Enjoying Comfort in Living

ACIM Workbook Lesson 90 – for Saturday, March 31, 2012

 

Affirmation:  “Let me recognize the problem so it can be solved.”

Selected Passage:

“The problem is a grievance; the solution is a miracle.  And I invite the solution to come to me through my forgiveness of the grievance, and my welcome of the miracle that takes its place.  (WB155)”

Reflections:

This lesson builds on the one for yesterday.  Yes, all problems are forms of grievances, or we would not perceive them as problems at all.  Our problems can be solved, and solved this very day.  Sometimes the best solution is internal, and no external matter has to change at all for the blessing to come down upon us.

Affirmation:  “Let me recognize my problems have been solved.”

Selected Passage:

“I do not see the problem and the answer as simultaneous in their occurrence.  That is because I do not yet realize that God has placed the answer together with the problem, so that they cannot be separated by time.  The Holy Spirit will teach me this, if I will let Him.  And I will understand it is impossible that I could have a problem which has not been solved already.  (WB155)”

Reflections:

This passage may sound utopian, too unrealistic to be believed.  But there are many things in ACIM that sound too good to be true.  Be patient a bit, and study, and see how the Holy Spirit brings the happy dreams (an ACIM tenet).  We think our problems are real, but we live in illusion, and therefore no problem at all is truly “real.”  A careful study of the passage selected for today will prove to be comforting in the extreme.

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

I would have a comforting day today, and to have this comforting day, all that is needed is to turn to You.  You will replace my grievances with the forgiveness that I need to give all, and then this becomes the miracle that I need.  I need Your miracles, and I thank You for so generously offering them to me.

Be with us today as we go about our world.  I know that the real world is something different from the illusions that I look upon.  I would clear my mind and spirit of illusions, and let my heart take over to provide solutions to all that I view as problems.  Be with me today, in Your comfort.

Amen.

Ask for a Miracle Today

ACIM Workbook Lesson 89 – for Friday, March 30, 2012

Affirmation:  “I am entitled to miracles.”

Selected Passage:

“I am entitled to miracles because I am under no laws but God’s.  His laws release me from grievances, and replace them with miracles.

    “. . .Let me not hold a grievance against you, [name], but offer
    you the miracles that belongs to you instead.
    See truly, this offers me a miracle.  (WB154)”

Reflections:

Ask for a miracle today.  This is not presumptuous.  Jesus knows when we are ready, because miracles comes through him to us.  We must not, though, try to make a given miracle happen on our own.  Consciously selected miracles can be misguided (a Text tenet).  But ask a Higher Power for what we need, and all is well.  And well this very day.  If a given situation does not change in the physical world, perhaps the real miracle is internal, in the mind and spirit.

Affirmation:  “Let miracles replace all grievances.”

Selected Passage:

“I want all of Heaven and only Heaven, as God wills me to have.

    “. . .Beyond this is the miracle by which my grievances are
    replaced.  (WB154)”

Reflections:

We learn today that we do not have to struggle to give up grievances.  A miracle will do the task for us!  What a blessing!  And what joy awaits on the other side of the miracle.

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

Sometimes we may feel that the only thing that will help us is a miracle.  This feeling is likely to come over us at times of great stress.

Help me to be reassured that You are always there.  I know that Your felt presence dispels anxiety immediately.  May I know this today.  May the memory of Your many blessings give me the reassurance that more blessings will follow.  And that includes anything and everything that, just now, is raising my anxiety level.

I would not hold grievances of any kind.  I would know that under Your laws, miracles are natural.  And I would ask for a miracle today.

Thank You.

Amen.

Salvation = A Decision Made Already

ACIM Workbook Lesson 88 – for Thursday, March 29, 2012

 

Affirmation:  “The light has come.”

Selected Passage:

“Salvation is a decision made already.  Attack and grievances are not there to choose.  That is why I choose between truth and illusion; between what is there and what is not.  (WB153)”

Reflections:

This is the underpinning of ACIM.  We know that we always choose between illusions and the truth.  Not sometimes–but always.  We are living an illusory world, not knowing that salvation is ours already.  When the real world has dawned on our sight, we will not be able to believe how wrong we were for so long, why we chose such insanity.  Let us drop the insanity today.  We can.

Affirmation:  “I am under no laws but God’s.”

Selected Passage:

“Here is the perfect statement of my freedom.  I am under no laws but God’s.  I am constantly tempted to make up other laws and give them power over me.  I suffer only because of my belief in them.  They have no real effect on me at all.  I am perfectly free of the effects of all laws save God’s.  And His are the laws of freedom.  (WB153)”

Reflections:

God’s laws are freedom.  And so often in the past we have not believed this.  We have chosen a way of looking at God that made us think that He would not accept us because of our manifold “sins.”  Now we learn in ACIM that we are innocent in our Self, and that we have only made correctable mistakes.  ACIM says that God does not forgive because He has never condemned.   Now it is up to us to accept this truth,  and to forgive ourselves.  Only then will be ready to reach out to others with pardon.

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

I would leave behind attack and grievances.  I know that in order to do this, I must be at peace in my daily life.  May I be at peace today.

Your salvation for me is all that I really need.  I do know this.  I will listen to my heart today, thank You for my many blessings, and see no more illusions or fantasies.  Your Way is what I choose.

Be with me through the day as I seek not to sabotage myself.  I truly am my own worst enemy.  Help me to do the things that I know will help my brothers and sisters, and myself, and to leave behind the attack and grievances that are so detrimental to everyone.

Thank You for guiding me to feel Your presence.  That is surely my greatest blessing.

Amen.

Happy Dreams the Holy Spirit Brings

ACIM Workbook Lesson 87 – for Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Affirmation:  “I will there be light.”

Selected Passage:

“I will use the power of my will today.  It is not my will to grope about in darkness, fearful of shadows and afraid of things unseen and unreal.  Light shall be my guide today.  I will follow it where it leads me, and I will look only on what it shows me.  This day I will experience the peace of true perception.  (WB152)”

Reflections:

True perception is a gift of the Holy Spirit, a gift that gives us happy dreams.  And true perception can and does lead ultimately to knowledge.  We can use the power of our will to will today that we see in light.  This is a metaphorical way of speaking, but its intent is clear to even very early students of A Course in Miracles.  We know when we are groping in darkness, in the negative emotions, and we would change all of that to sometimes much more positive.  ACIM will teach us how to make that change.

Affirmation:  “There is no will but God’s.”

