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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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October 9, 2015 Blog A Course in Miracles: Lesson 282   “I will not be afraid of Love today.”   Do you think you are not afraid of Love? Think again. If we could peal away all the layers we have piled upon it, we would see the truth about love. Love requires nothing, asks nothing, and demands nothing. Love Is. But we have been taught the opposite; that love requires sacrifice or it cannot be attained. Love must be earned or it will be withheld. Love can be given and then taken away. Without It we are vulnerable and alone.   Know this today: God is incapable of receiving sacrifice. Love is incapable of placing any guilt upon Itself or Its creations. Love does not barter, demand, or withhold Itself for any reason whatsoever. The whole idea of sacrifice is ours, and our alone.   The idea that Source could require sacrifice has become a barrier to knowing ourselves as Love.   “Sacrifice is so essential to your thought system that salvation apart from sacrifice means nothing to you. Your confusion of sacrifice and love is so profound that you cannot conceive of love without sacrifice. And it is this...
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October 8, 2015 Blog A Course in Miracles: Lesson 281   “I can be hurt by nothing but my thoughts.”   When we truly understand that the finite is created by the infinite, this lesson will appear obvious. But for those of us who still believe the world begins and ends with form, it is difficult if not impossible to grasp. This is a lesson that must be experienced to be understood.   Thoughts are multi-dimensional. They arrive from and extend beyond our three dimensional world. The physical brain is not the origin of knowing. Its function is to receive and transmit. Each of us holds individual thoughts as well as collective thoughts. Both are immensely powerful. They create our world.   For thousands of years we have held a collective agreement with a thought system that values the material body above all else. What we value is what we consider truth. Hence, the body becomes our obsession and the measure of our worth. If it is sick, ‘we’ are sick. If it is beautiful, ‘we’ are beautiful. If it is comfortable, ‘we’ are comfortable. If it is having any experience at all, ‘we’ are too. If we imagine it dead,...
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October 7, 2015 Blog A Course in Miracles:  Lesson 280   “What is the Christ?”  Today is the final exploration of this idea.  And the answer is, the Christ is you and It is me.  The Christ is a not a person.  It is, if you will, an energy form that is in perfect coherence with Source.  It is the God note that is present in the song we all sing.  It is the aspect of Source that extends from Mind of God and It cannot NOT be within every single thing. Today’s lesson asks, “What limits can I place upon God’s Son?”  And the answer is; plenty, but not one of them is real.  Not one of them is not illusion.    The only limitation we have ever had is in our individual minds and in the collective mind we all share.  We are here now to awaken individually and collectively.  This awaking is happening for everyone but it requires each of us to stand in our authority and be in agreement with the truth.  The truth is, what God created limitless is free.  No Thought of God has ever left God’s Mind.    The creations of this world have...
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October 6, 2015 Blog A Course in Miracles:  Lesson 279 “Creation’s freedom promises my own.” All day we are surrounded by lack of freedom.   We hear it in the news. We experience it is the work place. We see it in our neighbor and our friend.  We know it in our families who tell us with adamant conviction that they are not free and neither are we.   We define ourselves through self-imposed limitation. But A Course is adamant that we reclaim our sovereignty.  “The first in time means nothing, but the First in eternity is God the Father, Who is both First and One.  Beyond the First there is no other, for there is no order, no second or third, and nothing but the First.”  What does this mean?  It means that in the illusion of time, hierarchy exists.  Some are first and some are last.  In the illusion, some appear to win and some to lose.  But the truth is there is only the First, the One, the Source of All That Is, and there is nothing but That.  There is no hierarchy in the Mind of God.  And what is NOT in the Mind of Source CANNOT be.  It...
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October 5, 2015 Blog A Course in Miracles:  Lesson 278   Last night my friend Ara called me with sad news.  Our spiritual teacher, Zoe Marae, had just passed away from complications associated with a rare blood disorder.  Zoe had been sick but we thought she was on the mend.  Ara’s news felt like someone had shoved me hard in the chest.  I couldn’t speak.  What can you say when someone who has been instrumental in your life is gone? I feel the loss more deeply than I could have imagined. Zoe was complicated.  She was brilliant and blunt.  She did not believe in saying she was sorry.  Zoe didn’t suffer fools and no one wanted to be the one in class who caused her eyes to roll in irritation.  There were times I didn’t ask questions I wanted to ask.  I was afraid I’d look stupid.   Eventually, this was part of why I left her teaching.  But it was Zoe who prepared me to understand the deeper, more complicated lessons of A Course in Miracles.  Without her wisdom I would have been lost.  Zoe recorded her classes and sent us the CD’s.  The hours I spent in the car listening...
