Monthly Archives: November 2011

Solace for a Bewildered Mind and Frightened Heart

ACIM Workbook Lesson 334 – for Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Affirmation:  “Today I claim the gifts forgiveness gives.”

“I seek but the eternal.  For Your Son can be content with nothing less than this.  What, then, can be his solace but what You are offering to his bewildered mind and frightened heart, to give him certainty and bring him peace?  Today I would behold my brother sinless.  This Your Will for me, for so will I behold my sinlessness.  (WB469)”

Reflections:

1 – Is “Sinlessness” Valid?

We need to recognize the sinlessness of our brothers and sisters, and of ourselves.  This is why we seek only the eternal.  While the concept of sinlessness is often one of the stumbling blocks in A Course in Miracles, it is a completely benign concept.  It says that the impossible has never occurred.  We have not really separated from God, despite the appearances of this illusory world.  We are caught in unreality, and we blame each other, as well as ourselves, for the “sins” that we believe brought this state of affairs upon us.

2 – The “Tiny, Mad Idea”

We have not sinned.  We are still as God created us (a frequent refrain in ACIM).  But we have made mistakes, and these mistakes began with a “tiny, mad idea” about which the Son/Daughter of God forgot to laugh, making what seemed to be real effects borne of this cause.  We thought in that tiny moment of time that we wanted something more than everything, something more than God.  We thought that separation would offer us something that we would like better.  And so the long descent, over millions of years, happened for all of us.  Jesus says that the return may take a similarly long time, over millions of years.  But, once begun, the end is certain.  We will return.  And in the meantime we do what we can to see that our brothers and sisters also return.

3 – Madness of This World

When we gain an intuitive inkling of what sinlessness really holds out to us, then we are well on our way to understanding how genuine we can make our forgiveness of our brothers and sisters, and of ourselves.  We will realize that the separation, though seemingly real enough to build up a whole world around us, is actually based on very flimsy grounds.  We should not underestimate the insanity, the madness, of this world.  But we can look at it, and simply say, “This is unreal.”

4 – Enter the Eternal

When we behold our brothers and sisters as sinless, we will be entering into the eternal.  And we will be immeasurably happier for not holding their “sins” against us as grievances any longer.

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

I would not spend any time today nursing grievances.  Holding them close to my heart is senseless and brings only despair.  We are not innocent in time, but we are innocent in eternity.  If this idea seems elusive, perhaps we need to realize that the eternal is the place where we want to spend our day.  The things of the eternal–the joyous, peaceful, tranquil, and serene emotions–are manifestations of the love that we are need to receive.  The fear that we sense is only in time, and thus it is as unreal as time itself is.  Illusions do not grab us, asking for verification, when we turn our day over to the guidance of the Guide that God gave.

May the Holy Spirit take me by the hand today and lead me along peaceful pathways.  May we not turn the inevitable pains of day-to-day living into suffering.  May we realize that even the experience of pain, as Jesus tells us, is unnecessary.  May I take to heart today the statement in A Course in Miracles that I do not have to learn through pain.  I would, as would anyone, choose to learn through rewards.  And may Jesus direct me along the way that will lead to this eventuality.  May learning through rewards be a part of my experience today.

Thank You for Your Guide, the Holy Spirit.  May I discern His guidance accurately, and may I not drop into ideas that partake of falsehood rather than truth.  May I follow Your will in all that transpires.

Amen.

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Forgiveness Ends the Dream of Conflict

ACIM Workbook Lesson 333 – for Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Affirmation:  “Forgiveness ends the dream of conflict here.”

“Father, forgiveness is the light You chose to shine away all conflict and all doubt, and light the way for our return to You.  (WB469)”

Reflections:

 1 – Forgiveness is Central to ACIM

This section of the Workbook emphasizes in various ways, time and again, what forgiveness can do for us.  Forgiveness can be viewed as the central message of A Course in Miracles, and until we have come to terms with the need we all have to totally forgive ourselves and others, we will remain outside the kingdom.  Our return, this passage says, is made possible by forgiveness.  And it is our return to God that we want above all else, however often we may think that we want some glittering jewel that the world offers.

