Belief

“Belief produces the acceptance of existence.  That is why you can believe what no one else thinks is true.  It is true for you because it was made by you.  (T14)”

Affirmation:  “May I believe only what is true.”

Reflections:

1 – No One Else Agrees with You

The second sentence in this passage is the pertinent one.  Many of us become lost in illusions of our own making, and those around us know the mistake that we are making.  They may try to tell us, but we may not listen.  Usually we don’t listen, to our regret later on.

2 – Pioneers?

It might be helpful, if we find ourselves in a position in which we are alone, the only one believing as we do, if we are pioneers of some sort or are we simply mistaken?

3 – We Have Projected our Perception

We have made the world which we perceive.  That is why we believe what no one else thinks is true.

4 – An Ego-Inspired World

What a sad commentary on the ego-inspired world!  Surely we lead confused lives until we let go of our misconceptions.  Then and only then can we turn to a better way.  And the Course is the better way that many of us have accepted as our truth.

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

I have been guilty of believing what nobody else thought was true.  Most of us have.  

May we leave these misconceptions behind as we enter a new world lit by your love.

Amen.

Real Purpose of This World

“The real purpose of this world is to use it to correct your unbelief.  You can never control the effects of fear yourself, because you made fear, and you believe in what you made.  (T1.6.4)”

Affirmation:  “you made fear”

Reflections:

1 – Love and Fear

Love and fear are the only two emotions, according to A Course in Miracles.  All other emotions are variants of these two.  Of the two, love is of God and fear is of the man-made ego.  The ego, as long as we are under its control, does believe in itself as the rightful controller of our minds.  Given this idea, it follows that the ego-controlled mind cannot control the effects of fear.

2 – Turn to the Holy Spirit

What are we to do?  The answer is always the same; the Course is simple, in that the Holy Spirit is repeatedly given as our Answer.  Turn to Him inwardly, and He will free us.

3 – Fear Can Be Self-Controlled

Elsewhere Jesus says that fear can be self-controlled.  There is a subtle difference here, in that this passage indicates that the effects of fear cannot be self-controlled.  We cannot know how widely our thoughts and actions will affect the world.  We need to ask for the miracle to prevent our ego-inspired self from affecting our world detrimentally.

4 – Diversion

Sometimes turning inward does not even seem possible, because we are so upset.  A Course in Miracles does not recommend distraction by music or a silly, funny video–but my experience of fear is that it can have so disturbed a reaction on the mind that only diversion will calm.  Then when diversion, distractions, have calmed us, we are quiet enough to return to prayer, and we can ask forgiveness for our stubbornness.  Keep in mind that God has never condemned, and so it is actually not even necessary for us to seek, in prayer, His forgiveness.  But we do need to forgive ourselves.  And this may be easier to come by if we realize that God does not condemn, that it is ourselves that have condemned ourselves.  And this is not a rational way to think.  We should never underestimate the madness of this world.  And we are in this world, and we will partake of part of its madness.  Only in seeking the real world will we find peace.

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

We live in a sometimes fearful world.  We don’t fully realize that we make this fear.

Help us to turn our fears over to You, to know that You will help to eliminate the conditions that bring about the fear.  This is the cure that we ask today.

Amen.

Peace = Forgiveness

“You who want peace can find it only by complete forgiveness.  (T13)”

 Affirmation:  “complete forgiveness”

Reflections

1 – Complete Forgiveness

This is a solemn statement, even a warning.  We do find forgiveness too hard to offer in this ego-centered world!

2 – Deserve Forgiveness?

Perhaps we don’t know how to forgive.  We may believe that the word or deed that someone did to us does not deserve forgiveness.  Certainly a belief like this is a bitter problem for us when we try to come to understand forgiveness.  We are actually denying ourselves forgiveness, of ourselves, and from others.  Forgiveness is always deserved.  The individual who perpetuated the word or deed against us has said to himself or herself that he/she was justified in what he/she did.  We all justify our ways of treating others.  Even the worst individual in our world would see himself/herself as a victim, free of blame.  We have seen this in some world figures.  Would there be any less among those of us who are unknown in the world?

3 – Peace

Complete forgiveness will offer peace.  Forgiveness is not hard to give when we realize that the bad effects have not really happened at all in reality.  And the perpetrator acted only in madness, in insanity, out of a mind controlled by ego.  These two truths, taken together, will lead us easily to pardon our brother.

4 – We Receive Peace

And we receive peace for this!  Can anyone choose another way when so much is held out to us?

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

When we are tempted today to hold something against our brother, help us to see, once again, that only in complete forgiveness is our salvation found.

May our brother know that we have forgiven him (or her).

Amen.

Tyrannous Control

“Whatever is true is eternal, and cannot change or be changed.  Spirit is therefore unalterable because it is already perfect, but the mind can elect what it chooses to serve.  The only limit put on its choice is that it cannot serve two masters.  If it elects to do so,
the mind can become the medium by which spirit creates along the line of its own creation.  If it does not freely elect to do so, it retains its creative potential but places itself under tyrannous rather than Authoritative control.  As a result it imprisons, because such are the dictates of tyrants.  To change your mind means to place it at the disposal of true Authority.  (T13)”

 

Affirmation:  “Spirit is therefore unalterable”

Reflections:

1 – Why the Ego Is Bad for Us

This passage explains at some length why we experience bad things when we are under the influence of the ego:  We are under “tyrannous” control rather than Authoritative (i.e., the Holy Spirit).  This means that pain can become very great before we change our minds, and open them up to a greater spiritual truth.  But our experience of pain is not without limit, and there must come a time when we know that there is a better way.  This better way is the Holy Spirit and His guidance–Authoritative control.

2 – Following Guidance

When we change our minds and place them under this guidance, we know “true Authority.”   Simultaneously, our pain lessens and we begin to know happy dreams within the world.  This is not a magic trick, but the working out of true reality, the march toward the “real world” (as characterized by A Course in Miracles).

3 – The Holy Spirit

We do not have to feel bereft when we give up judgment to the wiser counsel of the Holy Spirit.  The Manual reminds us that we never could judge accurately, because we don’t see the whole picture–past, present, and future, along with all the myriad of events that impact our little world.  We cannot choose accurately with our own judgment for this reason, as well as the fact that we are making interpretations of facts, and interpretations lead to anger and all manner of negative thinking.  We never, for example, get angry at facts.  We only get angry when we have interpreted these facts in some way that we feel has hurt ourselves.  We are not told, Jon Mundy points out, never to get angry, but we are told to recognize that our thinking has gone awry, awry into interpretations.  Anger is just in ACIM never to be justified.  We are never angry for the reason that we think (from the Workbook).  We have been misperceiving, and our brothers and sisters need our help for any attacks that they have made upon us (and vice-versus).

4 – The Mind, Serving Spirit

The mind in the service of spirit is powerful indeed.  And what this mind will create is good.  The mind under the service of the ego could only “make” things; it could not create at all.  Do turn to the Holy Spirit, and we will see our experience in the world improve immediately.

Prayer:  

Dear Father/Mother,

May we turn to You when we find ourselves under tyrannous control.  May we know that tyrannous control is not Your will for us.

May we realize that when we turn to the Holy Spirit, we are following our will as well as Your own.  This will automatically improve our lives.

May You go with us today as we seek to remember that Your will is always ours.

Amen.

Specialness

“The specialness of God’s Sons does not stem from exclusion but from inclusion.  All my brothers are special.  If they believe they are deprived of anything, their perception becomes distorted. (T12)”

Affirmation:  :”I would have clear perception today, perception leading to knowledge.”

Reflections:

1 – Everyone Is “Special”

All of us are included in this statement about specialness.  We are all equals.  Elsewhere Jesus says that none of us has anything that is not also given to our brother.  He also says that temporarily some may have more than another, but eventually this will change.  These are theoretical foundations of A Course in Miracles.  What is this “more” that some have now?  It is an understanding about forgiveness that leads to salvation, and, with this, happiness.  All of these–forgiveness, salvation, and happiness–are said at different points in ACIM to our “function.”  We may find that we are too self-centered when we are unhappy to reach out effectively to others, or even to forgive them.  And we may get so down on ourselves that we don’t see how salvation is possible for one such as ourselves.

2 – Wait for the Mood to Lift

This is faulty thinking.  When our mood lifts, we will see more clearly.  Our seeing may still be perceptual rather than a knowing, but the right perception leads inexorably to knowledge of God.  This pathway becomes clearer the farther along we walk.  At this point, it may be enough to know simply that we will be happier when we ask for guidance, and this guidance will console us.  Our needs will be met.  We may not now believe this, for we live in a sometimes difficult world, but our attitudes will change, and even if other people perceive problems for us, we will live protected in the haven of God’s Arms.  (These are interpretations, not stated in ACIM.)

