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.

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.

Irritation

“In order to heal, it thus becomes essential for the teacher of God to let all his own mistakes be corrected.  If he senses even the faintest hint of irritation in himself as he responds to anyone, let him instantly realize that he has made an interpretation that is not true.  Then let him turn within to his Eternal Guide, and let Him judge what the response should be.  (M48)”

Affirmation:  “May all of my sense of irritation fade away.”

Reflections:

This passage succinctly describes what our reaction should be when confronted with negativity.   If we become even slightly irritated at a circumstance in the outer world, we are to turn within, to our internal Teacher, the Holy Spirit.  He will remind us of what our response should be.

The Holy Spirit often guides us very specifically, because our problems seem to be specific.  He will lead us out of the storm in which we sometimes find ourselves.  We will speak with new authority and with wisdom that is beyond us.  This is a great blessing, and one of the most important motivators to learning A Course in Miracles.

If we are feeling irritation, this is a prime time to let our mistakes be taken from us.  We do not need to compound the error by turning to attack.  Then the ego will have taken the upper hand.  We need to be healed if we are to heal.  An unhealed healer is a contradiction (a Course tenet).  May we all be led to turn to the inner Guide for the best reactions in such moments of temptation.

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

Irritation does not seem as bad as anger, but the Course would say that both are equal.  May I turn immediately to the Holy Spirit when I sense irritation, and may I let it fall away.  The Holy Spirit will guide me.

May I not flare in anger before I realize what is happening.  May this be the first step on my pathway to eliminating poor thoughts and behaviors in myself.

Amen.

React Without Error

“God’s teachers’ major lesson is to learn how to react to magic thoughts wholly without anger.  Only in this way can they proclaim the truth about themselves.  (M47)”

Affirmation:  “Help me to react to magic thoughts wholly without anger.”

Reflections:

Our brothers and sisters who are not Course students will have many superstitious ideas (“magic thoughts”) that may arouse anger in us.  They may attack us.  Unless we are quiet and calm, we will react negatively, thus undoing the good that they might receive from us.

Note that Jesus says that reacting to magic thoughts wholly without anger is the “major lesson” of God’s teachers.  This is a significant statement.  He knows that we lose our patience easily, and we must be patient if we are to set a good example, if we are to reach others in the only way that they can accept.

We cannot be identified as God’s teachers until we have mastered this difficult lessons of reacting without anger.  This asks a lot of us, because the ego, in most of us, has not yet withered away.  The truth about ourselves is that we respond to anger with a desire to help and to express love, not retaliate in kind.  When we have mastered this difficult lesson, we will be well on our way to being the teachers of God that Jesus needs.

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

Help me to react to my brothers and sisters wholly without anger, especially when they are saying things about which I disagree.  Sometimes their thoughts will conflict with the Course, and this will bother me, if I am not careful.  Help me not to be bothered,, but to react wholly with love.

Help me to stand back if my brothers and sisters are not ready to learn the material of the Course.  Help me to give what I can in a good and loving manner, and to know when to stop.  Thank you helping me to decide the right time to change my manner of response.

Amen.

God’s Teachers

“Into this hopeless situation God sends His teachers.  They bring the light of hope from God Himself.  There is a way in which escape is possible.  It can be learned and taught, but it requires patience and abundant willingness.  (M46)”

Affirmation:  “May I be a teacher of God.”

Reflections:

Here Jesus laments the worsening situation of our world.  He knows that we cannot continue to survive, nor to thrive, if those of us who have followed him do not do our part in salvation.  But he is optimistic, even as he sounds a cautionary note.  We can help ourselves and our brothers and sisters to escape from this impossible situation in which we find ourselves.  But we need patience and abundant willingness to do so.

What does this mean for us, practically?  I think that for those of us who have chosen the Course as “our Way,” then this passage means that we must study and learn ourselves all the time that we are trying to reach others.  The Course is long enough and sophisticated enough that we cannot recall all its tenets unless we refresh our memories on virtually a daily basis.  This does not mean just doing the workbook, but also dipping into the text and the manual for teachers.

If we study the Course, our own lives will go better.   We will then be in a much better situation to reach our brothers and sisters.  We will be in the right frame of mind to want to share the good news.  We will not be resistant.  Remember that Jesus is there to help us always.  He promises this.  And our guidance from the Holy Spirit is a sure thing.  With Helpers like these, how can we fail?

