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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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August 29, 2015 Blog A Course in Miracles:  Lesson 241   Lesson 241 is the beginning of another theme, which is really the question, “What is the World?”  The answer is, “The world is false perception.”   This world was made to be an experience in separation, and that is exactly why it is a false perception - because nothing can be separate in Mind of God.   This world was made to be an experience in lovelessness, which is impossible because Love is the foundation of all things.  It is our perception that is false, not the underlying Reality in which we exist.   Perception is habitual, which is why A Course in Miracles teaches mind training.  If you’ve spent your life on the couch it takes effort to prepare for the marathon.  Our habitual perception of separation is why A Course in Miracles tells us “forgiveness is our function here.”  Forgiveness is the lubricant for ascended perception and it must become habitual.    When I practice perceiving with forgiveness I experience increasing moments of clarity about the world.  As my practice of forgiveness becomes more habitual, the content of my thought shifts upward.  Clarity begets clarity, and then I have...
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August 28, 2015 Blog A Course in Miracles: Lesson 240   “Fear is not justified in any form.”   A split mind is in need of healing. Every mind that thinks it resides in a separate body with separate thoughts is operating through illusion and needs healing. Think of a computer hard drive. The hard drive in which all programs run is Mind of God.   There are only two programs that run off the hard drive; computer program A and B. Program A has self-awareness. It knows it is just a program and remains connected to the hard drive even as it runs. It plays with all the attributes of itself, but never mistakes them for anything other than what they are – part of a program.   Program B has become confused. It has lost self-awareness and believes it is actually the hard drive. It has now lost most of its computing ability and is running off very limited capacity – even as it remains attached to, but unaware of, its original source. The hard drive is invisible to program B.   Program B has run its course and is now obsolete. You and I have been operating in...
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August 27, 2015 Blog A Course in Miracles:  Lesson 239   “The glory of my Father is my own.” What is compelling, and so different, about A Course in Miracles is its emphasis on the recognition of our own magnificence.  It acknowledges God’s glory but asks us to focus upon it in ourselves, and thereby end the illusion of separation from the radiance that is our Creator.  Only when we accept God’s glory as belonging to the entire world can the illusion of separation be ended.  And the end of illusion is our goal.   This is our task today:  to feel the glory within our selves and see it in each other.  Glory is walking this world, living this life, in the freedom born of assuredness of your true identity.       On the hour today take a break and go inside your self.  Close your eyes and say, “Yes.  I accept my glory.  I am worthy of it.  I will not deny the obligation to love myself as a creation of God.  I am glory through my love of myself and I allow this love to extend to all that I see before me. The glory of my Creator is...
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August 26, 2015 Blog A Course in Miracles:  Lesson 238   The fog hangs heavy again today.  I can barely see beyond the border of my garden.  But I know, because I have had the experience, that something does lie beyond it.  The water, another garden, the deer the fox, the rabbit, the old tree – all of them are outside my vision but I trust they are there.  I cannot remember my beginning.  I do not know my future.  Only what I see before me right now seems real.  And even this is questionable.   I have to trust.  At some point even the most experienced explorer arrives at the place where trust is the only thing left.  Poised on the edge of not knowing, one must choose.  The thing is, when the choice is made new doors either open or close. “On my decision all salvation rests.”  What is this decision?  It is the decision to trust in my experience.  A Course in Miracles does not ask for blind faith.  It asks us have our experience and then decide.  But the first step in the experience is trust that I can have an open mind because for most of us,...
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August 25, 2015 Blog A Course in Miracles: Lesson 237   Fall is the air today. The fog is thick. The feeling is anticipatory. Little beads of water hang off the leaves in front of my window. The change is palpable yet mysterious. Something is happening, but what?   In Maine, we know the fall brings winter. And winter is hard. There’s no getting around it. It is cold and dark for too long. But for now, it is lovely to sit here, watching the fog outside my window in the safety of summer air.   If I allow the fall to come without grieving the loss of summer, it is so much easier. I know it does me no good to hang on to one season, or anticipate the arrival of another. Just to be with whatever is, is freedom. Who am I to control the weather or wish it otherwise?   When I wish for summer to last, it is because I value the warmth and sun. My body likes it. And who am I to argue with my body? Yet what I value also brings me loss of peace when it is gone. I see this. I know...
