Monthly Archives: September 2011

The Stillness of the Peace of God Is Mine

ACIM Workbook Lesson  273 – for Friday, September 30, 2011

Affirmation:  “The stillness of the peace of God is mine.”

“We need but tell our minds, with certainty, ‘The stillness of the peace of God is mine,’ and nothing can intrude upon the peace that God Himself has given to His Son.

“Father, Your peace is mine.  What need have I to fear that anything can rob me of what You would have me keep?  I cannot lose Your gifts to me.  And so the peace You gave Your Son is with me still, in quietness and in my own eternal love for you.  (WB433)”

Reflections:

1 – Ever-Greater Serenity

Today we return to passages of greater serenity.  We wait in quietness for God to act.  We listen to the Holy Spirit, and we follow what He says.  And by waiting and by listening, we gain the peace of God.

2 – Disregard the Ego / Be Safe

This serenity is unassailable, regardless of what is happening in the illusory world of which we are a part.  As long as we disregard the dictates of the ego, we are safe.  And when we let all our grievances go, we will know that we are safe (from the Workbook).

3 – Let Us Rest Today

May we be in the spirit of forgiveness today.  May today be a particular day of rest in our journey.  We do not need to attack, to judge, or to make plans against contingencies to come.  If there are plans to be made, the Holy Spirit will so tell us (a Text tenet).

4 – God Goes with Us

We can indeed afford to be careful for nothing, knowing that God goes with us wherever we go (an ACIM paraphrase).

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

I would rest today awhile, secure in the knowledge of Your love for me.  I would disregard the ego, because nothing that the ego says ever made any sense; it was constantly being undone.  The ego’s undoing is part of the honing of our Self in this world.  Thank You for letting me know this.

I thank You for the rest that You will give me today.  The world has been too much with me lately, and I need the respite that only You can bring.  Be with me today as I seek Your respite.

Amen.

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How Can Illusions Satisfy God’s Son?

ACIM Workbook Lesson  272 – for Thursday, September 29, 2011

Affirmation:  “How can illusions satisfy God’s Son?”

“Father, the truth belongs to me.  My home is set in heaven by Your Will and mine.  Can dreams content me?  Can illusions bring me happiness?  What but Your memory can satisfy Your son?  I will accept no less than You have given me.  I am surrounded by Your Love, forever still, forever gentle and forever safe.  God’s Son must be as You created him.  (WB432)”

Reflections:

1 – Happy Dreams Will Not Long Satisfy

We will not long be satisfied with the happy dreams that precede Awakening, because we will during that time become aware, through studying A Course in Miracles, that these dreams are illusion.  We will become increasingly impatient to walk the whole pathway back to God.

2 – Can Return to God Be Hurried?

But perhaps the process can’t be hurried.  Maybe there is a reason that we are still caught in illusions.  In ACIM, we are told that in order to teach salvation, we must know what one must be saved from.  This refers most probably to our interactions with our brothers and sisters.  We must know what they are experiencing, and sometimes this means, especially with our intimate relationships, that we will experience the struggles with them.

3 – No Accidents in Salvation

This is not an accident; there are no accidents in salvation (an ACIM tenet).  We cannot but be at the right place at the right time.  And we have chosen all that happens to us.  This is not a “blame the victim” mentality, because we have not, as our little selves, made this choice to suffer.  Our higher Self makes these choices, and we are not often privy to that greater knowledge that the higher Self has.  So we get frustrated with the slowness of response, a slowness for which we may blame God.

4 – God Does Not Punish

He is not really to blame.  God does not punish, a mistake that may linger however long we have been on the pathway home, and however long we have studied ACIM.  We react as small children in relationship to God.  But God does not spank a child any more than he “spanks” us.  For a parent to say, in punishment, “This hurts me more than it hurts you,” is not to speak as God would speak.  We need to ask that our minds be freed of all such interpretations, for all are falsehoods.

5 – We Create Our Own Reality

We create our own reality.  ACIM proclaims it true.  We may actually choose the pain out of a lack of understanding that learning through pain is temporary at best, and that learning through rewards is the only lasting way (ACIM paraphrases).  May we ask for guidance from the Holy Spirit to walk a peaceful pathway back to the remembrance of God.

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

May I create a happy reality today.  I do not wish to long lost in dreams, but I do realize that perhaps returning to You is not on my timetable.  Be with me as I seek to do Your bidding today.  May I be there for my brothers and sisters who, like me, want to rush toward all that salvation holds out for us.  But keep me from impatience.  Let me find my way to You exactly at the time that You decree.

Thank You for guiding me all the days of my life.  I wish to have happy dreams, as long as I am lost in dreams.  May they prepare me, as You desire, for a happy Awakening that hold no fear for me.  May my brothers and sisters have the same peaceful Awakening.

