Monthly Archives: February 2010

Prayer

“Strictly speaking, words play no part at all in healing.  The motivating factor is prayer, or asking.  What you ask for you receive.  But this refers to the prayer of the heart, not to the words you use in praying.  (M53)”

Affirmation:  “Teach me to ask only for the prayer of my heart.”

Reflections:

The Course does not say a tremendous amount about prayer, though, we might realize, much is implied (an interpretation of the Course).   Here we see the “asking” prayer, and we receive a warning:  What you ask for you receive, if it is the prayer of the heart.  Elsewhere we learn that if we pray for something, and are actually afraid of it, we will not receive it, because our fear contradicts our asking.  Being afraid is a certainty that what we are asking is not a prayer of the heart.

All of us have prayed for healing and have seemingly not had some of those prayers answered.  Jesus says that we have chosen various symptoms of pain, and if we remain unhealed truly, we may just replace one chosen symptom with another.  We do not know, usually, what the Self truly wants–even unto death.  We may pray for our healing, and to remain alive, when the Self has decided that this body is best laid aside.  We are assured that there is no true death, that we are creatures of eternity.

So keep in mind that turning to the Holy Spirit for guidance about what the Self wants may be the best choice.

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

Please bring my prayers into my heart, asking for what the Self truly wants, and only for what is good in Your sight.  May I receive the assurance that prayers of the heart are always answered.

Thank you for the guidance of the Holy Spirit as I pray.  Thank You for being there for me.

Amen.

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The Peace of God

“What is the peace of God?  No more than this; the simple understanding that His Will is wholly without opposite.  There is no thought that contradicts His Will, yet can be true.  The contrast between His Will and yours but seemed to be reality.  In truth there was no conflict for His Will is yours.  (M52)”

Affirmation:  “God Will is my own as well.”

Reflections:

This passage is a sticking point for many.  How can we have free will in this world?  We think of Job in the Old Testament, and the ego tells us that what God wants for us not what we “will.”  But it is.  There is actually no conflict between our real will and the will of God.  The farther we progress in our study of the Course, the more certain of this tenet we will become.

When we accept that our real will and that of God’s is the same, we will have the peace that heretofore has eluded us.  Take this tenet to heart, and see what a difference in our lives it does make.

The Holy Spirit will guide us to God’s will.  His whispers are true; the feelings that we have to do or say certain things can, unless we are very confused, be trusted.  The Course elsewhere says quite a bit about how to follow this guidance.  The Course assures us that our own judgment is flawed, and we are encouraged, even bade, to leave our judgment behind and turn to the Holy Spirit.  He alone knows all circumstances and can guide us surely.  We then will truly know the peace of God.  And anything else is counterfeit.

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

May I recognize the truth that Your Will is mine as well.  May I be open to the guidance of the Holy Spirit in this matter of following Your Will.  May I not doubt, but rest in surety when I am prompted to think or act in certain directions.

Thank you for delivering me from the question of Job in the Old Testament.  May I rest in this knowledge and be happy.

Amen.

A Tranquil Mind

“Stop for a moment now and think of this:  Is conflict what you want, or is God’s peace the better choice?  Which gives you more?  A tranquil mind is not a little gift.  Would you not rather live than choose to die?  (M51)”

Affirmation:  “A tranquil mind is not a little gift.”

Reflections:

The question in this passage is akin to a question asks elsewhere:  “Would you rather be right or happy?”  The idea is similar, because we so often get caught up in our own turmoil, thereby making the turmoil worse.

Surely all of us would choose a tranquil mind, unless our ego has us so addicted to drama that we choose the negative drama over peace of mind.  A negative drama is a form of dying, because real living is meant to be peaceful.  Elsewhere Jesus says that we are intended to be perfectly “calm and quiet” all the time.  Most of us find this hard to accept, so accustomed to conflict are we.  The ego has a deep inroad in us.

Tranquility is a better gift, though, and as we progress in our training as teachers of God, we will readily recognize this.  A  lack of drama in living is an attribute of those who have awakened, and one goal of the Course, for us, is an Awakening.  We may not all reach this, but we can have moments of time in which we are awake.  This is advice from Eckhart Tolle (author of The Power of Now and A New Earth), not from the Course per se.

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

I ask for Your peace.  I ask to be happy being perfectly calm and quiet all the time.  May I leave drama behind as I move toward Awakening.  May I have a tranquil mind.

Your peace is all that I want.  When something upsets me, let me think of my real goal of peace before all else.  Thank you for Your help.

Amen.

Anger II

“How is the peace of God retained, once it is found?  Returning anger, in whatever form, will drop the heavy curtain once again, and the belief that peace cannot exist will certainly return.  (M51)”

Affirmation:  “Returning anger will drop the heavy curtain that keeps peace from me.”

Reflections:

The main point that this passage makes is best understood if we realize that elsewhere we learn that all is either help or a call for help.  We get angry when we think that we have not been appreciated, or someone has done us wrong, or a million varieties of these two examples.  If we reinterpret this attack from another brother or sister as a call for help, then we can see that they are innocent, and we truly have nothing to be angry about.

