I Am Always Certain What to Do, What to Say, and What to Think

ACIM Workbook Lesson 83 – for Thursday, March 24, 2011

Affirmation:  “My only function is the one God gave me.”

Selected Passage:

“I have no function but the one God gave me.  This recognition releases me from all conflict, because it means I cannot have conflicting goals.  With one purpose only, I am always certain what to do, what to say and what to think.  (WB148)”

Reflections:

The only function is forgiveness, or pardon.  (Usually it is called “forgiveness” in ACIM, but the word “pardon” is also used upon occasion.)  Why would this be true?  ACIM does not actually say that we are in a schoolroom in this world, but much of what we read may be interpreted in this way.  We are here to save the world.  There could be no more lofty purpose, and there is no more lofty purpose.  Our function of forgiveness will also lead us to happiness (elsewhere called our function, as well).

Affirmation:  “My happiness and my function are one.”

Selected Passage:

“. . .I must learn to recognize what makes me happy, if I would find happiness.  (WB148)”

Reflections:

Here is the dual nature of forgiveness and happiness.  Forgiveness leads to happiness; nothing else works this way.  Certainly the ego does not, though we have flights of euphoria when we have “triumphed” over another.  But this euphoria soon turns to ashes.  We would leave behind false ways of seeking happiness today.

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

If You send me euphoria today, may it be a joyous feeling that is completely in line with Your best intentions for me.  May any euphoria that I feel or long to feel fail to partake of the ego.

When my only goal is salvation (for myself and others), then I do know what to say and what to do, because the Holy Spirit guides me.  May I ask You, once again, that I be flexible enough to turn quickly away from the false way, into the right way–led by Your grace.

Amen.

Peace to Every Mind = By Forgiveness

ACIM Workbook Lesson 82 – for Tuesday, March 23, 2011

Affirmation:  “The light of the world brings peace to every mind through my forgiveness.”

Selected Passage:

“My forgiveness is the means by which the world is healed, together with myself.  Let me, then, forgive the world, that it may be healed along with me.  (WB147)”

Reflections:

The affirmation and the passage are both very reassuring and comforting.  If we just dwell a moment on the words themselves, we will find ourselves more at peace.  This peace assumes that we actually believe the words.  And a student/teacher of ACIM will soon find that his or her understanding is enough to believe the words.

Affirmation:  “Let me not forget my function.”

Selected Passage:

“This may threaten my ego, but cannot change my function in any way.  (WB147)”

Reflections:

We ought actually to be glad when the ego is threatened (an interpretation, not stated in ACIM).  When the ego is threatened, it is on the way out.  And we do learn, along our pathway, that the ego is constantly being undone.  If we are still ruled by egoistic thinking, we will feel depression at such times.  But the best way to handle this depression is to know that temporarily we have let fear, in one of its many guises, rule us.  We have believed that the ego would save us.  And nothing is farther from the truth.

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

May I bring peace to everyone whom I meet today.  This  is a high goal, but with Your help, I am confident I can reach this goal.  Be with me if conflict threatens to disturb this day.  Let Your peace overshadow all.

Thank You for answering my prayer for guidance.  Keep me willing always to follow Your way.  Keep me willing to turn on a dime, when I sense that the way I am taking is not Your highest Will for me.

Amen.

May All My Conflicts Disappear

ACIM Workbook Lesson 81 – for Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Affirmation:  “I am the light of the world.”

Selected Passage:

“In [the world’s] calm light let all my conflicts disappear.  (WB146)”

Reflections:

When we recognize that we are the light of the world, then we will see a world, with vision, that is calm and conflict-free.  We may not enjoy this utopia at all times, for we are still caught in limitations, and ACIM says that we are not going to be free of limitations in this world.  But we can take a step forward.  We can ask that our limitations be removed, and to the degree that we believe that they have been removed, to that degree may we be free.

Affirmation:  “Forgiveness is my function as the light of the world.”

Selected Passage:

“My acceptance does not depend on my recognizing what my function is, for I do not yet understand forgiveness.  Yet I will trust that, in the light, I will see it as it is.  (WB146)”

Reflections:

We may have trouble fully comprehending the greatness that forgiveness can thrust upon us.  We may not fully understand pardon.  ACIM tries to teach us that forgiveness is the great need of ourselves as well as our brothers and sisters.  It is given, repeatedly, as the function that is most important for us to fulfill in this world.  We must remember that we do not forgive real wrongs; we only forgive illusions.  And the wrongs that we have perceived are all calls for help (or calls for love).  We do not recognize this, very often, particularly if our brothers and sisters are attacking us.  We must make a determined effort not to “make real” this attack, to overlook it instead (Text tenets).  Then we will know that forgiveness is the function that gives us back Heaven, even in this world.  Awakening will not be far behind a full understanding of the value of forgiveness, or pardon.  Remember that we are never ask to forgive the real.  This would be what The Song of Prayer calls “forgiveness to destroy.”

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

May I know no conflicts today.  If my day seemingly goes well, may I be at peace.  If my day seemingly goes badly, may I still be at peace.  There is no reason for my heart to find rest anywhere except in You.

May I be a light of the world today.  This is a great blessing, and one for which I thank You.  May I shine and shine in the world today, before everyone whom I meet.  May nothing interfere with Your blessings for me.

Amen.

I Have No Problems

ACIM Workbook Lesson 80 – for Monday, March 21, 2011

Affirmation:  “Let me recognize my problems have been solved.”

Selected Passage:

“If you are willing to recognize your problems, you will recognize that you have no problems.  Your one central problem has been answered, and you have no other.  Therefore, you must be at peace.  Salvation thus depends on recognizing this one problem, and understanding that it has been solved.  One problem, one solution.  Salvation is accomplished.  Freedom from conflict has been given you.  Accept that fact, and you are ready to take your rightful place in God’s plan for salvation.

“Your only problem has been solved!  Repeat this over and over to yourself today, with gratitude and conviction.  (WB143)”

Reflections:

The one central problem was separation, a belief that had its origin in putting our faith in our own judgments as interpreted by the ego.  We thought that we were all alone in the world.  Oh, yes, we might have companions in our brothers and sisters, but always this alliance was subject to disruption, due frequently because we did not know how to forgive.  We blamed others for our own mistakes.  We also blamed them for mistakes that impacted us.  And all of this “understanding” was so misguided!

Today we can live free, with the knowledge (not perception only, for that is of the ego, until the perception has been cleansed by the Holy Spirit) that we have no problems.  We will be told all that we should do in every situation that perplexes us.  We do not have to make anything in to a problem.  If we blow up our issues, surely we will allow ourselves to be overwhelmed, and this is a poor way in which to welcome guidance into our lives.  We may be so upset that we cannot hear the guidance accurately.  So let us put all of this nonsense behind today.  May we realize that our problems have been solved, that the Holy Spirit is with us internally as the communication link to God.  We can find solace in a confused and confusing world; we do not have to take it into our minds and bodies through stress or illness.

Illness is an external searching (an ACIM tenet).  And we now know that we can look inwardly for our solutions.  Let us do so today.  And may we thank God that our problems have been solved.

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

Thank You, dear God, for leading me to realize that regardless of what appears in my life, my problems have been solved.   I have no problems!  If this seems too good to be true, let me look within and listen to Your holy Word, and I will know that all is perfect just as it is.