Selected Passage:

“I am safe today because there is no will but God’s.  I can become afraid only when I believe there is another will.  I try to attack only when I am afraid, and only when I try to attack can I believe that my eternal safety is threatened.  Today I will recognize that all this has not occurred.  I am safe because there is no will but God’s.  (WB152)”

Reflections:

One does attack only when one is afraid.  Knowing this, how can we not forgive ourselves and our brothers and sisters?  Attack is the misguided way that we ask for help.  It is the opposite of giving help.  And we must give help, sometimes in very subtle ways, if we would know the best way to live.  If an overt display of help would not be well-received by someone who is attacking us, let us back off.  But we can give what we are led by guidance to give.  And sometimes we can simply wait for a better moment to make our gift to ourselves as well as to others.

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

I would ask for an easy day today.  Perhaps this is not a realistic prayer, but it is one that feels right to me now.  I need some solace, some happy dreams.  I am on the verge of experiencing too much stress.  May my perceptions change so that I am at peace.  May You walk with me throughout this day, and may I be conscious of Your presence.

This time I am afraid of my own reactions.  Being stressed puts me at odds with Your peace, and I would not be at odds with Your peace.  Help me to lie low today as I regain my equilibrium.  This day I devote to You.  This day I will seek, in as many moments as I can, Your peace above my ego-oriented propensity to be right.

Keep me from knit-picking.  I would be tolerant of all whom I encounter.  I would seek for their happiness every bit as much as I seek for mine.  Give me Your guidance as I seek to maneuver through the mines of an uncertain world.

Thank You for being there for me.

Amen.

How to Avoid Being Vulnerable

ACIM Workbook Lesson 86 – for Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Affirmation:  “Only God’s plan for salvation will work.  (WB151)”

Selected Passage:

 

“It is senseless for me to search wildly about for salvation.  I have seen it in many people and in many things, but when I reached for it, it was not there.  I was mistaken about where it is.  Only God’s plan for salvation will work.  (WB151)”

Reflections:

A Course in Miracles says that there are many other curricula, and that they only save time.  This is the main function of any curriculum leading toward salvation.  But Jesus stresses that our way is ACIM, and it would be foolish for us to try a different way when this one is intended for us.  By “us,” Jesus is talking about students/teachers of ACIM.

Affirmation:  “Holding grievances is an attack on God’s plan for salvation.  (WB151)”

Selected Passage:

“Holding grievances is an attempt top prove that God’s plan for salvation will not work.  Yet only His plan will work.  By holding grievances, I am therefore excluding my only hope of salvation from my awareness.  I would not longer defeat my own best interests in this insane way.  I would accept God’s plan for salvation, and be happy.  (WB151)”

Reflections:

We know that we need to give up grievances.  But we fail, time and time again, because the ego has not died in us.  The ego can be very wily when its foundations have been disturbed, and this is what A Course in Miracles, particularly the Workbook, has been doing.  We may no longer make gross mistakes, but the more subtle mistakes, ones that seem so “sensible,” may still pull us back.  We must learn that  forgiveness is our way always, in every situation.  Once this lesson has been learned, we will be well on the way to Awakening.

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

I would drop any and all grievances that I have held or do hold.  I would follow the plan for salvation that You point out.  I would not listen to my ego-mind any longer.

Help me to know that I will understand full safety when I have given up grievances,  resentment, and the like.  It is only my own fear that keeps me from You.  I would go to You today, the You that is inside of me and all else.

Amen.

Overcoming Grievances, Hate, and Resentment

ACIM Workbook Lesson 85 – for Monday, March 26, 2012

Affirmation:  “My grievances hide the light of the world in me.”

 

Selected Passage:

“To see, I must lay grievances aside.  I want to see, and this will be the means by which I will succeed.  (WB150)”

Reflections:

To see is to have vision, the understanding that is afforded us by the Holy Spirit.  And to see aright, we must leave our grievances behind.  Other words (not stated in ACIM, but suggested by a close reading) that would be akin to “grievances” would be resentment and hate.  These dark emotions will preclude our seeing aright.  And we must see aright if we are to bring salvation to our brothers and sisters in this world.

Affirmation:  “My salvation comes from me.”

Selected Passage:

“Today I will recognize where my salvation is.  It is in me because its Source is there.  It has not left its Source, and so it cannot have left my mind.  I will not look for it outside myself.  It is not found outside and then brought in.  But from within me it will reach beyond, and everything I see will but reflect the light that shines in me and in itself.  (WB150)”

Reflections:

The passage quoted above is a theoretical look at one of the more practical aspects of A Course in Miracles.  For those of us who are drawn to the theoretical, we will find much to ponder in this passage.  God is within.  There is nothing outside ourselves (a Text tenet).  We project, and then we perceive the external to ourselves.  But when we recognize that God speaks to us from within, we can know what is meant by the lesson for today.

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

I would leave all my grievances, even the tiny ones, behind me today.  When I don’t collect grievances, I am not prone to attack verbally.  Thank You for this insight.  It is akin to the insight, also given by you, that I am not prone to attack unless I am stressed.  I would live in Your peace today, and I would not collect grievances nor invite stress.

Help me today when the stress seems to be too much.  All manner of problems will develop unless I take a time-out and pray.  Help me to remember You when it counts most.  I would live in Your peace.  That is all that I really need to think about as the day unfolds.

Thank You for being there for me.  I know that You are within, and that nothing is without–that I am projecting the world, just as are my brothers and sisters in this world.  May we find each other a help in our journey back to You, never a hindrance.  If anybody attempts to bait me today, let me know that I am seeing amiss, and a few moments of quiet, solitary time will set my perceptions aright again.

Amen.

The Nature of Love

ACIM Workbook Lesson 84 – for Sunday, March 25, 2012

Affirmation:  “Love created me like Itself.”

Selected Passage:

“I am in the likeness of my Creator.  Love created me like Itself.  (WB149)”

Reflections:

We are meant to be creatures of Love.  This lesson echoes biblical teaching:   made in the image and likeness of the Creator.  And we were taught, long before ACIM was given, that God is Love.  May we assume the mantle of Love today.  This does not make us equal to God, though ultimately we are meant to be co-creators with Him.  He created us; we did not create ourselves (an ACIM tenet).  We are told in ACIM that we are particularly apt to forget this distinction when we are being egotistical.

Affirmation:  “Love holds no grievances.”

Selected Passage:

“Grievances are completely alien to love.  Grievances attack love and keep its light obscure.  If I hold grievances I am attacking love, and therefore attacking my Self.  My Self thus becomes alien to me.  I am determined not to attack my Self today, so that I can remember Who I am.  (WB149)”

Reflections:

This passage is a strong motivator, almost in selfish terms (though not intended to make us selfish).  We would give up grievances so that we do not attack our Self.  We can have no peace, of course, when we are unloving to our Self.  This is reminiscent of the biblical teaching to love thy neighbor as thyself.  If one does not love one’s self, then it is impossible to love our brothers and sisters.  But this directive is in direct contradiction to the kind of love of self that the ego encourages.  We would do well to remember this.