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

May I have the patience and willingness to function rightly as a teacher of God.  May, indeed, I be a teacher of God.  May I never lead anyone astray.

I know that not all of my brothers and sisters are ready to receive direct teaching.  May I be sensitive to what they are ready for, and may I offer only this in confidence that I am making the right decision in reaching them.

Amen.

Facts vs. Interpretations

“Perhaps it will be helpful to remember that no one can be angry at a fact.  It is always an interpretation that gives rise to negative emotions, regardless of their seeming justification by what appears as facts.  (M44 – M45)”

Affirmation:  “It is my interpretation of facts, not facts, that make me angry.”

Reflections:

We will learn, as we study the Course, that wrong interpretations always happen when we are angry.  And vice-versus.  If we become really, really angry, it is certainly a misrepresentation that we are seeing.  We have made an interpretation that is false (a Course concept).

When we learn the part that we play in negative emotions, that we have interpreted facts, then we are encouraged to drop this maladaptive behavior.  Facts are neutral, and it is only when we judge our brothers and sisters that we become so very angry at their behavior.  If we learn that everything is either an expression of love or a call for love (a Course interpretation), then we will be ready to forgive their negative behavior and to run to their side with help.  Sometimes we cannot give this help overtly, because our brothers and sisters are angry, too, and would not welcome our intervention.  Then we wait for a better time.  In the meantime, though, we are at peace.  We have forgiven.

What a blessing it is to give up negative emotions!  This will not happen all at once, at least not usually, but happen it will as we progress in our study of the Course.  We are not perfect, but we will become a little more evolved, which will lighten our load and give us the joy and peace and calm that we desire.

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

May I reinterpret my anger today, knowing that I have made an interpretation that is false.  I know that my brothers and sisters are innocent, that they are only calling for help–and love.

Help me always to control my temper.  Help me not to fly off the handle at the slightest sign of anger.  Thank you for helping me to stay calm and quiet in all circumstances.

Amen.

Magic III

“All through his training, every day and every hour, and even every minute and second, must God’s teachers learn to recognize the forms of magic and perceive their meaninglessness.  Fear is withdrawn from them, and so they go.  And thus the gate of Heaven is reopened, and its light can shine again on an untroubled mind.  (M43)”

Affirmation:  “Let Heaven’s light shine again on an untroubled mind.”

Reflections:

What a blessing is an untroubled mind!  And to have this boon, we have only to learn how to recognize the various forms of magic, and learn to avoid them in all their manifestations.  We need not fear magic, because ultimately it is meaningless.  But magic can cause great havoc in our lives in the meantime, until we have recognized its meaninglessness.

There is an indication in this passage that we must be vigilant against magic (“every day and every hour, and even every minute and second”).  Surely, we tell ourselves, we will fail.  And we will.  But as we practice, the failure rate goes down, surely and steadily.  This assurance is motivation to practice well.

If the gate of Heaven is reopened, we are indeed Home.  And Home can be while still on earth.  There is even a well-known passage in the New Testament in which Jesus asserts this while he is in fellowship with his disciples.  Surely it is no different for us now.  Recognizing this is a blessing that will quiet our days and give us hope.

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

Magic is usually some form of attack or anger, or grievance, or even superstition.  It is some form of fear, not love.   May I recognize magic when I see it today.  May You be with me to turn aside from engaging in such fruitlessness.

Thank you for assisting me always.  I know that You are there.  I can often feel Your presence, and I invite this feeling of Your presence today in all my goings about.

Amen.

Magic II

“No risk is possible throughout the day except to put your trust in magic, for it is only this that leads to pain.  ‘There is no will but God’s.’  His teachers know this this is so, and have learned that everything but this is magic.  (M42 – M43)”

Affirmation:  “Everything but the will of God is magic.”

Reflections:

This passage builds upon the one for yesterday.  It asserts that putting our trust in magic thoughts is the bottom line for why we feel pain.  What an empowering thought this is!  We can avoid pain if we follow the Holy Spirit.  We will not necessarily avoid struggle, but struggle does not have to be (and is not) pain, and certainly struggle is not suffering.  Our minds can intellectually wrap around this concept, and the result will be only good.

