Monthly Archives: December 2009

Lack of Love

“Whenever you are not wholly joyous, it is because you have reacted with a lack of love to one of God’s creations.  (T89)”

Affirmation:  “not wholly joyous. . .lack of love”

Reflections:

This passage is particularly insightful.  We can determine when we have been unloving, because we don’t feel any joy.

Of course, this sounds extreme.  Surely there are reasons for depression other than a lack of love toward God’s creations.  But are there really?  Virtually all of us are trapped in egoistic thinking, which is by definition unloving.  We do know joy, and by this we can recognize the difference.  When joy comes upon us, all seems right in our little world.  We then recognize that we love the world and everyone in it.

This statement can become a harbinger of the times to change our thinking to be more in line with the Holy Spirit. If we are wholly joyous, very likely we would wish to change nothing.  When we are not wholly joyous, we will want to change much, and the first thing that we need to change is our own unloving attitude.

Prayer:

Dear Father,

May I know the joy that you would have me to know.  To feel this love, I must love my brothers and sisters.  I must react with love toward them.

When I am not wholly joyous, let me realize that my ego has interfered, and that I have reacted without love.  I can change this, with Your help.  Please give me Your help.

Amen.

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The Ego

“The ego will not be destroyed because it is part of your thought, but because it is uncreative and therefore unsharing.  (T87)”

Affirmation:  “The ego is uncreative and unsharing.”

Reflections:

The ego represents a false self, the little self–not the Self.  We are asked to live as though we were not an ego.  We can realize that the ego will just wither away when our false thinking is eliminated and we are living under the guidance of the Holy Spirit.

What does it mean to say that the ego is uncreative and unsharing?  We isolate ourselves when we feel oncoming the hard, tough shell of the ego.  It  is an unloving stance, and one that we would be wise to recognize when it rears its head.  Pray to leave this uncreative and unsharing aspect of ourselves behind.  Soften the heart, and lean unto its counsel.  Then we will feel more a part of our brothers and sisters.  We will love.

The ego is “uncreative.”  Surely this makes sense!  The ego has only “made” things (a Course concept).  Creativity is of the Self, not of the little self, which is egoistic in the extreme.  May we live so that we are the real Self, insofar as we can ascertain.  Then we will let the ego and its unproductive part of ourselves collapse.

Prayer:

Dear Father,

May I realize that the ego will not be destroyed because I need it, but because I do not.  It is uncreative and unsharing.  This is the opposite of the way that I want to be.

May my creativity blossom as I let the ego wither away.  May I share more with my brothers and sisters.  These two blessings will enable me to realize that the ego is unneeded and undesired.

Amen.

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The Ego Punishes

“The ego believes that by punishing itself it will mitigate the punishment of God.  (T84-85)”

Affirmation:  “The ego believes. . .mitigate the  punishment of God.”

Reflections:

This passage seems to explain masochism.  We think that if we cause pain to ourselves first, then God’s punishment of us (in which we erroneously believe) will be lessened.

This is insane thinking.  The ego is insane.  Let us not forget this Course concept.

We in our egoistic thinking do not have to punish ourselves at all.  To do so actually is the reverse of what we want, for any number of reasons, including the fact that punishing ourselves strengthens the ego.  We want to let the ego wither away.  In no way does God punish us.  This concept of the Course is in line with the New Testament, but opposed to the Old Testament.  May we accept Jesus’s teaching in both the Course and the New Testament, and know God as a loving and accepting God who wants only the best for us.  Anything else we have unconsciously chosen, and this can be changed with the right understanding, and the right reflection upon what we are actually doing to ourselves.

Prayer:

Dear Father,

May I know that there is no need for me to punish myself for anything that I have done.  I may know guilt, and this is a form of punishment.  God would never punish; it is always us that are doing this.

May my ego wither away.  I have prayed for this often, and so I have not accepted the truth of this promise that it can wither away.  May I accept this promise now and forevermore.

Amen.

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No Suffering

“How can you who are so holy suffer?  All your past except its beauty is gone, and nothing is left but a blessing.  I have saved all your kindnesses and every loving thought you ever had.  (T83)”

Affirmation:  “I have saved all your kindnesses and love.”

Reflections:

This is a hard passage to understand.  It is true that Awakened individuals acknowledge feeling pain, but not suffering.  Eckhart Tolle is one of these individuals.  But most of us have not yet known Awakening on a sustained basis, and what are we to do when bad things happen?

I think that the Answer is the one we so often find in the Course.  The Answer is turning to guidance from the Holy Spirit.  Jesus himself says in this passage that he has saved our kindnesses and loving thoughts.  We can, without self-satisfaction, realize that, almost despite ourselves, we have had moments of kindnesses and loving thoughts.  If these were ever a comfort to our brother, they can also be a comfort to us in our times of pain.  This recollection will help to ensure that suffering, even in the midst of  pain, will not arise.