2 – Picture Frames as Metaphors

There is a passage in the Text that describes in beautiful language the adorned, bejeweled frame that hides a picture of nothing.  This is the frame that the ego would have us seek.  Our eyes are dazzled by the frame, not noticing until up close that there is nothing at all within the frame.  In contrast, we see a slim frame, held in light, that holds a picture of what is really true and what we really want.  We are bade to disown the ego, not to be misled by the frame that holds nothing of value, and to look instead to the frame that is framed in light–holding a picture of what we really desire, God’s kingdom.

3 – Conflict and Doubt

Conflict and doubt are of the ego, of course.  And the light of forgiveness shines all this nonsense (and it is nonsense) away.

4 – Do Not Underestimate the Ego

It is wise that we not underestimate the wily ways of the ego, especially as we approach ever nearer our union with God.  The ego becomes very subtle when some of the more gross distortions of value have been laid aside.  The ego may try to reassert strength by guile, and it may be very ingenious about how it attempts to do this.  Do not be fooled, at this late point, by egoic notions that will only delay our homecoming.  Be at peace with God, our brothers and sisters, and be at peace in one’s mind and heart.  Then the ego will know that its days are indeed numbered.

Prayer:

 Dear Father/Mother,

 I would see a picture of my world framed in a “light frame,” which substance rather than illusion found therein.  Help me to forgive my brothers and sisters, and myself, for the illusions that I might previously have sought.  May we leave illusions behind, because the fantasies that encourage illusions are not the best way to proceed.  May I live in the real world, however fleetingly, today.

 Be with all of us as we had into the Christmas season.  May we bring joy to troubled individuals, and may we find joy in this endeavor.  Help us to live a good day, as all of our days are truly meant to be.

 Amen.

Fear Binds / Forgiveness Sets Free

ACIM Workbook Lesson 332 – for Monday, November 28, 2011

Affirmation:  “Fear binds the world.  Forgiveness sets it free.”

“Without forgiveness is the mind in chains, believing in its own futility.  Yet with forgiveness does the light shine through the dream of darkness, offering it hope, and giving it the means to realize the freedom that is its inheritance.  (WB468)”

Reflections:

1 – “Imprisoned Will”

This passage refers to the “imprisoned will” (from the Text) that is ours in our separated state until we realize that salvation is all that we want, and that we want to realize the truth that God’ Will and our will are identical.  Our imprisoned will inevitably brings on pain and suffering, but not because God gives these difficulties to us; instead, we are seeing the inexorable law of cause and effect in action.  The law of cause and effect also means that Jesus cannot save us from ourselves.  We cannot ask him, for example, to free us from fear directly; we should ask instead that the conditions that brought the fear about be rectified (paraphrasing from the Text).  Then we will be asking rightly.

2 – Jesus and Fear

Jesus says that to ask him to take away our fear would be tampering with the most basic law of cause and effect, and he indicates that he would never do this.  To do so would take away a primary way in which God has granted his gifts to us; the law of cause and effect is really meant for our edification.  There is a lengthy passage in the Text that elaborates upon the truth of cause and effect.

3 – Freedom = Our Inheritance

But our freedom is our inheritance, and when we forgive, we receive this inheritance.  We are only free when we are directly in God’s Will, not trying vainly to substitute our own inferior, ego-inspired, will in Its place.  Inheritance usually has a most positive slant in our minds, but sometimes we are using the ego to feel this positive slant.  We think of an inheritance as being monetary or material, and this is exactly what our misguided ego hopes that we will think, hopes that we will get caught up in, so that its reign can continue.  When we realize that the monetary and the material are positive but non-essential to our true worth in the world, we will be in a better position to let ego-inspired notions of inheritance fall away.

4 – A Life Filled with Hope

With forgiveness, we live a life filled with hope.  Our days grow brighter, for we are living life God’s Way.  That is all that He really wants for us–blessings of His goodness and hope for a better present and future.  Forgiveness offers a serene brow on our faces.  Forgiveness offers the peace of mind that we have craved.

