Monthly Archives: May 2011

We Are in Charge of Our Destiny

ACIM Workbook Lesson 152 – for Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Affirmation:  “The power of decision is my own.”

“No one can suffer loss unless it be his own decision.  No one suffers pain except his choice elects this state for him.  No one can grieve nor fear nor think him sick unless these are the outcomes that he wants.  And no one dies without his own consent.  Nothing occurs but represents your wish, and nothing is omitted that you choose.  Here is your world, complete in all details.  Here is its whole reality for you.  And it is only here salvation is.  (WB281)”

Reflections:

1 – The Role of the Self

This passage is difficult to understand.  This short quotation does not make clear that it is the Higher Self which makes these decisions of life and death.  The little self, ruled all too often by the ego, does not make these choices.  The ideas given in this quotation have led to many misconceptions among people who read New Age literature.  If we “choose,” then we are to “blame” if something goes wrong.  Not so!  To say such indicates a lack of not only sympathy but also empathy for the victim.  In essence, such thoughts indicate that our next step is to “blame the victim” if something goes wrong in his/her life.  A lack of compassion from others is then the lamentable next step.

2 – In Our Best Interests

The Higher Self never incarnated (though this is not stated in A Course in Miracles).  The Higher Self watches over us, so to speak, seeing that the decisions that this Higher Self make are in our best interests.

3 – We Can Reduce Pain and Suffering

There is some comfort in this passage, though.  If we are in charge of our pain and suffering, we can do something about it.  Most definitely we cannot blame our pain and suffering on God, and this in itself is a great step forward.  Otherwise, we are caught in a bind in which we try to see God as loving, but we wonder if we are right.  We are.  God does not want our pain and suffering, and in the Text, Jesus assures us that we do not have to learn through pain.  He says that learning through rewards is more lasting, because learning through pain can only be temporary.

4 – Salvation Is Here

The passage concludes, “And it is only here salvation is.”  This is a magnificent restatement of the fact that we ourselves (led by our Higher Self) are in charge of our destiny.  ACIM makes this fact clear in other passages as well.  We do not have to remain in suffering.  Our minds and spirits can be free, even if our bodies are not.  We can rise above the pain, if we will it.  (This is a bold statement, but completely in line with ACIM.)  And sometimes, as Eckhart Tolle learned, our pain is the catalyst for Awakening (Enlightenment).

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

I would be in charge of my destiny today.  By “I,” I mean that I would invite my Higher Self to make life decisions for me.  I would not listen to the ego’s litany of meaningless pain and suffering.  I would not turn any pain into suffering.  Be with me as I attempt to fulfill these aims today.

Thank You, as always.  I know that You have always been there for me, and that You will always be there for me in the future.

Amen.

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Echoes of the Voice

ACIM Workbook Lesson 151 – for Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Affirmation:  “All things are echoes of the Voice for God.”

Selected Passage:

“We practice wordlessly today, except at the beginning of the time we spent with God.  We introduce these times with but a single, slow repeating of the thought with which the day begins.  And then we watch our thoughts appealing silently to Him Who sees the elements of truth in them.  Let Him evaluate each thought that comes to mind, remove the elements of dreams, and give them back again as clean ideas that do not contradict the Will of God.  (WB280)”

Reflections:

“Echoes of the Voice for God.”  What a lovely thought!  We need to be free, ultimately, even of the happy dreams the Holy Spirit brings (from the Workbook).  God would have us entertain those “clean ideas” that are the evidence of the real world, the harbinger of Awakening.  We would not choose egoistic thinking, because it so clearly contradicts the Will of God.

Today’s lesson is spent in quietness, except as we speak the affirmation of the day.  More and more time will be spent in quietness as we progress farther in the Workbook.  Now is a good beginning.

We hurry about and rush so.  This is not necessary, even with the busiest life.  Do what is needful, but take time for God.  Even a moment spent in deep communion will bring us back to ourselves again.  Jesus says in the Manual that we can spend an hour in meditation and not reach God, or we can devote only a moment and join with Him completely.  Let us spend a moment today to join completely with God.

