Blog

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.

Recent blog posts
December 9, 2015 Blog A Course in Miracles:  Lesson 343   There is a subtle but very important difference between watching a feeling of hurt or anger and nursing a grievance.  Being conscious of a feeling, allowing it, and exploring its aspects is an exercise in self-awareness.  But allowing the feeling to grow and take over my thoughts diminishes conscious awareness.  I become the feeling.  I hand my self over to it.  This is a loss of my own freedom. There is no judgment for not forgiving.  We can take all the time we want. But at some point we have to see the effects of holding grievances.   This is because our thoughts are always projected back to us.  We are our own teachers.  If I teach peace, I feel it.  If I teach judgment, I will feel that too.  If I hold hate, it will be reflected back to me.  It’s just physics:  emotions and thoughts are energy forms and like attracts like. The ego would have you suffer rather than learn.  It would have you strive for the illusion of victory, a victory that never lasts if it ever comes at all.  The ego would have you believe that...
0
December 8, 2015 Blog A Course in Miracles:  Lesson 342 “I let forgiveness rest upon all things, For thus forgiveness will be given me.   What do you think of these words?  Are we made weaker or stronger by them? Do they apply in today’s world or have we entered a time now where forgiveness needs to be re-evaluated? There are many who would agree we should set forgiveness aside and perhaps bring it out later when circumstances are more suitable. We can let fear hijack peace but it is peace we want.  Even those who deal in death really want peace but they would steal it to make it, and that is gross confusion.  It is a form of insanity and we are poised at its edge if we let fear win. The opposite of illusion is truth but to the ego truth is meaningless and weak.  So the ego responds to illusion with illusion, and this is where we seem to be.  Fear responds in fear with words of “strength.”  “We will carpet bomb them into oblivion,” sounds like words of strength.  “I don’t know if sand can glow in the dark, but we are going to find out,”...
0
December 7, 2015 Blog A Course in Miracles:  Lesson 341   We will get to today’s lesson shortly.  It is a beautiful lesson and one that should ground us all in the sureness of our own safety.  But first we turn briefly to a discussion of miracles.  What exactly is a miracle?  The answer might surprise you. A miracle is a natural expression of love. It is a learning device that undoes the ego’s error of perception.   Miracles are born of forgiveness and faith.  A mind that allows faith is ready to receive what it cannot understand and does not see. Miracles contain the gift of grace and illustrate the law of truth– that giving and receiving are one.  Miracles are like water.  Where they fall life grows and what was dry and barren becomes green again.  A miracle is never lost.  It touches people you may never meet and produces undreamed of changes in situations of which you are not even aware.  Miracles happen all the time.  If you will allow it, you will experience one today. Today’s lesson realized will itself be a miracle for you.  This lesson learned healing beyond any medicine.  It is this:  “I can attack...
0
December 6, 2015 Blog A Course in Miracles:  Lesson 340   Turmoil is the word of the day.  Personal challenges arise from out of nowhere.  On a group level the politics of fear is rampant.  A leading Presidential candidate tells his followers, “Something bad is happening.” “Horrible” people are out there.  “We just don’t know,” he says, warning of impending darkness.  Only “weak” and “stupid” people sit back and do nothing.  The message is, “Stick with me. I am smarter and better and if you’re on my side, you’ll be smarter and better too.   This “us” against “them” rhetoric is the language of fear. Above all, it is the language of the ego because the ego feeds on fear.  It points the finger in righteous indignation.  It uses defense as the first act of war.  It challenges us to “do” something, anything, because things are unsafe and we are poised on the edge of catastrophe.    This is madness.  Fear is the only enemy we have and it is seeking now to overpower our minds.  But we have power over it, not the other way around.  We need only to remember fear is the stranger here.  We are home and...
0
December 5, 2015 A Course in Miracles:  Lesson 339   “I will receive whatever I request.”   “If wishes were horses, beggars would ride.  If turnips were watches, I’d wear one by my side.  If ‘ifs’ and ‘ands’ were pots and pans, There’d be no work for tinkers’ hands.”   The first time I heard this 16th century English nursery rhyme my heart sank a bit.  I knew it wasn’t true.  I just didn’t know why.   We can wish for things and it seems sometimes we get what we wish for and other times we don’t.  What’s up with that? How can today’s lesson be true:  “I will receive whatever I request.” What we wish for is often merely resistance to what is.  I want a million dollars in the bank because I don’t have it.  I want my body to be healthy because it’s not.  In these instances, what I’m really paying attention to is my lack, and the signals my heart sends out are vibrations of scarcity and fear.  I want what I already believe I do not have. No one desires pain but one can mistake pain for pleasure.  One can believe joy is really dangerous and threatening. ...
