Judgment and Organizing

“You do not need judgment to organize your life, and you certainly do not need it to organize yourself.  (T47)”

Affirmation:  “You do not need judgment. . .to organize yourself.”

Reflections:

1 – Avoid Personal Judgment

This passage is stunningly simple in its words, but has profound implications.  We are told elsewhere in the Course that the world teaches us to rely upon our judgment and to monitor our actions by judging the best action to take.  But this is false reasoning.  We cannot know the whole context in which our judgment occurs–the past, the present, and the future that we try to judge in incompleteness.  These are tenets of the Course.

2 – Depend on the Holy Spirit

If we do not need to organize our life by judgment, then upon Whom should we rely?  The oft-repeated assertion to rely upon the Holy Spirit is meaningful in this context.  How do we do that?  By listening to the still, small Voice within–what is commonly know as “feelings,” or intuition.  By “feelings,” we do not mean emotional response; emotional response, especially that made in haste and under pressure of the moment, may be the ego prompting us to undertake a false pathway.  By “feelings,” we do mean the inner sense of rightness about a given action or thought.  With practice, we will learn to distinguish the difference.

3 – A Freeing Step

But it is enormously freeing to give  up the judgment of the world.  We walk freely and peacefully as we let the moment guide us by insight not of ourselves.  We know that if there are plans to be made, we will be told of them; they will occur to us at the proper moment for planning.  Otherwise, we can walk as free spirits in a world set free from our judgments–a world lit from within by the guidance of the Holy Spirit.

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

May I be led along the pathway that relinquishes judgment in favor of the guidance of the Holy Spirit.  May I be flexible, be able to turn on a dime.  May I not be stubborn in following this guidance.

Judgment, as taught by the world, is incomplete.  Judgment, as given by the Holy Spirit, takes into consideration all the variables.  I want to follow the guidance of the Holy Spirit.  That is my intent.  Help me to stand firm in this resolve.

Amen.

Judging

“When you recognize what you are and what your brothers are, you will realize that judging them in any way is without meaning, In fact, their meaning is lost to you precisely because you are judging them.  (T47)”

Affirmation:  “their meaning is lost to you. . .because you are judging them”

Reflections:

1 – A Difficult Passage

This passage is a bit obscure.  What exactly do we recognize (in our brother and ourselves) that we are?  The answer of the Course is that we are Sons of God (and Daughters); we are innocent in the inner essence of who we are.  We have not “sinned,” but the self which lives in this world has, instead, made mistakes–easily corrected when recognized.  We are said to want to correct mistakes in a way that we don’t want to correct “sins”; there is a attracting feature to sin that sounds irrational and that encourages that sin to be repeated.

2 – Judging Is Always Tainted

This is part of the philosophical basis of the Course.  Judging by ourselves is always tainted, impossible in essence.  We cannot know all the circle of causes and effects that we sometimes find ourselves judging.  We give up judgment to the sure judgment of the Holy Spirit, which is only that God’s Son is guiltless, and that sin does not exist.

3 – Avoid Attack, Judging, and Planning

There is a darker side to judgment as well.  We are told elsewhere that attack, judgment, and making defenses against contingencies to come, planning unless prompted by the Holy Spirit, will make us lose our way again.  These actions can accomplish nothing, and they will divert us from our pathway to light.  So let us give up judgment (i.e., relinquish it to the Holy Spirit, Who sees truly), and find the real meaning of ourselves and our brothers.

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

May I give up attack, judgment, and making defenses against contingencies to come.  If I do these things, I will surely lose my way.  While the way can and will be found again, we lose much time, and we may suffer much.

May I completely relinquish attack in all its forms.  This is the ego personified, and only in the relinquishment of the ego is peace found.  Thank you for your help, for I will surely fail unless You walk with me.

Amen.

Tremendous Release / Deep Peace

“You have no idea of the tremendous release and deep peace that comes from meeting yourself and your brothers totally without judgment.  (T47)”

Affirmation:  “meeting. . .totally without judgment”

Reflections:

1 – How True!

How true!  We cannot even comprehend the full blessing of this passage, but we do see glimpses when we try to withhold judgment and just love.  The irony is that so long as we judge, we will perceive others as judging us.  This is the tenet of the Course that projection makes perception.  Nowhere will we find this more evident than in both judgment and attack thoughts.

2 – Comforting Words

The words, “tremendous release” and “deep peace” are comforting in the extreme.  Do we not all wish for this?  Here we find out how to effect this transformation.

3 – Do Not Judge–Ever!

We must remember not to leave ourselves out of the equation.  We must not judge ourselves, just as we must not judge our brothers.  Frequently, we seem to have an internal judge that chastises us for misdeeds, real and imagined.  These we are bade to leave behind, and we will know release and peace.

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

May I leave judgment behind forever.  May I know the release and the joy that come from tolerance for my brothers and sisters.

May my day go well today.  This will happen if I just remember to be tolerant of my brother’s perceived failings, and I open my heart to love.

Amen.

Prayer

“Prayer is a way of asking for something.  It is the medium of miracles.  But the only meaningful prayer is for forgiveness, because those who have been forgiven have everything.  (T45)”

Affirmation:  “the only meaningful prayer is for forgiveness”

Reflections:

1 – Prayer Is Assumed

Prayer is not discussed a great deal in the Course, and this passage hints at why.  The Course recommends forgiveness of ourselves and our brother as the only basis for a good life.  If we forgive, we “have everything.”  Does this mean that all of our needs are automatically taken care of?  Not precisely.  But we move in that direction, and we do so as a whole.

2 – We Make Our Choices

It is hard to understand what this “everything” really is, but basically it is the recognition that we are not deprived in this life except by our own choice.  This is part of the theoretical construct of the Course.

3 – Pray for Forgiveness

Why would we choose to deprive ourselves of anything?  Maybe we are looking for the wrong things in life.  The Course is practical, but nowhere is materialism sanctioned.  We are simply asked in this passage to pray for forgiveness, and then the miracles that will transform our lives will be forthcoming.  This is the prayer of faith.

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

May I ask forgiveness for all the ways in which I have failed.  May I ask that forgiveness be in my heart for those whom I feel have hurt me.  I realize that actually I cannot be hurt, but I can feel the pain of believing that I have been hurt.

May I forgive, as I have asked to be forgiven.  May all that I encounter feel the results of my prayer today.

Amen.

Are We “Chosen”?

“‘Many are called but few are chosen’ should be, ‘All are called but few choose to listen.’  Therefore, they do not choose right.  The ‘chosen ones’ are merely those who choose right sooner.  Right minds can do this now, and they will find rest unto their souls.  (T44)”

Affirmation:  “rest unto their souls”

Reflections:

1 – Differs from the New Testament

In this passage Jesus corrects a statement attributed to him in the New Testament.  We will stress the new version:  “All are called.”  There is nobody outside salvation, ultimately.  It may be millions of years before the Atonement takes place for all, just as the separation occurred over millions of years.  But we are bade to be patient, because once begun, the end of the journey is sure.  We will all come home in God.

2 – The Role of God’s Teachers

Teachers of God are those who lead the way, but only time separates students from teachers, and time does not really exist (a Course concept).  Teachers of God have chosen right sooner, and are thus freed to lead others back to God.

3 – Rest Will Be Ours

Children of God, we will then find the rest that all of us crave.

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

Thank you that all are chosen, and that we can choose to listen sooner rather than later.  Then we have rest unto our souls.  This is a great blessing.  Thank you.

May we realize that we are called to save our brothers and sisters.  This is the plan of salvation, and when we take our place in it, the time of return is shortened considerably.

Amen.

