Wholly Worthy of Forgiveness

“But should one brother dawn upon your sight as wholly worthy of forgiveness, then your concept of yourself is wholly changed.  Your ‘evil’ thoughts have been forgiven with his, because you let them all affect you not. (T662)”

Affirmation:  “a brother wholly worthy of forgiveness”

Reflections:

1 – True Love = Forgiveness

If we have truly loved another, we have truly forgiven.  This brother is “wholly worthy of forgiveness,” and then we see that we too are wholly worthy of forgiveness.  How could it work another way?  Our significant others will know when we have incorporated this tenet into our lives.  Life will smooth out; we will not attack when we are stressed; we will love in a more demonstrative way.  And our significant others will respond to the new way that we are living, though they may not understand it, at least not yet.  Let them wonder, and when they ask what has caused the change in us, then is the time to share, over time, the tenets of A Course in Miracles.  Do not try to share before others are ready, or we will surely turn them off.  It is up to us to ask for guidance in this matter of sharing what we have learned.

2 – Our Real Self Is Not Hurt

It is best that we let no one hurt us, because in truth our Self has not been hurt (a tenet of A Course of Love).  If this emotion of healing seems too lofty a concept, then at least do not let a brother know that he has hurt us.  By feeling hurt and letting it be known, one believes that it is possible for illusions to bring suffering.  It is not necessary to learn through pain; this is a concept of A Course in Miracles.  The fact that we do learn through pain does not negate ACIM; it only means that we have misjudged ourselves.

3 – The Real World

Our reality has not suffered, has not known pain.  The real world of the Course makes this clear.  The illusion would not have it so–yet the reality knows the truth.

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

I would accept deeply the truth that when one loves, one forgives.  If we have truly loved, we have truly known that the individual is forgiven of anything and everything that might have hurt us.  We need love only once to know this truth.

In the natural course of life, we love many others.  Our brothers and sisters are here for our love.  Thank You for letting us know that our special relationships need to turn into holy ones.  May You help me to do that in every instance, with every brother and sister who has ever crossed my path.  Thank You for the truth that this is indeed a very sane response, that no one has hurt me in the real world, and that my Self is still innocent of wrongdoing.  It is only in time that I have “sinned,” and time does not really exist.  May I come to live in Your eternity more and more.

Thank You for the peace that You have granted me today.  I know that You would have me feel this peace each day.  It is only the remnants of my ego that prevent me from the serenity that You wish for me, a serenity that would be permanent.

Amen.

A Prayer to Relinquish Attack

“You could not recognize your ‘evil’ thoughts as long as you see value in attack.  You will perceive them sometimes, but will not see them as meaningless.  And so they come in fearful form, with content still concealed, to shake your sorry concept of yourself and blacken it with still another ‘crime.’ (T622)”

Affirmation:  “‘Evil’ thoughts are meaningless.”

Reflections:

1 – Leave Attack Behind

A Course in Miracles would have us leave attack behind forever.  If we do attack, we may feel better momentarily, thinking that we have gotten the guilt out (an interpretation by Ken Wapnick), the anger vented, but we will accuse ourselves of “sin,” or, as the Course says, yet another mistake.  We will feel worse about ourselves, a “sorry concept,” that has been blackened by yet another crime.  This will not do.  We cannot live a rewarding life this way.  So what do we do?

2 – Turn Anger over to the Holy Spirit

The words of the passage are deep.  They suggest that the only way out of our illusions of sin are to leave attack alone.  Turn over our anger to the Holy Spirit.  Let him judge the severity of the deed against ourselves, done by another.  It is not for us to judge; let Him.  We are told in ACIM that attack and anger are never justified.  But this does not mean that we repress (or try to suppress) our anger.  Today’s psychology knows better, even as does ACIM.  Today’s psychology would have us vent this anger, but is this really the best way?  Don’t we likely hurt others in the process of venting?  And do we not feel guilty that we have hurt ourselves as well as others?  If we follow the way of A Course in Miracles, and turn our anger over to the Holy Spirit, He will relax us and stress will resolve (an interpretation, not stated in ACIM).  When we have given our hurt over to the inner Guide, we know that we are not alone.  And we will live, daily, on a much better footing.

3 – Attack Never Works

We think that attack gives us something that we want.  We are wrong.  The way of attack can never work.  ACIM embodies that premise.

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

One of my greatest regrets is the verbal attack that I made to someone who was actually one of my greatest friends, though we have never seen each other much at all.  When someone is out of our life, it is too late to make amends.  We can only try to forgive ourselves for this lamentable behavior.  You have not ever condemned me for my foolishness, and so You do not need, actually, to “forgive.”  But I need to feel forgiveness in my own mind and spirit, and that is what I pray for specifically today.

Be with me as I seek to walk a fresh pathway, clear of the false ways of acting that impeded my life when I was much younger.  Thank You for A Course in Miracles, for the blessing of ACIM.  We live in an eternity, and in eternity we are innocent.  May I take this promise unto myself today.

Be with my brothers and sisters who read this blog posting.  May they know forgiveness for any regrets that they still harbor for deeds that cannot be undone from the past.

Amen.

A Fearful Script

 

 

“Fear is a judgment never justified.  Its presence has no meaning but to show you wrote a fearful script, and are afraid accordingly.  But not because the thing you fear has fearful meaning in itself. (T641)”

Affirmation:  “Fear is never justified.”

Reflections:

1 – Anxious Out of Habit?

Many of us are, almost by nature, anxious.  This is a manifestation of fear.  If we can remember that we are fearful only because of the “script” we wrote, we can often make some progress in talking ourselves out of this anxiety.

2 – Fear Is Never Justified

This passage says that fear is never justified.  To remember this, and to put it in practice, is not easy.  But it is possible.  And, the Course says that its tenets are simple.

3 – Live Effortlessly

It takes a patient mind to learn how to live simply.  When we rush about and see the stress all around in our rushing, we ask for the anxiety that we would do well to live without.  Let us leave the fearful script behind!  We will still get to our goals, but with far less strain.

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

I am one of those who have lived with far too much anxiety.  I have often used anxiety as a goad to get me to finish some task that I have set myself, and sometimes this task has been ego-inspired.

I would leave  all this foolishness behind me today.  I would have You direct me to accomplish what You would like to see, but with the effortlessness that You promise.  There is always time for what is needful.  I believe that I was guided to that realization many years ago in graduate school, but after that time ended, I did not always remember what You had shown me then.  You want to help us, to offer assistance.  It is a free offer, and, today, I accept Your help unconditionally.

Thank You for granting me the serenity of feeling Your presence.

Amen.

Distress Rests on Error

“If pardon were unjustified, you would be asked to sacrifice your rights when you return forgiveness for attack.  But you are merely asked to see forgiveness as the natural reaction to distress that rests on error, and thus calls for help.  Forgiveness is the only sane response.  It keeps your rights from being sacrificed. (T638)”

Affirmation:  “Distress rests on error.”

Reflections:

1 – Distress Rests on Error

The most memorable part of this passage is the phrase, “distress that rests on error.”  If this phrase is remembered, we will have a ready remark to call to mind if arguments happen in our environment.  We will then be more willing to take a timeout, and to begin the process of forgiving the lamentable encounter.

2 – Pardon Is Fully Justified

This passage notes that pardon is fully justified.  This, regardless of how many times we reread the Course, may still be a sticking point.  Yet the bottom line is the dream, the “maya.”  Our brother has merely made errors, mistakes, and he, like us, deserves forgiveness for the poorest choices.  We are said to have “sinned” in time, but we live in eternity, where we are innocent (ACIM tenets).  If this is not fully comprehended, it is our failure yet to adopt for ourselves the most basic of the tenets of A Course in Miracles.

3 – Forgive Insanity

“Forgiveness is the only sane response.”  Of course!  We need the sanity of the Course, because our brother’s poorest choices have come out of insanity.  No one will find insanity hard to forgive.

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

I would rest in the thought that much that I observe that is negative is because my brother and sister are in distress.  And not only in distress, but actually living in an illusory world that is lost in insanity.  We who desire to share salvation need only to recognize that we and they are in pain.  A person who is insane is said to have diminished responsibility, and this characterization is true for the vast majority of our brothers and sisters in this world.  Nobody has to be locked up to be insane, in the interpretation of ACIM.

Be with me when I see insanity and fail to recognize the distress that prompted the poor behavior.  And may I forgive myself for my poor behavior over my lifetime.  May we all forgive not only our brothers and sisters, but also ourselves.

