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.

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.

The Open-Minded

“Only the open-minded can be at peace, for they alone see reason for it.  (M16)”

Affirmation:  “When I am open-minded, I can be at peace.”

Reflections:

Open-mindedness and tolerance for the thoughts and actions of others are closely aligned.  It is good to find out in the Course that open-mindedness will allow us to be at peace.  Who would not want to know how to be at peace?

What does open-mindedness mean?  Basically, it is the contrasting way to say that we do not judge each other.  We need a positive expression, rather than the more negative “do not judge.”  And “open-mindedness” is given us in the Course.  It is always better to state a truism in positive terms rather than to muddy our minds with the negative.

We will be at peace when we embrace open-mindedness.  Do we want this?  Of course, and the Course specifies exactly how to make peace of mind ours.

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

Help me to be open-minded and tolerant of the words and actions of my brothers and sisters.  May I not fume in private at anything that they say or do.

I long for Your peace.  Thank you for giving me one more way that Your peace can come to me.

Amen.

True Faithfulness

“True faithfulness, however, does not deviate.  Being consistent, it is wholly honest.  Being unswerving, it is full of trust.  Being based on fearlessness, it is gentle.  Being certain, it is joyous.  And being confident, it is tolerant.  (M15)”

Affirmation:  “May I be honest, trusting, gentle, joyous, and tolerant.”

Reflections:

This is a dense passage, dense with meaning.  It builds upon the definition of faithfulness we read yesterday, and it is extols consistency in our image of the idea.

We have read elsewhere that honesty is actually consistency of thought and deed–nothing contradicts our inner beliefs and nothing that we do externally contradicts what we feel inside.

Trust is mentioned again, as it was yesterday.  We must place our trust in the Word of God to set all things right.

Gentleness leads to fearlessness, because we are not always looking toward our backs to see who might betray us.

When we are certain about the course that our lives will take, in love, we can feel joy.

And then, finally, when we are tolerant. we can live with the strength of confidence in our choices.

Nowhere else in the Course are so many promises packed in so short a span of phrases.
This is one of the strengths of the Manual, which can lead some readers to choose this shorter part as the one with which they begin.  Jesus does not counsel against this, leaving it to the reader to choose the parts first that speak to him or her the most.

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

I can remember all parts of this great promise as I walk through the day.  Forgive my limitations.  Help me now to drive these ideas deep into my mind, so that they are there in my subconscious when I need them.

Help me to be tolerant of my own limitations.  I know that in this world I will have limitations, but Your promises are sure, and I can depend upon the guidance of the Holy Spirit as I walk through the day.

Amen.

Faithfulness

“Faithfulness is the teacher of God’s trust in the Word of God to set all things right; not some, but all. (M15)”

Affirmation:  “The Word of God will set all things right.”

Reflections:

To believe the Course in all situations is to remain faithful to its tenets.  This makes us faithful followers of its tenets.  This only is faithfulness.

We must believe that all things will be set right, not in some far-off future, but here and now.  It all has to do with our perception.  We project what we perceive (a Course tenet).  If we can believe that the Word of God will set all things right, we do not have to take upon ourselves the “sins” of the world.

“Trust” is mentioned in this passage.  Elsewhere we learn that trust is the bedrock of the teacher of God’s faith.  If trust goes, all else follows.  We lose our faith, and we have slipped once again into egoistic thinking.  If we attack, make judgments, or plan defenses against an unknown future, we have lost our way.  We need to regain trust, and study of the Course is our way, our way Home.

Dear Father/Mother,

May I acquire this faithfulness that You describe.  May I have the trust that You will set all things right.

If I study the Course, I will come to understand faithfulness.  I do not fully understand now, but I hope to do so, with Your help.  Help me to understand the Word of God in this matter of setting all things right.

Amen.

Joy vs. Grief

“Joy goes with gentleness as surely as grief attends attack.  (M13)”

Affirmation:  “Joy goes with gentleness.”

Reflections:

We will be happy if we can remain gentle; this is joy.  We will certainly feel remorse, at least later on, if we succumb to attack; this is the tragedy of grief experienced.