0
December 4, 2015 Blog A Course in Miracles:  Lesson 337   If today’s lesson was the only lesson in the entire Miracles Workbook, it would enough to change our world.  Its power is unlimited because mind is unlimited.                               “I am affected only by my thoughts.”   Nothing affects me except my own mind.  My thoughts are energy forms that determine all I perceive down to the very last detail.  Does this seem too radical?  Too far fetched?  Impossible?   We were created through Thought and we create through it as well.  The only Thought we did not give ourselves is the original Thought with which Source created us.  That Thought resides within each of us still and to know It requires us to believe that we are loved.  If we can believe this even for an instant, it creates an alignment which sustains our very being.    The beginning of learning is the hardest part.  The understanding that we are truly loved and worthy of knowing what we are requires the undoing of layers of doubt and guilt.  This takes knowing our thoughts. Once on the journey we cannot stop.  We may get sidetracked for a while. We may take...
0
December 3, 2015 Blog A Course in Miracles:  Lesson 337 “My sinlessness protects me from all harm.” This is a lesson both literal and true.  Not one of us has ever “sinned” so completely that we could make ourselves separate from God.  And once this truth is seen and felt, it becomes completely apparent that safety is an inherited right that can never be compromised. I cannot make myself what I am not.  I am an aspect of God realizing herself through my experience.  I am nothing more and nothing less.  My identity is not mine to give myself for it has been given to me.  I am free to try on all sorts of costumes and believe they are me.  “Knock yourself out!” as my old teacher Zoe Marae used to say.  “Have your experience!”  But don’t get confused by the play.  What I create is not who I am, it is a projection from consciousness.  It may inform everything else around me but it is not who I am.  I am willing to release all external evidence of my worth today.  My bank account, my position, the esteem of my fellows – all this transitory stuff that is here...
0
December 2, 2015 Blog A Course in Miracles:  Lesson 336 “Forgiveness lets me know that minds are joined.” Everything we see is first thought and then projected outward.  What appears as solid matter is a product of the mind.  It appears and disappears as we place our attention upon it.  As physicist John Gribbons said, “Nothing is real unless we look at it, and it ceases to be real as soon as we stop looking.” Have you ever considered that every single person on this planet is having his or her own experience?  No one ever has the same day.  Even if we share the same space, each aspect of our sharing is unique.  Or so it seems. Here’s another way to think of it. We are in the same theater, watching the same movie.  We’ve entered the theater along with our own histories and expectations.  Not one of us experiences the same movie. But here is the kicker.  We are all both IN a movie, and watching one, at the same time. The whole experience of being in the theater is ITSELF a moving picture.  While there seem to be many separate images on the screen and many separate bodies...
0
December 1, 2015 Blog A Course in Miracles:  Lesson 335   “I choose to see my brother’s sinlessness.”   The “kingdom of God” is not sensed within the body.  The eyes cannot perceive the light behind all things.  The sound of human vocal chords, no matter how beautiful, cannot equal the song of heaven.   To imagine heaven takes a leap of faith.  Not blind faith however, for the memory of heaven is within our very cells.  But a leap of faith at least brings us to the point where we can say, “I do not know.”  “I do not know what I do not know.”  And from there, a door opens and we can step through.   When I say without fear, “I do not know” I am really unburdening myself.  When I unburden myself, I am at least allowing something new to arise.  When I witness what arises and I allow it, I can be reborn in that instant.  And this is true not only for myself, but also for my sister and my brother.  When I can say, “I do not know” about her or him, I am allowing some aspect of their being I have not seen...
0
November 30, 2015 Blog A Course in Miracles: Lesson 334   Today, this last day of November, we enter the final month of lessons.  Today’s lesson asks us to make a claim of certain gifts – the gifts of forgiveness. “Today I claim the gifts forgiveness gives.”   What are the gifts I receive through forgiving?  I know them most often through the daily experience of allowing. The act of forgiving shares many qualities with that of allowing.  So often, when I cannot do the deeper work of forgiving, I can step back and allow. Only later, when I see what simple allowing has done for me, do I realize forgiveness was truly warranted and would have been the bigger gift.   There are three basic ways most of us respond to a situation. The first is to go into “Tupperware” mode in which I curl up and hold it in.   This is not allowing.  It is a form of resistance through denial and shutting down.  It has many negative repercussions that often come up later in unconscious behavior or bodily illness.    The second response is to “kick ass.”  In this mode I react by throwing my energy at the...