You have not condemned me when in eternity I have made mistakes.  Help me not to condemn myself.  May I just pick myself up and try to be a little kinder the next day.

Amen.

Anger Is Never Justified

“Anger is never justified.  Attack has no foundation.  It is here escape from fear begins, and will be made complete. (T638)”

 

Affirmation:  “I choose neither anger nor attack.”

Reflections:

1 – Attack and Anger Out of Bounds

Let’s just recognize the truth of these statements, even when the withered ego rebels.  Remembering that attack and anger are out of bounds is a great liberator.  It will help in the tough times that we go through with our loved ones.

2 – See the Relinquishment of Fear

There is a great boon here as well:  Leaving behind anger and attack leads to the relinquishment of fear.  Fear has dogged our every step, even when we have not been aware of this.  As the Course teaches, there are only fear and love, and, of the two, only love is real.

3 – Anger and Attack = Grievances

Anger and attack are usually present because we hold grievances.  And it is only when our grievances have been left behind that we know safety (from the Workbook).  It is said in ACIM that it is as though we held a dagger above our heads, and it will fall or be averted as we choose to forgive or to attack.  Our brother or sister attacks us because each is calling for help.  And it is our duty to rush to his/her side with assistance.  Doing so keeps our rights from being removed.  We recognize the truth of the situation, and we will find that we ourselves also get help when we need it.  As we give, we do receive (from the Treatises of A Course of Love).

4 – Our Innocent Brother

The underlying idea here is that our brother and sister are actually, in essence, innocent.  They have, like we all, been guilty of mistakes, but these can be overlooked–if we don’t at first make them real by thinking too much about them.

5 – Only Love Is Real

We are living a dream in which nothing except the love is real.   That is why anger and attack are never justified.

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

I know that when I feel anger what I am involved in an interpretation which is not true.  If I am outraged, it is even more certain that I am misperceiving.  In this world, of course, we are very human, and, for most of us, our fallibility includes being embroiled from time to time in arguments.  I would not let this state of affairs continue in my life, in the life that You have given to me.  Help me to recognize when I am misperceiving, and help me to forgive–regardless of how great the error of my significant others actually is.

I would accept that I am seeing a bad scene because I do not want to see it.  Help me to understand this paradox from A Course in Miracles.  I would choose to see only those scenes that will honor You, and that will give me the peace that only You can offer to me.  Be with me today if attack and anger become temptations.  I would turn to my Guide at such times.  I would ask to see the real truth, which is that I live in an illusion, and only the real things of peace, joy, serenity, and the like, are true.  I would find truth today.

 Thank You for leading me in recent time to a more peaceful pace of living.  May stress not overwhelm me, because I never get angry unless I am stressed.

Amen.

Judge Not

“How can God’s Son awaken from the dream?  It is a dream of judgment.  So must he judge not, and he will waken. (T622)”

Affirmation:  “I will judge not, that I may awaken.”

Reflections:

1 – Challenge

This is a great challenge to those of us who have not yet awakened.  The advanced teacher of God does not see challenge, but it is there for the vast majority of us.  Perhaps the only thing, concretely, that we can do to hasten Awakening is to remember not to judge.  Judging is the prerogative of the Holy Spirit, and He makes one judgment only, “God’s Son is innocent.”  (These are paraphrases from ACIM.)

2 – We Are Innocent

Do we really believe that we are innocent?  Can we really see that we live in eternity, where we have not sinned, though we have “sinned” in time?  We live in an illusion, and we must not choose to do just anything at all, because everything is illusion.  This is a particular unfortunate interpretation of ACIM that perhaps few of us choose to make.  We still try to do the right thing; we do not choose what we perceive as wrong or “evil.”

3 – Cease Judging

We can choose to stop judgment at the point that we first notice it.  This takes practice, but it is not outside our will, with the help of the Holy Spirit.  It is God Himself, according to ACIM, Who takes the final step to awaken us.  The timing is His own.

4 – Judge Not = Awaken

There is a great promise in this passage.  “Se must he judge not, and he will waken.”  What a blessing it is!  And how easy does Jesus make it sound.

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

I would not evaluate my life and those who are a part of it today.  Evaluation is very close to judgment, and judging is not my prerogative.  You counsel against judgment.  I am not happy when I judge, when I have failed to forgive, and this in itself is enough to know that I have strayed from the pathway back to You.

I would be happy today.  Send me on busy doings, but in the doing keep me close to You.  I would feel Your presence as I carry out the sometimes difficult tasks that I am called on to fulfill.  May my day be busy and full, but blessed by the sense of Your presence.  May Your Guide keep me walking smoothly and serenely.

Amen.

The Secret of Salvation

“The secret of salvation is but this:  That you are doing this unto yourself.  No matter what the form of the attack, this still is true.  Whoever takes the role of enemy and of attacker, still is this the truth. (T587-T588)”

Affirmation:  “I am doing this unto myself.”

Reflections:

1 – Does Life Seem Hard?

If life seems very hard, we can think of these words.  They are not easy to understand, because they sound like a “blame the victim” scenario.  But A Course in Miracles never intends this.  We do not consciously bring bad things upon ourselves, at least most of the time.  And the evil that is in the world is not our own personal fault.

2 = ACIM and Victimhood

This aspect of the Course has been misinterpreted by many people.  And many have rejected it because of the “victim” problem.

3 – Happier Days

Do not reject any longer.  With the help of the Holy Spirit, we will see happier days.  We will ponder the happenings around us, and they will cause pain.  But suffering is our own choice, and we can choose to turn over to the Holy Spirit all things that hurt.  This includes for others as well as ourselves.

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

When my relationships that I pray have turned from “special” to “holy” not give me problems today.  May I listen to Your Guide, and may I be for my significant others all that they need today, all that they honestly need for me to provide.  May I not take over their problems as my own.  We are here to assist, but not to take away the lessons that our loved ones are here to learn.  Help me to remember this truth today.

Thank You for leading me to understand that A Course in Miracles never “blames the victim.”  I know that our Self may have plans that we do not see.  And You may have plans that we do not comprehend.  But You never wish bad fortune on anyone, and I know this well.  Help me not to question Your love in any situation or at any time.

I do love You, and I appreciate that You love me unconditionally, in every situation in which I find myself embroiled.  May I resign from attack and anger, and reach inwardly to Your Being within me.  May my projections bring lovely perceptions today.

Thank You for carrying me when I am too weak to do anything helpful for myself.

Amen.

An Ancient Truth

“The world but demonstrates an ancient truth; you will believe that others do to you exactly what you think you did to them.  But once deluded into blaming them you will not see the cause of what they do, because you want the guilt to rest on them. (T587)”

Affirmation:  “I think that others do to me what I think I did to them.”

 

Reflections:

1 – Blaming

This passage sounds hard to understand at first glance.  Do we, we ask ourselves, really want the guilt to rest on others?  If we reflect a moment, we will realize that we do.  This is what “blaming” is all about.

2 – Projections Makes Perception

The philosophical basis of the Course is hinted at in this passage.  Our perceptions determine what we see, because what we see is a projected dream.

3 – The World Prompts Us

We believe that others do not always wish kindness upon us, and therefore we see that.  And we think that we have been guilty of unkindness.  The “we” comes first.  We project the dream that we are bad people, guilty of much “sin,” and then we see others doing bad things to us.  This is the way that we learn.  This is a reason for the world’s existence in its present form.

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

I would see only kindness today.  I would not blame another if, during the day, I am feeling down.  This is just a continuation of the dream, the illusion.  I would escape from fantasies of attack by not attacking myself, not attacking myself or others at all.

Guide me today to the way of right living in this world.  I long to be at home in You, hour by hour and even minute by minute.

Amen.

Dream of Your Brother’s Kindnesses

“Dream of your brother’s kindnesses instead of dwelling in your dreams on his mistakes.  Select his thoughtfulness to dream about instead of counting up the hurts he gave.  Forgive him his illusions, and give thanks to him for all the helpfulness he gave.  And do not brush aside his many gifts because he is not perfect in your dreams.  He represents his Father, Whom you see as offering both life and death to you. (T585)”

Affirmation:  “I dream of kindnesses.”

Reflections:

1 – How We See God

The final sentence in the above passage is pivotal; we see God as offering both life and death to us, and we think that it is our brother (or sister).   In other words, as long as we are caught in the ego, we will see our brother as offering both life and death to us, because we see God the same way.  We see God in our brother, though we are not usually aware of this.  When we progress, we gradually realize that God offers only life, and then our brother’s significance to us becomes clearer and more benign.

