Turn Hell to Heaven

“Peace now belongs here, because a Thought of God has entered.  What else but a Thought of God turns hell to Heaven merely by being what it is?. . .It is no longer, ‘Can peace be possible in this world?’ but instead, ‘Is it not impossible that peace be absent here?’  (M-11.4)”

 

Affirmation:  “May I see peace today.”

Reflections:

1 – Heaven on Earth

We are well-informed in A Course in Miracles that we can know Heaven on earth.  We do not deny the reverse that our physical eyes show us, but we recognize what is real and what is not.  We know that the intangibles of God, the Thought of God, is real.  The peace, the joy, the patience, the contentment. . . .Everything that is not a synonym of peace is an illusion, because we are living a dream (ACIM tenets).

2 – Peace

When we experience a Thought of God, we know that peace is meant to follow our footsteps wherever we go.  We can be mistaken in thinking a given thought is actually a Thought of God, but mistakes can be corrected.  We do not arrogantly determine that we are understanding God’s Mind, for we are not ready for this.  We humbly take what we are given, and we give thanks for it.  Then we realize that peace is indeed home in our world.

3 – Pain and Suffering

What of the pain and suffering, the terrors and war, that engulf our world?  We can make a difference, and when we pray for guidance, we will be directed what difference it is that we are to make–what our particular part in the cosmic drama is meant to be.  Until we know that much, we walk a dimly lit path.

4 – Save This World

Ask today for your part in God’s plan to save the world.  The Holy Spirit will respond, and, we can imagine, in our anthropomorphic way, that He is glad that we asked.

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

I would do today what I can best do to help the individuals around live a good life.  I know that I do not experience Heaven on earth consistently, but this blessing happens more frequently than it did when I was in my early adult years.  I knew when to be contented with what I had, because I had gone “without” for so long.  I thank You now that I discovered ACIM so early, in my mid-thirties, and that its tenets have guided me to happiness many times over.

Be with all of us as we seek to learn A Course in Miracles.  When we fill our minds with ACIM‘s glorious words, we edge out defeatism, and we find ourselves attracting better and better things.  These things do not have to be materialistic only; they certainly can be emotional joys that provide us with a gentle happiness that no bad occurrence in our world can long overcome.  Thank You for leading me to this understanding.

If we attract Jesus’s blessings, we do so because we have accepted the non-dualism of his world.  We no longer seek for what will actually harm, seeking in ignorance precipitated by egoistic thinking.  I would let the ego wither even more today, leading me ever closer to Awakening on a consistent basis.

Be with me as I seek to do for the significant others in my life the things that they need me to do.  This has been a hard week, for personal reasons, but You know those personal reasons.  And I wish to continue to see improvement in the individuals with whom I share my life.

Amen.

Finding Our Way to Peace

“Peace is impossible to those who look on war.  Peace is inevitable to those who offer peace.  (M-11.4)”

Affirmation:  “I choose peace today.”

Reflections:

1 – A Long Time Ago

Early on in my study of A Course in Miracles I selected this passage as an affirmation.  I typed it out and posted it at my office desk, just in front of my eyes on my bulletin board.  And such peace the passage gave me.  I was in a work environment that was not well-suited to me because there were political battles raging daily.  Perhaps you too have found yourself in such a place.  I determined that I would seek to carry out the advice in this passage at work, to my very best ability.  And, while the environment did not appreciably change, I found a way to find a more congenial environment.  The higher administration wrote to me, when I resigned, that I had been a “positive force” in the workplace.  This in itself seemed to be evidence that these two statements in the passage for the day really do work when worked.  We can effect change, even when we are not aware that anybody is noticing.

2 – A Summary

So the passage becomes as follows:

Look on war = peace impossible
Offer peace = peace inevitable

3 – Serene and Untroubled Mind

So this passage becomes motivation to live out our days with a serene and untroubled mind.  We are not so perfect, though, that we will never get upset.  But we will not entertain anger and attack.  We will entertain peace.  And the difference that this change of attitude will bring to our lives is incalculable.

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

Thank You for the ease with which this day has gone.  I do know that I want to offer peace to those I encounter.  And so conflict and “war” do not have to be my fate.  Help me to remain true to this determination, this will to follow Your dictates.

Thank You for being with me today.  The stress that all of us encounter has ended, for me, today, and for that I am especially grateful.

Amen.

Happily Lay Judgment Down

“It is not difficult to relinquish judgment.  But it is difficult indeed to try to keep it.  The teacher of God lays it down happily the instant he recognizes its cost.  All of the ugliness he sees about him is its outcome.  All of the pain he looks upon is it result.  All of the loneliness and sense of loss; of passing time and growing hopelessness; of sickening despair and fear of death; all these have come of it.  And now he knows that these things need not be.  (M-10.6)”

 

Affirmation:  “I would relinquish judgment today.”

Reflections:

1 – Pain = Caused by Judgment

Today’s passage from the Manual of A Course in Miracles continues the theme of judgment.  It makes clear that our pain is a direct result of the judgment in which we have been engaged.   The negative ramifications are indeed dire.  We need to give up judgment.  It comes close to being mandatory, though ACIM does not make this direct statement.

2 – Review Today’s Passage Frequently

If we could avoid all pain by giving up judgment, is this not an end result that we would want?  Indeed, yes.  If we could avoid the fear of death by giving up judgment, would we not rush to such a remedy?  Today’s passage says this and much more.  It would be a good passage to return to over and over, when our resolve falters and we find that the ego has intruded, with our judgment being an unwelcome result.

3 – Judgment vs. Evaluation

Judgment and evaluation are different.  I used to wonder, when doing peer evaluations in my work, if I were actually judging.  I was not sure that judgment and evaluation were different.  But now I recognize that an evaluation, done in the spirit of incomplete knowledge, is a technique of management in the work environment.  We do not have to make emotional and negative attitudes a part of our evaluation.  When we have invited the strongly emotional and the negative, we have indeed switched into judgment.  Keep in mind that we cannot see the whole picture, the whole picture being reserved for the Holy Spirit.  So we walk tentatively when we try to evaluate our world, to determine what we need to say or do in regard to others with whom we live and work.  We know that we may be mistaken in our evaluations.  But, especially, we do not fault a person for poor performance in a judgmental way.  Using the term, “judgmental,” may be a clear way to discern the difference between judgment and evaluation.  We do not have to thrust our brothers and sisters away from us when we see poor performance.  Our cooperation with them is all that our evaluation ought to elicit from us.  Cooperation has been seen to be mightily superior to competition, though not everybody is able to accept this finding in the social sciences.