It is true that momentarily after attack, we may feel better, not worse.  This is because we think, erroneously, that we have gotten rid of the guilt that has otherwise dogged us on our paths.  But we haven’t really gotten rid of the guilt.  It has, instead, become enhanced through our giving in to attack.  This is the folly that we don’t see when suddenly we “see red.”

To find the joy, we must find the gentleness.  To remove the grief, we must disavow attack.  This formula works in daily life.  Why don’t we all give it a try?

Dear Father/Mother,

May I give up attack in all my dealings with my brothers and sisters.  This one step will give me joy.  Gentleness will also accompany this change in me.

Thank you for the courage to give up attack.  Help me to realize that it offers nothing that I want, and everything that I do not want.  Lead me along Your pathway to joy, led by the gentleness that You will help me to acquire.

Amen.

Gentleness

“. . .God’s teachers are wholly gentle.  They need the strength of gentleness, for it is in this that the function of salvation becomes easy.  (M13)”

Affirmation:  “May I be wholly gentle.”

Reflections:

This is a consoling passage.  Which of us would not want to be gentle, to feel gentleness?
When we learn, through this passage, that the strength of gentleness helps us in salvation, then our motivation to become gentle multiplies.

To be wholly gentle is not to attack and not to act on anger.  Both are lamented elsewhere in the Course as not being justified under any circumstances.  How so?  Our brothers and sisters are innocent of sin (though perhaps not of having made mistakes).  When we can see the innocence of others, we are well of our way to becoming gentle in our interactions with them.

Gentleness is a trait much to be admired.  We do not often pray for this, perhaps, but perhaps we should.  In it are found many of the other traits that we do aspire, frequently, to have.

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

I ask for gentleness, for in gentleness is the function of salvation made easy.  I pray for Your help to allow gentle thoughts and actions in my life and the lives of those I touch.

May I be a teacher of God.  This is something that Jesus would have me to be, and I pray that I am doing what is necessary to be such a teacher.

Amen.

Without Judgment

“Without judgment are all things equally acceptable, for who could judge otherwise? (M12)”

Affirmation:  “All things are equally acceptable.”

Reflections:

Judgment is one of the hardest ego tactics to give up.  Herein we are bade not to make choices using our own judgment, but to let all things be equally acceptable.

This does not mean that we condone wrongdoing, or that we accept, without action, all the things in our world that we believe need correction.  But it does mean that we start with ourselves first, and we don’t judge our brothers and sisters for choices that we cannot understand.  We leave that judgment to the Holy Spirit, who sees all events prior and forward in time.

Judgment is easily laid aside once we see all the misery that it has caused for us and this world.  Why would we hold to an illusion that we can judge at all?  We have no basis for doing so, because we are not aware of all the situations that have made a given choice in this world.  To judge is to be involved with an illusory self, one that really cannot know the best way.  It is far better to leave judgment to Someone who does know–the Holy Spirit.  He always sees the innocence is all actions.  Everyone does the best that he or she can, given the circumstances, and everyone feels justified in his or her choices.  The Course would not have us to judge matters of which we cannot know the whole.

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

My ego clings to judgment because judgment–as well as anger, attack, and planning for the future–keep the ego alive.  May I recognize this ploy for what it is, and turn aside from judgment this day.

May I understand why I need to be accepting in this world.  May I recognize when action is required of me to right a wrong, but may I be very careful about these choices.  May I seek the guidance of the Holy Spirit always.

Amen.

Perfect Honesty

“The peace of mind which the advanced teachers of God experience is largely due to their perfect honesty.  (M12)”

Affirmation:  “May I have peace of mind by my honesty.”

Reflections:

Perfect honesty, as explained later on at this point, really means “consistency.”  We don’t say or do anything that contradicts the love that is in our hearts.  We therefore do not know conflict, but instead perfect peace of mind.

Are all of us advanced teachers of God?  Not yet, but we are destined to become that, once we have gone through the workbook, as well as studied carefully the other parts of the Course.  We will know the peace of mind that is reserved for those who have walked the full pathway.

