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.

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.

“Unsupported” Faith Is Not Required

ACIM Workbook Lesson 327 – for Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Affirmation:  “I need but call and You will answer me.”

“I am not asked to take salvation on the basis of an unsupported faith.  For God has promised He will hear my call, and answer me Himself.  (WB465)”

Reflections:

1 – Blind Faith

We are not asked to have faith only, a blind faith that is totally uncomprehending, and just appeals to “mysteries.”  We have support for our faith in A Course in Miracles.  Salvation, leading to Awakening, is spelled out for us.  And God Himself will answer us when we call.  We will never be left to our own devices.

2 – A Questioning Faith

The fact that we do not have just to say “have faith” is important to me.  I always thought like a heretic, questioning the faith of my childhood.  Until I found A Course in Miracles, and then the answers came that I had been seeking for so long.  Not everybody, of course, finds their curriculum in ACIM, but more and more are.  We who study ACIM seriously ought to be very, very glad that the tenets of ACIM have found their way more and more into the popular culture, especially the self-help or self-improvement literature.  Not everybody realizes that the author is using ideas from A Course in Miracles.  And perhaps this is alright.  Jesus is not proprietary about the ideas that we read therein.  He wants the message to be spread, and he has said that there is a course for every teacher of God.  We all make interpretations, some based on ACIM and some not, and we learn from each other as a result.

3 – Finding Our Way to God

Our supported faith is the faith that God Himself supports.  This is an important truth, and it would be well to dwell on the implications of this.  We are never alone in the universe(s).  We always have guidance.  In ACIM, this guidance is said to come from the Holy Spirit, because we are in the time of the Holy Spirit.  In A Course of Love, this guidance is said to come from the Self within, the Christ-consciousness, as we are in the time of Christ.  Either way is OK.  We do not have to be proscriptive about how we find our way back to God.  He never left us, but we thought we left Him.  And now is the time to return.  As the New Testament counsels, “Seek and ye shall find.”  And I have found this truth in my own experience.

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

I thank You today for the day that I found A Course in Miracles.  No longer did I have to grapple with reaching for faith when I had questions and even doubts.  Your gift of ACIM answered so many of those questions.  May I be led today to put into practice the tenets that I have studied.  And may I reach out to others who are similarly questioning.

Faith does not have to be blind.  We are given answers to our reason.  We do not have to appeal to “mysteries.”  Help me to know when I do need to step out in faith and appeal to mysteries, and when the Answer, Your Holy Spirit, will guide me.  May He guide me carefully today.  I so long to walk the way of Your blessings, and Your blessings are never very far behind the guidance that is so freely given, when we ask for guidance.

Be with me today as I seek You.  Guide my thoughts as I reread A Course in Miracles.  Help me to discern the truth of its message.  And may I reflect in a helpful way for those who read this blog.

Thank You for always being near.  May I feel Your presence in me today.

Amen.

I Am an Effect of God

ACIM Workbook Lesson 326 – for Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Affirmation:  “I am forever an Effect of God.”

“. . .[A]ll Your attributes abide in me, because it is Your Will to have a Son so like his Cause that Cause and Its Effect are indistinguishable.  Let me know that I am an Effect of God, and so I have the power to create like You.  (WB464)”

Reflections:

1 – Cause and Effect in ACIM

The cause-and-effect section in the Text of A Course in Miracles is challenging to understand, perhaps more challenging than most other passages of the theology.  As part of the theology, understanding cause and effect is not absolutely necessary, because theology can delay us, and there is no universal theology.  I am much more interested in the practical that Jesus extols as being most important in ACIM.  But for those who do care about the theology, this prayer explains, succinctly, the relationship between God and ourselves.

2 – Cause and Effect Explained

God is the Cause, the Prime Mover (if you will).  He created us; we did not create ourselves.  So we are still as He created us.   We have made an egoic version of ourselves for this world, and we have suffered mightily for failing to laugh at the tiny, mad idea that there was something more that we ought to experience, apart from God.  But we are still His Effect, the one that He created who has not changed since that creation.

3 – Co-Creators with God

We are meant to be co-creators with God.  Cause and Effect thus become indistinguishable, as stated in the prayer.  God does not have anything that He will not ultimately share with us.  But preparation is necessary first.  God could not have miscreation go too far afield, and thus he set the limits on our power to miscreate.  This was through the pain that we experience.  The threshold for pain may be high, but it is not unlimited.  Sooner or later we have to recognize that there is a better way.  And A Course in Miracles points out that better way.  We are heading, once again, to a reiteration of the fact that Awakening (or Christ-consciousness, as A Course of Love says) is the ultimate aim of this world.  Then we will fully understand that Cause and Effect are One.

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

I have become lost many times in the cause-and-effect explanations in A Course in Miracles.  May I articulate today what Your true meaning is.  May all of us who reread these passage learn more each time that we confront them.  May their theology not delay us or divide us; it is an experience that we seek.  And we do not have to subscribe to theology if it delays or divides us.  We are all One, seekers for You.

Be with me today as I contemplate, once again, what ACIM is saying about Cause-and-Effect.  May I never be so arrogant as to think, as the ego does, that I made myself.  We are Your children, and there is much that we do not know.  Guide us to the greater understanding of Yourself that will sustain in this sometimes troubled world.

Amen.

Find the Way to Heaven and to God

ACIM Workbook Lesson 325 – for Monday, November 21, 2011

Affirmation:  “All things I think I see reflect ideas.”

“This is salvation’s keynote:  What I see reflects a process in my mind, which starts with my idea of what I want. . . .And from forgiving thoughts a gentle world comes forth, with mercy for the holy Son of God, to offer him a kindly home where he can rest a while before he journeys on, and help his brothers walk ahead with him, and find the way to Heaven and to God.  (WB464)”

Reflections:

1 – Projection Makes Perception

Salvation’s keynote, given above, is a statement of the fact the projection makes perception:  The process begins in the mind, with what I want, and then I see (outwardly).  When we are in a forgiving mood, it is inevitable that we will look upon a forgiving world.  When we are seeing people who need “fixing,” then it is our own mind that is in need of an attitude adjustment.

2 – Forgiveness / Love

When we want to see Heaven, we must meet the conditions of seeing Heaven.  And this is an attitude of forgiveness, most importantly, and an attitude of love rather than fear.  There is no other way.  We will see the dreams of a benign world, where we will rest awhile, before journeying on to Awakening.  The dreams of a kindly home prepare us for the shock of the ultimate Awakening, which we will not fear, but will welcome.  ACIM tells us that without the kindly dream, offered by the Holy Spirit, we would be too fearful to welcome Awakening.  We need the gentleness of forgiveness and the strength of love.  We need to be at peace.

3 – We Travel with Others

We go with our brothers and sisters toward home.  We do not have to travel alone, and indeed we cannot.  Only in the return of all of us are we freed to be at home in God.  Until that time, which may be millions of years from now, we have work to do.  But if we can believe ACIM (and we can), it is an effortless work and a joyful work.  We will not choose amiss when we choose as the Holy Spirit bids.

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

May I begin this day with a forgiving attitude and a loving attitude.  If I can begin rightly, then all else will fall into place.  If I slip, may I simply pick myself up and begin again–all with Your Guide to steady me.  May I come to understand that my mind makes the way that I view the world.  And may I look with kind eyes on my world today.

Be with me as I seek to have a good day, a better day than yesterday.  May I always remember that it is not Your will that I seek to travel in solitude.  You put me in a world with Your other children so that we might help each other along the way.  May we walk together in peace and joy today.

Amen.

A Safe Returning Home

ACIM Workbook Lesson 324 – for Sunday, November 20, 2011

Affirmation:  “I merely follow, for I would not lead.”