0
November 29, 2015 Blog A Course in Miracles:  Lesson 333   A sign of higher consciousness is the ability to hold two or more conflicting ideas at once and know the truth of each.  What resolves conflict is not intellectual prowess but wisdom born of love.    Wisdom knows conflict cannot be avoided, evaded, called by another name, or hidden by deceit of any kind, if it is to be escaped.   Wisdom does not fear conflict in the least.  It knows each opposing view must be seen “exactly as it is, where it is thought to be, in the reality which has been given it, and with the purpose that the mind accorded it.  For only then are its defenses lifted.” Conflict is always born in defense of fear – usually fear of scarcity.  “If you win, I must lose something.” “Your gain puts my survival at risk.”  “You do not deserve.”  “Your freedom will imprison me.”  “Your will expressed means mine must be contained.”  “I cannot trust.” “I will regret it later if I give up now.” These are the kind of thoughts that must be brought to light.  But shame and guilt too often keep them hidden away, evaded,...
0
November 28, 2015 Blog A Course in Miracles:  Lesson 332   “Fear binds the world.  Forgiveness sets it free.” The ego makes illusions of fear and an unquestioned mind believes in every one of them.  Who is it that is afraid?  “I” am.  “I” who lives alone and vulnerable in “my” little body, separate and isolated from all other life.  It “I” who needs preservation and defense from all the other “I’s” who also believe they are separate and alone. We worship the ego.   We love our separation.  We wallow in our specialness and want it even as it causes us to live in dreams of isolation.  You are you.  And I am I. It is impossible that we could share a mind.  And if we could, I would never want you to see what it is mine.  Nor would I be able to stomach what might be in yours.  The grand illusion that it is desirable to be an “I” is the source of all our fear.  It is the “I” that needs control over “my” own life.  It is the “I” who lives in “my” body that must be defended against weather, time, illness, and death.  Every single thing...
0
November 27, 2015 Blog A Course in Miracles: Lesson 331   Today we begin a new set of lessons under the rubric “What is the Ego?” In traditional psychotherapy “balanced” ego development is viewed as a necessary component of the psyche. Ego is a "natural" part of all healthy personalities.   A Course in Miracles takes a totally different view; there are no "healthy" egos because the ego is an aspect of the Self that has split from the Reality of Oneness. Ego has lost all sense of consciousness beyond the body. In fact, the body is the symbol of the ego: vulnerable, separated from other bodies, from God, and never far from fear and pain.   The ego is incapable of recognizing the foundation of all existence, which is Oneness with the Creator. The ego is not healthy but it is insane. It lives in a fantasy world of its own creation – which is more like hell because separation from the Creator is intolerable.   ACIM tells us our true nature is egoless. It is conflict-free and knows no fear. It does not associate itself with form because it knows form is merely a creation of mind. Why fear...
0
November 26, 2015 Blog A Course in Miracles:  Lesson 330 “ I will not hurt myself again today.” Forgiveness is unknown in Heaven where the need for it is inconceivable.  In this world, however, it is the way out of the illusion of separation.  Make no mistake, the illusion of separation breaks all the laws of higher ‘dimension’, for above our ‘dimension’ Oneness is readily apparent.  Forgiveness means looking past mistakes.  It is an act that frees both the forgiver and the hostage.  The experience of forgiveness is a direct way of knowing yet another fundamental law: What I would receive I must give and what I give I ALWAYS receive.  The world we live in now seems to break every rule of decency.  Not much need be said here because its apparent decline into chaos is there for all to see.   But rather than bemoan what appears to be inevitable, it is time to quietly stand up and live in the peace we seek.  What this means is simple:  know the test of truth.  Does your thinking bring you healing?  Do your thoughts speak to peace and understanding or are they words of separation and despair? Only you can deprive...
0
November 25, 2015 Blog A Course in Miracles:  Lesson 329   “I have already chosen what You Will.”   Today we are reminded our sense of time is a perceptual illusion.  We are asked to open ourselves to a world we cannot yet see, but which has more significance than the one we accept as real.    “As you look upon yourself and judge what you do honestly, you may be tempted to wonder how you can be guiltless.  Yet consider this: You are not guiltless in time, but in eternity.  You have “sinned” in the past but there is no past.  Always has no direction.  Time seems to go in one direction, but when you reach its end it will roll up like a long carpet spread along the past behind you, and will disappear.  As long as you believe the Son of God is guilty you will walk along this carpet, believing that it leads to death.  And the journey will seem long and cruel and senseless, for it is.”   I’ve underlined my favorite parts.  But the key is this:  Always has no direction.  The laws with which Source created us exist beyond our laws of physics.  Our...