“There is no will but God’s.”  We only live in illusion when we doubt the truth of this statement.  The real world will dawn upon our sight when we have accepted God’s will as our own (an interpretation of the Course, not stated therein).

Our days will go well when they are started out well.  Putting our trust in God and not in illusion is the way to go.  Then we will surely and certainly be led away from pain.

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

Help me this day to place in Your hands and in Your trust.   In truth I have no will but Yours, and this has always been true, but I have not understood.  Help me to understand today.

May this day go well.  I know that when I place my trust in You, I always have a good day–however many upsetting things may happen.  You are with me always, and this gives me certainty and confidence to face all occurrences.

Amen.

Magic I

“The avoidance of magic is the avoidance of temptation.  For all temptation is nothing more than the attempt to substitute another will for God’s.  (M42)”

Affirmation:  “May I not seek to substitute another will for God’s.”

Reflections:

Elsewhere in the Course we learn that God’s will is actually the same as ours.  It is the same as ours if we only knew ourselves better.  Studying the Course will open up ways to know ourselves better.  And much study will convince us that we are not like Job of the Old Testament, unwilling recipients of guidance, but instead willing recipients of guidance because we know that what we “hear” is legitimate and will bring us closer Home.

“Magic” thoughts are those inspired by the ego (an interpretation of the Course, but not stated directly therein).  Often magic ideas are superstitious ideas that have become a part of us through long years of following the ego.

If we set our will each morning to following God’s way, we will be well on our way to avoiding temptation.  We will know that what God wants for us is what we too desire.  Anything less is magic.

.Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

I am still not flexible enough to turn aside from my own self’s wishes to follow the guidance that I am perceiving from the Holy Spirit–at least not always.  Please help me toward this willingness.  I know that it is the very best thing for me.

Please be with me throughout this day, as I perceive, through my intuition, the will of the Holy Spirit.  This may be my greatest need.  Please help me to perfect following guidance as I go about my normal life.

Amen.

Temptations

“Yet there will be temptations along the way the teacher of God has yet to travel, and he has need of reminding himself throughout the day of his protection.  How can he do this, particularly during the time when his mind is occupied with external things?  He can but try, and his success depends on his conviction that he will succeed.  He must be sure success is not of him, but will be given him at any time, in any place and circumstance he calls for it.  (M42)”

Affirmation:  “Help me to safely refuse temptations.”

Reflections:

Temptations!  Yes, we are still subject to them, despite how many hours we have studied the Course.  But if we are convinced that we are protected, we will overcome these temptations.

How do we recognize a temptation?  “If in doubt, don’t.”  This is an interpretation of the Course, a statement not found therein.  But it seems to work most of the time.  It sounds cautious, but perhaps avoiding temptation is a time to be cautious.

We cannot depend upon ourselves to overcome temptation.  It “will be given him,” (i.e., “us”) at any time that we call for it.  We overcome temptation by calling on the Holy Spirit to guide us, to give us strength to overcome.

Prayer:

Dear  Father/Mother,

Help me to recognize temptations when they arise.  And help me to say, “If in doubt, don’t.”  This has helped me before, and I pray that this statement will help me always.

Please be with me to guide me from the temptations that may beset me.  May I know that this is a particular form of trial, and I know that trials do beset us in this world.

Amen.

Problems

“He need make no distinctions among the problems he perceives, for He to Whom he turns with all of them recognizes no order of difficulty in resolving them.  (M41)”

Affirmation:  “\My problems melt away as I turn to the Holy Spirit for His solution.”

Reflections:

How wonderful it is to know that, however difficult the problem might appear to us, it is child’s play to the Holy Spirit.  He will find the answer for us, if we but listen.  Elsewhere Jesus proclaims that one miracle is not more difficult than another, that there is not order of difficulty in miracles.  But we usually don’t really believe this.  More study and loving guidance will lead us to the truth of the statement.

The “He” in this passage is, of course, the Holy Spirit.  The language of the Course reflects the sixties, when the books were scribed, and follows as well the terminology of the Bible.  We should not let our faith waiver because the language is not gender-inclusive.  That would be asking too much of a document written before such sensitivities entered our culture.

