Monthly Archives: January 2010

Special Cases

There are those who are called upon to change their life situation almost immediately, but these are generally special cases.  (M26)”

Affirmation:  “If I am led to change my life situation, may I do so readily.”

Reflections:

This passage speaks to the pathway of those of us who are Course students.  It answers a question that many will have, namely, “What will happen to me?”

Herein is described the fact that some who read the Course will be asked almost immediately to make changes in their life situation.  These may or may not be permanent changes.  But, for those of us who are still fearful, the Course is reassuring in asserting that only “special cases” may meet with an immediate change in life situation.  For the cowards among us (and which of us does not fall in this category at some times), this lets us off the hook.

If we do sense guidance from the Holy Spirit that we are to change our life situations almost immediately, then the Holy Spirit will be there throughout the entire episode, be it lasting or temporary.  We need not fear; we need only trust.

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

I was led to change my life situation almost immediately upon reading the Course, but it was not a lasting change.  It did make changes in my heart, though, and for that I am grateful.

Thank you for helping me to adjust to a new life situation, and help me now adjust to my new life situations.  I know that You are always with me.

Amen.

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Illusion

“By definition, an illusion is an attempt to make something real that is regarded as of major importance, but is recognized as being untrue.  The mind therefore seeks to make it true out of its intensity of desire to have it for itself.  (M24)”

Affirmation:  “May I not seek illusions.”

Reflections:

This definition of illusion can be understood by many of us because of life situations in which we have tried to “fool ourselves” into believing, sometimes vehemently, something that is not true.  In our depths we often recognize that what we fervently want to believe is not true, because we may get a curious “stop” to our attempts to pray for this outcome.  If this happens to us, we would do well to reflect on what is actually at stake.

Illusions are prevalent in our world.  There is so much pain in even everyday life that we retreat from feverish dreams into an illusory world that seems–but only “seems”–better.  Somewhere is our deepest being we recognize that we are believing in an illusion, and we, somewhere, feel self-betrayed.  We do not often let this deeper understanding surface, though.  We may live for years with illusions that would have been left behind in the beginning if we had only turned to the Holy Spirit earlier.

The mind is very powerful, and it can seem to make an illusion true.  Such tactics are self-betraying in the long run, though.  We don’t want to believe a falsehood, and our intensity of desire for an illusion is the real culprit here.  The desire will abate when we recognize that we are fooling ourselves and when we turn to the Holy Spirit for more substantive consolation.  Then and only then will we be free to let the illusion fall away.

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

May I leave illusions behind.  May I seek only what is true, only what I know in my depths is true.

If I have derived pleasure from believing my illusions, this has not been also without pain.  May I recognize that I do not want pain, and may I let my illusions leave me.

Amen.

Self-Doubt

“The real basis for doubt about the outcome of any problem that has been given to God’s Teacher for resolution is always self-doubt.  (M23)”

Affirmation:  “Give problems to the Holy Spirit and banish self-doubt.”

Reflections:

The meaning herein is a bit obscure, but basically the passage is letting us know that God’s Teacher, who is the Holy Spirit, will always resolve problems for us.  The answer may not come immediately if we are not yet ready.  It may take awhile.  But come it will, unless we doubt.  And what is there but self-doubt?  Surely, if we have come this far, we do not doubt the resolutions of problems by the Holy Spirit.  If we hesitate, we are using our own minds against ourselves, and this is the meaning of self-doubt.

We must trust the Holy Spirit to bring about a resolution to our problems.  Elsewhere Jesus asks that we pray for a resolution of the conditions that have brought about fear.  This concept is akin to what is meant in this passage.  Cause-and-effect will not be tampered with, by the Holy Spirit or Jesus.  Jesus says that he will not tamper with the power of our minds, and that we ask him to do so at our peril.  Only the power of our minds keeps us caught in dreams of pain.  There is a way out, and the Course spells out what it is.  Follow the guidance of the Holy Spirit!  We cannot emphasize this enough.  It is the solution to our myriad problems, and it is the Answer to our prayers as well.

Self-doubt is a particularly insidious form of self-betrayal.  We would be wise to drop our misgivings about the power of our own minds, and then turn our wills over to the Holy Spirit.  Then the resolution to our problems will be seen, often sooner rather than later.

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

May I look forward to the quick resolution of the problems that I have given to the Holy Spirit to solve.  May I not doubt that He will resolve my problems.  Let me have trust in His Word.

Thank you for being there for me.  I look forward to a brighter world ahead.

Amen.

Change of Mind

“Healing is the change of mind that the Holy Spirit in the patient’s mind is seeking for him.  (M20)”

Affirmation:  “Healing is a change of mind.

Reflections:

This passage summarizes the idea that we have been exploring for the last several days.  Healing comes about with a change of mind, a change from a desire for illness–external searching–to a desire for health.  Nowhere is this concept made clearer in the Course than in this one sentence.

It is clear here that the Holy Spirit is for health all the way.  Yet He will not stand between cause-and-effect, if our minds desire illness.  Even when we don’t recognize that we desire illness, this still is true.  It is frequently an unconscious choice.