The Ultimate Way to Erase Misperceptions

“I cannot unite your will with God’s for you, but I can erase all misperceptions from your mind if you will bring it under my guidance.  (T43)”

Affirmation:  “I can erase all misperceptions from your mind.”

Reflections:

1 – Following Intuition

Jesus does not take away the power of our minds.  We retain in full control, but it is a control that we are bade willingly to relinquish to the Holy Spirit.  How do we do this?  We listen to a knowing, an intuition of how to live our days.  Thus Jesus cautions that we cannot ask him to take over our minds.

2 – Jesus as a Guide for Us

What Jesus can do, though, as he tells us in this passage, is to “erase all misperceptions” from our minds.  We are willingly putting our minds under his guidance.

3 – The Holy Spirit and Jesus Work Together

Retaining the power of our minds, but listening to guidance, is not contradictory.  We willingly relinquish all that does not matter, choosing to keep only the real and the true.   Jesus guides this activity when he is shown a willing mind and spirit.

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

May I enthusiastically and willingly place my mind under the guidance of the Holy Spirit.  Then misperceptions fall away, and I live in a much happier world.

Thank you for Jesus’s guidance.  He will help us to eliminate misperceptions if we are open to his guidance.

Amen.

Are You Afraid?

“It is because you have made him a stranger that you are afraid of him.  (T41)”

Affirmation:  “made him a stranger”

Reflections:

1 – See the Self in Our Brothers/Sisters

When you sense fear of your brother, you have made of him (or her) a stranger.  You do not really know the Self that is loving.

2 – No Sacrifice Is Asked

Of course, there are times in our world when we need to take precautions against harm from another.  The Course is always practical, and it does not sanction sacrifice of any kind.  No sacrifice is ever asked of a child of God.

3 – Anger or Attack

In everyday events, though, we usually feel afraid of our brother when we have reacted in anger or verbal attack.  Then we may even wonder if our holy relationship is irreparable.  Certainly these thoughts make of our brother a stranger, and make us afraid of what he (or she) may do, even if he may sever the relationship.  In extreme cases, this may happen.  We must realize another Course tenet, though, that no relationship is ever lost to us.  Those who have once formed a relationship will meet again, to make of what may have been only a special relationship into a holy one.  The Course does not specify when this meeting will happen, but seems to imply that it may be beyond the veil of death.  Eternity is stressed repeatedly in the Course.

4 – Make No Brother/Sister a Stranger

Make no brother a stranger, then, if we would know peace.

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

My I retain my holy relationships, and let not even one fall into a “special” relationship.  In so doing, I will make no brother or sister a stranger to myself.  And I will not be afraid of any person.  If I feel fear, may I understand that I have made a stranger of one who is actually a brother or sister.  May I encourage friendly relationships with all.  May I not depend on special relationships to save me, because this is a dead end.  May I turn to You to transform the special relationships that I do have to a better place–a holy relationship.  This holy relationship will give us the assurance of Your grace that heretofore we have all lacked.

May I know that all who meet are destined to meet again, to make their relationship a holy one.  Thank you for this reassurance.

Amen.

Attack Is Always Made upon a Stranger

“If you attack error in another, you will hurt yourself.  You cannot know your brother when you attack him.  Attack is always made upon a stranger.  (T41)”

Affirmation:  “Attack is always made upon a stranger.”

Reflections:

1 – We Are Not Seeing the Holy

When we attack, we are not seeing the holy in our brother.  We are not seeing his (or her) innocence.  So we are not seeing truly.  We have made of him (or her) a stranger.  I would see truly today, and that means that I forgive what has never happened in the real world.  I am always lost in illusions when I attack.  This is not the way to live peaceably in our world.

2 – Personal Experience

I once verbally attacked when a brother did not respond as I would have wished, and this is among my greatest regrets in life.  Be careful of how you respond, even if great stress is making for the insanity.  We do not want to look back on our lives with regret of any kind.  We can ask for forgiveness internally, and sometimes externally–to the one affected.  This will give us a measure of peace of mind.

3 – The Insanity of Guilt

When we attack, we may feel momentarily better, but then the insanity of guilt will overcome us.  We will feel worse than before, and this comes from knowing that we have betrayed both our brother and ourselves.

4 – Our Brothers and Sisters Are Innocent

Recognizing the innocence in our brother even if he (or she) has attacked us first, is to know the evidence of insanity in our world.  A special relationship is usually filled with attack, once the bloom of infatuation is off the relationship.  A holy relationship, however, has moved beyond the specialness (which was always a lie), and knows one’s brother as the loving Self that he (or she) truly is.

Prayer:

Dear Farther/Mother,

May I make no brother or sister a stranger by attacking that person.  May I realize that I have always made him or her a stranger when I have attacked.  I would make nobody a stranger unto myself.  Help me to stay true to this resolution.

May I understand that I make a stranger of my brothers and sisters when I attack them.  We also turn inward to attack ourselves at this same time.  We are all One.

May I see the innocence even in attack received from another.  Attack is a form of insanity–nothing more.  May I forgive and walk into the light.

Amen.

Living in Love = No Wish to Attack

“Understanding the lesson of the Atonement, they are without the wish to attack, and therefore they see truly.  (T39)”

Affirmation:  “without the wish to attack”

Reflections:

1 –  Definitions of Atonement

In not too many places in A Course in Miracles is there a definite definition of the Atonement.  Sometimes Atonement is simply called “correction.”  My favorite definition reads as follows:  “the restoration of the integrity of the mind. (T74)”  There are also broad explanations that encompass a definition that is at odds with traditional Christianity.  Jesus asserts that to cling to the crucifixion is a mistake; the crucifixion points out to us that he did not launch a defense under the extreme situation in which he found himself.  Not to be defensive is a major Course tenet.

2 – Looking to the Resurrection

Instead, we are to look to the resurrection, the overcoming of death–the promise of eternal life.  This step will bring us peace.  Our binding of ourselves to God is a lesson of the Atonement.  To do so constantly is a challenge to the neophyte, but not to the advanced teacher of God.  We learn more as we progress through the Course.

3 – At – One – Ment

Atonement is sometimes viewed as “at-one-ment,” but this is a bit limited in its interpretation.  It is this and more.  Atonement is the surrender of the little self to the larger Self that is allied with the Holy Spirit.  When we make this surrender, we see the futility of attack, and our perceptions are therefore cleansed.

4 – Personal Experience

Twice for fairly lengthy periods have I experienced the mystic arrival of an unsustained Awakening.  Once, for ten weeks, when I was 23; and then again, for almost six months, when I was 34 to 35.  There is nothing else like it.  I lived without fear for those marvelous months.  And I felt love for all others whom I encountered.

5 – A Course of Love

A Course of Love says that nobody has ever sustained elevation of the Self in form.  This elevation is roughly akin to Awakening, and we remain in the physical body and do not die.  This Awakening is what we are meant to do, akin to the next evolutionary trend.  I think, though, that the idea of elevation of the Self in form, and the idea of Awakening, are somewhat different (an interpretation), because I have read of awakened individuals on this earth.  I do not put much trust in self-reports of Awakening, though, especially when they are said to be sustained.  Most people in this situation are very quiet about what has happened to them.  May we move ever closer to a sustainable elevation.  According to A Course of Love, we find ourselves now in the time of Christ, the time of Christ-consciousness.  We are rapidly moving beyond the time of the Holy Spirit (the time described in A Course in Miracles).

6 – God Acts

May God find us where we are, and then take us a step farther on our pathway.  And may nothing said or done by our withered egos interfere.

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

May I see the futility of attack today, and if and when I am tempted to attack, may I refrain.  Often no response is better than a vicious one.  But You have taught me that the best response is to run to my brother’s side with love, for he is hurting.