2 – Intimate Relationships

The earlier portions of this passage help a good deal in our intimate relationships.  We can choose what to fantasize, what to think, about our loved ones.  We can think of the times that we have been disappointed or hurt, or we can dwell on those times of happiness, when our brother has been all that we might wish in a loved one.  The obvious choice, for happiness, is to choose to focus on the good aspects of our relationships.

3 – Overlook Mistakes

Note that the more negative times with our brother have signified his mistakes, not his real self.  We may also see that we contributed to the situation by our own mistakes.  But the Course stresses that mistakes, once recognized, will be corrected, because we will desire to correct them.  We will dream of happiness rather than sadness.

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

May I forgive totally all that I have not yet forgiven of my brothers and sisters who, I think in my weaker moments, have mistreated me.  I realize that there is no other way to You.  And there is not value in clinging to grievances.  I will know that I am safe when I have given up all grievances.  I would know that I am safe today.

May I dream, in my illusory world, of all that my brothers and sisters have done that is right.  May I recall to mind the good times, the times when we were very close and all was well.  May I never dip into negative thoughts that I do not immediately forgive myself for this irrationality.  There is no better way to approach You than through my holy relationships to my brothers and sisters.  It is the way to You, the salvation that A Course in Miracles counsels.  May I never forget this.

I am not so advanced that I am free of dipping into negative thoughts about my loved ones, my closest relationships.  But help me to realize that this is my most important task, to let go the negativity and turn to You for the guidance of what to do next.  And You will always counsel forgiveness, because nothing has gone wrong in the real world.  It has all been illusion, my dream.

Amen.

Idle Dream

“Nothing more fearful than an idle dream has terrified God’s Son, and made him think that he has lost his innocence, denied his Father, and made war upon himself. (T584)”

Affirmation:  “An idle dream has terrified me.”

Reflections:

1 – What Does the “Idle Dream” Mean?

The world we view is seen by the A Course in Miracles as an “idle dream.”  But ACIM also says that there are no idle thoughts.  Form happens.  This tiny instant from the distant past caused the nightmare in which we are caught.  It all seems to be happening now, but Jesus  places time in the distant past, being relived now.  This is part of the theology of A Course in Miracles, and we probably will not fully understand, regardless of how often we revisit these passages.  That does not matter.  Jesus said that theology can delay us, and that it is an experience that he wants us to find.  A universal theology is impossible, but a universal experience is possible, and it is the latter that we should seek.

2 – Millions of Years to Escape

This is, nevertheless, a reassuring passage.  If it truly was an idle dream that caused what we see today, then the way out cannot be difficult (though the return for everyone may take millions of years, another concept of ACIM).

3 – We Are the Lucky Ones

We are the lucky ones, the ones who have ACIM to show us a simple pathway out.  We have not actually denied our Father.  That is part of the dream.  We are not terrible individuals; we have not lost our innocence.  All of our attack and anger take place in the dream.  And we think that we have made war on ourselves.  Again, the dream.

4 – We Are the Dreamer of the Dream

And we are the dreamer of the dream.  We can change the nature of the dream, with the help of the Holy Spirit, once we know that we are merely dreaming.  He will guide out steps out of the nightmare into the sunshine.

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

I would remember today that my dreams are personally directed by me.  I can choose the “happy dreams the Holy Spirit brings,” or I can get lost in dreams of revenge and unhappiness.  What will give me more peace today?  Your way is obvious, and it is obviously the way I plan to go.

May I not be daunted by the prospect of millions of years for all to return.  We are here to shorten that time, and Jesus says that each of us will shorten the wait by one thousand years.  Thank You for this reassurance.  And may I do my part today to chip away at that one thousand years.

Amen.

Murderers in Dreams

“A brother separated from yourself, an ancient enemy, a murderer who stalks you in the night and plots your death, yet plans that it be lingering and slow; of this you dream.  Yet underneath this dream is yet another, in which you become the murderer, the secret enemy, the scavenger and the destroyer of your brother and the world alike. (T584)”

Affirmation:  “I would not choose ‘murder’ today.”

Reflections:

1 – Nightmares in an Illusory World

These are the deplorable dreams that we dream in an illusory world.  This is why the world seems so hard.  We think that both our brother and ourselves are “murderers.”   We have nightmares, and this passage details one of the worst.  We blame ourselves for these nightmares that we live in our illusory world.  We think that we mean our brother and sister ill.  And that God will not forgive us.

2 – The Ego Speaks Nonsense

But all of this is simply the nonsense taught to us by the ego.  The ego is a part of our belief about ourselves (from the Text), but we are not doomed to remain in that part.  We can drop the belief that the ego does anything good, because it never does.  And when life moves to undo the ego, we suffer, for we often feel humiliated by false pride.  We must leave behind the ego, let it wither away, if we are to have peace and joy consistently.  No joy brought by the ego exists that was not paid for by tears (an ACIM tenet).  But we would weep no more; we would find joy in our spirits, and the way to that joy is to see the ultimate equality of all our brothers and sisters with ourselves.  We will all eventually share the gifts of God.  Presently, some know more, but this is not a lasting condition.  All will eventually share everything.  We are meant to share.  That is why we learn through our relationships–special turned holy.  We need to realize that our brothers and sisters are not meant to be held apart from ourselves, with us thinking that we are “better” in any way.  This is not the pathway that A Course in Miracles would lead us down.

3 – Bring on the Holy Spirit’s Happy Dreams

Until we leave these evil dreams behind, we will be immune to the “happy dreams the Holy Spirit brings.  (WB270)”  May we leave these evil dreams behind soon.

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

I would dream happy dreams today.  I would not project from my ego anything that would be disturbing to experience in this illusory world.  I do have that power, that is, my real Self does.  But my personal self does not have this much control.  And so often I find myself lost in my personal self, a self that still is sometimes in the control of an ego that has not yet withered away.

I know that when I ask for happy dreams, I find myself experiencing a much happier world.  The Holy Spirit does seem to listen and to respond, though I do not read this specifically in A  Course in Miracles.  But the Holy Spirit is Your Voice, and Your Guide for me, and I thank You today for making this so.

May the day be met with courage and resiliency.  May I know Your peace in the midst of every busy doing on which You send me.

Amen.

Sleeping Death or Happy Wakening

“The choice is yours to make between a sleeping death and dreams of evil or a happy wakening and joy of life. (T583)”

Affirmation:  “I choose a happy wakening.”

Reflections:

1 – Our Real Goal

This is the choice that is placed before us in the A Course in Miracles:  dreams of evil or joy of life.  The contrast could not be more stark.  If we learn ACIM, we will dismiss our sleeping death and instead, eventually, know a happy wakening.  Surely this is a goal that all of us would choose.

2 – How Do We Choose the Goal?

Perhaps the goal seems too hard.  How do we make this choice?  We may indeed make it a long time before the Awakening happens to us.  Elsewhere we are told that if the way seems long, to be content.  We are on the pathway.  What more could we want?  It is said in the Text that the separation seemed to occur over millions of years, and that the return of all of us will take a similarly long period of time, maybe even longer.  These statement seem disheartening.  But Jesus does not leave us in dejection.  He knows that we have turned the corner now; we have chosen to walk the pathway back home.  If the way seems long, at least we know that the joyous ending is assured.

3 – The “Sleeping Death”

It is hard to hear,  and perhaps we think we have wasted our lives, when we hear of a “sleeping death.”  Yet this is exactly what the ego has brought us to.  We have had our moments of joy, but they were bought at a grave price when brought to us by the ego.

4 – The Joy of Life

The joy of life comes when we let ourselves be guided by the Holy Spirit.  We must listen to the promptings of our spirit, and let the guidance from deep within lead us forward.  Then, we can hope, the happy wakening will not be far behind.  And life gets better as we approach the happy wakening, because we are dreaming soothing dreams, the “happy dreams the Holy Spirit brings” (from the Workbook).  We would not be awakened without this preparation, because we would be afraid of it.  Jesus guides us the gentle way, when wakening is welcomed, not feared.

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

Help me today to find a joyous life and to turn aside from what is called a “sleeping death.”  Be with me throughout the day as I make the choice that will bring Awakening to me on a sustainable basis, not simply in snatches.  Thank You for Your promise that You will rescue me as soon as I am ready, that You will “reach down” and “lift me up” to Awakening.  Help me to wait for You patiently.