3 – Perceiving in a Distorted Fashion

When we feel little and left out, we are perceiving in a distorted fashion.  We think that we are deprived.  But none of us are deprived of anything, except it be our choice.  We can choose again, and the Holy Spirit will respond.  We may actually receive what we ask, or we may not.  If it would hurt us, we will not receive it.  Jesus says that a loving Father does not give a Son (or Daughter) what would hurt him (or her).  He will protect us still, if in our ignorance we ask for what will harm.

4 – Gifts of the Holy Spirit

When we ask for the gifts of the Holy Spirit, we are always answered in the affirmative.  These are not “special” gifts, but gifts that are the inheritance of everyone.   By so doing, we have taken the right prayer and wedded it to the philosophy of A Course in Miracles.

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

I do understand that all of us are “special,” which can also be stated that none are “special,” because we are all equal.  I would not let the ego intrude today; I am trying to encourage my ego to wither away.  I do not mean my personal self, but the egotistical, false sense of self that I all too often had in the past.  I would let that past stay in the past.

May we come to understand that one day all gifts from You will be shared by everyone.  In the meantime, for awhile some will have more of one thing, and some more of another.  All of this is only temporary, in our illusory world.

Be with me today as I seek to remain in the flow with the guidance of the Holy Spirit.  I would welcome entry into the Christ-consciousness, but I await Your nod on this.  I have had glimpses of Awakening, and for that I am grateful.  I pray for all my brothers and sisters that they will have glimpses, before the new Way is sustained.

Amen.

Complete Dependence on God

“‘Except ye become as little children’ means that unless you fully recognize your complete dependence on God, you cannot know the real power of the Son in his true relationship with the Father. (T12)”

Affirmation:  “May I become today a pliable child in God’s Hands.”

Reflections:

1 – Surrendering to God

Surrendering to God is a wondrous possibility that gives us everything.  We are dependent upon Him, but it is not a dependence that is wrong.  We are meant to depend on God, and our lack of communicating to Him is most unnatural (as A Course in Miracles says).  God knows when we are not communicating with Him, and He “thinks” that His children are asleep and must be wakened.  Everyone who follows ACIM agrees on this premise, even those who believe that God does not know about our daily lives, because we are caught in illusion and He is not so caught.  And those of us who do believe that God does know about us and the myriad details of our lives also recognize, when we study ACIM, that we are asleep and need the Awakening.  It could be argued that the whole purpose of A Course in Miracles is to lead us to Awakening through forgiveness of ourselves and our brothers and sisters.

2 – A Statement by Jesus

This passage explains a statement attributed to Jesus in the New Testament.  Little children are dependent upon their parents, as we see God as our Father (and Mother).  It is natural and right that we turn to Him in our daily pathway.  It is unnatural not to do so.  Those who believe that God does not know us do, nevertheless, believe that His Guide, the Holy Spirit, is the Universal Inspiration that tells us, in direct ways, how to negotiate through our world.  When we fail to listen, we are virtually certain, sometimes immediately, of getting into trouble.  When we do listen, our pathway smoothes out, and we are at peace once again.  May we walk an untroubled pathway today.

3 – Life Will Smooth Out

When we talk to God or we talk to the Holy Spirit, we are getting the answers for our lives that we are meant to know.  And, indeed, life smooths out, and we are at peace.

4 – Listen to the Holy Spirit’s Voice

Isn’t this what we have wanted all along?  God would have it so, and so it is.  When we listen to the Voice that speaks to us of God’s all-encompassing love.

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

Thank You for the comfort that I know from You.  I do not wish to get caught up in theology, about whether or not You do enter our dreams, our illusions.  I only know that from the universe I receive comfort.  And then all is well in my world.  Thank You for that.  You are my rock in this sometimes troubled environment of this world.

Be with us as we walk through the world.  Let us not let theology about You divide us.  May we learn of You however we best can.  May we feel Your presence in our minds and spirits and hearts.  May joy accompany us, as You would have.

I thank You specifically today for the lessening of stress in my immediate environment just now.  You have given me some tools to handle stress, intuitively, and they are working.  Thank You.

Amen.

No Needs

“Those who perceive and acknowledge that they have everything have no needs of any kind. (T11)”

Affirmation:  “Help me to recognize that I do have everything.”

Reflections:

1 – All Have “Everything”

We have actually been given everything, just as have our brothers and sisters.  We do not rationally understand this, but we do not have to be slaves of our rational mind.  In truth, everyone has been given everything.  This is one of the philosophical tenets of A Course in Miracles.

2 – What Does This Mean?

What does this mean?  It suggests that even though, temporarily, some of us have less than others, we will be shown the way to more by our brother or sister, who temporarily has more.  Talents will be shared equally in the Kingdom (a paraphrase from ACIM).  We do not have to feel that some talent that we have admired in others, and perhaps enviously wanted, is forever impossible for us.  God takes the long view, and this world is not our home.  We can make good lives for ourselves here, regardless of the difficulties, because Jesus says that there is no challenge to the advanced teacher of God.  Challenge implies doubt, and doubt is impossible for one who is  trusting in a Higher Power.  (Paraphrases from ACIM.)

3 – Challenges Not So Good

Heretofore we have probably believed that challenges were good, that they kept us on our toes (so to speak).  But challenges also kept us uneasy, and we can know that we will success at any task that the Holy Spirit has given us to do.  This does not mean that we will never struggle, because we are fallible, and we may arise from our struggle with greater strength.  But A Course in Miracles counsels us to walk the effortless way, which does not mean that we do nothing.  When we are on the pathway meant for us, life becomes effortless.  And then we sometimes accomplish a great deal, always on the timing that belongs to God.

4 – Our Needs Fulfilled

We do not then have needs that go unfulfilled.  We also have no problems, even though most of us think that life is filled with problems.  We lack nothing, and when we realize this, we will be on our way home.

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

I thank You that I have, along with everyone else, been given everything.  I realize that this is not a statement for our world, but all gifts here are temporary.  Ultimately all talents and all gifts are shared with everyone.  Thank You.

May I realize that You care about my needs.  I fret sometimes, and that is my ego rearing its still-present head.  I would have the ego wither away.  I would not depend on anything of an egotistical nature to mar my life.  And I wish the same for all whom I encounter in any way.

Be with us today if things turn stressful.  So many people are hurting in our world.  Help as much as they will let You to smooth their way.

Amen.

Invulnerable Mind

“The mind that serves spirit is invulnerable.  (T11)”

Affirmation:  “May my mind serve spirit today.”

Reflections:

1 – Do You Feel Vulnerable?

Many of us feel vulnerable.  But there is a way out.  When we dedicate our minds to the service of spirit, we will know ourselves to be invulnerable.  This is one of the few places in A Course in Miracles that “spirit” is not capitalized and therefore meant to be the Holy Spirit.  I interpret this to mean that to focus on “spirit” (not capitalized) would inject controversy into our study.  By the same token, the word “soul” is not brought up in any significant way in ACIM; there are too many theological overtones to the word “soul,” and Jesus says that theology can delay.  We need the universal experience that ACIM seeks to bring about.  We do not need to let theology delay, for a universal theology is impossible.  (These are paraphrases from ACIM.)

2 – Invulnerability

What a grand experience this is, even when seen only in snatches.  We will recognize invulnerability only at certain junctures, when we are especially open to love.  When we pray that our minds will serve spirit only, we are well on our way.

3 – A Great Gift

The recognition of invulnerability is a great gift.  We can walk unafraid throughout our world, certain that we are protected.  We may find pain, but we will not know suffering in that pain.  And Jesus has promised in A Course in Miracles that we do not have to learn through pain.  This is an open mind, serving spirit, that lets us walk freely through the sometimes conflict-ridden world that we know.

4 – The Holy Spirit

When I say “spirit,” I am not specifically writing of the Holy Spirit, but it is through Him that we live best.  Our minds cannot comprehend Who the Holy Spirit really is, but we can pray that we will understand from a mystical standpoint.  We can “know” things, beyond the shadow of a doubt, internally–things that we would not ever be able to verbalize.  So part of our prayers today could well me an entreaty to have us come to comprehend something more of Who we mean by the Holy Spirit.  And, in the meantime, we can speculate that it is He that will tell us, being, as He is, our Guide.

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

I would be invulnerable, because I would let my mind be totally subject to Your peace.  When I am not stressed, I do not get angry–another way of saying that my ego is not in control.

I would try to invite the Christ-consciousness by being sure that I am following the guidance that You give to me.  I would sustain a better way to live.

Thank You.

Amen.

Errors = Lacks of Love

“The miracle joins in the Atonement by placing the mind in the service of the Holy Spirit.  This establishes the proper function of the mind and corrects its errors, which are merely lacks of love.  (T11)”

Affirmation:  “May I love fully today.”

