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book-reviewsThoughts, ideas, insights and dreams are the foundation of the Harpswell Institute’s blog page. I invite you to contact me if a blog strikes a chord, or if you have something to share.

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September 19, 2015 Blog A Course in Miracles:  Lesson 262   What is the body?  It is an expression of who we are isn’t it?  Or is it?  Are you your body?  Are you more than your body?  How many bodies might you have had in all your incarnations on this planet? Thinking along these lines makes me wonder at the person sitting next to me.  Who is she beyond her body?  Who is he beyond the form in which I see him?   It seems there are so many unique expressions of spirit.  It is very, very easy to get lost in the outer expression – to accept it as the real deal, and not see what lies behind.  Today’s lesson asks us to play with “seeing” what lies beyond the body.  “Let me perceive no differences today.”   Today, practice perceiving with the heart/mind instead of the eyes.  There is really only one ‘form’ in the Sonship, although it seems to take a hundred, a thousand, a million and more different forms.  Yet not one form can be a stranger in Truth because we are of the same Source.  This is what lies behind the image of the body.  As...
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September 18, 2015 Blog A Course in Miracles:  Lesson 260 “Let me remember God created me.” What is the body?  It is our construction, not God’s.  Source did not create us human.  Source creates only what is lasting and indestructible – which is certainly not what the body is. Have you ever stood in front of a mirror and looked into the eyes of your image?  It’s a little uncomfortable.  What you are seeing is a reflection of a reflection - the out-picturing by a mind that has no form itself.  Form is not our natural state.  Form is merely a temporary dream in which we seem to have gotten lost and now believe is all we are. We who have created the body did not create our Self.  Nor are we the product of some soul-less clockwork universe that is miraculously self-generating.   But when we’re in the dream, we believe the dream is real.  The way out of the dream is to see it for what it is.  The way out of the dream is to begin treating it like the dream it is and stop allowing it to define your reality.  “Let me remember God created me.”  I did...
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September 17, 2015 Blog A Course in Miracles:  Lesson 261   What is the body?  This is the underlying subject of the next ten lessons and it is a fun question.  Let’s play with this one.  What exactly is the body?  Physics is beginning to recognize what mystics have said for ages; the body is thought in form.  But it’s not neutral thought – it’s fearful thought.  It can only be fearful because its entire expression is based on the idea that we can be separate from God.  Think of it like this:  the body is a fence we imagine we’ve built.  We live within this fence and we believe it keeps us safe.  We identify with what we believe keeps us safe, so we identify with the body. But the body does not last.  The fence is neither permanent nor impermeable.  It is subject to constant threats.  And here’s the rub:  rather than see this as proof the body is not real, we see it as evidence the body is necessary!  We see the threat as real and the body’s decay as confirmation of the threat!  We are trapped in the limited physical by an idea created in unlimited, non-physical...
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September 16, 2015 Blog A Course in Miracles:  Lesson 259   “Let me remember there is no sin.”   Yesterday we drove our daughter, Renault, to Logan airport.  After three months at home she has left to spend the year in Leeds, England.  I began to miss her when I walked by her room a week ago, and found myself anticipating its emptiness.  No more make-up strewn on every available surface.  No more laundry lying in piles on the floor.  No more music or footsteps on the stairs.  No more rattling in the kitchen or finding her mid-meal at the counter engrossed in the newspaper.   It surprises me, this depth of feeling, this sense of loss.  It is a form of suffering I didn’t expect.  But here it is, telling me something and I’m happy for it.  It tells me I can love deeply and well.  It tells me my heart is open and vulnerable.  And that is a good thing because it also tells me I am not alone.  Indifference is aloneness.  Love, even at a distance, is really togetherness.    This whole idea of being separated by time and space is a big lie.  Love cannot be separated...
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September 15, 2015 Blog A Course in Miracles:  Lesson 258   A Course in Miracles places great emphasis on mind training yet it offers little advice about the actual practice of meditation.  This is a bit odd given the student is asked to sit twice a day, for at least 15 minutes, in silent contemplation.  I am not an advanced meditator by any means.  My almost daily habit is to sit for anywhere from 20 to 45 minutes and I can say from experience that it has been crucial my learning.  So for today, I want to review a bit about how to practice sitting because it is central to Lesson 258, which is:   “Let me remember that my goal is God.”   “All that is needed is to train our minds to overlook all senseless aims and to remember that our goal is God.   His memory is hidden in our minds, obscured by our pointless little goals which offer nothing, and do not exist.”    There is a magnificent splendor that awaits the silent mind.  I know because I’ve seen it.  That is the only basis by which I can say this is true.  If I have any inkling...