This is a glorious promise, one of the best in the Course.  Surely we will do our part to bring about this Heaven on earth of peace of mind.  No one can ask more of us, and Jesus assures us elsewhere that it is easy.  We may find this hard to believe, even after years of studying the Course, but easy it can become for us when we turn to the Holy Spirit for all of our answers.

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

I long for peace of mind above all other joys.  And I recognize that it is joy that this peace gives to me.

May I be perfectly consistent in my thoughts and behavior, and may I realize that this is what honesty actually entails.  Please stay by me.

Amen.

Heaven Is Here

“This is the stage of real peace, for here is Heaven’s state fully reflected.  From here, the way to Heaven is open and easy.  In fact, it is here.  Who would ‘go’ anywhere, if peace of
mind is already complete” (M11)”

Affirmation:  “In peace, Heaven is reflected.”

Reflections:

This passage represents the ultimate achievement in matters of salvation.  The passage tells us that peace of mind is possible even in this world, and that therein lies Heaven.

The theology underlying the Course is not always easy to follow.  But here we have a definite stand that Heaven is possible of achievement even in this world.  And this is a grand promise indeed.

The way to Heaven is “open and easy,” and, in fact, it is “here” now.  What more glorious release could we wish to have?  This is a goal worth striving for, and Jesus’s promise is that we shall know Heaven even here, once we have walked the pathway that the Course sets out.

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

I long for Heaven on earth.  Jesus has promised it to me, and I claim his promise.

May I have the peace of mind that gives Heaven to me, even in this world.  I thank you in advance for the fulfillment of this glorious promise.

Amen.

Judgment

“And now he must attain a state that may remain impossible to reach for a long, long time.  He must learn to lay all judgment aside, and ask only what he really wants in every circumstance.  Were not each step in this direction so heavily reinforced, it would be hard indeed! (M11)”

Affirmation:  “Help me to ask what I really want in every circumstance.”

Reflections:

This passage explains one of the steps on the way to Awakening.  It sounds easy, but the playing out of the passage is hard indeed.  To lay all judgment is not easy, as the ego thrives on judgment.  And the ego it is that we need to lay aside.

But Jesus assures us that we have “heavily reinforced” help to lay all judgment aside.  This is a great blessing.  This help comes from the Holy Spirit.  In addition, Jesus himself has said that he is always with us.  We have only to ask for help, and it will be forthcoming.

This passage represents a stumbling block to many.  This is where we get stuck in our pathway to Awakening.   We must recognize that the way may be long, and that there may be setbacks along the way.  But the glorious end is certain.

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

Help me to lay all judgment aside.  If I refuse to do so, then I am refusing to let the Holy Spirit offer His guidance to me.  I would have the Holy Spirit offer His guidance, and I choose to follow this guidance.

Help me to know what I really want in every circumstance.  This is not always easy for me to ascertain.  I need you, dear God, and I request Your help.

Amen.

God’s Teachers

“The surface traits of God’s teachers are not at all alike.  They do not look alike to the body’s eyes, they come from vastly different backgrounds, their experiences of the world vary greatly, and their superficial ‘personalities’ are quite distinct.  (M9)”

Affirmation:  “God’s teachers differ from one another, but this is as it is meant to be.”

Reflections:

This world has a variety of people, and any of them may have come to see the light, and to follow the way of God.  Personalities can conflict, though, and so we may not always like everyone, even when they too are on the pathway.  And this, being on the pathway, does not it include everyone?

The fact that surface traits differ can be reassuring.  It does ensure that we will not necessarily recognize our brothers and sisters who are walking the pathway.  It makes us more tolerant of diversity.  Would God have made us so distinct unless there were a good reason?

This passage says that we can walk very many different pathways to God.  The Course is just the way that you and I have chosen.  We should recognize that other pathways are just as valid for others.  Nowhere does the Course contradict this idea.

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

When my sisters and brothers who are on the pathway seem very different from me, may I not despair, but instead give thanks.  We need to be different to appeal to different sisters and brothers.  The diversity serves God.