I realize that this does not mean that there will not be the appearance of problems.  But these are illusions perpetrated by living in an illusory world.  I ask for Your reality today.  And I know that Your reality is good and pure, healthy and prosperous.  Let no illusion to the contrary shake my faith today.

Amen.

All Is One = God, Ourselves, Others

ACIM Workbook Lesson 79 – for Sunday, March 20, 2011

Affirmation:  “Let me recognize the problem so it can be solved.”

Selected Passage:

“If you could recognize that your only problem is separation, no matter what form it takes, you could accept the answer because you would see its relevance.  (WB142)”

Reflections:

1 – Recognition of Oneness Leads to Awakening

We are really One, one with ourselves, with our brothers and sisters, and one with God.  If we only recognized this, and accepted the other words in ACIM, we would be blessed with Awakening.  Of course, we do not have direct control over the timing; only God does.  But we can foreshorten the time, sometimes saving as much as a thousand years (an ACIM tenet), if we are diligent in our study and in our dedication.

2 – We Have No Problems

We do have no problems.  Oh, surely, we have issues that need to be addressed.  But it is the ego that blows those issues into huge problems that seem insurmountable.  These issues are not insurmountable.  If we turn to the Holy Spirit with all of them, over time (sooner rather than later), we will see the issues dissipate.

3 – We Are Not Meant to Go It Alone

Problems are a sign that we need help.  We are not meant to go it alone.  That is the point of this lesson on separation.  All too often, we think that independence is more laudatory than interdependence.  But we are here with our God and our brothers and sisters for a reason.  God wants us to talk to Him.  He is always available, deep within us (as well as without, for we perceive that there is a “without”).

4 – Abandon Separation

Let go of separation today.  Reach out to another, and let that response warm you.  The more that you take to heart the directive to let go of separation, the more we will realize that we do not have to feel alone.  Separation was the idea of the ego that we are encased in bodies, and that this cannot be overcome.  But it can.  There are more ways for God to reach us than the world recognizes.  Jesus says elsewhere ACIM that if the ways of communication that the world recognizes were all that there were, salvation would be impossible.  But it is possible, and highly recommended–sooner rather than later.

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

May I reach out to someone today who needs me.  May I not let his or her need go unmet.  We are indeed all One with God.  And where there is Oneness, there is no separation.

Separation is an illusion of the ego.  Separation has brought us nothing but misery.  May we realize this today, and may we turn aside from the ego and all its supposed “gifts.”  None but have been bought with tears.

Amen.

Let Grievances Wither Away

ACIM Workbook Lesson 78 – for Saturday, March 19, 2011

Affirmation:  “Let miracles replace all grievances.”

Selected Passage:

“We will remember this throughout the day, and take the role assigned to us as part of God’s salvation plan, and not our own.  Temptation falls away when we allow each one we meet to save us, and refuse to hide his light behind our grievances.  (WB140)”

Reflections:

Today’s lesson builds upon the one from yesterday.  If we do not allow temptation to change, negatively, our attitude toward our brothers and sisters, we will know the light, we will know miracles.  Temptation is simply the desire to replace what we recognize to be God’s will with another will, a will of the ego.  And we know that doing this simply brings our downfall in daily life.

Miracles are our birthright.  It is a Text tenet that something has gone wrong when miracles do not appear.  We can speculate that this means that miracles will appear more frequently than infrequently (an interpretation, not stated in ACIM).  We do not often recognize miracles as “shifts in perception,” but this is the definition given them by Kenneth Wapnick, scholar and writer for A Course in Miracles.  We are still in the perceptual mode, and therefore miracles do not last.  Revelation is of God, of the “knowing,” and is extremely personal to the receiver.  Nobody else can truly interpret for you when revelation has happened.  In the Text, a distinct difference is seen between miracles (perceptual) and revelation (from God to us, never the reverse).

Revelation will occasionally reveal the end to us, we are told in the Text.  But to get there, to Awakening, the means are needed.  And Jesus carefully explains the means to us in ACIM.  (These are all paraphrases from the Text.)

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

May my grievances disappear in the light of the miracles that You will bring to me today.  May I express my gratitude for Your miracles.  May I never take You for granted, even though Your love is steadfast even when mine is not.

Help me to accept the joy that miracles bring.  And, if it is according to Your plan, may revelation today show up in my world.  Only revelation can reveal the end to me, and I am eager to see what You have in store for me.

Amen.

I Am Entitled to Miracles

ACIM Workbook Lesson 77 – for Friday, March 18, 2011

Affirmation:  “I am entitled to miracles.”

Selected Passage:

I am entitled to miracles.

“Ask for them whenever a situation arises in which they are called for.  You will recognize these situations.  And since you are not relying on yourself to find the miracle, you are fully entitled to receive it whenever you ask.  (WB138)”

Reflections:

Early in the Text, Jesus says that he is in charge of miracles, because he recognizes the miracle-readiness of everyone.   Our own choice about miracles can and probably would be misguided (a Text tenet).  Here we are encouraged to ask for a miracle.  This seems a bold thing to say, but ACIM recommends it, and we are encouraged by much that ACIM says.  We are surprised by the joyous blessings that are ours to receive.

This passage says that we will recognize when miracles are called for.  Perhaps we are not sure about this assertion, but actually our uncertainty may be because we are unaccustomed to believe that our prayers will always be answered.  But they will be; we would even have known this prior to discovering ACIM.  Of course, we learned in growing up that sometimes the answer is “no.”  But Jesus is more positive in this passage.  The miracle will come.  It may not say “yes,” perhaps (an interpretation, not stated in ACIM), but we will be reassured and at peace when we have asked for a miracle and when it has been received.

We are not to rely on ourselves.  This has been the way of the ego, but that way constantly got us into trouble.  We are to rely on the Holy Spirit, the Universal Inspiration.  And God is within, and so we know that He is always available.  Dependence on ourselves is particularly troublesome, because we have been taught this by the world.  But ACIM is different, and we are bade to communicate with God (“commune”–a quote from the Text), and we will find our way Home more quickly than we ever imagined.

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

I know that you realize my need for miracles in my present life.  When times become tough,  I always turn to You and ask for a miracle.  Perhaps this is not misguided.  You always respond with quiet and peace.  My mind and spirit are at rest when you respond with a miracle that eases my disturbed thinking.

Be with me today as I go through the day.  I hope that You will not feel it wrong of me to look for miracles as I walk through the day.  I hope that I will find them; indeed, I know that miracles will be there for me.  Thank You.

Amen.

We Are Not Bound by Strange and Twisted Laws

ACIM Workbook Lesson 76 – for Thursday, March 17, 2011

Affirmation:  “I am under no laws but God’s.”

Selected Passage:

“Think of the freedom in the recognition that you are not bound by all the strange and twisted laws you have set up to save you.  You really think that you would starve unless you have stacks of  green paper strips and piles of metal discs.  You really think a small round pellet or some fluid pushed into your veins through a sharpened needle will ward off disease and death.  You really think you are alone unless another body is with you.

“It is insanity that thinks these things.  (WB134)”

Reflections:

This is the ultimate solution, the optimal solution.  But elsewhere Jesus does not denounce medical remedies, because to do so would increase fear, and the last thing that the fearful need is an increase in fear (a Text tenet).  Likewise, it we think that we need money, and we are fearful without it, we can speculate (though it is not stated in ACIM) that we would be wise to obtain money in the manner that best allows us to forget it, once it has been obtained, and not to dwell on the “love of money.”

