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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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November 19, 2015 Blog A Course in Miracles:  Lesson 323 “I gladly make the “sacrifice” of fear.” It seems the world today is awash in fear.  So the thought we can gladly sacrifice it may seem silly or superficial.  It is not either of those however.  The origin of all fear is separation.   The term “ego” is useful here because it is the ego that says “I” and considers itself a separate identity.  “I am.  I can.  I do.  I see.”  We love being separate when we identify it with strength and capability.  We hate it when we feel alone and vulnerable which, if we admit it, is a chronic underlying state. The ego is the grandest of all illusions.  It is the source of all fear and only temporary satisfaction.  On a good day the ego says, “I am in control of my thoughts.  I create my own reality.”   And that is true.  But the ego will go further and include within this thought, “I am well, but the OTHER is not. “  “I am in control but the OTHER is not.”  “ I can choose not to be affected by X, but the OTHER does not.”  Do you see...
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November 18, 2015 Blog A Course in Miracles:  Lesson 322 “I can give up but what was never real.” Have you ever been to Disneyland?  They have a ride there called “It’s a Small World.” You get into a cart, the music starts, and the room goes dark.  The cart begins to move and an entire world appears around you.  You glide through scenes and landscapes from nearly every country imaginable.  There is even an underwater world!  It’s really fun but it isn’t real.  The ride ends as you leave the darkness and come out into the light of day. The Disneyland ride a perfect metaphor for our world.  We are in the cart now!  The trouble is we’ve forgotten it’s just a ride.  We’ve driven the cart right into one of the scenes are making hay with it.  The part of our mind that is living in Disneyland is very confused, and no wonder.  It has forgotten itself.  It has forgotten its Self.  And now it lives alone and fearful, unwilling to budge from the dream it has created.  It believes its only safety lies in this little haven of time, and space, and form.  Such nonsense! The release from...
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November 17, 2015 Blog A Course in Miracles:  Lesson 321   The next ten lessons are embedded in the profound question, “What is creation?”  For us, creation is almost always material.  I create a table or a chair.  I create a painting, a book, or perhaps a piece of music.  But if we learn one thing from A Course in Miracles, it is that all creation begins in the mind, as thought. Creation is the Thought of God.  It is the sum of all It’s Thoughts, infinite in number and everywhere without limit.  Can you imagine?  “ Forever and forever are God’s Thoughts … unchanged through time and after time is done.” Creation is the extension of Love.  Love is God’s Thought and we are It.  We seem to be discrete and unaware of our union with the Thought of Love that created us.  This is a distortion that cannot last, for like a holographic image, God’s Love is present in each of Its creations.  The Thought of Love is immanent within us and there is no escaping It.  We are drawn to the Thought of Love because we sense Its presence and long for It.  We are drawn to thoughts...
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November 16, 2015 Blog A Course in Miracles:  Lesson 320 “My Father gives all power unto me.” To understand this lesson it is necessary that we understand what we truly are, what the core of our existence is - and that is Thought.  Thought is capitalized because the Thought that created us began in the Mind of God.  This is why A Course repeatedly asks us to remember:  “I am not a body.  I am free.  I am still as God created me.”  So what is this power Source has given us?  Like the power of Thought, it is unlimited, unbound, and unrestricted.  It is the power of Source Itself because Source created us like Itself, without condition.  Furthermore, the thoughts of Source apply equally and universally to everything and everyone in Creation Itself.  This is why the lessons of forgiveness and Oneness are critical aspects of all Knowing.  Unless I understand the truth of Oneness, I cannot know myself or use the power I have been given.  Let me say that again.  Unless I understand the truth of Oneness I cannot use the power I have been given.  Our minds are joined.   The power of our joined mind “created” this...
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November 15, 2015 Blog A Course in Miracles:  Lesson 320   “I came for the salvation of the world.”    The elders have said we are the ones we have been waiting for.  And here are the things to be considered.  Where are you in your loving?  What are you doing?  What are your relationships? Are you in right relationship?  Are you in right relationship with your self?   Each of us was born to be in service to the Truth.  But we must know the Truth before we can be of service to it.  The Truth is we are all of noble birth.  There is no one who can live outside this Truth.  We are One Spirit, not male or female, not Christian or Muslim, not black or white, not diseased or healthy, not rich or poor, not educated or unlearned, not condemned wrong or right, and not guilty ever.   Unless I am under the illusion that I do not exist, I must know the Truth.  I am a creation of my Creator and the CREATION CANNOT ALTER THE CREATOR.  The Creator created in Love, like Itself, and loves Its creation.  The Truth is, I am the one I...