0
November 24, 2015 Blog A Course in Miracles:  Lesson 328   “I choose the second place to gain the first.”   It is only in this dimension that hierarchy seems real.  Above this plane there is no second or third place; there is only One, and It holds both similarity and uniqueness together without any conflict.    But this world is upside down.  What appears “good” promotes a sense of “better than” or “worse than.”  And with these comparisons separation is assured.  With separation comes guilt for no one can freely consider herself “better than” and not know the fear of someday being “worse.”    In this upside down world, “better than” means freedom.  But freedom always requires defense.   Defense is necessary lest someone or something attempts to steal my autonomy.  A government, a law, a tax, a debt owed, an abusive partner, a sick body – all of these are threats against my autonomy.  Freedom must be battled for, and held tightly, lest it be taken away.  This is how the accumulation of power is defended and attack becomes a justified response.   If we are to change this world, and change it must, we have to rethink what freedom...
0
November 23, 2015 Blog A Course in Miracles:  Lesson 327   I step aside and let Source lead, using my energies not to resist, but to interact creatively with what rises to meet me.  In doing so I give up nothing but the illusion of control and gain the awareness of freedom without fear.  Each moment I try to remember:  “What I see is a reflection of my own mind.”  So it follows logically that knowing the contents of my mind, the thoughts I think, is the first step on the road to self-awareness. As I develop self-awareness I begin to notice things.  Connections between my thoughts and events that follow become apparent.  Perhaps I even see how frequently I have allowed the past to influence the thoughts I hold and decide to try something different.  The present moment is now free and its full potential is more clearly seen.  So many opportunities I missed before! As I deepen self-awareness I remember to ask for help.  Each time I remember to ask, and then relax into silent awareness, my own strength is reinforced.  It’s paradoxical but it’s true.  My increase in confidence comes from the direct experience that no request for...
0
November 22, 2015 Blog A Course in Miracles:  Lesson 326   “I am forever an Effect of God.” Welcome to spiritual quantum physics.  Simply put, this lesson tells us we are joined with each other and with our Creator through “spooky action at a distance.”   Science is beginning to speak the language of spirit, unintentionally perhaps, but the parallels are becoming increasingly obvious.   Recent experiments at Boulder’s National Institute of Science and Technology have now confirmed quantum entanglement.  Quantum entanglement means that particles created by the same action remain connected so that actions performed on one affect the other, even when separated by great distances.  Einstein remained unconvinced about entanglement, and many of today’s quantum physicists decry those who use their work to support spiritual claims. Understandable from their point of view, but the cat is out of the bag.    Source is far beyond science.  Still, what has been created by Source must point to It. There are a thousand languages to explain the presence of God.  Science is only one of them.   “I am forever an Effect of God.”  I am a thought of God and I have never left God’s Mind, nor have any of Its...
0
November 21, 2015 Blog A Course in Miracles:  Lesson 325 “All things I think I see reflect ideas.” Today’s lesson is absolutely critical to understand and accept as real.  About it A Course says: “This is salvation’s keynote:  What I see reflects a process in my mind, which starts with my idea of what I want.  From there, the mind makes up an image of the thing the mind desires, judges valuable, and therefore seeks to find.  These images are then projected outward, looked upon, esteemed as real and guarded as one’s own.” This is why I must reclaim my thoughts.  It is also why I must relinquish the perceptions I hold that obscure love and consequently stop me from knowing myself worthy of it.  And it explains why I must make a sacrifice of fear. “Objective reality does not exist” ….
“the universe is fundamentally a gigantic … hologram”
~ David Bohm  All things I think I see reflect the contents of my mind.  As I believe, so do I perceive.  I wish to transcend I can only do so by asking, “What are the ideas I hold?”  “How do I respect myself?”  “Do I give myself permission to accept my holiness?” ...
0
November 20, 2015 Blog A Course in Miracles:  Lesson 324 “I merely follow for I would not lead.” If you interpret this lesson as asking to give up your power, know it is the wrong-mindedness of ego speaking.  The Whole Truth is a series of nested truths but the ego’s perception doesn’t even make it out of the box.  I cannot give up what was never real and I gladly sacrifice my fear for what is.  What is fear but the trepidation of not knowing what is to come?  The ego, which lacks all trust in Source, wants to know.  It wants to lead the way, to plan and to explain.  It will happily make up stories that offer comfort, but they will not be Truth.  The Truth is there is never a moment outside God’s presence.  I need do nothing to lead the way because it IS already.  No instant in this universe lies outside Mind of God.  This realization is not giving up my power; it is taking it back. Every step we take is in Mind of God.  How could it possibly be outside of It?  We have many seeming choices in this life but in reality, there...
0