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October 4, 2015 Blog A Course in Miracles:  Lesson 277   “Let me not bind Your Son with laws I have made.” You are free and I am free.  Let us be free then from imagining we are prisoners of any law made whose only purpose is to make this world more real.  I go out for a walk and didn’t wear a hat.  The wind is cold today and soon my ears are freezing.  I stiffen in resistance and curse my lack of foresight.  In my mind, I insult the wind recognize the same old fear of the coming winter.  And this is how, in a walk that was meant to enjoy fall’s beauty, becomes its opposite. It is a paradox that when I accept the world as it is, it becomes less real.  When I release the world from the laws I make consciously or unconsciously (and most are unconscious) things unfold more kindly, more efficiently, and more clearly.  When I let go of the laws I have made, the world governs itself.  I get to just sit back and watch it all unfold. Only one law is required in this world:  treat your sister and your brother like...
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October 3, 2015 Blog A Course in Miracles:  Lesson 276   “The Word of God is given me to speak.”  “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God.  Through him all things were made; without him nothing was made that has been made.  In him was life, and that life was the light of all mankind.  The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it.“ – Book of John What is the Word but the Mind of God in action?  The Word is light and all things of the light.  The Word is you and it is me, and it is only both of us together.  And the light of Word has been given to us and darkness has not overcome it.  All that appears as darkness lives in the kingdom of the little mind whose ruler is the ego.  The kingdom of the little mind is a dream of death.  Is this too harsh, this talk of death? The Word of God is given us to speak for we are as pure and holy as God Itself.  We did not create the Word because we were born in it.  It is not...
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October 2, 2015 Blog A Course in Miracles: Lesson 275   The ego’s thought system tells us to seek but do not find. Seek peace but never feel it. Seek life at the expense of other life. Seek love by giving only when getting is assured. Believe in fear of loss to motivate. This is a thought system that dies on the vine.   The ego would have us believe this world is all there is. Whatever form heaven might take is so far beyond as to be all but unavailable. The ego holds out heaven like a carrot on a stick, just beyond reach. We spend lifetime after lifetime walking in the cycle of the ego’s thought system.   The Christ’s thought system is the only alternative to the one the ego creates. Call it whatever you will, the name is unimportant. But the thought system of Christ is the opposite of the ego’s and the two cannot be reconciled. They cannot be reconciled! To believe the Christ and the ego can be reconciled is to believe Source withholds Its Love from some things – and that cannot be so.   The oneness of God is free of conflict. Freedom...
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October 1, 2015 Blog A Course in Miracles:  Lesson 274 “Today belongs to love.  Let me not fear.” Today belongs to your self for love is what you are.  Fear and love are opposites.  But only one is true.  In “heaven” there are no opposites to love.  For those of us who still see ourselves outside of heaven’s gate, it still appears that love and fear can co-exist. Do not feel guilty if love is difficult some days.  The guilt is a waste of time.  It just gives the ego’s voice more power.  “It’s impossible.  You’re not up for it.  Maybe later,” says the ego.  But later never comes.  In your time, do what you can to feel only love’s presence.  But be aware, even if you do not love fully in the moment, it is always with you.  Be willing to look with diligence at the thoughts that keep the fear alive.  Ask, “What is it I value here?  What am I afraid of losing?  Why cannot I not allow this moment?”   Allowing and loving are not so far apart.  Allowing what is to be as it is, is a form of love. When I am certain of love’s presence...
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September 30, 2015 Blog A Course in Miracles:  Lesson 273   “The stillness of the peace of God is mine.”   Today offers the perfect setting for a cup of tea, a good book, a comfy chair, and sitting in silence with the rain.  Today is the day to remember we are still as we were created, abiding in silence with the Mind who is our Source.  We are but a Thought remembering Its Self.    If you can make today one of undisturbed tranquility, by all means do so.  If you cannot, be content and even more than satisfied to learn that such a day is yours anyway.  It is yours through your own knowing.  This world is an illusion and has no value, but the beauty of the world is a reflection of the magnificent abundance that lies within you.  We cannot see outside what we do not Know inside.    There can be no guilt whatsoever in loving the stillness of the world today.  Why should we feel guilty about something that isn’t real?  The rain is just a gift, a temporary opportunity to remember the unending peace of God within.  Come to it from a place of...
