided in any type of judgment, because it implies the belief that reality is yours to select from. 

You have no idea of the tremendous release and deep peace that comes from meeting yourself and your brothers [defined as all human spirits] totally without judgment.  When you recognize what you are and what your brothers are, you will realize that judging them in any way is without meaning. In fact, their meaning is lost to you precisely because you are judging them. All uncertainty comes from the belief that you are under the coercion of judgment. You do not need judgment to organize your life, and you certainly do not need it to organize yourself. In the presence of knowledge all judgment is automatically suspended, and this is the process that enables recognition to replace perception.

You are very fearful of everything you have perceived but have refused to accept.  You believe that, because you have refused to accept it, you have lost control over it. This is why you see it in nightmares, or in pleasant disguises in what seem to be your happier dreams. Nothing that you have refused to accept can be brought into awareness. It is not dangerous in itself, but you have made it seem dangerous to you.

When you feel tired, it is because you have judged yourself as capable of being tired. When you laugh at someone, it is because you have judged him as unworthy. When you laugh at yourself you must laugh at others, if only because you cannot tolerate the idea of being more unworthy than they are.  All this makes you feel tired because it is essentially disheartening. You are not really capable of being tired, but you are very capable of wearying yourself.  The strain of constant judgment is virtually intolerable. It is curious that an ability so debilitating would be so deeply cherished.  Yet if you wish to be the author of reality, you will insist on holding on to judgment.  You will also regard judgment with fear, believing that it will someday be used against you. This belief can exist only to the extent that you believe in the efficacy of judgment as a weapon of defense for your own authority.