Since the Holy Spirit sees no order of difficulty in solving problems, He will solve them when we turn to Him.  We have only to ask.  And asking is not greedy.  In supplication, we know that God is greater than are we, and if we turn as little children to Him, He answers us.  We have to be willing, though, to relinquish our own propensities to do things our way.  God’s Way may, and likely is, very different.  And we will be led Home as we follow His Way.

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

Help me to turn to the Holy Spirit in all difficulties–not some, but all.  God’s grace and help in the solution of problems is a free offer.  And Your help is meant to encompass every aspect of our lives.

May I recognize these truths as I go about my day today.  May I pray for solutions to any and all difficulties that I face.  I know that these difficulties are not real, but as long as I am in this world, they may seem real to me.  Thank You for being there for me.

Amen.

Time

“How simply and how easily does time slip by for the teacher of God who has accepted His protection!  All that he did before in the name of safety no longer interests him.  For he is safe, and knows it to be so.  He has a Guide Who will not fail.  (M41)”

Affirmation:  “I am safe.”

Reflections:

In order to get full benefit of this passage, we must trust the Holy Spirit to guide us.  To do so effectively, we must be willing.  Not only willing, but eager to turn on a dime when our guidance is to do something different from what we may be doing.

Guidance comes in many ways.   All of us have experienced guidance, but we not always have even recognized what was happening.  Most often guidance from the Holy Spirit comes in the form of a “feeling,” or intuition, that we ought to do or say a certain thing.

As time goes by, guidance may take other forms:  a chance word overheard, an interior word from our inner Voice.  The ways are numerous, but one thing that all have in common is that, if we follow, we will feel safe.  One caution:  If the internal guidance seems negative, we are not ready.  Mentally unstable people need to be especially cautious, because there are voices that are not those of the Holy Spirit.

Time that slips by easily!  What a welcome part of our lives this can become.  We are not afraid any longer of what life may bring us, because we know that, with the Holy Spirit to guide us, we are equal to anything that comes our way.  This is one of the greatest benefits that the Holy Spirit does bring to us.

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

May time slip by easily today.  As I go about my day, may I turn to the Holy Spirit often for the next step, and then may I take it safely.  I know that I am always safe.

May my brothers and sisters be blessed by our encounters.  If I follow guidance before I speak, the words that come out of my mouth will be right.  And then, too, my brothers and sisters will feel safe.

Amen.

Pure Joy and Limitless Release

“There is one thought in particular that should be remembered throughout the day.  It is a thought of pure joy; a thought of peace, a thought of limitless release, limitless because all things are freed within it.  (M41)”

Affirmation:  “pure joy and limitless release”

Reflections:

This is one of the most beautiful passages in all of the Course:  “pure joy” and “limitless release.”  How much we have to be thankful for!

When we remember these words throughout the day, we indeed do have a good day.  They are the epitome of peace and happiness.

The messages these words convey should be etched in our hearts.  We can indeed have pure joy, regardless of what surrounds us, because we know that this world is an illusion.  This does not give us the right to do just anything, but it does give some distance to the wrongs that we note.  We can also know limitless release, because we are free in God and the Holy Spirit.  Regardless of what transpires on the outside of ourselves, on the inside we can be free and at peace.

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

May today I know the pure joy, peace, and limitless release that Jesus promises.  May I know what these words really mean, and may I act on them throughout the day.

Thank you for being there for me always.  I do not always sense your presence, and when I realize that I have drifted apart from You, may I get quiet on the inside and remember You are with me.

Amen.

Lessons

“How should the teacher of God spend his day?  To the advanced teacher of God this question is meaningless.  There is no program, for the lessons change each day.  Yet the teacher of God is sure of but one thing; they do not change at random.  Seeing this and understanding that it is true, he rests content.  He will be told all that his role should be, this day and every day.  (M40)”

Affirmation:  “I will rest content in the knowledge that my lessons change each day.”

Reflections:

This is a meaningful passage.  Much is told in a few concise words.  When we become advanced teachers of God, we do not worry about what to do or what to say at any given time during our day.  We have kept in close touch with guidance, and we know that we will receive what to do and what to say throughout the day, as it unfolds.

