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.

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.

Masculine and Feminine = One Spirit

ACIM Workbook Lesson 114 – for Sunday, April 24, 2011

Affirmation:  “I am spirit.”

Selected Passage:

“I am the Son of God.  No body can contain my spirit, nor impose on me a limitation God created not.  (WB207)”

Affirmation:  “I will accept my part in God’s plan for salvation.”

Selected Passage:

“What can my function be but to accept the Word of God Who has created me for what I am and will forever be.  (WB207)”

Reflections:

We see again today that we are called the Sons of God.  Heretofore in this blog I have not addressed the masculine nature of the language.  The language fulfills the message of the Bible, which normally saw God in the masculine.  Moreover, in the 1960s, when A Course in Miracles was channeled, the world did not see an emphasis on inclusiveness in language.  I was taught clearly in my English classes that the masculine “he” included the feminine “she”; it was just assumed.  So let us understand, and not hold against ACIM, a feature that has emerged later in our culture:  the inclusiveness of the specifically feminine in language.  We can always assume the feminine is meant to be a part of importance also.

What is this “Word of God” which has created me?  The pronoun “Who” is capitalized, and this emphasis of capitalization is normally reserved for God and for the Holy Spirit.   In this context, it appears that this is a way of speaking about God.  He “spoke” and we were created.  But let us not try to delve too deeply into theological speculation, because Jesus says that this will only divide us.  It is with the practical that ACIM is concerned (an ACIM tenet).

We are spirit.  This emphasizes the fact that we have a Self that is over and above the physical with which we are usually concerned.  We do not have to concern ourselves always with the physical, knowing that there is a spirit Self that oversees our pathway in this world.

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

I would know this Higher Self Who directs my personal wanderings through this world.  I know that my body does not contain all of me; my spirit does.  Help me to know my spirit today, on this Easter day.

Be with me as I go through the day, keeping my mood lightened and my joy full.  On this day of the resurrection, let me be glad that there are still some things that I cannot fully comprehend.  I will comprehend one day in the future.

Amen.

One Self = Completely Whole

ACIM Workbook Lesson 113 – for Saturday, April 23, 2011

Affirmation:  “I am one Self, united with my Creator.”

Selected Passage:

“Serenity and perfect peace are mine, because I am one Self, completely whole, at one with all creation and with God.  (WB206)”

Affirmation:  “Salvation comes from my one Self.”

Selected Passage:

“From my one Self, Whose knowledge still remains within my mind, I see God’s perfect plan for my salvation perfectly fulfilled.  (WB206)”

Reflections:

Who would not want serenity and perfect peace?  These promises are close to the promise that we will eventually be “perfectly calm and quiet” all the time.  This means that we will disavow drama in our lives.  And many of us are not ready for this.  We think that we would be bored.  But is drama really desirable?

Drama usually entails conflict, and attack and anger are not far behind.  We are told in the Text that there is no justification for attack and anger.  This is because both are a call for help, and our brother or sister wants our love.  So we are bade to offer that love in the best way that would calm the troubled waters.  Sometimes we say something, sometimes we remove ourselves from the scene (if our presence is troubling), and sometimes we simply pray about the situation.  Of course, there are other, equally good, ways that we might respond.  We must go within to find the right solution to the conflict.  Given the fact that drama usually entails conflict, can we not be ready to let the drama go?

We are all one Self, because the All is One.  This is a theoretical foundation of ACIM, and we would do well to contemplate what is meant, because it is not obvious.  The Holy Spirit will speak to us, will enlarge our minds to comprehend, if we turn to Him.  Let us do so today.

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

We are all One with You and with each other.  Help me to comprehend this ultimate truth.  I feel the smallness of my little self, the self sometimes ruled by the ego, and I would have the foolishness of the ego ended.  Be with me today as I seek for You in my everyday occurrences.

Thank You for always being there for me.  I know that You are there even when I am distracted and cannot let go of my emotions enough to recognize Your presence.  May I recognize Your presence throughout this day.

Amen.

Light and Joy and Peace

ACIM Workbook Lesson 112 – for Friday, April 22, 2011

Affirmation:  “Light and joy and peace abide in me.”

Selected Passage:

“I am the home of light and joy and peace.  I welcome them into the home I share with God, because I am a part of Him.  (WB205)”

Affirmation:  “I am as God created me.”

Selected Passage:

“I will remain forever as I was, created by the Changeless like Himself.  And I am one with Him, and He with me.  (WB205)”

Reflections:

These affirmations and selected passages are probably meant for meditation (though there is a difference of opinion among ACIM students/teachers as to how much meditation is taught in A Course in Miracles).  We are told that contemplation is tedious, and that it is not “our way” (a Text tenet).  Our way is the relationship that we have with our brother (or sister), in that the special relationship is turned into the holy relationship.

The best way that we can gain today, that we can walk toward God, is to reflect on the words of ACIM that I have typed above.  Further words do not seem warranted.  Jesus has said it best.  Let us listen to him and take unto ourselves what he has said.  Then the way Home will come ever closer, because we will be saving time.

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

May I relax in the meditation that this day’s lesson invites.  May I leave words alone, and listen to the silence.  May I “hear” what the silence says and know what the Holy Spirit is saying to me.

Amen.

Innocence Within

ACIM Workbook Lesson 111 – for Thursday, April 21, 2011

Affirmation:  “Miracles are seen in light.”