Reflections:

1 – Definition of Errors

Our errors are merely lacks of love, but lacks that are healed by the Holy Spirit.  Virtually all of us in this world have dark places that indicate lack of love.  But the good news is that we can ask for guidance from the Holy Spirit, and He will lead us into the right pathway to leave these errors behind.  Our mind can be healed by relinquishing errors that are merely “lacks of love.”  This is concept that is easy to understand, and, if we reflect a bit, anyone (not necessarily a student/teacher of ACIM) would see the truth in the equation:  “errors = lacks of love.”

2 – Miracles and the Atonement

Miracles and the Atonement are given an equal place in this passage for effecting this change in the mind.  And Jesus is in charge of both.  This is another place within ACIM that we are asked to see Jesus in a particular light as our leader.  We have chosen that he be our leader by reading and studying his words.  This is akin to choosing Jesus as our “personal Savior” (a tenet of traditional Christianity).

3 – Jesus’s Role

Remember that he is always there for us when we ask.  He will lead the way out, in the service of the Holy Spirit.  Surely all of us recognize that we would remedy these lacks of love.  When we do so, the errors that caused the lacks of love are gone forever.

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

I ask for the help of Jesus today.  I do not understand how he can answer all of our calls, but I think he implies this in ACIM, and I would choose to believe, even in the face of the incomprehensible nature of this.  I know that there are physical laws that our scientists do not yet know, as there have always been.

Be with me as I seek to do the miracles that I seem guided to do.  May I not let my ego intrude and lead me astray.  And may I never seek to do something on my own volition.  Be with me to help be discern correctly.

Help this to be a good day, for others and myself.   May we follow Your pathway exclusively.  Thank You for Your felt presence.

Amen.

Nothing to Hide

“The escape from darkness involves two stages:  First, the recognition that darkness cannot hide.  This step usually entails fear.  Second, the recognition that there is nothing you want to hide even if you could.  This step brings escape from fear.  (T11)”

Affirmation:  “Lead me to want to hide nothing.  Help this to be the right decision.”

Reflections:

1 – Part of ACIM May Frighten Us

A Course in Miracles warns us early on that part of the reading may frighten us a bit; we may become fearful.  This is exemplified in this passage.  We cannot hide the darkness in us, though we would not have anyone to know about our weak spots, the ego in us.  Others do see and know, even though they don’t say anything to us about what they see.  Some do say, of course, and this is when the pain is multiplied.  Then we need to forgive the attack.

2 – We Need Hide Nothing

Later on we realize that we need hide nothing.  Our brother is our closest companion in this world.  He (or she) does, in the depths, love us.  Why would we hide anything of ourselves when we know that we are loved?  Showing our weak places actually will strengthen the relationship, because we are seen to be more human.  We need each other, and this sharing of innermost turmoil may lead us to a place of deeper knowing of each other.  The love is magnified.

3 – The Holy Spirit Is the Way Out of Fear

So do not fear, regardless of what is happening around.  We have within us, in the form of the Holy Spirit, the way out of fear,  and the release and relinquishment of fear come to us when we are willing to hide nothing–even our darkest places within.

4 – Embarrassing?

This passage does not mean that we unveil those things about ourselves that would be embarrassingly personal (an interpretation, not stated in ACIM).  Our listeners would be embarrassed by an unmasking that was unsought by them.  But Jesus does warn us that sometimes the Holy Spirit may give us guidance that appears embarrassing to us.  He says that this perception (and it is a perception) is due to a shabby self image (from the Manual), which we would do well to discard.  But we do need to discern when and what to share with whomever we wish.  And for this guidance, we need to turn to the Holy Spirit.

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

I would like to be rid of my shabby self-image that makes me feel embarrassed sometimes when I perceive the Holy Spirit’s guidance, and I don’t want to do it.  Help me to be flexible always, and to do His bidding.  I know that this is the only way that I will find my way back to You.

May my day go well today.  Thank You that the stress of the past month has passed, and that all is well in my little circle of significant others.  May we turn to You always, asking for Your way for us.  We may not always agree, because we are human, but You see the large picture, and what You wish is always the best decisions for us, the best life pathway.

Thank You for leading me to understand this, especially in the last month.

Amen.

Temptation

“‘Lead us not into temptation’ means ‘Recognize your errors and choose to abandon them by following my guidance.’  (T9)”

Affirmation:  “I would abandon my errors today.”

 

Reflections:

1 – Jesus’s Words

This is Jesus’s interpretation, for students/teachers of A Course in Miracles, of a biblical statement attributed to him.  Perhaps the interpretation has always been in place, but now the world is ready to hear it through ACIM.  We may see herein that the temptation to go against the guidance of Jesus, or the guidance of the Holy Spirit, is a choice that will slow us down.  We need to be flexible, to find the affirmations that will keep us from rebelliously avoiding guidance because we are still so strong-willed.  My personal favorite, which is very secular, is simply, “Be flexible.”  This talks to my ego in a way that undoes it, and it uses secular language that will not cause temptation to overcome me.

2 – We Do Not Sin in Eternity / We Make Mistakes in Time

Elsewhere the Course makes clear that we do not sin in eternity (we are still innocent, because we are caught in illusions), but we do make mistakes.  And if we recognize mistakes, we will move quickly to correct them.  Calling a mistake a “sin,” though, is highly attracting, in a perverse sort of way.  We will sometimes choose to sin again and again; changing the concept to that of a “mistake” eliminates the attraction at its core.  Who would repeat mistakes that, with Jesus’s guidance, are very easily corrected?  At one point in ACIM, we are told that we have “sinned” in time, but that time does not really exist.  Eternity is on the valid concept that is close to time, but not the same.

3 – How Do We Recognize Our Errors?

We need to recognize when we have made errors, though.  This is not always easy, because our conscience may have damaged areas in it.  We may be led astray, having rationalized poor thinking and behavior in ourselves many times previously.  This is the time to return to A Course in Miracles, and to ask humbly for guidance to see anew.  This guidance will lead us along more positive lines, and we will leave behind the erroneous thoughts and misdeeds of the past.

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

Sometimes when my emotions are especially strong, I am sure that I have great difficulty in discerning Your guidance.  My emotions, sometimes ruled by my ego, interfere with my intuition, my discerning of Your way.

I would not have it thus today.  I would stop, calm myself, and then ask quietly and peacefully, “What would You have me do?”  I pray that this is enough.  Please guide me even when my thinking is muddled by overwrought emotions.  When stress is heavy, we often cannot discern in peace.  Be with me especially at such times.  I know that my good intentions are not enough, but I pray that when times are hard, You will always remember me–even when I forget You.

Thank You.

Amen.

Miracles Lead to Revelation

“The impersonal nature of the miracle is an essential ingredient, because it enables me to direct its application, and under my guidance miracles lead to the highly personal experience of revelation.  (T9)”

Affirmation:  “I invite revelation today.”

Reflections:

1 – Jesus’s Guidance

Miracles lead to revelation under Jesus’s guidance.  How liberating!  Revelation is considered to be, by A Course in Miracles, unspeakable, as it is highly personal and therefore meaningful only to us at the time that we receive it.  We do not try to “prove” anything by sharing our revelations.  Their meaning, being so personal, is not able to be conveyed to anybody else.   Revelation is not perceptual; miracles are, and therefore they do not last (nothing that is perceptual lasts–a Text tenet).

2 – We May Misread “Revelation”

We may sometimes misread revelation, though, thinking that we have received a message from God that is only our own thinking.  This experience need not occur if we stay close to the precepts of A Course in Miracles.  Test out the experience, if this seems feasible.  We know that our own self-will can misdirect us.  We would not want to make mistakes in a matter of such importance.  We must ask for guidance of the Holy Spirit in such matters, most especially when revelation is new to us.

3 – How to Awaken

The means to Awakening are being given to us in A Course in Miracles.  Revelation may occasionally occur, but to get to Awakening on a sustained basis, we must understand the means.  This is learning that ACIM recommends.  But it is not effortful or tedious; it is the greatest joy to learn through the prompting of divine guidance.

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

I know that I have had many miracles in my life.  Sometimes they seem to happen daily.  And I have had a few times that I appeared to receive revelation.  I question this, because I do not want to allow my ego to imagine what did not happen.  But there were one or two periods in my life that seemed a foreshadowing of what Awakening could be like.  And I thank You for this foretaste.

Be with me as I seek to walk a smooth pathway today.  Right now there is much stress in my life, as there is in the lives of many people in our world.  Be with all of us, and may we feel Your presence.  May miracles come, as promised, and may we have a foretaste of a new day through the revelatory moments that You deem for us.

Amen.

Roles in the Atonement

“I am the only one who can perform miracles indiscriminately, because I am the Atonement.  You have a role in the Atonement which I will dictate to you.  Ask me which miracles you should perform.  This spares you needless effort, because you will be acting under direct communication.  (T9)”

Affirmation:  “Jesus, tell me what miracles I can perform today.”