Help me to know what to say when I meant someone who seems quite distinct from me.  Help me to reach out in the best way, the way that You would have me to reach.

Amen.

Lifelong Relationships

“The third level of teaching occurs in relationships which, once they are formed, are lifelong.  These are teaching-learning situations in which each person is given a chosen learning partner who presents him with unlimited opportunities for learning.  These relationships are generally few, because their existence implies that those involved have reached a stage simultaneously in which the teaching-learning balance is actually perfect.  (M8)”

Affirmation:  “Lifelong relationships have a perfect teaching-learning balance.”

Reflections:

This third level of learning is most often seen in parent-child relationships.  In bygone eras, it was also seen in life-long partnerships, but with divorce so prevalent, this is no longer true.  If we are extremely fortunate, we will know a few individuals throughout our lives who offer unlimited opportunities for learning.  Be this parent-child, or partners for life, the potential is reason for rejoicing.

Sometimes, in our society, we move far away from our birth city, and far away also from our parents.  The same holds true for our children.  If our primary relationship is intact, we will continue to learn from our partner.  But one source also is the friends that we make along the way.  Most will eventually fade from our lives, and therefore not be the lifelong relationship that this passage proclaims as so pivotal to our lives.

It is good to keep our relationships intact, even if separated by distance.  In this era of e-mail, this is more easily done than previously.  Phone calls, of course, can continue as well.  We would be wise, in all likelihood, never to let anybody fade from our lives permanently–at least, anybody who was once significant.  This is an ideal, though, and few of us will be fortunate enough to find it.

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

Thank you for the lifelong relationships that I have, and have had.  May I come to understand what a teaching-learning balance really means.

I ask you to help me keep my relationships intact.  If I have lost someone from my life, and it seems feasible to reach out once again, may I have the courage to reach out.

Amen.

No Accidents in Salvation

“. . .[T]he plan includes very specific contacts to be made for each teacher of God.  There are no accidents in salvation.  Those who are to meet will meet, because together they have the potential for a holy relationship.  They are ready for each other.  (M7)”

Affirmation:  “We meet those we are meant to meet.”

Reflections:

The fact that there are no accidents in the plan of salvation is a comforting thought.  Those who are meant to meet, will meet.  Our potential, with each person in our personal world, is the potential to have a holy relationship.  There are no exceptions.

These “very specific contacts” may give us solace as we go about our days, even as we encounter those whom we find it difficult to love.  These may be our most important teachers.  It is instructive that the plan of salvation, in the view of the Course, is a detailed plan, with particular people entering our lives whom we are meant to meet.

Finding the way to a holy relationship is not a straight line.  Elsewhere we are bade to turn our special love relationships into holy relationships, but we are not perfect, and at times the hatred in our hearts, as yet unhealed, will surface with attack and anger.  This is not a reason to despair, but one to recognize as an opportunity.  When we fall down, we are helped up, often by the same brother or sister who has been the catalyst for our fall.  Then we will see that special love relationships really can and do become holy, given time and the incentive to make the transformation.

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

I thank You that we have particular people whom we are destined to meet.  This is one truth that gives meaning to our lives.

May I transform all the special relationships that I have into holy ones.  If this seems a too-lofty goal, let me remind myself that I have started the pathway, and once on the pathway, the end is certain.

Amen.

One Decision

“Those who would learn the same course share one interest and one goal.  And thus he who was the learner becomes a teacher of God himself, for he has made the one decision that gave his teacher to him.  He has seen in another person the same interests as his own.  (M6)”

Affirmation:  “I see in another the same interests as my own.”

Reflections:

Those whom we have loved are likely to be the ones in whom we have seen the same interests.  And, even if these brothers and sisters have left our lives, still there is a tie one to another.  We have seen in those people the same interests as our own.

We do not always recognize when a teacher has entered our lives.  Only as time passes do we recognize the new insight that he or she is giving us.  Course teachers share one interest and one goal–as well as one philosophy.  This is a blessing in and of itself.