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September 14, 2015 Blog A Course in Miracles:  Lesson 257   “Let me remember what my purpose is.”   We continue to train the mind now to overlook the senseless little games that drive the ego.  There is only one purpose to our being here.  Your purpose is my purpose – to forgive all things in this world.  With this joint purpose, our minds know unity in a place where separation appears to prevail.    If I forget my goal to remember to forgive, confusion sets in.  My actions are conflicted because my beliefs are unsure.  No one can live with a confused mind and not feel depression and distress.    There is no will but the Will of Source.  And Source wills us home.  Source’s purpose must be ours as well unless we choose otherwise.  We can choose otherwise but doing so sets us in conflict with a Will we can never be without or overcome.  Ego views this conflict as its reason for existence.  It will urge this conflict until the body is worn out from it and death seems the only reprieve.  The one who knows her purpose finds great peace in conflict’s end but it is a...
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September 13, 2015 Blog A Course in Miracles: Lesson 256   Each of us has dysfunctional character traits.  It is really impossible to be in this world without them.  The decision to be born into this world and believe it to be real is itself dysfunctional.  There is no shame in this.  Repeat, there is no shame.     Shame blocks truth.  The feeling it arouses can be so painful it propels us to shift blame onto someone else.  But our defects are not where we are bad, they are where we’re wounded.  “Every attack is a call for love.”  Upon reflection, is this not true for you?    Regardless of the events that led to them, we have to look at our defects and be responsible about them.  Being responsible is not something we do alone.  It is a joint effort with Source through forgiveness.  Source sees your attack as a call for love and never denies the love you seek.  It asks but one thing – that you forgive yourself and your sister/brother.  In my forgiveness I am forgiven.  “God is the only goal I have today.”    You will not waste the day if forgiveness is your goal.  On...
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September 12, 2015 Blog A Course in Miracles:  Lesson 255   The power of dreams goes unrecognized in much of the world. This is a great loss.  Dreams offer access to information inaccessible in the waking life.  For example, in dreams I experience emotions unlike anything I feel in the ‘awake’ state.  And the depth of my dream feeling is very often more profound than waking feeling. This morning I had the dream experience of watching a thought form move as a stream of white/blue light, attach itself to a ball of energy, and then begin to spin.  It came to me in ‘knowing’ that this is how ideas become reality. I ‘saw’ how thought moves sub-atomic and atomic particles.  I also ‘knew’ that when thought is in alignment with the frequency of higher mind, it moves unimpeded, and its manifestation is almost effortless. Beyond dreams, in waking life, manifestation is not so effortless.  Much of our thought content is about resistance and control.  We do not flow with what is; rather we seek to change what we do not like.  Resistance and control thoughts are weighted. They do not make manifestation easy.  In fact, being in bodily form is itself...
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September 11, 2015 Blog A Course in Miracles:  Lesson 254   Today’s lesson is a request to recognize you are in control of your emotional self.  And being in control, you are able to give yourself permission to stop fighting changes that will increase your happiness and align with new a thought system about yourself and the world.   There are only ever two voices in our minds:  the ego’s voice and the Voice for God.  This would seem to make choosing fairly simple and it is.  But it requires awareness.  We almost always listen to the ego because it is the loudest and most insistent.  It is the ‘go to’ choice in most situations and it always moves from a place of fear.  This fear may be barely detectable or a raging terror.    On the other hand, the Voice for God contains no fear whatsoever.  It is inclusive of others and takes a longer view of things.  It does not rush to judgment.  It can afford to trust because it perceives the universe as fundamentally benevolent.  The voice of the ego wants us to believe we exist in a body only.  It feeds itself on our fear.  The Voice...
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September 9, 2015 Blog A Course in Miracles:  Lesson 252   Knowing my own divinity does not give me special powers here.  Understanding that I create my reality does not magically transport me to la la land.  This whole business of Christ Consciousness is not about going somewhere else or being someone else.  It’s about being here; knowing my self as an aspect of the Creator and making choices that are in congruence with my knowing.  I don’t get to choose what is before me but I get to choose how I am in it, or how I know myself in it.  And then I watch what happens because being in my knowing means I pay attention.    When I start paying attention to my perceptions I begin to notice things.  Like when I wake up feeling like a victim, I become one over and over during the day. I translate experiences into opportunities for victimhood.   When I wake up feeling great, no matter what happens, it rolls off me.  And the more I experience my own power, the stronger I feel as the day goes on.  When I start paying attention, I become aware that my inner view perpetuates my...