“So let us follow One Who knows the way.  We need not tarry, and we cannot stray except an instant from His loving hand.  We walk together, for we follow Him.  And it is He Who makes the ending sure, and guarantees a safe returning home.  (WB463)”

Reflections:

1 – The Holy Spirit’s Guidance

The “One Who knows the way” is, in A Course in Miracles, the Holy Spirit, also called the Universal Inspiration.  If we are flexible, if we vow to be remain flexible, we will follow the advice that we “hear.”  And that advice, that guidance, will invariably lead us home–and sooner rather than later.

2 – Final Lessons Meditative

All of the final lessons in the Workbook for Students are meditative, in that they encourage us to commune with God and His Teacher, the Holy Spirit.  Not only do these lessons have a common theme of communion with God, they also emphasize, systematically, the ideas developed in the Text and the Manual.  If we have had trouble with the intensity of the ideas in the Text, we can turn to the Workbook and then gain the great benefit that the more reverent words in the Workbook emphasize.  We will not go wrong when we seek reverence in our study.  And our prayers, our communion with God, will take on new meaning when we mean what we say.

3 – A Course of Love

Nobody gets anywhere in the spiritual life by theory alone.  We must buy into the ideas with our heart as well as our mind.  The idea of the heart’s involvement is developed overwhelmingly in the words of A Course of LoveACOL counsels “wholeheartedness,” which is another way of saying that A Course of Love is to the heart what A Course in Miracles is to the mind.  In another way of seeing this, the final lessons of the Workbook, as the year closes, lead us straight into the philosophy of A Course of Love.  This blog has considered two lengthy sections from A Course of Love, and these can be identified and read through taking a look at the months that the postings covered in the “About” section of the Menu Bar.

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

I would return home today.  Thank You that this does not mean that I need to die.  We return home when our hearts and minds act as one in wholeheartedness.  Thank You for the guidance that You give to me.

May I incorporate the tenets of A Course of Love as I walk farther along the pathway.  There is a continuum that I would adopt in my daily study.  Help me to study diligently, and to understand what Jesus says to me.  May I keep an open mind as I compare A Course in Miracles to A Course of Love.

Amen.

Give Up Suffering, Loss, Sadness, Anxiety, Doubt. . . to Enable Love

ACIM Workbook Lesson 323 – for Saturday, November 19. 2011

Affirmation:  “I gladly make the ‘sacrifice’ of fear.”

“Here is the only ‘sacrifice’ You ask of Your beloved Son; You ask him to give up all suffering, all sense of loss and sadness, all anxiety and doubt, and freely let Your Love come streaming in to his awareness, healing him of pain, and giving him Your Own eternal joy.  Such is the ‘sacrifice’ You ask of me, and one I gladly make; the only ‘cost’ of restoration of Your memory to me, for the salvation of the world.  (WB463)”

Reflections:

1 – God’s Love Flows In

If all of us in this world could believe these comforting words of A Course in Miracles, we would be a long way toward overcoming the suffering that besets us.  We are not asked to sacrifice.  We can give up suffering, anxiety, doubt.  The only way to effect these blessings is to believe that God’s Love is flowing into us now.  When we ask to feel His Love, we are reassured that all will be well.  We can let our anxieties go.  We do not have to feel the suffering that can arise from pain.  We can rise above the pain.  Then we are truly Home–living with the assurance that we are beloved of God and that we are free of the fear that has beset us for eons.

2 – “Suffering”

Note that “sacrifice” in these quotations is set apart by quotation marks.  This indicates that what is being asked of us is not really a sacrifice at all; it is the acceptance of a blessing from God, from Love.  When the memory of God is restored to us, we truly have reached Awakening.  And this is where we are all headed.

3 – Awakening / Christ-Consciousness

The study of A Course in Miracles and A Course of Love both holds out these blessings for us.  We are told in A Course of Love that the time of learning is over.  We know enough just to accept our Home in God, our Christ-consciousness.  We may be mistaken in thinking that we have reached Christ-consciousness, but the inevitability of this blessing is never mistaken.  It may be sooner or it may be later.  We need not fear; it will come.  And in the meantime, we can prepare by turning to the Holy Spirit (if we are reading ACIM) or the Self within (if we are reading ACOL).  There is a logical progression from Jesus’s words in the New Testament, his words in ACIM, and his words in ACOL.  Would that we could only accept what he says at face value!  There is very little that we need to do to effect these changes in ourselves.  Our contribution is indeed small, and we are sometimes chagrined by this (paraphrased from the Text).  But why should we let the arrogance of the ego tell us that Awakening/Christ-consciousness is difficult?  Let us rest in God’s mercy, and we will know that He wishes us to have these blessings.  We will not have to seek pathways innumerable; the blessings will come with a sincere desire.

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

I would find You today, and I would do the little part that you ask of me to effect change for the better in my life.  I would come home to You.

May my brothers and sisters feel Your Love, and may they leave behind fear with all of its component parts.  I would do the same.  I am not above feeling fear, as much as I try to avoid anxiety by trusting in You.  We are all very human with the frailties that accompany the human condition.  May we help each other to rise above to the joy that You hold out to us when we have been made ready by Your guidance.

Be with me today.  Help me to know that sacrifice is never asked, and that I am misperceiving when I think that You might be asking this of me.  Your Way is the Way of Love, and when I know that in the depths of my heart, I will also be at home in You.

Amen.

The Return of Love / Loss of Fear

ACIM Workbo Lesson 322 – for Friday, November 18, 2011

Affirmation:  “I can give up but what was never real.”

“Father, to You all sacrifice remains forever inconceivable.  And so I cannot sacrifice except in dreams.  As You created me, I can give up nothing You gave me.  What You did not give has no reality.  What loss can I anticipate except the loss of fear, and the return of love into my mind?  (WB462)”

Reflections:

1 – Sacrifice is Not Needed

We do not really need to sacrifice in this world.  We need only to lose our fear and to return to love to have all that we really want.  Even with our loved ones, we do not need to experience sacrifice; when we are acting out of love, it is a misconception to think that we are sacrificing.  We are giving, and it is in the giving that we will learn the most about love.

2 – Let Us Lose Fear

We would lose fear today.  If this loss is important to us, we will do everything in our power to effect it.  And we will not make this transition–from fear to love–without deciding that egotistical, egoic, matters are not what we want.  If we would leave the ego behind, all would be peace.  When we will ever learn this?

3 – The Dreams of This World

We sacrifice in the dreams of this world.  And when we are loving, we are experiencing a reprieve from dreams, if only momentarily.  This understanding of the world that we experience being a “dream” is not unique to A Course in Miracles.  But it is spelled out for modern-day readers in a way that we do not find it in earlier religious writings.

4 – Give Today

May I give today, and then give some more.  And may I recognize that in this giving I will realize that I am not sacrificing my own best interests, but instead that I am finding them.

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

I would reach a deeper level of love today, knowing that with this deeper level fear itself is diminished.  I do need to give, but help me to realize that “sacrifice” is not needed.  The return of love does not demand sacrifice.  Help me to follow Your Guide today, as I seek to enjoy a good day.

Earlier I believed that sometimes sacrifice was called for.  Thank You for showing me, through Jesus’s words, that this idea was well-intentioned but unnecessary.  Help me to give and then give some more.  But help me never to feel that I am sacrificing my own best interests in the guise of helping another.  I would help whenever I can, but the individuals whom I help, and I, will only gain when I give.

Love is the great need of this world.  May all whom I touch today, as well as myself,  try to give a little more love .  Then we will all come home to You sooner.

Amen.

The Way to Salvation

ACIM Workbook Lesson 321 – for Thursday, November 17. 2011

Affirmation:  “Father, my freedom is in You alone.”