Thank You for leading me by the hand through this world that mystifies me so.

Amen.

Christ’s Is the Vision I Will Use Today

ACIM Workbook Lesson  271 – for Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Affirmation:  “Christ’s is the vision I will use today.”

“Father, Christ’s vision is the way to You.  What He beholds invites Your memory to be restored to me.  And this I choose to be what I would look upon today.  (WB432)”

Reflections:

1 – What Does “Christ” Mean?

We need to ask to see with Christ’s vision, and this, of course, does not refer only to Jesus.  Christ is our real Self, the unchanged Self which is still as God created us.  We are in this prayer asking for the memory of God to be restored to us.  We can believe that God wants this for us, the God within.  We need to have the layers of illusion in which we are mired removed from our consciousness and our unconscious.  Then the memory of God can flow into our conscious mind (an interpretation, not stated in ACIM).

2 – To Walk the Whole Pathway

We are asking for this blessing today, immediately.  We need to realize that the blessing is not meant to be a far-off thing, something for which we long all of our lives.  When we ask sincerely, we are expressing our willingness to set aright all parts of our lives.  We are asking to walk the whole pathway back home.

3 – “Journey without Distance”

Jesus says at one point in ACIM that the end is sure, once the “journey without distance” has begun.  If the way seems long, we are to remain contented, knowing the ultimate outcome.  We will all find our way home.  This is the promise we find in A Course in Miracles.  The discouraging part is that it may take millions of years for all of our brothers and sisters to find their way back to God.  Surely this underscores how important it is for us to get right with God sooner rather than later.  We are meant to lead others along the pathway of salvation.  But we do not offer more than they want at any given time.  A favorite passage of mine is the one in which Jesus says (in the Manual) that some are ready only for a smile.

4 – Our Special/Holy Relationships

We have different periods of time for our relationships.  A very few are lifelong, once they are begun.  We meet others, sometimes repeatedly over a lifetime, for a reencounter that is intense and for which learning can be profound.  We part when we have learned all that we can at a given time.  Others are far more casual–a child walking home with another child, a child running into an adult (but not being scolded by the adult), and the like.  May we ask today for the relationships in which we can be of real help.

5 – Right Place at the Right Time

We are told that students are waiting for us as teachers as soon as we have answered the call.  And the timing is impeccable.  We cannot but be at the right place at the right time.  (These are paraphrases from the Manual.)

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

May I come to realize the Self that I am, the one that might, amazingly, be called “Christ.”  This is something for all, something that we all will reach.  May we reach the Self sooner rather than later.

In my encounters today, may the relationships–brief or long–be holy ones.  I would like to see all of my special relationships transform into holy.  I know that this is Your desire for me.  Help me to carry out my part in what You desire for me.

This walk in this world is truly a walk through illusion, but it is the tangible world that we experience, in a practical sense.  May I experience the real world, the world of beauty and peace, in my walk today.

Amen.

I Will Not Use the Body’s Eyes Today

ACIM Workbook Lesson  270 – for Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Affirmation:  “I will not use the body’s eyes today.”

“How glorious and gracious is this world!  Yet how much more will I perceive in it than sight can give.  The world forgiven signifies Your Son acknowledges his Father, lets his dreams be brought to truth, and waits expectantly the one remaining instant more of time which ends forever, as Your memory returns to him.  (WB430)”

Reflections:

1 – May We Perceive the World Anew

This prayer is an insightful explanation of what will transpire when we perceive the world as we are meant to perceive it.  Our sight of the world, what our eyes light upon, is not all that will change.  We are acknowledging our relationship to God, our Father, and we are bringing our dreams (our illusions) to truth.  The final phrase in the prayer indicates the time of Awakening, as we “remember” God.  Nobody who has yet to experience this great blessing can truly understand all that its promise holds out to us.

2 – “The Happy Dreams the Holy Spirit Brings”

We do express gratitude for a world seen anew, even when we are seeing it in the “happy dreams the Holy Spirit brings” (a quotation from the Workbook).  With a grateful heart, much that troubles us currently will just fall away.  Even if times are tough, our hearts will sing with praise, a praise that helps us, as well as others with whom we come in contact, more than God needs to hear it.  Jesus says in the Text that we hardly need to tell God how “wonderful” He is; God has no ego with which to accept such praise.  But we need to feel the attitude of gratefulness and praise.  We are more helped than even our brothers and sisters.

3 – May We See the World with New Eyes

May we walk today a pathway of peace.  May we see the world with new eyes.  Let us pray for that blessing.

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

I would see the world anew today.  Nothing has to change for this change to be effected.  Only You know how this is done, but I know that it is Your Will that I do see anew.  Thank You.