May I look to the resurrection of Jesus as I realize that there is no death.  We will all live eternally, because this is Your great promise.

Be with me now as I slow down to Your pace.  I feel closer to You when I am living effortlessly, when I am not struggling to get something (anything!) done.  If there are plans to be made, we will intuitively recognize what those plans are.  Help me to remember Your advice to live effortlessly, not to struggle.

Thank You for always being there for me.  I ask for physical and emotional health as I go about Your world today, doing Your bidding.

Amen.

Awakening from the Illusion that Is This World

“Nothing can prevail against a Son of God who commends his spirit into the Hands of his Father.  By doing this the mind awakens from its sleep and remembers its Creator.  (T39)”

Affirmation:  “the mind awakens from its sleep.”

Reflections:

1 – Our “Dream”

This statement by Jesus is a paraphrase of one of the cries made from the cross.  Here we are asked to also commend our spirit into the Hands of the Father.  What happens is the greatest miracles the Course holds out to us:  Awakening.  “. . .[T]he mind awakens from its sleep and remembers its Creator.”

2 – Catherine of Siena

The medieval saint, Catherine of Siena, said a paraphrase of this passage as she died, in her early thirties, while cuddled on her mother’s lap.  She had believed herself to be the bride of Christ, and many others clustered about her in her few years.  An order of sisters was established, and she did much to try to bring the Pope back to Rome.

3 – Commend Thy Spirit unto the Father

But anyone, anywhere, can say and mean these words, commending one’s spirit into the hands of the Father, and by so doing know solace.  Indeed, this is a way to know the greatest solace.

4 – To Awaken from Sleep and to Remember

We will awaken from sleep and remember our Creator.  What a glorious promise!  Here the way is pointed out to us in a very few words:  commend our spirit to God and all will be well.  We will be at home with God, even while in this world.  We will inhabit the real world, where projections are cleansed, and thus perceptions are seen afresh.  We may know pain still, but we will not know suffering.

5 – Do Not Fret or Worry

“Nothing can prevail against. . .” is a powerful introduction to this idea.  We do not have to fret that the world of special relationships, not yet holy, will impede our progress.  “Nothing” can prevail against us once we have made the decision to surrender completely to God and to His guidance through the Holy Spirit.

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

May I know what it is to commend my spirit into Your hands.  By so doing may I awaken from my sleep in this world.

May I be my real Self today; may I not fulfill a persona anymore than is necessary to live in this world.  As I see friends, may I just know that they will accept me, just as I am.  You accepts me just as I am and love me for it.  May all people that I encounter today do not less.  That does not mean that we are equal to You, but simply that we try.  And we try not to fret when we fall short.

I would be grateful for this day, this day of promise.  May my significant others get from me all that I can give by way of the right kind of love and no attack.  Be with me as I seek to fulfill the promises that You hope for me, in being the kind of person that You have already accepted.

May I draw inspiration from the example of St. Catherine of Siena.  She knew a great deal in her short life.  May my longer life serve Your Spirit, and may my life also serve the others in my world, the ones entrusted to me.

All will be well with me when I do commend my spirit into Your hands.  Thank you for this great promise.

Amen.

Retain the Love = Lose the Fear

“When everything you retain is lovable, there is no reason for fear to remain with you.  This is your part in the Atonement.  (T35)”

Affirmation:  “retain the lovable”

Reflections:

1 – Love without Fear

Here is the idea that we keep finding again and again in the Course.  When love is complete, fear is abandoned.  We ourselves do this abandoning when we realize that the only reality is that of love.

2 – Eliminate the Wrong

We must discern what is wrong in our lives and seek to eliminate it.  This does not mean that we leave relationships that are difficult, unless our guidance recommends doing so.  But there are numerous bad habits that we would do well to eliminate, and these can be eliminated without reference at all to any other individual.  This does not mean that we embark on a “self-improvement” campaign, for such attempts would almost surely be of the ego.  But it does mean that we prune our waking thoughts, eliminating much of the anxiety by praying it away–or distracting ourselves, or loving another more deeply.   (These suggestions are personal and do not come from ACIM.)  We can become better people, and in no way is this more possible than by following guidance on a moment-by-moment foundation.

3 – Love Leads to Atonement

Love then becomes our way into the Atonement.  Atonement is the shifting of our perception to that of a love-centered world.  The Awakening then follows.

4 – Seek the Guidance of the Holy Spirit

We must ask for the help of the Holy Spirit to retain only what is lovable in our world.  We cannot do this by an ego-centered self, and only the real Self, informed by guidance, can effect this change.  Help me to just allow the ego to wither away.  I do not need it, and nobody in my circle needs it.  May all of us look to You for the fulfillment in living that only You can give.

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

Help me to retain only what is lovable in this world and worlds beyond.  When I retain only what is lovable, I leave fear behind.  Surely this is motivation.

Help me not to become depressed when my best efforts to follow Your way don’t seem to be enough to rid me of fear.  At these times, help me to turn to You in prayer.  You always calm me right down.  May I realize, anew, that Your eternity and my time are not identical.  And it is only Your eternity that is real.  So there may seem to be a delay in time before love is in the ascendancy, and all is well with my little world.  Help me to be patient, but not to give up hope that love will prevail.  I do know, from my heart, that Your Love will prevail.

May we accept the Atonement for ourselves.  Jesus has said that this is our only real purpose in this world.  So much follows from this acceptance, and we welcome our brothers and sisters with a new, abiding love.

Amen.

Need the Last Judgment Be a Fearful Prospect?

“The Last Judgment is generally thought of as a procedure undertaken by God.  Actually it will be undertaken by my brothers with my help.  It is a final healing rather than a meting out of punishment, however much you may think that punishment is deserved.  (T34)”

Affirmation:  “The Last Judgment. . .a final healing”

Reflections:

1 – The Last Judgment Is Healing

The Last Judgment is usually fraught with fear.  The way Jesus explains it, though, it is a healing, not an opportunity to determine if punishment is justified.

2 – Personal Experience

I once had a real phone conversation  in which I wondered later if I had been hypnotized during it.  For six months later, I seemed to remember, through admitted fantasy, that I had been asked questions that were akin to a Last Judgment.  Of course, I was reading A Course in Miracles at the same time that this experience happened.  And it is possible that I imagined the whole experience, much as in a waking dream that John Keats wrote poetry about in the early Nineteenth Century.  From this distance in time, there is no way to know, for I am not in touch with the individual in the phone conversation.  But I do wonder.  Was this fantasy a real example of the “brothers” of Christ conferring the Last Judgment on one who seemed ready, being at the time in a vulnerable state of mind?

3 – Brothers Working with Jesus

There is an indication here of our “brothers,” working with Jesus, to carry out the Last Judgment.  There are no other indications in the Course of what Jesus meant, aside from the tenet that our brothers are our way home, that we learn through our holy relationships.
4 – An Understanding for the Future

We must just accept the idea that Jesus puts forth in this passage, without being able, within the Course or without, to understand the message fully.  As time passes, perhaps we will come to understand.  It is perhaps in the final working out of the holy relationship that the Last Judgment actually takes place.

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

My I no more fear the Last Judgment.  I do not understand how my brothers will help with the Last Judgment, but I trust what Jesus has said.

I do not know if I was actually under hypnosis so long ago, when I imagined that I was asked question akin to a Last Judgment.  Perhaps I was so exhausted that I fell into a dream.  But, given this experience, I thank You for it.  The experience has led me to understand, somewhat, how the brothers of Jesus and myself could effect a Last Judgment.  It could happen just as Jesus says in this passage, and for that I am grateful to You.