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August 24, 2015 Blog A Course in Miracles:  Lesson 236   We get back to basics in this lesson with the reminder that Source does not know fear.  Neither does Source recognize ours.  Why give credence to something that doesn’t exist?  We alone believe fear is possible because we created it.  This may sound like tough love, but Source will not free us from fear. To do so would take away our ability to choose and freedom is a fundamental law of Love.  Even if we think we think we ask for it, Source will not unmake what we have made.  We can only know our own power if we unmake our own illusion.  Fear is a creation of the collective mind and each mind in the collective must unmake it.  Lesson 236 is: “I rule my mind, which I alone must rule.” As individuals, we are responsible for our thoughts.  To have our thoughts removed from us, even if they are fearful, would render us impotent.  But we were not created impotent – we were created to be creators of the first order.  The fact that we have created fear and now believe it to be real is the reason...
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August 23, 2015 Blog A Course in Miracles:  Lesson 235   “There are as many paths to heaven as souls on earth.” –Rumi   Each of us comes to know Source in her own way.  Your path is unique and it will often seem lonely.  When we chose separation, we walked a long way from Center Field and didn’t look back.  For most of us, the decision to stop and turn around is made miles, and miles from Home Base.   The desire to explore is what started us on the path away and it is also what prompts us to return.   It’s a funny thing, but the return is filled with just as much uncertainty as the leaving.   The journey Home requires the same bravery as the decision to go.  Part of the reason is trust.  Coming Home requires us to trust our inner guidance system.  And it requires trust that someone has left the lights on for us so we will know when we’ve arrived.   Humanity has walked just about as far from Home Base as it can.  The lights of Center Field are dim on the horizon.  But they shine on.  If you are reading this, you’re...
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August 22, 2015 Blog A Course in Miracles:  Lesson 234   There has been a lot of talk recently about a major U.S. company that treats it employees without compassion.  It built an enormous warehouse in Pennsylvania with no air conditioning.  People who worked there collapsed from heat exhaustion. The company apparently calculated it would cost less to have an ambulance stationed outside 24-7 than pay for electricity.  Managers are regularly woken up at all hours by texts demanding immediate answers while workweeks average 80-85 hours.  That’s a 12-hour day, 7 days a week, or a 14-hour day with one day off.    This is insanity in action.  What can be worth this kind of thing?   The company isn’t making life-saving medical equipment or working on a cure for cancer.  It sells widgets for heaven’s sake.  And yet we are part of the insanity when we click a button that says “Get it to me in 2 days.”  Will I turn into a pumpkin if I don’t have by then?  When I work a 12-hour day, I have little time for anything else.  No time to contemplate.  No time to for family.  No time to allow an unscheduled moment to arise...
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August 21, 2015 Blog A Course in Miracles:  Lesson 233   “I give my life to God to guide today.”   Here is the secret truth the ego fears:  there is nothing real that God does not guide.  “Oh,” but ego says, “Look around at the wonderful world you’ve created!  Truly, it you who guides yourself!  It is you who is responsible! No one guides you but YOU!”   Believe this, and the ego is your guide.   It is here that we are reminded there are only two teachers:  the ego and the Voice for God - a latent force, the God particle, that resides in each of us and is waking up now.  The God particle is like a muscle that must be used to achieve its full power.  It is a much higher frequency than that used by ego.  It needs practice to keep its attunement constant.  Attunement is the practice for today.     We each have a choice, in any moment, to go with the lower attunement of the ego, or the higher attunement of Source.  The results of your life are a reflection of the choices you make.  Understand that most of us, most of the time,...
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August 20, 2015 Blog A Course in Miracles: Lesson 232   Remember the credit card add that asks, “What’s in YOUR wallet?” The same question should be asked about the mind.   At any given moment in time we have but two choices: we can know ourselves in fear or in freedom. An unquestioned mind will almost always avoid fear. It will bury anything that feels like fear before it even rises to the surface. A mind that seeks to know itself faces fear over and over again until all its forms are experienced. And fear takes many, many forms. The consequences of knowing my mind mean I will have periods of uncomfortability. So it is, but it is doable because are not alone in the effort. This is how freedom is chosen.   When I decide I am going to know my own divinity, I have to plow through lots of stuff that isn’t me first. That is why when something comes up in my consciousness, I must have faith that it is coming up to be addressed and cleared. All of us have created many things in fear. This world is an embodiment of it. Fear perpetuates itself in...