Reflections:

1 – How Do I Know What Miracles to Perform?

In this passage, we are bidden to ask Jesus what miracles to perform.  Elsewhere he cautions that consciously selected miracles can be misguided, and so to effect miracles in the right way, we must listen to him.  He is still guiding us personally at this early point in the Text; in a bit, we will see, he lets us know that the guidance that we seek is to be found in the Person of the Holy Spirit.

2 – Jesus’s Role in ACIM and ACOL

It is enormously releasing to know that we can call on help, and that our role in the Atonement is a matter to be decided by Jesus.  How can our recipients lose if we listen to him?  How can we lose if we listen to him?  Jesus cares about us, for he is our leader, having walked the whole pathway first, and being in charge of the Atonement for all his brothers and sisters.  A Course in Miracles does not require that we look to Jesus as our leader, but it does indicate that he will have more to share with us if we look upon him personally and not as an abstract, historical figure.  A Course of Love is more decisive; we are told that we must accept Jesus, that this is just the way things are.  Things are no different from having to accept the rules of living that we might at first reject.  We find our way home through Jesus’s example life, according to ACOL.

3 – Centrality of Jesus

This assertion may be difficult for those who did not grow up in Christianity.  And we can learn much if we see Jesus as only one of many teachers.  But he makes the powerful statements in ACIM and ACOL that there is a difference to believing in his power.  I would see these assertions as making it clear that there is something unique about Jesus (an interpretation, not stated precisely in ACIM and ACOL).  Jesus’s unique role in our lives is strongly implied in both ACIM and ACOL.

4 – We Are Spared Needless Effort

Frequently the Course makes references to how little it actually asks of us.  And that its dictates are simple.  Here we here that to ask Jesus what miracles to perform spares us “needless effort.”  Jesus has indeed made our better way in this world a matter of easy accomplishment and the utmost reassurance.

5 – Our Little Willingness Is Required

The way to salvation is seen frequently to be one that asks little of us, that the contribution of the Holy Spirit overshadows our own by a very large degree.  And we are not always happy about this assertion.  We think we need to do more, but we only get in the way.  If we are flexible enough in our daily lives, and follow guidance as consistently as we can allow ourselves to do so, we will find ourselves at home in God effortlessly and much sooner.  Our little willingness is all that is required (an ACIM tenet).

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

I pray that I will be flexible enough today to follow the guidance that I know inwardly is meant for me.  Do not let me wander down side roads.  I would stay on the pathway to You.  I would follow the way that is shown to me.

Thank You for the guidance that Jesus intiates, and that he then assures us is present in the Person of the Holy Spirit.  I do not understand how this Guide is within me, but I have learned this from my reading, and I will follow this thought unless I am later shown to be interpreting wrongly.  Be with me to keep my interpretations on target.

Thank You for the beauty of this day.  As spring beckons shortly, may our days be balmy as well as inwardly  peaceful.

Amen.

Thousands of Years

“The miracle substitutes for learning that might have taken thousands of years.  (T8)”

Affirmation:  “The miracle substitutes for learning.”

Reflections:

1 – Collapse of Time

What a great promise!  This is the collapse of time about which A Course in Miracles speaks.  Jesus has said in the Text that he will alter time and space to allow us to perform miracles, and the promise made in this passage is akin.

2 – We Each Save a Thousand Years

How does the miracle substitute for learning that might take thousands of year?  We ourselves are said to save a thousand years, each of us, as the world judges it.  With this promise comes the realization that time can collapse and they we can do something to heal the worn and weary world of suffering..  We are meant to understand that we all can and will make a difference, once we have imparted on the “journey without distance” (quotation from ACIM) that we all must make, sooner or later.  We can bring others to salvation and the real world, and then God Himself, when we are ready, awakens us.  We do not choose this time, though ACIM implies that we can hasten it, because the means–in ACIM–are being explained to us by Jesus.

3 – Learning

Learning is greatly overestimated by the thinking of the world.  Many of us have been quite proud of our learning ability, and we frequently want to add to what we already know by more learning.  Yet ACIM also says that we sometimes want to learn things that will not last.  Surely we need to go beyond this limited thinking of ours.

4 – ACOL:  Time of Learning Is Over

A Course of Love continues these ACIM promises, if we do entertain the thought that ACOL is a sequel to ACIM.  In ACOL, the time of learning is said to be over, and we are to come to know through observation and discovery.  This does not mean (an interpretation) that we will never “learn” anything again, only that the message of salvation is ours by an altered route.

5 – Does the Road to Salvation Ever End?

We who are ACIM followers frequently think that the road to salvation never ends, that we are always to follow the next signpost and then the next.  We almost fall in love with learning.  But A Course of Love says that this is not the way.  We can invite what is called the “elevated Self of form” at any time that we wish; it may not be granted immediately, but immediate granting is conceivable.  We turn to Jesus not as our teacher, but as a companion along the way (according to ACOL).  Jesus does not have the answers to every question that we will ever have because we are walking the path together, making the future real together.

6 – Trust Jesus

We cannot understand the passage above from ACIM fully, probably because it seems too good to be true.  We must trust Jesus to know what he is talking about.

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

I would seek today to know that there is a time for miracles, as well as a time that learning will cease.  We will still discover and make observations, but we will not be encouraged to search for ever more paths to a more pristine salvation.  When we think this, we are not allowing for miracles.  May I know today that Your way is easy, as Jesus has said, and that I do not have to struggle anymore to effect my salvation, and definitely do not have to struggle anymore to effect my Awakening.  Awakening is Your gift to me, when You know that I am ready.  I pray that this readiness be sooner rather than later.

Be with me today as I walk through a sometimes stressful world.  May I recognize that miracles can dissipate trials, and that the trials are a way to choose again, to make a better choice this time around.  I would choose You and Your way without fail.  Help me not to fail today.

Amen.

Miracles and Revelation

“The Holy Spirit is the highest communication medium.  Miracles do not involve this type of communication, because they are temporary communication devices.  When you return to your original form of communication with God by direct revelation, the need for miracles is over.  (T6)”

Affirmation:  “May the Holy Spirit be with me today.”

Reflections:

1 – Turning to the Holy Spirit

Here is the reason that we are to turn to the Holy Spirit for guidance.  He is the “highest” communication medium.  When we turn to Him, it even seems that miracles are not as necessary or important to our daily life.  We have gone to the highest when we listen to the Holy Spirit.

2 – Christ-Consciousness

Only in the next step, Christ-consciousness, do we move beyond the Holy Spirit and His time, and into the time of Christ (a tenet of A Course of Love).  This is the state after Awakening, and there has been no general movement in our world toward Awakening for everyone.

3 – A View from Eckhart Tolle

Eckhart Tolle addressed this point in a CD entitled, “Even the Sun Will Die.”  He is an awakened individual (author of The Power of Now and A New Earth) who is now a teacher without to a specific religion.  But he does quote from A Course in Miracles in his writings.  He believes that the Awakening is coming for more and more individuals, and he notes that he hears from many who have experienced Awakening.  They turn to Eckhart when they cannot understand their own experiences.

4 – Miracles

Miracles, a different type of communication, do show us the way when our understanding is limited.  We will be buoyed by miracles in a way that we miss if we try to depend upon ourselves alone.  We always make mistakes.  With miracles, a way is shown that will lead down the pathway of truth.

5 – Direct Revelation from God

Finally, we see direct revelation from God.  It is likely that ACIM is here speaking of the Awakening, though elsewhere Jesus speaks of occasional revelation that reveals the end (T16).

6 – This ACIM Passage One of the Best

Nowhere are there greater promises in A Course in Miracles than in this brief passage, quoted above.  It reveals the pathway from Holy Spirit to miracles to direct revelation.

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

I would welcome Your involvement to bring me closer to Awakening.  I have long intuited the guidance of the Holy Spirit, and in recent times I have felt a inner assurance that may (or may not) be evidence of the Christ-consciousness that comes intermittently.  I would sustain the Self of form, the Christ-consciousness.  But You must show me how.  I turn to You in humble request today that I might use all that You grant to me in the service of Your cause for our world.

Be with me when I am tired today, when I do not feel Your presence.  And help me to relax into Your guiding care.  I trust You completely to lead me home, not through death, but through making everythin in this world fresh and clean.

Thank You for guiding me through another day.

Amen.

Isolation, Deprivation, and Lack

“A major contribution of miracles is their strength in releasing you from your false sense of isolation, deprivation, and lack.  (T6)”

Affirmation:  “I wish the strength that comes from miracles.”