To see in another person the same interests as our own is to recognize that we are all One.  Surely this will speed our way toward Awakening, because it is certain that we cannot reach that final healing on our own.

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

Help me to see in my brothers and sisters the same interests as my own.  We want the same things–love, peace, joy, and a sense of aliveness about life.  The Course can show us the way.

Help me to share the Course in the way that  these books can best be received.  May the Holy Spirit guide me in my interpretations, keeping me from mistakes and leading my brothers and sisters to Home.

Amen.

“An Instant that Is Relived”

“Time really, then, goes backward to an instant so ancient that it is beyond all memory, and past even the possibility of remembering.  Yet because it is an instant that is relived again and again and still again, it seems to be now.  And thus it is that pupil and teacher seem to come together in the present, finding each other as if they had not met before.  (M5)”

Affirmation:  “Pupil and teacher have met before.”

Reflections:

This is a difficult passage, but one that is central to the Course’s tenets.  Time, which really doesn’t exist, does in our world go backwards for eons, and in our world we relive that instant over and over.  We have met everyone whom we encounter sometime before.  “Everyone” includes our pupils, for only time separates us all from being teachers of God.

Moreover, in interpreting a bit from the Course, we are all pupils also.  There are those who are more advanced than are we, who teach us.  Indeed, the Course says that all of us are teaching all the time, because we cannot avoid it.

It is good to know that our brothers and sisters are familiar to us, that we have met before.  When the going seems rough with any of them, we can realize that we are working out our problems with each other.  Surely this is reassuring.  If the time of healing seems a long way off, we must be patient, for time indeed will work to heal when we follow guidance.

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

Thank you that You have taught me that I have met all my brothers and sisters, whom I encounter, earlier.  I do not understand how time can go backward, but let me accept Jesus at his word.

Please help me to say and do the right things with my brothers and sisters to lead them to You.  Whether I am a pupil or teacher at the time, may I learn from You.

Amen.

Pupils of God’s Teachers

“Certain pupils have been assigned to each of God’s teachers, and they will begin to look for him as soon as he has answered the Call.  They were chosen for him because the form of the universal curriculum that he will teach is best for them in view of their level of understanding.  Hi pupils have been waiting for him, for his coming is certain.  (M5)”

Affirmation:  “My pupils are waiting for me.”

Reflections:

This is a reassuring passage.  There are people out there who are only waiting for us to respond to God’s call, reiterated by Jesus.  When we have responded to that call, we will find these new people showing up in our lives.

And not always are they “new” people.  Some may have been in our lives for years, but because we were not ready, we did not teach properly.  We may have even led these long-time brothers and sisters into greater mistakes, because we ourselves knew no better.  Let us let this insanity end today.

All of us have a certain way of teaching salvation.  There are no two ways identical, just as there are no two fingerprints identical.  The fact that these pupils have been waiting is a Course concept that we may not fully understand.  The fact that our coming was “certain” is also a Course concept that may be difficult to understand.  Again we must take Jesus at his word, and know that these understandings, once accepted, will speed us, as well as others, on the way to total joy and fulfillment.

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

May my pupils find me.  May I speak Your Word to them in such a way that they can come to greater love and understanding.

It is reassuring that I have a place in salvation.  Thank you for making this clear to me.

Amen.

A Teacher of God

“A teacher of God is anyone who chooses to be one.  His qualifications consist solely in this; somehow, somewhere he has made a deliberate choice in which he did not see his interests as apart from someone else’s.  (M3)”

Affirmation:  “A teacher of God is anyone who chooses to be one.”

Reflections:

This passage opens up the teachers of God to anyone.  Once we have seen someone else–a brother or sister–as being wholly worthy of forgiveness, we are ready for the designation of ‘teacher of God.'”  We see our interests as the same as his (or hers).  We don’t make distinctions, nor do we judge another’s actions.  We are forgiving through and through.

Of course, we do not often sustain this powerful way of living.  We fail, sometimes repeatedly.  But Jesus notes that these are correctable mistakes, not sins, and once we have realized that these moments of judging are mistakes, we will be forgiving once again, of both ourselves and others.  Mistakes call out for correction, and we respond accordingly.