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

I would not judge past, present, or future today.  I would not judge anyone whom I think (just think, of course) has mistreated me.  This world is illusion, and there is no way of knowing what I personally did to bring on the attack.  

I would also note the difference between judgment and evaluation.  They are very different, and evaluation is a much more benign concept.  Our world does hinge on correct evaluation, though intuition is often the route that we would take to know how to frame an evaluation.

Thank You for the good way in which this day has begun.  May goodness come to all my brothers and sisters as well.

Amen.

Unburdened

“Now [i.e., after laying judgment now] can the teacher of God rise up unburdened, and walk lightly on.  Yet it is not only this that is his benefit.  His sense of care is gone, for he has none.  He has given it away, along with judgment.  He gave himself to Him Whose judgment he has chosen now to trust, instead of his own.  (M-10.5)”

Affirmation:  “I would walk lightly on.”

Reflections:

1 – No Judging

This passage is an amplification of yesterday’s passage.  With judgment relinquished, we are in a much better position to live the full life that we all desire.  We are not hemmed in by circumstances (an “imprisoned will,” as ACIM says), but are, at last, perfectly free and unencumbered.

2 – No Strain

This does not mean that we leave our responsibilities to our loved ones unmet.  But now there is no strain in helping others.  We love them, and, when needed and if asked, we help.  We do not withdraw, under any circumstances, just unto ourselves.  To do so would invite disaster.  The Text indicates that withdrawal is always best avoided.  We belong in this world, and part of this world includes our brothers and sisters.  We seek their good as well as our own.  And if they show any readiness to accept salvation, we reach out to them.  But we do not press ourselves upon them.  Some are not ready, and to thrust salvation on an unwilling brother or sister is to fail to appreciate and to respect their boundaries.

3 – Unburdened

What a joy it is to rise up “unburdened, and walk lightly on.”  We do not have cares, in the sense that we have previously had cares.  We know that the guidance of the Holy Spirit (or Christ-consciousness, if we have walked farther along the pathway) is sure.  We need only ask, be flexible in our response, and then say or do the thing that comes to us.

4 – Walk Well through the Day

Nor do we have to get compulsive about this.  Jesus says elsewhere in the Manual that to try to ask at every juncture is impractical, and that it is with the practical that this Course is most concerned.  If we set our wills toward the Holy Spirit upon awakening, ask His advice at pivotal junctures through the day, and forget not to thank Him at the conclusion of the day, our confidence will be well-placed (ACIM tenets).

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

I would walk well through this day.  I would be more flexible than I was yesterday.  I find it is so easy to get something in mind, and to rush full steam ahead.  But that is not the way to follow guidance.  Be with me as I seek to follow my Guide, the Holy Spirit.

Relieve me of anxiety in this day.  If this type of pain intrudes, may I know that it is all illusion, and may I ask You for an emotional healing.  Be with all of us as we seek to live healthy, vigorous lives.

Thank You.

Amen.

When in Doubt

“Doubt is the result of conflicting wishes.  Be sure of what you want, and doubt becomes impossible.  (M-7.6)”

Affirmation:  “I am sure of what I want.”

Reflections:

1 – “When in Doubt, Don’t”

I have often said to myself, “When in doubt, don’t.”  While this may seem like a very laidback attitude to take toward actions being contemplated, it works for me.  My unconscious (not available to me) does seem to indicate when a given course of action is not to be taken.  Whether or not this is direct guidance from the Holy Spirit is a question in my mind.  Normally, I sense the Holy Spirit has an inner voice or an intuition, and this warning, “When in doubt, don’t,” seem somehow different.  A Course in Miracles says in today’s passage that I am feeling conflicting wishes, and, for me, this means that the course of action being contemplated may be way off-base.  So I choose not to follow the pathway that is beckoning, perhaps because the ego is involved at that moment.

2 – Conflicting Wishes

My conflicting wishes do suggest to me when not to pray for a given outcome.  I once wanted something very badly, but, with the exception of a span of two or three days, I never got the “green light” to pray for this outcome that I thought I wanted.  Now I know that my childhood and early adulthood did not prepare me for all that my desired outcome would have demanded.  I had personal challenges that would not have made this superficial, but intense, desire good for all involved.  I can report that I did not pray for that outcome, because the prohibition was direct and unequivocal.  And my life later took a turn that was far more suited for my talents and even my ambitions.

3 – God’s Will = Our Real Will

We do not really want things that are not in line with God’s Will.  We are told in A Course in Miracles that God’s Will and our will are identical, that the Holy Spirit choose for us.  The Holy Spirit knows all circumstances–past, present, and future–that will affect a given choice.  We have given up our judgment to Him, because He knows in a way that is impossible for us.  And when we have given up our judgment, we know peace.  The lamentable aspects of our world, we are told in the Manual, are present because judgment is so much a part of this world.  May we take the first tentative steps today away from personal judgment, and invite the Holy Spirit to lead our next step.

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

Right now I am in conflict.  So the action that I am thinking of taking may be wrong for me.  I am, over the years, tested out this reaction numerous times.  So let me be sure before I act.

Help me to have a good day.  There are many things on my agenda for this week, and the week seems daunting.  Yesterday was daunting as well, but all turned out to be just fine.  

May today be no less.

Amen.

The Unhealed Healer

“By accepting healing he can give it.  If he doubts this, let him remember Who gave the gift and Who received it.  Thus is his doubt corrected.  (M-7.3)”

Affirmation:  “I herewith accept healing for myself, and thus for others.”