“Your Voice directs me, and the way to You is opening and clear to me at last.  Father, my freedom is in You alone.  Father, it is my will that I return.  (WB462)”

Reflections:

1 – The Path to Salvation

This is a three-part procedure to salvation, to Oneness with God, to return to the Oneness that we thought we lost in separation.  We can have freedom only when we are at One with God; anything else leads to the imprisonment of our will with resulting pain.  Detailing the path to salvation in three sentences in the prayer for today does indicate to us how very simple the essence of A Course in Miracles really is.

2 – God’s Voice Speaks

First, God’s Voice, the Holy Spirit (or Universal Inspiration) tells us what to do to effect not only our salvation, but the best living out there that is possible while we are effortless seeking our salvation.  It is a straight line to God when we are flexible in changing our directions during any given day, changing to head straight through to the next right step that we have been given.  God’s Voice does not often direct us in advance, though when we need to plan for the future, He does direct us how to do so.  (That is the only time that planning is encouraged; otherwise, it is a defense best left alone.)

3 – Our Will Is Free

Second,  we are free only when we are at home in God.  Then our will is not imprisoned.  Our imprisoned will is a theological point in ACIM that may be difficult to grasp.  Basically, it explains that God put the limits on how much we could miscreate.  Sooner or later we would have to recognize that there is a better way to proceed.  The limits for pain may be high, but they are not infinite (a paraphrase from the Text).  We will want to avoid pain, and the only way is to bring our will into alignment with what our real will is, which is the same as God’s Will for us.  He does not punitively punish, though–never.  He only gently guides us into the right decisions, the ones that will easily show us the better way.

4 – Return Is Our Priority

Third, we recognize that our return to God is the priority of our lives.  It is all that we really want, but all the other blessings of the real world wait upon this return.  We do not desire to follow down blind pathways, trying every turn, here and there.  We want the straight way to the heart of God, and we can have it.  A Course in Miracles explains the means to us (from the Text).  Occasionally revelation will reveal the end of Awakening, but to get there the means are needed, and this is what Jesus is detailing in ACIM.

5 – Our Freedom Is in God Alone

So, our freedom is in God alone.  To live this truth is to find our way back.  But we have to love God, and we have not to be afraid of Him.  When we see the blessings that He has waiting in His storehouse for us, we will be more reassured that His Will is never punitive, and that He is never cruel.  Our own meanderings have caused the pain and suffering inflicted upon us so far in our journey through this life.  We create our own reality, and if we choose pain, then we will find the suffering that this pain entails.  But we can live peacefully, even when the world cries out in pain, if we have a calm certainty that what we are seeing is illusion.  We help others in pain, but we do not join them in their pain.  We recognize that pain is a form of insanity, and we would ask that our minds be awakened to the truth, the benign truth, that reality actually contains.  Guidance will show us the way.

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

I would walk the pathway to You today.  I would not seek inferior methods, but would seek to know that Way by listening to Your Voice, the Holy Spirit.  I would do only what is loving, discerning Your Will, in part, by testing out if I am feeling love or feeling fear.

Only in love is there hope of salvation, to finding our way back home.  I would be at home in You today.

Thank You for this brief passage for today from A Course in Miracles that encapsulates the way to You.

Amen.

There Is No Limit on God’s Will

ACIM Workbook Lesson 320 – for Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Affirmation:  “My Father gives all power unto me.”

“Your Will can do all things in me, and then extend to all the world as well through me.  There is no limit on Your Will.  And so all power has been given to Your Son.  (WB460)”

Reflections:

1 – Follow God’s Will

This prayer is very insightful (as with all prayers to God by Jesus).  God’s Will can do all things through us, extending unto the world as a whole.  And we have the power to effect change because God’s Will is resident in us.  Of course, we have to be open to following that Will, and to be so, we must discern correctly.

2 – How Do We Discern God’s Will?

How do we discern the Will of God in any given situation?   The following are my own interpretations of ACIM, not stated directly therein.

3 – A Suggested Procedure

First, we get silent and still and quiet.  This is a preliminary step to almost all correct discernment.  If our emotions are turbulent, it is impossible to hear God’s Voice without having those very emotions intrude.

4 – Ask for Guidance

Second, we ask for direction and guidance of the Holy Spirit.  He is our Communicator from God (an ACIM tenet).

5 – Ask Others for Help

Third, if appropriate, we test out our discernment by going to others for help.  We do not always stay just within ourselves.  If there are no appropriate others, of course, we are on our own.  And this can be tricky.  So this leads to the final question.

6 – Love or Attack?

Fourth, is the discernment that we are making a gesture of love or of hate (attack)?  This is a testing of the guidance we have received.  If we consistently follow “feelings” or “intuition,” we may follow amiss if we think we are being led to do something that is less than honorable.  The ego is very wily, and it will mislead if given half a chance.  So the test of a loving gesture is important.

7 – Change Ourselves

We have the power to change the world, if we are first changed ourselves.  Many evangelists and gurus have stated the same over the years.  Many religious leaders have believed this, including the renowned Norman Vincent Peale (who saw a banner to that effect in his youth and therein changed the direction of his life, leading to a life of ministry to others through Christianity) and Billy Graham (the most renowned speaker of our era in regard to preaching the Gospel).

8 – A Course in Miracles = Our Curriculum

Let us today take up our curriculum, A Course in Miracles.  We may alter the curriculum to suit our temperament; Jesus does not forbade this, and even encourages it by saying that “There is a curriculum for every teacher of God.”  The forms vary tremendously, but if we keep an open mind and heart, and we respect each other, we will not really clash.  May the teaching and learning that all of us do today make a difference in the world that we inhabit.

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

I would take my own advice today as I seek Your will in how to direct my life.  If there are omissions in what I say, then please correct me.  Help me to live a peaceful, tranquil way as I walk this world, because serenity invites accuracy in discerning Your Will.

Be with me today.  Thank You for guiding me to understand some of the ways that I can know Your Will.  Be with me as I seek to implement those ways of discerning.

Amen.

What One Gains Is Given unto All

ACIM Workbook Lesson 319 – for Tuesday, November 15. 2011

Affirmation:  “I came for the salvation of the world.”

“The ego thinks that what one gains, totality must lose.  And yet it is the Will of God I learn that what one gains is given unto all.  (WB460)”

Reflections:

1 – Jerry Jampolsky

This passage is well-examined in a book by Jerry Jampolsky, a book (Love Is Letting God of Fear) which delves deeply in the ACIM truth, “Whatever I give is given to myself.”  Jerry means, basing his discussion on A Course in Miracles, that the joy, love, peace that we give to others comes back to us as these qualities are multiplied.  It is only the material things of life that seem to diminish when given away.  And the material things are never what we want for long; we will find more and more wants that remain unsatisfied, because the material gains are frequently props for the ego.  And the ego is never satiated.

2 – Totality Does Not Lose the Things of God

Totality does not lose when we gain the things that are of God.  And we are told in this passage that it is the Will of God that what one gains is given unto all.  This is a great blessing!

3 – Why Are We Here?

What did we really come for?  The lesson for today says that it is the salvation of the world.  Edgar Cayce, an early psychic, said much the same thing.  In metaphorical language, he indicated that the Sons of God came to rescue the daughters of men on this plane of earth.  And Ruth Montgomery, also an early scribe of “Guides,” indicates that we will none of us find our way home until we have led all to home.  In ACIM, Jesus seems to indicate that we must lead our brothers and sisters home, even though it may take millions of years.  Time has been saved for us when we practice ACIM.  Each one of us save a thousand years and more (a Text tenet).

4 – Let’s Do Our Part Today

So let us do our part today.  We can, after all, only do our part one day at a time.  Let  us not backslide now.  We need to save time, as the world is worn and very weary (paraphrases from the Text).  We know that the ending is sure (an ACIM tenet), and if the way seems long, we have started on that way.  It is enough.  It will always be enough.

