Origins of Separation

This post is part of a series entitled: Reflections from A Course in Miracles

This is the first post in Chapter 2 : The Separation and The Atonement

Earlier in the series, I posted some context to my beliefs you may find helpful to review if you are new to the series.

If we believe God to be that first, original strand of DNA as we approach this chapter we see that all of the power and perfection contained in the that first strand of DNA was passed along

In the creation, God extended Himself to his creations and imbued them with the same loving will to create

With this sentence we see that we have the desire to procreate and it is innate. But, along with the desire to extend our own genetics, by having children, creation should be thought of as creativity. Everything from the first tools, communication, literary compositions, music, science, medicine… is part of creation, inventors, scientists, artists are all creators in their own way.

From here, I needed to read and re-read the rest of paragraph one a few times to understand. At first, I thought it was saying that we cannot decide what to create and create it. I wanted to interpret this as the Law of Attraction was a false idea. However, after much reflection over the past week, I have decided that is not what it means at all.

I believe the distortion of reality is fear. Fear keeps us from bravely stepping into our lives and creating the life we want. Fear keeps us from acting, even if it is safe to do so.

The book refers to what we know of as the original sin, Adam listening to the lies of the serpent in the Garden of Eden. We know Eden to be Paradise, a place where everything is perfect and nothing is needed.  Unlike Eden, which is the picture of perfection, we are constantly grasping to make things different than they are. We constantly promise ourselves we will eat better, sleep better, exercise more, love more laugh more at some point in the future, when the conditions are perfect and the stars are aligned. What I believe this chapter seeks to teach us is that everything is exactly as it should be. Our lives are bringing us the perfect lessons on the perfect schedule, we only need to recognize this as fact to make it so.

“You do not have to continue to believe what is not true, unless you choose to do so. All that can literally disappear in the twinkling of an eye because it is merely a misperception.”

“It still remains within you, however, to extend as God extended HIs Spirit to you. In reality this is your only choice, because your free will was given you for your joy in creating the perfect.”

We are reminded then, that we are perfect and everything we create is also perfect. It is only when we choose to ignore that we and are circumstances are flawed in some way and that we must change them in order to enjoy our lives. Accordingly, this belief is false and therefore we are operating our lives with a false baseline.

“All fear is ultimately reducible to the basic misperception that you have the ability to usurp the power of God. Of course, you neither can nor have been able to do this.”

This means that when we learn to operate our lives and still enjoy our lives on the basis that everything is already perfect and we are right where we are supposed to be, to learn the lessons we have chosen to learn.

“The escape is brought about by your acceptance of the Atonement, which enables you to realize that your errors never really occurred.”

We have already learned atonement to be  reconciliation; agreement or making things more congruent. Therefor, it tells us that when we learn to see things as they are, not as we want them or expect them to be, we will be free of the trap of duality. This means we should let go of the idea that we need to change things to be happy, for our lives to be perfect.

To me, this sounds a whole lot like the practice of mindfulness and living in the moment, being present that is practiced by several religions and non-religious spiritual practices. The following sentence could be something written in any Buddhist or Hindu script.

“If a light is suddenly turned on while someone is dreaming a fearful dream, he may initially interpret the light itself as part of his dream and be afraid of it. However, when he awakens, the light is correctly perceived as the release from the dream, which is then lo longer accorded reality. This release does not depend on illusions. The knowledge that illuminates not only sets you free, but also shows you clearly that you are free.”

Finally, we are reminded that the purpose of miracles is to help us wake up to the atonement. There is no stratification of miracles, none have a larger magnitude than another. We already know that Forgiveness, Love and Gratitude are miracles and part of the atonement.

Disease, or illness is nothing more than some sort of external search for perfection or peace. Health is the realization that inner peace is found inside and will cure all illness which results from the idea that we are somehow lacking something outside ourselves.

“Health is inner peace. It enables you to remain unshaken by lack of love from without and capable, through your acceptance of miracles, of correcting the conditions proceeding from lack of love in others.

When we learn to recognize the healing attributes of forgiveness, love and gratitude, we become immune to the ill actions of others.

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Banishing a critic

 

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As part of my mindfulness practice, I try to remain vigilant for my inner critic.  It never ceases to amaze me how critical I can be of myself, regardless of my successes.  The Serenity Prayer has always been an anchor for me,  helping me to sift through the critiques, learning to identify which are worthwhile lessons and which are useless to me and likely untrue.