Be with me now as I seek to join in sharing with my brothers and sisters, to love them, and to avoid fear and judgment.  These aspects of the truth are paramount as we move farther along in the way pointed out by Jesus.  Thank You for this revelation, coming to us now, now that we are all ready.  May the credo of A Course of Love influence my reading of A Course in Miracles, and point out the whole way back to You.

May I endeavor to have holy relationships with all of my brothers and sisters.  May this concept grow in time, and may I feel Your blessing on it.

Amen.

The Mastery of Fear

“We have already attempted to correct the fundamental error that fear can be mastered, and have emphasized that the only real mastery is through love. . . .You may think this implies that an enormous amount of time is necessary between readiness and mastery, but let me remind you that time and space are under my control.  (T33)”

Affirmation:  “only real mastery is through love”

Reflections:

1 – A Great Promise

This is one of Jesus’s great promises in A Course in Miracles.  The final sentence also states a truth that we would be wise to accept at face value, though perhaps it is early yet to recognize the miracles that the sentence represents.

2 – A Necessity = Learning to Love

We must learn to love if we are to be happy, for who can remain happy while intermittently experiencing pangs of fear?  The Course is the way that many of us have chosen to learn how to love, how to live a better way.   It is a beginning, a way home for those of us who follow diligently its guidance.

3 – Readiness and Mastery

The time between readiness and mastery of fear does not, as implied by this passage, have to be lengthy.  It is true that it may be lengthy, but elsewhere Jesus recommends that we be content to walk the pathway, even if the way seems long to us.

4 – The Way Is Not Always Long

It is not always long.  Many people find themselves at home in God within a few days or weeks of reading the Course.  When this happens, we have experienced a revelation of the end.  And the revelation may not last.  Yet we will take away from the experience our certainty, also given us by Jesus, that once the way is begun, the end is certain.  The Course then becomes our pathway home.

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

May we see Jesus control time and space in our world.  Even when we do not understand this, may we realize that what he has promised is real–more real than the things of this world.  I would reach for mastery, but not by grasping and not by putting in tremendous strain and effort.  Your way is easy, so easy that we overlook that not more is asked of us.  We think that we need to strain, and that is not what You would have us do.  If we only love a little more, we will find ourselves at home in You–and sooner rather than later.  This blessing is not through death, but here, right on earth.  We can have a Heaven on earth for the asking.  And we ask it today.

May we master fear by love.  We know that this is the only way.  May we feel the love that You have placed in our hearts.

Amen.

Perfect Love

“Know first that this is fear.
Fear arises from lack of love.
The only remedy for lack of love is perfect love.
Perfect love is the Atonement.  (T30)”

Affirmation:  “The only remedy for lack of love is perfect love.”

Reflections:

1 – A Poem

This is another beautiful blank verse poem from the Course.  It is also a syllogism, which Jesus seems to appreciate a great deal, for there are several in the Course.

2 – Fear and Love

It is unlikely that we will understand this poem completely without reading our way through the entire Course.  Basically, the poem refers to the fact that the only two emotions are fear and love, and that only lack of love makes fear.

3 – Do We Still Cling to Fears?

This passage can be very demoralizing if we are not patient with ourselves.  We know that we are not experiencing “perfect love,” because we still cling to fears.  And these fears, remnants of the ego, can have a strong foothold in our minds.

3 – To Ease Anxieties, Commune with God

We need to commune with God to allow our anxieties to ease.  I speak from personal experience.  Often if I awake deep in the night, I start to pray, and I quite literally feel such peace that the prayer itself puts me at ease enough to drift off into sleep again, without realizing what has happened until the next morning.  God does not mind that we pray to Him and then drift off to sleep.  The apostles slept at Gethsemane.  So there is a long history of slumber overcoming those who would watch and wait for God.

4 – Falling Asleep While Praying

I also do not think that falling asleep by praying shows a lack of love or even respect for God.  He is inside us, and we project the world outside.  When we commune with our depths, we are actually being true to our Self.

4 – Atonement = Shift in Perception

The Atonement is a shift in perception that allows us to see that we are actually innocent children of God.  Heretofore we have believed that we were guilty of black sins that will require retribution.  Through the Course, we learn that reaching perfect love is the ultimate end of our journey here.  Knowing only love, we will fear no longer.  This too is the Awakening.

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

When I find the day hard-going, may I realize that my love is imperfect.  Imperfect love makes for a bad day.  May my day today, the part that remains, be perfect in Your sight.  This does not mean that I am above making mistakes, but it does mean that staying on Your pathway is my aim and my goal.  I would not allow useless and foolish fears to counterbalance the good day that You would send.  I would not allow minor lassitude to turn me from Your course.  Be with me as I seek to live am emotionally and physically healthy life.  I know that You are “for health” all the way, and I would not let any sense of vulnerability turn me from You.  I am not vulnerable, but in Your love, I am strong.  Be with me to give me enjoyment in this beautiful day that You have offered to me, free and clear, constant in the guidance that You send to me via the Holy Spirit.

I would have good energy today as I seek to feel perfect love.  I would disregard any fears that seem to arise, knowing that they are illusions, for only love is real.  May I live in the real world today, even if only in glimpses of reality–Your reality.

May I find the perfect love that You have promised all of your children.  May I leave fear behind as I find this perfect love.

Amen.

No Strain in Doing God’s Will

“There is no strain in doing God’s Will as soon as you recognize that it is also your own.  (T30)”

Affirmation:  “no strain in doing God’s will”

Reflections:

1 – What We Think about God’s Will

This sentence is a primary theoretical foundation for the Course.  Much of our rebellion has been predicated upon the idea that we would not believe that God’s will would be desirable; we think that we can choose better.  We even think that His will is punitive.

2 – Personal Experience

I questioned the will of God for all of my twenties and half of my thirties.  I wanted to follow what I understood to be God’s will, but too often I did not fully understand that God is within, and that surely I would be doing my will when I followed what I understood to be His.  So I followed His will, not having met A Course in Miracles, and not knowing if I were deluding myself.  When I was 34, I found ACIM, and another whole new chapter opened for me.  It was indeed welcome news to know that in following what I perceived to be God’s will for–in all–14 years, I was actually following what I wanted as well.  But it didn’t quite feel like that.  It had felt as though I were following a dream.  But doesn’t God speak to us through the everyday “reality” that is a dream, an illusion (from ACIM)?  And so isn’t what we really want in our hearts often what He would have for us?  His pathway is not as remote as we might, on first glance, see it to be.

3 – God’s Will = Our Real Will

How wrong we are!  God’s will and our own “real” will are the same!  What a relief this can be.  Our thoughts of Jonah and the whale may be relegated to an Old Testament story, not meaningful in the world in which we live today.  With Jonah, the idea that God would pursue us and demand that we do His will, is the main crux of the matter.  In the Course, we are gently led to do God’s will, once we have understood that we are actually doing our own will at the same time.  The God of A Course in Miracles is in no way a punitive God.

4 – No Conflict in Following God’s Pathway

So, we experience “no strain” in doing God’s will.  We see no conflict in following God’s pathway.  It is the pathway that we would choose if we could see the whole picture.  Our judgment is not that wondrous; we see imperfectly and only in part.  But when we acquiesce to the Holy Spirit, we truly know the peace of following God’s will as our own.

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

What a relief to learn that God’s will is really our real will!  Thank you, dear Father, for this insight.  This is one of the greatest of Your blessings!  Not to know that we are in Your Will is difficult indeed.

When we know that doing God’s will, as we perceive it, is really our own real will, we do not feel coerced.  Thank you for this insight, this great blessing.

I would walk the pathway today that You and Our Guide point out.  I would ask for direction at every point, knowing that this is what You want me to do.  Help me to relax in Your care, sure of Your love and protection.  Be with me so that the day turns out well.  I know that the day will turn out well when I am following Your Will, which ever is also my own.