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

The gifts from You which we receive are never for ourselves alone.  When given from us to others, these gifts but increase.  Help me to realize the truth of this glorious promise.  I know that Your gifts are often intangibles, because material things may seem to diminish if shared (something of note that may be illusion).  Even with material blessings, we are bade to understand that You can bring increase there as well.  Individuals who tithe their income, however small, quickly learn that their material blessings in this world do increase abundantly.  Thank You for the many testimonials that I have heard and read about this puzzling miracle.

May I walk a green earth today.  Your Way is always the best way, and Your way will help not only myself, but my brothers and sisters as well.  May I be generous with my time and my gifts, intangible and material.

Thank You for the gift of A Course in Miracles.  Thank You for leading me to these magnificent volumes so many years ago.  Thank You for the writings that spoke to me before ACIM was published.  May all of those individuals I encounter today find the truths that they need to live a happy life.

Amen.

May I Understand My Sinlessness

ACIM Workbook Lesson 318 – for Monday, November 14, 2011

Affirmation:  “In me salvation’s means and end are one.”

“I am the means by which God’s Son is saved, because salvation’s purpose is to find the sinlessness that God has placed in me.  I was created as the thing I seek.  (WB459)”

Reflections:

1 – Mistakes – In Eternity, No “Sin”

Here is the answer for those of us who find it difficult to believe–given our many mistakes–that we are really innocent, sinless.  We were created sinless, and it is only in illusion that we have left that glorious state.  And to leave something in illusion–in dreams–is not really to leave sinlessness at all.  “I was created as the thing I seek”:  Yes!  We have spent eons chasing our tails to find the very thing that we are, deep within.  It is only up to us to access that deepest place, where God is, to realize that we are One with Him, and that all is well.  We do not have to atone for anything.

2 – Making Amends for Mistakes

We do have to make amends for the wrongs that we have perpetrated, if this is reasonably possible.  If reaching out to someone we have wronged would make the matter worse, then we would do well to commune with God, express our amends to the Holy Spirit, and simply walk a green earth again.  If reaching out to someone we have wronged would help to right the wrong, then we should definitely reach out.  Only our deep communion with God and our guidance from the Holy Spirit can tell us what is right to say and do.

3 – Salvation

We in our essence encompass the means and the end of salvation.  We will know this when we have forgiven ourselves for our misdeeds.  Forgiving ourselves is easier said than done, because the ego (still a force, though weakened, in many of us) would have us see ourselves as guilty.  The ego’s life depends upon the guilt that it can engender in us.  If we thrust aside the guilt, which is actually the only hell that there is, we would be a good position to live peacefully, without the turmoil and agitation that guilt always causes us to feel.

4 – Salvation’s Purpose

In this passage, we are told that salvation’s very “purpose” is to “find the sinlessness that God has placed in me.”  To carry this statement to its logical conclusion would mean, I think, that we will find that God is ready to awaken us when we, in our depths, have discovered the sinlessness with which we were created.  We cannot be even a little bit in hell to find this sinlessness.  We cannot feel even a little bit of guilt.  Of course, to say this is to invite the ego to have a field day, because the ego will assure us that without guilt, we will say and do all manner of despicable things.  But will we really?  Perhaps this possibility is just what keeps Awakening from us.  Perhaps here we are approaching some of the secrets of salvation.  If we are truly ready to accept our sinlessness and to relinquish any of our thoughts or actions that would normally cause guilt, perhaps God can awaken us.  Perhaps finally we are ready.  (This final paragraph is filled with my own interpretations and is not based, precisely, on ACIM tenets.)

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

I would always seek to make amends for the errors that I have perpetrated, but I would not lash myself, metaphorically, calling them “sins.”  I have sinned in time, but not in eternity, where I remain as You created me.  May I get some inkling of what this means today.

I would walk farther along the pathway to salvation today.  I know that Awakening stands at the end, and I ask for You to consider my petition for Awakening.  I am content, though, to wait on Your timing, knowing that it will be the perfect time when You choose it.

Help me to forgive my brothers and sisters for the mistakes that they have made in attacking me or in getting angry with my shortcomings and misunderstandings.  May all of us live, together, in peace today.  And may You allow me to feel Your presence as I walk throughout the day.

Amen.

The Embrace of God

ACIM Workbook Lesson 317 – for Sunday, November 13, 2011

Affirmation:  “I follow in the way appointed me.”

“And all my sorrows end in Your embrace, which You have promised to Your Son, who thought mistakenly that he had wandered from the sure protection of Your loving Arms.  (WB459)”

Reflections:

1 – God and Jesus Embrace Us

The embrace of God is similar to the oft-quoted passage from A Course of Love, in which Jesus embraces us.  Both are meant to offer comfort and love.  We would ourselves want our sorrows to end, but to have that happen means that we must cooperate with God’s plan.  We have never actually separated from God, though we live in a dream world (before we awaken) that says that we are separate from Him.  We need to be flexible, to follow guidance, to relax into the day rather than to fight against it.  If our thought or action makes us feel bad, then surely there is another way to live.  We can ask.  That is all that we really need to do to live a better life, one in which we rise above difficulties and disappointments in this world.  We also rise above the tragedies of this world, recognizing that they are illusion.  This does not mean that we do not offer comfort to our brothers and sisters, as we would ourselves wish to be comforted.  Offer others the embrace, symbolically and, if appropriate, actually.  We will not be sorry for having done so.

2 – Follow in the Way Appointed

If we follow in the way appointed, we are following the guidance of the Holy Spirit.  Later on, in A Course of Love, we are living the elevated Self of form, and we turn inward for our guidance in the time of Christ-consciousness.  But for now we are studying ACIM, and guidance in ACIM is from the time of the Holy Spirit.  We seek Him always.  And He will never disappoint us.  The way that we will follow will be joyful.  We will know peace.  And the egoism, and egotism, that overcame us for eons will just dissipate.  What a blessing that indeed will be!

3 – Our Sorrows End

If our sorrows end in the embrace of God, then we are at home in Him.  This is a very great promise, and one that we would do well to remember in our darkest moments.  And we may have more dark nights of the soul.  Our evolutionary pathway is not a straight line (from Neale Donald Walsch’s Conversations with God).  The way to Awakening is often a kind of spiral.  We see glimpses that revelation gives us, but we do not live the ending.  But the ending is sure, and it will come quickly when we are ready.  Once we have seen the real world–the world of peace and happiness–consistently, it is only a matter of a short while before we will know awakening.  God Himself takes this step, when He knows that we have been made ready.  Because we have been so prepared by A Course in Miracles, the light that is turned on in the dream will not frighten us anymore.  We will awaken gently and with peace.

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

I would sense Your embrace today.  Thank You for this reassurance.  We so often forget that You are always with us, carrying us when times are difficult.  Help me to do my part to ease the burdens of my brothers and sisters, and help me to know what to say to them when they are struggling.  If they are open to faith, give me the words to say.  I know that the Holy Spirit’s guidance is always true.  Help me to discern accurately.

An embrace is such a comforting gesture.  May I rest easy as I walk through this day, knowing that I am a part of You, and that You wish me well always.

If times seem tough, let me retreat to an inner sanctuary, in quiet, where I can feel the embrace that Jesus tells us about today.

Amen.

I Do Not Recognize God’s Gifts

ACIM Workbook Lesson 316 – for Saturday, November 12, 2011

Affirmation:  “All gifts I give my brothers are my own.”

“Father, I would accept Your gifts today.  I do not recognize them.  Yet I trust that You Who gave them will provide the means by which I can behold them, see their worth, and cherish only them as what I want.  (WB458)”

Reflections:

1 – “Perfectly Calm and Quiet”

Jesus says that where we are headed is to be “perfectly calm and quiet” all the time.  I have had a friend, a non-student of A Course in Miracles, question this.  Why would anybody want to be perfectly calm and quiet all the time?  My friend, I can speculate, believes that leaving out drama would not be a good thing.  (She was not specific.)