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September 8, 2015 Blog A Course in Miracles: Lesson 251   What is sin? This is the underlying subject of the next ten lessons. Sin. The word is full meaning, different according to tradition. But it is almost always associated with punishment, debasement, and the violation of God’s will. A Course in Miracles uses none of this language. Sin requires an attack on Source but Source cannot be vulnerable to attack and, as aspects of Source, neither can we. It’s just not possible. What could be outside All That Is to attack It?   The idea of sin is part of an inherited belief system that has limited our knowing of our Self. It is not in congruence with Divine Will that Knows we are One with It. How can I know who I am in truth when I am operating from ideas that are misaligned for my own growth?   The time to claim dominion over our own minds has come. The burdens of guilt and shame no longer serve humanity. It is time to release the ideas that we are separate bodies and separate minds. All of this now needs to be cleared, changed, and transformed. We are One...
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September 7, 2015 Blog A Course in Miracles:  Lesson 250   “Let me not see myself as limited.”   The only thing this lesson asks is that I see the truth about myself. And the truth is, I do not know what I am.  Self-limiting thoughts and beliefs are often unconscious, or so ingrained I no longer question them.   They rise to the surface and tell me I can or can’t do, or be something, and I simply accept it.    How can I be in my own knowing when I am operating from truths that are misaligned to my requirements for growth?  How can I be in my knowing of my Self when on a truly conscious level I “think” instead of know?  I think I am supposed to look a certain way or have a certain kind of spouse, or income, or health condition - or not?  I think what I think I should, and I am never in touch with my own knowing.   All of us act on an inherited belief system the purpose of which is to maintain the status quo through limitation.  We are using this outmoded belief system to gain approval or to coast...
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September 6, 2015 Blog A Course in Miracles:  Lesson 249   What happens when I feel like I can’t forgive?  Yes indeed, I have these moments.  After years of doing the lessons of A Course in Miracles I still find it difficult to forgive sometimes.  So, guess what?  I don’t.  There are times when wallowing in what I feel, feels really good.   Sometimes that means believing I’ve been wronged and thinking I am justified in being upset about it.  In the back of my mind I know I will get over it sooner or later.  But in the moment, releasing all guilt about feeling angry is exactly what is needed.  Withholding feelings because we think they are “wrong” is unwise at best and self-limiting at worst.  I know because I often don’t want to admit I’m having hard time with something until it gets to the point I can’t ignore it.   Somewhere in my mind I feel guilty about having a “bad” feeling.  This is like telling Source, “Don’t worry.  I can take of this myself.  You just go about your business and let me do my thing.”  Well, my business IS Source’s business and if I can’t bring the bad...
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  September 5, 2015 Blog A Course in Miracles:  Lesson 248   “I regard consciousness as fundamental. I regard matter as derivative from consciousness. We cannot get behind consciousness. Everything that we talk about, everything that we regard as existing, postulates consciousness.” – Max Planck, Nobel Prize winning originator of quantum theory, as quoted in The Observer (25 January 1931).   Nearly one hundred years ago quantum physicists were telling us that form is a product of thought.  We still have not caught up with idea.  Metaphorically speaking, we still believe the world is flat and that the sun revolves around the earth.    As a reminder, this week’s lessons deal with the world - with what appears as form and matter.  The lessons urge us to remember the world we see is in our minds or, to be more accurate, in our singular mind.  This is the mind that had the initial thought that we, divine aspects of Source, could be separate from It.  In an instant the thought played out, with all its time of struggle, and in an instant was dismissed.  Yet we seem to “live” on, as minds split in separation, unable or unwilling to realize the dream is not real....
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September 4, 2015 Blog A Course in Miracles:  Lesson 247   “If your brothers (sisters) are part of you, will you accept them? Only they can teach you what you are, For your learning is the result of what you taught them.  What you call upon in them is what you call upon in yourself.  And as you call upon it in them it becomes real to you.  God has but one Son, one Daughter, knowing them all as one.  Only God Himself is more than they are but they are not less than He is.  Would you know what this means?”   Would you know what this means?  It is the law of Oneness.  What I see in another is within myself and what I cannot forgive or accept in another is exactly what I cannot see or accept within myself.  Today’s lesson is:   “Without forgiveness, I will still be blind.”   What will I be blind to?  My own Self.  Love.  Reality.  I will be blind to my own decision to forget the truth about myself because if I cannot see it in the one who shares Reality with me, I cannot see it at all.  I cannot...
