This post is part of a series of posts entitled: Reflections from a Course in Miracles.
Chapter II, Section III The Altar of God
We have already learned that Atonement, in ACIM, in my interpretation, is defined as the correction of error. The error ACIM speaks of is the separation. The separation is the belief that we are separate from one another, God and perfection. Separation defines the lies of the ego.
We learn that our body is our temple. However, we also learn that the body is not really a structure at all and its beauty can only be found at the altar. Our inner voice, intuition, voice of God, Spirit, Angels, Guides, Ghosts, Aliens, whatever you believe is the source of your truth and the answer to your prayers and meditations is where we find our altar. (See this post for more information about my interpretations of this text.)
“It’s true holiness lies at the inner altar around which the structure is built. The emphasis on beautiful structures is a sign of the fear of atonement and unwillingness to reach the altar itself. The real beauty of the temple cannot be seen with the physical eye. Spiritual sight, on the other hand, cannot see the structure at all because it is perfect vision. It can, however, see the altar, with perfect clarity”
I have three sons, all three are teen/young adult in age and two of their girlfriends also currently live in my home. I am constantly trying to get these kids to meditate. It is a losing battle. I am often amused at the lengths they will go to in order to keep from being alone with their own thoughts. There is a TV or music on in every room. They cannot drive until they have put music on. They even take a floating speaker along when we kayak and paddle board.
I revel in the silence when I paddle. I love the quiet at the top of the mountain, I feel like I can see the whole world. I have learned to love listening to the sound of my breath, The silence refreshes me. Only after I learned to embrace the quiet did I find my inner voice.
When I read the quote from ACIM, above, I think it speaks to this, our fear of finding the answers inside, our fear of silence, our need to constantly distract ourselves. I recently described a night when the power went out in my neighborhood and how I watched relationships reform, because people had nothing to distract them from the people they were sitting next to. We always have our faces in our phones, computers, TVs and video games. We have not only forgotten how to interact with one another, but more importantly, we have forgotten how to have a relationship to ourselves and listen to that quiet knowledge we all possess on the inside.
“Before the separation, the mind was invulnerable to fear, because fear did not exist. Both the separation and the fear are mis-creations that must be undone for the restoration of the temple, and for the opening of the altar to receive the Atonement. This heals the separation by placing within you the one effective defense against all separation thoughts and you perfectly invulnerable.”
Meditate! Get Quiet, Listen to your inner guidance. Trust your gut, Heed your intuition. The more you practice in the silence, the more you will be guided because you are paying attention. The voice is always there, our inner guidance is an eternal fountain of truth that is always available for us to drink from. When we learn how it speaks, when we learn its quiet, gentle, thoughtful ways, we learn the difference between the voice of intuition and the voice of our ego. Once we learn the difference, we begin to recognize that it is always available to us, when we listen. Even when the ego is screaming, we learn to recognize the quiet, steady guidance of that guidance, even amongst all of the noise. Once you arrive at this place, you are no longer vulnerable to lies and fear because the source of all knowledge is available to you and you become more and more confident in your ability to access the fountain of knowledge within you, your inner altar is always available and you do not need ANYTHING external from you in order to access it.
We have all heard that some people need to first see or actually hit rock bottom before they turn their lives around. Everyone has different levels of hell they are willing to go through to protect what they value and not everyone values healthy things.
“Tolerance for pain may be high, eventually, everyone begins to recognize, however dimly, that there must be a better way”
We all have choices. We get to choose what we value. We get to choose what our rock bottom is. We also choose to be silent or distracted. But, this text tells us that we will all reach a point where we have had enough and start making different choices. Once we learn that we have an internal fountain of joy and truth and love inside ourselves, we becoming increasingly intolerant of the things that cause us pain, which we used to accept pretty regularly. Like taking vitamin C at the first sign of a cold, we can likewise find respite inside ourselves, at the inner fountain, when spiritual pain threatens to weaken our immune system. Once you learn how good it can feel to find that inner source of knowledge, the smallest irritant will prompt us to look within.
We are here on earth to learn to ignore all the distractions, to follow our inner guiding light, to share that light with others and to create that light in our own artistic way, whatever that way is. Each and everyone of us has a gift to share with the world, it is only fear and separation from our source of power that keeps us from success.