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

Help me to understand this lesson.  What is Love?  Are You the Love Whom I am like?

I would believe so.  And help me to absorb this great blessing.

I would not hold grievances today.  I would know that I am perfectly safe.  Thank You for this reassurance.

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 am not isolated, deprived, or lacking–except by my own choice.”

Reflections:

1 – Happy vs. Dark Times

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.  The Course says that this oscillating nature of life is to be expected.

2 – Personal Experience

If our moods vacillate a good bit, perhaps we need to take a look at our mental health.  If problems that merit a medical intervention are ruled out, then reading A Course in Miracles would be much recommended.  I find that a few minutes of reading, really focusing on the words and content (but not trying to read ahead very rapidly), will immediately put me in a better frame of mind.  Anxiety is also curbed, and this is something that Jesus recommends just before bedtime.  As the Manual suggests, the study and quiet time will orient us away from fear and thereby prepare the mind for rest and sleep.

3 – When Miracles Come

But the oscillating nature of life is expected 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?)  These Teachers of teachers are, I believe from my reading, on the Other Side, but come in our vicinity when we ask for help.  Jesus suggests elsewhere that the body would not be long maintained if the presence of God were sustained indefinitely.  (This is not the same state, I would suggest, as the Awakening, after which Christ-consciousness is sustained.)

4 – Reassurance

We can ask for miracles and they will be ours.  This is the reassurance of Jesus.

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

I would live a full life today, one without deprivation or lack.  A lot of this is belief in the promises of Jesus in the Course.  May all of us realize that we do not have to live in deprivation.

May I turn to ACIM today when things look grim.  My days always go better when I spend the time that I need with You.  Help me not to forget You today.

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:  “I would invite miracles today.”

Reflections:

1 – Definition of a Miracle

The selected passage gives one definition of the miracle, a definition offered by Jesus.  The wording of this passage is straight-forward, but may be difficult to understand on first reading.

2 – Two Aspects of the Miracle

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

3 – Atonement

What is meant by the Atonement?  There is no single definition given in A Course in Miracles.  I think Jesus assumes that we will understand, but many of us remain puzzled.  We remain puzzled because traditional Christianity sees the crucifixion as having purchased our salvation from an angry God by the sacrifice of His only Son.  A Course in Miracles differs on this, though.  ACIM sees the resurrection as the crucial point.  ACIM does not try to describe the resurrection, but A Course of Love does describe the Jesus following the resurrection as having a “new form.”  The resurrection is never denied, though we do not presently understand, through our limited science, how the resurrection could have happened.  (We may also question the New Testament raising of Lazarus.)

4 – Take the Understanding that We Can

I think that Jesus would take us where we are, and have us accept as much as is needed for Atonement to be effected in us.  We are at one with him in Christ (shared by the Self of all–A Course of Love tenet).  We are justified by God’s sight when we have turned our way over to a Higher Power.  We do not try to blindly save ourselves anymore.  We may study ACIM diligently, but we know that the Awakening is only a God-given gift.

5 – Perception – Healed?

Second, how can our perception be healed?  We will no longer have the kind of mind that projects evil onto the world.  And, as we have seen repeatedly in A Course in Miracles, projection makes perception.  All is within; there is nothing without.   That is a theological concept in ACIM, and if we find it difficult to accept, then Jesus would not have us delayed by theology.  We look within, see what we wish to see there, and then project with our human eyes the outside; we perceive the exterior world.

6 – Mass Hallucination?

Of course, I believe that we are part of a mass hallucination (an interpretation, not stated in ACIM).   It would be particularly pernicious to deny what our physical eyes show us.  But we do know, from ACIM, that what we see is illusion.  A Course in Miracles says, “There is no world!”  That is what we must ultimately see (ACIM tenets).

7 – Healed Perception

When our perception is healed, we will not look out on the same world, because projection makes perception (a Course concept).  Our lives will work better in this new world (called by the Course 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 look out on the world with a healed perception today.  That is my goal for today.  Help me to reach it.

I may not sustain a healed perception, but I ask You to take me farther along the pathway today.  May we understand the Atonement as much as is humanly possible.  May we realize that there are physical laws of which we are as yet unaware.

Be with us as we live through the illusion of this world.  May we join with our brothers and sisters to we seek to find the reality that underlies our world–Your reality.  I would see the real world with healed perception today.

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:  “I would be free of nightmares.”

 

Reflections:

1 – Sanity

The restoration of our sanity is the great need of all humankind.  It is not sanity as perceived by the world, but sanity as perceived by the Awakening.  Miracles will bring this great event closer in time.

2 – What Does “Insane” Mean?

We are not all locked up in our insanity, but we live at large in the world.  Some who are certifiably “mentally ill” may have a deeper awareness of the real world than any of us who are supposed to be mentally healthy.  It is not a coincidence that much of the delusion of the mentally ill has to do with religious convictions.  They are living closer to reality, but they have drowned in the light.  As Joseph Campbell said, the insane are drowning, while the mystic is swimming in the same waters.

3 – Made Mad by Guilt

We have indeed been lost in nightmares.  We have been made mad by guilt (a Course concept).  Happy dreams will arrive as soon as we let the miracles replace our madness.  And the real world, according to the Course, 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.

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.

5 – The Real World

Nowhere in A Course in Miracles is the “real world” concisely defined.  We are simply told that its presence will be brief, and then we will be awakened by God.  Time (an illusion anyway) is not measured in eternity the same way that it is measured on earth.  And so we really have no guidance in ACIM about how long we will perceive the real world.  Let us hope that the real world will come soon to us, and may we remove all blocks to love’s awareness that keeps it from us (paraphrases from ACIM).

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

I would live today as sanely as it is possible for me, caught in this world, to live.  I would not scare myself with my own fears.  I would seek guidance of the Holy Spirit about my goings and comings.  I would not try to direct my life, for I cannot judge aright.  But my Guide can judge aright, and it is to Him that I will turn today.

Help me to keep these resolutions.  Thank 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:  “freedom from fear”

 

Reflections:

1 – 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 – Atonement = Relinquishment of Fear

Here the passage from A Course in Miracles links the atonement with the relinquishment of fear.  What a wonderful promise this is!  We need to live fearless lives, because all too often our good works and good thoughts are marred by the anxiety that pervades our society.