Amen.

Guidance

“It is possible to reach a state in which you bring your mind under my guidance without conscious effort, but this implies a willingness that you have not developed as yet.  (T30)”

Affirmation:  “reach a state in which you bring your mind under my guidance”

Reflections:

1 – Is Learning Effortless?

This passage occurs at the beginning of the Course.  It suggests that following our guidance must be a willful thing, and that we choose to follow guidance by conscious effort.  Yet we are also told that much of the learning of the Course can be effortless.  Is this a contradiction?

2 – The Guidance of Jesus

No, because there is a progression here that we would be wise to understand.  In the beginning of our study, we cannot just turn our wills over to Jesus without choosing to do so.  It is noteworthy that in these beginning passages, Jesus says that it is “my guidance,” and later on in the Course, he stresses following the guidance of the Holy Spirit.  We are not yet, at this point early on, ready for the more theoretical aspects of the guidance of the Holy Spirit.  Later on we are ready.  Then we can truly move effortlessly to make decisions with our minds and our spirits.

3 – Living Is Effortless

I find the fact that living is meant to be “effortless” a very comforting thought.  Most of us have spent many days, months, and years caught in fretful activity that drove us to distraction.  We were made anxious by the pace of our living.  But we can slow down, even in the midst of great productivity.  And, actually, we will in all likelihood find that we are even more productive than we have been when busily hurrying about.  Self-help literature is filled with this paradox.

4 – Guidance without Conscious Control

Surely we can await the time that we bring our minds under guidance without conscious effort.  In the meantime, we can use our intuition, which is a form of guidance, to know what and how to respond in our world.

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

May I bring my mind under the guidance of Jesus and the Holy Spirit.  May this form of intuition be something that will bless others in my world as well as myself.

I realize that this need not be hard.  Indeed, surrendering to guidance can be effortless.  Help it to be effortless in me today.

Amen.

To Eliminate Fear

“The correction of fear is your responsibility.  When you ask for release from fear, you are implying that it is not.  You should ask, instead, for help in the conditions that have brought the fear about.  (T29)”

Affirmation:  “help in the conditions that have brought the fear about”

Reflections:

1 – Can We Leave Fear Behind?

These three sentences, and the order in which they appear, are a very important sequence.  We may feel that the correction of fear is beyond what we can do, but this passage says not.  We can get help, though, in the slightly different matter of the “conditions” that brought the fear about.  For that we ask for help, and rightly so.  And when we ask, we receive.

2 – Change Thoughts that Hurt

I have read and reread the passage for today from the Text.  I try to understand what it is saying, and I do realize that Jesus is adamant that he not interfere with the cause-and-effect nature of our thinking and our actions.  This is a basic law of our universe as we know it.  But help with the conditions that have brought the fear about!  That is the crux of the matter, and we get help, when we ask, with these lamentable conditions.  We need to watch our thinking, so that we do not entertain anxious and fearful thoughts.  Thoughts frequently govern our actions, but Jesus also says that we cannot control the effects of fear by changing our behavior.  We can change our thoughts, which will automatically change the behavior in which we will be led to display.  There is a subtle difference between these two ideas that we would probably do well to understand, or to ask to understand, more clearly.

3 – Distraction Helps

When we focus our minds on something unrelated to the fear that we are currently feeling, we can short-circuit the bad feelings.  Feelings follow thoughts, and if the thoughts are bad, we are led to anxious and lamentable feelings.  We stop realizing how really blessed we are, so certain we are that right now we are in a bad place mentally.  But we can change the record on the old stereo, and we can stop going around and around, like an old record.  We can overlook our fear for loss of love or loss of relationship, or loss of composure in a world that does not sometimes seem to heed our fragile feelings.  When we distract ourselves by focusing on other things than our hurt, we are well on the way to a better day.  And, as A Course in Miracles points out, we can always start the day anew.  We do not have to linger in the unhappiness that we have brought on ourselves by our obsessions about what might have gone wrong in our day.

4 – A “Reason” to Feel Fearful

The matter of conditions is pivotal.  There is always an (insane) reason that we feel fearful.  We don’t need to understand insanity, but we do need to leave it behind, and this passage notes that the help we need in leaving insanity behind is there for the asking.  Elsewhere in ACIM we read that Jesus is saying that we are afraid because we have not let him guide our thoughts.  We have gone our own, egoistic, way alone.  How foolish of us, when there is so much help available, just for the asking.

5 – Fearful Thoughts = Madness

Fearful thoughts are always a form of madness, the form in which most of us live in this world the vast majority of the time.  Until we willingly leave fear behind and return to love consistently, we will be afraid periodically.  Can this be something we want to keep?

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

May I leave fear behind.  This sometimes seems impossible to me, but You have promised that I can do so.

May I have the help that You have promised with the conditions that have brought the fear about.  Then my fear is self-controlled, which is what Jesus asks me to do.

Amen.

Why Am I Afraid?

“Whenever you are afraid, it is a sure sign that you have allowed your mind to miscreate and have not allowed me to guide it.  (T29)”

Affirmation:  “My I allow Jesus to guide my mind.”

Reflections:

1 – Mind Wandering

Elsewhere the Course counsels against mind wandering.  This mind wandering is exactly the way in which miscreation happens.  We fantasize about horrors of the past, present, or future, and soon we find ourselves afraid–full of fear.  The exact opposite of love.

2 – Personal Experience

I have almost constantly to caution myself not to let my mind wander when I am praying.  I have learned that praying aloud, when possible, keeps me on track.  Jesus is especially negative about mind wandering, maybe because all thought creates form on some level (an ACIM tenet).  I would not make form that is a miscreation.  While some of these ideas are theology of ACIM, and thus perhaps a bit controversial, I think that all of us can probably see that keeping a mind that is obedient to our commands, and the commands of the Holy Spirit (however these commands are experienced), will give us a better life, a different life in which there is far more peace and far less rancor.  ACIM does not say this specifically, but much can be found therein that suggests this idea.

3 – Allow Jesus to Guide Our Thoughts

When we allow Jesus to guide our thoughts, we do not know fear.  This takes great deal of concentration in the beginning, an awareness of what our minds are doing.  This kind of concentration usually does not come easily to us.  But it can be done, when motivation is strong.

4 – Motivation to Change Our Lives

If the fear is strong, the motivation to change to a better way of living will be strong as well.  We need at first attend only to the motivation to change, and then the remainder will fall into place without effort.

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

May I allow my miscreating mind to rest in Your power and strength.  May I allow the Holy Spirit to guide my thoughts.

When my mind does not wander into fantasies, I am better off.  Thank you for the wisdom that would lead me to eliminate miscreations of my mind and eliminate fear.

Amen.

Fear Can Be Self-Controlled

“Fear cannot be controlled by me, but it can be self-controlled.  Fear prevents me from giving you my control.  (T28)”

Affirmation:  “Fear can be self-controlled.”

Reflections:

1 – Get Help in Eliminating the Conditions Leading to Fear

This is not the complete passage, and what is quoted can be a little misleading.  Later on Jesus says that we are to ask for help in eliminating the conditions that have brought the fear about.  That then frees us to accept the control of Jesus.  In getting the guidance of the Holy Spirit to eliminate the conditions that brought about the fear, we are going to the root of the fear.  This is true self-controlled fear.

2 – Fear Is an Effect

Jesus also says that cause and effect are involved in fear.  When the conditions that bring about fear are present as a cause, then the effect is the fear.  To tamper with this cause-and-effect relationship would be to deemphasize our minds, which Jesus would never do.  He also says that we fear the power of the mind, but to think of it as impotent is not a helpful concept.  We are actually afraid of the power of the mind.