All of us here need You, and perhaps those of us who recognize our need are at an advantage.  But help us to help all of our brothers and sisters who have not learned that our real need is at home in You.  May we let the ego wither away.  May we let drama in our lives just disappear.  I would not live drama today, but I would ask for the guidance of the Holy Spirit at all points that I remember.  Help me to remember today.

Amen.

“I Need Do Nothing”

“When peace comes at last to those who wrestle with temptation and fight against the giving in to sin; when the light comes at last into the mind given to contemplation; or when the goal is finally achieved by anyone, it always comes with just one happy realization; ‘I need do nothing.’  (T389)”

Affirmation:  “I need do nothing.”

Reflections:

1 – Difficult to Believe?

Perhaps we find this a difficult passage to believe.  And perhaps it is difficult to believe.

2 – Heaven

The passage is saying that we don’t have to achieve our way into heaven.  “I need do nothing.”  What a comforting thought!  How consoling to believe that we will believe and even understand this passage when the Awakening has happened to us.

3 – Forgiveness

There are various ways to achieve Awakening.  But the A Course in Miracles says that our brother is our way–forgiveness of our brother (and sister).  That is the way that we reach the goal.  And then we know that we need do nothing.

4 – Effortlessness

The way to Heaven on earth is meant to be effortless.  This does not mean that we will never “achieve.”  It only means that we do not have to achieve to merit Heaven.  God will send us on many errands for our brothers and sisters, but they will not seem a burden, for they are chosen for us by the One who knows us inside and out.

5 – Guidance

We need to let the Holy Spirit guide our days.  They may be busy days, but there will be an effortlessness about them that will prove the point of the chosen passage for today.  We do not have to struggle.  We are not without help from unseen companions.  Let God speak the truth of such musings to your heart today.

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

Help me to glimpse the full meaning of this passage and this important sentence, “I need do nothing.”  I realize that this does not mean that I will do nothing, because we are often send on busy errands.  But my salvation is not dependent on good works.  We forgive our brothers and sisters, and then we, gradually, come to understand more.  And Awakening stands at the end, once we have lived through the means to that end.

Be with me today.  I would not lead anybody astray, because this passage is not a prescription for laziness.  But it is a prescription for effortlessness, for all comes easy to us when we have come to understand how to follow You.  Be with me as I seek to listen and to discern accurately what the Holy Spirit is telling me.  I need You today.

Amen.

Calm and Quiet

“Can you imagine what it means to have no cares, no worries, no anxieties, but merely to be perfectly calm and quiet all the time?  Yet that is what time is for; to learn just that and nothing more. (T301)”

Affirmation:  “perfectly calm and quiet all the time”

 

Reflections:

1 – Calm and Quiet Is Ahead for Us

How different we will be when we have awakened!  “Perfectly calm and quiet all the time.”  This description is hardly what we feel now.

2 – Drama Turns Negative

Perhaps all of us would not wish “calm and quiet” as a universal experience.  We are so used to busyness, with its attendant drama.  Yet drama turns negative all too often, and peace, the peace of God, is found in calm and quiet.

3 – Are Calm and Quiet Desirable?

Perhaps we do not now think that to live in calm and quiet all the time would be desirable.  Perhaps we still think that drama will make us feel more “alive.”  If so, we would do well to test out this recommended calm and quiet.  Spend moments with God that are calm and quiet, and see if these new emotions don’t create a desire for a more frequent calm and quiet in daily life.  We will live better when we are not scurrying about, filled with adrenalin rushes.  We will accomplish more and accomplish better.

4 – Blessings of God

We must try to see for ourselves what the blessings of God would bring to us.

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

Thank You for guiding me for a long time, long enough for me to know that being perfectly calm and quiet is desirable.  I do not always seek Your peace, but I do know that Your peace is a better choice than any other I have ever found.  

Help me not to escalate the difficulties that come with living in this world.  May I turn aside from self-created drama, and may I turn aside from the drama that my brothers and sisters try to engage me in.  I would not seek drama for any reason, knowing that to do so is to give up the peace that only You can give.

Be with me in the upcoming 24 hours.  Help me to be guided to the decisions that will bring calm and quiet to my significant others, all those who read this blog, any other people whom I encounter today, as well as myself.  Thank You for the love that You show to all of us irrespective of our own choice to seek You.  You seek us, whether or not we recognize Your seeking.

Thank You for being there for all of us.

Amen.

Fear Is a Call for Love

“If only attack produces fear, and if you see attack as the call for help that it is, the unreality of fear must dawn on you.  For fear is a call for love, in unconscious recognition of what has been denied. (T217)”

Affirmation:  “Fear is a call for love.”

Reflections:

1 – Improving Our Relationships

This passage will go a long way toward smoothing our relationships with each other.  If another attacks us, it is best if we can see it solely as a call for help.  If the attack unnerves us or makes us angry, we are only being fearful.  And, the passage says, we are calling for love.

2 – Love in ACIM

A Course in Miracles sees everything in our world as either an expression of love or a call for love.  If we can believe this, we will be led to forgive our brother, regardless of the form of attack that he might use.  (Note:  This includes our “sister.”)

3 – Fear = Feeling Unloved?

When we feel fear, we have felt unloved.   But this passage speaks of the “unreality of fear,” and this is an important point.  The overarching thought is that the world itself and all that happens in it, outside of love, is an illusion.  This is part of the worldview of ACIM.  When we can truly believe, and let ourselves be comforted by the passages that we read, we will turn loose our hold upon fear.

4 – Choosing Fear

Many of us have chosen fear because we knew no better.  Something went awry in our world, and this threatens us, and before we know it, we are consumed by anxiety.  Jesus would not have it thus.  He asks us to pray for help in the conditions that have brought the fear about (a Text tenet).  He indicates that he cannot resolve the fear, because cause and effect are real, our minds are real, and we have brought fear upon ourselves by not watching our minds closely enough.   Jesus believes that he would be tampering with a most basic law of the universe if he came between our minds and the fear that our minds have made.  Fear is not real, but it seems real to us.  Sometimes fear has a sufficient hold upon the mind that we must turn to magical means for solace.  These magical means are our physical medications, which Jesus does not deny us.  We should not try to heal with the mind if the mind is particularly vulnerable to the results of attack.  A temporary expedient may be needed, if the hold of fear on the mind is particularly tenacious.  (These are all paraphrases from the Text.)

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

I would choose to express love today, knowing that this is what You want.  You have no other advice, actually.  If we feel love and express that love, we will let fear fall away, and, with it, the ego.  The ego, a part of my belief about myself, has given me many anxious days and nights with troubled dreams.  I would leave aside all this nonsense immediately.  I give my all to You.

Be with me as I seek to follow Love’s pathway only.  When I slip back into old ego-oriented, anxious ways, help me to know that the best way, the only sane response, is to forego fear.  Why would I cling to something that has made me so unhappy?  It is only because I did not understand Your way well enough.  Help me to understand and to live Your way today.

Amen.

Your Worth Is Not Established by Teaching or Learning

“Your worth is not established by teaching or learning.  Your worth is established by God. . . .Again,–nothing you do or think or wish or make is necessary to establish your worth.  This point is not debatable except in delusions  Your ego is never at stake because God did not create it.  Your spirit is never at stake because He did. (T54)”

Affirmation:  “My worth is established by God alone.”

Reflections:

1 – Conditional Love

This is a passage for those of us who were reared in conditional love, particularly achievement in the eyes of the world.  This achievement may have been good grades, more money, “success.”  It really doesn’t matter what form the conditional love took.

2 – An Insane World

This is an insane world, and so it stands to reason that we were reared with many errors being made.  Because we were young and vulnerable, we believed that we had to play by the rules that our elders made up.  And, of course, they too had been victims of faulty upbringing.

3 – Jesus’s Healing

The good news of ACIM is that Jesus can heal a neurotic.  We do not have to look back with lament to our past, thinking that there is no better for us because our childhood was so flawed by faulty reasoning.  We can overcome, with God’s help and the guidance of the Holy Spirit.

4 – We Are Acceptable to God

In this passage, Jesus tells us that our worth is not established by teaching or learning.  And he goes on to repeat the idea in the same paragraph.  Indeed, we are acceptable to God just as we are.  Of course, the point of A Course in Miracles is to bring us closer to God and to happiness.  And forgiveness of our brother, in the context of a relationship to him, is the way.

5 – God Loves Us Just as We Are

Keep in mind that our achievements will never be good enough, but they are not needed.
We may feel a great sense of reassurance at this point.  God loves me just as I am!  What a blessed thought, but have we ever believed it before?