2 – Leave Out Drama

Yes is leaving out drama bad?  Isn’t it, after all, the drama that makes our lives turn full of conflict?

3 – Eckhart Tolle’s Response

Eckhart Tolle (The Power of Now, A New Earth) says that he and his girlfriend do not have drama in their relationship.  (Eckhart is a spiritual teacher who has detailed his experience of Awakening at age 30, after years of deep depression and accompanying anxiety.)  I believe that as we come closer to God, we will become quieter.  We will not seek acclaim (an egoic notion) for ourselves.  We will be still.

4 – Gifts of God

Quiet and stillness are gifts of God.  He has many more gifts to give us as well, gifts specifically designed for what we really need and want.  Our desires are very personal, as our personalities are also different.  So no “one size fits all” in the universe.  Let us ask God today for the gifts that He has held in waiting for each of us, the gifts that will warm our hearts and give us the blessings, material and otherwise, that He has waiting for us.

5 – God Cares about Our Material Needs

It is a misreading of God to believe that He does not care about our material and/or physical needs.  They are as important as our emotional and spiritual needs.  He would answer both.  It is true that a big part of the answer may come from what we are guided to say and do by the Holy Spirit.  But the Holy Spirit does most of the work.  Our own way to God is easy and peaceful, effortless (an ACIM tenet).

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

I would seek to recognize Your gifts today, knowing that I frequently am not able to understand and to appreciate those gifts as I should.  Help me to go as far toward understanding and appreciation as I can go today, given my spot on the pathway back to You.  I would drop drama from my list of emotions, as drama is frequently of the ego, and I would leave the ego behind.  Help me to be satisfied by the calm and quiet that only You can give.

Be with me today, as I seek to walk Your world in peace.  Be with me as I seek to understand what You would wish for me to have.  If I have material needs, help me to know what my part is in resolving this as a problem of mine.  Be with me through thick and thin, as I do know that You are.

Thank You for granting me the blessing of feeling Your presence.  You are all that I want.  You will see that everything that I need is graciously provided.  

Amen.

Finding Our Way to God

ACIM Workbook Lesson 315 – for Friday, November 11, 2011

Affirmation:  “All gifts my brothers give belong to me.”

“And everyone who finds the way to God becomes my savior, pointing out the way to me, and giving me his certainty that what he learned is surely mine as well.  (WB458)”

Reflections:

1 – Our Brothers and Sisters Play a Part in Our Salvation

This passage points the way for us, as well as the way we ought to interact with our brothers and sisters who have become our saviors by finding God.  It is a two-way street.  While we may realize that there is much more for to learn, and that others are ahead of us, it is true that only time separates all of us, and time does not really exist (ACIM tenets).  Once started on the pathway, the ending to our home in God is sure.  We learn from the individuals who have walked farther along the pathway than we have, and this applies most precisely to Jesus as our elder brother.

2 – Glimpses of Awakening

All along the way, though, we catch glimpses of Awakening, and at such times we are likely to have epiphanies that help us to know what our next step is to be.  At such times, we easily relax into the guidance of the Holy Spirit to tell us how to interact with others, our brothers and sisters.  We do not force “our” way upon them; there is a course for each teacher of God (a Manual tenet).  As I have said before in this blog, some are ready only for a smile.  Proselytizing frequently does the reverse of its intention.

3 – Only Time Separates Others from Us

Since only time separates our brothers and sisters from ourselves, then their knowledge is ours as well.  We just may not yet recognize how what they have learned can apply to ourselves.  Let us ask for guidance in such cases.  Often we recognize that a friend has a peace about him or her that seems almost supernatural.  Once we have started on the pathway, this experience of seeing salvation, seeing Christ, in the faces of others will build.  Our foreheads will be serene, and we will smile more frequently (from ACIM).  There is a way of being in the world without quite being here.  Those who comprehend as we do will recognize how we have changed, but others will think that we are the same as always, like them.  (These are paraphrases from ACIM.)

4 – A Secret Society

Thus develops a kind of secret society among those who see Christ in their brothers and sisters.  But we are not to be exclusive or use this miracle as a egoic distraction.  The ego is wily, and it will use such thoughts to separate us from others if we let this happen.  And we must join with our brothers and sisters, not think we are in anyway different or better than they are.  Only time separates, and time is an illusion.  All will go home eventually.  Let us help to make that time sooner rather than later.

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

I would ask to see the face of Christ in my brothers and sisters today.  I know that this is a necessary prelude to the experience of Awakening.  I ask to love unconditionally all others as I walk the path to You.  Help me to forgive myself and others for all ego-based thinking and action.  We need to cultivate forgiveness,. and from forgiveness to move to make all of our special relationships holy.  May I make progress in this endeavor today.

I would be careful not to let ego intrude on the intriguing concept of walking this world with others, and being recognized by some of them as being on the pathway to You.  Actually, all of us are on the pathway to You, because there is no other pathway.  But not everybody realizes this, and so time separates us.  May I live in eternity today, aware that time is only an illusion.

Be with me as I turn aside from any and all attack and anger.  May I recognize these actions as the calls for help that they really are.  Help me not to retaliate, and give me guidance about the way that I eliminate this egoic thinking from my mind.  May I enjoy the “secret society” totally without any investment in the ego, but completely with thanks to You for giving me a way to recognize others who have found their way to You.

Amen.

A Quiet Future Filled with Joy

ACIM Workbook Lesson 314 – for Thursday, November 10, 2011

Affirmation:  “I seek a future different from the past.”

“Who can grieve or suffer when the present has been freed, extending its security and peace into a quiet future filled with joy?  (WB457)”

Reflections:

1 – Helen and Bill’s Agreement

What does it mean to have a present that has been “freed”?  According to ACIM, it means that we no longer have an imprisoned will, and it is an imprisoned will that is causing our misery.  We see pain because we have not yet come around completely to a new perception, a perception cleansed by our following of the Holy Spirit.  We must know that there is another way, just as Helen Schucman and Bill Thetford came to recognize.  In the midst of harsh academic politics, Bill exclaimed one day, “There must be another way!”  And Helen immediately promised to help him to find it.  That was the turning point for them, and the scribing of ACIM began soon afterwards by Helen, leading to the turning point for the several million people since who have purchased ACIM, some in languages other than English.

2 – A Freed Present = the Real World?

If we are living in a freed present, what would it look like?  This passage gives indications:  security, peace, a quiet future filled with joy.  Is this not the real world?  Is this not what we have been wanting all along?  (This is an interpretation of my own.)

3 – Heaven on Earth

We will not grieve or suffer when the present has been freed for everyone, for Heaven on earth will have arrived as the comprehensive Awakening of all has finally come.  Jesus says that just as the separation took millions of years, the return may extend over a similar period of time, and perhaps still longer.  This seems a pessimistic statement, but it probably best viewed as realistic–and we will have no trouble comprehending as we look at the conflicted and troubled world in which we live.  Our own little worlds will improve, though, as our projections become cleansed by a mind freed of egoism, and we perceive the good in this world.  No longer dwelling on the wrongs that we may also perceive, we just categorize these wrongs as “insanity,” as illusions (or maya), and while we do what we can to free our brothers and sisters, we do not join them any longer in insanity. Thus our future becomes quiet and joyful, even though we continue to live and work in a world where many things are amiss.  Our attitude changes when we are living under the guidance of the Holy Spirit (an interpretation, not stated as such in ACIM).