Selected Passage:

“I cannot see in darkness.  Let the light of holiness and truth light up my mind, and let me see the innocence within.  (WB204)”

Reflections:

We are entitled to miracles.   The early pages of the Text assure us that when miracles do not occur, something has gone wrong.  Miracles are our birthright.  And Jesus assures us that he is in charge of miracles, because he knows the readiness of us, as well as the readiness of our brothers and sisters.

It may still be hard for us to understand how we can be innocent, when we know the mistakes (formerly called “sins”) that we have made.  But we live in illusion, or maya (as the Eastern religions call it).  We have not in reality done the awful deeds that we perceive that we have done.  Our real Self has not changed in separation.  Separation from God is the little self, the part that embraced the ego–a tiny, mad idea about which we forgot to laugh (paraphrased from the Text).  If we can actually entertain the idea that we are innocent, that we have not lost our innocence, but have only been lost in dreams, then we will come to understand.  And we will want to correct the mistakes that we have made.  “Sin” would continue to be attractive, but ACIM assures us that what we call sin is only a mistake.

When we do not look into the light (metaphorically), we see in darkness, and we are lost, sometimes in dreams that turn into nightmares.  We cannot truly see reality when we are in such a state.  Let us today resolve to see only in light, which is the positive spin that we can put on our movement toward salvation in the ACIM sense, the movement toward Awakening, or enlightenment.

Affirmation:  “Miracles are seen in light, and light and strength are one.”

Selected Passage:

“I see through strength, the gift of God to me.  My weakness is the dark His gift dispels, by giving me His strength to take its place.  (WB204)”

Reflections:

We often do not feel strong.  We may, in fact, feel especially weak when we turn to God in total surrender.  This total surrender is not meant to keep us weak, though; it is only the first step in finding a new strength through our surrender.

ACIM does not say much about surrender to God.  But I think that it is assumed.  We are told to commune with God, and we are told to listen to the guidance of the Holy Spirit.  Both call for a surrender that we may not have made often.  And this surrender may need to be repeated throughout our lives.

We know that we are strong through God’s grace.  Again we see in the selected passage (above) the importance of the metaphor of light; in this case, the opposite is chosen:  the dark.  We do not want to stay in the dark.  So let us let God speak to us today.  Let us find His way for us.  We will then be the strong individuals that He intends us to be.

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

Help me to live through this day in awareness that I am living in an illusion that is this world.  The only thing that is real in it is that which is intangible–loving, kind, peaceful projections that make up reality as You view it.  This understanding sometimes evades me when I am caught by the world’s dilemmas.  I would not be caught today.

Please give me Your strength today.  I know that You intend for me to be a strong individual, strong in love for You, strong in love for my brothers and sisters, and strong in love for this beautiful earth.  May today be a day of special blessing, as I live the way that You intend for me to live.

Amen.

No Separation between God’s Mind and Mine

ACIM Workbook Lesson 110 – for Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Affirmation:  “I am as God created me.”

Selected Passage:

“If you are as God created you, then there has been no separation of your mind from His, no split between your mind and other minds, and only unity within your own.  (WB199)”

Reflections:

1 – Unity and Relationship

This passage presages A Course of Love, viewed by some to be a sequel, channeled by Jesus, to show us our way Home and to let us know that the time of constant seeking is no more.  A recurring theme in ACOL is “unity and relationship,” in which is meant that All is one (i.e., we are One with all of our brothers and sisters, and with God), and that we are in relationship to the All, which includes God as well as our brothers and sisters.

2 – Perfect Honesty = Consistency

“[O]nly unity within your own [mind]” means that we are consistent in our thought; we have perfect honesty.  These are concepts from the Manual.  No thought is at war with any other thought (also from the Manual).  We are truly honest, in that we do not have the conflict that previously engulfed us.  The ego wanted only conflict; indeed, the ego thrived on conflict.  But we are moving beyond the ego now.  We must be patient.  Sometimes the Way opens up to us quickly, but more often we have a slowly evolving training period (a Manual tenet).

3 – No Separation from God

Our mind knows no separation from God’s mind.  This is a more esoteric thought than many in ACIM, because we may have been taught in church, previously, that the world is God’s handiwork, and that He is separate from the world.  But ACIM says repeatedly that God is the All.  This is a concept developed by Jane Roberts in the Seth books, as well as Neale Donald Walsch in the Conversations with God series.  It is New Age thought, but not just this, because it harkens back to Jesus’s declaration in the New Testament that he and the Father are One.  In ACIM, Jesus says that there is nothing that he has that we cannot have, are not meant to have, as well.  We will know this truth when we ask for help, in communion with God, that there be only unity within our mind.  That will mean that the split that seemed to occur in the separation, the split that gave us the ego, has been ended.

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

May I know deeply within my heart and soul that my mind is One with Your Mind.  I realize that this does not mean that we are equal.  I am a part of You, but I am part of the Whole that is One.  May my understanding of this mystical thought grow daily to a fuller knowledge.

May I grow in joy and love for my brothers and sisters, and may I be a blessing to them.  May I be happy, that I might share my life more fully without neurosis.

Amen.

The Road Becomes Easy

ACIM Workbook Lesson 109 – for Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Affirmation:  “I rest in God.”

Selected Passage:

“With each five minutes that you rest today, the world is nearer waking.  And the time when rest will be the only thing there is comes closer to all worn and tired minds, too weary now to go their way alone.  And they will hear the bird begin to sing and see the stream begin to flow again, with hope reborn and energy restored to walk with lightened steps along the road that suddenly seems easy as they go.  (WB198)”

Reflections:

Salvation, as defined by ACIM, is not a difficult path.  Frequently we are told that it is easy; in fact, at one point in ACIM we are told that it is the easiest thing in the world.  But do we believe this?  We struggle so, seeking God.  This is not necessary!  He is as close to us as our breath–indeed, even closer, because His mind and our real mind are the same.  He is “in” us–as well as without, as our projections make the perceptions of this world.  There is nothing outside of ourselves (a Text tenet).