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September 3, 2015 Blog A Course in Miracles:  Lesson 246   Love does not ever separate itself. It is the alpha and the omega - the beginning and the end. Love is the underpinning of form and thought beyond form. It is the stuff out of which everything is created. It is what holds the atoms of our body together. Yet we who are asleep in the dream of separateness cannot fully fathom the depths of Love. And as long as we withhold it from ourselves and anyone or anything outside our selves, we cannot access it.   “To Love my Father is to love his Son.”     I am God’s “son.” You are God’s “son.” The earth is God’s “son.” This entire universe is God’s “son.” To know Love is to allow all things. We have all heard these words, yet still we withhold Love – and the not the least of which is from ourselves. Love cannot enter a mind that believes it needs defensiveness and will not let it go. Love needs no defense and will not defend Itself at all. Defense is of our making only.   Imagine that Love is a river of pure water...
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September 2, 2015 Blog A Course in Miracles:  Lesson 245   There is a central idea to this week’s lessons and it is that the world and everything in it is created by a mind that fears its Source.  Understand the logic of this idea and all else falls into place.  This is the great secret – the world exists in our mind and not the other way around.  And we have fear in our world only because we have fear in our mind.  Each of us is an aspect of consciousness identifying in physical form.  But form is not our natural state.  Form is limited and vulnerable.  The fact is, the container of form cannot hold all that we are – and on some level we recognize this is so.  We must get beyond the insane identification only with physical form, and this means we must face our fear while IN form. Today’s lesson is:  “Your peace is with me, Father.  I am safe.” Source has made each of us safe always.  We are free to fear all we want.  We are free to completely identify with the body.  No one can change our mind for us.  But Truth is...
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September 1, 2015 Blog A Course in Miracles: Lesson 244   “I am in danger nowhere in the world.”   There are but two emotions: love and fear. One is real; the other is not. The ego is, quite literally, a fearful thought and fear-filled thoughts are an attack on the truth. The ego, which believes attack can be real and truth a lie, is insane. A sane mind understands that it is impossible to attack the truth and the truth is, fear is not justified in any form. “I am in danger nowhere in the world.”   There are but two teachers in this world and they teach opposite lessons. The Universal Inspiration, which is the Voice for God, teaches healing through forgiveness, gentleness, and at-one-ment. The Universal Inspiration (also called the Holy Spirit) is within each of us. It is the quiet Voice that calls us back from the insanity of separation from our Source.   The other teacher - the ego - is loud and shrill. It uses thoughts of specialness, aggrandizement, fear, attack, and guilt. Ego advises us we have failed and should be punished. It tells us past failures must be carried with us into the...
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August 31, 2015 Blog A Course in Miracles:  Lesson 243   Imagine an infinitely complex piece of fabric. It forms a square one mile wide and a mile thick.  Now imagine you are a single piece of thread buried deep within this enormous cloth and you have formed an opinion about the thread beside you.  “It’s the wrong color.  I don’t like its texture.  It doesn’t match its surroundings.”  Now imagine that just for an instant you could see the whole cloth in every aspect.  You see the thread beside you is golden at each end and that its color brings out all the other colors around it in the most perfect way.  You can see where I’m going here…   Today I am willing to notice my thoughts.  I am willing to become aware of my judgment about how things should or shouldn’t be, about what others should or should not say or do.  I am willing to notice my thoughts about whether I feel worthy or unworthy in any moment for any reason.    Today, I am willing to say, “I do not know.  I am unable to perceive the whole and I am willing to allow that something...
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August 30, 2015 Blog A Course in Miracles:  Lesson 242   Today we continue with perception, or more specifically, how we perceive this world.  This world rests on one foundation that is so totally erroneous it is laughable – and yet it goes completely unquestioned.  This is the foundation of separation.   Perception is a choice.  It is a choice.  Am I saying it is easy to change perception?  Not really.  Change is never easy when one is invested in old behaviors, especially behaviors that have been agreed upon as appropriate and have gone unquestioned lifetime after lifetime.  But it is time now to question old perceptions that say, “She has hurt me, so it’s okay to hurt her back.”  “It’s okay for us to bomb these people because if we I don’t, they will attack us.”  “This person, these people, deserve what they have gotten.“  It’s quite simple really: these perceptions just aren’t working anymore and in truth, they have never worked. When I hold a vision of forgiveness, I am forgiven.  When I say, “I love the one before me,” I am loving the imperfections I hide deep within myself.  When I choose to perceive my connection with the one...
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