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

I would make the same decision that Helen and Bill did, to find “another way” to live in this world.  ACIM points out that glorious way, a movement beyond the separation into salvation that eventually becomes a comprehensive Awakening for all individuals.  We must “be there” for our brothers and sisters, even as we intensively study A Course in Miracles, “our” way.  And some of us may feel led to consider A Course of Love, viewed by some as a sequel to ACIM, also believed by some to be channeled from Jesus.

Help me today to live in the present, and to accept this world even as I reach the conclusion that much that I view is simply insanity.  All of us are aware of the conflict inn which this world is caught.  Not all of us would view this trouble as sourced by the ego, turning our minds to madness.  But ACIM makes this pronouncement, and I would seek to understand this concept through the words that I read daily.  

May we first change ourselves into beings who wish to love without the ego, and then may we reach out to others who are ready for the message we long to give them.  Help me to know that changing myself is the first responsibility, and never are we bade to involve others who are not themselves already seeking.  May I share what is needed by my brothers and sisters today.  May I walk in love, with Jesus as my elder brother, holding me by the hand.  He promises to be with all who ask for him.  Thank You for this comforting thought.

Amen.

Awakening from the Dream of Sin

ACIM Workbook Lesson 313 – for Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Affirmation:  “Now let a new perception come to me.”

“Now let His true perception come to me, that I may waken from the dream of sin and look within upon my sinlessness, which You have kept completely undefiled upon the altar to Your holy Son, the Self with Which I would identify.  (WB457)”

Reflections:

1 – Much Meaning

This brief prayer packs much meaning from ACIM tenets.

2 – True Perception

First, we need “true perception,” because what the egoic mind has projected from within has been a perception that mirrors the inward conflict that the ego always generates.  And this makes a world that seems awry virtually all the time.  With true perception, we are identified with the Self within that is another word for the Christ within (an interpretation, not specifically stated in ACIM).

3 – We Have Been Asleep

Second, we have been asleep, because in the myth Adam fell asleep and nowhere is it said that he awoke (stated in the Text).  God knows that we sleep, because His channels of communication are closed, and He recognizes this, thinking that His children sleep and must be awakened.  We have taught ourselves the most unnatural habit of not communicating with our Creator, and we would undo this; we would commune with God more often, much more often.  (“Unnatural habit” and “communion” with God are Text imperatives.)  If we would stop imagining that we sin, we might stand a chance of recognizing that we have merely made mistakes that are correctable.  We would not condemn ourselves or others.  And we would recognize our sinlessness.  I have had individuals who read this blog say that our innocence is the most difficult concept of A Course in Miracles to believe.

4 – Our Altar Is Undefiled

Third, the altar to the holy Son (or Daughter), the Self, is undefiled, meaning that we are indeed sinless.  Our innocence has been kept pristine throughout the years that we believed that we were separated from God (and in which this separation became believable because we were actually mad).  There will be no comprehensive Awakening until the sanity of the Sons and Daughters of God has once more been recognized.  The Self that is a Son or Daughter has not fallen into insanity, but the egoic mind has made the personal self (a term from A Course of Love) think amiss.  We would change all this, but we cannot effect it ourselves.  And this is where A Course in Miracles says that the Holy Spirit comes in.  We open ourselves to His guidance, we remain flexible in our daily activities to do His bidding, and sooner rather than later God knows that we have dismissed the insanity of the egoic mind and are ready to awaken.

5 – True Perception

May the understanding of true perception effect a miracle in our lives today.  We may not be ready to awaken, but the knowledge that comes to us through ACIM will bring that distant day many years closer.

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

I would awaken, if I had my choice.  But it is Your choice, and I realize that, since Awakening has come only in snatches for me, I am not yet ready for the sustained Awakening that only You can give.  I did once experience six months of Awakening, and that memory is sweet.  But that was a long time ago, and I forget quickly.  Help me not to forget today; help me to remember more of what you taught me in that period of time so long ago.  May my brothers and sisters see glimpses of Awakening along the way also.  Thank You for the blessing of these glimpses.

I would have true perception.  I realize that this is a precursor to Awakening.  I would not let my weakened ego win back strength from guile.  Jesus warned against this in A Course in Miracles.  May my ego just wither away.  I will remain with a strong sense of the Self, which is far beyond the little self that has been monopolized by egoic tendencies.

Help me to reach You today.  I know that You are within, and that all external to me is simply a projection.  All except the intangible love, joy, peace that You bring.  May I experience Your gifts today.  And may I never forget to say “thank you.”

Amen.

Perception Follows Judgment

ACIM Workbook Lesson 312 – for Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Affirmation:  “I see all things as I would have them be.”

“Perception follows judgment.  Having judged, we therefore see what we would look upon.  For sight can merely serve to offer us what we would have.  (WB456)”

Reflections:

1 – We Make the World We See

We do make the world that we see.  This is a reiteration of the oft-repeated refrain in ACIM that projection makes perception.  Surely this is an important point, since it is repeated so often.  It may be hard to imagine that we see the world that we have made, because it is our wish.  But A Course in Miracles says many things that at first glance are hard to accept.  This is one more.

2 – We Interpret What We See

We can have solace in a difficult world by recognizing that the lesson for today indicates that our sight includes our interpretation of what we are seeing.  We can choose the emotion that we will experience by being more careful about what thoughts we entertain.  Richard Carlson (author of Shortcut through Therapy and other Psychology of Mind books) says that feelings follow thought, though we do not often recognize this.  So, if we believe this and take it to heart, we need to be more careful about what we think.  The thought will generate the feeling or emotion that we experience.

3 – We Are Much Too Tolerant of Mind Wandering

Jesus himself in ACIM says that we do not watch our thoughts carefully enough.  We are much too prone to mind wandering (from the Text).  And everything that we think makes form at some level (an ACIM tenet).  We do not understand these levels, and ACIM is not specific about whether or not some levels are on other planes of reality (e.g., the Other Side).  We need to follow Jesus’s advice and say “Stop!” to ourselves when we realize that we have engaged in mind wandering.  It may be seen that much that we make is false and bad for us because we have entertained negative thoughts.  Even popular psychology agrees, in that we are made to understand the self-fulfilling prophecy.

4 – Try Not to Judge Today

Let us make a pact with our closest brothers and sisters not to make judgments today.  If there is someone whom you know who studies ACIM, contact them and ask that they join with you in a day judgment-free.  If not a day, try for an hour at a time.  The results will prove the point of today’s Workbook lesson.

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

I would not judge today.  I would realize anew that what I judge against affects my perception, making an interpretation that is not true.  My interpretations are always wrong when informed by the ego.  And judgment is of the ego.  Help me to keep these thoughts in mind today that I may have a good day.

May I not fall into “mind wandering” today.  This is one of my worst habits.  I sometimes pray aloud to keep my mind from wandering.  Help me in any simple techniques today that will keep me on track when I talk to You, when I commune with You.  I would open my heart, my inner heart, and feel Your presence keenly.  May today be a banner day, filled with the sense of Your presence.

Amen.

Judgment by Us Is Always Faulty

ACIM Workbook Lesson 311 – for Monday, November 7, 2011

Affirmation:  “I judge all things as I would have them be.”

“Judgment was made to be a weapon used against the truth.  It separates what it is being used against, and sets it off as if it were a thing apart.  And then it makes of it what you would have it be.  It judges what it cannot understand, because it cannot see totality and therefore judges falsely.  (WB456)”

Reflections:

1 – We Do Not Know All the Circumstances

This passage reflects something that I said in this blog a few days ago.  We cannot judge rightly, because, unlike the Holy Spirit, we do not know all the circumstances surrounding us in our world in the past, present, and future.  Only the Holy Spirit, the Universal Inspiration, can lead us rightly.

