Love, Peace, and Joy as Effects
Sometimes students tell me they want to reach a state of bliss or to be joyful all the time. What they do not understand is if they attained these states they would not experience them as bliss or joy because their new state would become the “new normal”. Bliss and joy are really only felt in contrast to unhappiness. Peace is only felt in contrast to conflict. Love, or wholeness, is only felt in contrast to lack. They are all personal experiences. And they are only the flipside of the experiences that they are set up to replace.
I could say that Truth is the absence of all feelings and experiences. But really It is not even that. Truth is not defined by an absence of any kind. It cannot be understood in contrast to anything. Truth is beyond all comparisons or contrasts because It is beyond all duality.
That which experiences pain and seeks to be out of pain are the same. So to seek to feel “good” is to seek for only the flip-side of feeling “bad”. They are the same coin and nothing real is accomplished by changing feelings. Real change is to be aware of That Which is so beyond all feelings that It is not even the absence of feelings. Feelings were never There.
If you’ve read my earlier writing you know that for a long time I pursued love and peace and joy. I even defined Truth as the experience of lasting love and peace and joy. Now I see that these experiences are not Truth Itself but only the effects of an awareness of Truth. This is why they can be experienced through other sources. For example, you hear of people who have taken certain drugs or who have had a stroke who have “transcendent” experiences where they feel an expansion of their being and/or boundless love or peace or joy. They have experiences of “light” or they see the illusion of form or the interconnectedness of all things. Those experiences are only effects of chemical changes in the brain brought on by drugs or a stroke or an awareness of Truth. (When the experience is caused by the latter I call it a “higher miracle” because of its source). These experiences are only meaningful in contrast to what had been accepted as reality. But neither the experience one has before and after the “transcendent” experience nor the “transcendent” experience itself is Reality.
This awareness clarifies for me the experience of my last Revelation in September ’07. There was the Revelation, Which is beyond description. And, as always, what follows is a higher miracle full of lessons for me. In that case what I experienced on the “way back” from the Revelation was so much joy that I felt that if I felt any more I’d be the joy. Then I swung all the way into the darkest terror of the ego (personal thought system): the fear of not existing. At the time, and for long after, I saw my mind as split between the joy and the terror. Now I see those were in the same place in my mind. The Revelation was the Thing apart. The joy/terror was only the effect of experiencing the Revelation.
Learn about the books The ACIM Mentor Articles, The Plain Language A Course in Miracles, 4 Habits for Inner Peace, and Releasing Guilt for Inner Peace at www.acimmentor.com.