We can find in the pain a blessing.  The passage seems to say this.   The passage also notes that we ourselves are holy, a concept that we find difficult to accept, because we usually feel so unworthy.  May we take Jesus at his word, and believe that we do not have to suffer in this world.  As we study the Course, perhaps we will come to see this concept more clearly and to feel pain, when it comes, but no suffering.

Prayer:

Dear Father,

May I know in my innermost being that I do not need to suffer.  In the Course, Jesus says that we do not have to learn through pain.  May I feel the truth of this reassurance.

It is good that my loving thoughts have been saved.  This seems to mean that my unloving thoughts will fall away.  Thank you.

Amen.

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“Turning the Other Cheek”

“You cannot be hurt, and do not want to show your brother anything except your wholeness.  Show him that he cannot hurt you and hold nothing against him, or you hold it against yourself.  This is the meaning of ‘turning the other cheek.’  (T82)”

Affirmation:  “You cannot be hurt.”

Reflections:

It hurts our brother for him (or her) to see that he has hurt us.  While our brother may not tell us this, and he even may not recognize it, still is it true.  We cannot seek to hurt another without being in pain ourselves.

Our real Self cannot be hurt in any way.  This is a magnificent truth that even among seasoned veterans of the Course can easily be overlooked as we live daily in this world.
Certainly we seem to suffer, or, at the least, to know pain–even when it doesn’t lead to real suffering.  Yet the Self continues unabated.  The Self knows that we are whole.

What a blessing to have in the Course this interpretation of the New Testament injunction of “turn the other cheek.”  So often over the years have Christians sought to understand this scripture, and so often we have failed to understand.  May the Course remedy that confusion.  We are whole Selves, and a part of us that we do not usually recognize is unhurt by anything that the world can do to us.

Prayer:

Dear Father,

Now that I know the real meaning of “turn the other cheek,” may I do so promptly when something happens that disturbs me.  May I realize that my real Self is never hurt at all.

May I come to feel my real Self more and more.  When I do so, I am safe in this world.  Thank you for this safety.

Amen.

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Perceiving

“What you perceive in others you are strengthening in yourself.  (T80)”

Affirmation:  “perceive in others. . .strengthen in yourself”

Reflections:

This passage shows us a way to know what is really going on internally with ourselves.  Whatever we perceive in others, we have, usually unconsciously, looked within and found (a Course concept).

This truth of perceiving in others what we really hold within is a powerful teacher.  The “sins” that we perceive in others are, first of all, within ourselves.  Seeing this, we can see what needs to be changed.  And it is not our brother.  It is something within ourselves.

Our brother will seem much more loving as our own thoughts become loving.  “Projection makes perception” is a Course concept.  May we learn from our brother, even as we sometimes note lamentable emotions in him or her.  These emotions (and often actions) have first been within ourselves.

Prayer:

Dear Father,

May I learn from others:  What I see in them is actually something that is within myself.  May I use this knowledge to improve my disposition, my mind and spirit, and my behavior.

As my thoughts become more loving, my brothers and sisters will be perceived as more loving.  This is a great boon for us.  May we realize the truth that projection makes perception, as we learned in the Course.

Amen.

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Peace vs. War

“Peace is the ego’s greatest enemy because, according to its interpretation of reality, war is the guarantee of its survival.  (T79-80)”

Affirmation:  “Peace is the ego’s greatest enemy.”

Reflections:

When we are tempted to attack our brother, may we realize that it is the ego up to its old tricks.  The more we attack, the stronger the ego in us becomes.  Do we really want this?

When we are peaceful, we may at first feel that we are not as “alive” as we would like to be.  This is the longing for drama in our relationships, and it is a sick longing.  Peace is actually the best thing that can happen to us.  Elsewhere the Course says that we are meant to be perfectly calm and quiet all the time.  This may sound extreme, but the things of heaven are obscure to us.

When we allow peace to be, we reduce the size and complexity of the ego.  We reduce its influence on us.  Elsewhere we learn in the Course that the first obstacle that peace must flow across is the desire to get rid of it.  This sounds like a paradox, but if we reflect, we will see that the statement is true.  We too often want drama to make ourselves feel alive.

The Course holds out a better way for us.  Invite peace in our daily lives, and we will soon know a joy that is boundless–even if everything is not perfect in this world.

Prayer:

Dear Father,

May I long for peace in my life far more than I long for drama.  May I realize that drama only strengthens the ego, and this I do not want.

May I have Your inner calm and quiet.  This is the best way that I can come to know You, and it is this that I want.

Amen.