So let us rest five minutes from time to time.  We will see the beauty of this world that has been hidden from us:  “the bird being to sing and. . .the stream begin to flow again.”  The poetical nature of A Course in Miracles is one of its greatest blessings.  We can read and reread these lovely passages without ever tiring of them.  And each time, we will see more and different meaning.

The road seems easy when we rest often.  There is not need to struggle.  God wants us Home with him, and by this we do not mean after death.  Home with God is being One with him in intent and purpose.  And there is no better way to spend a day than to walk humbly with our God, in rest and with the ease that He provides for us.

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

May I rest often today, sometimes for periods of time and sometimes only for a moment.  You would have me to relax in the joy of Your world, the real world.  You would have me disown the dictates of the ego, which would have me struggle to make a name for myself.

Be with me today as I rest in You.  The effable peace that only You can bring is precious to me.  May this day be a special, continuous moment of Your peace and calm.

Amen.

Offer Peace = Peace Returns to Us

ACIM Workbook Lesson 108 – for Monday, April 18, 2011

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

Selected Passage:

“To give is to receive.  Today we will attempt to offer peace to everyone, and see how quickly peace returns to us.  Light is tranquility, and in that peace is vision given us, and we can see.  (WB196)”

Reflections:

The exact nature of giving and receiving, being one, is built upon biblical concepts.  This precise echoing of the New Testament does say quite a lot about the continuity of A Course in Miracles and older traditions.  Jesus was primary in both, and he has not changed his message in many particulars.

The primary message today is to offer peace to everyone, and in so doing, we will find that peace becomes a part of our immediate experience today.  The emphasis upon “light” is metaphorical, and it says that vision will be ours when we have let the light become one with us.  Light emphasizes the best way to travel along our pathway.  Light means to follow the path set out for us in ACIM.  Vision is the better contrast to perception.  Perception partakes of the ego, and vision partakes of the Holy Spirit, the third Person of the Trinity.  In the opening pages of the Text, the Holy Spirit is identified as the Universal Inspiration.

We need to ask for this peace that we all want.  Biblical concepts are frequently grounded on the simple prayer of “asking,” as an inspirational writer of the Twentieth Century, Catherine Marshall, made clear in many of her books.  She had much to say about prayer, and she defined the various types of prayers which she prayed and which she recommended to others.  In A Course in Miracles, prayer is defined as “communing” with God, and much of this form of communication is simply assumed.  We will commune with God, ACIM seems to say, because we are seeking greater understanding, our own Awakening.

Awakening is ACIM‘s term for enlightenment, and much has been said about enlightenment in Eastern religions.  ACIM would have us to know that there is a new earth for us (as Eckhart Tolle says in a book by the same title), and we would be wish to seek it out.  Life will never be the same once we have experienced revelations of Awakening.  Sometimes the moments are brief, but they show us the end.  Jesus says in the Text that to get there the means are needed, and the means are being carefully explained to us in ACIM.  Most importantly, we leave fear behind, and with this is the ego gone as well.

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

May I offer peace today to everyone that I encounter, and I realize that by so doing, peace will be returned to me.  It may even be multiplied!  Knowing this rule of the universe is a great blessing, and I thank You for simplifying the concept for me.

Be with me today as I walk ever closer to Awakening.

Amen.

A Mind at Peace. . .with Love and Safety

ACIM Workbook Lesson 107 – for Sunday, April 17, 2011

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

Selected Passage:

“Can you imagine what a state of mind without illusions is?  How it would feel?  Try to remember when there was a time–perhaps a minute, maybe even less–when nothing came to interrupt your peace; when you were certain you were loved and safe.  Then try to picture what it would be like to have that moment be extended to the end of time and to eternity.  Then let the sense of quiet that you felt be multiplied a hundred times, and then be multiplied another hundred more.

“And now you have a hint, not more than just the faintest intimation of the state your mind will rest in when the truth has come.  (WB192)”

Reflections:

Most of us, in reading the selected passage, will remember a few times from the past when we were at peace, totally calm and completely serene.  These are a kind of quiet “peak experience,” and we would do well today to dwell on how we felt, what we were doing to bring about our peace, and what we might do to invite that same peace again.

Then we come to the best part of this passage:  When the truth has come, we will know even greater peace.  We do not now have the “faintest intimation” of what we will feel later on.  What a glorious promise!

We would make great strides today if we ask for a miracle that would give us this great joy more and more often, while we are still very much a part of this world–in these moments prior to our Awakening.  We can invite Awakening by our own sense of quiet and calm, though we cannot, on our own, bring Awakening about.  (God alone determines when we receive enlightenment.)  Let us rest in peace today from time to time, as much as is possible.  We live busy lives, but let us try to be less busy today.  We do not listen to the Holy Spirit when we are rushing about in a hectic way.  Let us resolve today to end such behavior forever.

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

May I enjoy the state of mind today that is quiet, self-contained, and open to guidance from the Holy Spirit.  I would be a channel for Your love today.  Help me to do that.

Be with me as I seek to banish illusions from my mind.  I can do so completely when moments of Awakening catch me in the midst of a busy day.  May I stop and be quiet at such times, and may these times extend to cover ever more of my days.