Reflections:

1 – Warning for Teachers of God

The “unhealed healer” is a false notion that teachers of God who themselves know illness can still function without any additional help.  But it is not ourselves who are effecting the healing; it is the Holy Spirit, according to A Course in Miracles.  If we recognize that we are an unhealed healer, we must turn our uncertainties over to God.  He would not have us to witness falsely.

2 – Few Are Always Healthy

Few of us are healthy at all times and in all circumstances.  This is the very human fact of our life in this world.  But we can be healed, either physically, emotionally, or both, when we turn our predicament over to a Higher Power.  This is the way home for us.  This is the way that we can be of service to others.

3 – Symptoms = Seen in an Illusory World

When we accept our own healing, even if symptoms persist, we are well on our way to being channels for healing in others.  The symptoms, as we have said repeatedly, are not anything other than illusions, seen in an illusory world.  The Holy Spirit gives the gift of healing; we are only channels, a body that our brothers and sisters can see, a voice that they can hear.  And we do not understand all that is going on with others.  That is why we need to remember that the Holy Spirit does know all of the circumstances.

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

I would be healed myself, so that I might be a communication device for the Holy Spirit to heal others.  Being a device for communication is the only true use of the body.  And we are not to give the body undue importance in any way at all.

May I not be an “unhealed healer.”  That is a contradiction in terms; it is impossible.  May I not try to give to anybody else what only the Holy Spirit can deliver.  And may he heal my brothers and sisters today.

Amen.

Uncertainty in Healing = Fear and Hate

“Now [i.e., when the teacher of God doubts healing] the teacher of God has only one course to follow.  He must use his reason to tell himself that he has given the problem to One Who cannot fail, and must recognize that his own uncertainty is not love but fear, and therefore hate.  (M-7.2)”

Affirmation:  “The Holy Spirit cannot fail.”

Reflections:

1 – Fear Entertains Hate

This passage says something very solemn.  It says that when we are fearful, we are actually entertaining hate.  When stated so directly, nobody would want fear to intervene in his or her daily life.  We do not wish to hate.  What good could ever come from it?  Absolutely none.

2 – Uncertainty

Even so benign a concept as “uncertainty” leads down the path toward hate.  We who are seeking to be channels for healing of ourselves and others must believe absolutely in the Power upon which we are calling.  And the lingering appearance of symptoms of illness must not cause us to waver in our certainty that our prayer for healing has been heard, and acted upon.  The Self know more than the personal self.  The Holy Spirit does not fail to bring about anything upon which he focuses attention for the good.

3 – Holy Spirit

We use our reason for this understanding.  We believe solidly in the rightness of our belief in the Holy Spirit’s infallibility, and we do not waver in our certainty that healing will be received when it is wholly welcome.

4 – Suffering and Pain

To believe otherwise is to ask for suffering and pain to remain.

5 – Emotional Healing

I have come to accept an emotional healing as sometimes the best that we can know on this uncertain world.  But mental anguish is surely one of the worst parts of any illness.  When we turn ourselves, our bodies and minds, over to God, then do we know wellness.  The physical symptoms that may persist are not given ascendancy any longer by our minds, and we function much better.

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

I would know emotional healing today if physical is not in the cards.  I know that the healing, of some type, is there.  I thank You that my ailments over my lifetime, for the most part, and usually, have been minor.

Be with my brothers and sisters who suffer greatly.  May their courage remain high, and may they be grounded in the certainty that You walk with them.

Thank You.

Amen.

Can You Be a Channel for Healing?

“For a teacher of God to remain concerned about the result of healing is to limit the healing.

“Whenever a teacher of God has tried to be a channel for healing he has succeeded.  (M-7.1-2).”

Affirmation:  “I wish to be a channel for healing.”

Reflections:

1 – Don’t Doubt the Outcome

When we remain concerned about the results of our petition for healing, we are doubting the outcome.  And Jesus assures us that healing has happened, even when our eyes show us that the situation is unchanged.  We cannot doubt.  The Self has gotten involved, and the personal self will know wellness when completely ready for it.

2 – Don’t Offer Continuing Concern

Continuing concern about healing, or recovery from illness or sickness, in our world appears to be compassionate.  But Jesus in the Manual indicates otherwise.  Continuing concern that the healing has actually happened does limit the healing in ways that surely none of us fully understand.  This is one time that we just have to take Jesus at his word.

3 – Channels for Healing

To know that we can be channels for healing, and that we can succeed, is enormously liberating.  We do not have to appeal to faith on the ground that the healing has not occurred.  If we take Jesus at his word, the healing, at least on some level, has occurred when we have asked for it.  We cannot doubt without limiting our asking.

4 – To Be Received Openheartedly

May we seek to heal ourselves and others with a joyous spirit, confident that the healing will happen when it will be received openheartedly.  We do not have to doubt; indeed, we cannot doubt if we wish the healing to be received in any way other than a limited way.  Full release comes from full confidence in Jesus.  We are not healers, but through us the Holy Spirit can handle the situation with grace and ease.

5 – Living an Illusion

If the ideal of healing does not appear ever to be received, we fall back on the surety that we are living an illusion.  The inner Self always knows healing, and it is the personal self that lives in this world that knows illness, suffering, and death.

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

I would experience today what the Self experiences, which is peace and healing.  If my personal (little) self wants to see something else, may I be let to know that this is a request for illusion.

Be with me today as I seek to follow Your way.  Healing will always come, when it is asked for.  Help me to rest on this assurance.

Thank You.

Amen.

Turn the Pain Over to God

“Healing will always stand aside when it would be seen as threat.  The instant it is welcome it is there.  (M-6-2)”

Affirmation:  “I welcome healing today.”

Reflections:

1 – Don’t Retain the Pain

We take a lot of interest in our physical and emotional health, perhaps especially when either is compromised.  The more interest we devote to pain, the more likely we may be to retain the pain.  But Jesus would not have it this way.  Yet he stands aside when that is our choice.

2 – Levels of Our Mind

We do not have access to all levels of our minds.  And it is this that seems to be implied in the passage for today.  We think we want healing, but do we really?  Are we getting something, some benefit, from our compromised health?  This is a question that all of us would do well to ponder as each new ailment rises on the horizon.