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

You know that I was reared in conditional love, though I always tried to please my family, and I knew that they were happy with me.  They wanted me to achieve so that they could be proud of me.  But none of them had the joy of studying A Course in Miracles, and so the mistakes are easily forgiven.  I would not love anyone with conditional love.  Help me to reach out, always, with unconditional love.

May I be for my closest family what they do need in me.  May I eliminate the stress that gives me difficult times, and may I reach out with the love that You have shown me.  May I always remember to thank You.

Amen.

The First Obstacle that Peace Must Flow Across

“The first obstacle that peace must flow across is your desire to get ride of it.  For it cannot extend unless you keep it. (T407)”

Affirmation:  “I would seek peace today.”

Reflections:

1 – Our Stressful Days

How often we multitask in our days!  How can we ever hope to have peace in such an environment of stress and frenzy?

2 – We Are Busy

Of course, we are busy.  Our days are filled with a myriad of activities, some chosen, some not.  Many have families as well as jobs outside the home.  Our obligations are many:  parents, children, friends.  There seems to be no end to the aspects of life that are tearing at us.

3 – Spend Time with God

In the midst of life such as this, we may have to recall that God wants part of our lives.  A Course in Miracles, in the Manual, recommends a few minutes of time spent with God at the beginning and ending of the day.  If these times need adjustment, we can make the choice as soon as our busy lives clear.  But we need to recall that moments with God do not have to take long.  The Manual makes this point precisely.  We do not have to spend an hour, with eyes closed, and maybe accomplish nothing.  We can spend only an instant and join with God completely.  (These are Manual paraphrases.)

4 – We Can Choose Peace

A Course in Miracles seems to say in this passage that we have some choice in how much peace we will enjoy.  As one ACIM teacher (Marianne Williamson) has said, we are addicted to our frantic lives, the adrenalin rush.  But if we are very certain that we want more peace of God in our lives, we can have it for the taking.  We just must be consistent in seeking it.  Even a few moments a day will make a difference.  Read A Course in Miracles, or other writing that calls you, every day.  Pray.  Life will get better, even if no outer changes occur.  The inner change will make the difference.

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

When I stare at my “to do” list at the beginning of the day, I am sometimes overwhelmed with all that I intend to get done.  This is probably a bad habit, for the “to do” list crowds out in my mind the few moments I have given to You, and I become stressed just thinking about that list.

May I start anew tomorrow morning.  Regardless of how much I think I need to do, probably some of it unnecessary and self-generated.  I would get my priorities in order.  Not only would I put You first at the beginning of my day, but I would wish to keep You the center of my life at all times during the day.  I know that this practice will not make me less able to be productive, but instead, more able to be productive.  You will teach me how to work the peaceful, easy, and relaxed way.

May I spend time as You intended it today.  Surely this frantic world has gone far adrift from Your intentions for us.  May we drop our busyness and turn to You today to grant us the serene peace that will make of this a joyous day in Your love.

Amen.

Love Cannot Be Afraid

“Love is attracted only to love.  Overlooking guilt completely, it sees no fear.  Being wholly without attack, it could not be afraid.  (T410)”

Affirmation:  “I walk to love.”

Reflections:

1 – Leave Anxiety Behind

To walk away from anxiety (a form of fear), turn to love.  This solution, though not always easy, does always work.  When we are stressed, we are more likely to get angry, and with anger, attack is frequently not far behind.  And anger and attack are forbidden by A Course in Miracles.  Of course, we cannot always live up to the ideals that we read.  We are human.  So, when we stumble, we get up and try again.  As time wears on, and we study ACIM, the way does become easier.

2 – Attack Is a Call for Help

When we are beginning to get angry, we sooner rather than later recognize that there is no reason for our anger.  If a brother or sister is present and a part of that anger, we try immediately to click into ACIM‘s tenet that attack is a call for help.  And so our only sane response is to give that help.  We may not be able to give help overtly, if feelings are running high.  We may have to withdraw, temporarily, from the situation to give other people time to regain control.  We may need to reread passages from ACIM to calm us down.  We need never deny the emotions that we are feeling, but we do not have to drown in those emotions either.

3 – The Link between Anger and Stress

It is a hopeful sign to recognize that, for many of us, we never get angry unless we are stressed.  “Being wholly without attack” does mean that we must learn to recognize and abort this behavioral tendency as it arises in ourselves.  Take a time out, and contemplate the love that you really have for your brother.  Think of his good deeds, and choose not to focus on any deeds that disturb.  Not only will this move you from stress to love, but this type of reaction will also eliminate the guilt that always arises when we either mentally or verbally attack our brother.

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

I would walk in love today.  I welcome the thought that fear is left behind when I love.  And I know that attack is a call for help.  And that stress and anger, at least in me, is linked.  May I walk through this day in peace, having understood these truths, at least as I live them.

Be with me today as I seek to find You in tranquility.  May I enjoy a happy day.  May my patience grow today, for You have been perfect patience with me.  Thank You for the gift of A Course in Miracles.  May I live out its truths today.

Amen.

Striving Can Hurt You

“Anything in this world that you believe is good and valuable and worth striving for can hurt you, and will do so.  Not because it has the power to hurt, but just because you have denied it is but an illusion, and made it real. (T553)”

Affirmation:  “We live in illusion and would not make it real.”

 

Reflections:

1 – Striving = of the Ego?

This passage is very close to saying that our striving is nearly always of the ego, which will inevitably hurt us.  A Course in Miracles is very clear that the world that we know is an illusion, but we do not usually recognize this, and so we make it real to ourselves.  If we stare at a misdeed, we cannot overlook it, because we have made it real by the fact of thinking about it seriously.

2 – Avoid Meaningless Striving

ACIM would not say that no deeds are worthy.  Our function of salvation is worthy indeed, to name the central function that we have.  But we ought never to engage in meaningless striving from the standpoint of the ego.  The ego always lets us down.  The world is set up that way, and Jesus in ACIM makes this point repeatedly.  The ego is constantly being undone, and as long as our investment is there, we will be hurt when the ego is undone.

3 – Salvation = Effortless Way of Living

Living in the way that forwards salvation is meant to be an effortless way of living.  Of course, in this world we are not often ready to accept this.  We think that there is more that we have to do.  But ACIM notes that the contribution of the Holy Spirit is much greater than our own.  We need to display only a “little willingness,” and we will be on the pathway home–for ourselves as well as our brothers and sisters.

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

I would appreciate this passage today, in that it reminds that much of the striving that I have done, much that has weighted me down, was actually of the ego and not a fit way for Your child to function.  Help me to let the ego wither away, doing nothing to reinforce it today.  May I, instead, seek to know how to live Your way, which gets things accomplished effortlessly.  To my personal self, this seems to be a paradoxical way to live, but I know that You do not mislead us, and so it is a true way to live.

Be with me today as I seek to carry out the tasks for the day.  I know that the tasks change each day, for we get a new start.  May I lean upon Your Guide as my leader in what to say and do.  May I come ever closer to the Self that You would have me be.

Thank You for the direction that You provide almost constantly to me.  Help me not to be mislead into thinking that I always choose the right, but help me to discern when my still present ego is falsifying all my dealings.  I would walk Your way today and every day.

Amen.

Seeking Heaven’s Gate

“Think not the way to Heaven’s gate is difficult at all.  Nothing you undertake with certain purpose and high resolve and happy confidence, holding your brother’s hand and keeping step to Heaven’s song, is difficult to do.  (T550)”

Affirmation:  “I walk to Heaven’s gate with my brother.”

Reflections:

1 – Optimism

What an optimistic passage!  So reassuring!

2 – A Passage for Affirmation

This is one of those passages that can be held in memory and recounted when the way gets tough on any given day.  It shows the tone of the A Course in Miracles, reassuring in the extreme.  When studied throughout, page by page, fear need not arise.  “Nothing you undertake” is “difficult to do” when studying ACIM.

3 – Co-Scribes Helen and Bill

Jesus says that the A Course in Miracles is simple, but that does not mean that it is easy.  Yet, when we study diligently, we find life going better.  This is the “another way (Preface, vii)” that its scribe, Helen Schucman, and her associate, William (Bill) Thetford, asked for, and this other way, set down in the Course, came about through their endeavors in cooperation with Jesus.  Helen took her version of shorthand, as she listened to an interior impression of words, and Bill typed up each day’s dictation in his office the next morning.  All was kept very secretive, for both Helen and Bill had great investment in their academic careers.

