Monthly Archives: April 2011

Forgiveness = Key to Happiness

ACIM Workbook Lesson 121 – for Sunday, May 1, 2011

Affirmation:  “Forgiveness is the key to happiness.”

Selected Passage:

“Forgiveness is acquired.  It is not inherent in the mind, which cannot sin.  As sin is an idea you taught yourself, forgiveness must be learned by you as well, but from a Teacher other than yourself, Who represents the other Self in you.  Through Him you learn how to forgive the self you think you made, and let it disappear.  Thus you return your mind as one to Him Who is your Self, and Who can never sin.  (WB214-215)”

Reflections:

We need to return our minds to the Holy Spirit, relinquishing our judgment for His own.  The Manual asks us how many know all the surrounding factors influencing a situation.  We do no have such prescience.  This world teaches us to use our judgment, to hone it, and to ever make it better in order to improve our decisions.  But ACIM, in the Manual, assures us that this is impossible.  We cannot make good decisions, in which we decide for all the world and everything and everyone in it, because we do not have such knowledge.  But the Holy Spirit does, and when we turn to Him for guidance, our choices become right.  We are finally doing the right thing, but it is direct opposition to what the world has taught us.

We are told that we may resist this advice, because it seems to be personally insulting.  After all, why do not our judgments work?  If we will reflect honestly, though, we will realize that we never knew all the conditions surrounding any one of our decisions, decisions made without the guidance of the Holy Spirit, and who would continue along a pathway that is so fraught with mistakes?

We must learn to forgive.  If we see the outer world, the world we perceive, as an illusion, and as madness (or insanity), we will soon come to realize that forgiveness is the only sane response (a Text tenet).  It keeps our rights from being compromised.  Forgiveness also makes us feel better.  We feel more justified in God’s sight (an interpretation, not stated in ACIM).  But it is not the “forgiveness to destroy,” which is described in A Song of Prayer (also scribed by Helen Schucman).  In forgiveness to destroy, we think that out of our magnanimity we have forgiven our brother or sister.  But they have, in their real Selves, done nothing wrong!  We only thought that we had been hurt.  In our real Self, we have not been hurt.  We are to teach nobody that he or she has wronged us (an ACIM tenet).  We have not been wronged; we have only misinterpreted.  May we fail to misinterpret today.

Prayer:

Dear Mother/Father,

May I put into practice the forgiveness that You encourage me to have–forgiveness of myself for my misdeeds, and forgiveness for my brothers and sisters.  We will in this illusory world, where much is insanity, and these understandings can help us to see the legitimacy of pardon.  May I see pardon as justified always.

Be with me today.  I long for Your guidance, and I long for the will to follow it always.  Make Your guidance clear to me, so that I do not let the ego lead me astray.  I would follow Your pathway.

Amen.

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I Rest in God

ACIM Workbook Lesson 120 – for Saturday, April 30, 2011

Affirmation:  “I rest in God.”

Selected Passage:

“I rest in God today, and let Him work in me and through me, while I rest in Him in quiet and in perfect certainty.  (WB213)”

Affirmation:  “I am as God created me.”

Selected Passage:

“I am God’s Son.  Today I lay aside all sick illusions of myself, and let my Father tell me Who I really am.  (WB213)”

Reflections:

Let us rest in God today, as these lessons teach us.  We need a time of respite.  We have tried too hard to find our way Home.  And we were wrong!  We do need to study the means, Jesus says in the Text, but the final reaching downward to us is done by God.  We rest in perfect calm and quiet, knowing that He will not fail us.  May we pray today that He will awaken us soon.

No further words are needed today.  Spend some relaxed and easy time with God.

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

Thank You for being there for me today.  I know that to rest in You is the best way that I can spend my time.  May I not fail to rest in You today.

Your ways are mysterious to me, but I know that there is purpose in them.  Help me to follow Your ways, through my intuition, and may I not fail to live Your way today.

Amen.

I Rest Safely in the Mind of God

ACIM Workbook Lesson 119 – for Friday, April 29, 2011

Affirmation:  “Truth will correct all errors in my mind.”

Selected Passage:

“I am mistaken when I think I can be hurt in any way.  I am God’s Son, whose Self rests safely in the Mind of God.  (WB212)”

Affirmation:  “To give and to receive are one in truth.”

Selected Passage:

“I will forgive all things today, that I may learn how to accept the truth in me, and come to recognize my sinlessness.  (WB212)”

Reflections:

We cannot be hurt.  This does sound like an extreme statement, but the Self of which we speak is not the little self that lives in this world (an interpretation, not stated in ACIM).  Our real Selves have not been hurt in any way.  We do a disservice to our brothers and sisters when we imagine that they have hurt us.  They get through to us in what seems like hurt only when we allow it.  There is nothing that comes our way that some aspect of our Self has not chosen.  This does not mean that we blame the victim, though.  The little self of this world did not allow this hurt; it was allowed by the Self of which Jesus speaks (an interpretation, not stated in ACIM).