3 – Emotional Healing

The healing that will be there immediately may not be viewed by the physical eyes.  But all of us have known miraculous emotional healing when one turned the matter over to God.  We have seen this in ourselves, and we have seen this in others.  There is probably no exception to this miracle.  We have made emotional healing a priority, and we have admitted that we do not know how to bring it about.  So we turn it over, and, there, in a place that we do not often see, is the healing that we have prayed to have.

4 – The Best

Could we wish for anything less today for ourselves and others?

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

I would have emotional and physical healing, beginning immediately.  I do not ask in arrogance, but in humility.  You want me well; you want me to learn through rewards, not pain.  Let me leave any and all discomfort aside today.

Thank You that my health has always, with a few exceptions, been good.  As I grow older, I ask for the same.

Be with me today as I seek to walk Your pathway of healing, physical and emotional.

Thank You.

Amen.

Medication May Be Necessary

“Healing is always certain.  It is impossible to let illusions be brought to truth and keep the illusions.  (M-6.1)”

Affirmation:  “Healing is always certain.”

Reflections:

1- Healing Is Always Certain

The passage for today is the culmination of the thoughts that we having been walking toward in previous days.  Healing is always certain, even when we do not see it happening, even though the illness may lead to death.  The real Self has not been hurt by any pain or suffering.  The real Self is always above and beyond such imperfect happenings in our world.

2 – Miracles

When we realize that healing is always certain, we introduce the idea that a miracle can occur.  This may not be physical healing.  It may not be emotional, but perhaps emotional healing happens far more often than physical.  Jesus takes us where we are and then leads us farther down the pathway to wellness.  He also, as in the New Testament, wants to be certain that we truly desire healing.  We have to make that choice.

3 – Illness as a Way of Life

If we have chosen illness as a way of life, the Manual tells us that perhaps healing will have to wait, for our own protection.  We could become so depressed from a spontaneous healing that we could become suicidal.  And this nobody would wish, least of all, Jesus.

4 – Medication (Pills)

Many of us have chosen sickness as a way of life, and in such cases, pills can become the magic solutions that even Jesus does not denounce.  If we are very fearful, we may need a compromise approach to healing, a way to know that we ourselves did not heal ourselves (the ego would love to believe this).  We do not want fear to increase, because the ego is always strong when fear has reared its ugly head.  So we wait, confident that healing will come when it is truly welcome.  And a compromise approach that allows pills may be just what we need.

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

May the sequence of postings for the last few days be a way for all of us to understand the words of A Course in Miracles about sickness and healing.  These passages are uncompromising, that we choose sickness, and we choose whether we get well or not, including when we die.  But it is the larger Self that does the choosing.

Thank You for the better insight that almost comes unbidden.  I personally need to know when I have chosen an illness.  And I would not so choose again.

Be with my brothers and sisters in their sicknesses.  Let them get well, if it is the choice of their larger Self.

Amen.

We Are Living a Dream

“They [teachers of God] seek for God’s Voice in this brother who would so deceive himself as to believe God’s Son can suffer.  And they remind him that he did not make himself, and must remain as God created him.  They recognize illusions can have no effect.  (M-5.III.3)”

Affirmation:  “I remain as God created me.”

Reflections:

1 – Salvation

When we are trying to bring salvation to another, we must seek for the Voice for God in that other.  This Voice is another name for the Holy Spirit.  The Manual makes it clear that we are only separated from our brothers and sisters by time, and time does not really exist.  We can quickly fall from teacher to student by missteps, and often these missteps come because we have failed to listen to the Holy Spirit or Christ-consciousness (the latter is described in A Course of Love).

2 – When We Suffer

We are deceived when we are suffering, and similarly deceived are our brothers and sisters who are suffering.  This does not mean that we deny the sight of our physical eyes, but just that we recognize that what we are viewing is illusion, and therefore, ultimately, unreal (ACIM tenets).

3 – The Personal Self and the (Larger) Self

We are still as God created us.  We may have trouble understanding how this can be, when we see our failings and even our travails as evidence that we have fallen from greater heights.  But the real Self has not changed, and it is the essence of the personal self that is the Self (sometimes called the Christ).

4 – Illusions

We do not always recognize that illusions are, in fact, illusions.  We look with our physical eyes, and we empathize and sympathize with those whom we see as poor, suffering individuals.  This may in fact not be a hindrance to us, as long we ask for healing as soon as we recognize the need for it.  We may not see a physical change, and maybe not even an emotional one.  But the request for healing is always granted, and the healing will be received when the individual is ready for it (ACIM tenets).

5 – Not to Choose Healing

I should note that the view of A Course in Miracles is an ideal, and not all will experience healing.  Most of us choose an illness to cause our death at the end of our lifespan.  And then healing does not appear to have been received.  But who knows what remains beyond the veil of death?  We do not know, and we normally believe that life on the Other Side is free of illness, suffering, and pain.

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

Be with me as I continue my study of Jesus’s statements on sickness in A Course in Miracles.  I do not expect to understand fully; some things are veiled on this earth.  Be with me, though, as I try to understand.

I would choose physical and emotional healing today.  I would not knowingly choose illness.  Be with me in this choice.

I know that learning through rewards lasts, whereas learning through pain is only temporary.  ACIM tells me this.  May I learn through rewards today and every day.

Thank You.

Amen.

Turn Away from Death

“Very gently they [i.e., teachers of God] call to their brothers to turn away from death:  ‘Behold, you Son of God, what life can offer you.  Would you choose sickness in place of this?’ (M-5.III.2)”

Affirmation:  “I choose life.”

Reflections:

1 – How to Live

The way of A Course in Miracles is the way of living life in an extremely positive manner–full of joy for all that one’s day holds.  It is a way of gratitude for the goodness of God, the certainty that we are not alone in the universe, and the peace that living with guidance from the Holy Spirit or Christ-consciousness does bring.  Nothing negative has to be so viewed, even very bad things.  We are living an illusion, a dream.  We feel empathy for others who do not believe that life is meant to be good, and we do not blame them for any negative circumstances that arise.  But we ourselves choose the good for ourselves, and both ACIM and A Course of Love lead us down the lovely pathway to salvation and oneness with God.

