Monthly Archives: January 2011

Not the Victim of the World I See

ACIM Workbook Lesson 31 – for Monday, January 31, 2011

Affirmation:  “I am not the victim of the world I see.”

Selected Passage:

“The idea for today is also a particularly useful one to use as a response to any form of temptation that may arise.  It is a declaration that you will not yield to it, and put yourself in bondage.  (WB48)”

Reflections:

1 – We Choose Our Reality

We choose our reality; this is a tenet stated in the Text.  But this choice is no by the little self, but the higher Self (a tenet of A Course of Love).  We are not victims, but neither do we choose to “blame the victim,” if we think that their little selves have chosen pain for themselves.  Those things that happen to us are chosen by the higher Self, and normally we do not have access to the knowledge of what this Self wishes for us.

2 – Guidance

Guidance can explain more.  It is enough to take responsibility for our lives, not to develop a victim mentality (which will only make things worse).  We will not, according to the Text, be without temptation is this world.  But it is our task to rise above it, because we know that to try to follow a will of the ego is to dismiss God and to choose pain.  Our real will is the same as God’s Will (also from the Text).  Until we recognize this truth, we truly are in bondage.

3 – To Follow God’s Will

To follow God’s will is to be free.  Perhaps we do not understand this yet, and imagine (as the ego would have it) that to do God’s will would make of us puppets.  Nothing could be farther from the truth.  The Holy Spirit, in His guidance, chooses for us and all mankind.  He would never lead us wrong, and only our own misunderstandings will therefore lead us into suffering.  We will even be able to rise above pain, because we will recognize its illusory nature.  Jesus says that it is not necessary to learn through pain (a tenet of the Text).  And that learning through more joyful means is superior, because can offer only a temporary effect.

4 – The Real World

We want permanence in following the guidance of the Holy Spirit, and in seeing a new, real world.  May we move ever closer to this real world today.

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

May I realize in the depths of my being that I am not a victim.  I make choices that determine what happens to me.  May I make the right choices today.

May my Self teach me.  May I be open to this teaching.  Thank You for being with me always, as I make my way through this sometimes challenging world.  I know that there is no challenge to the teacher of God, but sometimes I do not measure up–and I ask for Your help always.

Amen.

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A TRIBUTE TO HUGH PRATHER

by Celia Hales

We of the Course community owe a lot to Hugh and his wife Gayle.  He died on November 15, 2010, from a presumed heart attack, but he had not been ill, and now he is not really gone.  Already he is making his presence known from the Other Side, as reported in The Holy Encounter, a publication of the Miracle Distribution Center (publisher Beverly Hutchinson MeNeff) in the January/February 2011 issue.

Gayle reports:   Hugh “made me pet Binkley [their cat] much longer than I wanted to.  Saturday he informed me that he was glad he didn’t have to clean the house.”   These are the lighthearted moments, which we so need right now, those of us still in this world.  But Gayle also recounts several other anecdotes designed to describe Hugh’s influence from the Other Side toward a gentle and communing spirit in daily life with his immediate family.

Jerry Jampolsky, in the same newsletter, reports hearing Hugh’s voice when Jerry awoke in the middle of the night, saying, “Jerry, Jerry, A Course in Miracles is absolutely correct.  It is all a dream world you are in.  It is all illusions.  It is time for you to not stop laughing at all the stuff we took so seriously.”

This second report underscores a passage from one of Hugh’s (and Gayle’s) early books, There Is a Place Where You Are Not Alone (Doubleday, 1980).  This is the first of the Prathers’ books that was directly inspired by ACIM, their very first attempt to put into words all that ACIM was coming to mean in their lives:

“Today, as every day, you have agreed to sit in a special movie theater and play a game.  The theater is very comfortable and is equipped with the ultimate in ‘sensurround’:  it simulates every sensory experience appropriate to the script.  On the screen is playing a story of your life which you never remember seeing.  Everything has been  made so real that you could easily forget that it is just a movie, but the point of the game is to not forget  Anytime you start to decide what you, the main character, should do next, special equipment will detect this, and a pleasant voice will say, ‘It is only a movie, and you cannot decide what the main character will do next because the script is already written.  So please sit back and enjoy it.’  If you add one more fact to this exercise, it will be true to life:  You wrote the script. (p. 196)”