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November 14, 2015 Blog A Course in Miracles: Lesson 318   The lesson today is a reflection of words spoken by the Hopi Elders of Oraibi, Arizona.  The Hopi Elders told their followers, “We are the ones we have been waiting for.”  The language of A Course in Miracles is perhaps less direct, but the meaning is the same.  “In me salvation’s means and ends are one.”   “I was created as the thing I seek.  I am the goal the world is searching for.  I am God’s Son, His one eternal Love.  I am salvation’s means and ends as well.”    There is not a single part of you or me that stands alone.  Not one of us is more or less important than the rest.  In each of us the God particle lives and breathes and shines it eternal light.  Last night over 100 people were killed in Paris in several planned attacks that included explosions, shooting, and mass hostage takings.  The men who carried out the attacks justified their actions as a defense against French troops in Syria.  These men will never find what they seek.  In fact they are now further from their goal than before.  The...
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November 13, 2015 Blog A Course in Miracles:  Lesson 317   “I follow in the way appointed me.” Many will read these words and resist them.  They appear to go against the grain of our national personality, which is to achieve goals, to change what we don’t like, to be the rugged individual who lets nothing stand in the way.  A follower?  Hell no. But this view is only half the truth.  It presumes to know too much.  It is a teenager’s view of life.  It is a view that places the self at the center of the world and refuses to budge.  Source’s response to this view is a form of “Go for it.  Knock yourself out.  I won’t stand in your way.”  Many of us spend our whole lives knocking ourselves out. Following in the way that is appointed me is not giving up or being passive.  It is the opposite!  Allowing the truth that I am not the one in charge of everything is freedom.  My role, which is unique in this universe, is to dance with what is offered, not rail against it.  This makes all the difference. Until I make this choice, I am a slave...
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November 12, 2015 Blog A Course in Miracles:  Lesson 316 “All the gifts I give my brothers are my own.” This is a lesson in direct causality.  I always receive what I give.  It may come later, in a different form.  I may very well not recognize it.  I almost certainly won’t if I am not mindful.  But it is a law of physics and of Love.  All the gifts I give my brothers are my own.  If it seems that kindness is offered inconsistently to me, it is either that I am not offering kindness consistently myself, or I am not receiving what is being offered.  What is being offered may not always appear to be loving or kind, but it is always a request for love and kindness in return.   Wholeness lies in seeing the hidden request and granting it. The decision to receive is the decision to accept.  The gift I accept is ‘whatever is in front of me.’  I receive my jealous co-worker and I accept her as she is.  This doesn’t mean I let her walk all over me but before I cast her aside I have to look inside.  She is either projecting something onto...
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November 11, 2015 Blog A Course in Miracles:  Lesson 315 “All gifts my brothers give belong to me.” This lesson, and the one that follows it, speak to the metaphysics of Oneness.  But do not think the  ‘largeness’ of this lesson makes it untrue or some kind of dreamy hopefulness because it is literal.  It matters. When you read of a European community that offers warmth and welcome to refugees, does your heart not open?  Do you not settle a bit more comfortably in your seat?  What feels good for humanity feels good for each of us because we are entwined with each other.   The reverse is also true.  When we see a photo of child crying in fear our stomach tightens, the heart gathers itself in protection, and we want to look away.  We are connected in ways unseen but that does not make the connection less real.  Our minds are joined at a level above form.  So not only do I receive what I give, but what others give as well.  There are not six degrees of separation – there is no separation whatsoever.  The gifts my brothers give to me are unlimited.  When one is joined in love...
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November 10, 2015 Blog A Course in Miracles:  Lesson 314 “I seek a future different from the past.” This lesson is not just about feel good stuff, it’s a form of ‘physics.’  It just hasn’t been quantified yet.  The bottom line is this:  the way I respond to my present moment has everything to do with the next.  I am a walking l antenna.  I both send and receive energy.  For simplicity’s sake let’s call it electromagnetic frequency (EMF).  When I experience a strong thought/feeling, I send out a signal and the universe responds by sending something back.  What comes back is reflected in my next moment in the form of a person, event, or thing.  Whatever it is, it will be a “match” for the EMF signal I send out. If I am unaware of my thoughts and feelings, I will also be unaware of my broadcast, and I will fail to recognize anything that comes back to me as “mine.”  But if I‘m present in my moment, aware of my feeling/thoughts, the EMF I broadcast will be clear.  When I broadcast from a clear state, I am literally tuned in to a different frequency – a higher frequency.  The...