2 – Gentleness

The change in our lives is known as soon as we fill our minds with the words of Jesus.  This knowledge automatically keeps us on the straight and narrow, and if we do stray, we immediately ask for forgiveness and walk a smooth path again.  This is a gentle way to live, and gentleness does attend the teacher of God (from the Manual).

3 – Sickness

We do not have to choose sickness, and neither do our brothers and sisters.  Sickness is not automatically eliminated from our lives, though; this would be unrealistic and impractical, and it is the practical with which A Course in Miracles is most concerned.  We must recognize that we have made the reality in which we find ourselves.  Some of us have chosen sickness as a learning device, though Jesus warns us in ACIM that pain offers a temporary bit of learning only.  And we do not have to learn through pain, though many of us choose to do so.

4 – The Self and Sickness

It is important to note that the Self is the part of our being that has chosen sickness.  That is ultimately why no credence is given herein to blaming the victim.

5 – The Personal Self

The personal (little) self that walks the way of the world does not normally choose sickness, unless there are benefits that come about from such a choice.  We may get a day off from work, to relax when we will not allow ourselves any relaxation without sickness.  We may get sympathy from our significant others, and perhaps they do not realize that this sympathy is reinforcing the pain–making us more likely to choose illness again in the future.

6 – No Suffering

We must live in such a way that suffering is eliminated from our lives.  This means that we are able to live above any pain that does occur.  By carefully rising above the pain, we do not turn it into suffering, and therein lies our release.  Then we are free, next time, to choose to learn through rewards, which Jesus says is the only lasting way to retain our learning.

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

I would live well today, as You wish.  I would not worry needlessly and frantically.  I would turn to my Guide when I am tempted to overreact to something that seems negative.

Help me to find my way in peace today.  Staying in peace is Your way, and I would go Your way, with determination.

Amen.

Guilt, Sickness, Pain, Disaster, Suffering: Begone!

“The final outcome of this lesson [i.e., the insignificance of the body] is the remembrance of God.  What do guilt and sickness, pain, disaster and all suffering mean now?  Having no purpose, they are gone.  (M-5.II.4)”

Affirmation:  “My body is actually insignificant.”

Reflections:

1- The Ego’s View

A Course in Miracles notes that we all too often want things of the world that glorify the body.  These usually, though not always, are material things.  They may also be intangible, such as our bent toward wanting success in this world.  But do these things–beauty of the body, prestige, comfort, success–really mean anything to our Self, the part of us that is not a body at all?

2 – Negative Experiences

I think not.  We are inescapably in a body for the duration of our time on earth, although out-of-body experiences are sometimes reported.  When we put the body first in all things, we also invite negative experiences–the guilt, sickness, pain, disaster, suffering that are mentioned in the above passage from ACIM.

3 – Body = Communication

ACIM does not deny that the body exists, but ACIM does reconsider what it is best used for, and that greater reason is for communication from one individual to another.

4 – Jealousy

If we use the body for communication, we will not want to use it to create jealousy in others.  We will be benign in our use of the body, hurting nobody, including ourselves.  This is the real reason for physical expression at all.

5 – A Love/Hate Relationship

Most of us already have a love-hate relationship with our bodies.  We criticize their appearance, even when we are beautiful or handsome.  We are never satisfied.  Is not this primary evidence that the ego is in the ascendancy?  And would we have that?  Have not we come far enough along on the pathway to know that the ego will only wish disaster upon us?

6 – Health

Let us thank God for the health that we do enjoy, even when that health is impaired.  To the extent that we can still communicate with others, in some way, our bodies are important to our experience in this world.  And nothing more.  The body then becomes deemphasized in our own experience, and we look to the intangibles of God–the love, joy, peace, tranquility, strength–that are our birthright as children of God.

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

I would understand today that my body is my means of communication with my brothers and sisters.  I would not use it as a means to incite jealousy.  I would be gentle as I go about the world, realizing that my body is mine, but that there is more to me.  The body itself is illusion.

Thank You for these insights, which come from A Course in Miracles.  Thank You for the channeling of so wonderful a communication from Jesus to us.  May all find A Course in Miracles who are ready to appreciate what these books say.

Amen.

Does ACIM Blame the Victim?

“He [the teacher of God] has. . .a more specific function for those who do not understand what healing is.  These patients do not realize they have chosen sickness.  On the contrary, they believe that sickness has chosen them.  (M-5.III.1)”

Affirmation:  “I alone choose sickness, and I would not do so.”

Reflections:

1 – Sickness = Learn through Pain

We need to open our minds a bit today.  We need to entertain the concept that we have invited any sickness that has invaded our world.  This does not mean that we “blame the victim.”  This is a paradoxical truth that many do not understand.  We do not consciously choose sickness, in most cases.  We may put ourselves in a position wherein sickness becomes inevitable, but even cases of this scenario are limited.  Sickness is chosen when we believe that it will teach us something.  And that we will learn through pain.

2 – Learning through Pain = Temporary

Jesus says that there is only a temporary learning component to pain.  In ACIM, he states conclusively that we do not have to learn through pain, that learning through rewards is the only lasting learning.

3 – Physical Illness

Once into sickness, though, sickness can become a way of life.  We may not know how to rid ourselves of apparently incurable illnesses.  And we may even die from them.  After all, everyone passes from this world in some way, and it is usually through physical illness–some organic illness, either quick or slow.

4 – Healing Accepted

May we pray today to be healed of our afflictions.  May we know that we will accept the healing when we are ready, and that the healing may be emotional rather than physical.  It may be an example of our choice to leave this world now.  It may be a lesson that we wanted to learn, and that this too shall pass.

5 – The Role of the (Larger) Self

When we know that we are in the driver’s seat, that our Self has chosen the sickness that afflicts us, then we are in a better position to choose again, to choose anew.  There is great celebration, we may believe, in Heaven, when a child of God chooses to give up his/her belief in the value of sickness.  There are other ways to learn.  Let us explore some of them, through our study of ACIM, today.