It is important to note that this passage says “returning anger, in whatever form”–a pertinent point.  We often feel upset without fully realizing that what we are feeling is anger.  Suppressing or repressing the anger is not helpful, and this is a mistake that many Course students make.  Our right and proper reaction is forgiveness of the attack, because our brothers and sisters are as innocent as are we.  We have made mistakes, and they have also, but we are not “sinners.”  Calling an attack a “sin” only reinforces it in our minds.  We need to overlook the attack, not make it real by dwelling on it (a Course tenet).

Peace can be with us all the time, but this achievement (and it is an achievement, but not of the ego) may not come to any of us soon.  More and more time can be spent in peace, though, if we keep the tenets of the Course in mind.  The above paragraph summarizes a good bit of the basic psychology of the Course about attack and anger.  For us to be peaceful, we have to have a peaceful psychology, and A Course in Miracles offers this.

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

May I retain peace in my life.  I know that I cannot retain peace if I allow anger to return to me over and over.  I must forgive the mistakes that I make and those that my brothers and sisters make.  Then I may retain peace.

Please help me to go about a peaceful day today.  I know that Your help is at my right hand always.

Amen.

Anger I

“Who sees anger as justified in any way or any circumstance proclaims that peace is meaningless, and must believe that it cannot exist.  (M51)”

Affirmation:  “Anger is never justified.”

Reflections:

Anger, it is said elsewhere in the Course, is actually a call for help.  It may also be viewed as a call for love.  Our task is to run to our brother or sister’s side, and to offer solace–that help or love that is really wanted.  We may not do this overtly if the other person is not receptive.  We may only pray for our brother or sister, or smile at them, or even just make small talk.  Ask for guidance in the thought or action that is needed.  We must be sensitive to the plight of our brother or sister, and overt action may not be desirable.

So we see that anger is never justified.  Peace is not meaningless.  God’s way is right, and peace can exist.  These are wonderful concepts to take to heart.

As long as the ego is in charge, we will be tempted to return attack for attack, but responding in this way is always wrong.  Attacks is what Jesus calls a “magic thought,” and anger is thus not justified.  We need to the inner quiet and calm that ensures that we will respond to magic thoughts of others (and ourselves) with compassion.

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

May I immediately recognize anger on my own part and that of others to be a call for help, meriting compassion rather than anger.  May I offer the help and love that is needed.  May I be gentle to myself, and may I be gentle to others.

Peace is what I want above all else.  I do not want to do anything that renders peace meaningless.  Please help me in this.

Amen.

Heaven vs. Hell

“Pray for God’s justice, and do not confuse His mercy with your own insanity.  Perception can make whatever picture the mind desires to see.  Remember this.  In this lies either Heaven or hell, as you elect.  (M50)”

Affirmation:  “May my perception make only Heaven.”

Reflections:

It is a tenet of the Course that projection makes perception.  This may  be difficult to understand, but this passage clarifies the issue:  “Perception can make whatever picture the mind desires to see.”  Jesus declares that in this lies Heaven or hell, as we elect.

This understanding puts our life situation back in our own hands.  It is how we see the world, how we interpret it, that determines how we will experience it.  Our own insanity has made of this world a hell, and we surely do not wish to stay in this perception.

We are told elsewhere that it is not up to us to judge our brother or sister.  God’s justice is wholly that they are innocent people, as are we, people who are doing the best that they can, given the understanding that they have at any given moment.  Our understanding can help them to follow God’s way.

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

May my perception be cleansed, so that I elect to see only Heaven.  This does not mean that I deny insane things that I see, but it does mean that I choose to see their unreality.  This world is illusory, as the Course teaches me.

Help me to see Heaven in my everyday world.  Help me not to get lost in dreams that are essentially insane.

Amen.

The Definition of Atonement

“The sole responsibility of God’s teacher is to accept the Atonement for himself.  Atonement means correction, or the undoing of errors.  (M48)”

Affirmation:  “May I accept the Atonement fully.  May my errors be undone.”

Reflections:

1 – Atonement Means Correction

This tenet of the Course is not always understood.  Many people want to describe the Atonement as “at – one – ment,” and this may be a reasonable conclusion.  Jesus’s answer, though, is that Atonement means the correction, or undoing of errors.  Certainly we are not perfect here, or we would not be in this world.  Jesus says elsewhere that it is our purpose to become perfect, and when this happens, we will not return to this world at all. We can reasonably conclude that we will have help from the Other Side, because he also says elsewhere that the Teachers of Teachers are not seen by people who live in this world.

2 – Undo Errors

May we follow the guidance of the Holy Spirit so completely that we do see the undoing of errors in ourselves.  The only way that this undoing can happen is to follow this guidance.  We are not strong or brave enough to bring about our own perfection.  It takes divine intervention.

3 – Be a Healed Healer

This passage implied that our first responsibility is to ourselves.  We will make mistakes in trying to extend salvation to others if we are “unhealed healers” who wish to do good, but don’t really know how.  Once we have accepted Atonement for ourselves, we will be in a position to extend salvation to others.  Our times of making mistakes will fall away, leaving Jesus in a position to work through us in a way that he has never been able to do so before.

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

Please assist me to understand Atonement.  May I accept it fully for myself, and then may I reach out to others from a state that approaches error-free circumstances.

I know that Your guidance will help me to reach Your will for me.  Atonement for myself is my first directive from You, and I know that You will help me to reach this glorious state.

Amen.