3 – Mastery through Love

Fear can be overcome.  It is simple to read these words and to take them to heart, but perhaps it is not easy to effect the eradication of fear.  The Course returns again and again to the differences between love and fear, and ultimately tells us that the only true mastery of fear is through love.

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

May I be free of fear.  May I have help with the conditions that bring the fear about.  And may I be guided in how to control my fear.

I pray for Jesus’s help in my life.  He promises this to me.  May I turn to him and to the Holy Spirit for the help that I so much need.

Amen.

Worry Not

“I am here only to be truly helpful.
I am here to represent Him Who sent me.
I do not have to worry about what to say or what
   to do, because He Who sent me will direct me.
I am content to be wherever He wishes, knowing
   He goes there with me.
I will be healed as I let Him teach me to heal.  (T28)”

Affirmation:  “I do not have to worry about what to say or what to do.”

Reflections:

1 – Follow the Holy Spirit

This is a lovely prayer, set in the form of a blank verse poem.  The “He” and “Him” referred to in the poem mean the Holy Spirit.

2 – Beautiful Poetry

Two of the most beautiful lines are Lines 3 and 4, in which we are assured that the Holy Spirit will guide us.  We do not have to reach ahead to the future, wondering what to do.  We will be told in the present.  If there are plans that need to be made, we will be told of them at the point of need.  There is no need to worry.

3 – Guidance Where We Are Led to Go

We will follow guidance to go wherever in this world we are led to go.  This is truly being led by the Holy Spirit, and it may not take what is commonly known as blind faith.  We will know inwardly and with assurance what pathway is best, and where that pathway is physically located.  We will go with knowledge that we are there with the Holy Spirit.

4 – Our Brother’s Keeper

We are also our brother’s keeper.  “I will be healed as I let Him teach me to heal,” which is the last line, is an assurance that our relationship to our brother is where healing lies.

5 – The Blessing of This Poem

If we study this poem, we will have its blessing, for it is indeed dense with meaning.  Let the Holy Spirit speak to us as we read.

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

Thank you for helping me to make decisions through the Holy Spirit.  Let me realize that I do not have to worry about what to say or do, because I will be guided.  This is Your promise.

Help me to be helpful to others in my daily life.  As I am healed, I will be better able to effect healing in others through Your grace.

Amen.

If Pain and Suffering Visit

“An imprisoned will engenders a situation which, in the extreme, becomes altogether intolerable.  Tolerance for pain may be high, but it is not without limit.  (T21-22)”

Affirmation:  “Tolerance for pain is not without limit.”

Reflections:

1 – An Imprisoned Will

This “imprisoned will” is a philosophical tenet of A Course in Miracles.  When the separation seemed to arise, we were caught in a situation that seemed to make God’s will and our will at odds with one another.  Actually the two are inseparable, and only our dim understanding makes this aspect of faith difficult.

2 – Rejecting the Holy Spirit’s Guidance

When we reject the guidance of the Holy Spirit, we are caught in the bonds of an imprisoned will, which engenders pain–sometimes extreme pain.  Although the Course affirms the releasing truth that we do not have to learn through pain, the truth is that many of us do learn through pain.  We can suffer in this pain greatly, but our tolerance for pain, as this passage says, is “not without limit.”  Sooner or later we will come to see that there must be another way, a better way, to live, and this is when we turn to God and His Voice, the Holy Spirit.

3 – Another Way

Helen Schucman and William Thetford, the two individuals responsible for bringing us the Course, agreed together to seek another way.  At the time they and their department at Columbia University were embroiled in competition and attack, and camaraderie was largely missing.  Helen and Bill embarked on a seven-year project, with Helen channeling from Jesus, and Bill, each morning, typing what had come through the day before.  Tolerance for pain in these two had become intolerable.

4 – No Tolerance for Pain

May this tolerance soon become intolerable for us as well, and then we will be ready to listen, perhaps for the first time, to innermost guidance.

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

May I choose to eliminate pain from my experience.  I know that pain is not Your will, and may it not be mine either.

If I have learned through pain, may this learning come to an end.  Your will for me is total happiness.

Amen.

Error Cannot Hurt

“True denial is a powerful protective device.  You can and should deny any belief that error can hurt you.  (T199)”

Affirmation:  “True denial is protective.”

 

Reflections:

1 – True Denial

True denial refers only to our real self–the Self that cannot be hurt.  We aren’t usually very aware of this Self, but this Self influences us constantly.  Whether or not we listen is our own decision, but this Self can and does influence what happens to us.

2 – The Self

Error can actually accomplish nothing that is ultimately hurtful, because the Self is beyond being hurt.  The Course does not use the word “soul,” but in common language this is what is meant.  (The Course usually uses the word “spirit.”)

3 – Pain Is Illusory

When we are caught in the midst of suffering, of feeling our pain, in our own lives, or when we see suffering in others (whether our significant others or the world at large), we can affirm that the pain is illusory.  Certainly it is felt; this is not what is meant by “illusory.”  The pain actually accomplishes nothing permanent except, upon occasion, bringing us closer to God and thus to ultimate release.  This understanding will eliminate any tendency to project the blame for our pain onto God, thus removing one of the main reasons that we reject faith as being beyond our comprehension.

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

May I learn the power of true denial, and use it only rightly.  May I truly know in the depths of my being that error–error in myself or error in others–cannot hurt my real Self.

May I forgive error in myself and in others.  May the error that does occur be an occasion to practice forgiveness, and may I turn to the Holy Spirit for guidance in how to forgive.

Amen.

Health = Inner Peace

 

“Illness is some form of external searching.  Health is inner peace.  It enables you to remain unshaken by lack of love from without and capable, through your acceptance of miracles, of correcting the conditions proceeding from lack of love in others.  (T18)”

Affirmation:  “Health is inner peace.”

 

Reflections:

1 – Health Is Peace

Perhaps this passage will remain unclear for some time as we study A Course in Miracles.  We may not fully understand for what we are searching when we become ill.  But surely we have recognized, over our lifetimes, that we are peaceful when we are in good health.  Good health can be either emotional or physical; it makes no difference.

2 – Need a Break from the Daily Routine?

Some writers believe that we become ill when we need a break from our daily responsibilities.  Sometimes, in this work-a-day world, we don’t think we can have a moment, or a day, to ourselves unless we get sick, forcing us to slow down.  It may be helpful to realize that we may need to slow down, overall, if sickness dogs our steps.  We are trying to do too much.

3 – There Is Always Time for What Is Needful

Perhaps, you may say, I have very real responsibilities and obligations that I cannot shirk.  To this I would say that there is always time for what is needful.  This idea came to me just before I started a graduate program, one which promised to be filled with unknowns and, I did not know, perhaps much hard work.  But remember the Sabbath.  The Bible is often very practical in what it recommends, and a day of rest is as practical as the ideas of A Course in Miracles.  We will treat others better if we are not frazzled.   If this seems too much to ask, perhaps we need to take a look at our priorities.  We will be of no use to others if we are not taking care of ourselves.  We will become inwardly focused, in a harmful way, a way in which we do not properly appreciate the significant others in our lives.  And life will go by so fast, with our missing some of the important things.

4 – Refrain from Attack

Our emotional health can be seen in that many of us have no problem with the Course concept of refraining from attack when we are at peace.  When stress happens, though, we may find it all too easy to succumb to attack and also the accompanying anger.  This is not good emotional health.

5 – Physical Illness

Physical health is frequently a challenge that either brings us closer to God or seems to drive Him away.  We can respond either way, but the obviously better way is to seek God in our suffering.  He will be there.  And we will not have to wait long.