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

I doubt that I will understand the role of the Self in my life while I am alive on earth.  But I trust what has been said, and I believe that this Self, of which my “little” or personal self is a part, does much to decide what transpire for me in my life.  Thank You for guiding the Self.  I would not allow inferior decisions by the personal self to influence my walk through this world.  May I choose guidance that allows me to learn through rewards rather than through pain.

Be with me as I walk through this day.  Be with me when I am having a bad day.  Help me to keep my thoughts on the positive side so that I do not attract the things in my life that I do not want.

Thank You for always being here for me.

Amen.

Release from Guilt = Release from Sickness

“Herein [he who has looked on the world and seen it as it is not] is the release from guilt and sickness both, for they are one.  Yet to accept this release, the insignificance of the body must be an acceptable idea.

“With this idea is pain forever gone.  (M-5.II. 3-4)”

Affirmation:  “release from guilt and sickness”

Reflections:

1 – Guilt and Sickness

A very instructive passage from A Course in Miracles.  We may never have realized, heretofore, that guilt and sickness are one, and that when we are rid of the guilt, we will not know sickness.  Perhaps this seems too hard, for who can rid themselves of all guilt for all the mistakes that are recognized in a life?

2 – Turn Guilt over to the Holy Spirit

It can be done, and we do not have to be psychopaths or sociopaths to rid ourselves of guilt.  This, once again, is something that we turn over to the Holy Spirit.  He know that when we have expressed a desire for forgiveness, then we are in a position to be rid of the guilt that our misdeed or errant thought has caused in us.  It seems so little, just to ask forgiveness.  Our egoic mind cries out for punishment, even though on a conscious level we do not actually invite punishment.  When we are insane in the sense that ACIM means, we do ask to hold onto the guilt, and therefore receive the punishment.  If we can recognize that this is madness, we will be more ready to accept God’s glorious Answer, given us internally by the Holy Spirit.

3 – Sensitive Consciences

Those of us with particularly sensitive consciences will suffer the most, and, paradoxically, we can receive even more than perhaps another who does not suffer as we do.  We are still equal to each other, though.  We are not equal in time, but in eternity, and eternity is all there is; there is no time, which is an illusion.

4 – Removal of Guilt

May we pray today for forgiveness, for a removal of the guilt that clouds the minds that Jesus interprets so kindly.  He loves us, we are told in ACIM.  He holds nothing against us.  May we not hinder his love and kindness by refusing ourselves the forgiveness that we need to render unto ourselves.

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

I would be aware today that when I have recognized that forgiveness is mine, any guilt that I might feel over something I said or did will dissipate.  Thank You.  The fact that sickness may also subside is another blessing bestowed by the removal of guilt from my mind.  Thank You again.

Be with me today as I live a healthy life, unimpeded by guilt.  May I ask for forgiveness of my brothers and sisters, as well as of myself, and may I realize that You do not need to forgive me, because You have never condemned me.  What joy this should bring to me!

Thank You for this good day.  May my evening be peaceful and my joy, under You guidance, be complete.

Amen.

Sickness Is a Decision of the Mind

“The acceptance of sickness as a decision of the mind, for a purpose for which it would use the body, is the basis of healing.  And this is so for healing in all forms.  A patient decides that this is so, and he recovers.  If he decides against recovery, he will not be healed.  (M-5.II.2)”

Affirmation:  “Sickness is a decision of the mind.”

Reflections:

1 – A Summary

This passage encapsulates much that I have tried to teach over the last few days of postings.  If we decide against recovery, we are not healed.  If we decide that we have to take medication for the rest of our lives, we have decided to use magic agents to accommodate our physical and emotional states of health.  Neither choice is to be lamented, though Jesus is the healer that encourages us to recognize that pain is not necessary, even in this world.

2 – The Self Chooses

We stay in the driver’s seat.  We make the decisions.  But it is the Self that does so, and we, as personal selves living in a fantasy, are not privy to all of the reasons for decisions made by the Higher Self.  So we suffer, sometimes needlessly, because we do not turn over our sickness to God.

3 – Healing

If we seek healing, it will be found.  The catch in all of this is that we may not recognize the healing when it is given.  We may still see the sickness and believe, by viewing the lingering symptoms, that all is not well.  Jesus in the Manual would have us understand that the appearance of lingering symptoms is evidence of a lack of trust.  We don’t believe that we can be healed, and so we are not.  But healing will come, in a form that we can accept, as soon as healing is welcomed.  Keep in mind that there are different types of healing, and that emotional healing is not the least of these.  We are not to continue to fear the continuing symptoms.  We are meant to recognize that healing has occurred, though our Self may leave symptoms for reasons that we cannot comprehend.

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

I would ask for healing today, of any and all difficulties that I may have.  I would ask that I recognize Your healing when it occurs.  May no physical symptoms mask the emotional healing that You always give me.  Thank you for the emotional healing, for You know that I think that emotional healing is more important than physical.

Be with me throughout the day.  Help me to walk Your way.  May my study of sickness, and the choices that I have made throughout my life, mean something good.  May I turn now to learning through rewards, and leave pain in the distant past.  I believe that this is Your wish for me, for You want a lasting healing–not a temporary one that might come from experiencing pain.  You want for me to learn through rewards, and I share that desire.  Thank You for this understanding that comes in A Course in Miracles from Jesus.

Amen.

It Is Not Necessary to Learn through Pain

“The patient could merely rise up without their [i.e., special agents] aid and say, ‘I have no use for this.’  There is no form of sickness that would not be cured at once.  (M-5.II.3)”

Affirmation:  “I have no use for sickness today.”

Reflections:

1 – View of Sickness in ACIM

This passage reflects the uncompromising view of sickness in A Course in Miracles.  It is always something that can be healed.  We do not often believe this, and perhaps, in our limited way, we are indeed unable to find the healing that, on some level, we still want.  The Self may have chosen this sickness as a way to learn through pain, though Jesus would have us learn through rewards, a more lasting choice (from the Text).  Pain brings only a temporary learning experience.