This week was my father’s birthday. Calling home requires a steeling of my intestinal fortitude. Calling home requires me to be on my “A” game or risk tumbling backwards and losing miles of personal and spiritual growth gained from where  I once came.

From my father, I have inherited my inner critic, it speaks to me in his voice. My father is the source and the trigger for most, if not all of my self-criticism. My relationship with my father has been the source of much strife in my life. But, this critic of mine has also been the source of much of my motivation.

The key to dealing with the inner critic is to listen for the lesson“

If the criticism is true, then it’s helpful feedback that you can use. If it is not true, then it is only a projection and means nothing.”

The key is to determine if the criticism is true or not, This is also the most difficult part.

In her book, The Five Keys to mindful communication, Susan Gillis Chapman teaches us to listen to our bodies to determine if we are in an open or closed state of mind.

Using a similar concept, I started experimenting with this idea by finding deep emotions I could tie to true and false.  Finding a deep meditative state of mind, I concentrated on something I know to be true and paid attention to how that felt in my body, it felt light and airy and comfortable. Next, I repeated something to myself over and over that I knew not be to true. For more impact, I reflected on something emotional, something my ex husband used to blame on me, that was not true. I chose something with emotion tied to it because I wanted to pay attention to how false felt in my body. The “False” Sensation was heavy and it felt funny in the pit of my stomach.

Having concentrated on the delicate differences in the body, I am now armed with valuable information to use when I am attacked by a critic, be they internal or not. Now, when I feel criticized, I am able to focus deeply within and follow the sting of the criticism to the source of its hurt. This allows me to more readily identify if the criticism is true or false. If it is true, there is a lesson in it and recognizing that gives me the power to choose to change it or not. If the critique is false,  it is useless to me and deserves none of my energy, this allows me to let it go.

This excellent technique is useful in so many situations and is an excellent mindfulness exercise. Learning what different emotions feel like inside the body enables me to reframe them. Once I determine if they are useful to me now or just a remnant of the past, I am now more capable of dispositioning them. Once you learn to process your emotions in this way, you can melt barriers before they ever get in your way.

This week, I practiced using this technique with my dad, not 5 minutes into our conversation, he reminded me of a career mistake I made over three years ago. He brings it up every time… This time, rather than jumping on the critic bandwagon, I realized that staying stuck in a mistake I made three years ago was his choice, not mine and I chose not to let his choice bother me this time. What a fantasticly freeing experience.

How do you choose which critiques have a valuable lesson and which ones are just baggage keeping you tied to your past?

VII, Distortions of Miracle Impulses

This post is a part of a series entitled: Reflections from a Course in Miracles.

Because our perceptions are distorted, we do not have the impulse to perform miracles.

We were created to perform miracles because miracles are the way we express our true nature.

“All real pleasure comes from doing God’s Will. This is because not doing it is a denial of self.”

In using our bodies to perform miracles, we expand our vision of the miraculous. When we perform miracles, we grow our sphere of influence.

We are reminded once again that miracles are not cause for awe, because ordinary man creates miracles and you should never be in awe of your equal. This tells us that we should not worship those who perform miracles (priests, ministers, monks) because they are equal to us in the eyes of God.

A Course in Miracles is mind training. All new skills require time and attention, study and practice. The first chapter closes by reminding us that we should not be afraid and the more we study ACIM, the less fear we will have. So as we begin to look at the next chapter, let us practice in the miracles we have learned here: Forgiveness and Gratitude. Let us practice forgiving others for their mistakes and let us be grateful for the abundance in our lives. Fear is an illusion and Lack of abundance is illusion and by practicing Forgiveness and Gratitude, we are performing miracles which will in turn, attract for us both more miracles and more opportunities to perform miracles.

VI. The Illusion of Needs

This post is part of a series entitled: Reflections from a Course in Miracles

 

“You who want peace can find it only by complete forgiveness.”

Forgiveness is a miracle that frees both the forgiver and the forgiven.

“Perfect love casts out fear.

If fear exists,

Then there is not perfect love.

But:

Only perfect love exists.