5 – Forgiveness Is Always Justified

Forgiveness is always justified, as is made clear in other ACIM passages, as the attack, anger, and grievances that others have felt toward us are mere illusion.  We make the reality that we wish to experience, and when we have moved past the first tentative steps, we can ultimately become co-creators with God (an interpretation from ACIM).

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

I would extend forgiveness today, and in the doing of it I will find peace.  I would not ask Jesus to remove my fear, but for help in the conditions that bring fear into being.  When we are unduly anxious, we need to stop and commune with You.  Help me to remember this easy solution today.  I would not live in fear or anxiety today.

Be with us as we walk through this day.  Your way is smooth, when we meet Your conditions.  May I study diligently, so that I know and implement Your conditions.  Your way is easy, but it must be understood for the simple means that are asked.

Thank You for giving me the peace that Your felt presence always brings.

 Amen.

No Conflict = My Will Is God’s

ACIM Workbook Lesson 331 – for Sunday, November 27, 2011

 

Affirmation:  “There is no conflict, for my will is Yours.”

“Forgiveness shows us that God’s Will is one, and that we share it.  Let us look upon the holy sights forgiveness shows today, that we may find the peace of God.  Amen.  (WB468)”

 

Reflections:

1 – One Identical Will

Today’s lesson harkens to the oft-repeated refrain in A Course in Miracles that our real will and God’s Will are identical–not similar, but identical.  This is a new concept for many of us, who have lived through sermons on Jonah and the whale, and wondered if maybe what God wants for us is the farthest thing from our minds.  The Holy Spirit interprets God’s Will for us, letting us know in the process that what we would choose in our right mind is actually what God Himself chooses for us.  The Holy Spirit lets us know what that real will is, because we are apt to misinterpret, believing that pain and joy are different and can be told apart.  We often choose the pain, thinking that it is joy; the Holy Spirit will interpret correctly–pain as pain (to be avoided), and joy as joy (to be experienced by choice).

2 – Forgiveness Gives Us “Holy Sights”

Forgiveness gives us “holy sights,” and it is important to note that this promise refers also to our illusory world.  It does not just refer to the real world, which not all of us can see on a consistent basis.  ACIM does not point out what those holy sights are, but we ought to ask, that we might receive.

3 – Forgive and Find the Peace of God

We will find the peace of God when we forgive.  It is just that simple and just that profound.  Let us take the right steps toward forgiveness of ourselves, others, and the world’s situations today.

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

I would forgive today any and all whose path I have crossed throughout my life.  May we forgive each other, if that is necessary.  I would find Your peace, and this is possible in this world only by forgiveness.  I get glimpses of the fact that no permanent wrong has ever been done, either by myself or others, but  in this illusory world we still need the practice of forgiveness.  Eventually we will see that there is nothing at all in need of forgiveness.  But most of us are not there yet.

I seek Your peace especially today.  I do not want to revisit old times and places without Your peace as a part of me.  I would not stay mired in the past, but live in the present and not plan unnecessarily for the future.  I would drop defenses about the future today.  I would find You in my present, secure in the truth that I can meet whatever happens in the future with equanimity.

Help us to be children of the light that You give to us through Your guidance.  May I be flexible today in following Your guidance, turning on a dime if I am straying from the pathway that You hold out to me.  Thank You for the many blessings which You have granted to me.  I know that to have on my own does not detract from anybody else.  Your storehouse is full and overflowing for all of my brothers and sisters, and I pray that all will recognize this truth and be granted the peace that comes from accepting it.

Amen.

Pain Begone!

ACIM Workbook Lesson 330 – for Saturday, November 26, 2011

Affirmation:  “I will not hurt myself again today.”

“Let us this day accept forgiveness as our only function.  Why should we attack our minds, and give them images of pain?  (WB466)”

Reflections:

1 – The Role of Forgiveness re Pain

When we forgive, we do not invite images of pain.  When forgiveness is seen as our only function, we do not attack our minds.  We do attack our minds when we hold grievances, attack ourselves and others, and look to the dark side of events in our world.  In fact, when we attack ourselves by holding grievances, we can never feel safe (a paraphrase of the Workbook).  We feel perfectly safe when we have let all grievances go.