2 – Learning through Pain = Temporary Effect

Perhaps it is time that our world learns the truth that it is not necessary to learn through pain (a Text tenet).  Perhaps we need to understand that learning through pain brings only a temporary respite, and that learning through rewards (which we can invite) is lasting–the only lasting cure.  (These are paraphrases from the Text.)

3 – Jesus

Again we need to stress the uncompromising nature of the words that Jesus gives us in this passage.  He is for health all the way, but he does not interfere with our choices.  Perhaps we are not ready to be healed; perhaps we have even chosen this means of exiting from this world by death.  Our minds cannot wrap around the truth of this passage without recognizing that there are deeper truths than we have ever recognized before.  We choose special agents (medical staff and/or medication) to give flesh to our desires.  Perhaps we need to question some of this as a form of magic best left behind.
Jesus does not countenance unwise choices.  He sees medication as a compromise approach to illness, in that our fear is not increased when we seek relief through this magic means.  He does not want our fear increased.  And when we are sick, we are, at least temporarily,  not in our right minds (from ACIM).  Lacking rightmindedness, we can only increase this deplorable state by an increase in fear.  And Jesus would not have us, as we are stressing, any increase in fear.

4 – Seek Guidance

Seek guidance if and when sickness visits.  Try to discover the reason for its visit, for there are psychic communications that the world does not recognize as real channels of communication (from the Manual).  With the knowledge of why we have become sick, we may be in a better position to welcome healing as a real possibility.  May we do not less today.

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

I would take a completely focused stand for health in all its manifestations today.  I would not know physical or emotional pain/sickness/ill health.  I would entertain this possibility.  I know that this affirmation is in line with Your wishes for me, and I ask You now to help me to carry out this decision to stay well and healthy.

May my Self recognize that my personal self has made a decision in line with Your wishes.  I do not need to learn through pain.  I would not learn what can be only temporary in its effect.  I would learn through rewards, which Jesus says in ACIM is the only lasting cure.

May my weakness be overcome by Your joy.  I know that when I am joyous, I do not dwell on temporary, minor difficulties of any kind.  I would ask today that You keep me on the straight and narrow, back to You.

Amen.

Who Is Your Physician?

“Who is the physician?  Only the mind of the patient himself.  The outcome is what he decides that it is.  Special agents seem to be ministering to him, yet they but give form to his own choice.  (M-5.II.2)”

Affirmation:  “My mind is the physician.”

Reflections:

1 – Personal Experience

This is the passage in the Manual of A Course in Miracles that I sought out when my father was gravely ill and in intensive care in 1992–fully 20 years ago.  Believing as I did in the truths of ACIM, I also believed that my father had chosen the particular circumstances of his grave illness for a purpose.  The words of this passage were very comforting to me during this terrible time.  And my father died.  I believe that he chose the manner and timing of his death (interpretations based on ACIM, but not stated directly).  If we can reach this point in understanding A Course in Miracles, there is a great blessing bestowed on us.

2 – When Illness Visits Us

We do not have to seek out this passage only when others are involved.  We can adopt its philosophy as our own when illness visits, for it will sometimes come and seem unsought.

3 – The Self Has Chosen

The answer is that it is the Self that has chosen, the Christ within, not the personal self, not the little self comprised, in part, of an ego.  Knowing this, we can have both sympathy and empathy for ourselves and others when sickness comes into this world.  We do not have to believe in its true reality, for we are, as always, in the illusion.  We particularly do not want to blame ourselves in personal illness, or the evolution of others on the spiritual path (if others are considered at this time).  This is a “blame the victim” mentality, and is one of the pitfalls of those who believe in many of the tenets of New Age thought.  We do not blame the victim in any case; we realize that on a higher level the Self has made a choice, but we can never know the circumstances of that choice.  Only the Holy Spirit can know this, and He does not always tell us enough that we are led to understand.

4 – “Special Agents”

Physicians and other medical staff are the “special agents” that minister to ourselves and others during sickness.  We can ask for guidance about which medical staff, specifically, to seek out.  If we choose to become well again, with the aid of these special agents, we can know that we saw the valuelessness of sickness–at least this time.  There are no guarantees in this world.  We may fall down again, and find ourselves sick–through no fault of our own.  When more sickness comes, it is evidence that we are learning through pain.  Jesus would not counsel this, but ACIM recognizes the almost inevitable nature of this type of thinking for human beings.

5 – When Sickness Strikes

So, when sickness strikes (and, for most of us, it will, sooner or later), ask for the guidance to know how to choose aright, how to choose healing.  And then go about to follow that guidance.  The Holy Spirit will be with us every step of the way, and we can also believe that Jesus holds our hand, for he has promised to come at a single unequivocal call (from ACIM).

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

May I know, if sickness visits me, that my Self has chosen this form of intervention for a purpose.  May I listen quietly and try to discern what that purpose is.

Be with me today so that no illness, physical or emotional, visits me.  I know that You are “for health” all the way, and that learning is better effected through rewards rather than pain.

Many of us choose sickness, but I would not go this way.  I would be healthy and vibrant, and this can happen only if I follow You.  Your Way is the best way, the practical way, to a life in this world that is peaceful, calm, tranquil, and joyous.  I would learn Your way, not through pain.

May I learn through rewards today.

Amen.

Sickness Brings Us Nothing that We Want

“Healing must occur in exact proportion to which the valuelessness of sickness is recognized.  One need but say, ‘There is no gain at all to me in this’ and he is healed.  (M-5.II.1)”

Affirmation:  “Sickness is valueless.”  

Reflections:

1 – Any Sickness Less Easily Healed?

Perhaps we believe that some sickness is less easily healed than others.  Our ego’s common sense would tell us that.  And, as long as we are in this world, we need to recognize and not deny what we see before our eyes.  But this does not mean what it seems to mean.  What it does mean is that we are seeing illusions, not reality at all.  So sickness visits us in our illusory world, and it would be a particularly unworthy form of denial to believe otherwise (from ACIM).