Even when we imagine that we have been hurt, we are called upon to forgive (pardon).  All except the real things of this world are illusions.  The real things include love, peace, joy, happiness, well-being, safety.  These are intangibles, and the physical world is an illusion (a Text tenet).  Aside from physicality, we can forgive much, because we know that we have not been hurt.  The real test comes when we know physical pain or mental anguish.  We are not meant to stay in abusive situations, of course.  Let us be practical, which ACIM intends to be.  But we do know that it is easiest to love when our intangibles of love are uppermost in our minds.  And the abstract nature of ACIM would lead us to this conclusion naturally.

We have not “sinned,” but we have made mistakes.  (Note:  See the posting, “No ‘Sins’ – Just Mistakes.”)  These mistakes lead us to correction, in contrast to sin, which can remain attracting (an ACIM tenet).  Let us ask today that our mistakes be corrected.  If there is anything that we need to do to make things right with God, ourselves, or our brothers and sisters, may we do so today.  Life will never look better when we have forgiven these illusions (maya).

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

May I rest safely in Your arms today.  May I feel inwardly, in my depths, that I am always safe.  You take care of me, and even when things look bad, I know that You are somewhere in the situation, helping me to choose again.

Be with me today as I go about my varied activities.  Thank You for always being with me.

Amen.

Let Me Be Still

ACIM Workbook Lesson 118 – for Thursday, April 28, 2011

Affirmation:  “God’s peace and joy are mine.”

Selected Passage:

“Today I will accept God’s peace and joy, in glad exchange for all the substitutes that I have made for happiness and peace.  (WB211)”

Affirmation:  “Let me be still and listen to the truth.”

Selected Passage:

“Let my own feeble voice be still, and let me hear the mighty Voice for Truth Itself assure me that I am God’s perfect Son.  (WB211)”

Reflections:

Being still is often a prerequisite for hearing Universal Inspiration (the Holy Spirit).  Being still is akin to the “perfectly calm and quiet” that Jesus holds out to us as our birthright.  In this world we hurry about so much.  Some of it is chosen–an adrenaline rush to which we are addicted (as said by Marianne Williamson)–and some of it seemingly chosen by a world whose economic woes tries to get the most from each person employed.  We are not consumed by hurry, though; even in the busiest life, there is a quiet inner place to which we can retire–even when we are surrounded by activity.  Let us not discount this quiet inner place as impractical.  It can hold the secret of getting through this world with equanimity.  We can go home to God at any time.  But we don’t often recognize this.

We need to accept God’s peace and joy.  There are among His greatest blessings to us.  We make substitutes, egged on by the ego, that are wholly unsatisfying.  We know a euphoria, sometimes, that is not natural.  This is the stress of modern day life.  We would do well to ask if this euphoria seems natural, or if it is the result of too much stress.  Euphoria that is of God often accompanies revelation, but revelation is normally reserved for a few spectacular moments.  It is not an everyday occurrence for many people.  Those who are Teachers of Teachers are few, and they do, we can speculate, know this euphoria on a more constant basis.  But even they are calm and quiet in their happiness.

So let us keep our “feeble” voice silent and listen to God.  No more words are needed.

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

May I be calm and quiet today.  May there be no need to rush and hurry through my day.  There is time for all that is needful.

Thank You for being with me in my stillness.  I know that I hear Your Spirit best when I am still.  May I be still today.

Amen.

Love and Joy Are My Heritage

ACIM Workbook Lesson 117 – for Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Affirmation:  “God, being Love, is also happiness.”

Selected Passage:

“Let me remember love is happiness, and nothing else brings joy.  And so I choose to entertain no substitutes for love.  (WB210)”

Affirmation:  “I seek but what belongs to me in truth.”

Selected Passage:

“Love is my heritage, and with it joy.  These are the gifts my Father gave to me.  I would accept all that is mine in truth.  (WB210)”

Reflections:

These affirmations (“lessons”) and the passages selected are tools for contemplation.  But we are not meant, as students/teachers of ACIM to spend long hours in contemplation, which Jesus says is “tedious” (a Manual tenet).  But some time spent in contemplative meditation is good for us (though there is a difference of opinion among ACIM students/teachers about whether or not meditation is a part of ACIM).

We return today to the happy realization that happiness is a worthy goal.  It is an outgrowth of Love, being of God.  God is Love, and therefore He fosters happiness.  Let us not look at this assertion too casually.  It is pivotal to our healing.  When we turn to God and to our brothers and sisters, willing all (including ourselves) to be healed, we will naturally live a life of more happiness.  This truth is regardless of how many “bad” things are happening at any given time.  Our hearts will be at peace, and this in itself will foster happiness.