2 – Our Functions re ACIM

A Course in Miracles gives other functions beside forgiveness, but these are also synonyms.  Happiness and salvation are the two that are most frequently cited.  But how can we know forgiveness without also signing on for happiness?  And how can we forgive without also offering salvation, in our own way, to our brothers and sisters?

3 – Forgive / Do Not Attack the Mind

It is the most important new concept on this day to note that we attack our minds when we fail to accept forgiveness as our function.  We are here to forgive.  Keep in mind that forgiveness, as we know it, is an illusion, because there is really nothing real to forgive; we forgive only illusions.  But in this world we experience the illusion as real, as tangible, and so we must be practical always (as Jesus bids in the Manual).  We forgive, knowing that nothing bad has actually happened to anyone, but in our deluded minds we think that the world that we see is real and capable of causing harm.  We must do what we can, in this illusion, to right the wrongs.  This declaration is not an insensitive attempt to save the world from itself.  We must reach out when we are welcomed by our brothers and sisters.  We are not meant to save when we would be rejected by the attempt.  But we should never underestimate the extent of the insanity in this world, and so others may not know enough to reach out to us.  Then, under the guidance of the Holy Spirit, we need to do what we can to lighten the load of our brothers and sisters.

4 – Living on a Higher Plain

If we would avoid images of pain, as seen by our minds, we must forgive.  When we forgive consistently and peacefully, we live on a higher plane.  Let us reach toward that higher plain today.

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

I would seek to forgive today, that I would help others and that I would also be helped.  I would not fill my mind with images of pain, which is the outcome when attack is made upon ourselves and our brothers and sisters.  

May I come to understand the other functions that find their primary home in forgiveness:  happiness and salvation.  I would ask You to help me to lead a happy life, in spite of appearances that invite the feeling that I am a victim when attacked.  Help me to realize that You honor the illusion, in that You wish us to treat well our brothers and sisters who believe in the illusion, and do not have the assurance that reality is a better place to make our home. 

May I live in Your real world today.  Assist me in making wise decisions that will lead to joy.  I know that this is Your will for all who make the earth our present home.  May illusions lose their hold upon my brothers and sisters, and me.  May together we walk into the light, always seeking the Christ-consciousness to which we will eventually be led.

Amen.

God’s Will for Us = Safe, Untroubled, Serene, Joyous

ACIM Workbook Lesson 329 – for Friday, November 25, 2011

Affirmation:  “I have already chosen what You will.”

“Father, my will is Yours.  And I am safe, untroubled and serene, in endless joy, because it is Your Will that it be so.  (WB466)”

Reflections:

1 – God’s Will = Already Chosen

This prayer carries the question of God’s Will a step closer to what we really experience.  The lesson for today says that we have already chosen what God wills for us.  This is akin to an earlier lesson that directly stated that we are in control of our destiny.  And when we have walked far enough along the pathway home, we have already made the choice that we would have the blessings that God’s Will would bestow on us.  We have chosen, ahead of time, that we would accept His Will–not fall into miscreations again, not choose with the egoic self.

2 – Our Blessings

When we have made the choice, ahead of time, that God’s Will is ours, then we walk smoothly.  We do not run into unsafe territory; we do not take side pathways, pathways that divert us from where we would really, in our heart of hearts, prefer that we go.  We are safe, untroubled and serene, with endless joy (see prayer above).  And we are all of these things, because God has willed these blessings for us.

3 – Reassurances from the Workbook

How often in the Workbook, especially Part II, do we encounter reassurances that we are actually intended to be at peace, to be serene and joyful.  So often, in our earlier lives, we have not chosen wisely, and we have only known these blessings in a fleeting way.  Sometimes the joys that we have encountered have been egoic, and therefore especially fleeting, turning to ashes in our mouths, and leading us to weep bitter tears.  But such unfortunate outcomes are not God’s Will for us.

4 – Callings

We can rest assured that what God wills for us will be ultimately recognized by ourselves as good.  All to often, in our egoic past, we have believed that we would not will what He would will for us.  We may have heard stories of a “call” that would be the opposite of what we think that we want.  But, if we are brave enough to follow that call, we find at the conclusion of the pathway a serene and peaceful conclusion.  We will be glad beyond measure that we stayed true to the calling.  God knows us best, and the one thing that He knows above all else if what we really want in our depths–for He is in those depths.  Do not fear, therefore, to rest in God’s Will as the very best pathway out there.  At this point in the Workbook, may we indeed know that we have already chosen the Will that is His to be our own.

