At the same time we are also undergoing a parallel evolution of spiritual awakening. Whatever our original purpose of incarnating here in the first place, our inner guide, our Holy Spirit, takes us where we are and gently leads us through our spiritual evolution.
Since we already have and are everything, the process is really one of "waking up" to that fact. ACIM© calls this accepting Atonement for oneself. Simply put, that is merely awakening to the awareness and acceptance of what and where we are and have always been.
However, when we came into our earth experience, we were determined to find our unique specialness, distinct from God and all our brothers. Our ego built elaborate, complicated and devious settings and scripts for us to play out our determination to be separate and special. In order to get more, we decided we would have to take it from our brothers. We justified this by believing they must have taken it from us first, as obviously they now had more than we.
At this point we were directed by our ego body and thought, ruled by our desires, with little conscious control over our own fate. Worldly pleasures did not last and left us still feeling empty and alone inside. Our connection with god was one of a beneficial/wrathful nature who could perhaps be held at bay a little while by a series of penances and sacrifices, until he decided to punish us with death. This concept was, of course, fostered and fed by our early churches and states, as their control over us had to be through fear.
And so the confusing and insane world of our ego become bigger, louder and more hopeless than ever. The more we tried to make sense of it, the worse it got. After a long, long time, we eventually sat down, got still and said, "There has to be a better way of being than this, and I am going to find it!" Another brother heard us and said, "You're right, and I will help you find it!" And in that joining to rediscover the holiness of our Being, was our Turning Point. We were on our path of seeking our own Enlightenment. The way was long and often arduous with many blind alleys and wrong turns. But with our brother beside us and Holy Spirit as our Guide in our minds, the way was sure. After much seeking through a multitude of spiritual and psychic beliefs, we came our the other end with a certain awareness saying, "I know, I know what I am seeking, it is my SELF!"
Without really understanding what that meant, we knew we had come to a Branching of the Road and we would have to make a decision to take the turn for Home and Self, or turn back to the world of ego.
We then were a spiritual Pilgrim. We knew what we wanted. It was to re-unite with our SELF as originally created and experience only that Peace of God. Once again the way was long, with many blocks and reverses, but we knew what we were and were determined to reach it.
ENLIGHTENMENT had come to us and with its certain knowledge, we knew our way was sure and our goal not far ahead. We knew it was the Real World of the Holy Spirit we were striving for and this became our only desire and determined destination. With Enlightenment achieved, the rest of our spiritual journey opened before us.
Eastern spiritual thought (Buddhism and Hinduism) describe a three step process in the completion of that journey back to Heaven, God and our Self as the created Christ. They cite some who completed the journey such as Krishna, Buddha and Jesus. Those that have already completed the process and have returned to us to show us the Way by their example and writings.
In the Eastern model, we see the similarity to the Way taught by Jesus in His "A Course In Miracles©." In older days, Easterners could seek out a Tibetan or Indian monastery on a mountain top and its resident guru for an intensive study leading to Enlightenment, Liberation and Self-Realization. Now there are so many "separated ones" in our world it would be impossible to follow this course of instruction, so Jesus devised His ACIM© to be like a guru and lead us back to the highest spiritual realms.
Total explanation and instruction is given in His Book, but it must be studied and applied in the manner set out if it is to work for us. To dabble in it once in awhile will not bring us Home. It IS the Way and the Light, but we must have the willingness to chose once again to study it constantly and diligently to achieve our goal of wanting the Peace of God above all else. We must be continually consciously aware of choosing for God and His Kingdom in our Spirit mind instead of our ego world. With Jesus as our example and our own Holy Spirit as our guide, and having studied the principles, worked the Lessons, meditated, and followed our Guidance and lived it all, we accept Atonement for ourself.
In ACIM© the Brief Instruction is to:-
1. Study the principles (Text and 365 Workbook Lessons).
2. Listen for Guidance.
3. Live the love.
As our interest in love and truth becomes total, our ego thoughts and world will simply fade away and disappear into the nothingness from which they came. Then we will know we have achieved the Enlightenment we longed for and sought so long.