Death would best come by just laying down the body as finished, its usefulness over (a Course concept).  There is not reason for a prolonged illness to overcome us at any time in our lives, unless we mistakenly think that this external searching will lead us to what we need to know.  And often it appears to do so.  The Course would not choose this for us, though.  The Course would choose health, and by reading such passages as this one, we can see that health is the choice of the Holy Spirit as well.

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

Help me to realize that true healing is a change of mind, and that if continuing physical symptoms are present, it does not mean a lack of healing.

Thank you for the many healings that I have known in my life.  I know that all of them came from You.

Amen.

Healing

“Healing will always stand aside when it would be seen as threat.  The instant it is welcome it is there.  (M20)”

Affirmation:  “Welcome healing, and it will be there for you.”

Reflections:

This is yet another of the very reassuring passages that are prevalent in the Course.  We can be healed if we are not threatened by that healing.  We will often not recognize that we are threatened by healing; in fact, we think just the reverse.  Yet, if we are Course students, and we trust Jesus, we should look deeper for the meaning of this passage.

Elsewhere Jesus talks of precipitating a depression in an individual who is unprepared by a sudden healing.  He even talks of the possibility of suicide in such cases.  This is an extreme interpretation, but one that we would be wise to accept.  Sudden healing can be about as threatening to our belief system as anything we may encounter.

The more optimistic way to view this passage is to see that healing will be “there” when welcomed.  This is reassuring indeed, as we noted at the beginning of this reflection.  May we ask for healing, and may we welcome it when we are confronted by it.  Anything else is chosen by the mind for reasons that may remain obscure to us as long as we are in this world.

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

Help me to understand that I am threatened by healing when I am not healed.  When the fear is gone, the healing will be present.

May I realize that there may be continuing symptoms, but the healing is real.  Thank you for leading me to understand this paradoxical statement from the Course.

Amen.

The Physician

“Who is the physician?  Only the mind of the patient himself.  The outcome is what he decides that it is.  Special agents seem to be ministering to him, yet they but give form to his own choice.  He chooses them in order to bring tangible form to his desires.  And it is this they do, and nothing else.  (M18)”

Affirmation:  “We choose our health conditions.”

Reflections:

This passage states that any illness or medical condition is chosen by the individual.  Having the “right” physician to cure one is a wrong concept.  If cure is desired, then the right physician will be present, for the physician is the mind of the patient himself.

We do not often understand this concept, but it can be very helpful if a loved one is dying.  We can realize that, on some level, he or she has chosen this time to make an exit, and the best medical care in the world will not save that individual if he or she has determined that the time to die is now.

On a more optimistic note, we can see that the mind of the individual can also cure.  The illness may have been chosen for some reason other than final exit.  There may be things that the individual wishes to learn from the illness.  Elsewhere Jesus says that illness is some form of external searching.  We do not have to search externally, but often we do choose to do so.  This then becomes the reason for illness.  A change in mind can effect a seeming miracle, but it is a natural law, in many cases, rather than a miracle.  Of course, it is clear that our world does not yet accept this natural law or even know of its existence.

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

Help me to choose rightly in regard to my health.  May I realize that the power of my decision, of my Self, makes the conditions in which I find myself.

Thank you for this insight.  I know that the little self does not understand, but my larger Self does.

Amen.

Son of God’s Inheritance

“You may have noticed that the list of attributes of God’s teachers does not include things that are the Son of God’s inheritance.  Terms like love, sinlessness, perfection, knowledge and eternal truth do not appear in this context.  They would be most inappropriate here.  (M16)”

Affirmation:  “My inheritance as a Son (or Daughter) of God includes love, sinlessness, perfection, and like concepts.”

Reflections:

This appears to be a somewhat mysterious passage.  Perhaps the best explanation is that these terms listed–sinlessness, perfection, etc.–are assumed rather than given to the teacher of God as a new attribute to signify his or her more lofty status.  Even this description is misleading, though, because “lofty status” is an egoic concept, not one that we associate with the Course.  Perhaps it is enough to say that everyone–student or teacher of God–has the attributes listed by birthright.  This is the reason that the word “inheritance” is used in this context.

This passage is part of a lengthy explanation of attributes of God’s teachers, of which “trust” is the most important.  It is elsewhere explained that all of these attributes are achieved as time goes by and learning proceeds.  Learning within the context of the Course, it is believed that the teacher will acquire all of these attributes over time.

To acquire all of these attributes sounds daunting, and perhaps even egotistical.  Yet it is anything but.  No egotistical attribute is meant by any of the terms given in the passages in the surrounding pages to M16.  God’s teachers learn what they need to learn to acquire these attributes, and, once learned, they will have left the ego far behind.

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

Help me to realize that my inheritance as a Son or Daughter of God includes love, perhaps most importantly.  I receive this and many other things as a birthright.

This is not egotism.  I appreciate very much the gifts that are mine as one of Yours.

Amen.