Our thoughts about both medicine and financial means are fear-inspired.  Jesus takes a tolerant view elsewhere, as we have noted.  We need to address the conditions that have brought the fear about, and for this we can ask for help (a Text tenet).

Jesus also says elsewhere that he cannot remove our fear for us, because to do so would disturb the law of cause and effect, a most basic law.  But we can ask, and receive (as noted), help in the conditions that brought the fear about.  If this is a health issue or a monetary issue, then our prayers for help are well-received, and these prayers will bring results.

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

May I know in my innermost being today that I am not bound by the laws that the world made up.  I will still make use of some of these laws, if my understanding is not great enough to withdraw from them.  I do not want to do anything to increase my fear.  Help me to be at peace today.

Thank You for calling to my attention that many of the laws that we believe in are “strange and twisted.”  This is an insane world, and we would do well not to underestimate the extent of its insanity.

Amen.

A Happy Ending to Dreams of Disaster

ACIM Workbook Lesson 75 – for Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Affirmation:  “The light has come.”

Selected Passage:

“You are at peace and you bring peace with you wherever you go. . .Today we celebrate the happy ending to your long dream of disaster.  There are no dark dreams now.  The light has come.  (WB132)”

Reflections:

This passage is a glorious celebration that, if we are ready, signals the end of our suffering.  Pain will not affect us as it has; we will rise above, and turn to God, as we have before, but with a difference.  Jesus says in the Text, “It is not necessary to learn through pain.”  And he goes on to explain that pain can have only a temporary effect, that it is much better to learn through rewards.

Here we learn that the light has come.  We are ready to learn through rewards.  We need only make a concerted effort to fail to let the ego influence us.  How do we know when the ego is calling the shots?  We may feel momentarily elated (because we have temporarily gotten rid of the anger–an ACIM tenet), but the elation will turn to ashes.  We will feel lost, forgotten by God, and hostile to this world and all in it.  We will even feel hostile to ourselves.  We will feel out of sorts, in the mildest version of ego-oriented thinking.

Let us leave all such nonsense behind today.  Our dark dreams have disappeared.  If we do not stay close to guidance, we will lapse back into darkness, though.  As Neale Donald Walsch says, evolution is not a straight line.  Returning to the Holy Spirit and following his guidance, leaving judgment to Him, will get us back in line.  We also need to remove attack from our repertoire of emotions, and we need to leave unnecessary planning against contingencies to come behind also.  The Text says that these three lamentable actions will cause us, once again, to lose our way.

But we are not lost today!  We are at peace, and we know that God is with us.  Let us rejoice with all that this is so.  May this be a particular day of dedication.

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

Thank You that the light has come!  Disaster will stalk me no longer.  Pain does not turn to suffering.  My attitude allow Your blessings, even in adversity, to shine through.

I am ready to learn through rewards.  I know that this is a decision that I can make.  I do not choose to learn through pain, and I will today constantly remind myself that Jesus says that to learn through pain is unnecessary.  I long for a lasting new life, one that I have learned through rewards, and these rewards are what make it lasting.  Be with me today as I seek Your Voice in all my doings.

Amen.

Our Will and God’s Will = the Same

ACIM Workbook Lesson 74 – for Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Affirmation:  “There is no will but God’s.”

Selected Passage:

“The belief that conflict is possible has gone.  Peace has replaced the strange idea that you are torn by conflicting goals.  As an expression of the Will of God, you have no goal but His.  (WB130)”

Reflections:

This passage brings up a question about God’s Will that is answered conclusively in the Text.  Many of us, before discovering A Course in Miracles, may at time have felt like the biblical Jonah, who was cast into a whale because he did not want to do what had been God’s will for him.  He is “made” to do God’s will.  Does this idea not seem to make of us puppets, caught by a God who wills something for us that we ourselves may not desire?

A Course in Miracles, though, has a different slant.  ACIM says that our real will and God’s will for us are identical.  Anything else, any other will on our part that we perceive, is erroneous and placed in us by the ego–that part of us that is prone to conflict and egocentric ideas.  When we listen for the guidance of the Holy Spirit, we are in tune with the universe; we choose for ourselves and all things that we perceive as being outside of ourselves.  We choose for ourselves and all the universe (ACIM tenets).

We then can let go of conflict.  When we eliminate our own judgments about the right pathway to take (a choice in direct opposition to what the world teaches), we are finally at peace.  We know the Way, whether consciously or unconsciously.  Our Teacher (the Universal Inspiration or the Holy Spirit) guides us each step of the way (though we do not want to become too preoccupied with each individual step).  If we start the day aright, and turn to the Holy Spirit as possible, then our day will go well.  Even so-called bad things will not upset us as they did formerly.  We will carry a calm with us that is unshakeable.

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

May my conflict dissipate in the light of Your peace.  Conflict is impossible when I know that my real will is actually Your will for me.  I am not a puppet, made to do things that I do not want to do.  I want to follow Your will because it is my own.  Only the ego in me would think differently.

Thank You for the concise understanding that ACIM affords us in regard to Your will.  May we rest in the peace to know that Yours and mine are actually identical.

Amen.

THE MIRACLE OF WHITE STONES

by Celia Hales

“Let’s go pick up rocks!”  I said to my grandmother when she arrived from Ayden for the day.

“Are you sure, Celia?”  I can imagine she asked, a whimsical and loving smile on her face.  Grandmama was my playmate.

“Yes!”  I exclaimed, sure that she would take me.

And she did.

This scene replayed itself until we move away from that white-framed, two-story, rented house behind the church.  We moved when I was seven.  Grandmama and I started picking up rocks together from as far back as I can remember.

We would head out to the church parking lot.  It seemed huge to me, and it was covered with rocks.  Most were white.  Those were the ones that I wanted.

I reached down and picked up a possibility.  I craned my neck to look into my grandmother’s face as I handed her the rock to decide if it was perfect enough.  Clean white rocks, smooth white rocks, were the choicest.

“No, Sweetheart,” she said.  “This one is too dirty.”  She handed it back to me.  I threw it down on the ground.  I was quickly off to make another choice.

For a long time we played this game.  Maybe my grandmother enjoyed it as much as I did.  From an adventure in the parking lot, I would emerge with one or two white rocks that were choice enough to go in my collection.

Once back home, I ran to my bedroom and stored my rocks in the top left-hand drawer of my dresser.

They are still in my childhood bedroom.

It was 1972, and I was 25 years old.  I had a strong bent toward mysticism, and I had been reading Evelyn Underhill’s book entitled simply Mysticism, as well as just about everything else that the library at Stratford College, where I taught, had on the subject.

I also read the Bible, especially the New Testament.  Eventually I came to the Book of Revelation.

One night my eyes lighted up at the passage, “To him that overcometh will I give. . .a white stone” (Revelation 2:17, KJV).

A white stone.  White rocks.  To him that overcometh!

My mystic turn of mind went into full attention.

Was this why I had been entranced with white rocks as a child?

My husband Paul and I traveled to Italy in 1995.  We stopped by the Adriatic Sea at a spot called Portonovo Bay, which means “New Gate.”  On our first afternoon at the Bay, we headed for the seashore.

We climbed a land barrier and looked out at the panorama before us.

Nestled under a dark blue sky and stretched out for miles in front of the sea were white stones on a beach, surely millions of them, heaped up with no spaces between them and no sand at all.