4 – Learn through Relationships

We need to realize that we are here with our brothers and sisters for mutual support.  We never have to feel alone, as we turn our special relationships into holy ones.  This fact of relationship to our brother (and sister) is a cornerstone of ACIM.  We learn through relationship, and thereby we enter Heaven’s gate.

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

Thank You for this beautiful passage!  May I recall it to mind whenever the way gets even the least bit difficult.  I know that there is no challenge when I am following guidance, when I perceive clearly without the interference of my ego.  I would take the hand of my brother and sister, and walk to You.  Guide me so that the direct way is actually the shortest route to You.

May I carry a smile on my face and a song in my heart.  May I enjoy the blessing of the day that You have given me.  May I enjoy a little bit of Heaven presaged on earth today.

There is no reason to be downhearted, even when problems persist.  I know that You have placed the solution to a problem with that problem.  I know that the solution and the problem are not separated in time, though it is eternal time that I am trying to comprehend.  You do not leave me guessing about how to solve any issue that confronts me.  Your Answer will come into my mind, and Your love will warm my heart–and then, the glorious solution will appear.  Thank You for this Heavenly way to a better life while still living in this world.

Amen.

Walk into the Garden

“You have reached the end of an ancient journey, not realizing yet that it is over.  You are still worn and tired, and the desert’s dust still seems to cloud your eyes and keep you sightless. . . .Only a little wall of dust still stands between you and your brother.  Blow on it lightly and with happy laughter, and it will fall away.  And walk into the garden love has prepared for both of you.  (T393)”

Affirmation:  “I would walk in the garden today.”

Reflections:

1 – Succinct ACIM

A beautiful passage, this paragraph incorporates the whole of A Course in Miracles in succinct form.  We are meant to learn through our relationship to our brother (and sister), and through this relationship to be brought to Awakening.  Long periods of contemplation are not “our” way, though many ACIM students incorporate meditation as part of the workbook exercises.  (Indeed, the workbook exercises seem to encourage meditation, especially at the close of the year.)

2 – Special Relationships Turned Holy

This passage encourages the way of salvation for ACIM students/teachers.  This way lies in our transition from special relationships to holy relationships with our brothers and sisters.  We are “still worn and tired,” and it is in our forgiveness of others that our safety lies.  When we have let our grievances go, we will know that we are perfectly safe (from the Workbook).  We may become somewhat disjoined in our relationships as they move from specialness to holiness.  The purpose is different, when the holy relationship is seen as part of our salvation.  We are reassured that the Holy Spirit will not thrust our special relationships apart from us, but will be there for us as we transform them to what is truly beatific.  And when we are surrounded by holy relationships, what is this but Heaven on earth?

2 – Heaven on Earth

Jesus is very gentle with us, understanding that our way in this world is frequently hard, and indicating that he understands our pain.  The image of the “garden” perhaps indicates that Heaven on earth can yet be ours.  Certainly that is a hope in line with the teachings of ACIM.

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

Thank You for this beautiful passage, so comforting and encouraging so much peace in me.  I am drawn to its beauty over and over, and the promises that it makes are profound.  May I spend part of this day in repeating these profound words over and over to myself, as affirmations.

May all of my special relationships, one-by-one, turn holy.  I realize that this is why we are here in this world.  May I say and do my part in making this come about.  But may I lean on You in making the decisions that I need to make to effect these changes in my relationships.

Be with us today as we seek to live peaceably with one another.  It is not right to try to isolate ourselves behind a computer or a print book.  Help me to reach out to others when You lead me to extend a helping hand.  But never let me overreach to those who are not ready or who are uninterested in what I might say or do.

Amen.

Nailed to the Cross

“The dreary, hopeless thought that you can make attacks on others and escape yourself has nailed you to the cross.  Perhaps it seemed to be salvation.  Yet it merely stood for the belief the fear of God is real.  And what is that but hell?  (WB374)”

Affirmation:  “I would love God rather than cringe in fear.”

Reflections:

1 – Hell

We often wonder about “hell.”  This passage indicates where it is to be found in the fear of God.

2 – Interpretations of the Word “Fear”

This concept goes against traditional Christianity.  But I think that the difference is in an interpretation of the word “fear.”  A Course in Miracles would suggest that it is a lamentable way to approach our Creator, but traditional thinking merely wants us to honor God by such “fear.”  In traditional thinking, it is a humble way to approach our Creator.  In A Course in Miracles, the fear of God is linked to that which is keeping us from salvation.  The two emotions, fear and love, are said to be the only emotions; all  others are linked in some way to these two.  We are encouraged to love God, but not to “fear” him in the sense that we are afraid.  Traditional Christianity does not use fear in that sense of being afraid either.  The fear of God is seen in an awesome sense, and this type of awe is seen as perfectly appropriate toward our Creator, both in traditional Christianity and as stated in ACIM.

3 – God Is Our Friend

ACIM would always see God as our Friend.  We dishonor that relationship when we attack others, in part because we always attack ourselves first (another concept from ACIM).  The image of being “nailed to the cross” is especially important, because elsewhere Jesus asks us to look beyond the crucifixion to the resurrection (T36).  When we look to the resurrection, we are seeing A Course in Miracles in its true light.

4 – Look to the Resurrection

A Course in Miracles differs from traditional Christianity in that it does not see a suffering savior as the best way to view Jesus’s crucifixion.  ACIM would have us look to the resurrection, which it does not deny as a plausible occurrence (but, of course, one that we cannot fully understand, given our belief in the laws of this world).  Jesus did not defend himself in his trial, just as he encourages us avoid defense as a way of life.  ACIM sees the crucifixion as a benign concept, and would not have us cling to this historical occurrence as our route to salvation.  In that sense, ACIM and traditional Christianity are at odds.

5 – The Scriptures

It would be especially good, I believe, if we did not attack the beliefs of others as we feel led to encourage reading of ACIM.  There is a progression from the Old Testament (Hebrew Bible), the New Testament, A Course in Miracles, and A Course of Love.  In all cases, we would be advised that theology and theological concepts would only prolong our pathway to salvation.  Jesus calls for a universal experience in ACIM, saying that theology will only delay us.  A universal theology is impossible.  But a universal experience is not only encouraged, but is felt to be necessary (from the Text).

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

I would not speak my beliefs in any kind of strident way.  Not all are ready to believe that A Course in Miracles (and, of course, even more so A Course of Love) are the latest manifestations of Christian belief.  Those of traditional Christianity would be particular hostile to this idea.

So help me, dear God, to share only with those who feel inclined to study Christian experience differently.  I do understand that theology divides, but that a universal experience will transform all of us who seek You.  Help me to speak my truth in a way that is accessible to my readers.  Help me to share what I have learned of You in a benign way, non-threatening way.  And may I always look to the resurrection, which of course none of us fully understand, as my beacon in a sometimes difficult world.

Thank You for allow me to sense Your felt presence today.

Amen.

A Way of Living in the World that Is Not Here

“There is a way of living in the world that is not here, although it seems to be.  You do not change appearance, though you smile more frequently.  Your forehead is serene; your eyes are quiet.  And the ones who walk the world as you do recognize their own.  Yet those who have not yet perceived the way will recognize you also, and believe that you are like them, as you were before. (WB291)”

Affirmation  “There is a way of living in the world that is not here.”

Reflections:

1 – Avoid the Ego with the Passage for Today

This is an especially sweet passage.  Beware, however, of letting the ego in.  This statement is not saying that we are “special.”  We can say that nobody is “special,” or that all are “special”; either way works.  We are not alone, and we have no gifts that will not one day be shared by everyone (a Text tenet).

2 – Others Believe Also

It is comforting to know that we can find others with similar persuasions about in the world.  This does not necessarily mean that these others will be students of A Course in Miracles; there are many ways of learning the perennial philosophy.  We can walk happily, as we incorporate the tenets of ACIM in our lives.  Certainly already each of us has had moments of recognition that someone in our world is walking the way that we choose to walk.  Sometimes we see Christ in their eyes, an especially sweet miracle when it occurs.

3 – Of Like Mind

We become aware of these others of like mind when we are looking for it.  Mostly, perhaps, it is a matter of eye contact.  It is like a secret society.  But especially know that we cannot let specialness enter in, or we lose the concept entirely.  All will come to walk the world this way, eventually, and it is our function to bring that day closer.