2 – Projection Makes Perception

The affirmation points to yet another point, not made the well-known Manual passage on judgment.  We make things as we would have them be in our own judging.  This is because projection makes perception, and we will think we see what we want.  We see bad things sometimes, even when we do not think we want to see these things.  But somewhere in our consciousness is the germ of an idea that manifests.

3 – Bad Things Happen in Our World

Of course, we are part of a mass hallucination (an interpretation, not stated in ACIM), and many bad things happen in our world that we do not think we have any control over.  We do not have direct control in many instances, but we can control–with guidance and the help of God–how we react.  The only proviso that I would make is that we can be so overcome with negative emotions that we are out of control and cannot effectively moderate our temperament.  Then we can reach out to others at the same time that we ask for help from God.  God can speak through another person when He seems (but is not actually) inaccessible to us.  We are not meant to walk our way alone.

4 – Ask for Divine Guidance

We would know the truth today.  We would not judge.  If we are tempted to indulge in judgment, let us pull ourselves up short and try again.  We ask for divine guidance in such ties.  We cannot see the truth of ourselves and others if we are caught in judgment.  This in itself is reason enough to let judgment,  like the ego, wither away from lack of support.

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

I would not judge today, because not only do I know that it is wrong, but also that I know that it is always inaccurate.  I would not live in the world that I would judge, for as projection makes perception, I make a world that is not worthy of God’s Daughter/Son.  And we are the Self, in our highest essence, that is a Daughter/Son.  Thank You for leading me to understand this, and may the ego not intrude in this characterization.  It is nothing that I have ever done that has given me this designation.  I would have stayed lost if it had not been for Your Guide, the Holy Spirit.  May I not fall into error today, which can still happen.  May I walk the narrow way to salvation.

Be with me as I seek to love, not to judge, my brothers and sisters.  It is true that we all try as hard as we can, and if we had lived the life of another, we would make the decisions that he/she is making.  May I live a life in Your shadow only.  May I live the peaceful, joyous approach that is so carefully pointed out to me in A Course in Miracles.

Thank You for Jesus’s role in bringing these understandings to our world.  May we reach out to others, as they are ready, with the message of ACIM.

Amen.

GAVIN VEERE RE ACIM; A Review of Chapter 1 of Gavin Veere’s “Commentary on A Course in Miracles”

by Celia Hales

For information on ordering Gavin’s latest book, visit his website at the following address: http://gavinveere.com/

This volume, entitled Commentary on A Course in Miracles, is Chapter 1 of a projected multi-volume series.  In this chapter, Gavin takes a look at the 50 miracle principles which begin A Course in Miracles.  It is not a simple look, but a well-designed commentary that draws parallels from the entire three-volume ACIM.

Gavin takes us through the 50 principles, one-by-one, but as he progresses, he draws upon past comments to form a well-established sequence of ideas.  By choosing the 50 principles of miracles, and then developing ideas from the other parts of ACIM, he has done us a great service.  Those 50 principles are among the most difficult parts for a new student, because he/she does not have the understanding that the remaining pages of A Course in Miracles will give.

This introductory chapter for Gavin’s commentary also introduces the entire ACIM.  For veteran students/teachers, it serves as a review that capsules a large number of the most important passages to follow.

Gavin has been sharing parts of his new book on his web site, and I encourage interested individuals to visit the address given above.  He is a most approachable person, with accounts on Facebook and Twitter, and he is very, very enthusiastic about A Course in Miracles.  And his enthusiasm is catching!

Chapter 1 of Commentary on A Course in Miracles is a fitting beginning to a most ambitious project that will have far-reaching effects, I believe, on the understanding that students/teachers have of A Course in Miracles.

Read and enjoy!

In Fearlessness and Love I Spend Today

ACIM Workbook Lesson 310 – for Sunday, November 6, 2011

Affirmation:  “In fearlessness and love I spend today.”

“There is no room in us for fear today, for we have welcomed love into our hearts.  (WB454)”

Reflections:

1 – Love and Fear

This is an important composite of much that the Text tells us.  Love and fear are the only emotions, and everything else that we feel are components of these two.  We need to leave fear behind and to turn, always, to love.

2 – Fear is Persistent

Of course, it is easy to say to leave fear and turn to love.  It is not something that we should ever attempt without divine intervention.  Even when we have studied A Course in Miracles for years, fear will rear its ugly head from time to time.  And we will not always have it within our power to listen to the Holy Spirit when in the throes of an anxiety attack.  Then we need to realize that there is a reason that we are not in this world alone.  We reach outward to our brothers and sisters, sometimes to professional help or pastoral guidance, and we learn more.  Temporarily there may be others who know more than we do (a Manual tenet).

3 – Today’s Lesson as an Affirmation

Used as an affirmation, the lesson for the day is very helpful.  If our fear is only low-grade, the affirmation may help us quite a bit.

4 – Catherine Marshall’s Solution to Fear

Catherine Marshall, though, says that in her experience, affirmations are not powerful enough when she is very fearful.  Walking right up to the fear and staring it in the face seem to work better.  Of course, she and we do not walk alone; we are, indeed, being “carried” by God (from an anecdote told by Hugh Prather).

5 – Welcome Love

When we welcome love into our hearts, we will naturally encounter fewer actions in the outside world that will arouse fear in us.  We will project love, peace, calm to the outer world of our perceptions, because projection makes perception (an ACIM tenet).  The world that we will make at such times will stand us in good stead, in memory, when we are less careful to fill our minds with the Thoughts of God.  The Thoughts of God will always save us.  And this is what we really seek as we try to live, consistently, in love.

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

I would not be fearful nor anxious today.  I would welcome love, which is the only permanent cure to fearful and anxious thoughts and emotions.  Let me rid myself of fear in whatever way seems to help me the most.  I realize that different techniques work at different times and for different people, but Jesus says that the only permanent solution is a return to love.

May I return to love today.  May You join me in this endeavor.  May I turn inward whenever I am beset by worry, and may my assurance that Your Guide is with me be the best means of knowing that all is truly well.  Thank You for being there within me, and may I touch that inner core more and more often.

Amen.

I Am Eternally Innocent

ACIM Workbook Lesson 309 – for Saturday, November 5, 2011

Affirmation:  “I will not fear to look within today.”

“Within me is Eternal Innocence, because it is God’s Will that It be there forever and forever.  His Son, whose will is limitless as is His Own, can will no change in this.  (WB454)”

Reflections:

1 – Looking Within

We sometimes fear to look within because we imagine that we are really despicable creatures.  We fear what we will see if we get a good look within.  But is this realistic?

2 – Mistakes – Not “Sins”

A Course in Miracles says that we are innocent.  We may have made mistakes, in illusion, but we have not “sinned.”  So we must be good on the inside.

3 – Ask for Forgiveness

When we know that we can ask forgiveness of the Universe (we do not have to ask forgiveness of God, because He has never condemned us–an ACIM tenet) and of ourselves, not to mention our brothers and sisters, then all is well.  We need the exercise of asking forgiveness.  It heals our minds.

4 – Avoid Stress = Avoid Anger and Attack

Asking forgiveness also calms us.  And it is normally in our stress that we get into trouble with attack and anger.  When we are at peace, these emotions do not often occur at all.  When we have avoided forgiveness and all that it holds out to us, and we attack or respond in anger, then we need to ask forgiveness of the individual against whom we have judged.  We have judged him or her, or we would not attack.  And our attack, we think, has brought us something that we want.  It has been a defense for ourselves (a Text tenet).  But we do not need defenses.  We are little and weak, in need of defense; we are actually quite strong as we follow the Holy Spirit.

5 – “Eternal Innocence”

“Within me is Eternal Innocence”:  This is a phrase that will mean much to us as we memorize it.  It will give us a day in which we feel justified in God’s Sight.