The three Spiritual Evolutionary Stages in both Eastern
thought and ACIM© could be listed and compared as follows:-
Leading to ILLUMINATION
| ----ACCEPTING ATONEMENT
Leading to the experience of the HOLY INSTANT.
Worldly desire has lost its appeal in favour of spiritual thought and being.
Choosing more and more for Spirit until ego finally disappears and is of no interest.
The Liberated soul has attained a very high degree of spiritual
awareness, but still has not become totally one with God and Truth.
At this stage, he may claim completeness of Identity and choose not to
return for more lessons. This level has been reached through successive
experiences in earth-plane, where conditions for learning are greatest.
As each lesson in love is achieved, it is saved for the learner by Holy
Spirit until spiritual awareness is complete. Only the love is saved,
all the rest of the illusion of fear is gone.
Full awareness of all spiritual
knowledge, and capable of guiding others to this state, either through an appearance in earth plane or by soul/mind transmission. Now a conscious embodiment of the Supreme Self. We are now aware of being "one" with our "Father" in Heaven.
|----THE REAL WORLD
Ego has disappeared, the choice made for Heaven and return to our Christ Mind. We cross the bridge to the reality of the real world and wait only for God's Last Step when we are lifted back to Heaven and our Self as The Christ, living in the Mind of God where we have our Being.
Our realization of perfection is complete and we are back to our
original Innocence. Nothing else exists and our happiness is eternal.
Put the diagram on your refrigeration door and every time you pass by it say,
"This is Everything that IS. In it, I and all my brothers are part of that Christ, living joyously and eternally within the Heaven of God's Mind."
With its repetition we will understand:-
As I open to the light of truth, I forgive myself for what I thought myself and the world were. Forgiveness is an ongoing PROCESS, a collaborative venture with our brother under the guidance of our Holy Spirit. Through our forgiveness, the truth about ourself returns to our memory, and we "remember" ourself as part of the Christ. Fear and attack call upon the guilt and uncertainty in us. Forgiveness calls upon the STRENGTH of God in us. There is a part of us which HAS that strength because that part was created by God, not made by us. It is there in us even if we have forgotten or do not think we still have it.
We are instructed to become very quiet, go deeply within our mind and meet our Holy Spirit there. Give over to Him all cares, fears and uncertainties. He will guide us to our own Strength of God and remember for us our peace, happiness and eternal Being.
Lesson 62 says our goal is to find out who we are. We have denied our original Identity and think we are now the ego we made up, and need Holy Spirit to show us the Way back to our Self. That is His job. Ours is to ASK Him, having first forgiven ourselves for our mistaken thoughts and judgments.
As we cross the bridge to the Real World with our brother's hand in ours, we know we are coming Home to our Self, to that Oneness which is our birthright as the Christ.
As we exhale one last, long silent breath, we enter into THE PEACE
As we go through life, it is often hard to witness apparent tragedy, put it into some kind of meaningful context and see what it all means. ACIM© says things like:-
• There are no accidents; everything is a lesson to learn.
• There are only two emotions - LOVE and FEAR.
• Everything we experience all day long is either LOVE being sent, or a call for love.
Remembering Princess Di, we are captivated by her innocence and beauty. In hers we see our own. She became symbolic of love, beauty, charm and charity. True, she gained much of her prestige through her connection with Royalty. This combined with the original innocence of her quiet girlhood charm and finally the use she made of her life to extend her love to others, made us become aware of our own Love, providing the world its connection to her.
When she died, we thought that a great part of Love died too. Such was manifested by the millions of mourners world wide. Particularly poignant were the scenes of flowers and teddy bears, symbols of that warmth of great Love. However, if we will reflect for a moment, we will realize her great lesson for us was presented by her example. "See what I did - now you go and do the same." Her legacy is Love. Perhaps if her life had gone on, she might have become more centred in personal pleasure and further away from her humanitarian causes of Love. In any case, the memory of her and her love is fixed among the stars at the moment that points directly at our hearts, and stays there forever. A wonderful and graphically arresting picture of the love we can extend to our brothers.