Love belongs to us.  It is ours.  We do ourselves a great disservice when we turn aside from these promises.  Let us today turn to Love (God) for the blessings that He is so ready to bestow on us.

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

Love brings joy, and I would have both today.  Be with me as I go through the varying activities that I have on my “to do” list.  Help me to be kind to the people whom I will encounter, and help me to realize that not everybody sees things “my” way.

Thank You for your abiding love for me.  I especially welcome the sense of Your presence, and I am glad that You are not hiding Your love from me in a dark night of the soul.

Amen.

Perfect Happiness = A Worthy Pursuit

ACIM Workbook Lesson 116 – for Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Affirmation:  “God’s Will for me is perfect happiness.”

Selected Passage:

“God’s Will is perfect happiness for me.  And I can suffer but from the belief there is another will apart from his.  (WB209)”

Affirmation:  “I must share God’s Will for happiness for me.”

Selected Passage:

“I share my Father’s Will for me, His Son.  What He has given me is all I want.  What He has given me is all there is.  (WB209)”

Reflections:

1 – Is Happiness a Lofty Function?

Many of us feel that happiness is not a lofty-enough function.  But it is.  It is only when we have accepted God’s promises that we find real happiness at all.  Anything else partakes of the ego, and the “happiness” of the ego is short-lived always.  Nothing happens that seems joyful, in the eyes of the ego, that is not bought with tears of misery (a paraphrase from the Text).

2 – A Recollection

In my early years, I recall an instance with one of my students in which I realized that having happiness was her primary goal.  I felt then, judgmentally, that this was not enough of a goal.  And certainly it was not, if by “happiness” she meant the “joys” of the ego.  But perhaps she did not mean that at all.  ACIM has taught me that the right way of viewing happiness is a wonderful promise.  We are certainly not meant to go through life with a too serious nature.  The light and easy touch is assumed in A Course in Miracles.

3 – Don’t Follow the Ego

The “other will” apart from God’s is the will of the ego, and here we are told that only this brings us misery.  The ego, remember, is a part of our belief about ourselves.  It can be left aside with the help of the Holy Spirit.  The ego is not just a way of speaking in an egotistical sense; it is a persona (an interpretation, not stated in ACIM).  May we give up this persona today.

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

I desire happiness, and in so doing I believe that I am helping to fulfill my function as Your child.  May I share my happiness with others.  May I help to make happy my brothers and sisters in this world.  There is so much that is difficult in life.  May I spread a little joy today.  May I leave this world a better place for having lived in it one more day.

Be with all of us today.  When difficulties arise, may I know that my higher Self has chosen these difficulties as a way of honing my spirit.  May I work through my struggles, knowing that peace and joy are on the other side of all difficulties.

Amen.

My Part = Essential to Salvation

ACIM Workbook Lesson 115 – for Monday, April 25, 2011

Affirmation:  “Salvation is my only function here.”

Selected Passage:

“My function here is to forgive the world for all the errors I have made.  For thus am I released from them with all the world.  (WB208)”

Affirmation:  “My part is essential to God’s plan for salvation.”

Selected Passage:

“I am essential to the plan of God for salvation of the world.  For He gave me His plan that I might save the world.  (WB208)”

Reflections:

Our function is forgiveness of ourselves and our brothers and sisters.  Elsewhere in A Course in Miracles other aspects, synonymous with forgiveness, are given as our function:  salvation and happiness are two.  If we reflect on the fact that forgiveness will make us happy (and it will), and that salvation comes on the heels of forgiveness, we can see the unity of all these various terms–all meant to mean the same thing.

Each of us has a particular part to play in salvation (a Text tenet).  Anyone who chooses to be a teacher of God is going to be.  It happens as soon as we take up the call, as soon as we have seen in another the same interests as our own (a Manual tenet).  Only time separates the student from the teacher; the teacher does not have anything that the student is not also capable of having.  Perhaps a bit of time separates the two, but that is all.  A teacher is anyone who choose to be a teacher.

If we do not take the part that God has assigned to us, we leave that place vacant.  Other individuals will not have the blessings that only we ourselves can bring to them.

These two lessons, in review today, are pivotal in understanding ACIM.  They are among the most important lessons that we can learn.  Let us reflect on them, and see today if we might not do something more for God and for salvation.

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

May I reflect frequently on the lessons for review today.  I realize that if I master them, not only will I help others to salvation, but I will also help myself.

Thank You for standing by me when I make mistakes.  To fail to be happy is a form of mistake that most of us make at various times in our lives.  May I not make this mistake today.

Amen.