Hugh wrote his last column for The Holy Encounter a couple of weeks before his death.  In it, he has these intimate revelations:

“There is indeed ‘a still small voice,’ but I need to have more faith in it, because it speaks as clearly to life decisions as to seemingly innocent conversational comments.  The voice is every present, but my faith in it is sporadic, and I am determined to change that. (p. 13)”

The same early book, There is a Place Where You Are Not Alone,  has this telling assertion:

“What I now see, and what anyone can discover for himself, is that this intuition, this quiet sense of direction, is always present and can be consulted directly. (p. 29)”

If Hugh, gentle and advanced teacher of A Course in Miracles that he is, still had trouble at the end in following guidance consistently, how much more can we forgive ourselves when we, too, don’t follow guidance?

On a personal note, I recall an encounter with the kind spirit of the Prathers, in this case, Gayle.

I wrote to the two of them some years back, asking the name of their editor.  I had written a book inspired by A Course in Miracles, and, as I told Hugh and Gayle, I thought that their editor might listen to what I had written with a “friendly ear.”  After a very long time, I arrived at work one morning to hear Gayle’s sparkling voice on my voice mail.  She apologized for the delay, which had happened because my letter had to be forwarded to a new publisher.  And she gave me the name of their editor.  Her voice sounded just like I would imagine an advanced teacher of God would sound–friendly, sweet, and, above all, willing to be helpful.

And her editor responded to my manuscript. She gave me several lengthy paragraphs of critique, much appreciated by me.

It is clear that Hugh has not really left us.  He is very much still interested in this world, though we don’t know everything about the Other Side, and he may go on to other interests.  I can imagine him talking to Bill and Helen (co-scribes of ACIM) right now.

May all of us ultimately leave this world the better place that Hugh made it by his presence and his love.

____

Note: Information about The Holy Encounter can be found at <www.miraclecenter.org>.

The manuscript about which I consulted with the Prathers’ editor is available on the web at <http://elainehill.wordpress.com&gt;.  Its title is Images in a Reflecting Pool.

God Is in My Mind

ACIM Workbook Lesson 30 – for Sunday, January 30, 2011

Affirmation:  “God is in everything I see because God is in my mind.”

Selected Passage:

“The idea for today is the springboard for vision.  From this idea will the world open up before you, and you will look upon it and see in it what you have never seen before.  Nor will what you saw before be even faintly visible to you.  (WB47)”

Reflections:

1 – Projection Makes Perception

Today’s affirmation (the “lesson”) is the basic idea that projection makes perception, i.e., that what we project from our minds constitutes what we perceive outwardly, making the world that we see.  Here we say “make” rather than “create,” because at this early stage in the Workbook, we are assuming that many of us are still viewing the world through the lens of the ego.  Perception, likewise, is a paler form of knowledge, and knowledge comes only when we are farther along the pathway.  God alone grants knowledge, when we are ready to receive it without miscreation.

2 – God Is Within

Today’s quoted passage is optimistic.  We are led to understand that recognizing that God is in our minds will ultimately show up vision.  And vision, real vision, is what we want above all else.  It will transform the world that we see.  The pain we will recognize as being illusion, and the beauty we will see as the real world.  This does not mean that we will not try to alleviate pain; that is part of what miracles are for.  But we work miracles as led by Jesus; we will not try, misguidedly, to make our own miracles.  That is a sure way to lose our understanding and to project folly.

3 – May Vision Come Soon

The world will look beautiful to us when vision has come.  Let us study well all of A Course in Miracles, sure that vision is its intent.  Or, as Jon Mundy says, our intent is for enlightenment.  Enlightenment, in ACIM, is what is meant by the oft-repeated call for Awakening.

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

We want to see aright.  Not everything that we project, and then perceive, stands alone.  We also know reality, however haphazardly at this point.  We will “know,” as opposed to perceive, when God has granted us knowledge of the real–the love, the joy, the forgiveness of the real world.  I ask for this knowledge today.