If there is fear,

It produces a state that does not exist”

Love is eternal perfection. Love and Fear cannot exist in the same space. In the last post, we learned that Love is the Truth. Anything that involves fear is a lie. This gives us a clue that if we are feeling fear, we are not looking at the situation from a place of love.

“All aspects of fear are untrue because they do not exist at the creative level, and therefore do not exist at all.”

When we are living in a state of Godliness, we do not have any needs because lack of anything is a figment of our own creation. Complete forgiveness is the one way to return to that state of Godliness where we realize we lack nothing.

This section ends interestingly by telling us that all aspects of fear are untrue because they are manmade.

“To whatever extent you are willing to submit your beliefs to this test, to that extent are your perceptions corrected”

This last sentence kind of puts the ownership of fear back on us. We own our fear, we created it and we can choose to realize it is false. By looking fear in the face, we realize we are limitless and can accomplish anything. Fear is a limitation we create in our minds.

fear

V. Wholeness and Spirit

 

 

“The miracle is much like the body in that both are learning aids for facilitating a state in which they become unnecessary.”

You were created in perfection. Everything about you is exactly as it should be. You have the freedom to choose your path and you may choose a path of no or low ambition, but your potential remains the same. The cars horsepower does not lessen because it’s driver does not push on the gas.

Time is merely a limitation of the mind in this body.

“When everyone recognizes that he has everything, individual contributions to the Sonship will no longer be necessary”

When we join with our spirit on our path, we realize that we are not lacking anything, we can accomplish everything we desire, we all have the same gifts. It is our perceptions that we are lacking that create lack. This is essential to remember because we are what we think we are and we create our reality through our thoughts and feelings.

The Truth is eternal, perfect and unchanged. Love is the Truth

We imprison ourselves with our own thoughts, because souls are perfect, unchanged and eternal

Each time we choose miracles (Forgiveness, Gratitude, Love) we are looking at the light. When that happens, our magnetism changes and we start attracting more light, and more opportunities for light.

vessel2

IV. The Escape from Darkness

This post is part of a series of posts entitled Reflections from a Course in Miracles.

When we live in fear, we live in the darkness, unable to see our own light. Once we face our fears, we recognize there is nothing to be afraid of and we are able to make decisions that honor our light.

Living in the darkness means living in lies and fear. The light is abundant and perceives everything with love, therefore, if we are perceiving our world, without love, we are not living in the light but rather in fear.

Love is the ultimate miracle, it brings truth and light and freedom from fear. When we remember that we are whole and perfect and we find forgiveness for ourselves and release the past, we can begin to see the abundance before us, bathed in the light of love.

Now we know that miracles can be forgiveness, gratitude and love.

Next ACIM Post

Blazing Trails

Dear Victim

Stop! Stop it right now, no one is coming to save you!

There is no hero riding in to get you out of this, you’ve got to do this on your own

There is no right or wrong way, just do it, just make your own way

No one is listening. You are wasting precious breath; crying in the wind

Your sobs are lost in the chaos, no one can hear you; they are too busy sobbing too

There is no one watching out for you, you have to take the first step alone

You are not here to be marginal, you are not here to follow

When they outcast you for being different, know that you were meant to blaze trails

III. Atonement and Miracles Part 2

This post is part of a series entitled Reflections from A Course in Miracles, This post is also the second post in the discussion on Atonement and Miracles.

In these early posts in Chapter one, there are so many concepts introduced for the first time, I would like to give them adequate discussion, this third section is a prime example because there were so many new concepts addressed I had to break it down into two posts.

The truth of duality and awareness is always available to anyone who chooses to listen to their intuition and follow the path. Similar to any life lesson we encounter, we have to be willing to choose it, this means be willing to accept its presence and trust its guidance and actually take action on its recommendations.

In this section, ACIM reminds us that we have to be ready to receive miracles, before we have access to miracles. But what this really means is the miracles, as we discussed yesterday, are Forgiveness and Gratitude.  The concepts of forgiveness and Gratitude exist whether we recognize them as miracles. They exist whether we choose to take use them or not. Miracles then are more readily available to those who recognize what they are and how to perform them.  While the benefits of forgiveness and gratitude are available to all who use them, the power lies in knowing their power.

This text also seeks to teach us that we don’t always have to understand why our intuition is guiding us the way it is, but it there is a plan and we don’t always have to understand the plan. Many mentors have told us this. It is about saying yes! to life. Trust that when you stop letting your ego get in the way and preventing you from following that calmer, more quiet voice, talking you out of doing the right thing for ego’s sake, whether you understand the path or not, the treasure is assuredly at the end.