Mother Theresa did the same but over a much longer time, extending from her own cultural and religious background. Whatever ego-based connections these may have had, her Love was quite real, dedicated and committed. Her single-mindedness of purpose in extending her Love to others is once again an outstanding lesson to all of us. Once she said, "Calcutta is right where you are." A lesson for us that we can extend our own love to that brother right in front of us. That is how it works. We love that one. He loves the next one, and so on, and so on. It is how we change our minds and save the world. We can certainly help with physical charity, but the main lesson is to show the dedication of our love, as did Mother Theresa. Love is afoot in the world. From these little seeds, a mighty harvest.
In the same week that Princess Di and Mother Theresa left us, we were shocked to hear of an overcrowded Haitian ferry boat rolling over and drowning 500 Haitians. Were the 500 worth a Princess Di or a Mother Theresa? It certainly did not seem so to the world or its media as the sinking was so overshadowed by the mourning and funerals of two great ladies. But God knew the difference. He loved them all the same. As much and equally. In each was the Child He loves. We remember that on the same day that 138 Americans were killed in a bomb-blast in Oklahoma City, a similar ferry sinking took place in Indonesia with 700 drowned. Again the "importance" of one group overshadowed the other so that it was barely heard of. We wonder how many grief-counsellors were dispatched to Indonesia and how many multi-million dollar law suits came out of the sinking. As the divers were going down on the sunken Haitian ferry, a similar vessel, once more overcrowded and top-heavy with its human cargo sailed by the former day's wreck. The passengers apparent blissfully unaware that any change to their life-style was either necessary or possible. Is it not time to think of seeing things differently and taking another look at our dream?
Perhaps it is time we realized the unique importance of each Child of God, and extend our love to him as God extends His Love to all of us.
These were three great lessons in one week. The legacy of
love left us by Princess Di and Mother Theresa are no more important to
us than the call for love sent to us by 500 Haitians. Perhaps it
is time to follow the lessons sent us and "teach only love, for that
is what you are."
It is necessary for us to constantly keep this thought and picture in our mind as we attempt to reason what anything means. In the final analysis, we do not know and can not understand this Divine Abstraction. Our job is not to understand from our own viewpoint, but to be open and willing to be shown by Holy Spirit who knows both the Spirit World of Heaven and our perceived illusion. He knows the difference and remembers it for us, since we have forgotten.
So, there is both Spirit and ego thought in everything we think of as "all living things." The Spirit (as created by God) of us is a "living thing" just as the Spirit of a tree, a rock, a lizard, etc., etc. Our job of course, is to see that Spirit of God in everything, including our "brothers" and ourself, and "so remember God." In the great illusion, we have manifested ourself as a body, in a world and a physical universe. A tree has manifested itself as a tree, a rock as a rock, a lizard as a lizard.
Some will say that we manifested the tree and the rock from within our own illusion, but I think that is just more of our own ego specialness coming up again. That is why other cultures, including native American, see Spirit in all things, allow it and respect it there. To kill for power or ownership is simply the ego's cannibalism to possess the "victim's" strength or beauty since it doesn't think it already has those qualities in infinite quantity.
In the beginning (since we like to think in a linear fashion), God manifested "all living things" within His Mind, where they all still exist, and have their Life and Being. As with us, some others of the "living things" decided to dream their dream too, manifesting out as a rock or a tree. God smiles, and says "That's OK, you just go right ahead and do what you must so that you may learn the difference, and when you are ready, return to Me, where you never really left, since it was only really your dream. Then you will know you have always been perfect and complete and have everything eternally." This knowing of Being is the recognition of our Original Innocence.
If we forget What we are, we will never see the difference,
Heaven and God. If we continue to judge everything from within our
dream and by its standards, we will never understand Reality, Life and
Heaven. To understand the difference between Life and nothing, we
must reverse the direction of our thought and look down on our battleground
from our real position in Heaven. We are already there, all we have
to do is look.