If we do not see another’s interests as different from our own, we are seeing him (or her) as a brother or sister in Christ.  This change of perspective will bring us joy.  Let us make it today.

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

Please help me to see that the good wishes of someone else are the same as the good wishes of myself.  This, in itself, will help me to help my brothers and sisters.

I would like to be a teacher of God.  Help me to be this.  I cannot do it without You.

Amen.

Teach Perfection

“This is a manual for the teachers of God.  They are not perfect, or they would not be here.  Yet it is their mission to become perfect here, and so they teach perfection over and over, in many, many ways, until they have learned it.  (M2)”

Affirmation:  “Teach perfection, and you will learn it.”

Reflections:

This passage continues the theme of the previous passages in this blog.  As we teach perfection, we gradually (almost without knowing it) become more perfect ourselves.  We are not now perfect, because we are a part of this world.  We would not choose to be here if we were already perfect.  But there is a way that we can become more perfect, and this passage spells it out.

We must not be too hard on ourselves.  Perfection will probably always remain an elusive goal, and it is even neurotic to ask the impossible of ourselves.  But Jesus holds out to us the promise that eventually we will know perfection.  We truly cannot understand how, as we think over our shortcomings.  But we need to take Jesus at his word.

The manual is the shortest of the three parts to the Course.  Some of us will want to start there, maybe simply because it is short.  If this seems right, we should do it.  Otherwise, we need to dip into both the text and the workbook, to see what seems right (guided by the Holy Spirit) for us.

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

Help me to understand what you are asking of me.  Perfection seems to be a very elusive goal, and I am weak until You make me strong.

Help me to teach perfection in the best way that I know how.  I know that this will involve patience and forbearance on my part, not to attack and to eliminate anger from my emotions.  Help me, for, dear God, I need it desperately.

Amen.

Hell

“Except for God’s teachers there would be little hope of salvation, for the world of sin would seem forever real.  The self-deceiving must deceive, for they must teach deception.  And what else is hell?  (M2)”

Affirmation:  “The world of sin is self-deception.”

Reflections:

This passage explains why it so important that we learn the Course and become teachers of God.  This world depends upon our cooperation in this great endeavor.  If we do not take our place in salvation, the world itself is at stake.

The definition of hell given herein suggests that hell is the worst that we know on earth.  Nowhere is there any indication in the Course of a hell beyond death.  In fact, the reverse itself is true.  We are not to live in fear that we may end up, being judged of wrongdoing and cast into hell after death.  The Course is very clear on its denial of this.

If we deceive ourselves in believing that this world is real, then we will teach this concept.  It is a tenet of the Course that this world is not real; the real world awaits us as we have walked further along on the pathway to Awakening.  Surely we are willing to take out places in bringing salvation to this world.

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

May I lose my fear of hell, because it is self-deception.  The real world awaits my coming to it.  This real world is the one of love and peace that Jesus promises to us.

I know that you need me to help save the world.  This is not arrogance, but the sanest sense.  May I join your great Awakening in this real world, ready to do my part in salvation.

Amen.

Lessons of Joy and Hope

“Into this hopeless and closed learning situation, which teaches nothing but despair and death, God sends His teachers.  And as they teach His lessons of joy and hope, their learning finally becomes complete.  (M2)”

Affirmation:  “Teach joy and hope.”

Reflections:

Jesus says elsewhere that the world needs us now.  It is in a bad way, as all of us know who listen to the daily news.  It is a “hopeless and closed learning situation,” and Jesus is looking to us to change the situation to something better.

As we teach, we learn.  As we have been saying, there is no other way.  When we teach that joy and hope are our rightful inheritance, we too learn this.  We are traveling farther on the pathway to Awakening.

We are Jesus’s teachers (once we have completed the workbook of the Course).  May we let our own neuroses drop away, with the help of the Holy Spirit, and may we do our part to save the world and all people in it from unhappiness and hopelessness.