Finally, this section reminds of us of the Golden Rule. Do unto others as you would have done to you. We are all one. We are all energy. We all breathe in the same molecules and exhale the same into the breath of another. Oxygen is in the air that we breathe and the water we drink. Our bodies are made mostly of water as is the earth. Oxygen permeates our Universe, it essentially is the breath of life. We are all connected. This is the essence of the Golden Rule. When we recognize that we are all made of the same molecules, we have all come from the same source DNA and our energy is all connected, we begin to understand the importance of the Golden Rule. It is the essence of Karma. Think of it like magnetic energy, whatever you throw out into the universe comes back to you.

Next ACIM Post

III. Atonement and Miracles… part 1

the-difficult-choice-of-forgiveness-7-638

This post is part of a series entitled Reflections from a Course in Miracles

Chapter I The Meaning of Miracles III Atonement and Miracles

Before we go on, I would like to remind you that while the book is written in the voice of Jesus Christ, the author herself was an atheist and reported merely typing was dictated to her in channeling sessions.

I feel it necessary before you embark on a journey this lengthy with me, to describe a few concepts from my own interpretation. I recognize that reading a journey through ACIM with me requires that you at least understand some of the basis of my interpretation. I realize I need to write a little bit more about my beliefs.

For me, God, is DNA, The first cell of life. This DNA holds all knowledge of everything it creates. (some call this the akashic record or the akash). When I think of God as DNA, his son then, created in his image is nothing more than the result of mitosis, DNA duplicating itself.

When I read the bible and think of mitosis, I can see how Eve was a rib of Adam or how I was created in the likeness of God and that his son and I are exactly the same.

Jesus Christ then symbolizes the “son” of DNA, the son of creation, the son of God. The first duplication of DNA.