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September 29, 2015 Blog A Course in Miracles: Lesson 272   “How can illusions satisfy God’s Son?”   “Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness that most frightens us. We ask ourselves, 'Who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, fabulous?' Actually, who are you not to be? You are a child of God. Your playing small does not serve the world. There is nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people won't feel insecure around you. We are all meant to shine, as children do. We were born to make manifest the glory of God that is within us. It's not just in some of us; it's in everyone. And as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same. As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others.” ― Marianne Williamson, A Return to Love: Reflections on the Principles of "A Course in Miracles"   There is nothing in Source that is not perfect and eternal. Unlimited Source has no end, and all of It is you and It...
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September 28, 2015 Blog A Course in Miracles: Lesson 271   “What is the Christ?”  This question and its answer form the theme for the next ten lessons that will take us into October. To understand what the Christ is, I want to review A Course’s teaching about how the world was “made” because the world and the Christ are fully entwined.   A Course teaches that the world is a thought projection created by our own collective unconscious mind. What was in this collective mind, on a massive metaphysical level, was the terrible unconscious guilt we felt over the initial thought of separation from Source. Of course, separation from Source is impossible, but the guilt over having the thought seemed real. Appearing to be real, the guilt was unbearable and so it was projected outward. Now, when you deny something in yourself, it has to go somewhere. Where did it go? Into the world we see around us.   When something is denied and projected outward, it is forgotten. This is why we do not recognize the world and all that is in it as our own creation. The simple truth is, you actually made what you’re looking at, but...
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September 27, 2015 Blog A Course in Miracles:  Lesson 270   “Nothing I see in the room, from this window, in this place, means anything.” “I have given everything I see all the meaning it has for me.” “ I do not understand anything I see.”   These are the first three lessons of the Workbook for A Course in Miracles.  As you can tell, the idea that we do not really “see” is fundamental.  Here we are, 270 lessons later, and the idea that we do not “see” is still paramount to learning.  “I will not use the body’s eyes today.” Okay.  I’m not going to walk around blindfolded but I am willing to allow some confusion.  I am willing to question the fundamental reality of what I see. Perhaps I will remember that all I see before me is nothing more than atoms and molecules vibrating at a speed that makes them appear solid.  Perhaps I will remember that if I enlarged the nucleus of one of those atoms, the closest electron spinning around it might be over a mile away.  Perhaps I will consider that everything is light. As I look around at the world, perhaps I will...
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September 26, 2015 Blog A Course in Miracles:  Lesson 269   What is the body?  This has been the foundation question of the last eight days.  The body “is a fence the Son of God imagines he has built to separate parts of his Self from other parts.”  And what a fence it is.  It extends into every thought we think we think.  It defines us so completely we rarely question what it is or why.   As we enter the last three months of lessons, it may feel like there is a lot of repetition.  This is not an accident.  The mind is so entrained with the ego’s thought system it takes sustained effort – first to see the ego’s presence, and then to raise our level of consciousness above it.  So we repeat again and again.   There is one other thing.  A Course says most of us awaken slowly from the dream.  To awaken all once would blow our circuitry.  In this world, dreams of loss and death are replaced by new dreams that are closer to the Truth.  We have to trust these new dreams, but more important, we have to experience what happens when we trust...
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September 25, 2015 Blog A Course in Miracles:  Lesson 268   “Let all things be exactly as they are.”   “Now everybody get this:  You don’t have to fight.  You can allow.  Allow, allow, allow.” –Paul Selig, The Book of Love and Creation.   It is wise to be prepared.  But just as there is a difference between judgment and discernment, so too is there a difference between manifesting from fear and creating from calm awareness.   I am free to walk upstream if I want to.  I can enjoy the feel of the water against my legs with each step.  This might give me the feeling of being in control, of knowing where I am in the flow.  But it’s tiring and in truth, I’m just seeing the same old landscape I saw when I was coming downstream.   I am also free to step off the river-bank and go into the water, lie down, and let it carry me where it will.  I can float like a little twig in the flow.  Sometimes I bump into another twig or have to move around a stone.  I join with other twigs side by side as streams converge and the waters...