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August 19, 2015 Blog A Course in Miracles: Lesson 231   What is Salvation? This is the idea behind our next ten daily lessons. For me, the word conjures images of revival tents and “holy rollers” but in its usual way, A Course takes tradition and turns it on its head.   Simply put, Salvation is the undoing of the dream. It is the recognition by every mind that separation from Source has not occurred. Salvation is inevitable because the Law of Love is part of every mind. It is in our DNA. There is no getting away from something that is the underlying state of everything. Salvation is the end of the dream of illusion. As we awaken to our Self, which we are all doing, the Knowing of Oneness will be among the first things we recognize as Truth. This awakening happens slowly and requires we pay attention to our thoughts and feelings. It takes a willingness to experiment with happiness and discontent. For most of us, it takes being so fed up with things we are driven to make a different choice.   But do not think Salvation is a desperate act. Only the ego knows desperation and...
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August 18, 2015 Blog A Course in Miracles:  Lesson 230   If you will remember, the underlying foundation of the past ten lessons has been the idea of forgiveness.  This is because forgiveness takes practice. Forgiveness is not some lightweight answer to the indignities of this world.  It requires graceful strength and deep intelligence.  It is a courageous stand in the face of chest thumping swagger. Those who are in knowing of their own true worth are forgivers, and those who forgive know the peace it brings.   An unforgiving thought is always a judgment against something.  An unforgiving thought twists and turns in a frantic effort to justify its value. It suffers offense at any contradiction to its point of view.  Its rightness is held in a closed mind.  Forgiveness, on the other hand, stays open to potential even as it looks upon a situation begging for the closure of judgment.  Forgiveness merely assumes a watchful stance and waits in peace for guidance.  Guidance will come in many forms: a word, a peaceful action, or a simple neutral thought.  But it will never be attached to a judgment AGAINST because judgment IS resistance to what IS.   Judgment, held in a...
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August 17, 2015 Blog A Course in Miracles:  Lesson 229   As we move into higher levels of consciousness, our understanding about what love is, begins to shift as well.  Most of us, at our current level of consciousness, do not experience love on a daily basis.  Love is not an emotion; it is a state of being.  To say, “I am in love” means I am in the frequency of love.  To be in the frequency of love means, “I am in a state of complete and utter trust such that that nothing can disturb my knowing that I am peace. “   In heaven, love is a state of being.  On this earth, love must be a decision.  On earth, most of us wait passively for love to come to us.   We wait because we do not feel worthy.  We wait because of fear and fear is the opposite of love. When we are in love, in the frequency of love, we are embodying Source in action.  We are a vessel that is in alignment with the vibration of extension without fear.  The frequency of love is flow without exclusion, and when we fear, we exclude.  When we exclude...
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August 16, 2015 Blog A Course in Miracles: Lesson 228   In the dream I am on stage with a group of other actors. We are preparing for a performance when I realize I don’t know my lines. Suddenly, I feel unsure. How can I not know my lines? Have I been sleeping through rehearsals? I see my role in the play is a young princess from a royal household. But I’m wearing work boots and the socks aren’t clean. I begin to ask others, “What about my lines? Why don’t I know them?” Then, someone kindly tells me, “Don’t worry about it. When the time comes, you’ll remember them perfectly.” With great relief I allow her words to be my truth. “Okay. I won’t worry about it then. I know I’ll know. And by the way, I'm also liking these work boots.” All my unease vanishes in the trust and I enjoy myself. Being in the play is fun!   What I love about dreams is their innocence. The thinking mind is not in charge. It’s taken a back seat. The dream becomes a living landscape and the shrill voice of the ego is merely background. But more important, my...
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August 15, 2015 Blog A Course in Miracles:  Lesson 227   “While you walk this earth you cannot go to the realm of knowledge.  So let it be sufficient now to realize that your thinking is not the answer.  Indeed it is the source of the problem.  Your feelings are much closer to your reality.” –B. Haskell, Journey Beyond Words.   Have you ever considered that thinking is actually a lower level system of awareness?  It takes so much time and effort!  The cultivation of conscious knowing is much more effective than unconscious thinking.  Conscious knowing develops a level of intuition that even conscious thinking cannot imagine.   True self-identification is brought about through inner feeling.  “Who am I?” is more deeply answered through the heart than the brain.  Moreover, who I am is changing because this planet is changing.  We are all becoming more self-aware.   So our inner knowing evolves as we begin to experience ourselves more fully.  This means we experience some difficult feelings because what has been buried must come to the surface to be released. The original source of all pain must be recognized, felt, and let go.  There is no getting away from it.   Today’s...