The sight took my breath away.  I felt a sudden expansion of mind and spirit–and, yes, soul.  These were the perfect white stones, smooth and oval, that I had searched in vain to find.

The mystic in me was filled with wonder, and, at that time and place, finally satisfied.

Paul and I spent the entire afternoon on the seashore.  He looked for artifacts while I looked for my favorite specimens of white stones.  I retrieved four for the day’s work.

Back home in St. Paul, Minnesota, my husband heaved my full suitcase up the stairs of our house.

“What do you have in here?” he asked plaintively.  “Rocks?”

“Yes,” I said.

He didn’t believe me.

After I unpacked my suitcase, I showed him my treasures.  He couldn’t believe what he was seeing. His wife had brought back rocks in a suitcase from Europe.

I still have those same rocks in a storage unit on Highway 6 in Oxford, Mississippi.  We pay $82 a month for that storage unit.  Paul says that we pay $82 to store rocks.

Now I reflect from time to time on that experience.

A Course in Miracles says, “Heaven itself is reached with empty hands and open minds. .  .”  (W-pI.133.13:1).  I feel a sudden expansion of mind and spirit when I realize the truth of these words. These words epitomize for me the experience at Portonova Bay.

It had taken me awhile–30 years–since finding A Course in Miracles to discover much more ACIM has held out for me.   And this day of finding multitudinous white stones on a seashore was a turning point, a miracle.  My sense of wonder and miracles was complete.

Of course, I am still, yet another 16 years after 1995, on the pathway.  But that day in Italy, standing at the “New Gate” of Portonovo Bay, I felt the wonder of being blessed.

It seemed a harbinger of greater things to come, and I was at the portal of those greater things.  I knew in my deepest being the promises of A Course in Miracles.

The World Mirrors What Is Within

ACIM Workbook Lesson 73 – for Monday, March 14, 2011

Affirmation:  “I will there be light.”

Selected Passage:

“Your picture of the world can only mirror what is within.  The source of neither light nor darkness can be found without.  Grievances darken your mind, and you look out on a darkened world.  Forgiveness lifts the darkness, reasserts your will, and lets you look upon a world of light.  We have repeatedly emphasized that the barrier of grievances is easily passed, and cannot stand between you and your salvation.  The reason is very simple.  Do you really want to be in hell?  Do you really want to weep and suffer and die?  (WB127-128)”

Reflections:

This is a significant passage, showing us the way to avoid the hell that we make for ourselves in this world.  We need only give up grievances and choose forgiveness, and we will have the salvation that we fervently want.  How easy this sounds, and yet how difficult it can be in life!  The difficulty is because a part of our belief about ourselves, our ego, does not really believe in the innocence of our Self and the Selves of our brothers and sisters.  Yes, there is an element of faith needed for this belief to take hold.  We are helped when we realize that all of us have made mistakes, but these are not “sins,” which can remain attractive to the mind (an ACIM tenet).  Every attack, which may prompt anger, is actually a call for help.  And would we not want to help, given this understanding?

We may not help overtly, if our brother or sister is not open to receiving a loving gesture from us.  We may silently commune with God, or we may smile at him or her, or we may simply leave–if we are causing the upset.  The Holy Spirit will guide us to the right decision, the right way to help.

Everything is either an expression of love or a call for love.  This is not an exact quote from ACIM, but there are many passages that hint at this concise way of putting the matter.  We help those whom we love, though we do not do so to their detriment.  We need to allow as much autonomy as will allow that person to find his or her own pathway back to God.  May we do so today.

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

I want my picture of the world to be benign.  So I want to be benign on the inside, loving and caring.  Then I will not picture a world that puts me in hell, metaphorically.  Be with me today as I seek to find You in this sometimes troubled world in which we live.

Thank You for always being there when I call.  Help me to call more often.  Life would be so much easier if I turned to You constantly throughout my day.  Help me to remember to reach inward for You all day today.

Amen.

End the Attack on God’s Plan for Salvation

ACIM Workbook Lesson 72 – for Sunday, March 13, 2011

Affirmation:  “Holding grievances is an attack on God’s plan for salvation.”

Selected Passage:

“To see our Self as separate from the body is to end the attack on God’s plan for salvation, and to accept it instead.  And wherever His plan is accepted, it is accomplished.  (WB125)”

Reflections:

This passage points out that the Self, our real Self, is separate from the body.  Our little self, though, is very much of the body and in this world (an interpretation, not stated in ACIM).  We would identify with our Self if we would find out way Home.  Let us do so today.

The affirmation is a serious warning:  “Holding grievances is an attack on God’s plan for salvation.”  We may think that holding grievances is something that we really can’t get over, that seems to be out of our control–even as we lose our temper at times in a loud outburst that seems somehow outside ourselves.  But we are attacking God’s plan, and, we might conjecture, God Himself when we do hold grievances.  This will never do.  We must commune with God (ACIM‘s usual word for “prayer,” especially in the list of miracles at the beginning of the Text), and we must ask for forgiveness for our own inadequacies.  God made us (not we ourselves), and He knows our limitations.  We are not without limitations in this world (an ACIM tenet).  But it behooves us to try to rise above the limitations, with God’s help.  He will help.  We can be assured of this.

There is a time collapse implied in the passage for today.  Elsewhere ACIM notes that time can be saved, sometimes a thousand years or more, by individuals such as ourselves.  Miracles foster this time collapse, and miracles should be placed under the direction of Jesus (an ACIM tenet).  Personally selected “miracles” are not warranted.  But, as this passage says, when God’s plan is accepted, it is accomplished.  This implies immediate accomplishment–a wonderful promise in itself.

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

Help me to give up any and all grievances that I hold publicly or privately.  Then I will know that I am perfectly safe.  And I will have ended my personal attack on God’s plan for salvation.

Be with me today as I try to commune frequently with You.  Be with me as I pardon any wrongs that I think, in illusion, have been done to me.  May my day go well.  You would have it so.

Amen.

What Would God Have Me Do?

ACIM Workbook Lesson 71 – for Saturday, March 12, 2011

Affirmation:  “Only God’s plan for salvation will work.”

Selected Passage:

“. . .[L]et us devote the remainder of the extended practice periods to asking God to reveal His plan to us.  Ask Him very specifically:

What would You have me do?
Where would You have me go?
What would You have me say, and to whom? (WB122)”

Reflections:

1 – God and the Holy Spirit

These are very important lines in A Course in Miracles.  Usually ACIM has us ask these questions of the Holy Spirit, rather than of God, but is there really any difference?  I do not mean to insert controversy here, but the Holy Spirit is defined in ACIM as the Universal Inspiration.  And God is the Source of that inspiration.

2 – Guidance and the Holy Spirit

We would do well to recall these words often, not only today, when they are part of the lesson, but frequently in upcoming days as well.  We are bade to turn to the Holy Spirit for guidance, not to make judgments ourselves.  We cannot be accurate in our own judgments, and so we best leave judgment to One who knows all past and future, as well as present.  He alone knows all, and we in  our limited way cannot judge aright.  So we relinquish judgment (contrary to what we are normally taught in the world), and we turn to a Higher Power for His guidance.  All of these statements are from the Manual, paraphrased.  We would do well to be tolerant of the things that we cannot understand.  This in itself will help us to practice forgiveness or pardon of ourselves and our brothers and sisters.