Amen.

Let Me Be Still

ACIM Workbook Lesson 106 – for Saturday, April 16, 2011

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

Selected Passage:

“Today the promise of God’s Word is kept.  Hear and be silent.  He would speak to you.  He comes with miracles a thousand times as happy and as wonderful as those you ever dreamed or wished for in your dreams.  His miracles are true.  They will not fade when dreaming ends.  They end the dream instead; and last forever, for they come from God to His dear Son, whose other name is you.  Prepare yourself for miracles today.  Today allow your Father’s ancient pledge to you and all your brothers to be kept.  (WB190)”

Reflections:

“They end the dream. . . .”  What a glorious promise!  God’s miracles will end the dream, and Jesus is in charge of miracles.  It is God’s Will that we reach the Awakening, that we live in a world in which more and more people are enlightened.  Enlightenment is a state that is not easy to describe, but one thing is sure:  We do not feel fear anymore.  This in itself is reason enough to brave that our Awakening come quickly.

In the silence God speaks.  We may have read this in other places, and here it is in A Course in Miracles.  We will know what he would have us to say and do if we listen in the silence.  Intuition, which is one way that God/the Holy Spirit speak to us, will become more insistent if we take time for silence.  Relax in your favorite position, and get quiet, and let the intuitions rise to the surface.  We will not have to wait long.

The miracles will continue when the dreaming ends, when Awakening has happened.  And we will be ever more attuned to recognize these miracles.  It has been said, in other writing, not to beseech God for a miracle that one would not recognize at high noon.  We will not recognize our miracles if we are too preoccupied with ourselves.  This would mean that we are too egocentric, and the ego always works against the Higher Path.  Let the ego wither away by not doing anything that gives a little rush to your doing.  This rush is the ego speaking, and it will always end in misery.  We would not end the day today in misery.

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

May I be still today, still and close to You.  Help me to forgive the people in my life who might sometimes seem hard to understand.  I know that I love all brothers and sisters in my life, and I am desirous of their good.  May they feel the same about me.

Today is a good spring day.  May I do nothing that I will regret, now or ever.

Amen.

God’s Gifts Always Increase

ACIM Workbook Lesson 105 – for Friday, April 15, 2011

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

Selected Passage:

“Accept God’s peace and joy, and you will learn a different way of looking at a gift.  God’s gifts will never lessen when they are given away.  They but increase thereby.  (WB188)”

Reflections:

1 – God’s Gifts

God’s gifts are the intangibles, and thus these always increase when given away.  God’s gifts are peace and joy and love.  Only material possessions lessen as they are given away, and material gifts, in the broad range, are actually nothing.

2 – Gifts Multiply when Given Away

Much is said early in the Text about the fact that God’s gifts multiply as they are given away.  We do not lose; we only gain.  And others gain from our largesse.

3 – Choose Peace and Joy

Who would not choose peace and joy if he/she only knew that these two blessings are ours for the asking?  It is up to us to tell them, for we are farther along in the Workbook now, and it is beginning to be our place to reach outward more and more.  God depends upon us to spread His message.  We need help to bring salvation to ourselves and others, but we can do so with the help of the Holy Spirit.  Let us always remember that salvation is not up to us solely, for this is arrogance (a Text tenet).  Let us remember to ask for God’s guidance, and we will soon be in a better position, after our study and learning, to be bringers of salvation, always in the right way.

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

I would choose peace, joy, with their attendant aliveness today.  This has been my central prayer for several days, and I hope to see the culmination today.  I know that You answer prayers quickly, instantaneously, and it is normally my reluctance to accept Your way for me that slows down the Answer.  May I be in line with Your desires for me today, and may this one central prayer receive a resounding “yes.”

Thank You for giving us those things that we can give away, and by that gesture see only increase.  The intangibles are the only things that we ever take beyond this world.  May I realize this today ever more strongly, and may I increase my share of intangibles.  This can be only Your will for me.

Amen.

Clear a Holy Place within the Mind

ACIM Workbook Lesson 104 – for Thursday, April 14, 2011

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

Selected Passage:

“We clear a holy place within our minds before His altar, where His gifts of peace and joy are welcome, and to which we come to find what has been given us by Him.  We come in confidence today, aware that what belongs to us in truth is what He gives.  And we would wish for nothing else, for nothing else belongs to us in truth.  (WB186)”

Reflections:

The inner sanctum of our mind, heart, and spirit is where God dwells.  This inner sanctum is His altar.  Like many other parts of the Workbook, this lesson today is mostly reassurance.  We are not alone.  God is in us; we are His dwelling place.

Peace and joy are what belong to us in truth.  We do not often recognize this, especially in the early stages of salvation, a ongoing pathway.  We are still caught up in the ego.

We can make a very practical decision that leaving the ego behind is in our best interests, once we realize that it has never brought us anything that we wanted.  Nothing was bought with the ego that did not bring sorrow in the end (a paraphrase from the Text).  We have  purchased the thrill of egoic ecstasy with tears.  We would have this dynamic end, for what good is it to us?

When we give up egotistical striving, we will know peace as well as joy.  The gentle have already given up this false thinking, and they are at peace.  May we become ever more gentle and ever more harmless toward ourselves, as well as our brothers and sisters.

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

May my misguided wish to have my way be recognized as the egoic thrust that it is.  We live in a world with many brothers and sisters, and we are to live harmoniously.  We turn over our decisions to the Holy Spirit, and all is well again.  May all be well today.