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August 14, 2015 Blog A Course in Miracles:  Lesson 226   In this very moment I am perfect.  Of course, my perfection may be obscured by “circumstances” or I may choose not to realize it.  Still, there it is, bubbling just below the surface - my own clear and perfect self, undaunted by the visions of this world. If I am still, I can feel it.  If I stop thinking and take a breath, it rises to greet me, even if only for an instant.  This is what salvation is: instant after instant, breath after breath of choosing to feel the silent awareness that is always there.    Home is a decision.  It is an intention. There is absolutely nothing I need to do to get home but go inward.   “My home awaits me.”  It is always waiting.   The question is whether I so value the world of form that I cannot allow myself to stop, even for an instant, to return to the silent peace that is my origin?      Give up trying to achieve salvation.  It is not achievable!  It is already ours and it is free!  Trying to achieve salvation thwarts the very thing we seek.  So, relax...
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August 13, 2015 Blog A Course in Miracles: Lesson 225   It is not an easy thing for most Westerners to accept that feelings may hold better information than the thinking mind.  But A Course in Miracles tells us this is true.  In the first half of the Course Workbook, the student focuses on “mind training.”  In the second half, which is where we are now, the student’s focus is on “feeling training.”  In feeling training the student feels her way through the meaning behind the words of the lesson.  She relaxes her mind, releases thoughts, and lets them go.  That’s it.  That’s really it.  For those of us used to thinking, this is like feeling one’s way around in a darkened room.  It’s unnerving.  We move slowly to avoid bumps and edges that are most often not even there.  It is hard not to value thinking; it seems to keep us safe.  But we have reached the point of over-valuing it - we believe all our thoughts are true!  Then we react as though they are, which causes all manner of trouble.  Mental effort actually gets in the way of Knowing, which contains far more certainty, and far more safety...
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August 12, 2015 blog A Course in Miracles:  Lesson 224   Today’s lesson is one to dive into and swim around in all day.  It has the feeling of clear, warm water, completely safe and totally welcoming.  Our 224th lesson is: “God is my Father and He Loves His Son.”   God is neither father nor mother, but is the Source of life.  And ALL things are Sons of God; the plant kingdom, the animal kingdom, the water kingdom, the kingdom of stones, the kingdom of the wind, the sun and the earth, and all the stars are Sons of God.  There is no end to the Sonship.  It is our true identity and it is so lofty, so guiltless, so without shame or vanity, so free and so wholly good that “Heaven looks to It to give it light.”    Our true identity is to be the light of the world.  This is the gift of Source and it is the end of illusion.  A Course says of this lesson: “This is the truth. This is reality and only this.  There is no gift but this that can be either given or received.”  You and I are divine essence.  We...
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August 11, 2015 Blog A Course in Miracles: Lesson 223   “You are not the Word as much as you are an aspect of the Word and the energy of the Word moves through you. So, you are an amplifier and you are a transistor and a receiver of the Creator. “ – Paul Selig, I Am The Word   There will come a time when we understand the childishness of the belief that separation could be real. Even now, scientists are confirming the existence of the neutrino, a particle of almost zero mass that flies through the universe, passing directly through stars, planets, and people. If an unseen, almost weightless neutrino can pass through me, then why not the “energy of the Word?” And if a neutrino can move through me, then am I really separate from it? At what point do the neutrino and I become one?   I cannot live in separation. It is a logical impossibility. But my identity cannot be forced upon me. I must claim it, and when I do, things change quickly because the place from which I perceive my world changes. This is today’s idea: “God is my life. I have no life...
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August 9, 2015 Blog A Course in Miracles:  Lesson 221   Today begins a new series of lessons and a new way of practicing them. The first six months of lessons in ACIM workbook are highly structured.  This is because the mind is in dire need of training.  For the last ten days we were asked to stop every half hour and redirect our thoughts toward light.  This is no easy task.  It seems more suited to an ashram than the real world.  But part of the task is to remember to forgive if you forget.  Source does not want guilty learners.  Rather, the opposite is true!  The lesson of forgiveness begins with the self first and foremost.  The daily practice now shifts mostly to one of listening in silence.   Time given in the morning and evening is strongly suggested, but more important is a sense of confidence that the offering you give is accepted and the gift returned.  Be assured as you sit in silence that what you sense, what you feel, what you KNOW, is real.  Sit expecting nothing.  Sit open to everything.  Allow and allow and allow.  And watch with loving kindness all the things your mind gives...
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