3 – Walking a Holier Path

So we decide today, let us hope, to ask these basic questions from the passage above of God.  We do not make these decisions ourselves.  And when we do, we will walk a holier pathway.  We will, as long as we are caught in the dream, live the “happy dreams the Holy Spirit brings” (from the Workbook).

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

I so much want to follow Your advice for me.  Help me to be flexible, to turn on a dime–as soon as I recognize Your guidance for what it is.  Help me to live life as You would have it lived, in peace and calm and joy.

Walk with me today, as everyday, but especially today.  As soon as I become accustomed to having You with me, to be conscious of having You with me, in me, then I will be that much closer to Home.  Thank You for always being here for me.  Help me to know and to do Your will, which really is my own as well.

Amen.

Walk into the Light of Real Salvation

ACIM Workbook Lesson 70 – for Friday, March 11, 2011

Affirmation:  “My salvation comes from me.”

Selected Passage:

“Since all illusions of salvation have failed you, surely you do not want to remain in the clouds, looking vainly for idols there, when you could so easily walk on into the light of real salvation.  Try to pass the clouds by whatever means appeals to you.  If it helps you, think of me holding your hand and leading you.  And I assure you this will be no idle fantasy.  (WB120)”

Reflections:

A very lovely passage, this is the frequently cited time in which Jesus encourages us to imagine that he is holding our hand as we pass the clouds that prevent us from seeing.  And he says, in what may be a confusing assertion, that this will be no “idle fantasy.”

Can Jesus be present with anyone, anywhere simultaneously?  Is this what the passage means?  Certainly there is an indication here that this is what is meant.  In ACIM, Jesus asserts that as our elder brother, time and space are under his command.  So it is very likely that he can be in more than one place at a time.  But to say this is controversial, and do not take anything unto yourself unless it finds a place in your heart.  Ask inwardly what to believe, and trust the meaning that comes to you.  Then and only then take my words as plausible beliefs.

Salvation is the pathway to Awakening.  And that is our goal.  Forgiveness paves the way, of course, as always.  We know that we are living aright when we can pardon our brothers and sisters (and ourselves) anything that we, in illusions, imagine that they have done to us.  We and they are innocent; we are just as God created us in our real Self.  This is the part that has never incarnated on this earth (an interpretation based on other writings, not stated in ACIM).  May we recognize that our real Self has never been hurt in any way at all (an ACIM tenet).  And may we walk into the sunlight with Jesus.

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

As I write this in the evening before sunlight dawns again, may I walk in sunlight with the dawn of a new day.  May I imagine that Jesus is holding my hand, and may I accept as much of that assertion as seems right to me.

The words of Jesus are comforting and reassuring, and I thank You for that, for his obedience to what You have asked him to do as our leader.  I ask for a glimmering
of what it means to believe that time and space are under Jesus’s control.  This breaks the laws of science as I know it, but past generations in science were often wrong.  May I turn to Jesus today as I walk in a day filled with light.

Amen.

ACIM IN ESSENCE: A Review of Jon Mundy’s “Living A Course in Miracles”

by Celia Hales.  Posted here with new title.  Reprinted from Miracles Magazine (publisher Jon Mundy).  Book is available on the Internet and bookstores nationwide.

Title: Living A Course in Miracles
Subtitle:  An Essential Guide to the Classic Text
Author: Jon Mundy
Publisher: Sterling Publishing

Jon Mundy begins his monumental task of writing Living A Course in Miracles by saying, “A Course in Miracles is the wisest, sanest, deepest book I know (p. 3).”  This first sentence in Jon’s book is one with which virtually any long-time student/teacher of ACIM would agree.  Jon concludes this first chapter (referring to studying ACIM intensively): “We are going for nothing less than enlightenment (p. 11).”

In Living A Course in Miracles, Jon Mundy, an esteemed ACIM writer and lecturer, does his most profound writing to date.  Living is an  essential read for any serious student/teacher of A Course in Miracles.

Organization of the Book

Living A Course in Miracles is a 259-page work in three parts:  (1) basic terms and concepts (a necessary prelude to what will follow); (2) the metaphysics of miracles (for those who want theory); and, finally, the most lengthy part, (3) living A Course in Miracles, the practical application.  Jon waits until the third chapter of the first part to truly introduce A Course in Miracles–an unusual feature, but one that works.  The second part tackles some of the difficult metaphysics set forth in the Text, and, characteristically,  Jon makes these difficult concepts much easier to understand.  The third part echoes ACIM‘s emphasis upon the practical, for we are told within the pages of ACIM that it is with the practical that we are most concerned.

Jon has his own narrative, which forms the backdrop for numerous quotations from A Course in Miracles and other readings.  Some of the very best passages from the Course are chosen.  Most are from the Text, with some from the Workbook for Students, and a few from the Manual for Teachers.

Jon’s commentary is voluminous, but in easy-to-understand prose with a logical progression.  His quotations, which are necessary to keep our minds on ACIM,  flow seamlessly throughout the narrative.  Nothing jars.  And neither does it simply seem a flow of quotations from ACIM and other sources.  The narrative has its own logic, well-planned and executed.  Jon is emphasizing, without saying so, that the Course is the latest manifestation of the perennial philosophy that Aldous Huxley wrote about so eloquently.  Jon too has eloquent writing, eloquent writing that is obviously heartfelt.   Living is a pleasure to read and an inspiration as well.

In addition to ACIM, Jon quotes many spiritual writers and other renowned figures in history, whether they were known as religious figures or not.   Jon is an expert in the history of mystical literature, and this expertise shows itself conclusively in Living.  In addition, Jon tells with his own lighthearted manner a number of personal anecdotes that illustrate his emphasized points from ACIM.  The tone of the book throughout is scholarly but not overly serious.  It has its own vibrancy, because we see some of Jon’s personality shine through, a fact that was probably unintended.   Jon keeps the light touch, a necessary prerequisite to having a readable book.

The Audience

As mentioned earlier, this work is an essential read for students/teachers of A Course in Miracles–whether one is new to the three volumes or is a long-time reader.  The interpretations are all true to the spirit of ACIM.   I have studied ACIM intensively for 30 years, and I found little in Jon’s interpretations with which to disagree.  Jon does not bring his own agenda to his writing.  He stays close to his chosen quotations, and so the reader may be reassured that he/she will not be misled by what Jon has written.

If I had to choose, I would say that Living is best intended for the new student, though there are interpretations of passages from ACIM that even the long-time student/teacher may have found difficult.  In his own inimical way, Jon makes the difficult understandable.  The quotations (set off in italics) are a gift in themselves; being among the finest material in ACIM, a reader would do well, once the Jon’s work has been read and his interpretations taken to heart, to turn through the pages just reviewing the selected passages from A Course in Miracles.

What Living A Course in Miracles Says

At its most basic, Living is a summation of ACIM.  But to say that is to miss a lot.  There is so much more weaved into the narrative by Jon.  He even includes an interesting take on difficult terms in ACIM in which he makes the terms come alive.  And he includes his own “lists” of interpretations, for those who want an overview without going back to ACIM itself.  Living is a fascinating read, never dull, always holding one’s attention and moving one forward to the next page and the next.

To give a flavor of what Living is like, I am going to quote from Jon on three puzzling concepts in the Course, all discussed in the first part of Living.  Jon’s history with the Course makes sure that he is the right person to make these assertions, and they illustrate what we find throughout the work.