Be with me as I walk the pathway that is before me today.  May I quickly and easily forgive any brother or sister who appears to be in conflict with me.

Amen.

God Is Joy

ACIM Workbook Lesson 103 – for Wednesday, April 13, 2011

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

Selected Passage:

“. . .[I]mages, with no reality in truth, bear witness to the fear of God, forgetting being Love, He must be joy.  (WB185)”

Reflections:

1 – Love and Joy

Love and joy go together.  That is the message in this lesson.  Images are illusions, not real seeing at all.  These images do have no reality in truth.  And they make us feel fear, even the fear of God.  What a lamentable feeling this is!

2 – Happiness = Ours for the Asking

May we realize today that happiness can be ours for the asking.  We need only turn to God in prayer (or communion), and then have the real desire of our heart, which is for Him.

3 – Afraid of Joy?

If we fear God, we are really afraid of joy (said in this lesson).  We may not fully comprehend this until we give it some thought.  But, upon reflection, we will realize that it is true.  We fear joy, because we do not know what will really be beneficial to ourselves.  We often choose that which will make us miserable.  And all of this is avoidable.  Let us avoid that which will make us joyous today.

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

I wish for joyous thoughts.  I choose to turn aside from those thoughts which would make me miserable.  You are joy, and there is never any reason to feel any fear in regard to You.  May I not forget this today.

Help me to walk in sunny paths today.  The way of lamenting any part of the past is over for me today.  Today I walk a bright and glorious pathway.

Amen.

Home = Safety, Peace, Salvation, Rest

ACIM Workbook Lesson 102 – for Tuesday, April 12, 2011

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

Selected Passage:

“Here is your home, and here your safety is.  Here is your peace, and here there is no fear.  Here is salvation.  Here is rest at last.  (WB184)”

Reflections:

Two words in the selected passage (above), “safety” and “rest,” seem especially inviting to us.  We are safe, though bad things may still happen.  Our real Self has not and never will be, touched by pain of any kind.  The real Self has not been hurt, ever.  So we have no real reason for fear.

We are safe, once we have let illusions go, let the dictates of the ego hold no sway over us any longer.

And we are at rest when we have realized all that the selected passage holds out for us.  When we share God’s Will for happiness, we are well on our way Home.

Today’s lesson builds on the one from yesterday.  We know that God’s Will for us is perfect happiness, but we must share that Will for the happiness to come.  If we turn aside, seeking the “benefits” of egoistic thinking (benefits that are non-existent), then we will not know the happiness that God promises.

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

May I know perfect peace today.  When I am peaceful, I am kinder to my brothers and sisters, and the wish to attack never arises.  All is well.  May all be well today.

Safety is important to us, and when we let grievances go, we will know that we are perfectly safe.  May we let grievances go today.

Amen.

THE RESURRECTION: PLAUSIBLE ?!?

by Celia Hales

Just the other day I heard a report on public radio about cutting-edge quantum physics.  I thought of Jesus.  Let me explain.

Quantum physics has long postulated that a subatomic particle can go from one place in space to another without crossing the intervening distance.  Our reason cannot understand this.  Yet the laws of the universe seem to bear it out as truth.  The recent report that I heard has some physicists declaring that this little-understood law has been proved to apply to larger objects, atomic particles still invisible to the naked eye, but  much large than previously “proven.”  The scientist on the radio program then went on to speculate that this emerging law could even be applied to human beings by their own decision.

This is hard stuff.  Yet could physics be catching up with the New Testament?

To a discerning eye, there are peculiarities in the eyewitness testimony of the early believers.  Mary Magdalene did not recognize Jesus, presuming him to be the gardener.  Later Jesus walks with two men along a road, explaining many mysteries, but only at the conclusion do they recognize him.  And then he disappeared from their sight.  Jesus breaks bread and eats with others, and only then is he recognized.  The disciples are gathered in a closed room when suddenly Jesus is seen in their midst.  Thomas touches his wounds, and believes.

Earlier, even at the point of seeing an angel in the empty tomb, Jesus’s women followers note that the burial clothes have not been disturbed.

Certainly there seem to be curious features of the risen Christ that suggest a resurrection with unusual qualities.  Perhaps quantum physics will one day pave the way for the most skeptical among us to wonder if higher laws were being involved for a man both divine and human.  The Gospel eyewitness accounts seem certainly to suggest to me that the  physical body of Jesus underwent fundamental change after his death on the cross.

Perhaps we have failed to talk about these troubling issues because they may seem to be a litmus test for our faith.  But we cannot leave our minds outside the door of the church.

Perhaps in this year our scientists are finally giving us a theory that would explain the laws of the universe that Jesus evoked.  Perhaps, like Thomas, we do not have to doubt so much any longer.  And can any of us say that we have always accepted the Gospel accounts of the resurrection without question?

How to Have Perfect Happiness

ACIM Workbook Lesson 101 – for Monday, April 11, 2011

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

Selected Passage:

“God’s Will for you is perfect happiness because there is no sin, and suffering is causeless.  Joy is just, and pain is but the sign you have misunderstood yourself.  Fear not the Will of God.  (WB182)”

Reflections:

1 – Mistakes Are Not Sins in Eternity

If there is no sin in eternity, then we must recognize the fact of mistakes.  We know that not all is right with our world, and “mistakes” that have been made are the culprit.  We can feel pain, though Jesus tells us in the Text that it is not necessary to learn through pain.  We do not have to feel suffering, though many of us do.  Pain can be accepted fully, and in the acceptance, the suffering does not arise.  Eckhart Tolle has much to say about this in both The Power of Now and A New Earth.  (He is an enlightened current teacher.)