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November 9, 2015 Blog A Course in Miracles:  Lesson 313 “Now let a new perception come to me.” This lesson is an obvious progression of the ones before it: “I judge all things as I would have them be”, and “I see all things as I would have them be.”  When I come to the realization that my judging and seeing are based on a very limited perspective, I have stepped through a door into new territory.  But what is this new territory and is there a map to help me navigate within it?  Of course there is a map of the new territory.  But to read it I am required to recognize my divinity and the divinity of all things.  To understand it I may no longer abnegate my own authority as the one who CAN know, who CAN perceive rightly. Fear is what keeps me from stepping into the new territory.  The fear is that there will be nothing there, that it will be empty space.  The fear is that if I try to allow a new perception, nothing will really change.  But the truth is, if nothing has changed it is because I have not let the new...
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November 7, 2015 Blog A Course in Miracles:  Lesson 311   During the last three weeks the lessons have addressed three major subjects: What is the Real World? What is the Second Coming? And now, What is the Last Judgment? The Real World signifies the “end” of time.  Times ends when we understand that reality exists only in the moment.  A mind that lives in The Real World is healed because it is unburdened by past pain or fear of the future.  It is fully satisfied NOW. The Second Coming is the complete willingness to allow forgiveness.  It is freedom because it is the one time that time itself cannot touch.  The Second Coming marks the arrival of my decision to never again turn away from Love.  And Love is in everything. And what of the Last Judgment?  It is the decision to end all judgment: judgment of myself, of how the moment should or shouldn’t be, or of what my neighbor should or shouldn’t do.  The Last Judgment has a sense of humor.   It carries the laughter that comes from drawing aside the curtain of perception and seeing the entire world has been one big passion play. Today’s lesson draws...
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November 6, 2015 Blog A Course in Miracles:  Lesson 310   “In fearlessness and love I spend today.”   Most people truly believe they want love but truly, they don’t.  We want love’s good parts, the special warm and fuzzy parts, but not the tough ones.  Those we run from, and this means we never fully benefit from the experience of love.  Love needs fearlessness for its full expression. Our cultural idea of love is only a partial reflection.  “ I love you so much I would never be with anyone else.”  When we say we are “in love” we don’t usually expect the feeling to last.  We view love as a temporary insanity – a wonderful one, but not lasting.  We know when the other does something unacceptable (and she always will), love will falter. The Love that created us is a steady state.  Its expression is full acceptance with no expectation of return.  Love just is.  It’s a way of seeing and being.   And it does require fearlessness because much of what we see expressed in this world is not loving.   Ultimately, love must be allowed and sustained from within. When I can look at someone and know she...
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November 8, 2015 Blog A Course in Miracles:  Lesson 312   “I see all things as I would have them be.” This is one of the first ideas presented in A Course in Miracles.  Yet, for those unfamiliar with A Course, this idea is very strange and perhaps even threatening.   To understand this lesson, one must know the law of cause and effect - one of the most fundamental laws there is.  This law says thought is always the cause, and form is its effect. Everything that appears in form must first have been thought.  Because our minds are joined above the level of form, this entire world, this entire universe, is the product our joined minds.  We are not alone in our creation. What I “see” is what I first think.  How I interpret what I see makes all the difference. This is a lesson we are learning on an individual level as well as a group level and its effect will be to change the world.  Our full realization of the power of thought is just beginning.  Science and spirituality are merging knowledge through quantum physics.  The fact that consciousness alters reality on a quantum level is now almost...
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November 5, 2015 Blog A Course in Miracles:  Lesson 309    “I will not fear to look within today.”  I am not often at a loss for words but this morning I’m finding it difficult to say much.  I feel possessed by a kind of mental and emotional lethargy and I want to attribute it to two items in the latest news, both of which point to a growing crisis in American life.     First, a new Pew survey shows American families are increasingly stressed. (No big surprise there.)  Nearly half have two parents working full-time.  Everyone feels rushed, including the kids.  Moms especially feel they can never do anything with full attention, but dads feel it too.  Multi-tasking at everything means never focusing on any one thing for too long.  “Stressed, tired, and rushed,” is how 65% of respondents described their lives. Second, it seems that white, middle-aged Americans are now dying at a younger age than their parents.  The uptick in mortality rates is driven by increased levels of suicide, alcoholism, and substance abuse.  “It is difficult to find modern settings with survival losses of this magnitude,” wrote one commentary on the study.  “This is a vivid indication that...