Jon has picturesque writing, as exemplified in this quotation.  Here he characterizes the tiny, mad idea which started our illusions and our apparent separation from God (though not real, we perceive this separation as real):

“Like a mirror which is dropped and shatters, a kind of fractal splintering off of consciousness occurs, breaking repeatedly into trillions upon trillions of individual pieces of non-reality (pp. 48-49).”

What an inspired way to say this!

A common misconception about the Course is the following, which Jon explains brilliantly:

“Attack cannot occur without judgment; and ‘anger is never justified’ (T-30.VI.1:1).  The word is never, not sometimes.  The ego would love it if the Course said that anger was sometimes justified.  Then we could have debates about the times it was and the time it is not justified.  This does not mean we should never get angry; it just mean I have slipped into fear, something has gone wrong with my thinking, and I need another way to look at things (p. 53).”

Jon also succinctly explains a frequent problem of why we are innocent and never have “sinned”:

“If it really was possible to be separated from God, then sin would be real. It is precisely because sin is an illusion that it is not real.  It is actually impossible to be separated from God.  We just think that we can be and that gives birth to the ‘dream of sin’ (W-193-5:4).  Sin is not to be confused with error.  Error or mistaken perception calls for correction (p. 64).”

These are just three of the examples of outstanding interpretation by Jon.  The book is filled with such gems.  I chose these three because they occur early in Jon’s work (and will welt your appetite for more), and they are not easily found in explanation within the pages of the Course.  Jon has aptly synthesized the Course after years of continual study and teaching.

Jon’s Qualifications

We would need someone, like Jon Mundy, Ph.D., who has been “in” on the Course from the beginning,  to write such a cogent analysis.  He was introduced to the Course shortly after its scribing, and the scribe Helen Schucman was a kind of “mother figure” for Jon.  He has, through the years, been close to the well-known  scholar Kenneth Wapnick, who is an early principal with continuous lifetime contributions to ACIM.  Jon has also welcomed others students/teachers of ACIM over the years.  He is the publisher of Miracles, a magazine that is known for its inclusiveness.

Jon has not had an easy life, and this struggle has honed him and made him ready as one who has derived great benefit from ACIM in the course of the struggle.  He has had a number of near-death experiences.  He has “crashed and burned” (his phrase) several times, including being forced from the United Methodist Church because he was preaching A Course in Miracles.  Jon has written about this experience of forced resignation repeatedly, leading one to realize that this was a pivotal point in his life.

Jon lectures on A Course in Miracles internationally, and part of his lecture is a lighthearted persona that makes humorous remarks.  This lighthearted vein finds its way into this work, as we have noted, and Living is the better for it.

CONCLUDING

Living A Course in Miracles concludes with a favorite quotation of students/teachers of A Course in Miracles:

“Forget this world, forget this course, and come with wholly empty hands unto your God. (T-189.7: 5)”

In the final analysis, after finishing Living, we will want to do the same.  But we will have been made richer by our dipping into this absolutely extraordinary work.  An astounding contribution, recommended enthusiastically.

The Ancient Search Can Be Over

ACIM Workbook Lesson 69 – for Thursday, March 10, 2011

Affirmation:  “My grievances hide the light of the world in me.”

Selected Passage:

“Let us begin our longer practice period today with the full realization. . .[and] with real determination to reach what is dearer to us than all else.  Salvation is our only need.  There is no other purpose here, and no other function to fulfill.  Learning salvation is our only goal.  Let us end the ancient search today by finding the light in us, and holding it up for everyone who searches with us to look upon and rejoice.  (WB117)”

Reflections:

We just must give up grievances if we are to find our way forward on the right pathway.  Grievances make us feel unsafe, because we imagine (rightfully) that the attack we are harboring in our hearts will turn and rend us.

We often do not really believe that salvation is our purpose on earth.  Most New Age thinking agrees (there are exceptions) that life is a school, and that we are here to learn.  (Neale Donald Walsch’s Conversations with God is a notable exception.)  Salvation is our curriculum, and A Course in Miracles is a part of that curriculum.  In the foreword, we are made to understand that we don’t choose the curriculum, that we only can elect what we will take a given time.  And A Course in Miracles is required.

If it seems that this implies reincarnation, perhaps it does.  But elsewhere Jesus warns those of us who are students/teachers of ACIM not to take a stand on reincarnation, as this will be merely controversial and limit our usefulness.  ACIM does not seek to teach anything that cannot be accepted regardless of such beliefs.  If we have like-minded people with whom to converse, then we are encouraged to discuss reincarnation (as well, perhaps, as anything else mentioned in ACIM).  But we must not limit our usefulness to those we are trying to reach.

May we find the light in ourselves today.  Let us find salvation today.  Not the salvation that we may have found at an earlier point in our lives, but the larger salvation that leads to Awakening (i.e., Enlightenment, though this is an interpretation, not stated in ACIM).

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

May I end my lifelong search for complete salvation today.  May I come ever closer to You and to Your realizations for me.  May the Awakening come sooner rather than later.

I look to You for my next step.  I know that I do not have to search endlessly, that all that I really need to know has been shown me.  Thank You for taking me by the hand and guiding me.  May I know no attack today that would seem to separate You from me.

Amen.

I Am Perfectly Safe

ACIM Workbook Lesson 68 – for Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Affirmation:  “Love holds no grievances.”

Selected Passage:

“Spend the remainder of the practice period trying to think of yourself as completely at peace with everyone and everything, safe in a world that protects you and loves you, and that you love in return.  Try to feel safety surrounding you, hovering over you and holding you up.  Try to believe, however briefly, that nothing can harm you in any way.  At the end of the practice period tell yourself:

Love holds no grievances.  When I let all my grievances
go I will know I am perfectly safe. (WB116)”

Reflections:

The final two sentences of the passage for today is a favorite of ACIM students/teachers.  And it is ever so true.  “When I let all my grievances go I will know I am perfectly safe.”

It is our attack thoughts that come about through holding grievances.  And it is our attack thoughts that make us feel unsafe.  We know that there is a sword over our heads that will fall or be averted (if we drop the anger and attack).  (This is a Text tenet.)

If we can imagine ourselves as perfectly at peace, we will go a long way toward avoiding the pain that we erroneously think we feel from giving up attack thoughts.  We think that we have to protect ourselves from future hurt by holding on to the memories of wrongs done us.  But we do not!  This is not the way of protection.  We do not have to be defensive at all (a Text tenet).  In fact, defensiveness is recommended to be dropped from our repertoire of emotions.

May we find the peace today that we seek.  May we leave grievances behind, and walk into an awareness of perfect safety.

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

I know that it is true that I will realize that I am perfectly safe in this world when I have given up all grievances.  I realize that “bad” things could still happen, but they will not touch me in my heart, because in my heart I am safe, and in my heart I know that all that transpires that is not Love is illusion.

May I relinquish all attack thoughts.  And when I pray to you for Your help in a given situation, may I remember to thank You afterwards, once things have turned out well.  And I know that my day will go well, because You are there for me.

Amen.

Recognize Yourself in a Blazing Light

ACIM Workbook Lesson 67 – for Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Affirmation:  “Love created me like itself.”