3 – Our Usefulness to Others

We let our own personal difficulties hinder our usefulness to others.  When we fear for our own safety and personal welfare, we also project this onto others.  And sometimes we are paralyzed by this fear about our personal well-being.  Then we are of no use to others, including Jesus and his message to humankind.

4 – Live Fearlessly

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.  Atonement signals a certainty that we are living lives in line with what Jesus would approve.  We are right with God, though it is still not beyond us to continue to make mistakes.  God does not need to forgive us for these mistakes, but we need to forgive ourselves.  (God does not forgive, because he has never condemned–a Text tenet.)

5 – Freedom from Fear

“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.

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

I would, beginning today, so relinquish the ego and its fear that I would live fearlessly.  Guide my faltering steps to this goal.  I realize that anxiety has been one of the issues in my life, but You would not have it so–this I know.  So I must remove the conditions that lead to fear, and walk into the sunlight with You.

May I have no moments of anxiety today.  May I walk in peace, comfort, joy, and serenity.  Be with me so that I can feel Your presence.  The felt presence of You gives me great happiness.  Thank You for staying with me, inside, and may I commune with You often today.  Yours is the way that I would forever choose.

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 to go.”

 


Reflections:

1 – Don’t “Do Good”

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 textbook to the Course.

2 – Personal Experience

I have long wanted to do the “right thing,” and this has sometimes merited teasing from those closest to me.  I have been called a “goody two-shoes,” which in my opinion is not necessarily derogative.  But if I ever drop into thinking that I know what is right for somebody else, then I am off the track.  Carried to extremes, this could even mean that I would imagine that  I knew what type of “miracle” I ought to do for that person.  Not so!  This is exactly the kind of ego-caught mind that Jesus deplores.  We are not to select what to do for another until we have asked for guidance from the Holy Spirit, or, if we have reached that level of the inward sense that Christ-consciousness gives us (from A Course of Love).  Consciously selected miracles do not merit the term “miracle.”

3 – Led by Our Guide

Instead, we follow guidance from our inner Guide, and then we unconsciously do the right thing by our brothers and sisters.  We will sometimes be amazed how the flow of life comes about, how we encounter a person just when it is obvious that he or she has a great need to have a listening ear.  These are the kinds of miracles about which I believe Jesus is speaking.  And we do not have to bring about any of this miraculous occurrence.  We are just to be present, to see its unfolding, to listen to inward guidance and do or say the best that can come to mind at the moment.

4 – Don’t Plan What to Say

This latter point brings up an admonition from the New Testament, that we are not to think in advance of what to say when brought before higher authorities.  The words will be given us at the time of need.  I believe this is no less true when there are no “higher” authorities involved at all.  Just ordinary men and women, and children, such as ourselves.

5 – Jesus

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.)

6 – Habits of Living

When we follow the way of the Course, 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.   Let Jesus guide the way.

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

I would not attempt to “do good” today unless the thought or action is given me by the Holy Spirit, my Guide.  I would not in any way select “miracles” to perform.  I know that I could not do so even if I tried.  I would make mistakes.

I need my Guide because I am so fallible.  Until the time that the Christ-consciousness descends to stay, I will depend on the Guide that You gave to me, the Holy Spirit.

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, no judgment, and no unguided plans”

 

Reflections:

1 – Important Passage

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 – Personal Experience

About seven years ago, I got away from A Course in Miracles.  I was at the same time under a great deal of stress, as were my significant others.  Getting away from ACIM was a very, very big mistake.  I found myself doing all the things that this passage (above) warns against.  When I, once again, after a lapse of some months, returned to ACIM, my life smoothed out, and I also discovered this passage (which I had overlooked).  The passage spoke to me now.  And it speaks still.  It has become one of my favorite passages, along with the clear explanation of why we fall away from our pathway.

3 – When the Way Is Difficult

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.
4 – Planning

Perhaps only the first two 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.

5 – Three Prohibitions

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.

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

Today I would stay in the flow dictated by the Holy Spirit.  I long to stay in the flow always, but sometimes I slip.  But today I ask that You help me to stay on the pathway to You:  no attacks, no judgments, no planning that is not prompted by my Guide.  Be with me today as I seek to turn on a dime (as I so often say).

I sometimes plan my day in the morning, almost without thinking.  And then I become overwhelmed.  This is not what You would will for me.  You would have me take each hour as it comes, careful of nothing, knowing that You are always there for me.  And when I am stressed, I may contemplate verbal attack, even if I say nothing.  This is not Your way either.  Thoughts make form at some level, and I would not have thoughts that would attack my brothers and sisters.  Keep me calm, if You would, and therefore less prone to be tempted to attack.  And judging happens almost without awareness when I am frustrated by another’s actions, when the other does not fulfill the plan that I have set out for that individual.  This too is a lamentable way to live.

And I would have none of these lamentable ways today.  I would speak kindly to my brothers and sisters, I would not judge any of their words or deeds, and I would not look ahead to plan anything that does not appear in the flow that the Holy Spirit gives me.

Help me to realize that, with Your help, all in my day will be easy.  Thank You.

Amen.

Self-Accusing Shrieks

“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 would forgive today.”

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.

2 – Personal Experience

Sometimes others in our circle try to make us feel guilty.  In my family, this happened to my mother from another relative.  I thought that it was my mother’s hang-up, until this relative did the same thing to me!  Then I realized how prone I too was to guilt that others attempt to inflict upon ourselves.  I do not still have the answer, but I do believe that if you do the best you can and remain kind to another in need (for this dynamic always comes with need), then we are less prone to feel guilty about our exchanges with others.

3 – Really Nothing to Forgive

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.

4 – Stay Calm

We must stay calm in this world.  As I have mentioned before in this blog, I do not get angry unless I am stressed.  The same might be said for feeling guilt.  A serene attitude, being right with God, holds many answers for us.

5 – Beautiful Words in ACIM

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 not act badly today, and thus invite guilt.  I would forgive, in myself and others, any previous “bad” behavior, and by this I mean verbally attacking behavior.  Thank You for reminding us that we need to forgive, and that this is our way–forgiveness of our brothers and sisters in this world.

Help me to stay calm on this day.  When I am not stressed, You know that I behave better.  May all of us who have moments of pique turn those moments over to our Guide to resolve for us–immediately.

Thank You.

Amen.

God’s Will Is Your 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:  “God will is my real will.”

Reflections:

1 – Jonah

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, who was forced to follow God’s will, even though his own seemed in conflict.

