Monthly Archives: November 2009

Be Still

“You are part of reality, which stands unchanged beyond the reach of your ego but within easy reach of spirit.  When you are afraid, be still and know that God is real, and you are His beloved Son in whom He is well pleased.  (T55)”

Affirmation:  “When you are afraid, be still”

Reflections:

This is a comforting passage to recall in times of fear, and, especially, if we feel that we have wronged a brother.  God loves us still, and all mistakes are correctable.

There is a theoretical aspect to this passage as well:  the image of “reality,” as opposed to the world that we made, which is actually, as seen by the Course, an illusion.  The ego lives in this world of illusion, and so naturally if we are listening to the ego, we will believe that we have wronged a brother, and we will be afraid accordingly.  The ego feeds upon such imaginings.

Actually we cannot truly wrong a brother in his (or her) reality, and when we move beyond the ego to the spirit, we know this.   Note that reality is within “easy” reach of spirit.  This reminder we may need often, as we go about in an insane world.  God never leaves us alone, though; we are always shadowed by His inner essence in ourselves, and we always have the Holy Spirit for guidance.

Prayer:

Dear Father,

When I am afraid, help me to realize that You are there for me.  I do not have to retain the emotion of fear; I only need to realize that You will lead me out of that emotion.

I am within easy reach of spirit.  Let me always remember this.  And thank you.

Amen.

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Going with Our Brother

“The Bible says that you should go with a brother twice as far as he asks.  It certainly does not suggest that you set him back on his journey.  Devotion to a brother cannot set you back either.  (T52)”

Affirmation:  “Devotion to a brother cannot set me back”

Reflections:

A “brother” in A Course in Miracles always includes brothers and sisters, and it means a companion, another person in this world who needs our compassion.  (The Course was scribed in the sixties, and inclusive gender language had not yet become inherent in our writing.)

It is important to note here that we are to follow the biblical injunction of going the distance with our brother.  We are to go the extra mile.  But we are not encouraged to send our brother searching alone for his (or her) pathway; we are to help him in the best way that we know how.  This best way may not always be apparent.  Sometimes we can help best by stepping back, and only smiling at him (or her); this is stated elsewhere in the Course.  We are bade to pay attention to what our brother is ready for.  And this may not be readily apparent, and so we need to think carefully before we act.

Also important to this passage is the fact that our devotion to our brother cannot cause us to lose ground.  Our pathway, according to the Course, is found in our devotion to our brother, rather than through long periods of contemplation.  Our way, according to the Course, is forgiveness, which leads to love, of our brother.  Forgiveness of our brother will lead us to Awakening.  So will contemplation, though Jesus states that this other way can be tedious, and we are encouraged to follow our way, which the Course spells out in abundant detail.

Prayer:

Dear Father,

May I be the best companion to my brother.  This will mean that I am there for him when he needs me.  I will walk along the pathway with him.

May I recognize that devotion to my brother cannot cause me to lose ground in the quest for salvation.  Devotion to my brother is the way spelled out in the Course.  Thank you for these words of encouragement and advice.

Amen.

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Approaching the Beginning

“Your starting point is truth, and you must return to your Beginning.  Much has been seen since then, but nothing has really happened.  Your Self is still in peace, even though your mind is in conflict.  You have not yet gone back far enough, and that is why you become so fearful.  As you approach the Beginning, you feel the fear of the destruction of your thought system upon you as if it were the fear of death.  (T51)”

Affirmation:  “Your starting point is truth”

Reflections:

This is a difficult passage; it hints at a philosophical backdrop for the Course.

We are told that we are actually “returning,” even though we have never actually left Heaven.  This returning leads us to the Beginning, before the ego, in its madness, was made.  Naturally, to the ego, its own destruction is terrifying.  We can perhaps gauge the amount of ego still in us by the fearful nature of our thinking as we study the Course.

“Nothing has really happened.”  Here is the point made again that we are  living an illusion, and should any of us really fear an illusion?

Prayer:

Dear Father,

As I study the Course, I may become fearful.  This is because my ego senses its elimination.

Help me to realize that this fear can be abated by Your strength.  Help me to realize that the elimination of the ego is what I really want.

Amen.

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Rejection

“Only those who give over all desire to reject can know that their own rejection is impossible.  (T48)”

Affirmation:  “give over all desire to reject”

Reflections:

Rejection is of the ego, and once we relinquish the desire to reject our brother, we too know that our Self cannot be rejected by God.  Knowing this is a great release.  We cannot be rejected by God!  What a glorious incentive to give up the ego.

All of us have known rejection.  We may remember these incidents as among the worst of our life.  But we do not have to be wounded irreparably.  There is a way out.  Once we have started to turn away from the ego, our perceptions are cleansed, and we at that time know less rejection from others.  This is a principal motivator of the Course.  And once motivation has been increased, we are well on our way to the Atonement.

Rejection from others, or our own personal rejection of self or others, can be one of the main disappointments in life.  Once we truly realize that it is ourselves who have initiated any rejection, even when it seems to come from others, we are healed.

Prayer:

Dear Father,

May we realize that in rejection, we are in the driver’s seat.  We have made this situation, however much we may try to blame others.  Help us especially not to blame You.

May we cease to contemplate rejection in any form.  When this is accomplished, we will be well on our way to Atonement, a lasting Atonement.