Selected Passage:

“You may find it necessary to repeat the idea for today from time to time to replace distracting thoughts.  You may also find that this is not sufficient, and that you need to continue adding other thoughts related to the truth about yourself.  Yet perhaps you will succeed in going past that, and through the interval of thoughtlessness to the awareness of a blazing light  in which you recognize yourself as Love created you.  Be confident that you will do much today to bring that awareness nearer, whether you feel you have succeeded or not.  (WB113)”

Reflections:

Repeating today’s idea (affirmation) is important, because we do not fully understand what it is saying until we repeat it.  “Love” here is God.  We know that God is Love, and this is what we are reiterating to ourselves.

It is lovely to realize that at some point today we may be aware of a “blazing light” in which we recognize that God is our creator.  It is a Text tenet that all too often we forget that God created us, and that we think, erroneously, that we created ourselves.  Of course, this makes no sense if we delve deeply enough.  And we don’t fully understand God, for how could we?  We know that He is both inner and outer, that He is the All.  (A statement said repeatedly by Jane Roberts in the Seth books of an earlier generation.)  The blazing light can show us the truth of God in a revelatory manner, if we are open to receiving revelation from God.

We can also ask for a miracle to show us this blazing light.  Jesus is in charge of miracles, and he guides us to them.  Self-directed miracles are likely to be misguided (a Text tenet).

If Love created us like itself, then we are meant to understand that God is within, and that we share His attributes.  We do not share them in totality, of course, but the indications are there.  We would do well today to dwell on these thoughts.  There is more here than meets the eye.

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

There is much that I do not understand about creation, about my creation.  Help me to come closer to understanding today.  May that blazing light that Jesus speaks about find its way into my consciousness.  I ask for a miracle today, to see how it is that Love created me like Itself.

Be with me today, as I seek a new particular understanding, one that I have not touched until today.  I did not previously know that I could touch such understanding.  Help me to be patient while I wait for You to speak to my heart.

Amen.

My Happiness + My Function = One

ACIM Workbook Lesson 66 – for Monday, March 7, 2011

Affirmation:  “My happiness and my function are one.”

Selected Passage:

“Think. . .about. . .the many ways in which you tried to find salvation under the ego’s guidance.  Did you find it?  Were you happy?  Did they bring you peace?  We need great honesty today.  Remember the outcomes fairly, and consider also whether it was ever reasonable to expect happiness from anything the ego ever proposed.  Yet the ego is the only alternative to the Holy Spirit’s Voice.  (WB111)”

Reflections:

This passage explains more fully what we reflected upon yesterday.  Spend some time thinking about the pathways that the ego has led us down.  We were not ultimately happy.  Not one joy was wholly joyous; it always gave us reason for tears–or if not tears, at least a “down” feeling at the conclusion.

Why the down feeling?  In our innermost being, we were being untrue to ourselves.  We knew that we were not following the highest and best of which we were capable.  We did not have sustained happiness when following the ego.  We might have had a momentary “high,” but that is all.  And it was followed by pain.  We would not wish pain for ourselves or any others.  And the way out is to listen for the guidance of the Holy Spirit.

The Voice of the Holy Spirit can be a bit confusing, because we have not often known exactly what to look for.  If we perceive this Voice more as “intuition,” perhaps the way will seem clearer.  We know inwardly, on some level, when we are veering from the right pathway.  This is the Voice speaking to us.  The baptism of the Holy Spirit is there for all who ask for it.  Let us ask for it today, if we have not ever found solace in intuition.

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

I would try to understand today that what You will for me is my happiness.  And my function will reveal my happiness to me.  Let me leave aside the temptations of the ego, which is that part of me which has never wished me well.  I must learn that the only way for me is the way that You direct through the Holy Spirit.

Help me to be consistent in following Your guidance.  And I always will know what You wish for me.  Your still inner Voice speaks softly, but it speaks distinctly.  As long as I am functioning normally, I will know Your Voice.  Help me today to follow that Voice without fail.

Amen.

Escape from All Difficulties

ACIM Workbook Lesson 65 – for Sunday, March 6, 2011

Affirmation:  “My only function is the one God gave me.”

Selected Passage:

“Today’s idea offers you escape from all your perceived difficulties.  It places the key to the door of peace, which you have closed upon yourself, in your own hands.  It gives you the answer to all the searching you have done since time began.  (WB108)”

Reflections:

We have the key to the door of peace.  This is a radical idea, because we have often sought long and hard, outside ourselves, for peace.  We have gone from one religion to another, from one philosophy to another.  But theology, we are told by Jesus in the Text, is not what we would seek.  ACIM is meant to be practical, and many times theology only divides us from our brothers and sisters.  A Course in Love more fully develops this idea. (Note:  ACOL is viewed by some as a sequel to ACIM, and there are numerous postings on ACOL in this blog.  To find these postings, visit the “about” portion at the top of the blog.)

This “only function” is forgiveness, given by God to save ourselves and our brothers and sisters.  If we wonder if forgiveness can do so much, let us try it out for a few days.  We will be convinced.  Forgiveness is the key, in our own hands, that we have previously sought in vain.

We have closed the door of peace by listening to a part of our belief about ourselves, the ego.  Now is the time to let the ego wither away.  We know when we are doing egotistical things.  Let us drop these things from our “to do” list.  The ego does not, though, in ACIM, always mean “egotistical,” though this is a close meaning.  The ego is a false concept of ourselves, and it is always being undone.  We try something that we think will bring us pleasure, and the next thing we know, we are feeling down.  This is not a coincidence.  We will, sooner or later, always feel depressed when listening to the ego, because it is a false way of viewing life.

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

Help me to find peace today.  I would leave what I have perceived as “my difficulties” behind.  I know that this is Your will for me.  You would have me be still and listen to Your Voice, and know that all is well.

May I leave the ego behind today.  This part of my belief about myself is all wrong, and I do know this.  It is false reasoning on my part that would ignore Your promptings, and turn instead, once again, to the spurious thinking that the ego spawns.  May I have only quiet and calm today, and to have these I must listen to Your voice, Your voice which comes to me often.  May I follow all genuine promptings from You today.

Amen.

How Happiness Becomes Inevitable

ACIM Workbook Lesson 64 – for Saturday, March 5, 2011

Affirmation:  “Let me not forget my function.”

Selected Passage:

“[Y]our function is to be happy by using the means by which happiness becomes inevitable.  There is no other way.  Therefore, every time you choose whether or not to fulfill your function, you are really choosing whether or not to be happy.  (WB106)”

Reflections:

We may sometimes feel that happiness, our happiness, if not a worthy-enough goal.  Forgiveness sounds more lofty.  But actually the two go hand-in-hand.  We will naturally have happiness when we practice forgiveness (pardon).  And Jesus would wish us to be happy.  It is a laudable goal, though it comes by sneaking over our shoulders, not by direct seeking.  The direct seeking (an interpretation, not stated in ACIM) is for forgiveness of ourselves and our brothers and sisters.

Happiness becomes inevitable, we are told in this passage, when we find the means.  Forgiveness is the primary lesson of A Course in Miracles–forgiveness of our brothers and sisters in special relationships that have become holy.  In ACIM, this relationship is frequently normally seen in the singular–a special relationship that we make holy through our dedication to it (an interpretation, not stated in ACIM).

And the changing of the special relationship to a holy one may be rocky at times.  The ego made the special relationship, and now we would change its purpose.  The Text says that many break off their relationship at this point, but indicates that another relationship can always be found in which the ego’s wishes can be carried out.  The implication is that we would do well to stay in our relationship, if at all possible, and see it transformed into the holy.