Reflections:

1 – The Oscillating Nature of Life

All too often our experience in the world, over the course of our lifetime, is not good.  We know some “happy” times, but these are balanced by dark times.  A Course in Miracles indicates that this oscillating nature of life is to be expected.  The sustainability of peace and joy does not come suddenly, unless revelation reveals the end to us.  And this revelation may not make Awakening sustainable.  In the beginning, it is likely that the glimpses will not last, but they will prepare us for what will last, when that time comes.  As long as we caught by the ego, we will know a movement forward, followed by a movement backward.  If we think about this, we will realize why it is true.  We have not been fully prepared, though the means are being carefully explained to us by Jesus in ACIM (from the Text).

2 – Miracles End the Oscillations

The “expected” nature of oscillations will happen until we come under the benign grace of miracles.  We then no longer feel so alone and lacking.  Jesus notes that this sense of isolation is a “false” sense, as we are indeed surrounded by the grace of Heaven.  Jesus promises that he will be with us when we ask.  He also mentions “Teachers of teachers” (M64) who help us when the need is there.  (And is there ever a time when the need is not there?)

3 – Ask for Miracles

We can ask for miracles and they will be ours.  All too often even advanced students/teachers of ACIM forget that “asking” is necessary.  We think, erroneously, that all should be given us without this humble plea.  But “ask and yet shall receive” (from the New Testament) is still the concept of ACIM.  This is the reassurance of Jesus, when he walked the earth, and, now, when he channeled ACIM.

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

I ask for miracles today, in my own life as well as the others whom I encounter, plus the readers of this blog.  May we not oscillate from dark to light and back again.  May we know the stasis of peace and serenity always.

If the day seems to turn dark, may I know that this is an illusion.  Regardless of how difficult the outward circumstances appear, it is my dream.  May I invite instead the dreams that the Holy Spirit brings.  And may You be there to comfort me as I walk through this sometimes troubled world.  I know that projection makes perception, and I would project aright today, so that I might perceive aright.

Thank You for Your felt presence.  This means more to me than anything else, especially on days that are difficult.   Be with my loved ones today, and that includes people I have not even met.

Amen.

Knowledge of the Divine Order

“A miracle is a correction introduced into false thinking by me.  It acts as a catalyst, breaking up erroneous perception and reorganizing it properly.  This places you under the Atonement principle, where perception is healed.  Until this has occurred, knowledge of the Divine Order is impossible.  (T5)”

Affirmation:  “May my perception be healed.”

Reflections:

1 – Definition of the Miracle

This is one definition of the miracle offered by Jesus.  The wording of this passage is straight-forward, but may be difficult to understand on first reading.  Do not fret, at this point, in trying to understand.  The remainder of A Course in Miracles will let these principles be examined so that we can come to an understanding.

2 – Miracles, Atonement, and Perception

Jesus links the miracle with Atonement.  In addition, he says that our perception will be healed.  These two aspects of the miracle make it completely desirable.

3 – Perception and Knowledge

“Perception” and “knowledge” are different, and only the second (knowledge) is actually accurate.  We “know” when we have walked the way of Atonement.  Before that, our perception is frequently informed by the ego, and we see and live in difficult circumstances.  Only the “happy dreams the Holy Spirit brings” (from the Workbook) can save us from ourselves.  These happy dreams will calm us, and prepare us for the Awakening.  ACIM says that we would be too fearful to welcome Awakening without the preparation through happy dreams from the Holy Spirit.

4 – Healed Perception

When our perception is healed, we will not look out on the same world, because projection makes perception (a tenet from ACIM).  Our lives will work better in this new world (called by ACIM the “real world”), and we will live in calm and quiet.  This indeed is what miracles hold out for us.  What a blessing!

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

I would do the miracles today that You prompt me to do.  Jesus says that he will guide us.  I would not try to choose any miracle to do, because surely that would be misguided.

Be with me as my perception is cleansed.  May I look out on a world that my projection has healed, because I wish to see the real world.  Be with me to make this possible.

I would follow the guidance of my Guide throughout the day.  Make me flexible enough to do that.

Thank You.

Amen.

Nightmares

“[Miracles] thus atone for your errors by freeing you from your nightmares. By releasing your mind from the imprisonment of your illusions, they restore your sanity.  (T5)”

Affirmation:  “May miracles restore my sanity.

Reflections:

1 – The Return of Sanity

The restoration of our sanity is the great need of all humankind.  It is not sanity as perceived by the world (which is a concept in emotional disturbance), but sanity as perceived by the Awakening.  We are indicated in A Course in Miracles to be living with a mad mind, and that includes all of us who have not yet walked the full pathway back to God.  Along the way, we probably will experience glimpses of Awakening, but they will not last beyond even a few moments, a few weeks, or a few months.  A Course of Love, which some view as a sequel to ACIM, indicates that we are to sustain, physical form, our acceptance of Atonement, which will lead to Awakening.  Nowhere in either set of volumes is Awakening fully defined, but we can surmise that it is the state of Enlightenment, which many other religions have championed as well.  It is less noted in traditional Christianity, which tends to stop with a specific moment of the experience of being “saved.”  There is some emphasis in moving onward to the baptism of the Holy Spirit, and this is the way of ACIM.  Miracles will bring these great events closer in time.

2 – Lost in Nightmares

We have indeed been lost in nightmares.  We have been made mad by guilt (an ACIM concept).  Happy dreams will arrive as soon as we let the miracles replace our madness.  And the real world, according to ACIM, will arrive soon afterwards.  Then it is only a brief moment in time before God Himself will take the last step, the Awakening.  This is not something that we can effect ourselves.

3 – Time for God and Ourselves

It is wise always to remember that God’s time and our time are not identical, and so we do not know (because it is not said in ACIM) what “soon” really means.  How long to we await the Awakening after we have recognized that we are seeing the “real world.”  Even the “real world” is not defined precisely in ACIM, but I have interpreted this boon as a time in which we experience the loving attributes of salvation:  love, joy, peace, tranquility, serenity, happiness, forgiveness of ourselves and others.

4 – Nightmares and Illusions

“Nightmares” and “illusions” are linked in this passage.  May we reach toward the promise of sanity in the real world when we give up our illusions, and, with them, our nightmares.  Fear will subside, and in calm and quiet we will live in the guidance of the Holy Spirit.  This guidance will continue until after Awakening, called “Christ-consciousness” is A Course of Love.  We are then to know internally of the way in which we are to travel.  The time of Christ follows the time of the Holy Spirit (according to A Course of Love).  This is a natural transition, but not one for which all of us ready.  We must be patient, and, until the time of learning is over, listen to our guidance from our Guide, and then we will be swept up in the knowledge that our real Self, the Christ within, will give us.  (These are tenets from A Course of Love.)

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

I would live in the real world today.  I would no longer be lost in illusions.  I ask for the blessing of the return of sanity, in the sense that A Course in Miracles means.  Virtually all of us have been lost in madness.  Some have had fleeting glimpses of the Awakening, but few have sustained the Awakening.  I do realize that this is a blessing that You will offer all of us when we are ready.  And I ask for my Guide to tell me what to think, say, and do today that will prepare me for this blessing.

Be with me if I get discouraged.  Life does not have to be difficult, even when outward circumstances seem so.  You are there to comfort and to sustain us.

May I never forget this.  May I never forget to turn to You.

Amen.

The Undoing of Fear

“Miracles represent freedom from fear.  ‘Atoning’ means ‘undoing.’  The undoing of fear is an essential part of the Atonement value of miracles.  (T5)”

Affirmation:  “I welcome the undoing of fear.”

Reflections:

1 – The ACIM Definition of “Atoning”

This passage gives a definition for atoning that is at variance, perhaps, with traditional Christianity.  Jesus gives “atoning” a very benign meaning:  “undoing.”  It says little about the crucifixion, a happening meant to describe that Jesus did not blame his tormentors for anything that they did in illusion.  He remained defenseless.

2 – The Crucifixion and the Resurrection

Traditional Christianity frequently teaches that the crucifixion is some way “bought” our atonement with God.  A Course in Miracles would have us look to the resurrection, which it never denies actually happened, as the way in which our eyes should travel.  If we find trouble with accepting the resurrection, believing that it disobeys all known physical laws, perhaps we need to realize that science has not yet caught up with many concepts in religion.  But Jesus would not have us to accept concepts for which we are not ready.  In an interpretation (not stated in ACIM), I would say that if we have to see the resurrection as metaphorical, we are not to be find ourselves at fault and chastise ourselves.  Take time, and accept all that does not cause conflict within ourselves.  Jesus always in ACIM counsels against theological concepts that are divisive.  He says that a universal theology is impossible, but that a universal experience is not only possible, but necessary.

3 – Atonement

With miracles an essential part of our lives, we will live fearlessly.  Because love and fear are the only two emotions, we know that to love while experiencing miracles will free us for the Atonement.  Some students/teachers of ACIM says that Atonement does not mean “At – one – ment.”  And there are differences of opinion, but I have personally found this interpretation to be helpful.  But nowhere in ACIM is Atonement spelled out in this way.