I would be grateful for my many blessings.  All too often I focus on the few things that are wrong, ignoring the many that are right.  I would change that today; I would see only what is right and let what is wrong just wither away from lack of attention.  We can indeed make the world that we see, even while You create the real world for us to see shortly.  

Thank You for always being here for me.  Help me to aid my brothers and sisters in their “journey without distance” today.

Amen.

Everyone Shows Me the Face of Christ

ACIM Workbook Lesson  269 – for Monday, September 26, 2011

Affirmation:  “My sight goes forth to look upon Christ’s face.”

“I ask Your blessing on my sight today.  It is the means which You have chosen to become the way to show me my mistakes, and look beyond them.  It is given me to find a new perception through the Guide You gave to me, and through His lessons to surpass perception and return to truth.  I ask for the illusion which transcends all those I made.  Today I choose to see a world forgiven, in which everyone shows me the face of Christ, and teaches me that what I look upon belongs to me; that nothing is, except Your holy Son.  (WB430)”

Reflections:

1 – The Miracle of Seeing the Face of Christ

This prayer says directly that we are to see the face of Christ in all of our brothers and sisters:  “a world forgiven, in which everyone shows me the face of Christ.”  This is a miraculous occurrence, and because it is perceptual, it will not last (a Text tenet).  But the miracle can recur, and even if it does not, and we see the face of Christ only once or, at most, a few times, we will be blessed by the miracle.  Mother Teresa saw the face of Christ in the people whom she tended, “Christ in all his distressing disguises,” she said.

2 – A Personal Experience

I once did have this experience.  It did not last, and has not recurred, but it was a transformative experience of my early twenties.  A decade and more later on, a friend who was quite “religious,” but not a student of A Course in Miracles, told me that she thought we were meant to see the face of Christ in everyone.  By that time, I had discovered ACIM, and I had I found the same sentiment as expressed by Jesus.  Once we have experienced this miracle, we will not look upon others in quite the same way.  We will know that, even if we are not seeing Christ’s face currently, it is there for our cleansed eyes to see.  And we will be blessed by the memory of what we have once experienced.

3 – We Must Forgive to See Christ’s Face

Jesus says that our forgiveness is a prerequisite to seeing the face of Christ in others.  One of the faces of a friend, in which I perceived a Christ likeness, was one whom I had forgiven fully for past perceived injustices.  Others, at nearly the same time, were strangers to me.  But I certainly held no animosity toward them, and I believe that it might be said that I was in a state of total acceptance and forgiveness of them.  May we experience the face of Christ over and over, and may we be blessed by the miracle.

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

I would see the face of Christ in everyone I see today.  I know that to do so, I must hold no unforgiveness in my heart.  Help me to love today, totally and completely.  Help me to pray for those who seem to be estranged from me.  I wish all well.  I do not know what may be prompting the estrangement, but I would pray for its healing.

May the face of Christ give me healing today, for I need it also.  Be with me, through thick and thin, and lead me back home to You.  Thank You.

Amen.

In Love Was I Created / What Can Frighten Me?

ACIM Workbook Lesson  268 – for Sunday, September 25, 2011

Affirmation:  “Let all things be exactly as they are.”

“Let me not be Your critic, Lord, today, and judge against You.  Let me not attempt to interfere with Your creation, and distort it into sickly forms.  Let me be willing to withdraw my wishes from its unity, and thus to let it be as You created it.  For thus will I be able, too, to recognize my Self as You created me.  In Love was I created, and in Love will I remain forever.  What can frighten me, when I let all things be exactly as they are?  

“Let not our sight be blasphemous today, nor let our ears attend to lying tongues.  Only reality is free of pain.  Only reality is free of loss.  Only reality is wholly safe.  And it is only this we seek today.  (WB429)”

Reflections:

1 – God Is Not to Blame for Suffering

We often blame God when we see suffering in our world.  Jesus says in the Text that nobody has failed to believe at one time or another that God is cruel (a paraphrase).  But God did not “do this” to us!  We did it to ourselves.  This is one of the theological concepts in ACIM that may be hard to wrap our minds around.  But, as Jesus also says, do not let theology delay us; we are here to heal the perceived separation from God, and to do that we have to forgive Him for what He never did.

2 – Considering Our Ambivalent Feelings toward Jesus

We are also likely to have ambivalent thoughts toward Jesus.  Helen Schucman, the co-scribe of ACIM, did so.  Would we be very likely to have it better than she?  Her suffering was very real, but the book that she brought forth has given comfort to many, comfort that she was not usually able to feel.  May we be the lucky ones who benefit from the joy found in studying A Course in Miracles.  May we be healed by our study and the contemplation that the Workbook encourages.  But, most of all, may we be healed in our special-relationships-turned holy.  This latter is our way.  We do not need to spend long hours in contemplation, which Jesus describes as “tedious.”  But a few moments at the beginning and end of the day would be time well spent as we seek to walk a closer pathway with God.