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

May I offer a prayer of thanks to You for my holy relationship, my primary one.  You have guided me step-by-step, when my sweetheart noticed that A Course in Miracles made me happy–my “happiness books,” he called them.  I have always found solace in ACIM when anything went awry, and these magnificent books have always set my world aright.  Thank You for their revelations.

Be with us today, my sweetheart husband and myself.  May we have a good day.  May we rejoice that You have brought us together and kept us together for almost 25 years.

Amen.

Do Not Leave the Son/Daughter of God in Hell

ACIM Workbook Lesson 63 – for Friday, March 4, 2011

Affirmation:  “The light of the world brings peace to every mind through my forgiveness.”

Selected Passage:

“The Son of God looks to you for his redemption.  It is yours to give him, for it belongs to you.  Accept no trivial purpose or meaningless desire in its place, or you will forget your function and leave the Son of God in hell.  This is no idle request that is being asked of you.  You are being asked to accept salvation that it may be yours to give.  (WB105)”

Reflections:

This is a very important passage.  Would we leave our brothers and sisters in hell, which they are until we release them by our forgiveness?  This is no “idle request.”  This is our way Home, as well as the way Home for our brothers and sisters.

We accept our own salvation, and then we extend it, so to speak, to others.  This seems to give us a lot of power, but is there not a frequent saying that we are the hands and feet of Jesus, the way that he does his work in this world?

And we will have peace when we accept salvation.  Elsewhere we learn that we are meant to be “perfectly calm and quiet” all the time.  While, at this point, caught by the ego, we may not feel that calm and quiet are all that we want, we will fall more in line with this concept as we proceed in this year of the Workbook.  Peace of mind is not a little gift (a Text tenet).  And, also a Text tenet, the first obstacle that peace must flow across is our desire to get rid of it.  Let us not “get rid of” peace today.

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

We need peace today.  No matter how far along our pathway to Awakening (and beyond) we have come, we still are beset with instances of conflict.  I ask that this conflict be lessened today.  May I be perfectly calm and quiet today.

Thank You for helping me to realize that my function is forgiveness of my brothers and sisters as well as forgiveness of myself.  Here we will have limitations, but pardon is a right that we have and that we extend to others.  May my pardon fill my heart and spirit today, and may I find no fault with anyone.  May even my thoughts about myself be filled with the sense of Your love for me.

Amen.

Everyone Deserves Forgiveness

ACIM Workbook Lesson 62 – for Thursday, March 3, 2011

Affirmation:  “Forgiveness is my function as the light of the world.”

Selected Passage:

“Do you not then begin to understand what forgiveness will do for you?  It will remove all sense of weakness, strain and fatigue from your mind.  It will take away all fear and guilt and pain.  It will restore the invulnerability and power God gave His Son to your awareness.  (WB104)”

Reflections:

1 – This a Favorite Passage

This is a favorite passage for students/teachers of ACIM.  We may, in our lifetimes, not fully understood how important forgiveness really is.  We may feel that people we have known have done such wrong things that they don’t “deserve” forgiveness.  Certainly believing this is a great disservice to ourselves as well as our brothers and sisters.  Repeatedly ACIM stresses that we are all innocent, that no attack has actually harmed our Self.  We have simply made mistakes, which we overlook in others, and we correct in ourselves.

2 – Does Everyone “Deserve” Forgiveness?

It is a common mistake of ACIM students and even teachers that our brothers and sisters who have “done us wrong” don’t “deserve” forgiveness.  But they have merely made mistakes, and those mistakes have been in illusion.  They are still as God created them (a Workbook tenet).  If others do not deserve forgiveness, then neither do we.  And then we are really lost to salvation.  We give to others what we feel we deserve ourselves.  Let us recognize today that we are free, we are innocent, and we can correct the mistakes that we have made.

3 – Correcting Mistakes

How do we correct those mistakes?  ACIM does not list remedies, but other inspirational writers have.  This may include approaching the person that we have wronged, but if this would only make things worse, then we are not encouraged to do this.  We can forgive through prayer, and sometimes this takes repeated, many repeated prayers.  On some level, our “enemy” knows what we have done, that we have truly forgiven and that we have freed him/her of the effects of the mistakes.

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

I know that all of us, including myself, deserve forgiveness. . .regardless.  We have merely made mistakes, and if we had lived the same life as another, we would very likely make the same errors that he/she has.  This is a truth that I need to carry in my innermost being.  Help me to do so today.

Be with me if something happens today that leads me to think, “He/she doesn’t deserve forgiveness.”  I am wrong; we all deserve forgiveness (pardon).  Help me to pardon all with whom I come in contact today.

Amen.

Being Blessed by Miracles of Light

ACIM Workbook Lesson 61 – for Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Affirmation:  “I am the light of the world.”

Selected Passage:

“This is a beginning step in accepting your real function on earth. . . .It is a positive assertion of your right to be saved, and an acknowledgment of the power that is given you to save others.  (WB102)”

Reflections:

1 – Visions of Lamps – A Personal Experience

Once I saw visions of normal, everyday lamps repeatedly in the middle of the night when I awoke out of a sound sleep.  The lamps seemed to be painted on my eyelids.  I believed that this meant not to “hide one’s light” (a biblical concept).  But ACIM says more.  I was actually beginning my pathway (“beginning step”).  This passage reflects the fact that ACIM is in a continuity with the New Testament, not in all respects, but in many.

2 – Little Edges of Light

This incident happened many years ago, when I was 25 years old, near the start of my pathway through life and into a greater knowledge of God.  It was before A Course in Miracles had been published.  Light plays a large part in ACIM.  At one point we are told in the Text of “little edges of light” that we will see around the same familiar objects with which we are normally surrounded.  These lights around objects, Jesus says, are the beginning of real vision

3 – The Great Rays

After this experience, real vision will come quickly.  Another instance of light in A Course in Miracles is the explanation of the Great Rays.  The explanation is not complete, because this is a miracle that must be experienced to be understood.  It may appear that the sun’s rays are coming directly down upon one’s head, and this mystical experience may be scary.  But it is meant to be beatific.

4 – Miracles Come when We Are Ready

All of this phenomena are examples of miracles that come when we are ready.  Perhaps ACIM is the only spiritual literature to write of such miracles, and, if so, it is no wonder that students/teachers of ACIM are puzzled by these practical examples of the presence of light.  But the Bible is filled with references to light, and we can see both from the Bible as well as ACIM that light is a metaphor for salvation, and, moreover, a metaphor for the sharing of salvation to others.  We are not called to share our beliefs with others who are not ready, but, if they show any interest, we will probably share.  A Course of Love, viewed by some to be a sequel to ACIM,  carries the idea of sharing our faith a step farther, in that we are told that we are not meant to spread our understanding to anyone not yet ready for it.  We are not to impose our beliefs on those who have not yet walked far enough on their own pathways that they can comprehend what is being said.

4 – The Light = Powerful Metaphor

The light is a powerful metaphor.  May we ask today, as we go about our normal routines, to learn more about what Jesus means by this metaphor.

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

May Your light go with me today.  If I have not yet seen edges of light around familiar objects, or I have not yet experienced the Great Rays, may I come closer to these experiences today.  May I have my own experiences of light as a way of salvation for myself and others.  May I fulfill my function of salvation through forgiveness.

I realize that I cannot fully understand what Jesus means by the light.  But may I come to comprehend enough today that I can live as You would have me live.  In the light.

Amen.