2 – The Same Will

A Course in Miracles promises us that there really is not 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 – Personal Experience

I spent years in a Jonah-like situation, but, in retrospect, I realize that what I perceived to be God’s will for me was, in fact, my own real will as well.  Some of the details differed, but largely they were societal expectations, not God’s inclinations.  I wondered long and hard about God’s will, and I surrendered to Him countless times.  This was not in vain.  I found the incentive to continue my walk along this pathway, and I walked it for 14 years, to its conclusion.  I was not always totally willing, but I did comply.  I did not think I had a choice, so strong was the sense that I must do this thing that seemed almost thrust upon me.

4 – The 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,

Thank You for guiding me through A Course in Miracles, and with this reading to have assured me that Your will and my real will are actually identical.  When I think that I want something different from what the Holy Spirit seems to be saying to me, I am thinking amiss.  My still-present ego has a toehold in me.

I would stay in the flow today as I seek to follow Your Guide for me.  I would be at peace and stress-free, for it is frequently simply too much stress that trips me up.  I would not be tripped up today.

Thank You for clarifying Your Will in my life.

Amen.

Think of Me 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:  “Jesus is holding my hand.”

Reflections:

1 – Is Jesus Present Always?

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 – Hard to Believe?

We may find this hard to believe, and we do not need to be divided by theology of A Course in Miracles.  Actually it is quite possibly that Jesus can “clone” himself to be everyone, all the time.  We are learning more about things like this from new physics.

3 – Personal Experience

I do often use this technique of visualizing Jesus being with me, especially at night as I lie in bed waiting for sleep to come.  It is an enormously calming technique.  And, if you wish, you can imagine that it is just your imagination (though Jesus says otherwise in this passage).

4 – No Idle Fantasy

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.

5 – Jesus Is with Us

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

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

As I walk through this day, besieged by the ego trying to gain a foothold in me, please help me to realize that Jesus is a risen Master who can help me.  May I drop the ego’s wily ways by realizing that nothing the ego ever wanted for me is actually something that I want.  I only want You.  Help me to realize the truth of this statement, ever more presently with me all through the day.

May I sense Jesus’s presence nearby.  I do believe, though I do not know the scientific laws that the miracle would overrule.  May the miracle rule today.  There is no greater nor lesser miracle possible; all are easy for the risen Master.

Amen.

Perfectly Safe

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

Affirmation:  “perfectly safe”

Reflections:

1 – A Comforting Passage

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 – Safety Wanted Always

This is one of my favorite passages from the Workbook, and, indeed, from the entire ACIM.  Like many of us, I have always wanted to feel safe.  And this passage promises how to do that.  Is it any wonder that we might turn to the passage often?

3 – 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?  The Course teaches otherwise.  We are responsible for what we see.  We choose.    But we do not have to “blame the victim” when someone’s life seems.  Our personal (‘little”) self does not do the choosing, unless we are consciously creating a self-fulfilling prophecy (a current psychological theroy).  Our Self does the choosing, and we do not always know what it is up to.

4 – Ask God’s Help

But we can let grievances go, with God’s help, and as an act of will.  The Answer always comes in communion with God.

5 – An Illusory World

If we remember that we live in an illusory world, and that we have always actually been safe from harm to our real Self, then we may feel more secure in this world.

6 – Perfectly Safe

“. ..[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.

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

I would feel perfectly safe today, knowing at the same time that I am perfectly safe–because my Self is never harmed.  I would let all my grievances go.  If I hold onto them, my ego is in the ascendancy.  I would not have my ego in ascendancy.

Be with me throughout the day.  Help me to live right, to live abundantly, as You will.  May I follow my Guide without fail today.  May I turn on a dime, when I sense that I am going astray.

To be perfectly safe is one of the great needs of vulnerable individuals in this world.  May all who read and pray this prayer today know that all of us are perfectly safe.  And may we know this when we have let our grievances go.

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:  “God’s strength takes 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 – Anxiety Attack Will Abate

If we take a timeout and turn to God, our anxiety attack may abate, especially if we commune with God at such a time.  He is there for us.  He takes away the pain.

3 – What Would God Change in Our Lives?

It may be useful to ask God what He would like changed in our lives.  Sometimes we have anxiety attacks when our inner minds know that we are on the wrong pathway.  And the anxiety is there to remind us of something that needs to be changed.  The Holy Spirit will speak to us, not audibly, but in an interior sense.  And we will be well on our way to walking away from the fear in which we find ourselves engulfed.

4 – 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.

5 – Turning to God Is the Answer

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.

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

I would listen to my own reflections today.  Fear has reared its ugly head, and that means that the ego is trying to reawaken in me.  I would let the ego wither away.  Help me to do so today, and then may I know anxiety and fear no more.

Be with me as I seek to live a peaceful and tranquil life.  I would be perfectly calm and quiet all the time, as Jesus promises in A Course in Miracles.  Be with me today as I walk away from any fears that appear to threaten my ease of mind.

Thank You.

Amen.

Fear

“There is nothing to fear. (WB77)”

 

Affirmation:  “There is nothing to fear.”

Reflections:

1 – Anxiety

Anxiety will dog the way of the ego-prone.  And is that not all of us at some point(s) in our lives?

2 – A Passage to Remember

If I could only remember this passage when anxiety rears its ugly head!  For I am still not perfect in remembering and in putting into practice this glorious promise.  Anxiety has been a thorn in my side (from St. Paul in the New Testament) for virtually all of my life.  There was only one six-month period in which anxiety did not visit me, and my consciousness was altered at the time.  (I was in a moment of revelation that would reveal th end to me, as Jesus says in the Text.).  St. Paul does not reveal what his particular “thorn” is, though there has been much speculation over the centuries.  But nobody knows the genesis of his statement.

3 – All Have Problems

All of us have thorns.  All of us have problems, some of which can be seen by others and some of which cannot be seen.

4 – 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?

5 – The Better Way

I think not.  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 awoke last night, after a bad dream, in an anxious state.  I did remember that fear is not necessary, that I do not have to feel fear.  I finally prayer myself back to sleep.  Thank You for being there.

Help me to realize that, even when I fall down, You are there to pick me up.  When I realize this, I am calmed, and that is at least one reason why communing with You in the middle of the night, is so welcoming and brings Your peace.  

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 – The Affirmation Works

This is a magnificently truthful statement.  On the surface of it, it sounds too easy, but it works.

2 – A Personal Story

I was once in a place of employment where there were many political pressures, and I had many political problems.  I did not “fit in” in that group of people.  I knew it, and they knew it, and perhaps as a result, they found much in my work performance to criticize.  I had recently discovered A Course in Miracles, and I read and reread the passage quoted above.  I stayed in that position for three years, and I left to much happiness for 19 years in a similar, but better position in another part of the country.  So this is why I know that this passage works.  I gave up my attack thought; I was not defensive; and soon I was led away from that work environment that was not “my” place.