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November 4, 2015 Blog A Course in Miracles:  Lesson 308   “This instant is the only time there is.”   The belief that God placed us here and is in control of everything is very common.  It came up in a recent class.  One of the participants expressed the idea that only God decides when we die and how.  This idea robs me of all responsibility and freedom.   The idea that we are in control of our thoughts and that our thoughts create our reality is still in its infancy.  When humanity allows responsibility for individual thought as well as group thought, the result will be evolutionary.  The same is true regarding our concept of time.   Our experience of time relies heavily on the belief that what happened in the past controls the present and will affect the future.  The things that have already happened, that have brought us to this point, will now have an effect on what will happen down the road.   This idea is a wolf in sheep’s clothing for it steals from us the only thing that is real:  the present moment.    The idea of time robs the present moment of all its joy,...
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November 3, 2015 Blog A Course in Miracles:  Lesson 307   “Conflicting wishes cannot be my will.”   When I think about it, what I most want is freedom. My will is to be free. But how do I achieve this freedom? How do I know when my choice moves me toward it or away from it? When I think I’m choosing freedom, am I choosing from a place of safety or a place of fear? In my search for freedom, am I really only looking for control?   These are fundamental questions and they affect every moment of happiness I find in this life. My will to be free is a perfect match for God’s. Freedom and Love are the same. The problems start when I believe my will can be against what Is and I stand in resistance to It.   I am free to make choices. That is my right. But my choice is made in the field of God’s Mind, and the consequences that play out must be accepted by me or I will be in conflict. I choose in my freedom and I do not resist what follows in its moment. This is how conflict is...
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November 2, 2015 Blog A Course in Miracles:  Lesson 306   The “Second Coming” is a shift in perception from fear to the utter dissolution of fear.  The dissolution of fear IS freedom.  What a gift!   Imagine being able to be anywhere you want at any time you want.  Imagine being able to change your body, its shape, its size, its color, or its gender.  Imagine being able to communicate with anyone, at any time, in any place.   Imagine having the answer to every question you can dream of asking. Imagine knowing you are never alone.  Such freedom! What would you do with it?  Who would you decide to be and where would you decide to go?  What a gift!   “The gift of Christ is all I seek today.”   Buried deep inside each of us lies an ancient memory of freedom on a scale so vast it is beyond our current imagination, but we can feel the truth of it.  Indeed, if we can imagine it in our mind, it has to be possible.  Mind is the creator of form.   Each of us yearns for the freedom to imagine because freedom is our natural state.  And here’s...
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November 1, 2015 Blog A Course in Miracles:  Lesson 305   “There is a peace that Christ bestows on us.” Welcome to November and daylight savings time.  I will talk more about the time change at the end of this blog but right now, I want to say a bit about what Christ is, and why It is peace. A Course in Miracles uses the term Christ but not in reference to the historical figure Jesus.  This is an important distinction.  The Christ is nothing more or less than the true Self.  It is our shared Identity with God.  This is where Christ’s peace comes in. The Christ within each of us knows its Origin and is at peace in the knowing. It does not waste time disputing the fact that there is ONLY the Will of God. Unlike the ego the Self is enhanced by knowing.  It doesn’t see Oneness as a threat to Its uniqueness.  It’s quite simple really.  But we have traveled far away from Truth. God is not a product of our will.  We are a product of God’s. There exists no opposite to God no matter what our perception, wish, device, or denial might be.  There...
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October 31, 2015 Blog A Course in Miracles:  Lesson 304   We’re working on the idea of the Second Coming, which is really nothing more than the realization of God within ourselves.  The acceptance of the God particle in myself is the end of false humility and predestined guilt that so much religiosity imposes.  It is arrogance to believe God is not alive and well within me.  It allows me to stay small and avoid the responsibility of knowing myself.   “Let not my world obscure the sight of Christ.”   I am not always the decider about what I what I see in front of me from one moment to the next, but I am free to choose the manner in which I attend to it.  My response to what I see changes its texture, its meaning, its shape, and ultimately it even changes the next moment I draw to myself.  My response to the world I see has enormous value.  In the simplest terms my response to the moment can take one of two forms.  I can resist it, deny it, fight against it, judge it, criticize it, blame it, avoid it, ignore it…you get the picture.  This response...
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