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

I would walk the safe and sure pathway to joy today.  Jesus says in this day’s workbook lesson that we have already chosen Your will.  Of course!  We but walk a pathway that we have trod before, but this time we are choosing with guidance of the Holy Spirit.  We can still stray into side pathways, egoic ones, but I would not choose to do so.  I would especially not choose to follow egoic ways today.  Keep me safe in Your arms.

May we share our good news with our brothers and sisters who are ready to hear what we have to say.  May we not run ahead of them, trying to get them to accept a pathway which they may not yet choose.  And maybe a pathway different from A Course in Miracles is right for many.  We do not make decisions for other people.  But we do know that ultimately all of us will find our way home.  May I do my part, unobtrusively, to make that day come sooner.

Be with us today.  Help us, as always, to avoid anger and attack, irritation and impatience.  We need to know that You are there for us, and that You will pick us up when we have fallen.  We but try again, and again.  And finally we will succeed in being flexible enough to follow the Holy Spirit, and to know You as You intend for us.

Amen.

Wholly Safe, Eternally at Peace

ACIM Workbook Lesson 328 – for Thursday, November 24, 2011

Affirmation:  “I choose the second place to gain the first.”

“There is no will but Yours.  And I am glad that nothing I imagine contradicts what You would have me be.  It is Your Will that I be wholly safe, eternally at peace.  And happily I share that Will which You, my Father, gave as part of me.  (WB465)”

Reflections:

1 – God’s Will / A Puppet of God?

One of the great preoccupations of my early adult years, before I found A Course in Miracles when I was 34 years old, was the question of God’s will.  What did He want me to do with my life?  I pondered that one for literally years on end, writing in my journal and doing a lot of thinking.  I wondered if I determined what God’s will was, would I be a puppet of His?  If I don’t follow my own free will (which might be different, or so I thought), then what would I be except a puppet?

2 – The Will of God and Our Own = Identical

A Course in Miracles answers all these questions.  Jesus says that our real will and the Will of God–as imparted to us as guidance from the Holy Spirit–are actually identical.  The Holy Spirit lets us know what our real will is, and often we don’t know this until we accept His guidance.  We are so confused by the ego that we choose wrongly, and we suffer as a result.  But the Holy Spirit chooses for us.  He guides us into the smooth paths of harmony.  And all is well.

3 – We Near the End of the Workbook

By the time we reach this lesson, Lesson 328, we are well toward the end of the year spent with God in the Workbook for Students.  We are no longer imagining a result as dictated by the ego.  So the prayer above can say, “I am glad that nothing I imagine contradicts what You would have me be.”  We would be wholly safe, eternally at peace.  And the only way to get there is through guidance that God encourages us to follow, from the Universal Inspiration, His Communicator to us.

4 – We Want What God Wants for Us

Now, if we have listened well and communed constantly with God, we will be ready to recognize that we do indeed, and happily, share the Will of God that He gave to us.  We want what He wants for us.  We know that this is all that we want.

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

I regret that I spent so many years pondering what God’s wil might really mean.  Thank You for the answer in A Course in Miracles.  How could it be otherwise?  I am One with You, and though covered over by layers of egoic thinking, I know that my whole Self belongs to You.  So how could my real will and Your Will be different from each other?  You allow me to manifest in this world, and my Self encompasses the better individual that You still consider me to be.  You have never given up on me.  As ACIM says, I am as You created me.  Only in illusion have I fallen into the separation that is not really real.

Help me to retain these ideas today.  Thank You for this bit of theology.  If others do not find the theology compatible with their thinking, may they commune with You to get their own understanding, an understanding that may differ from my own.  Be with all of us today as we seek You once again.

Thank You that You did not create “puppets.”  That was always a false issue, and I am glad to leave that false idea behind me.  Be with me as I seek to grow ever more closely into the individual that You would have me manifest in this troubled world.

Amen.