ACIM Workbook Lesson 217 – for Friday, August 5, 2011
Affirmation: “I am not a body. I am free. For I am still as God created me.”
“It can be but my gratitude I earn. (WB396)”
Mainstream society believes this affirmation, without knowing, in most cases, where we find it. Many have recommended keeping “gratitude journals,” including Sarah Breathnath (Simple Abundance) and Oprah (the television personality). A Course in Miracles, though, as is typical, takes this understanding of being grateful a step farther. We earn our own gratitude toward ourselves by being grateful to God for our many blessings. It has also often been said that God does not need our gratitude, but that we do need the exercise of expressing our gratitude. This too is a step beyond what the normal gratitude journal is all about.
We “earn” the gratitude that we express. It is a free gift, though, not anything that we struggle to earn. ACIM, in fact, as we may remember, never counsels struggling to reach our salvation. The way is described as “easy,” though on first reading (second and third, etc.) ACIM can seem anything but easy.
What we do get in exchange for our gratitude? We may look upon gratitude as a form of love, and love gives far more than it ever gets. We are encompassed by love, and we come to know this ever more clearly when we express gratitude for our blessings on an ongoing basis. Even The Secret, a book that commanded much attention, counseled that its contributors made gratitude a daily exercise, suggesting that this in itself will get us what we want, what we draw to ourselves by our thinking. Let us look to a higher purpose than just material things, though, for they will only satisfy the ego, and then only briefly. Let us ask for the intangibles, and let us express gratitude for these when they come. And they will not be long in coming.
I want to express my gratitude for the day just lived, even though I know that You do not need my gratitude. I do need to express it, though, and this expression will expand into a love that will help me through today. Yesterday, today, and tomorrow will merge into a life lived in Your presence, aware of Your presence, when I live those days in gratitude for the love you shower on me constantly.
May my brothers and sisters benefit from the gratitude that I am expressing. Let me not forget to express my gratitude to them for their helpful ways. I could not manage without them. Let me tell them that today.