4 – Anxiety

“Freedom from fear” is a boon enjoyed by so few of us.  But we have Jesus’s promise that it is only waiting for us to receive.  We do not have to be in bondage to fear or, indeed, to any of its component negative emotions.  Fear is frequently manifested as anxiety, and most of us cannot turn meaningfully to our brothers and sisters if we are paralyzed by anxiety.  We become very self-absorbed, which any psychologist of today would say is not to be desired.  It is just good psychology to turn outward to others, as much as we turn inward.  And anxiety is a definite hindrance to this healthy living.

5 – Defenses Make What They Would Defend Against

So we would be wise, at this early point in A Course in Miracles, to come to terms with fear.  We do not have to devise defenses against fear, because we are told in ACIM that defenses make what they would define against.  We need only to allow love to touch our hearts, and fear will wither away.  We become not so interested in our physical safety, because we know that the real Self is safe.  Once we have let all our grievances go, we will know that we are perfectly safe (a Workbook tenet).  This may mean that the Self is safe, because the little (the personal) self may still know trouble.  We are, after all, living in an illusory world where bad things do happen to good people (a concept from Harold Kushner).

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

I would today make a resolution that I plan to keep.  I would turn aside from fear in all its manifestations, and turn to You when anxious thoughts crowd into my mind.   I certainly know that praying in the middle of an anxious night will soothe me, and allow me to turn the night over to You to handle until the morning.  I pray myself back to sleep, and I don’t think that this is an affront to You.  You would have us enjoy restful restoration through sleep, while You stay awake and handle all the details of my tiny life.

Be with all of us who need You to quell anxiety in our hearts and minds.  We do not wish to be fearful.  We know that this is evidence that this world is too much with us.  Tonight as I write this prayer to You, I would know that it is one of the final deeds of the day.  And I will go to sleep with Your blessing on my life, for I have asked Your blessing upon me.  And You never fail to answer that prayer in the affirmative.

Thank You.

Amen.

Involuntary Miracles

“Miracles are habits, and should be involuntary.  They should not be under conscious control.  Consciously selected miracles can be misguided.  (T3)”

Affirmation: “Involuntary miracles are the way that I will proceed.”

Reflections:

1 – Don’t Select Your Own Miracles

Don’t try to “do good,” in the sense of inviting miracles that we ourselves devise.  This is one of the 50 principles of miracles described in the opening of the Text to A Course in Miracles.  We may sometimes think that we know more than others, and that we can decide what is best for them.  Unless guided by the Holy Spirit, this is always illusion.  It is true that some of us do temporarily have more, but this is only a temporary state.  Ultimately all will share in all the gifts of the kingdom.

2 – Jesus’s Role

Jesus will lead us to miracles that he wishes us to bring about.  He will even alter time and space to accommodate them.  (This is a particularly difficult concept to accept, but perhaps there are laws of physics not yet discovered by our scientists.)

3 – The Role of the Unconscious in Daily Life

When we follow the way of the ACIM, we develop certain habits of living that stand us in good stead whether the way is easy or hard.  These habits promote miracles in daily life, and they are best if they happen unconsciously.

In these opening pages of the Text, Jesus takes a personal stance in regard to the way that we relate to reality.  Later on, he introduces us to the Holy Spirit, who is seen (variously), as the Universal Inspiration, our Guide, etc.  In these opening pages, though, Jesus leads us to what we already understand, which is to see him as our guide.  It is best to follow guidance as we perceive it, keeping aware that our ego can intrude and let us think of things to say or do that are actually egoic in nature.  If an impulse is not loving, if it hurts others in some way, it is not divinely led.  We need always to test out our impulses.

4 – Jesus

And let Jesus be our guide as we proceed.

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

However much I think I can “do good,” I would not attempt it today unless I feel an intuitive urge from the Holy Spirit or even Jesus himself.  I do not understand all the laws of our universe, and there are many things that we have just to accept and not try to consider in a conflicting way.  Help me not to invite theological dispute today.  May I just walk calmly and peacefully, and do the good that I feel led to do–but nothing that my ego bids me to do.

I would choose Your way always.  I welcome the guidance of Jesus and the Holy Spirit, and, of course,  guidance from the part of me that is You.  I do not understand all of this, but I do find my guidance in A Course in Miracles, and I have never found this trust to be unfounded.

Amen.

A Sick Mind

“If you let your mind harbor attack thoughts, yield to judgment or make plans against uncertainties to come, you have again misplaced yourself, and made a bodily identity which will attack the body, for the mind is sick.  (WB260)”

Affirmation:  “no attack thoughts, judging, or ‘plans'”

Reflections:

1 – Why We Fall from Grace

This is a very important passage, but easy to overlook in all of the many important passages in the Course.  If the pathway has become easier, and then suddenly or even gradually turns to darkness, here is the answer.

2 – Lost in a Strange and Harsh World

So if the way seems rough, here is the answer.  Even times spent in happy dreams can turn to madness again if we harbor attack, if we judge, or if we make plans against uncertainties.  (If there are plans to be made, the Holy Spirit will prompt us at the appropriate time–an ACIM tenet.)  Attack and judging make the Holy Spirit’s advice impossible to hear.  We have fallen into an egoic place, and that is not where we would be.  If we lose the ability to hear our Guide, we will be lost in a strange and harsh world, not headed on the path back to God.  We will need to forgive, first of all, ourselves for this lapse; then we will need to forgive the others that have almost certainly contributed to our downfall.   This is not hard to do when we are determined.  And reading and studying Jesus’s words in A Course in Miracles will put us back on the right pathway.

3 – What “Planning” Means

Perhaps only the first two of these prohibitions seem pivotal:  attacking and judging.  Planning is not often seen as deplorable, but it means that we are defending against the future.  And defense, according to the Course, is not encouraged.  It is, indeed, actively warned against.  If we defend ourselves, we make what we would defend against (a Text tenet).  And we would not make these straw men a part of our new world.

4 – If We Fall Away, Here Is the Answer Why

Three prohibitions:  attacking, judging, planning against uncertainties to come.  The Course puts this warning in amidst many other great passages, but this one alone will go a long way toward explaining any falling away from the truth in our lives.

5 – An Almost Hidden Passage in ACIM

This is an almost hidden passage in A Course in Miracles.  I have never read it in any commentary on ACIM (though I do read commentaries in a limited way).  In the same vein, do go often to ACIM itself; take nothing that I say unto yourself unless it finds a warm place in your heart.

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

It can be so easy to fall away, even after we think that we are making progress along our pathway.  Thank You for pointing out to me this pivotal passage.  May I stay in line with Your wishes, and not attack, judge, nor make plans that are not prompted by my Guide.

Be with me today as I seek to find a smooth way through complexities that would engulf me.  These complexities are often of an ego that has not completely withered away.  The ego is wily; I would not be misled today.

Be with me for a smooth, harmonious, relaxed and easy pace today.  There is always time for what is needful.  And You love my significant others even more than I do, because in this world I have my limitations.  May this day go well, and may I make a contribution to the best that the day can hold for those who surround me.

Amen.

Self-Accusing Shrieks of Sinners Mad with Guilt

“Forgiveness is the only thing that stands for truth in the delusions of the world. . . .It does not heed the self-accusing shrieks of sinners mad with guilt.  It looks on them with quiet eyes, and merely says to them, ‘My brother, what you think is not the truth.'”  (WB249).

Affirmation:  “I look out on the world with quiet eyes.”

Reflections:

1 – Guilt

Guilt is a great bugaboo in our world:  “the self-accusing shrieks of sinners mad with guilt.”  Guilt makes hell for ourselves.  It is only through our forgiveness of others as well as ourselves that we emerge from this self-made hell.  Guilt is even said in ACIM to “be” hell.  We probably do not fully understand this, but probably can relate to the idea, also in ACIM, that our way to salvation is forgiveness.  And we inevitably feel guilty when we have not forgiven.

2 – The Place for Forgiveness

Eventually we see that not even forgiveness is needed, because there is nothing to forgive in illusions.  We have not actually been harmed in any real way, because the real way is only the way of love.  Notice that “quiet eyes” are needed to perceive the truth.  Forgiveness looks with quiet eyes.  Our wrongful deeds toward another have always been a call for help, and when we receive attack from others, we can therefore recognize that this time they are asking for help.  If we perceive all that happens as either an expression of love or a call for love,  we will be well on our way home.  I have never found in ACIM this exact quotation, though many commentators on ACIM use it.  Certainly the sentiment is implied in A Course in Miracles.

3 – ACIM’s Language

This passage is filled with vivid images.  Vivid images are a hallmark of the Course.  The words are terrifying, but strangely beautiful, and we do well to heed them.

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

I would look out on the world with quiet eyes today.  I would not live in hell out of a sense of guilt.  I would forgive when I have held offenses in mind; I would know that illusions are not part of the real world, and it is in the real world that I would live today.