3 – Projection Makes Perception

Our thoughts project the world that we experience.  That is a fundamental philosophical tenet of the Course.  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.

4 – Out Perception of the External 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 have been rereading favorite passages from A Course in Miracles.  I realized that I was not in a very positive mood, and ACIM, to date, has always soothed my troubled emotions.  Thank You for the gift that ACIM is for all of us.  And thank You for Your son Jesus, who channeled these magnificent words.

Be with us today as we go about a normal day.  Make light the pressures of the day, knowing that when we are stress-free, we will not normally attack anyone.  We are at peace, and do we not wish the same for all that we encounter?  May today be a time of special recommitment to Your way, knowing that attack never works at all, and knowing that giving up attack thoughts changes everything.

Be with us today–all who read these words.  And be with out significant others, so that the impetus to attack will not be caused by the baiting of our ego by another.

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:  “Trials are but lessons, presented once again.”

Reflections:

1 – A Passage for Times of 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 – All Have Trials

All of us have trials.  Nobody escapes.  And there is a reason for this.

3 – Choose Again

We need the opportunity to choose again.  Somewhere, somehow, we made a faulty decision, and it brought pain to us.  Now we choose again, much as Helen Schucman and Bill Thetford walked another way when A Course in Miracles came to them.

4 – Class Reunions

I have often thought of the happy face that we put on at high school and college reunions.  And we know that it is a facade.  All of us have had pain, and most have had suffering.  We do not always have to hide these truths.  We are more human by having experienced the human condition, and we are more real when we, if the time is right, share this truth with our companions.

5 – Christ Is Present

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.

6 – Walk in Greater Light

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 am at this moment in a small “trial.”  Help me to relinquish the upset in the right way, and to go on to have a good day.  Previously I have held onto my upset for the major part of a day, but now, after an hour, I would drop the upset, assuring my inner Self that the personal self has learned the lesson, and that I am choosing again.

May today be bright and cheery.  May I walk ahead with patience and forebearance, sure that my trials will melt away in the sun.

Thank You.  I will choose again.  And now.

Amen.

Temptation

“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:  “Be vigilant against temptation.”

Reflections:

1 – Comforting Attitude

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 – Be Flexible

When we feel tempted to follow a way that is not of the Holy Spirit or of Christ-consciousness (the latter from A Course of Love), then we are not being flexible enough.  We need, as I have often said, to be ready and willing to “turn on a dime.”  Sometimes the Holy Spirit speaks to us just at the precise moment, and if we are pressing ahead, we may not turn on a dime.  But we need to do so.  And the secular words, “Be flexible,” help me more often than not to make that shift in what I was planning to say or do.

3 – A Warning about Temptation

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.

4 – Choose “Against”

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,

Thank You for the gift of the Holy Spirit, and thank You for the fact that I am warned, as You promise, when I would not be flexible enough, when I would be tempted to make a poor choice.  May I always remain flexible enough, knowing that being in the flow of the day that my Guide gives me is the very best way to live.

Be with me today as the sun shines and the light is a harbinger of fresh and new days ahead.  Thank You for the joy that I feel in the midst of any and all problems.  Your felt presence is always there, when I am open to sensing You.  Thank You.

Amen.

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:  “one brother wholly worthy of forgiveness”

Reflections:

1 – True Love = True 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?

2 – An Episode from My Past

I knew the truth of this passage before I found A Course in Miracles.  I was disappointed at a relatively early age (21) by someone else, but when I was 25, I realized that I had forgiven that person for the harm that at the time had happened to me.  (No harm had actually happened to my real Self.)  I knew that, regardless of the disappointment that I felt in what transpired, I did not feel animosity.  I knew that I would always care for the other person.

3 – Healing

It is best that we let no one hurt us.  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 Course concept.  The fact that we do learn through pain does not negate the Course; it only means that we have misjudged ourselves.

4 – We Do Not Have to Learn through Pain

We do not have to learn through pain (from the Text)!  We so often forget this, and in this world, I think that it is true that often we choose to learn through pain.  If we do make this choice, we can also make another, better choice–to learn through rewards.  This is the better way.  Jesus would have us learn in our joy, not our suffering.  He himself is often described as not having suffered in his ordeal on earth.  Whether or not we believe this is up to us, and does it really matter, in the long run?  He found a way to bring us all back to God, and A Course in Miracles says that this was by the resurrection, not the crucifixion (contrary to traditional Christianity).

5 – Living in 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 continue the forgiveness that A Course in Miracles counsels.  I would let no day go by in which I fail to forgive anyone who has seemingly done something to hurt me.  Even though I know that my real Self has not been hurt, I am human and I need You when I am in pain or when I am feeling stress.

Help us to learn to be gentle with ourselves in this matter of forgiveness.  Everyone does, in fact, deserve forgiveness, and forgiveness is always fully justified.  I know this from ACIM.  Help me to live these thoughts.  Don’t let me backslide into any kind of backbiting.  I would live as simply and as peacefully as possible, secure in Your love.

Amen.

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:  “From henceforth I will put no value in attack.”

Reflections:

1 – Leave Attack Behind Forever

The Course would have us leave attack behind forever.  If we do attack, we may feel better momentarily, thinking that we have gotten the guilt out (from 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.

2 – Let the Holy Spirit Be the Judge

These words 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.

3 – Thinking Unconsciously

I think that we attack another when we are thinking unconsciously; we just react in loud words, sometimes viciously if we are threatened.  I don’t have any experience with physical attack, but I have been guilty of verbal attack (and this is not yet conquered in me, though I always try to apologize when I am, once again, thinking clearly and sanely).  We need to realize that attack actually makes our way harder, not easier.  Nobody is going to feel better about us when we have attacked them; just the reverse is true.  And all of us actually long for the often-unexpressed love that we urgently desire from our significant others (most of all, our significant others).  If we all knew how to love better, we would.   This is the appeal of most religions, and love is always the theme.

4 – Love Afresh

A Course in Miracles counsels the way for us to love afresh, even when that love is not returned.  We can have a settled good will toward all of our brothers and sisters.  We do not have to blame others when they don’t take the roles that we have assigned to them (an ACIM tenet).

5 – The Way of Attack Never Works

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

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

I would leave behind attack today, even when someone I know and love is baiting me.  That individual is acting unconsciously; what is actually wanted is love, but all of us so poorly understand how to love simply and effectively.  We think that attack, when we are angry, will get us something that we want.  But it only alienates another.  The soft word, the gentle touch, dispell attack from another.  And gentle, inner thoughts will dispel the wish to attack in ourselves.