2 – Do Not Fear the Will of God

We do not have to fear the Will of God, as did Jonah in the Old Testament.  Our understanding has moved beyond this.  As we have said repeatedly, God’s Will and our real will are the same.  The Holy Spirit, the Universal Inspiration, understands this well.  Our own intuition, if informed by the Holy Spirit, will tell and show us this as well.

3 – Joy Is Our Birthright

So joy is our birthright, and we would do well to welcome joy into our daily lives.  If at any time, we are so burdened that we cannot “feel” joy, let us know that it is waiting for us.  We can commune with God (a Text tenet), and feel the peace that will, soon enough, invite the joy.

4 -Joy Goes with Gentleness

The Manual says, “Joy goes with gentleness as surely as grief attends attack.  (M13)”  And, in the same paragraph, Jesus says that joy is the inevitable result of gentleness.  May we be gentle, that we do not harm to anyone–ourselves or anyone else.

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

May I be gentle today, that I may know joy.  Your will for me is perfect happiness, and I know that what is Your will comes about once my will has joined with Yours.  May I correct any mistakes immediately after they happen.  I know that I am not perfect, or I would not even be living in this world.

May I feel Your presence often today.  I ask this very frequently, and, as soon as I am open to Your presence, You are there for me.  Help me to be open to Your presence often today, throughout the day.

Amen.

Sadness = Sign You Would Play Another Part

ACIM Workbook Lesson 100 – for Sunday, April 10, 2011

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

Selected Passage:

“Sadness is the sign that you would play another part, instead of what has been assigned to you by God.  Thus do you fail to show the world how great the happiness He wills for you.  And so you do not recognize that it is yours.

“Today we will attempt to understand joy is our function here.  If you are sad, your part is unfulfilled, and all the world is thus deprived of joy, along with you.  God asks you to be happy. . . .(WB180)”

Reflections:

God would have us joyous, not sad.  And depression is a sign that we have misunderstood ourselves (a Text tenet).  We would choose joy today, and we would know that this is not in any way an inferior goal.

Sometimes we think that there are more loftier goals than that we be happy.  But a happy person is a kind one, and we are far more likely to do our Father/Mother’s Will when we are happy.  Sadness means that we have, still, egoistic goals that are different from the life that we are leading.  But calm today, and relax in the knowledge (and it is knowledge) that we cannot but be in the right place at the the right time (an ACIM tenet).

If we are sad, know that this need not be (a Text tenet).  We have misjudged ourselves, and we have brought on this error in thinking.  Of course, ACIM is always practical, and we are human, and some conditions come about for which we cannot always experience joy.  But we can experience peace, even in the loss of a loved one (a most extreme example).  This peace is the peace of God.  And He will offer it to us just for the asking.  Let us ask today.

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

Thank You for helping me to understand that my desire to be happy is actually a lofty goal.  It does not have to be a selfish goal.  When I am happy, I am far more likely to be kind, and kindness is a virtue that we frequently hear about in our society today.

May I walk through this day in gladness.  Easter is coming, and with it springtime and the chance for days of enjoying nature.  May I walk the path of peace among the beauty of this world.

Amen.

All the World of Pain = Not God’s Will

ACIM Workbook Lesson 99 – for Saturday, April 9, 2011

Affirmation:  “Salvation is my only function here.”

Selected Passage:

“Your Father loves you.  All the world of pain is not His Will.  Forgive yourself the thought He wanted this for you.  Then let the Thought with which He has replaced all your mistakes enter the darkened places of your mind that thought the thoughts that never were His Will.  (WB178)”

Reflections:

We often, over the years, have blamed God for the wrongs that we see in the world.  In ACIM, Jesus says that nobody who lives here but at some time has thought God cruel.  But such thoughts are miscomprehensions.  God is the good God that we have been taught.  He does not will the mistakes that we make out of free will.  When we learn that our real will and His are the same, then we are on the way to being healed and to living in a healed world.

“All the world of pain is not His Will.”  Let us remember this always.  And then let us lay aside any blame that we have attributed to Him.

The “Thought” is actually a metaphor for the Holy Spirit, the Communicator of God to us, the Holy Inspiration (said in the Text).  We can learn much when we open ourselves to learning from guidance that is true.  May our darkened thoughts subside today; may we see that God did not will the terrible happenings that we see all around us.  He would have us live in a sparkling, lovely world.  And when we recognize that the madness is but illusion, we will forgive Him what He never caused.

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

May I come to understand today, and not to blame You for “allowing” pain and suffering to happen.   We do not have to learn through pain, Jesus tells us.  Only learning through rewards lasts.  May I experience only the lasting today.

This world is sometimes difficult.  But if I keep my mind on Your guidance through the Holy Spirit, I will have a much easier time navigating through my questionings.  Thank You for being there for me, as always.

Amen.

Rest in Quiet Certainty

ACIM Workbook Lesson 98 – for Friday, April 8, 2011

Affirmation:  “I will accept my part in God’s plan for salvation.”

Selected Passage:

“The guiltless have no fear, for they are safe and recognize their safety.  They do not appeal to magic, nor invent escapes from fancied threats without reality.  They rest in quiet certainty that they will do what it is given them to do.  They do not doubt their own ability because they know their function will be filled completely in the perfect time and place.  They took the stand which we will take today, that we may share their certainty and thus increase it by accepting it ourselves.  (WB174)”

Reflections:

“Quiet certainty” is a lovely promise.  It gives us just what we want and need.  Elsewhere Jesus says that we will be “perfectly calm and quiet” all the time, when we have accepted all that Atonement holds out for us.  Perhaps, still partially encased by the ego, we do not want to be this peaceful.  We may still want drama.  But perhaps we will surprise ourselves, and not want drama at all when we have something better–the perfect peace of God.