Prayer:

Dear Mother/Father,

May I rest in quiet today.  So much of my life has been spent in a hurry, working hard all week long, reading in the evening.  Yet much of this time was not quiet time.  I would have quiet time today.

Be with me as I seek to experience Your presence.  Feeling Your presence is the best gift that this day can offer, and I ask for just that.

Amen.

At – One – Ment = Atonement

ACIM Workbook Lesson 150 – for Monday, May 30, 2011

Affirmation:  “My mind holds only what I think with God.”

Selected Passage:

“I will accept Atonement for myself.
“Only salvation can be said to cure.  (WB277)”

Reflections:

What does “Atonement” mean?  This is one of those terms that is never defined in A Course in Miracles.  It is the giving up of separation from God, the joining of our real will with His (and the recognition that our real will and His are identical).  Some students/teachers of ACIM do not teach that “at – One – ment” is what is meant, but I tend to differ on this.  I think that “at – One – ment” encapsulates very well what Atonement means.  Seeing Atonement by this term, separating the parts of the word, gives us a handle with which to cling.

We all need salvation, though ACIM never challenges us to be proselytizers.  We are told instead (in the Manual) that some people may be ready only for a smile.  Certainly this is a long way from trying to convince recruits to ACIMACIM is not a church nor a sect.  Some say that it is self-study, though other students/teachers disagree about this.  Certainly it is possible to use ACIM as a self-study course, and even to come to the edge of Awakening by so doing.

Salvation will lead us Home the fastest and easiest way.  We will be “cured.”  What does this mean?  We will no longer wander aimlessly through this sometimes difficult and sad world.  We will follow the intuitive guidance that we receive, and life will get amazingly better.  The world cannot contain all the joys that will come to us when salvation has become ours.  We will live in a mystical state of joyous anticipation of what will happen next.

Prayer:

Dear Mother/Father,

On this Memorial Day, may we remember those brothers and sisters who have given the ultimate sacrifice.  They left this world for the Other Side, and many who loved them did not understand.  Let us be understanding of their plight today.

May we reach for Atonement in as many ways as occur to us.  We are to be attuned to the universe, to You, and this is the best that we can hope to do with our lives.  We will have reached our goal when Atonement turns into Awakening, or Enlightenment.

Amen.

VISUALIZE; a Review of Shakti Gawain’s “Creative Visualization”

by Celia Hales

Gawain, Shakti.  Creative Visualization; Use the Power of Your Imagination to Create What You Want in Life.  ISBN 1-57731-229-5.  Available on the Internet and in bookstores internationally.  Originally published by Whatever Publishing, 1979.

This is a contribution that cannot be underestimated.  An early New Age book, Creative Visualization has remained in print and well-received for decades.  I personally knew most of it by heart at one point in my life, so taken with it I had become.  Its basic message is the same as another New Age author, Jane Roberts, who channeled an entity named Seth, proclaiming, “You create your own reality.”  If I had to sum up what Creative Visualization  says, that would be it.

Shakti tells us exactly how to “create your own reality.”  A thin book (my early copy has 127 pages), there are numerous short chapters, making skimming to find your desired passages an easy task.  She is heavy on affirmations as a way to create one’s own reality, and she gives many examples of positive, life-affirming affirmations that, if said silently, aloud, or written, will presumably have the power to do all of those wonderful things that she promises.  She does not overlook the power of negativity to negate any desired good, and she offer hints of what to do to find one’s own blocks to creating the reality that we desire.  Paper and pencil are not far behind for Shakti.  As much as she champions imagining, she also asks us to do the work of changing our reality by writing about what we want and why, as well as what we don’t want, and why we keep getting it.

There are five parts to this masterpiece:  (1) basics of creative visualization; (2) using creative visualization; (3) meditations and affirmations; (4) special techniques; and (5) living creatively.