4 – Ask God

If we have not experienced this way of living in the world that is not “here,” then let us pray together for this blessing to come upon us.  God will not delay, for we are asking in His Will.  He wants this way of walking the world to become the way of all.

5 – Do Not See “Specialness”

The only error that we could make, and it would be a large error, is to see specialness in this miracle.  Then we will look down upon those who are simply not yet ready for this miracle.  And time is an illusion, the only thing that separates perceived miracles from coming to all of us.  There are no gifts that one day will not belong to everyone.

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

I would walk through the world today with a serene expression on my face.  I would know that all of us, excepting nobody, has troubles, but I would also know that the solution is always found with the problem.  Ask for help, and You grant it.

I thank You that there is a way to find others of like mind.  And I would do so today.

Amen.

You Never Hate Your Brother for His Sins, but Only for Your Own

“Learn this, and learn it well, for it is here delay of happiness is shortened by a span of time you cannot realize.  You never hate your brother for his sins, but only for your own.  Whatever form his sins appear to take, it but obscures the fact that you believe them to be yours, and therefore meriting a ‘just’ attack. (T651)”

Affirmation:  “I would not hate my brother for my ‘sins.'”

Reflections:

1 – “Only for Your Own”

“. . .[O]nly for your own.”  This statement will go a very long way toward eliminating judging in our little world.  If we can believe that we are looking within (unconsciously), and then looking outward, seeing that same secret sin in others that we think is within ourselves, we will have a moment of recognition that will be illuminating.  It is always ourselves that we are seeing.  We blame our brothers and sisters for the thoughts or actions that we ourselves would be prone to have or make.

2 – Especially Helpful Truth

This truth is especially helpful within the family, our significant other (our “brother,” in the terminology of the A Course in Miracles), or “brothers” in our circle of friends.

3 – Avoid Judging

Avoiding judgment is very important to learning the ACIM.  If we fail at this juncture, we are likely to fall away from the “happy dreams the Holy Spirit brings, (WB270)” and darkness will close upon us once again.

4 – Judgment Does Not Keep Us Safe

How do we avoid judgment when we have been taught in this world that judgment keeps us safe?  We think that we made a place of safety for ourselves, but it is not so.  We think that defending ourselves against presumed attacks will help us to walk a smoother pathway.  It is not so.  We cannot know all the facts in any given situation, and that is why ACIM counsels leaving all judgment to the Holy Spirit (who does know all the facts).  We avoid judgment by a concerted decision to do so, recognizing that we will not always refrain, and knowing that forgiveness is called for when we have judged without considering the full ramifications of what we are doing.  We go within, perhaps by distancing ourselves from the source of trouble, and we seek God’s solace.  Then we are in a much better position to reenter the world with a clear conscience, one that has reaffirmed that judgment is not the way that we wish to go.

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

I would join with my brother today, my most significant other, and I would not judge him in any way.  I would long for the time that we live harmoniously, just as harmoniously as, blessedly, we are living today.  May I forgive myself when I misstep.  And may I forgive him.  Thank You for being there for me as I find my way through the maze of relationship in our insane world.  I would live in the real world more and more, and I would ask You to help me do the things that are up to me to do.  But I would lean on the Holy Spirit as my Guide, until the time that Christ-consciousness as enveloped me on a sustained basis.

Be with us in safety today.  So often I have longed to be safe.  And, even though this world is insane, I know now that I can be safe in it, for I have You in me.  May the dream that I project not turn nasty.  May my innermost feelings reflect the best that You would choose for me.

Thank You for this good day.  I choose intimacy and happiness over being right all the time.  I choose to be happy rather than right, as A Course in Miracles implies that I should.

Amen.

Vicious Dream Figures

“. . .[Y]ou would not react at all to figures in a dream you knew that you were dreaming.  Let them be as hateful and as vicious as they may, they could have no effect on you unless you failed to recognize it is your dream. (T588)”

Affirmation:  “I am living a dream.”

Reflections:

1 – An Insane World

This is the solution to individuals who, in our opinion, treat us badly.  It leads easily to forgiveness.  It suggests to me that we can call these lamentable actions “insanity,” and then let it go at that.  Over time, we may find that calling bad words or actions from another just “insanity” will help to initiate our own sanity, our own living in the real world.  At such times of forgiveness, when we are truly living ACIM, we recognize that there is really nothing to forgive.  But most of us have not reached this pinnacle yet.  We still need to have the gesture of forgiveness, as much for ourselves as for the other(s) involved.

2 – An Illusion

Of course, there are times that we will react first, and then, maybe much later, remember this passage from A Course in Miracles.  It is hard to recognize that the “reality” that we see all around us is not really real, especially if things happen in that reality that hurt us.

3 – Patience

May we have patience with ourselves when we fail.  There will be times when we do not handle an attack from another in the best way.  We will retaliate, only to recognize later that we have acted amiss.  Then we need to retrace our steps, and make amends.  But first we need to recognize our own frailty, and ask the Holy Spirit to guide our minds ever more carefully.

4 – Resist Attack

ACIM suggests the remedy in these two sentences in the passage, above.  May we incorporate this passage so firmly in our minds that we are able to resist striking out verbally (or any other way).

5 – It Is Our Own Dream

We are in a dream that we ourselves made up.

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

I would remember today that I live in a dream, and so if someone attacks me for any reason, I can know that I had something to do with finding myself in that situation.  Attack can be forgiven as a call for help.  Help me to have the “happy dreams the Holy Spirit brings” today.  I would thank You repeatedly through the day for the gift of the Holy Spirit, Who will take me back home to You.

May I resist responding in attack.  Give me the forbearance to refrain from retaliating.  May my emotions remain calm, as well as joyous, and may Your presence keep me serene.

I love this life that You have immersed me in, and I thank You everyday for my many blessings.  Even though it is a dream, it is a good dream, and only with Awakening will I progress farther along the pathway to You.  May Awakening come sooner rather than later.

Amen.

An Idle Dream Has Terrified Me

“You are the dreamer of the world of dreams.  No other cause it has, not ever will.  Nothing more fearful than an idle dream has terrified God’s Son, and made him think that he has lost his innocence, denied his Father, and made war upon himself” (T584).

Affirmation:  “I am the dreamer of the world of dreams.”

Reflections:

1 – The Dreamer of the Dream

This is one the more comforting passages in A Course in Miracles.  It suggests not only that our world is maya, or illusion, which is a concept from another tradition, but it also says that our dream is “idle,” which suggests that the dream is easily modified.  We are, as the passage says, the dreamer of the dream.

2 – We Are Dreaming

If we believe that we are dreaming, we will probably be less hard on ourselves, judging ourselves less harshly.  We will be more forgiving of ourselves as well as others, knowing that we are dreaming and that the results of our dream have no real consequences that are permanent.  This does not mean that we can do anything that we like; this is a misconception that ACIM does not support.  In this world, we still can say and do things that will hurt our brothers and sisters, who are also caught in the dream.  And, as said elsewhere, we have “sinned” in time, but there is no time.  We have not “sinned” in eternity, where all is One.  We do need to forgive the mistakes (errors) we have made.  Perhaps we first forgive ourselves for perpetrating a wrong, and then we do what is feasible to right that wrong with our brothers and sisters.  Walk a gentle pathway, and all will be well.

3 – Awakening

There is a solution to our dilemma:  Awakening.  Then we live in the real world all the time.  But we cannot force this solution.  It is God Who reaches down to us, when we are finally ready.

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

I would recognize today that what I see in this world is all illusion, a dream that I am dream with most others,  Only the Awakened see clearly.  So my real prayer for today is for Awakening.  I know that I have had glimpses that You have given to me, but I would long for sustainability.  Help me to change in the ways that You would wish so that I am ready for You to reach down, metaphorically, and transform me.

Thank You for listening.  And may today be good not only for me, but especially for the others whom I reach in any way at all today.

Amen.

Mind Wandering

“You are much too tolerant of mind wandering, and are passively condoning your mind’s miscreations” (T29).

Affirmation:  “I would keep my mind on track today.”

Reflections:

1 – Mind Wandering

This quotation appears early in the Text, in a section designed to help us to overcome fear.  The “miscreations” happen all too frequently when we let our mind wander over our day, our lives, and especially our futures.  Jesus bids us at this point to ask if our choice is in accord with his.  If it is, there will be no fear.