Amen.

revised

Wearying Yourself

“You are not really capable of being tired, but you are very capable of wearying yourself.  (T47)”

Affirmation:  “I am not really capable of being tired”

Reflections:

Prior to studying this passage, we may feel that our concepts of “being tired” and “wearying” ourselves mean the same.  They do not.  Being tired suggests an outward invasion upon our bodies, something that is “done” to us.  We can easily recognize, though, that wearying ourselves is an internal matter; we are doing this unto ourselves.

The two concepts thus can be seen as very different.  Projection makes perception, and being tired would be a conceivable invasion from beyond ourselves if we could actually be influenced by the world’s actions.  The theoretical foundation of the Course makes clear that the world does nothing to us; we only think that it does.  We are doing this unto ourselves.  With this realization, we are solely in the driver’s seat.

In the workaday world, this philosophical interpretation of the influence of the world may seem far from the truth.  Only in our quiet moments of reflection is it likely that a glimmering of the truth of this teaching of the Course will become apparent.  When we stop long enough to be introspective, we can see that we are wearying ourselves as we go about our daily activities.  A simple change of mind can make the most onerous tasks seem more palatable.  And we will recognize, in our quiet moments, that we can be strong and not tired, however much we actually do.   Frequently a change of attitude is all that is needed.  But this change is spiritual, and we may need a miracle to see its realization.  Pray for that miracle.

Prayer:

Dear Father,

May this Thanksgiving Day I realize the truth that wearying myself is something that I do to myself.  It can be undone by a quiet moment of reflection.

Thank you that the world does nothing to me.  I only thought that it did.  And this includes the thought that I am tired.  In this busy season of Advent, may we learn that being tired is not actually done by the world to us, but wearying ourselves is done to ourselves by ourselves.

Amen.

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Judgment and Organizing

“You do not need judgment to organize your life, and you certainly do not need it to organize yourself.  (T47)”

Affirmation:  “You do not need judgment. . .to organize yourself.”

Reflections:

This passage is stunningly simply in its words, but has profound implications.  We are told elsewhere in the Course that the world teaches us to rely upon our judgment and to monitor our actions by judging the best action to take.  But this is false reasoning.  We cannot know the whole context in which our judgment occurs–the past, the present, and the future that we try to judge in incompleteness.  These are tenets of the Course.

If we do not need to organize our life by judgment, then upon Whom should we rely?  The oft-repeated assertion to rely upon the Holy Spirit is meaningful in this context.  How do we do that?  By listening to the still, small Voice within–what is commonly know as “feelings,” or intuition.  By “feelings,” we do not mean emotional response; emotional response, especially that made in haste and under pressure of the moment, may be the ego prompting us to undertake a false pathway.  By “feelings,” we do mean the inner sense of rightness about a given action or thought.  With practice, we will learn to distinguish the difference.

But it is enormously freeing to give  up the judgment of the world.  We walk freely and peacefully as we let the moment guide us by insight not of ourselves.  We know that if there are plans to be made, we will be told of them; they will occur to us at the proper moment for planning.  Otherwise, we can walk as free spirits in a world set free from our judgments–a world lit from within by the guidance of the Holy Spirit.

Prayer:

Dear Father,

May I be led along the pathway that relinquishes judgment in favor of the guidance of the Holy Spirit.  May I be flexible, be able to turn on a dime.  May I not be stubborn in following this guidance.

Judgment, as taught by the world, is incomplete.  Judgment, as given by the Holy Spirit, takes into consideration all the variables.  I want to follow the guidance of the Holy Spirit.  That is my intent.  Help me to stand firm in this resolve.

Amen.

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Judging

“When you recognize what you are and what your brothers are, you will realize that judging them in any way is without meaning, In fact, their meaning is lost to you precisely because you are judging them.  (T47)”

Affirmation:  “their meaning is lost to you. . .because you are judging them”

Reflections:

This passage is a bit obscure.  What exactly do we recognize (in our brother and ourselves) that we are?  The answer of the Course is that we are Sons of God (and Daughters); we are innocent in the inner essence of who we are.  We have not “sinned,” but the self which lives in this world has, instead, made mistakes–easily corrected when recognized.  We are said to want to correct mistakes in a way that we don’t want to correct “sins”; there is a attracting feature to sin that sounds irrational and that encourages that sin to be repeated.

This is part of the philosophical basis of the Course.  Judging by ourselves is always tainted, impossible in essence.  We cannot know all the circle of causes and effects that we sometimes find ourselves judging.  We give up judgment to the sure judgment of the Holy Spirit, which is only that God’s Son is guiltless, and that sin does not exist.

There is a darker side to judgment as well.  We are told elsewhere that attack, judgment, and making defenses against contingencies to come will make us lose our way again.  These actions can accomplish nothing, and they will divert us from our pathway to light.  So let us give up judgment (i.e., relinquish it to the Holy Spirit, Who sees truly), and find the real meaning of ourselves and our brothers.

Prayer:

Dear Father,

May I give up attack, judgment, and making defenses against contingencies to come.  If I do these things, I will surely lose my way.  While the way can and will be found again, we lose much time, and we may suffer much.

May I completely relinquish attack in all its forms.  This is the ego personified, and only in the relinquishment of the ego is peace found.  Thank you for your help, for I will surely fail unless You walk with me.

Amen.

revised