Elsewhere we learn that there are no accidents in salvation.  So our day is not at random.  We experience what we are meant to experience, and this is good when we are in league with the Holy Spirit.  Elsewhere Jesus says that it is not necessary to learn through pain, and it is this fear that often makes our days unsure.  The advanced teacher of God does not know such self-doubt; he responds repeatedly to the prompting of the Holy Spirit, and his days are good..

To rest content is a great blessing.  We are told that we can indeed do just that.  This truism of the Course is one of its most blessed promises.

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

May I accept the truth that I will be told what to do each day by the Holy Spirit.  I will rest content in this knowledge, knowing that my lessons do not change at random.

Please be with me today as I go about my activities.  May I realize that there is no point to drama, that You would have me live a peaceful day, secure in the knowledge of Your providence in all things.

Amen.

Stillness

“Learn to be quiet, for His Voice is heard in stillness.  And His Judgment comes to all who stand aside in quiet listening, and wait for Him.  (M38)”

Affirmation:  “May I listen in quiet today.”

Reflections:

“His Voice” refers to the Holy Spirit.  We often don’t choose to be quiet.  We are addicted to the adrenaline rush, and our work lives (and our home life) often demands that we move quickly, even when worn down and tired.  A few quiet moments a day are all that God asks.  He would not burden us by making demands upon that are unrealistic.  He is our true reality, and he knows what we are going through.  We do not therefore have to be apologetic if only a few minutes of quiet are given to Him each day.

We correctly ascertain guidance when we are in quiet listening.  This is not always a “for sure” thing, but it is for sure more often than not.  Who could hear guidance is a loud and boisterous world?  Who would know which voice we were really hearing?

The Holy Spirit gives guidance in stillness.  This is why it is so important to carve out a few moments each day for listening to His Voice.

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

I have been restless today, as I am so many days–especially in the morning, when I need the most to dedicate the day to You.  May I take the time right now to be quiet and to invite the guidance of the Holy Spirit as I walk through this wintertime.

Thank you for being there for me.  I know that no matter how exasperated I may get later on today, if I turn silently within to You, You will right things.

Amen.

Atonement

“Atonement is for you.  Your learning claims it and your learning gives it.  The world contains it not.   But learn this course and it is yours.  (M35)”

Affirmation:  “Atonement is for me, and I can learn it through the Course.”

Reflections:

Atonement is illustrated by some teachers of the Course as “at-one-ment.”  This is not the full meaning, but it does lead in the direction that we want to go.  Jesus is in charge of the Atonement, and he fulfilled his part in it in his life and resurrection on earth.  Now he would help us to fulfill ours.  Our way is not the way that he walked, and it can be decidedly pain-free.

This passage gives a strong motivation to learn the Course.  Surely we want Atonement, the salvation that we all so desperately need.  The Course does not have to be seen as difficult if we keep to the basics that Jesus explains, often repeatedly.  Everything is either love or a call for love (or help); anything else if a misrepresentation of what is actually going on.  We need not attack or feel anger when we recognize that our brothers and sisters are innocent of wrongdoing.  Their real Self has not sinned.  Their little self has made mistakes.  These concepts embrace the fundamentals that the Course would have us to understand.

Do we believe Atonement is for us?  If not, then we are acting against Jesus’s word to us.  He has promised us that Atonement is for us, and nothing else that we might add to that fundamental is true.

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

May I recognize the truth that Jesus speaks in the Course.  May I have the Atonement that is promised in the Course, and may I have it soon.

You know that I long for many things, but Atonement is at the top of the list.  Be with me now as I seek for Your blessing and ask for the gift of Atonement.

Amen.

Conscious Choices

“Oneness and sickness cannot coexist.  God’s teachers choose to look on dreams a while.  It is a conscious choice.  For they have learned that all choices are made consciously, with full awareness of their consequences.  (M32)”

Affirmation:  “My dreams are chosen consciously.”

Reflections:

What we are seeing in this world is illusion (a Course concept).  The Course also calls what we see “dreams.”  And we have chosen to look upon dreams, knowing on some level what will transpire for us.  We may suffer, but we do not have to do so.  Pain does not have to bring suffering, if our minds and hearts are in agreement with the Holy Spirit, who makes only one judgment:  “God’s Son is guiltless.”