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

Surely you are with us in good health and bad.  When we are in good health, may we experience gratefulness.  When we are ill, may we experience the grace to be accepting of that which we do not understand.

May we move closer to You in health and in illness.  May our emotional and physical condition make no difference in the zeal with which we seek You.

Amen.

Lack of Love

“But remember the first principle in this course; there is no order of difficulty in miracles.  In reality you are perfectly unaffected by all expressions of lack of love.  These can be from yourself and others, from yourself to others, or from others to you.  (T18)”

Affirmation:  “unaffected by lack of love”

 

Reflections:

1 – How Affected Are We by Love?

This passage is most illuminating.  We think that we are affected when others don’t love us as we wish, or when we recognize that we too don’t love as we ought.

2 – Verbal Attack

I think nobody gets through this world without both attacking and being attacked, usually only verbally.  The verbal attack can be ignored when we realize that the individual is caught in madness.  This must be true even if the individual is quite spiritually attuned.  For the moment, he/she is lost in insanity.  When the individual is blessed with sanity, however fleeting, there is a peace about that is unrivaled by any temptation to find fault.

3 – Asking for Forgiveness

So we can ask forgiveness when we have been at fault (if this is still possible, with proximity of the individual affected).  If our asking for forgiveness would make the matter worse, I think that ACIM would counsel waiting.  And, likewise, we can forgive an attack from without.  The individual perpetrating the offense is quite likely out of control, at least for the moment, and in his/her better moments will regret the outburst.

4 – Rid of the Guilt?

Ken Wapnick notes in a lecture from long ago that we sometimes feel very good after an outburst of anger and attack.  We have gotten something off our chests, and, he says, we have momentarily gotten rid of the guilt.  So we feel good.  But the guilt returns, for who can be unkind to another without sensing the sting of rebuke from our better selves?  We calm down, and then we know that we have made a very, very serious error.

5 – The Real World Unaffected by Lack of Love

Jesus admonishes us to recognize that reality is actually unaffected by lacks of love.  Our real selves have never been damaged in any way.  This is reassuring, and this statement can help us to forgive ourselves of our momentary lapse into anger and attack.

6 – No Order of Difficulty in Miracles

The first principle in the Course, no order of difficulty in miracles, is a blessing that we do not understand.  How can this be?  But Jesus asserts that it is true, and we would be wise to take him at his word and ask for his blessing and his miracles.

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

Please forgive me, and help me to forgive myself and others, for the lacks of love that we show.  May we replace lack with the grace to live peacefully in all situations and events.

Jesus tells us that there is no order of difficulty in miracles.  So this need will be answered just as soon as we ask.  Thank You.

Amen.

Revelation May Reveal the End

“Healing is of God in the end.  The means are being carefully explained to you.  Revelation may occasionally reveal the end to you, but to reach it the means are needed.  (T16)”

Affirmation:  “Revelation may occasionally reveal the end”

 

Reflections:

1 – Awakening

We may know revelation, the revelation of Awakening, several times before it is permanent.  This is not a Course concept, but one that we can observe in our brothers and ourselves.  To have known Awakening, even briefly, is a very wonderful blessing; it shows us what is possible.  We really do live in the present, and we live without anxiety in the present.  It is a time of great joy and freedom from fear.

2 – The Means to Awakening

The “means,” in this passage, are found in A Course in Miracles.  When we follow the way pointed out in its lovely writing, we will ultimately know the end of the Awakening that does not leave us.

3 – Personal Experience

I once lived in a state of mystic awareness for a little more than six months.  I knew a love for others that was all-encompassing, even toward people who were heretofore strangers to me.  I did not feel any fear (that I can recall) in the entire period of months, and anxiety had previously dogged my steps for many years.  I followed guidance as I perceived it, and, as ACIM warns, this sometimes led me into situations that were extremely embarrassing to me.  (ACIM, in the Manual, says that my embarrassment was borne of a “shabby self-image,” and thus not worthy of even the feeling of embarrassment.  The shabby self-image is best dropped.)  I did feel calmly joyous nearly all the time.  I  liked to sit as I waited for someone, secure in the certainty that the encounter I was about to have would be alright.  I was not nervous ahead of time in regard to any anticipated experience.

4 – A Return Soon?

Obviously, I would like for such awakened feelings to return.  They sometimes do, fleetingly.  I wait patiently (as possible) for the Awakening of which all long-time students of A Course in Miracles clamor.  But patience must be the watchword, even as we avoid the judgment of ourselves and  our brothers and sisters that will make impossible the boon of Awakening.  If we judge not, we are told in ACIM, we will awaken.  How hard a dictate to practice, even when we have learned a good bit about the ego’s wily ways.

4 – Revelation from God

It is comforting to know that we are, at any time, subject to revelation.  This is not quite the same as miracles.  We cannot easily explain revelation, as it sounds truthful only to ourselves, being intensely personal–from God to us, always.  He knows us as nobody in this world can.  An inner awareness of God will go a long way toward recognizing that He and we are not separate at all.

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

Thank you for the times in my life that revelation has revealed Awakening to me.  It was not sustained, but that it happened at all is grounds for hope that one day Awakening will be permanent.

May all of us know this great joy of experiencing Awakening.  A Course in Miracles explains the healing that leads us to it.

Amen.

Finding a Wholly Satisfying Reality

“Fantasies become totally unnecessary as the wholly satisfying nature of reality becomes apparent to both giver and receiver.  (T15)”

Affirmation:  “the wholly satisfying nature of reality”

 

Reflections:

1 – Eckhart Tolle

Eckhart Tolle (The Power of Now) says a good bit about his own Awakening and his joy in the immediate experience of the reality he knows now.  His reality is now wholly satisfying, and, as he once said, no thought has made him unhappy since the shift into Awakening.

2 – Personal Experience

In my own glimpses of Awakening (which have not been sustained), I too know that the reality in which I find myself is totally satisfying.  Like Eckhart, I enjoy sitting in public places, such as a restaurant or a library, and just observing my surroundings.  I feel totally at peace with my world at such times.  And the joy is not an overwrought joy, but a peaceful one, though occasionally a thrill of ecstasy can arise.  These are the mystic moments that are not cause for praise, for then the ego will quickly move in, and we will be caught in pride that such spiritual blessings have been granted us.  Instead, in such joyful, mystic moments, we are best to feel glad for the experience, but realize that we have not done anything grand that has caused the experience to visit.  All of this is borne of the grace of God.

3 – Leave Fantasies Behind

We learn through A Course in Miracles that we will leave fantasies behind when we see how satisfying reality really can be.  Of course, this is not the reality that most of us find ourselves a part of now.  But, as we walk the pathway pointed out by the Course, we will find that life becomes increasingly easy and joyous.

4 – An Easy and Joyous Life

With life now easy and joyous, we will feel no need to escape into fantasies.  We will thank God for the new ease that we have found, now that we follow His dictates instead of trying, in vain, to depend solely upon ourselves.

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

Fantasies are seductive, but ultimately unsatisfying.  As we follow A Course in Miracles,  we see the world turn into a wholly satisfying place.  We have no need for fantasies then.

May we turn to the Holy Spirit for guidance as we seek to enter the real world, the one where fantasies are not needed.

Amen.

We Try to Find Pleasure in Fantasies

“Fantasies are a means of making false associations and attempting to obtain pleasure from them.  (T15)”

Affirmation:  “May I not indulge in meaningless fantasies.”

Reflections:

1 – May We Stop Lying to Ourselves

Many of us are prone to this unreality.  We are bade to leave fantasies behind, as they are untruths that do not lead to the real world.  The “false associations” are just that–lies that we tell ourselves.  And would we not do well to stop lying to ourselves?