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

I thank You that You have led me to believe that I have sinned in time, but not in eternity.  And it is only eternity that counts.  I have made mistakes in eternity, but I can ask for correction, and it is mine as soon as I make the request.  Help me to remedy any wrongs that I have perpetrated on my brothers and sisters.  And help me to forgive myself, as well as any wrongs that I have imaged that others have done to me.

Be with me today as I seek to avoid mistakes.  I know that I will always make mistakes that need correction, but I ask to be shown where I am wrong, and I ask to be shown how to make amends immediately.  May I discern the guidance of the Holy Spirit accurately today and every day.

Amen.

Live This Holy Instant Only

ACIM Workbook Lesson 308 – for Friday, November 4, 2011

Affirmation:  “This instant is the only time there is.”

“Thanks for this instant, Father.  It is now I am redeemed.  This instant is the time You have appointed for Your Son’s release, and for salvation of the world in him.  (WB453)”

Reflections:

1 – We Live In the Present Always

There is no past and no future; we live only in the present.  The only exception to this is what we do with our minds.  We can imagine ourselves in the past or the future, but never can be go there.  The time is always–now.

2 – Make This Instant Holy

This instant of time can be a holy instant if we are open to it.  Holy instants are harbingers of the Heaven on earth to which we all are headed.  Holy instants, for which we do not have to prepare (a Text tenet), are evidence of the Holy Spirit’s guidance.  And our blessing will come from the holy instant that He has prepared for us.

3 – In the Now We Are Redeemed

It is only in the Now that we can be redeemed.  What does it mean to be redeemed?  This is another word for salvation, and ultimately for Awakening.  As we practice living in the present, our worries will diminish.  As we see a long “to do” list for the day, we try to go down one item at a time, not looking ahead in frustration that there is too much to do.  Taking one item at a time on  our “to do” list is an example of living in the present, living in the Now.  It is the best way to live, and this ensures that we will live aright.

4 – May We Be Healed Healers

We are meant to bring salvation to the world.  We first become “healed healers,” or what we do will be misguided.  According to ACIM, an “unhealed healer” needs to turn within and seek for his or her own healing.  Then we reach outward.  All of this doesn’t happen at one time, but in repeated evidence that we are not totally healed.  We oscillate between being healed and being unhealed.  And when we recognize that we have fallen into the latter, we are to turn to the Holy Spirit, and, once again, to ask for healing.  He will answer.

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

I would practice living in the Now, the present, today at every point of which I live in awareness.  I would take one item on my “to do” list at a time.  I would not focus on the future, in fretting; and I would not focus on the past, in worry.  I would remain serene and calm in this moment.

Help me to deliver on this intention.  I know that to do so will not be easy.  But You are always there to guide me, and the Holy Spirit, inwardly, leads me home.  Be with me as I seek home often today.

Amen.

To Will Separately from God Is Senseless and Painful

ACIM Workbook Lesson 307 – for Thursday, November 3, 2011

Affirmation:  “Conflicting wishes cannot be my will.”

“Father, Your Will is mine, and only that.  There is no other will for me to have.  Let me not try to make another will, for it is senseless and will cause me pain.  (WB453)”

Reflections:

1 – The Father’s Will and Mine Are Identical

This prayer returns us to the important message that A Course in Miracles gives out to us:  Our will and our Father’s Will are identical.  When we ask for and receive guidance from the Holy Spirit, He chooses for us; He lets us know what we really want.

2 – An Imprisoned Will

Anything else engenders an imprisoned will that brings on pain (a Text tenet).

3 – Revisiting Jonah

It is hard for us who were schooled in the Old Testament (or Hebrew Bible) and the story of Jonah to believe that what God wills for us is exactly what we will for ourselves, if we only knew our own mind.  But it is.  And this is the glorious promise that we are not puppets.  The Holy Spirit chooses for us.  He knows all circumstances–past, present, and future–that will impact any decision, and then He lets us know what decision is best, what we would best choose to say or do (or even think) next.

4 – Judging Amiss

The Manual discusses judgment quite a bit, and it points out to us that we have often thought that we judged aright, only to find out how wrong we have been.  The world, the Manual says, teaches us to rely on judgment as we mature, but this teaching is in direct contrast to A Course in Miracles.  We turn our judgment over to One Who does know, and we are infinitely blessed by this gesture.

5 – When in Conflict, Go Within

If we find ourselves in conflict, the best action that we can take is to go within, to God, to the Holy Spirit, in silence, and to get quiet.  Then the next step will appear without fail.  If it appears not to appear, we have allowed emotions to cloud our thinking.  Be still, wait in confidence, and the next right action to take will come to us.  Especially is this advice important when we find ourselves in conflict with one of our brothers or sisters.  Get quiet, do not engage in debate or argument, and listen to guidance of the Holy Spirit.  Then the conflict will dissipate.

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

I would affirm today by my thoughts and actions that I know that my real will and Your Will are identical.  May I not get lost in foolish thoughts about puppets, thinking that if I do Your will, I will be little more than someone dangling on a string that You control.  This is not the Way.  The Holy Spirit knows what I really want in my heart, and in every way he seeks to have me realize these heartfelt truths also.  I would walk the Way that He directs.  I would not seek to make judgments about what to think or say or do, when it is completely impossible for me to know all the facts.  You do know all the facts, and Your Universal Inspiration will reveal to me what I need to know to walk the right pathway.  Thank You for caring for me enough to give me a Guide Who cannot fail.

Be with me all day today, as I seek to walk Your pathway.  May I intuitively know the next right thing to do, and may I never doubt that this intuition, if informed by Your grace, is the best way for me to go.

Amen.

Christ’s Vision I Would Use Today

ACIM Workbook Lesson 306 – for Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Affirmation:  “The gift of Christ is all I seek today.”

“What but Christ’s vision would I use today, when it can offer me a day in which I see a world so like to Heaven that an ancient memory returns to me?  (WB452)”

Reflections:

1 – “Wisp of a Melody”

The ancient memory meant here is the “wisp of a melody” (from the Text) that we remember in holy instants, the wisp of a melody that would make us weep, because it reminds us of what we have lost.  But it does not have to remain lost.  Jesus in A Course in Miracles is telling us how to find the ancient memory again and how to incorporate that memory in our daily life.

2 – The Memory of Heaven

What is this memory?  It is the memory of the Heaven that we threw away when we forgot to laugh at a “tiny, mad idea” (from the Text).  We did not value Heaven enough, thinking that we would find in separation something that we liked better..  It matters not that we could not actually separate from God.  It was enough that we thought that we could do so.  So we started the long trek away, and for all of us to return may take millions of years.  But that is not a reason to start; it is not even a reason to become discouraged.  Anywhere along the way, the inclusiveness of the Holy Spirit’s guidance may dawn on us (an ACIM tenet), and, when it does, we are on the pathway.  The ending is sure.

3 – What about Our Brothers and Sisters?

Could we be happy in a Heaven of another realm if if meant that all of our brothers and sisters were not there with us?  This understanding is why we need to lead others home with us.  We can have a Heaven on earth because our projection has made perceptions that are cleansed.  And then we will be in a better position to help.  We do not, though, choose the miracles that we will perform.  We let Jesus, our elder brother, choose for us.  Consciously chosen miracles are normally misguided (a Text tenet).  Let greater guidance that we can manifest come into our minds and spirits and show us the next step.

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

Help me to understand what I need to understand to use Christ’s vision today to return a memory of Heaven lost.  I would experience the “Heaven on earth” that is indicated in Jesus’s words.  I would not want to experience this great blessing alone, though.  I would share this blessing of a new world with all with whom I come in contact.

Help us to want to help all others.  May we turn aside from the selfishness that might want God’s blessings only unto ourselves.  We need to reach out to others in this world.  We are not meant to travel alone.  Help me today to share a message with those who are ready for that message.  Thank You for being in and with me always.

Amen.