We can also be free of sickness, which is some form of external searching.  The external searching may teach us something, of course, which is its purpose.  But the Course would not have us learn in this way.

We are One with our brothers and sisters.  We know, on some level, what will happen in our lives.  And we have chosen it–not consciously, of course, but on a deeper level.  This is different from a “blame the victim” mentality, and it would be wise that we keep to ourselves this concept if voicing it would be hurtful to another.  Not everyone is ready to see that choices made to experience illusion are not ultimately hurtful, however horrendous they may appear in our insane world.

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

May I be aware that my dreams–my illusions–are chosen consciously.  I realize that my little self is not aware of this, but my larger Self is.  And I do not blame myself or others for this state of affairs; it is simply a law of this world.

Be with me today if I seem to feel pain.  May I not turn this pain into suffering by my own inner turmoil.  You have promised to be with me always, and I thank you for Your blessing.

Amen.

Choose How We Would See the World

“What the world is, is but a fact.  You cannot choose what this should be.  But you can choose how you would see it.  Indeed, you must choose this.  (M29)”

Affirmation:  “Help me to see the world aright.”

Reflections:

This passage explains that what we see is an interpretation.  We can choose to interpret through the eyes of the Holy Spirit, or we can look upon devastation and feel badly.

The Course consistently asks that we look at ourselves first, making changes in ourselves rather than trying to change our brothers and sisters to fit the image that we have made of them.  If they have made mistakes (not “sinned”), then we forgive.  That is the way of the Course.  We remember that, regardless of how bad the situation looks, the wrongdoing has been perpetrated by someone who was doing the best that he could, given his view of the world.

So we choose how we see the world.  We do not judge its wrongs; we let the Holy Spirit do that.  We choose to look upon sinlessness, and in so doing, we are in the state of grace.  None of us could hope for more.

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

Help me, dear God, to see the world aright.  Help me to choose according to Your will.

May I be led to forgive my brothers and sisters for the mistakes that they have made.  And may I forgive myself for similar mistakes.  Always I see in them my own mistakes, or else I would not be able to recognize mistakes at all.  Help me to live peacefully amid what sometimes seems to be confusion.

Amen.

Relinquish Judgment

“It is not difficult to relinquish judgment.  But it is difficult indeed to try to keep it. . . .Teacher of God, this step will bring you peace.  Can it be difficult to want but this? (M28)”

Affirmation:  “May I not judge anyone or anything today.”

Reflections:

Judging puts an enormous pressure on us.  We feel bad, we hurt others, and we don’t see life realistically and accurately.  It is also one of the ways that we stray from our pathway to Awakening (a Course concept).

We can make the choice to stop being the arbitrator of good and evil.  We can turn to guidance for advice on how to live our lives.  We may not always interpret guidance accurately, because we are human, but we will normally see life much better when we are trying to relinquish judgment.

We want peace.  So what more advice do we need than that which is given in the Course?  Relinquish judgment, and peace is ours for the taking.  After we have asked, we receive–a biblical concept as well as one of the Course.

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

Help me to be willing to relinquish judgment of my brothers and sisters, and teach me how to do this without exception.  I know that the real release is through following Your guidance, and I pray that I may have the willingness and flexibility to do so always.

Thank you for your help.  I need it today and every day.

Amen.

Our Guide Is Sure

“He gave himself to Him Whose judgment he has chosen now to trust, instead of his own.  Now he makes no mistakes.  His Guide is sure.  And where he came to judge, he comes to bless.  Where now he laughs, he used to come to weep.  (M28)”

Affirmation:  “Now I laugh, when I used to weep.”

Reflections:

This passage is an amplification of the surrounding passages, which have bade us to turn our decisions over to the Holy Spirit.  His is the true guidance, the times when we will not make mistakes.

Sometimes we don’t know for sure if what we are hearing is guidance of the Holy Spirit.  We may wonder, accurately, if our own little minds are interfering with the divine.  And our little minds may be.  It is important, therefore, (though this is not spelled out in the Course) that we test out our guidance to see if it is true.  As we become more proficient in recognizing true guidance for what it is, we will make surer decisions.  Whatever we are doing, if we are judging ourselves, it is sure that we are not following the Holy Spirit.