2 – Personal Experience

In my early adulthood, I often indulged in fantasies.  These were not quite for the reason that ACIM seems to say, but, for me, a way to understand the world in which I lived, the world and its relationships.  I considered various scenarios in my fantasies, seeking to understand why someone had acted as he/she had.  I analyzed.  And, of course, I was caught in the ego, because the ego rejoices in being analyzed.  The ego likes for us to study it, making its importance more real to ourselves (a Text paraphrase).  But we are studying nothing, and nothing that we “learn” in such ego-oriented moments of fantasy mean anything.  We rarely figure out insanity, and insanity is just what we are caught in in this world.

3 – Lost in Fantasies

When we live totally in this world, it is almost inevitable that we will find ourselves lost in fantasies.  These fantasies are a way of coping in a world that seems far too cruel to allow us to live easily.  But there is another way, a better way.  And the Course always says the same thing:  Turn to the Holy Spirit for guidance.  He will lead us out of an illusory present into a real world that will bring happiness.

4 – We Do Not Have to Learn through Pain

We may still know pain, though Jesus assures us that we do not have to learn through pain.  In our world, though, pain as a means of learning is more common than any other way.  In the pain, we turn to God.  We do not have to learn this way, but if it happens to us, we would be foolish not to take the new pathway that God points to–away from the pain.  Fantasies then have no meaning in a world made anew by turning to spirit for answers and finding the wholly satisfying nature of true reality.

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

I have indulged in fantasies when the world seemed too cruel.  Fantasies were an escape.  May, instead, I welcome Your teaching that will free me from unreal concepts of the world.  Then I will find joy instead of sorrow.

May I leave fantasies behind as I follow the Holy Spirit into the real world, a world of forgiveness and joy.

Amen.

How Do We Find Perfect Love?

“Perfect love casts out fear.
If fear exists,
Then there is not perfect love.
But
Only perfect love exists.
If there is fear,
It produces a state that does not exist.  (T14)”

Affirmation:  “Perfect love casts out fear.”

Reflections:

1 – A Beautiful Passage

Jesus seems fond of syllogisms.  There are a number in the Course, but this is phrased in perhaps this most beautiful way of all of his syllogisms.

2 – Perfect Love vs. Fear

All of us wish to have perfect love and to show perfect love to others, especially our significant others.  Likewise, all of us would like to be free of fear, and we would like for others, the same.  According to this idealistic level of A Course in Miracles, we can have both.  We are in perfect love, but we do not recognize it.  And so, when we feel fear, it “produces a state that does not exist,” or, in other words, an illusion.

3 – We Live a Dream

We know from other parts of ACIM that its theology would say that we are living an illusion, living maya (an Eastern term).  But do we really believe this?  We are told (paraphrased from ACIM) that if others become vicious toward us, we will not be moved if we remember that this is our dream (or, in other words, our illusion).  So, when life seems difficult and we seem attacked on all sides, we can pray for a moment of calm in which we realize that we are dreaming.  And so none of it truly matters in eternity.  And in time, people have made mistakes (including ourselves), but these can be rectified by turning away from the mistakes.  Time does not matter, because time does not really exist.  Only eternity matters.

4 – Illusions

Here the Course goes to the heart of the unreality in which we live.  We live in illusions, not the real world, at all–at least most of us.  (The real world comes near the conclusion of our pathway back to God.)

5 – Incompatible States of Being

Perfect love and fear are completely incompatible.  This is what this passage is saying.  Because most of us still feel fear upon occasion, we are lost in dreams–and not the happy dreams of the Holy Spirit.  There is a danger that we will feel depressed upon reading these words.  But elsewhere Jesus cautions us not to lose heart.  If the way seems long, once begun the way back is always found in the end.  If the way seems long, we are to take heart and to know that we will find our way back, ultimately.

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

In reality, only perfect love exists.  But we frequently feel fear, and so we are not experiencing the real world on a consistent basis.

May we experience the real world.  If this seems a long way off, may we in the interim experience the happy dreams the Holy Spirit brings.

Amen.

Finding Happiness and Peace

ACIM Workbook Lesson 92 – for Monday, April 2, 2012

Affirmation:  “Miracles are seen in light, and light and strength are one.”

Selected Passage:

“Truth is a savior and can only will for happiness and peace for everyone.  It gives its strength to everyone who asks, in limitless supply.  It sees that lack in anyone would be a lack in all.  And so it gives its light that all may see and benefit as one.  It strength is shared, that it may bring to all the miracle in which they will unite in purpose and forgiveness and in love.  (WB159-160)”

Reflections:

1 – Truth

We sometimes have trouble with the concept of truth, for we know that our own interpretations intervene, sometimes leading us to false assumptions.  Truth frequently seems to be all interpretation, and actually, when we have guidance, it is not all interpretation.  Truth, rightfully understood, leads to happiness and peace, and which of us does not want this boon?

2 – Share with Others

We are here encouraged to share in unity with our brothers and sisters, a tenet that is shared by the later A Course of Love (Note:  See “About” section of this blog).  When we share in unity, a miracle comes easily.  We no longer seem to be alone and abandoned by God; He is with us, because we are with Him.

3 – We Must Be United

We who are to save the world must be united, if we are to succeed.  There are many different curricula, but ours is A Course in Miracles (and perhaps the volumes seen by some as a sequel by Jesus, A Course of Love).  It would not do for us to try out many different pathways, though many of us have done just that over the years.  Why choose, again and again, when ours has been given to us (a Text tenet)?  We will have the strength to succeed in our endeavors when we turn to guidance of the Holy Spirit, following Jesus, who holds our hand as we walk along (a Text tenet).

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

I would know happiness and peace today.  I would stand united with my brothers and sisters in the endeavor which we are undertaking to bring salvation to a troubled world.  I would not proselytize, though, for I do not wish to turn off others when they are not ready.  Help me to make the correct discernment about the readiness of others, before I share anything about God with them.

Be with all of us today to lead us to a good day.  May our blessings reassure us that You have always been there for us.  I know that You are within, and that nothing is without.  May the knowledge that You bring to me cleanse my perceptions, so that the projections that lead to my perceptions do not lead me astray.

Thank You.

Amen.

Only a Little Effort Needed

ACIM Workbook Lesson 91 – for Sunday, April 1, 2012

Affirmation:  “Miracles are seen in light.”

Selected Passage:

“Your efforts, however little they may be, have strong support.  Did you but realize how great this strength, your doubts would vanish.  (WB156)”

Reflections:

1 – Let the Holy Spirit Lead

Elsewhere Jesus says that we do not feel comfortable with the truth that our own contribution is so little, and the contribution of the Holy Spirit to our best living is so great (a paraphrase).  We think that we ought to do more.

2 – We Need Contribute Just a Bit

Yet it is just because we are asked to do so little, ourselves, that our success is assured.  We are so often weak in the flesh (a biblical concept), and when we depend on guidance from the Holy Spirit, we are depending on real strength that will take us Home.  When we take this understanding to heart, we are reassured in the extreme.

3 – Do Not Struggle

We do not have to struggle; indeed, we are bade not to struggle.  We are not to choose the miracles that we will perform, because personally selected miracles may be misguided (a Text tenet).  We are to depend on Jesus to guide us to the miracles that we are to perform, and, when we do this, all is well.

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

I would not struggle today, but take the day as it comes, knowing that the Holy Spirit will alleviate my burdens.  Let me not feel unnecessary in this exchange, because the Holy Spirit does need my willingness to follow His lead.  I give that willingness today.

Be with me as I walk through the day.  Your will is the only one that I would follow, and I am led gently down a pathway in spring.

Amen.