In the beginning, Shakti emphasizes the importance of relaxation to effective visualization.  Once relaxed, she invites us to encourage the images to flow; if we have trouble doing so, though, she encourages us by saying that “seeing” is not absolutely necessary to the process.  Just thinking about the desired goal, quality, or object is enough.  She notes that many of us will be ambivalent about consciously creating for ourselves that which is good when so many in our world are suffering.  She affirms that we would not do harm to others by wishing for the good for ourselves; we will reach out to our brothers and sisters as well.  She calls this “outflowing,” and it is essential to effective creative visualization.

She provides a good number of exercises in the middle portion of the book.  These will help tremendously if one does them rather than simply reads about them.  My favorite is the “pink bubble technique,” in which we are encouraged to place our goal in a visualized pink bubble (pink being the color of the heart), and then imagine it floating away into the universe above, waiting to manifest on earth.  Never does Shakti recommend straining, or “efforting,” to reach a goal.  This exertion does actually hinder the manifestation, she affirms.  If we feel too much efforting, we are not ready, or the goal is not right, and we are counseled to hold off and to reconsider.

The paper-and-pencil tasks are found in the fourth part on “special techniques.”  My favorite here is the treasure map, which actually makes of our attempts a game.  We draw what we desire, making it as personal as possible, and placing an image of ourselves on the map itself.  Always, though, we say a mantra that we image this goal for the good of everyone concerned, that this or something better will manifest.

An important chapter is the short conclusion of the book, in which she says that her life is her greatest art.  We are trying to craft a life, not trying to just make a series of achievements to prove anything to anybody.  We are creating our reality.

A Course in Miracles had just been published (1975) when Creative Visualization first appeared..  There is no indication that the former influenced the latter.  But  both are part of the oft-quoted perennial philosophy that Aldous Huxley described so well in his book by the same title.

Shakti has done us a glorious service by bringing us this book, which she attributes to her inner guide.   While she never says that the book was channeled, she does make the “guide” comment.  It seems obvious that Shakti’s attunement with the universe helped to write this book.  Recommended without reservation, as so many others have said as well.

Heaven = My Decision

ACIM Workbook Lesson 149 – for Sunday, May 29, 2011

Affirmation:  “My mind holds only what I think with God.”

Selected Passage:

“When I am healed I am not healed alone.
“Heaven is the decision I must make.  (WB277)’

Reflections:

ACIM makes the astonishing statement that a thousand are healed along with us.  This statement assumes the psychic, the truth that this is an open universe.  If we would not be healed for ourselves alone, perhaps out of masochism, then let us be healed for the sake of those we love, our brothers and sisters in Christ.

We must make the decision for Heaven.  Heaven is possible even in this world.  Edgar Cayce psychically tuned into the Last Supper, and he has Jesus affirming that Heaven is when we are gathered together with those we love (as Jesus was at that point).  Heaven is our birthright, our inheritance.  We do not have to wait until after death to enjoy its boons.  We can enjoy Heaven today, right now.  We need only invite quiet and calm, and turn within to God.  We need also to be “in the flow” (an idea developed by Ruth Montgomery).  This state of flow comes when we follow intuition to the degree that we can.  Sometimes our bodies rebel, and at such times we should not push (an idea developed by Shakti Gawain in Living in the Light).

Our real thoughts are those that we think with God.  They do not include the negative expressions of anger and attack.  Thinking with God is an enormously freeing concept, and it comes easily to the open mind.  Thinking with God is also the easiest way to live.  We must simply express our desire to manage this way of thinking, and it is ours.  We do not need to wait.  Indeed, in this world there is little in the intangible for which we need to wait.

Prayer:

Dear Mother/Father,

I would choose today, as every day, to be at home with You in Heaven on this earth.  You have hinted at this possibility throughout A Course in Miracles, and I would claim that promise immediately.  I do not have to wait for the Other Side, after death.

When I am feeling Your presence, surrounded by a sense of love, then all is well in this world.  That is the Heaven on earth that I would find, and I know that this is Your will for me as well.  Thank You for making it so plain to me.