When we do not feel guilty because we recognize that our Self is innocent, we will be at peace.  That does not mean that we can just make mistakes right and left, with a disregard for our better nature and for our brothers and sisters in this world.  We indeed must try to follow the best pathway, and ACIM carefully points the way to walk along this pathway.

Elsewhere we are told that we do not need to plan ahead what to say, that the Holy Spirit will give us the words that we need at the time that we need them.  This is reminiscent of biblical teachings, especially St. Paul in the New Testament.  But there are similar teachings in the Old Testament or Hebrew Bible as well.  So there is a continuity between the Bible’s understanding and that of ACIM.   Earlier (and will next year as well) this blog considered A Course of Love (ACOL), and there is continuity here as well.  We are not asked to accept things for which we have no background in Christianity.

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

I wish to have quiet certainty of Your grace today.  Let me not get frustrated by any events of the day, but let me rest in quiet and calm always.  You have promised that I will not want “drama” when I have accepted all that salvation holds out to me.  When all of us have experienced the Awakening, we will be different people indeed.

Be with me today, so that I feel Your presence.  I ask for Your guidance, and especially I ask for the will to be flexible enough to follow that guidance when You present it to me.

Amen.

Safe and Healed and Whole

ACIM Workbook Lesson 97 – for Thursday, April 7, 2011

Affirmation:  “I am spirit.”

Selected Passage:

“Spirit am I, a holy Son of God, free of all limits, safe and healed and whole, free to forgive, and free to save the world. (WB173)”

Reflections:

This is another of the many, many reassuring passage in A Course in Miracles.  It is lyrical in description.  Here we are defined as spirit, not as mind at all.  When we recognize that spirit has the upper hand, we will be more ready to stop trying to “make it” in this world.  This world has no joy to give; only the real world, granted by God as we near the ultimate Awakening, has that power to give joy.

Nowhere in ACIM is the real world fully explained.  That may well be because we are not ready to understand.  The real world comes to us by revelation, and elsewhere we learn that revelation may occasionally reveal the end to us, but to get there the means are needed (a Text tenet).  And the means are being carefully explained to us (another Text tenet).  Our study and learning are not wasted time; we will find out way back to God, the God that in truth we never left.  We only think that we have been separated, because we have not communicated with our Creator.  We are told elsewhere that God is lonely when His channels to his created beings are blocked.  And He knows that we sleep, and He would awaken us.

To be “free of all limits” we must first not have an imprisoned will, imprisoned by our allegiance to the ego.  Straying from God is not without limits.  Miscreation is not without limits.  Sooner or later we know that the pain is too great, and we ask for help.  This is the beginning of our return Home.

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

I would return Home today, Home to the real world–the world that You created, not the one that my projections made in illusion.  May I know safety today.  May nothing come to interfere with my joy.

Thank you for being there for me when I call in desperation.  You always answer prayer, though I am not always aware of what You are telling me.  Sometimes my ego has me enthralled.  May I leave the ego and its faulty thinkng behind today.  May I know the Holy Spirit’s peace.

Amen.

Serve the Spirit = Be at Peace and Joy

ACIM Workbook Lesson 96 – for Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Affirmation:  “Salvation comes from my one Self.”

Selected Passage:

“Spirit makes use of mind as means to find its Self expression.  And the mind which serves the spirit is at peace and filled with joy.  Its power comes from spirit, and it is fulfilling happily its function here.  Yet mind can also see itself divorced from spirit, and perceive itself within a body it confuses with itself.  Without its function then it has no peace, and happiness is alien to its thoughts.  (WB169)”

Reflections:

This is a passage that tells us how to be happy.  Happiness is not necessarily a selfish concept, though many of us may have vestiges of this misguided interpretation.  When we are happy, we are the most available to the others in our lives as well as to the outside world.  We are not turned inward as neurotic souls without a desire to reach out at all.  This is real sickness, this obsessive turning inward.  And it will get us nowhere, because it is a sure sign that the ego is in charge (an interpretation, not stated in ACIM).

The “spirit” mentioned her refers to our own spirit, but that is a part of the Holy Spirit, for the Spirit is within.  We will be filled with joy when we turn ourselves over to this Higher Power, when we let our intuitions rise to the surface and we follow guidance.  Then and only then will we know the happiness of fulfilling our function of forgiveness in this world.

The mind divorced from spirit is in the hands of the ego, and the ego does not mean its maker well (a Text tenet).  Then we lose our joy, and we descend into unhappiness and neurosis.  We would not have this outcome come to us, and we would be rid of it if this state of mind has already arrived.  Let us reach higher.  Let us find our one Self.  This is not as hard to do as might be imagined.  It can happen today.  May it happen today.

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

May I remember, hour-by-hour, to serve my inner spirit, which is a part of my link with You.  My link with You is the Holy Spirit, and may I listen intently to what He tells me.  May I have a good day.

I know that the only way that I can be at peace and have joy consistently is to serve the spirit.  This need not seem “too religious” for me, because it is the most practical thing in the world.  We are not meant to make our own judgments, which would always be incorrect, but to turn to the Holy Spirit with our perplexities.

Amen.