I would not overreact to terrifying images.  Hell only seems terrible.  In truth it cannot touch me as long as I keep my eyes on You.  Only when I fall away from following my Guide do I make mistakes that lead me to feel guilty.  I would avoid those mistakes, with their attendant guilt, today.

Amen.

God’s Will Is Our Real Will

“There is no will but God’s.  The idea for today [Note:  Workbook Lesson 74] can be regarded as the central thought toward which all our exercises are directed.  God’s is the only Will.  When you have recognized this, you have recognized that your will is His.  (WB 130)”

Affirmation:  “I would follow God’s will, because He chooses what I really want.”

Reflections:

1 – God’s Will and Our Will

Many of us get caught up in conflicts over God’s will and our own.  We wonder if we are really very different from the story of Jonah in the Old Testament (Hebrew Bible), who was forced to follow God’s will, even though his own seemed in conflict.

2 – There Is Really No Conflict

A Course in Miracles promises us that there really is no conflict.  God and we actually have the same will.  When we follow our Christ nature, we will know this.  Only when caught in temptation do we feel led to take a different pathway, one that we know at the time is not God’s highest and best choice for us.

3 – Central Thought

This workbook lesson actually says that this statement can be regarded as the “central thought” toward which all exercises are directed.  Surely when we know that God and we share the same will, we will not get caught up in conflict again.  His choice for us is always best, and we will follow what we know from the Holy Spirit when Awakening beckons.

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

Certainly I fretted over God’s will for many years in my early adulthood.  I didn’t want to feel like Jonah, but I did.  Thank You that those days are behind me, thanks to the greater understanding that A Course in Miracles has given me.  I do not have to worry that You might want me to be a puppet–just doing Your bidding.  Your bidding and my desire are actually identical!  This reality is indeed grand!

Thank You for keeping me on the pathway that I thought You wanted for me when I was younger.  I would never have felt that I had loved You enough if I had deviated from that pathway, though I know that You would have forgiven me.  May the pathways ahead that You point out be ones that I can easily and peacefully walk, without conflict.  I would know Your peace.

Thank You for always being there for me, for I am a part of You.  That knowledge is also a blessing that You have granted me through ACIM.  Thank You for that knowledge.

Amen.

Think of Jesus Holding Your Hand

“If it helps you, think of me holding your hand and leading you.  And I assure you this will be no idle fantasy.  (WB120)”

Affirmation:  “I hold Jesus’s hand today.”

Reflections:

1 – Is Jesus Limited by Time/Space?

What does this promise from Jesus really mean?  I think that it means just what it says.  Jesus is a risen Master, who is available to all of us at any time.  His presence is not limited by time nor space.

2 – Imagination?

But you do not have to believe this to still get comfort from Jesus.  You can believe that holding Jesus’s hand is only imagination, but is not this a strong master?  Joan of Arc said that her voices were her imagination, that this was how God speaks to us.  We would be wise to test out the indications that we get from the imagination, because an overwrought mind, especially in times of turmoil, can have us misperceive the situation.  First, we need to calm ourselves in any way that we have found works:  prayer, communion with God, inspirational reading, A Course in Miracles, A Course of Love, the helpful ear of a friend or family member.  And we must find our own way in regard to what comforts us into calm.  But all of us already have some experience in this.  Now is the time to put our calming techniques into practice.

3 – Jesus Holding Our Hand

When we need his help, Jesus promises that visualizing him holding our hand and leading us will be no “idle fantasy.”  What a great promise this is!  His love shows through in every word.  He will be there for us, even when all the rest in the world do not seem to care.

4 – Greatest Comfort

Jesus will lead us.  He will make the pathway smooth.  This is one of the best promises of the Course, one of the greatest comforts..

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

I will not try to go ahead of You, trying to understand things that in this world are not understandable.  I will not try to assess whether the comfort and consolation that I feel from Jesus is only my imagination or something more.  In the final analysis, would not worry about this be a theological dividing tactic among us who follow A Course in Miracles?

I will use my guidance today to sense the presence of Jesus, even as I sense Your presence in my better moments.  He is with us in a way that we do not comprehend intellectually, but we can accept what we do not understand, stilling our intellect from questions that, in this world, have no answers.

Thank You for indicating to me that Jesus is available in some way that I cannot fully comprehend, given my limited sight in this world.

Amen.

Perfectly Safe

“Love holds no grievances.  When I let all my grievances go I will know I am perfectly safe. (WB116)”

Affirmation:  “When I let all my grievances go I will know I am perfectly safe.”

Reflections:

1 – Safety

This passage is very comforting.  Safety is a great need in our world, and we find herein that letting grievances go means that we will know safety.

2 – Hard to Let Grievances Go

It is hard, sometimes, to let grievances go.  So many lamentable aspects of our lives would have us blame others for the bad times.  But should we really?  A Course in Miracles teaches otherwise.  We are responsible for what we see.  We choose.  All the choices may not be made by the little self, the personal self.  We are sometimes attune to our larger self, the Self that will ultimately be joined as one with the Christ (from A Course of Love).

3 – God is Always There for Us

“. ..[P]erfectly safe” is a great consoler in times of stress and anxiety.  Let us never forget that God is always there for us, regardless of the outer and inner experience.

4 – A Confused and Disturbed Mind

Perhaps we long for safety too much.  We are certainly in a dangerous world, but the danger in it is sometimes seen by a confused and disturbed mind.  We would have none of this insanity, but all of us here are insane to one degree or another (an ACIM tenet).  We should not underestimate the madness of this world (also an ACIM tenet).  And it would be good for us to ask the Holy Spirit, speaking for God, to “get the madness out.”

5 – Our Circumstances May Improve

We may be surprised by the improvement in our circumstances.  Perhaps all that has been missing was our oneness with God’s plan for the salvation of the world.

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

I would lose my grievances today, if only for today, and I know that life is lived one day at a time.  I know that when I am thinking peacefully about others, I am much happier.  And I also know that I feel safe.  The truth of this statement comes home to me.

May I know safety in this difficult world.  May I let my grievances go, not just for a day or so, but day-by-day far into the future.  For all time.  This is as You would have it for me, and I choose what You will.

Thank You for helping me in this resolution.

Amen.

The Presence of Fear

“The presence of fear is a sure sign that you are trusting in your own strength.  The awareness that there is nothing to fear shows that somewhere in your mind, though not necessarily in a place you recognize as yet, you have remembered God, and let His strength take the place of your weakness.  The instant you are willing to do this there is indeed nothing to fear.  (WB77)”

Affirmation:  “Let God’s strength take the place of my weakness.”

Reflections:

1 – Turn to God

When we turn to God, the fear will dissipate.  When we trust in ourselves, fear is inevitable.  This is the simple truth, but, oh, how hard it may be to live!

2 – Remember God

We must “remember” God, and “let His strength take the place of. . .weakness.”  This is the way that Jesus recommends.  This is the pathway we must take.

3 – Fear May Seem All-Encompassing

It is easy to forget that turning to God is the answer, as always.  Even in fear, which sometimes seems so all-encompassing.  The fear may not subside immediately, because our adrenaline is present, but moments of quiet in prayer will bring peace.  Then we will know the truth of what Jesus recommends.

4 – We Are Not Alone

We do not ever have to feel alone.  We are not alone.  Jesus says in the Text that we can imagine that he is holding our hand as we walk through our day, and that this will be no “idle fantasy.”  Is he really there, with everyone, somehow?  I do not know, but I believe that there are laws of the universe about which we know nothing.  If holding his hand is only imagination, we are nonetheless tapping into a powerful antidote to fear.  The next time that we can’t sleep at night, we ought to imagine Jesus beside us.  We ought to imagine that we are conversing with him.  This type of prayer is illustrative of the different ways in which to pray.  Experiment with your own different ways, and see if a change for the better in your life comes about soon.  We do not have to wait long.  We only need to depend foremost on our Guide (the Holy Spirit) to take us where we want to go, the destination that we have first believed to be right for us because we have asked God for His input.

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

I would turn aside from fear today by remembering God.  Even recently I have felt a free-floating anxiety, a sense of fear that makes me feel scared.  May these feelings fall away as I turn ever closer to You.  Be with me today as I remember You.  If I forget You, please do not forget me.

I know that I am a part of You.  I sometimes forget this when I make You Someone far away and outside of my sphere.  These are old memories that are simply not true.  May I turn to the truth of our Oneness today, and may this give me peace.

Amen.

There Is Nothing to Fear

“There is nothing to fear. (WB77)”

Affirmation:  “There is nothing to fear.”

