Our real Identity is shared (T-9.IV.1:6) and thus rests beyond the shallow bounds of what we perceive as “our” self. This self – what A Course in Miracles calls the ego – is a form of insistence: we are this name, this family, this history, this spiritual path. But what we are in truth has no need of such specificity. It flows unencumbered, without beginning or end, borderless and all-encompassing.
Our real Identity does not wait on our recognition or awareness of it: its existence is not conditional, and nothing can be either added or subtracted to it. This makes no sense to the self – the ego – we construct from fragments of the past and call “me,” but it doesn’t have to. Reality dawns on the mind that no longer invests in understanding.
The Atonement is a lesson in sharing, which is given you because you have forgotten how to do it. The Holy Spirit merely reminds you of the natural use of your abilities (T-9.IV.3:1-2).
What we have forgotten is neither lost nor destroyed but we cannot know this until knowledge of it is restored wholly to our open mind: that is the Holy Spirit’s function, and it is fulfilled in us jointly, you and me together, and all of us regardless of what relationship we perceive in this world at this time in these bodies. Salvation begins with the self, yes, but enlarges to include all our brothers and sisters. It must do this if it is truly salvational. Helpfulness necessarily enfolds us in each other; otherwise, we will not recall that what we are is joined in truth and cannot be separate.
When I – Sean – ask the Holy Spirit to save me, by reminding me of who I am – by remembering for me that I remain as God created me – I am almost always led out-of-doors. A certain restlessness precedes salvation; neither rain nor thunder distract it. I walk slowly up Sam Hill, turning north on the untraveled dirt and gravel of old West Street, all the way to Starkweather Road which slopes east down the hill home.
And cow vetch glistens in the tall grass near the brook in gorgeous spate.
And the body of a dead mole reaches with pale paws upward to slow-moving clouds.
And a rabbit bounds away into Ted Porter’s just-cut hay fields, the white flash of its tail as pure as early snow.
And the headstones in the oldest section of Center Cemetery glow in the dusk like polished bones.
And delicate profusions of hawthorn open like pink-tinged cumuli drifting into the road.
And the rain is loudest in the ginkgo biloba tree and softest in the hemlocks.
And tracks of deer render the roadside mud a story of who else shares the way in darkness when we are not here to see.
And tiny ripples quiver over puddles at the bottom of which shards of quartz and syenite rest gently against each other.
And the road softens by the old bridge, the last in the town without any rails.
And polled Herefords watch me pass without moving their massive heads.
And chickadees sing flying away when I come too close to the crabapple where they nest.
And all of this is beautiful to me – so much so that often as I walk through it I cannot bear it, I literally cannot breathe before it – but I do bear it, all the lovely wholeness of it, until at last I see that it is bearing me and then I settle – then each breath becomes just a breath – and then I do not need to write it or hold it or otherwise memorialize it. Then I do not need to “save” it by labeling it, then I do not need to be alone with it in order to know it because “it” is not “this” but “all” and you see it too. This very moment you see it too.
When the loveliness of what is – moment by moment, breath by breath – is given space, there is a natural way in which we move beyond it to the love – the non-specific Love – which wordiness can only gesture at in passing. It is not the details that move us – be they elements of New England field and forest or Florida shorelines or English hillsides – or birds or lovers or a sentence rendered just so – but rather our common purpose, our shared reality, which is the Truth out of which we are forever composed and in which we compose in turn.
You do not have to judge for you have learned one meaning has been given everything, and you are glad to see it everywhere. It cannot change because you would perceive it everywhere, unchanged by circumstance. And so you offer it to all events, and let them offer you stability (T-30.VII.4:3-5).
How simple it is now, and how clear . . .
The subtlety of this insight means that it can easily be forgotten or misplaced – set aside for desire or guilt, set aside for improvement. But we are learning now to say yes only to what will save us, all of us together. The peace and loveliness perceived with the body’s senses are but dim witnesses to the greater Love that we share with one another, and only by opening wide to this Love can we remember it and thus share it, which sharing is the only way to at last know it in all its grace and simplicity forever.
The present moment – what is – is always sufficient unto the return of our shared memory of God: attention reveals the details in which we have hidden this Love. See them clearly and they fall away at last in favor of that Love and that Love only: and then we are lifted, together we are lifted home.