Thank You for leading me to this realization.  Help me to keep in mind and make my own the intellectual understanding.  Help me to go beyond the intellectual, and to put into practice the emotional that I so wish to feel.

Thank You for being there, even when I do not always act well and lovingly.  I would act well and lovingly, but I will never do so until You aid me.  And You will.  I promise to be a willing student.

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:  “I would not write a fearful script today.”

Reflections:

1 – Anxiety

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 – Prayer

Prayer, or communion with God, is recommending relatively few times in A Course in Miracles, I think, because this practice is just assumed.  The opening pages of the Text do say more than the remainder about prayer and communion with God.  Spending time in this way, I have found, is enormously fear- and anxiety-reducing.  I can pray myself to sleep, even after a stressful day.  Surely many others do this as well.  Inspirational literature from the fifties recommended this practice (from Norman Vincent Peale’s anecdotes).

3 – 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.

4 – God Will Help Us

I think that we fear when we don’t trust God to get us out of a bind.  And it is certainly true that many, many distressing things happen in this illusory world.  But the faithful individual does not let the fear get inside him or her.  Of course, this is easier said than done.  But inspirational literature abounds with unfortunate people who have risen above their misfortune, emotionally, by trusting in God to help them cope with whatever might befall them.

5 – Be Patient

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 would not write a fearful script today.  You know that I have written many anxious scripts in my life, and I would be rid of that foolishness forever.  Perhaps my anxiety is like St. Paul’s “thorn in his side,” but I hope not.  I hope that I can, with Your ever-constant help, learn another way to live–just as did Bill and Helen.

Be with me as I walk through this day.  Thank you for the equanimity with which I have met most days recently.  I am finally finding, as spring approaches, that all is well.  The stress has lifted, and You are there.  Thank You.

Amen.

Distress that 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:  “I forgive distress that rests on error.”

Reflections:

1 – Distress and 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 – Memorize the Quotation

I have memorized this brief quotation, to remember when I am being tested by something in my current environment.  It gives so precisely the reason that forgiveness will come easily:  the distress [that I see in another] . . .rests on error.  Or it might even be my own distress (though I personally use it in contact with a significant other).  We know that forgiveness has a solid foundation when we know that our loved ones are just making mistakes.  And, of course, so are we.  We do not feel that they have “sinned,” and that this sin does not deserve forgiveness.  Actually, if we entertain such a thought we are also saying that we too are sinning, and that we too do not deserve forgiveness.  This flies in the face of A Course in Miracles, A Course of Love, and the Bible–not to mention virtually all spiritual literature from any religious tradition.

3 – Is Pardon Always 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.  He has not “sinned” in eternity, and there is no time (ACIM tenets).

4 – Forgiveness (Pardon)

“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, though we might wish in vain that it had never harmed us.  And actually, we are not harmed, regardless of what has happened in our lives.  The real Self remains pristine (paraphrased from A Course of Love).

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

I would not take offense at anything today.  I would, in a secular way, “consider the source,” and understand that there is some reason for my friend’s objectionable behavior.  Then I would forgive–as You would have us do, knowing that actually all are innocent, all are doing the best that they can, and so there is nothing to forgive in reality.

I would remember that what I see is my dream, my illusion, my maya.  I would not attempt to be a part of someone’s else dream, for I know that this is faulty thinking.  Help me to turn to You today if something happens that I immediately resent.  Resentment only hurts myself, and perhaps the other, if I act out my frustration.  Be with all my loved ones, and be with those whom I reach in this blog.  All of us need to know that You are there for us, all the time.  Thank You for Your felt presence.

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:  “no anger and no 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 – Never Getting Angry?

How do we accomplish never getting angry?  We may not, and I do not believe that A Course in Miracles is recommending stifling anger, suppressing or repressing it–a result that would, according to current thinking in psychology, invite disaster in our emotional bearings.  I think that the anger doesn’t arise as readily when we are at peace, secure in the love that we feel is available to us, and aware of ACIM‘s tenet that we live in illusion, in maya (an Eastern term not used in ACIM).  If all that we encounter in life is illusion, and we are doing this unto ourselves (another ACIM tenet), we can even come to laugh at our moments of rising ire.  We can realize that our ego is rearing its head.

2 – Anger Arises = Stress

I personally have found that anger does not arise in me unless I am stressed.  I do not actually how true this is for other people, or whether or not this might be true for you.  But give it some thought, if you are so inclined.  When anger arises, I know that I need to have a timeout.  I am not yet disciplined enough never to express anger by attack, and, of course, this admission flies in the face of the truth of the passage for today.  But that is my aim.  And I ask for help when I am overwrought.  Peace invites compassion and forgiveness.  Serenity is catching.  Other people will not negatively affect us nearly as much if we are not inwardly seeing something that needs “fixing” in ourselves (a paraphrase from the ACIM teacher Hugh Prather).

3 – 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.

4 – Innocence

The underlying idea here is that our brother is actually, in his essence, innocent.  He has, 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 – Dream = Nothing Real Except Love

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 would ask You to help me to live peaceably this day, not allowing the normal stress of the day to impact my temperament.  I know that I never get angry and am then tempted to attack verbally, unless I am stressed.  I do not believe that stress is Your will.  I realize that some stress is even good, but all too often my stress escalates, and then I do not walk the pathway that You have laid out for me.

I would relinquish anger and attack with the assertion of my will, believing surely that it is Your will also.  Be with me in my weak moments.

Thank You.  You are always there; it is myself that chooses to look outward rather than within.

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, and thereby ready myself for Awakening.”

 

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.  Jesus would caution us that the advanced teacher of God takes what comes in his/her day, not seeing anything as a challenge, because he/she knows that the Holy Spirit is the Guide.  Following Him corrects the potential errors of the day.  A Course of Love takes the concept a step farther, believing that we have entered the time of Christ, a time which follows the time of the Holy Spirit.  This time will come when there are enough awakened ones to create a new world.  (There seems to be some overlap currently, but this is an interpretation, not stated in either ACIM or ACOL.)

2 – Stop Judging Immediately

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 or the Christ-consciousness.  Indeed, we need to be mindful that attack, judgment, and unguided planning are errors that will cause us to lose our way.  Attack is mentioned first in the Text, but judging then follows in the same sentence, indicating its importance as well.

3 – A Promise

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.  Is it that easy?  It can be, but Jesus indicates in the Manual to ACIM that most of us are given slowly evolving programs of study.  Most of us do not change our whole life situation immediately.

4 – Does the Way Seem Long?