It is important to see that we can laugh instead of weep.  Guidance is not an all-serious matter.  The Course indicates that lightness is one of the attributes to which we can become accustomed.  The farther along the path we travel, the more lighthearted we will become.

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

I want to live in a lighthearted manner, because this promise, while almost too good to be true, is true.  May I follow the guidance that I receive with a lighthearted spirit.

Thank you for sending the Holy Spirit to me.  Perhaps I do not appreciate this enough, but today I want to do so.

Amen.

Unburdened

“Now can the teacher of God rise up unburdened, and walk lightly on.  Yet it is not only this that is his benefit.  His sense of care is gone, for he has none.  (M28)”

Affirmation:  “walk lightly on”

Reflections:

This passage refers to turning over our decisions to the Holy Spirit.  We carry life more easily once we have done this, and we do not feel burdened, as if we are carrying a load on our backs.

Our sense of care is gone.  We walk lightly in the light.  These reassurances are worth their weight in gold.  Who would not wish to walk the earth in peace and calm that is not abated?

Why would we have a sense of care, when we have a Guide that is sure?  We must only ask that we be given the grace always to follow that guidance.  As we do follow that guidance, we become more and more reassured that it will always be there for us, and we drop our cares into the lap of God.

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

I sincerely want to drop my cares and to walk lightly on.  I know that the only thing stopping this ease is my own reluctance to let my decisions be made by my Guide.

May today I turn over all decisions to a Higher Authority.  Then I know that those decisions will be in the best interests not only of myself, but everyone with whom I come in contact.

Amen.

Lay Judgment Down

“Therefore lay judgment down, not with regret but with a sigh of gratitude.  Now are you free of a burden so great that you could merely stagger and fall down beneath it.  And it was all illusion.  Nothing more.  (M28)”

Affirmation:  “Lay down judgment and be free.”

Reflections:

A reassuring passage, as so many of the passages in the Course are.  We are bade to lay judgment down–to make no decisions for ourselves.  Can we really do this?  The Course elsewhere indicates that we should set our will at the beginning of the day to follow guidance, and then give thanks at the end of the day.  Then our decisions will be far more likely to be right.  The Course is always practical, and asking at every juncture may not always be practical (a Course concept).

It is calming to know that we have a Guide who will not fail.  This we can feel with gratitude.

The burden of trying to make judgments of what to do or say has always been extremely difficult for us.  And we learn now that doing so has all been illusion.  We don’t have to feel all alone in the universe.  We have a Guide, and His guidance is the Way that makes our life a calm and gentle experience.

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

May I be led to lay judgment down forevermore.  I do know in my heart of hearts that judgment can only hurt me.  Let me be through with it forever.

Thank you for guiding me through the Holy Spirit.  When I follow His prompting, I know that I am always taking the right pathway.

Amen.

Ask Our Teacher

“As the teacher of God advances in his training, he learns one lesson with increasing thoroughness.  He does not make his own decisions; he asks his Teacher for His answer, and it is this he follows as his guide for action.  This becomes easier and easier, as the teacher of God learns to give up his own judgment.  (M26)”

Affirmation:  “Help me to turn to the Holy Spirit for my guide to action.”

Reflections:

This is a concise statement of how important it is to follow God’s guidance as seen for us in the Holy Spirit (a Course concept).  It may be harder in the beginning to follow this guidance, but the difficulty may never fully drop away.  Our ego dies hard.  But we are promised that following the guidance that we receive will be easier and easier as we advance in our training.  And that is all the assurance that we need.

We do not make our own decisions, based on our own faulty judgment.  Our own judgment cannot but be faulty, for we are told elsewhere that we cannot know all factors in the past and future that impinge on any given decision.  Once we give up trying to follow our own judgment, life becomes easier.

This passage remarks on the advanced teacher of God.  Not all of us, even those of us who have studied the Course for years, can realize this appellation for ourselves.  But we will come closer and closer as we follow the guidance of the Holy Spirit.  This is actually the easiest way in which to live.

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

Help me to make a determination to follow the guidance of the Holy Spirit at every turn of my life.  May I be reassured that this is the best way to live, the only way that leads completely to happiness.

Thank you for my Guide.  May I know if I am misperceiving, and may I turn from that to true guidance.

Amen.