Reflections:

1 – Anxiety and the Ego

Anxiety will dog the way of the ego-prone.  And is that not all of us at some point(s) in our lives?  Why is this true?  The ego is constantly being undone, because we are comparing ourselves to others–some of whom, temporarily, have more than we do (stated in part in the Text).  This feeds an inferiority complex, because the ego-driven, ultimately, cannot be happy unless they are competing.  And competition, sooner or later, brings defeat.  We would do well to drop these egoic games.

2 – Jesus Says, “Nothing to Fear”

Jesus says that there is nothing to fear.  We probably do not yet see the world that way, but do we doubt Jesus?  We might say that in this world, today, there is much economic turmoil, many who are suffering, many war-torn areas of the globe.  And this would be true.  We are to do what we can to rectify the situation, after much prayer, but the most important change we can make–before other, outer changes, come–is to change ourselves to think along with God.  If we follow His rules for a happy day, for example, as detailed in the Text, we will feel more like doing something to truly help others.  We will not be so self-centered that we surround ourselves with fears for our own safety.

3 – Doubt Not A Course in Miracles

So let us not doubt A Course in Miracles when Jesus tells us therein that there is nothing to fear.  We can ask to be shown the better way, the way of quiet and peace.  In a calmer frame of mind, we truly will recognize that there is nothing to fear.  When we slip from a broader perspective, we can make an affirmation of this statement.  Repeatedly saying these words in times of stress will help tremendously.  And the time will come when it becomes a truth to recognize at all times.

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

I would have a day free of anxiety, which is the way that fear usually manifests for me.  I am chagrined that I am still pursued by the ego enough so that fear in some form still accompanies me on some days.  I would not have it so today.  I would listen to Jesus and know that there is not reason for anxiety, no reason for fear.

Be with all of my brothers and sisters, those I know and those who read this blog.  May we come to understand the value of living a completely love-centered life, the best way that we can ensure that all of our days will be fearless.

Amen.

Attack Thoughts

“I can escape from the world I see by giving up attack thoughts. (WB34)”

Affirmation:  “I can escape from the world I see by giving up attack thoughts.”

Reflections:

1 – Give Up Attack Thoughts

This is a magnificently truthful statement.  On the surface of it, it sounds too easy, but it works.  The passage and the affirmation for today are the same, because the sentence is easily remembered.  And a balm in times of trouble.  We will leave behind our misery when we turn our minds to God and the peace that He bestows.  The change in our lives can come very quickly.  God is not threatened by our shrill voices, demanding change.  He will respond, and respond quickly, when we are pliable in His hands.  That means that we don’t make our own decisions; we lean on the Holy Spirit to know what to say and to do.

2 – Projection Makes Perception

Our thoughts project the world that we experience.  That is a fundamental philosophical tenet of A Course in Miracles.  If the world we see has much to regret, then perhaps it is because we are attacking it in our minds; we are having attack thoughts.  We will remain “stuck” as long as we persist in rejecting others and ourselves by attacking them, and, simultaneously, ourselves.  We cannot simply attack another, however justified we may think that we are.  He/she is a child of God, and his attack is a call for help.  We need to rush to his/her side with that help, if intervention at the moment is what our Universal Inspiration bids us to do.  If not, we are to wait patiently until He gives us the green light.

3 – Our Perception Will Change

This statement has the potential to change totally the world that surrounds us.  This is true whether or not outer circumstances, the true externals, change very much.  Our perception of these externals will change.  And that is all that is needed.  We walk into a better world, one that we cannot recognize as long as we are futilely harboring attack.

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

I personally remember one important occasion when I left a difficult political situation in my work, to move to another position, where the politics were incredibly smooth.  This happened, perhaps importantly, when I stopped resisting and attacking in my mind.  This is why I know that You mean business with this statement.  I have seen it work.  I did escape from the world I was seeing by giving up attack thoughts.  Thank You.

Be with me today, in entirely different circumstances, when I am tempted to attack.  Usually this temptation occurs when I am very stressed, for I never get angry unless I am stressed.  I would not be stressed today, for I would leave the ways of this world to You to solve.  And I will try, with Your help, to follow my Guide to what to say and do next.  Then attack, like the ego, will wither away.

Be with me today as I seek to have a good day by turning perplexities over to You.

Amen.

Trials

“Trials are but lessons that you failed to learn presented once again, so where you made a faulty choice before you now can make a better one, and thus escape all pain that what you chose before has brought to you.  In every difficulty, all distress, and each perplexity Christ calls to you and gently says, ‘My brother, choose again.’  (T666)”

Affirmation:  “Choose again.”

Reflections:

1 – Remember when in Pain

This passage, beginning “Trials are but lessons that you failed to learn presented once again,” is to be remembered in times of pain, times of suffering (if the pain lead to that).  All of us will know weaker times as well as stronger, and if we recognize that we are bearing a trial that is meant to allow us, this time, a better choice, we will realize that we are learning through our pathway in this world.

2 – Choose Again

And Christ is there to heal us.  We have the option to “choose again,” and we can seek the guidance that will allow us to know how to choose again.  We will come to know where we erred in the past, when a similar situation arose, and we will be led to make the better choice now.

3 – Trials May Last for Awhile

Of course, in this world the trials may seem to last for a very long time, years even–though we are praying diligently and seeking to learn the lesson that we believe is being presented.  Remember that God’s time is not ours.  The idea that time does not exist is an ACIM tenet.  But in this world, time does exist, and our timetables and our expectations for them sometimes collide.  We do well to become accepting of the trials in which we find ourselves.  Of course, this is easier said than done, but God (and His Guide, the Holy Spirit) will help us to rise above the troubles, the trials, that afflict us.

4 – Things Denied Us = for Our Own Good

Look back now on a trial that presented itself earlier in your life.  Cannot we often see that the things denied us were for our own good?  We would do well to welcome trials as another chance to choose (as the Text says).  We do not have to lie down in the dust and resign ourselves to misery.  That is not what is meant.  We are meant to be happy, even in the face of temptations and trials.  Happiness is a worthy goal, and one of the easiest ways to reach God.  If we are miserable, we will frequently try to blame God for our plight.  And this, we know inwardly, is not accurate.  We make our own decisions on some level (though maybe not the personal self, but the Self).

5 – In Greater Light after Trial Is Over

No greater blessing can we have than to go ahead in greater light along the pathway that this lifetime would lead us upon.

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

I would not rebel against the trials that come my way, neither the ones that have passed, the ones I am experiencing now, or the ones that will come in the future.  Jesus says that in this world we will not be without limitations, but that he has overcome the world–and we can also.  May You guide me today to get the lesson of any current trial past me.  May I choose again, a better choice this time, knowing that somewhere in the past I did not make the best choice.  I now have, from You, another chance.

Be with me in serenity today.  I would not entertain thoughts of bad things, things that I fear.  To fear that which I do not want is to give it power over me.  I would follow Your will today, as I experience it through the guidance of Your Guide, the Holy Spirit.  May I not let conflict come into a day that I am reserving for You.  May I stay true to this promise, made now to You.

Amen.

Temptation = Insane and Meaningless

“Be vigilant against temptation, then, remembering that it is but a wish, insane and meaningless, to make yourself a thing that you are not.  And think as well upon the thing that you would be instead.  It is a thing of madness, pain and death; a thing of treachery and black despair, of failing dreams and no remaining hope except to die, and end the dream of fear.  This is temptation; nothing more than this.  Can this be difficult to choose against? (T665)”

 

Affirmation:  “temptation – insane and meaningless”

Reflections:

1 – Temptation Should Not Scare Us

This commonsense attitude toward temptation does not scare us.  It comforts.  At this same time, though, it warns of the very real problems that yielding to temptation does bring.  “Be vigilant against temptation” because, in part, it is a “thing of madness.”

2 – We Know when Temptation Visits

We know when we are being tempted, because the guidance of the Holy Spirit warns us (if we listen to Him).  Then, our best response is to turn away as soon as we are able.  Sometimes we yield momentarily, because our stubborn wills get in the way.  We feel rebellious, and we don’t listen to guidance from the Holy Spirit.

3 – To Choose to Follow Temptation Is Madness

The madness, though, is answered in Jesus’s final question, “Can this be difficult to choose against?”   The description just prior to this question is vivid indeed:  “black despair, of failing dreams and no remaining hope except to die.”  Surely we can be flexible enough to follow the Holy Spirit when He warns us that we are treading into dangerous, ego-willed, behavior–temptation.

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

I would be flexible enough today to avoid temptation, because, if I am listening closely enough, the Holy Spirit warns me when I am becoming a little bit insane.  Thank You for keeping my Guide within close to my conscious mind.  I would, as part of You, not diverge from the pathway that is best and right for me.  You would wish no less of me.

Be with me as I escape from the madness that temptation really reflects.  A thing of madness is not the thing that I would choose.  Help me today to be turn aside when temptation beckons, and lean instead to a listening ear that hears my Guide.

Thank You for letting me feel Your presence.

Amen.