 Jesus Christ, (the older, wiser, all-knowing other brother) in my interpretation can be thought of as intuition, higher mind, higher consciousness, spirit, oneness, whatever pronoun you choose to describe the guidance you access through prayer, meditation, ghosts, spirits, aliens, inner child etc. The part of us that recognizes we are not our egos, we are not individual but part of a larger whole, Non-duality.
Remember, in Catholic tradition from which I was raised the Father, The Son (Jesus Christ) and the Holy Spirit are all on and the same.
If you can then, think of God as DNA and Jesus Christ as your intuitive guide, ACIM Becomes much more approachable, even if you are not Christian. I feel this is important because ACIM can be such a valuable guide.
Now, I feel with that out of the way, I can cut right to the heart of the message in accordance with my interpretation.
You are in charge of your own atonement, or in actuality, your intuition is. When I read this chapter, I feel like it is reminding me to meditate. Meditation or prayer, or music or whatever you use to find your inner peace and quiet and shut off the incessant chatter of the ego.
Once we have quieted the ego (the part of us that we think of as “I”) we have access to a quiet, all-knowing place that can guide us through life. It is the powerful guidance that shows us the way and guides us to manifest all of our dreams if we only choose to pay attention. (And do the work, follow-through)
Atonement according to Dictionary.com
noun
1.satisfaction or reparation for a wrong or injury; amends.
2.(sometimes initial capital letter) Theology. the doctrine concerning the reconciliation of God and humankind, especially as accomplished through the life, suffering, and death of Christ.
3.Christian Science. the experience of humankind’s unity with God exemplified by Jesus Christ.
4.Archaic. reconciliation; agreement.
 Let us interpret atonement here in the archaic definition: reconciliation; agreement or making things more congruent.
With those terms defined we can see that our intuition is in charge of making things congruent, or reconciling our duality. Our inner guidance system is responsible for guiding us towards opportunities for miracles (here, in the form of forgiveness and gratitude).
Remember that Jesus Christ, in the Christian tradition, died for our sins.  When we are ungrateful and unforgiving of others we are “sinning.” But here, we are reminded that there is no need to wallow in the fact that we have done wrong in being ungrateful and or unforgiving because Jesus Christ has already (atoned, in the christian faith) died for our sins (mistakes such as being unforgiving and ungrateful).
It is our responsibility than to perform miracles in order to set things right. We just learned that there is no need to beat ourselves up for our ignorance and mistakes, there is only this moment right here to make it right.. simply forgive and express gratitude. In doing so, like paying it forward we spread awareness or atonement, we can help others see the difference it makes in life to appreciate what we have and the kindness of others and to forgive those who have not yet realized that is the way to congruence.
The author reminds us, that we will forget to be grateful and we will lack forgiveness but our higher mind (Jesus Christ, here) will be grateful and forgiving anyway, when we let our ego step in front of our higher mind (as the part of us that knows and understands the path of lightness is the path of Love, Forgiveness, Gratitude.)
“Listen to my voice, Learn to undo error and correct it. The power to work miracles belongs to you.”
 We are reminded here to listen to that gentle, quiet, inner voice (“My Voice”). When we learn to become present in the body, to live in the exact moment we are in (rather than the past or future) we are more able to hear the quiet voice that guides us.
I have learned that I often hear the voice of my intuition or higher consciousness, my ego, in the form of the inner judge or inner critic, often disputes what it says. For example, I might think about writing a post describing my concept of God as DNA and my ego will quickly wash that idea away to say something like I am not good enough, or I am too tired or that idea is crazy, or any form of reason to stop me from doing what my intuition was guiding me to do. We do it all the time, all day, every day.
Here, ACIM reminds us to listen to that guidance (described as the voice of Jesus Christ), which will guide us to opportunities to perform miracles.
Once we learn to listen to this guidance and take concerted action, we can manifest our hearts content.
 “I will provide the opportunities to do them, but you must be ready and willing.”
 “Doing them will bring conviction in the ability, because conviction comes through accomplishment”
 “The ability is the potential, the achievement is its expression, and the Atonement, which is the natural profession of the Children of God, is the purpose.”
This tells us that the Recognition of our oneness, our recognition that we are all one and the same, part of the same single DNA molecule that continues to replicate itself in the mission to experience everything that life has to offer… is our purpose here on earth.
In Verse 2, we learn that Heaven and earth as two distinct “locations” will cease to exist but life will become what we each perceive as heaven when we choose to listen to the voice of intuition.
In many traditions, the soul continues to exist, even after it sheds its human body. Reincarnation is simply the soul taking form in a new human body. In many traditions, we (as souls) choose to come to earth to experience a particular set of lessons.
Think of life as a Treasure map, we are each on our own quest for some kind of treasure, be it love,money or fame. Whatever treasure you are searching for, the map to get there is found inside and the clues you have been given thus far are Love, Forgiveness, Congruence and Gratitude.
Meditation then can be thought of as a compass. It helps me get clarity, see my treasure map a little more clearly, listen for my inner guidance or GPS.
OK, Back to ACIM,
“The Forgiven are the means of the Atonement. Being filled with spirit, they fogive in return.”
We already know forgiveness is one of our miracles. When we forgive someone, not only do we lighten our own load, but we also lighten theirs. In doing so, that lightness makes each of us more likely to forgive someone else and/or make better choices next time, because once we release the past (forgive) it no longer has a grip on the future. This is not to say we do not take the lessons with us, but rather we have learned to accept the responsibility for our part in it. I know this can be a touchy part, because bad things do happen to good people, certainly, but let us save that for another discussion.
What I mean here is
“Recognize your errors and choose to abandon them by following my guidance”
In verse 4 we are reminded to listen to the inner guidance, it is always there, but it is always we who choose whether or not we listen and follow.
How many times in my life have I said something like, “I knew it!” “I should’ve listened!” “I had a feeling!” Intuition is like a fountain of information but too often we turn it off or drown it out somehow, more often than not, we let ego overpower it, but it is always there.
Wow, That only covered the first half of this section, I think we will have to come back for another post to cove the second half as it is pretty rich in some other concepts and I want to explore it in depth and this post is already pretty long…. Hope to see you next time!

II. Revelation, Time and Miracles

This post is part of a series of Posts entitled Reflections from a Course in Miracles,

This second chapter, 7 pages into this book was the hook chapter for me, my first time through this book. I can tell you that the first 2 paragraphs perfectly describe my own awakening. When you get your first glimpse at the awesomeness that is the Universe and the Circle of Life and the truth to our parallel universe and the truth about how much power each of us has in this world, power of our thoughts, power of mind, Power of words and emotions. There is absolutely no way to describe the experience without sounding like a raving lunatic. There are no words to describe the enormity of it… even know, I struggle to find the words to explain…

If you haven’t yet had that first experience of sheer bliss and sheer knowing of the truth of the universe, keep meditating, its coming… back to that hook chapter, allow me to quote directly before I continue.