Amen.

Do Not Defend Yourself!

ACIM Workbook Lesson 148 – for Saturday, May 28, 2011

Affirmation:  “My mind holds only what I think with God.”

Selected Passage:

“If I defend myself I am attacked.
“Sickness is a defense against the truth.  (WB276)”

Reflections:

We often think that if we do not defend ourselves, we will be treated even more badly.  But this is not the way of A Course in Miracles.  ACIM would have us to drop defense entirely as a bad idea.   As the passage says, defense does what it attempts to stop.  If we defend ourselves, we are actually attacking ourselves.

What do we do instead?  We realize that all attack and anger is either an expression of love or a call for love.  We rush to our brother or sister’s side with the love for which he/she is calling.  If this individual is not receptive at the moment, then we withdraw, and we wait to give our gifts.  A non-receptive individual will come around sooner if left to his/her own devices.  It never helps to get angry in return or to attack back.

Our sicknesses are self-chosen, though usually not on a conscious level.  We would close our eyes to the truth, and retreat into feverish dreams, afraid to let the Light in.  This will never work.  When we are sick, we need to ask very sincerely, in a quiet moment, for what our body is trying to tell us.  Maybe we are pushing too hard, and we choose sickness to get out of some of the stress.  Or maybe the stress itself is what brought on the sickness.  If stress is the issue, we need to spend time in quiet reflection with God about how we ought to bring our bodies back into peace and quiet.  I cannot say enough about spending some time in quiet with God each day, morning and evening.  This is a basic Manual technique for keeping our lives on track.

Prayer:

Dear Mother/Father,

May I honor my commitment not to defend myself when circumstances come about that seem to warrant defense.  I know that the defense is actually ineffectual and makes the situation worse.  May I not respond to blame with defense–ever.

This day I long for Your presence, felt by me throughout the day.  Days that are like this are the jewels in my lifetime.  May today be such a day.

Amen.

God vs. the Holy Spirit

ACIM Workbook Lesson 147 – for Friday, May 27, 2011

Affirmation:  “My mind holds only what I think with God.”

Selected Passage:

“I will not value what is valueless.
“Let me perceive forgiveness as it is.  (WB276)”

Reflections:

Real thoughts are the thoughts that we think with God.  Mistaken thoughts partake of the ego.  In distractions of this world, we may not always discern the difference.  Go within to God, and let Him tell us what to say or do.

There may be some confusion about the difference between God and the Holy Spirit.  Indeed, some students/teachers of ACIM believe that God does not even know about us!  I do not subscribe to this belief, because it is not true to my experience.  God is within, and nothing is without (a Text tenet).  We project the world that we see from within.  If we are at the moment overtaken by the ego, we will project a world that is filled with attack and anger.  If we are in touch with God within, we will project love to the surrounding world, and this love will return to us, multiplied.  The Holy Spirit is the communication link between God and ourselves (a Text tenet).  The Holy Spirit acts as our guidance (an oft-repeated refrain in this blog).  The Holy Spirit was given as the Answer as soon as the idea of separation entered the mind.  The solution is always with the problem (an ACIM tenet).  And God gave His Answer immediately.

We can realize that our own little problems have immediate solutions as well.  Only a distracted mind fails to find the way out of any given maze in which we find ourselves.  We do not wish to value that which has no value, and that includes the egoistic world.  We do need to realize that we are all innocent of sin, and that our mistakes can be easily rectified.  Then we will know the joy that is ours for the asking (and taking).

Prayer:

Dear Mother/Father,

May I turn to You, within me, often today.  May I also turn to You that I perceive as being “without,” meaning my brothers and sisters, as well as this world in which we live–whether we are living in illusion or in the real world at the moment of noticing.  Be with me constantly.  I need You.

Thank You for the guidance that comes to me throughout the day.  Forgive me for my confusion about what that guidance really is.  I confuse myself.  And I would not confuse myself today.

Amen.