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

May I know that as I teach joy and hope to a desperate world, I will find that my learning has become complete.  Thank you for this reassurance.

May I turn to the world and seek to help the people in it in their distress.  Jesus needs me, and to believe so is not arrogance, but the truth.

Amen.

Teaching and Learning

“The question is not whether you will teach, for in that there is no choice.  The purpose of the course might be said to provide you with a means of choosing what you want to teach on the basis of what you want to learn.  (M1)”

Affirmation:  “What do I want to teach and therefore learn?”

Reflections:

When we go through our days, we are teaching–whether consciously or otherwise.  And what we teach we learn.  Not only, therefore, are others affected, but especially ourselves as well.

This passage recommends that we make a choice to teach something good in our lives.  In so doing, we are learning something good.  There is no other way.

All of us are teachers; whether or not we are a teacher of God is very much our own choice.  The Course says that we cannot claim this title until we have gone through the workbook, because we are learning through the teachings recorded therein (and in the Course as a whole).  May we choose to teach God, not the ego.  May the Holy Spirit guide us.

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

May I teach what I want to learn.  May I be led by the Holy Spirit to know what that good teaching is.

Help me to be clear about what I want to learn.  This will help me to teach the right things to my brothers and sisters.  May I have Your guidance as I make my choice of what to teach.

Amen.

Peace

“I must have decided wrongly, because I am not at peace.
I made the decision myself, but I can also decide otherwise.
I want to decide otherwise, because I want to be at peace.
I do not feel guilty, because the Holy Spirit will undo all the
consequences of my wrong decision if I will let Him.
I choose to let Him, by allowing Him to decide for God for me.  (T90)”

Affirmation:  “I can decide for peace.”

Reflections:

This passage is a lovely blank verse poem.  If we are not at peace, we have made one or more errors.  We are in charge in making the decisions that will bring us to peace.  We can decide otherwise, and thus choose peace, moment by moment.

We do not have to feel guilty, because of the power and glory of the Holy Spirit.  He can undo the consequences of our wrong action or thought–the error that made us lose our peace in the beginning.

Peace is a great blessing.  All of us would choose it, rather than drama, if we would give it more thought.  “Perfectly calm and quiet” is said elsewhere in the Course as the direction in which we are heading.  We may, actually, not welcome this now, because we are tied to our dramas, but as we choose more and more the peace that God grants, we will know the genius of this proscription.

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

Help me to decide for peace, not drama.  I am in charge of this decision, with the help of the Holy Spirit.  If I am not at peace, I have decided wrongly.  I choose now to change this decision to one of peace.

Help me to know the value of being perfectly calm and quiet all the time.  May the Holy Spirit, day by day, lead me in this direction.

Amen.

Guilt

“If you allow yourself to become guilty, you will reinforce the error rather than allow it to be undone for you.  (T90)”

Affirmation:  “If. . .become guilty. . .allow it to be undone for you”

Reflections:

This passage emphasizes an important psychological truth, but one that we may never have heard before reading the Course.  The passage also contains some Course teaching that would preclude full understanding without our reading.

One of the greatest problems that we face when engulfed by the ego is the problem of guilt.  We think that we have done horrendous things, and maybe we have, but only in illusion and only as mistakes–not sins.  Mistakes cry out for resolution, for remedying.  They do not have the attraction that a deed named a “sin” seems to have for our frail psyches.

If we choose to eliminate guilt, we will help the error to be undone as well.  But “we” do not undo the error; that is the providence of the Holy Spirit.  He works in cooperation with our willingness to leave guilt behind.  And, with guilt behind, the error is easily overlooked.  We choose not to repeat the error as soon as we label it thusly–an error, or mistake, not a sin.

Prayer:

Dear Father,

If I make mistakes, I will feel guilty when I come to myself.  This feeling of guilt can be undone when we seek to be forgiven, of ourselves and of the other person whom we feel we have wronged.  May I find that forgiveness now, and leave guilt behind.

Help me to turn to the Holy Spirit when I am tempted to make mistakes that will induce guilt.  Thank you for being there for me.

Amen.