Thank You, Father, for being here for me throughout all my days.  I know that You will lead me past perception into knowing reality, and I long for that glorious day.

Amen.

God = the All

ACIM Workbook Lesson 29 – for Saturday, January 29, 2011

Affirmation:  “God is in everything I see.”

Selected Passage:

“Nothing is as it appears to you.  Its holy purpose stands beyond your little range.  When vision has shown you the holiness that lights up the world, you will understand today’s idea perfectly.  And you will not understand how you could ever have found it difficult.  (WB45)”

Reflections:

God is the One, the All.  This idea has found its way into many of the world’s religion as well as in psychic material.  Jane Roberts’s Seth said that “God is the All.”  (Jane was an early psychic writer of the last century, who channeled Seth in open meetings and also when alone with her husband Rob, who took notes on what was said, and which was later published.)

When we say, as today’s lesson does, “God is in everything I see,” we do not mean to promulgate pantheism, which is the belief that there are many gods in all the various facets of our world.  Instead, we are realizing that God is “in” everything.  And that means “us” as well.  This tenet of ACIM goes against earlier biblical writing that said that the earth was God’s handiwork.  But the two concepts do not have to collide.  God and God’s handiwork are One.  And thus we all benefit from the fact that God is everywhere.

Mythology described by Joseph Campbell said that God made everything, one by one, as the “female” ran away from the “male,” out of fear.  But the man needed his companion, and he sought her repeatedly, becoming whatever creature she had become at the moment.  That, in myth, is how creation came to be.  It is fascinating to reflect upon how early myth captures the essence of what God’s latest revelations tell us.

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

It is reassuring to know that You are the All, and that You are in me as well as in everything else.  But All is One.  Thank You for leading me to understand this intuitively, though I do not pretend to understand it intellectually.

Be with me today.  When the conflicts of this world intrude on my peace, may I keep my peace–the peace that only You can and do grant.  Thank You for keeping me safe in this sometimes scary world.

Amen.

A Completely Open Mind

ACIM Workbook Lesson 28 – for Friday, January 29, 2011

Affirmation:  “Above all else I want to see things differently.”

Selected Passage:

“You could, in fact, gain vision from just that table, if you would withdraw all your own ideas from it, and look upon it with a completely open mind.  It has something to show you; something beautiful and clean and of infinite value, full of happiness and hope.  Hidden under all your ideas about it is its real purpose, the purpose it shares with all the universe.  (WB43)”

Reflections:

1 – Focus on a Table

This passage echoes the theme of the affirmation for today (today’s “lesson”), and in a very practical way:  a focus on a mere table that may be in your view.  But the passage waxes eloquently also, and this is part of the joy of reading ACIM.  One never knows when beautiful words will just overwhelm:  “something beautiful and clean and of infinite value, full of happiness and hope.”

2 – Happiness and Hope

What does it mean to be full of happiness and hope?  It means that we have opened our hearts to God, that we are listening to the guidance of the Holy Spirit, and, under His guidance, we are living with a loving heart.  What more could we ask in this sometimes difficult world?

3 – Our Days

Of course, not all days will go well.  That is why we often hear ministers say, “Have a great day!”  And this is not just ministers of the gospel.  We also hear our friends say the same thing, especially if we are writing in an e-mail or phoning them early in the day.

4 – Purpose

We need to know the “real purpose” of the table, so to speak, the “purpose it shares with all the universe.”  This is the criteria for the coming of the real world, which is a gift of God in which we recognize that this world dominated by the ego is illusory, and the real world is a vision of what is true.  May this understanding of the “real world” come to us beginning today.  May we thank God for this greater understanding.

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

May I look at the common things around me with new insight today.  May I see ordinary objects as things of beauty.  May I truly see.   I know that vision such as this will not come to me by my own efforts.  It is Your gift.  Thank You.

I would see the real world today.  I know that this request is in line with what You wish for me, and that You will grant me this blessing when I have been made ready.  I know that You would wish that I be ready sooner rather than later.

Amen.

Vision

ACIM Workbook Lesson 27 – for Thursday, January 27, 2011

Affirmation:  “Above all else I want to see.”