My Little Part in Bringing Happiness to the World

ACIM Workbook Lesson 95 – for Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Affirmation:  “I am one Self, united with my Creator.”

Selected Passage:

“Do not forget today.  We need your help; your little part in bringing happiness to all the world.  And Heaven looks to you in confidence that you will try today.  Share, then, its surety, for it is yours.  Be vigilant.  Do not forget today.  Throughout the day do not forget your goal.  Repeat today’s idea as frequently as possible, and understand each time you do so, someone hears the voice of hope, the stirring of the truth within his mind, the gentle rustling of the wings of peace.  (WB168)”

Reflections:

1 – A Course of Love

This passage presages A Course of Love, in that we are seen to be in unity and relationship with our brothers and sisters.  The passage suggests that there is a psychic component to our relationship as well as our unity.  When we try to bring happiness to this world, somewhere, in some way, others are helped.  The final sentence (above) says this.  What a joy this really is!  We do not have to stir from our chair to know that our thoughts have been read by someone who needed to hear the message of salvation that we bring.

2 – The Psychic

Elsewhere Jesus says that there are no unnatural powers.  The psychic is real.  If the only ways that the world recognizes as channels were true, it would be impossible to teach salvation.  But we are not to take refuge in grandiosity about any powers that we develop (a Manual tenet).  This would allow a foothold to come from the ego.  And we are particularly susceptible to footholds that, from the ego, are subtle–especially once that we have withdrawn our major allegiance to the ego.  These ways are not especially hard to determine, but may be particularly easy to overlook (a Manual tenet).  This is one aspect of ego dynamics that we do not want to overlook.  (We do want to overlook the mistakes of our brothers and sisters, so as not to make them real to ourselves and thus make them harder to overlook.)

3 – The Scraps of Fear

We are asked to be vigilant today.  We must watch our minds for the scraps of fear that reside there, for then the ego has a foothold on our minds.  We want the “gentle rustling of the wings of peace.”  May we have this today.

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

Help me to bring happiness to my little world today.  I realize that to do so effectively, I need also to allow Your presence to bring happiness to me.  May I experience Your felt presence today in all that I do and all that I say.  Be with me, and help me to know that You are there.

Happiness is not a false goal.  It is a most worthy goal that follows on the heels of granting forgiveness to my brothers and sisters, and forgiving myself as well.  May I know both happiness and, as needed, forgiveness today.

Amen.

The Ego. . .Silent and Entirely Undone

ACIM Workbook Lesson 94 – for Monday, April 4, 2011

Affirmation:  “I am as God created me.”

Selected Passage:

“Today we continue with the one idea which brings complete salvation; the one statement which makes all forms of temptation powerless; the one thought which renders the ego silent and entirely undone.  You are as God created you.  The sounds of this world are still, the sights of this world disappear, and all the thoughts that this world ever held are wiped away forever by this one idea.  Here is salvation accomplished.  Here is sanity restored.  (WB164)”

Reflections:

The selected passage is a favorite of long-term students/teachers of ACIM.  Jesus repeats, “You are as God created you,” a number of times in the Workbook.  We have trouble with this tenet.  We think that we have changed; we think that we have fallen.  But all of this is illusion, maya (in Eastern terminology).  We are still the Self that knows no sin.  And in this assurance we can rest content.

We want our sanity restored.  We do not often understand that we really live in madness, in insanity.  That is actually the state of this world.  And only when we have had our sanity restored will we be ready for Jesus’s full message to flower in our lives.  There is great beauty in the sentence, “The sounds of this world are still, the sights of this world disappear, and all the thoughts that this world ever held are wiped away forever by this idea.  (See above)”  “This idea” is the truth that we are as God created us.

May we believe this today.

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

Be with me today as I rest in Your assurance that my ego is undone.  My ego has caused me great distress, and I would have it wither away, to be replaced by the innocence that is my birthright as Your child.

Help me to stay calm and easy, to realize that the ego has never given me anything that I did not pay for with tears.  May I be fully joyous today.

Amen.

I Am as God Created Me – Innocent

ACIM Workbook Lesson 93 – for Sunday, April 3, 2011

Affirmation:  “Light and joy and peace abide in me.”

Selected Passage:

“Salvation requires the acceptance of but one thought;–you are as God created you, not what you made of yourself.  Whatever evil you may think you did, you are as God created you.  (WB162)”

Reflections:

“As God created you” refers to our Self, the part of us that has never left God through separation.  And we are this Self as well as the little self that we have always been in this world.

We have made mistakes, but we have truly not been “evil.”  We, with guidance, correct those mistakes.  We are not evil people, regardless of what we have done; we remain innocent (a Text tenet).  We do not pardon real sins out of the goodness of our hearts; we know that there is no sin (only mistakes).  When we believe that we are in sin, we are likely to still find that sin attractive and to repeat it.  This is a trick of the ego, the part of ourselves that we think separated us from God.  In truth, we have not  been separated, and once we realize this, we will know salvation.  We may even know Awakening.

We may have made of ourselves a parody of our real Self, but this can be corrected.  And this will be corrected as we work our way through ACIM, studying and learning, praying and communing with God.  The future is bright when we let ourselves be led by a Higher Power.

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

May I reach further today to understand what my innocence means.  I know that I have made mistakes, but this does not make me guilty of unpardonable “sin.”  Help to realize that the innocence that ACIM declares for me is real and true.

Thank You for being with me, even when I do not feel Your presence.  I would feel Your presence more and more, though, especially today.  Be with me throughout the day, and may I be conscious of Your Being.

Amen.