  1. “Revelation induces complete but temporary suspension of doubt and fear. It reflects the original from of communication between God and His creations, involving the extremely personal sense of creations, sometimes sought in physical relationships. Physical closeness cannot achieve it…”
  2. “Revelation is intensely personal and cannot be meaningfully translated. That is why any attempt to describe it in words is impossible….”
  3. “Awe should be reserved for revelation, to which it is perfectly and correctly applicable.”

This description of Revelation perfectly describes my own awakening. As I tried to describe to you above, There really are no words to describe what you suddenly inherently just know when you wake up.  There are many, many ways to find your path to enlightenment. I interpret the above lines to mean just that, when you catch that first complete but temporary glimpse of the world… there are no words to describe it….. except, maybe awe.

Since my very first glimpse, I have spent much time trying to get back there, to that place (although, it isn’t exactly a place), it is just a space in your mind, where time stops and you suddenly know everything you need to know. It’s like you look around and you are amazed at what you suddenly know. But, you dont realize that it is temporary, you arent going to remember it all, or you didnt know what you needed to know (The importance of setting an intention) and practicing meditation more and more, because the better you hone your skills, the more you practice, the more relaxed you are and the easier it is to access that place of knowing, that we sometimes call intuition, some call it God, some call it Ancestors, ghosts, aliens, I think it is all the same thing, it is all manifestations of energy and as said above, deeply personal. It is why those highly enlightened people, those that can mainline the divine, like and MichaelAngelo and Walt Disney and Homer and Hemmingway and Shakespear and Mozart and Socrates and for that matter told us stories and painted it into Allegory, because it is so profoundly deep that we recognize our little minds have no words to describe it all.

We humans have been plugging away at the truth for centuries. As things become common knowledge, our minds become capable of describing and comprehending the bigger concepts, like the quantum sciences.

Whew, got a little of track there… OK, so this chapter first seeks to define the difference between a revelation and a miracle. A miracle is something basically performed between two humans (one channeling the divine, or receiving from Christ, or performs magic) and the other one who is having difficulty recognizing their own divine self. Awe should be reserved for Revelation, because during Revelation (aka Enlightenment or Awakening, maybe “woke” for some of you) it such a deeply personal and profound experience understanding your true place in the world. On the other hand, a miracle is something that happens between “brothers” and therefore, awe, would subjugate you to your “brother”

“The miracle is a sign of love among equals. Equals should not be in awe of one another because awe implies inequality”

Written in the voice of Jesus Christ, son of God, the book next begins to explain that we the reader stand below Jesus Christ and he stands below God. Exactly as I described above, the truth is so enormous and difficult to comprehends, let alone explain that every single human who has reached spiritual enlightenment before us has used story and allegory to explain the truth to us. To explain to us that we are all energetic beings, that we truly create our lives with our thoughts, feelings and actions. I believe in some ways, that when the book says to us

In the process of “rising up,”  I am higher because without me the distance between God and man would be too great for you to encompass

the author or channel is telling us exactly what I just said. I am sure this will not be a popular opinion, but perhaps the Bible is just that, a collection of ancient stories telling us how to navigate our lives 2000 years ago.

The book tells us that miracles are not worthy of awe and he who performs a miracle is not to be worshipped. Yet I believe this is exactly what we have done, those highly enlightened individuals who perform miracles become saints. Perhaps even Jesus Christ and Buddha themselves were just highly enlightened people who mastered their emotions, who mastered their thoughts, their minds and their energy.

Bare with me, I know this might sound outrageous, but let me just keep highlighting a few more sentences.

I bridge the distance as an elder brother to you on the one hand and as a Son of God on the other. My devotion to my brothers has placed me in charge of sonship, which I render complete because I share it.  This may appear to contradict the statement, “I and my Father are one,” but there are two parts to the statement in recognition that the Father is greater”

with that, I shall leave the rest of the interpretation up to you… I would love to hear your thoughts!

Next post in this series III. Atonement and Miracles part 1