2 – Miscreations Are from the Ego

The miscreations are the things in our world that we “make” from the mind slant of the ego.  We live in misery, alleviated only from time to time, when we let the ego rule.  The ego in this sense is not quite what Freud defined.  It is a part of our understanding of ourselves, and it is regularly leading us away from God to the self-centered impulses of which we are all aware.  The stronger the ego, the more undone it will become as time passes.  This leads directly to an inferiority complex, because we are constantly brought up short to realize that we are not the center of the world, after all.  The ego champions  the illusions in this world, and it, as a part of our belief about ourselves, does not wish us well.  The ego sense that there is another part of us that is opposed to it; this brings up the matter of the Holy Spirit.  Love does not directly fight fear; it simply characterizes fear as untruth.  When we are in a loving state of mind, we are letting the real world speak to us, the world that God created with us in mind.  We do have moments when the ego is not noticeable to us, regardless of how far we still have to walk along the pathway home.

3 – Try to Settle the Mind

This teaching is one of the more difficult to apply in daily life.  Our minds jump around so much that settling the mind down, even in prayer, is difficult.  Cultivating relaxation prior to prayer can be very helpful.

4 – Jesus Is Near

This passage highlights the closeness of Jesus to our lives.  We can even imagine that he holds our hand as we walk along life’s pathway.  This is not idle fantasy, according to the Course (WB120).

5 – Keep the Mind Still

Nobody who has not awakened (meaning the vast majority of us) can eliminate fear entirely.  But following the teachings of the Course, especially passages such as the one cited above, can go a long way toward giving us the peace that we crave.  Try to keep the mind still, and let the Holy Spirit speak.  Over time, if we are patient and practice willingly and often, this stillness in our mind will virtually eliminate “mind wandering.”

6 – Try Praying Aloud

I have found that praying aloud, when alone, is helpful in keeping the mind and heart on track.  We are led to keep a coherent monologue going.  But, of course, prayer is listening as well, and it would be good to enjoy silence and ask God what He wants us to know.  We may then experience an inner knowing that gives us the next right step to make in our day.  We may feel calmer and even happier.  Communion with God is always meant to be peaceful endeavor, though a prayer that comes from struggling with some issue is heard as well.   We need to go with our natural inclinations, as long as they do not hurt another individual.  Mind wandering, believe it or not, can become a thing of the past.

Prayer:

 Dear Father/Mother,

 I would follow my own advice today and pray aloud whenever I am alone.  I thank You that You are inside of me, and that my projections from an ego-oriented mind may “make” a world, but that these miscreations are not real.  May I come to “know” as opposed to “perceive.”  May I see as You would have me see.

 I thank You that Jesus is near.  I do not understand how he can reach out to all of us, but there are many things that I cannot comprehend.  I do have the willingness to step out in regard to this belief.  And thank You for the fact that Jesus holds my hand today as I go about the sometimes meaningless things that I do.  Guide me to do the meaningful things.

 Thank You.

 Amen.

How Should the Teacher of God Spend His Day?

“To the advanced teacher of God this question is meaningless.  There is no program, for the lessons change each day.  Yet the teacher of God is sure of but one thing; they do not change at random.  Seeing this and understanding that it is true, he rests content.  He will be told all that his role should be, this day and every day. (M40)”

Affirmation:  “I will follow guidance in living this day.”

Reflections:

1 – What Does “Advanced? Mean?

Not all of us are “advanced,” and the workbook lesson that begins on M40 goes on to explain further.  Yet there are many in the Course community now who have studied A Course in Miracles for many years.  They rightfully can be called “advanced.”

2 – No Planning

Knowing that there is nothing in a day that needs to be planned is enormously freeing.  Practical plans may need to be made, and, if so, those plans will flawlessly come into one’s mind at the time of action.  This is the way the guidance of the Holy Spirit works.  While it takes great faith to commit to such a way of life, our new way does not have to be perfect, especially in the beginning.  Mistakes that are given over to the Holy Spirit are easily corrected.  Pause a moment, mentally and emotionally start the day over, and we are once again on the right pathway.

3 – Planning Prompted by the Holy Spirit

We are led to give up planning, unless the planning is prompted by the Holy Spirit.  Planning against contingencies to come is one of three ways that we digress from the pathway (the other two are attack and judgment).  We are actually living in fear when we try, in vain, to predict the future and to make plans because of what we fear.  The ego is in the ascendancy at such times.  And we will learn through the pages of ACIM that the ego, as defined by ACIM, is a part of our belief about ourselves, but it embodies a persona, a false sense of self.  We would know our real Self, the Self who has never left God in a separation that merely seems to have happened.

4 – Safe at Home in God

We are actually safe at home with God.  In this world, we are not often conscious of this truth, because we are living a dream, caught in illusions (ACIM tenets).

5 – Follow Guidance

Ask today to live the program of the day as guidance dictates.  Ask to follow the Holy Spirit.  If not sure that we have accepted the Holy Spirit’s presence within, then ask for Him to enter today.  He will never fail to hear from one of God’s children.

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

I would drop the idea that I am “advanced.”  Years of studying A Course in Miracles mean nothing if we fail to put into practice, consistently, what we have learned.  And I sometimes fail.  I would have You today take me as a new learner, and give me the best that I can hope for today.  I would learn anew, this year, what guidance would have me to do.  And this year I would actually do it.

Be with me as I seek to be flexible in Your hands, following the guidance that I receive moment by moment.  I know that You do not condemn me when I fail, but I would pray not to fail very often today.  In this world, I will always be fallible, but with Your help, I can walk a smooth pathway to You.

Thank You for always letting me sense You in me.

Amen.

The Ego vs. the Holy Spirit

“Each day, each hour and minute, even each second, you are deciding between the crucifixion and the resurrection; between the ego and the Holy Spirit.  The ego is the choice for guilt; the Holy Spirit the choice for guiltlessness. (T275)”

Affirmation:  “I choose the Holy Spirit and guiltlessness today.”

 Reflections:

1 – Guidance

Following the guidance of the Holy Spirit on a moment-by-moment basis provides the most satisfying way of living imaginable.  It is not easy, but it is simple.  Guidance comes in a variety of ways, including feelings, words that you happen to read, words that you hear in the outside world.  The only precaution:  Don’t make a “sign” out of everything.  You will tangle yourself up.

2 – Eliminating Guilt

Following the Holy Spirit eliminates the guilt that we sometimes feel with the decisions that we make.  We no longer have to make spurious judgments.  We realize, in fact, that our judgments have always been flawed, and we no longer attempt to use flawed methods to make decisions.  We depend on guidance.

3 – If We Fail

If we fail, we are led back, ever so gently.  The Holy Spirit is wise and loving, and the judgments that He makes are sure.  Under His guidance, the ego gently withers away.

4 – Avoid Judging

The Manual has much to say about how awry our judgments really are.  We, unlike the Holy Spirit, cannot see the whole picture–past, present, and future.  We think we are judging accurately, but then we often realize much later that we were not seeing clearly.  ACIM says that we are never seeing clearly when we judge, because judging is not our function; judging belongs only to the Holy Spirit, who does know all.  We are to forgive ourselves and our brothers and sisters, and such forgiveness is impossible when we are judging.

5 – Make a Change Today

Let us today take the initiative in dropping judgment from our repertoire of mind-engaging activities.  We cannot judge aright, and so why not drop any attempt?  When we do drop judgment, ACIM tells us that we will walk an effortless pathway.  We will be lighthearted and carefree (paraphrases from ACIM).  The blessing of joy awaits us when we have relinquished judgment, and relinquishing it is said to be very easy to do.  It is the holding on to judgment that is so difficult, not to mention just very foolish.

Prayer:

 Dear Father/Mother,

 I would drop judging from my list of attributes.  I do understand that only the Holy Spirit can judge aright, and He says that we are innocent.  We are simply asking for help, and I do ask for help today when circumstances seem to go awry.  Help me to be flexible in my daily path today, and help me to commune with You if I am tempted to fly off the handle.

 I wish to eliminate guilt from my list of emotions, because it is a form of hell.  I would not spend anytime today in welcoming hell for myself.  I would forgive, knowing that in my forgiveness I welcome Heaven.  Yes, I do believe that Heaven on earth is a possibility, even though outward conditions in our world are often deplorable.  Guide me, through the Holy Spirit, to do what I can to rectify the problems that are mine to solve, but do not let me drift into problems that are educating for another.  You know best.

 May this year go well.  You would have us joyous, even though we see around us those things that can make us cry.  Help me to recognize that I live not only in a mad world, but also in an illusory one.  And guide me to Your real world ever more closely, today.

 Thank You.

 Amen.