But when the way seems long, perhaps we need to recall the idea for today:  Judge not, and we will awaken.  This assertion is akin to the biblical injunctions not to judge.  So why do we, reared in the Christian faith, find non-judgment such an elusive trait?  May we pray for the help that we need to leave judgment behind forever.  Its value as a defense is the basic problem.  But we need to leave defenses behind as well, for that make what they would dispel (from ACIM).

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

What a great joy it is to learn that if I only refrain from judging others and myself, I will awaken–because You have chosen that I am ready.  Prepare me today to spend a day without judgment.  Surely the day will bring instances in which I will have judged already, before I get a “stop” to control myself.  I would limit these times as much as is humanly possible, and I would ask You for help in what, as a human being, I cannot seem to control.  You are my Control, as well my certainty that once begun, the end of the journey is certain.

So I would not judge today.  To effect this, I will need Your help all along the way.  I will need to stay calm, tranquil, serene–because stress brings out the worst in me.  May I have a peaceful, walking in Your light.

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 – Are We “Blaming the Victim”?

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 the Course 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 – Some Misinterpretation of ACIM

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

3 – Pain vs. Suffering

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.

4 – From Eckhart Tolle

We never have to let pain turn into suffering, though most of us are not so evolved as to miss this mistake in all instances.  Eckhart Tolle in A New Earth says a great deal about the fact that it is ourselves who turn pain into suffering.  He has a concept called the “pain body” that he believes is activated either frequently or infrequently in virtually everyone.  This concept is not a part of A Course in Miracles, but Eckhart quotes from ACIM, and so his study, following his Awakening, included ACIM.  And he does not, in the reading that I have done of Eckhart, ever say anything that contradicts ACIM.

5 – Choose Again

When we realize that we are doing this unto ourselves, we can choose again.  And that is a very important concept.  We need simply to start the day afresh, regardless of what hour on the clock the day actually is.  (ACIM recommends starting the day afresh if we begin amiss.)  I often start the day again, because I have a tendency to arise with a great deal of pressure to get started on what I need to do on any given day.  (This compulsion dissipates in an hour or two, but why stay with such a compulsion even an hour?)

6 – Choose to Be Free of Neurosis

We must choose again.  That is the only way that we will be free of the neurosis that has dogged our days.  And Jesus can heal us of our madness, our insanity–the state of virtually everyone in this world.

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

When my day turns grim, may I pause just a moment and remember that I can choose again.  I absolutely do not have to turn pain into suffering, an idea that Eckhart reminds me.  I would not let fears that I am blaming myself for my misfortune turn me into bitterness, even for a second.  I would know that bitterness is a form of insanity, of neurosis, and I would be free of the madness that is surely elicited by listening to the ego’s madness.

I would not be egotistical today.  I would let my ego wither away, and I would ask Your help in doing this.  Any time that I am tempted to let pride intrude, a false pride that is disastrous, I would ask that my Guide gently remind that I have turned aside from walking the pathway to You.  And I would walk the pathway to You on a constant basis.

Be with me on this, a sunny day outside. May the joy that spring will surely bring help me to remember to thank You for this beautiful world.  We have spoiled the environment in some ways, but may we know that the beauty is always there, waiting to be reclaimed.

I thank You in advance for keeping me “in the flow” of You and Your gifts today.  May I follow my intuition unfailingly, unless I am misled by an egotistical thought that would take me away from You.  

Thank You for Your felt Presence.

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 believe that others do to me what I think I did to them.”

Reflections:

1 – Definition of 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 – The Problem with Blaming Others

Some of us almost make a career out of blaming others for our misfortunes.  We automatically shift the blame to the outside, if we are outwardly directed.  But does this make a friend of our brother or sister?  We know not.  Our brothers and sisters have a hard time, often, forgiving us when we have blamed them for our plight, even when we might objectively think that they had some part in bringing that plight upon us.

3 – We See a Projected World

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.  This means that our brothers and sisters are not in any way to blame when something terrible happens (or more likely, when we perceive something terrible has happened).  There are many bad things in this world, and Jesus in ACIM does not counsel that we close our eyes to the obvious.  But our projections do determine how those bad things affect us.  We are at home in God when we have a peaceful heart, mindful always that we are living in illusion.  The real Self of another has not been hurt, however bad the outer circumstances may become (an interpretation, not stated in ACIM directly).

4 – The Wishes of Others

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.  When we realize that we need this world to correct our own errors, we will be well on our way to our real  home.

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

I would not rely on the false premise that others have harmed me and that I am right in blaming them for any misfortunes that come.  I am projecting this dream, and I am responsible for what happens.  I know that this does not mean that I myself am “to blame,” either.   I would not see myself as a victim, either of myself or of others.

Be with me as I seek to understand these theological undertones of A Course in Miracles.  There is much that we do not understand, but may I take the little that I do understand and make the most of it.  Thank You for the blessing of A Course in Miracles.  These volumes do explain much that previously could only be given over to sometimes blind faith.  Thank You for knowing that we were ready for this knowledge.

May my own projections not create a difficult world for myself.  It is up to me in some measure to choose the life that I would have.  Help me to choose always to serve You without reserve.

Be with me as I go through this day.  May no stress pique my temper, and may I be guided by the love that You would have me show not only to others, but also to myself.

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:  “dream of your brother’s kindnesses”

 

Reflections:

1 – How We See God

The final sentence in the above passage is pivotal.  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.  This idea is startling when we are new to A Course in Miracles.  Do we really see God as offering both life and death to us?  We probably never thought this way before reading ACIM.

2 – We See God in Our Brother

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.  This helps, I hope, to explain the meaning of the “life and death” statement about God (an interpretation, not stated in ACIM).

3 – Our 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.  And certainly this is valuable.  Jesus does not negate happiness; it is one of several functions that he says in ACIM are important for us.  (Other functions are salvation and forgiveness.)

4 – Our Brother Has Only Made 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.

5 – Dreams of Happiness

And when we dream of happiness, in the dreams brought to us by the Holy Spirit, we are happy.  And is this not a powerful motivator?

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

I would think of my beloved ones only in a good light.  I would not dwell on the times that I have been disappointed in the way that they treated me.  I would dwell on kindnesses only.

Help me to think of this passage when the day seems long, I am stressed, and my significant others say things that upset me, leading me to feel angry.   Anger is not justified, as I know.  We live in an insane world, and we are part of that insanity until we change our minds.  Help me to change my mind today, and help the others in my intimate circle change their minds when they are prepared to do so by You.

I would think only of kindnesses today.  I would not fly off the handle at a perceived slight.  There is always a reason for a perceived slight, and it is always forgivable.  I would forgive today, as You have indicated I ought to do.  Help me to lead a calm and tranquil life today, and then I know that all will be well.

Thank You for always being there for me.

Amen.