3 – How Long Will We Live in the Real World?

We would have reality, not illusions.  I think that the “reality” meant here is the “real world” also spoken of in ACIM.  Reality is not fearful.  Only our illusions scare us.  If we can come to understand this, we will not be so likely to let the vicissitudes of our daily life upset us.  We will move into reality, perhaps only in snatches, but more and more as time passes.  These are the “glimpses” that revelation gives us; the means to reach the end (Awakening) is given in ACIM ACIM says something that appears confusing at the outset.  At one point the Text indicates that the time of experiencing the real world will be brief, and that then God will recognize that we are ready for Awakening, and He will reach down for us (metaphorically).  I speculate in an interpretation that the “briefness” is a way of looking at time that is not ours in normal, day-to-day living.  Eternity is the eternal Now, but we see time in segments.  When viewed against the backdrop of eternity, we may find that many years are considered “brief.”  I offer this interpretation for prayerful consideration, because ACIM does not elaborate in this way.

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

I would not be frightened today, because I would let You and Your Love lead the Way.  How should I doubt that I am safe, even in this world where suffering sometimes seems so ever-present?

May my perceived “suffering” be recognized for the illusion that it is.  May I recognize that I am the recipient of many blessings from You.  And may I here express my gratitude for those blessings.  I need only ask, and I do receive.  The solution is found with the problem.  May I realize that only when I am not flexible enough to follow Your Guide consistently do I get into trouble.  When I remain flexible, I walk a straight line to You.  Thank You for  pointing out the Way.

Amen.

I Am a Messenger of God / Each Heartbeat Calls His Name

ACIM Workbook Lesson  267 – for Saturday, September 24, 2011

Affirmation:  “My heart is beating in the peace of God.”

“I am a messenger of God, directed by His Voice, sustained by Him in love, and held forever quiet and at peace within His loving Arms.  Each heartbeat calls His Name, and every one is answered by His Voice, assuring me I am at home in Him.

“Let me attend Your Answer, not my own.  Father, my heart is beating in the peace the Heart of Love created.  It is there and only there that I can be at home.  (WB429)”

Reflections:

1 – At Home in God

This passage would reassure us that even though caught in illusion by our egos, we are actually at home in God.  We never truly separated from God; the thought that we might was a “tiny, mad idea” about which the “Son of God forgot to laugh” (quotations are from the Text).  But because we forgot to laugh, the ramifications were extreme, and we have found ourselves caught in misery for eons.  The separation, Jesus says, happened over millions of years, and the return may take similar millions, perhaps even longer.  This sounds discouraging.  But it does not have to be, for God is ready to welcome us home whenever we turn to Him and ask.  That does not mean that we are all ready for Awakening, but we will have psychic gifts develop in us that will assure us of God’s mercy on us.  We are not to use these gifts in an ill way, for of such is ego-oriented thinking made.  We are warned that the ego is especially wily in such situations.  It may try to reassert by guile (from the Manual).

2 – Do Not Let Emotions Intrude on God’s Presence

If we sense God’s presence, we will sense our heart beating in His peace.  This may not happen each time we get upset, because our emotions are strong and sometimes influenced by the ego.  But this peace will descend upon us frequently enough that we know what are experiencing.  And the peace of God is surely our greatest earthly gift.

3 – Messengers of God

We would be messengers of God.  We would not act in this way if we are motivated by egoic wishes.  We would pray for protection (which, we are told, will always be given, an ACIM tenet), and safety from misinterpretation.  This does not mean that we are above making mistakes, because we are still fallible beings, a very human manifestation of our Self.  But if we listen to guidance, we will sense when we have gone astray and take steps to move to higher ground.  We will ask forgiveness for our misinterpretation.  And we will forgive ourselves.  Forgiveness is the great clarion call of A Course in Miracles, often emphasized even more than Love.  In our fallible state, it is a gesture that we often need to make toward ourselves and toward others in our circle.

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

May I know, when I feel my heart beat today, that my heart is truly at home in You.  May I sense Your presence above all else, and may I remain calm and at peace throughout the day.  Help me to be of use to my brothers and sisters, who may need me now.  Help me to know what to say and do to assist their upward progress back to You.

I would be a messenger of God, but I would wish to be certain that no egoic thinking intrudes on this wish.  If egoic thinking intrudes, I am almost certain that my emotions will intrude, and that I will not truly follow Your will by hearing accurately.  I would hear accurately from Your Guide, the Holy Spirit, today.

Amen.