Selected Passage:

“Vision has no cost to anyone.  (WB42)”

Reflections:

“Vision” is the term that A Course in Miracles always uses to describe the understanding that the Holy Spirit brings to us.  The Holy Spirit is the innermost part of ourselves, the part that the ego does not touch.  We may also view the Holy Spirit as intuition or an inner knowing.  And sometimes this inner knowing comes to us in actual hallucinations or, more commonly, in dreams.  (We must be careful, for not all dreams are of the Holy Spirit, and we must test the guidance that we feel.)

Vision does not harm anyone, if it is true vision.  “No cost,” the passage says.  And this “no cost” is a great blessing to all, for not only does it not cost anyone anything, it also blesses everything and everyone that it touches.  Vision is the way that we want to go.

How do we find increased vision?  We turn inward for guidance, and this leads to the vision of a loving world, for our thoughts and actions then become loving.  When we are conflicted, the whole world seems conflicted.  (Hugh Prather once wrote something similar.)  If we want to “see,” as the lesson for today stresses, we must leave behind the ego-oriented ways of old.  We must turn to the Holy Spirit for this “seeing,” this vision.

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

I would have vision today.  I would be so enthralled by the Holy Spirit, by the Universal Inspiration, that I would follow His guidance in every instance–though I would not want to feel that this following had me in a strait jacket.  As the Manual says, the right attitude adopted in the morning will put me well ahead.

Be with me today.  Help me to know what the concept of “vision” really holds out to me.  I have only the faintest clue now, but I would know more.  Thank You for teaching me today.

Amen.

Invulnerability = No Attack Thoughts

ACIM Workbook Lesson 26 – for Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Affirmation:  “My attack thoughts are attacking my invulnerability.”

Selected Passage:

“Practice with today’s idea will help you to understand that vulnerability or invulnerability is the result of your own thoughts.  Nothing except your thoughts can attack you.  Nothing except your thoughts can make you think you are vulnerable.  And nothing except your thoughts can prove to you this is not so.  (WB40)”

Reflections:

1 – “Venting” Is Not a Healthy Choice

To act out, to vent, is often seen in our world as healthy, but A Course in Miracles would say that it is anything but.  ACIM does not counsel “stuffing” feelings, though, and to believe that ACIM recommends this is a common misconception of students and even of teachers of the Course.  Jesus would have you immediately turn the matter that is causing upset over to the Holy Spirit for resolution.  If we are angry, we are judging or interpreting, and not seeing facts.  It is always an interpretation that gives rise to anger, and, as such, the interpretation can be changed to see our brother or sister as innocent, as being in grace.

2 – ACIM and Pardon/Forgiveness

This explanation brings up the matter again of just what “pardon” and “forgiveness” really means in the understanding of A Course in Miracles.  We do not pardon wrongdoing; we recognize that everything is either an expression of help or a call for help, and, given that, our first instinctual response would be to rush to the side of our brother or sister and to offer that help.  Sometimes this idea is expressed as an expression of love or a call for love.  This love is the underlying factor.

3 – Vulnerability

When we attack, we make ourselves vulnerable to the interpretation of attack being pulled back unto ourselves.  We feel vulnerable, because we have made ourselves so.  And we will suffer for it.  There is no other way.  Forgive others and we forgive ourselves the many mistakes that we make.  Fail to forgive others, and one has failed to forgive one’s self.  And we know best how numerous are the mistakes that we have made, and for which we desire forgiveness (pardon).

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

May I leave behind attack thoughts forever today.  If this seems too unrealistic, too idealistic, may I realize that miracles are in the hands of Jesus, and he can heal a neurotic.  I would like to feel invulnerable, and today’s lesson tries to get me to see that it is my attack thoughts that are making me feel vulnerable.

Be with me today as I relinquish attack thoughts, either kept within or verbalized.  I need Your help, because, as You know, attack is something that most of us struggle to overcome.  We get angry about virtually anything, and then we frequently lash out.  I would end such foolish behavior, starting today and continuing forevermore.  Then I learn today that I will feel invulnerable, and in fact I will be so.

Amen.