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September 24, 2015 Blog A Course in Miracles:  Lesson 267   “My heart is beating with the peace of God.”   There are those who will read this lesson and say, “Yes.  This is true for me.  Today, I am at peace.”  And there are others who look at the words on the page and think, “No, I am not at peace.  And the fact that I am not, when the words say I should be, makes me even less so.”      If today’s lesson is easy for you, then relish it.  Remember the way peace feels, for there will be other days when you will forget.  But if you are among those who don’t feel the peace of God today, then know this lesson is for you.  Above all, do not feel guilty that you are not at peace.  Do not make the achievement of peace a burden.    We are meant to be happy but this does NOT mean we have to put on a happy face for God.  Do you think Oneness doesn’t know all Its aspects?  Our calling here is not to hide but to devote ourselves, with active willingness, to the bringing forth of guilt...
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September 23, 2015 Blog A Course in Miracles:  Lesson 266   When I was in my early twenties I had a minor epiphany about the purpose of family.  Like most families we had our share of ups and downs.  There were times in my teens when I felt I never wanted to speak my mother again.  But because we were family, none of us could get away forever.  At some point we had to figure things out. This, I realized, is the whole point of family.  It is the first and often the only place in life we are offered the opportunity to learn forgiveness over time.  Family is where we experience the lesson that what seems to be an unsolvable relationship problem can, in fact, be worked out.   But there is one rule; you cannot abandon the relationship forever.  You may close your heart for a while, but there has to be willingness to open it again.  The purpose of time is for forgiveness.   Working with A Course in Miracles has made me understand more deeply that our nuclear family is only the beginning.  Our real family includes everyone with no exceptions.  The absence of a blood relationship is...
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September 22, 2015 Blog A Course in Miracles:  Lesson 265   In this world, we do not value gentleness too much.  It is reserved for young children, mothers and babies, or small animals.  Gentleness is often associated with weakness or docility.  Rarely is gentleness associated with power.   In this world, when we feel strong, authoritative, and capable of fending off attack, gentleness is undervalued.  It is reserved for those who cannot defend themselves and is the last resort of the powerless.  Yet when the powerful have fallen, when the barriers are down and defeat is at the door, we all call for gentleness. We hope for it. We pray for it.    What a world this would be if gentleness were seen as the strength it is, and cultivated as a universal quality!   Gentleness requires courage in this world of dreams, does it not?  Today, we cultivate our vision of gentleness through a willingness to accept the dream for what it is – a dream of fear.  But what lies beneath the fear, beyond the dream, is gentleness.  How else could life take shape, grow, and blossom?  It is gentleness that extends itself in beauty, and God is powerful gentleness. ...
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September 21, 2015 Blog A Course in Miracles:  Lesson 264   “I am surrounded by the Love of God.” My mother was determined I should have the sweater.  “I like it, but I don’t need it,” I told her.  It was one of those Norwegian things, and way too expensive.  In her later years, my mother expressed her affection for those she loved by buying them stuff. It seemed unnecessary to me, but she was not to be deterred.  “Now, when you wear it, you’ll know I have my arms around you,” she explained. At the time, the thought of having my mother’s arms around me through a sweater felt claustrophobic.  But as the years have passed since her death, I look at that cardigan and feel my heart warm.   It can be a delicate balance, this thing called love. And how strange it is that with her gone, I can feel her with me now more than ever.  I never needed the sweater at all. This is Love.  Its power surpasses death.  It is the only thing we take can take with us when we leave physical form.  And it is the only thing we can leave behind for those...
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September 20, 2015 Blog A Course in Miracles: Lesson 263   I am the tree, the rock, the wind, the rain, the falling leaf.  I am the child on the beach and I am thrower of stones.  I am the mother of the son and I am the daughter who chooses.  I am the dying man and the one who even now is coming into the world.  I am all of these things in the most literal sense.  And I am none of them.  I am that, and I am that, and I am that, and I am none of that.  All of it is me, and I am more vast than any part of it alone or put together.   This is my vision.  It begins with knowing that whatever I see is myself.  Always, as I look upon the world with vision, I know in truth that I am looking within.  Nothing I see out-pictured is not within my Self.  Always, always, always my true perception begins here.   And what I see is pure for it is made within the purity of my Self, my Mind, my freedom to create, which is given by right from God.    “My...
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