2 – We Have Chosen Sickness

But we have chosen sickness (an ACIM tenet), some of which does not physically ever become cured.  But we can have an emotional healing, in many cases, that overshadows the physical and leads us to praise God for our wellness once again.  If we see no value in our sickness (as the passage recommends), then we can disregard what our eyes have shown us by turning over our sick, physical selves to a Higher Power.  Miracles do happen, and surely we all believe this or we would not be interested in a book entitled A Course in Miracles.  When we truly recognize that sickness brings us nothing that we want, we may find ourselves in the very best position for a healing.

3 – Does Sickness Get Us What We Want?

We often think that sickness gets us something that we want.  Would any of us deny this?  Would any of us ever be in a position to deny this?  It is to the latter question that Jesus addresses us in this passage.  And his assurance that we will be healed, once we believe that there is no gain to sickness, is the turning point, leading us to healing.

4 – “Special Agents”

We do live in an illusory world, and miracles do not always happen that lead to healing.  We do, in my opinion, sometimes need medical intervention–for these “special agents” may minister to us in a way that heals.  Jesus healed with a touch, and  he still can (I believe), but sometimes modern medicine is the way that we come to recognize a miracle.  It is like pills, which, even though a form of magic, cannot lead us to believe, egotistically, that we have effected our own healing.  In a similar way, medical personnel can act to heal, in some cases, an effect that keeps our ego from getting involved and thinking that somehow we were smart enough to bring about our own healing.  Grandiosity is a trait of the ego, and most of us still live with an ego, though we hope that it has withered somewhat over the years of our lives.

5 – We Can Learn through Pain

Sometimes we learn through pain; in fact, often in this world, it is the way that we learn.  We do not have to learn through pain, Jesus asserts in the Text, but we often choose to do so.  And he would support us, but not join us, in that decision.  (An interpretation, not stated in ACIM.)

6 – Emotional Healing

The best thing that can happen may be an emotional healing, and this is no lack.  We can give thanks for what comes, after we have prayed for a healing.  And we can know that the healing will be accepted on some level.  It waits not on time (an illusion), but on eternity.

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

I would be well in all respects today.  As minor things crop up, and I get upset, please be with me.  Calm me, and help me to realize that I have brought minor sickness upon myself.

This is frustrating.  Why do I choose sickness, when I know that You are “for health” all the way?

Perhaps I do not yet understand fully.  Please enlighten me, so that I do understand.  Please help me to be patient, as in Your time the right answer will unfold.

Amen.

Being Open-Minded / All Sparkles Now

“[The open-minded] have in truth abandoned the world, and let it be restored to them in newness and in joy so glorious they could never have conceived of such a change. . . .Nothing but sparkles now which seemed so dull and lifeless before.  (M-4.X.2)”

Affirmation:  “I would see a sparkling world today.”

Reflections:

1 – Being Tolerant

The “open-minded” are tolerant of their brothers and sisters, when the decisions that others make are good and when they are bad.  The open-minded do not judge, leaving judgment to the Holy Spirit, Who alone knows all the factors in play.

2 – Give Up Judgment

The beautiful prose of this passage is well-visited when we are in a dejected mood.  We would wish to see the world as glorious in newness, and we ourselves would invite joy as a constant companion.  Jesus makes the promise in this passage that when we give up judgment (be open-minded), we will see a world that sparkles, one that “seemed so full and lifeless before.”

3 – A Serene Pathway

Would we not all desire such a sea change?  Would we not all desire the dreams that the Holy Spirit brings (from the Workbook)?  We can live in such a world, because we can see through the illusion in which we live by recognizing that what we are seeing is not real.  We do not have to deny what our eyes report (and indeed, we should not).  But we know that what we are seeing is not true, and we therefore walk a serene pathway.

4 – We Are Needed

Walking a serene pathway in the midst of the troubles of this world is not an invitation to be uncaring.  We are needed in this world, for the salvation of our brothers and sisters who are ready for salvation.  We do not help when we sympathize by accentuating their problems and troubles.  They need a compassionate individual in us who will understand and seek to bring their minds to a higher level.  Only time separates any student from a teacher.  We are all equal, not in time, but in eternity–and there is no time.  (These are all ACIM tenets.)

5 – Heaven on Earth

May we see today as glorious and as a sparkling place to happily spend some time.  We can indeed have Heaven on earth, so long as recognize that Heaven is not a place nor a condition, but the understanding of perfect Oneness (from the Text).

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

I would be open-minded today.  Help me, dear God.  I would see a world that sparkles as I walk through it, and I know that this is Your promise for me.  Help me always to forgive as I seek to be open-minded, tolerant.  There is no better way to live, and You and the Holy Spirit, with Jesus, are pointing these blessings out to me.

May today be a glorious day, enjoying the light of Your blessings even as sometimes the sun does not shine.  Everyday can be glorious, regardless of the weather.  Sometimes I forget tiny things like that.  I would not forget today.

Be with me as I seek to follow the pathway that You seem to point out to me.  May today belong to You, with Jesus holding my hand as I walk along.

Thank You.

Amen.

Sickness Is an Election

“. . .[S]ickness is an election; a decision.  It is the choice of weakness, in the mistaken conviction that it is strength.  (M-5.I.1)”

Affirmation:  “I would not choose sickness today.”

Reflections:

1 – Sickness, Pain, and Suffering

Now we study a section of the Manual that deals, on a deep level, with sickness, pain, and suffering.  The ideas in this section are unequivocal; they represent an Ideal (an interpretation, not stated in ACIM).  We are human, and we cannot accept all of these ideas at face value; we are too weak, not yet risen to the position that the Self occupies.

2 – Sickness = Our Decision

But the more that we can entertain ideas such as these, that sickness is a decision of our minds, and a decision that can be changed, the more we follow Jesus.  Is he not the great healer?

3 – Busy Lives and Sickness

Do we not sometimes recognize that we will not allow ourselves to stop from our busyness, our much too busy lives, unless we get sick?  Do we not realize that we sometimes entertain such ideas, just as a way to legitimately stay home from work?  I think that we all can identify with what Jesus is telling us in A Course in Miracles, at least on this level.  We do have some control that even we, not yet risen to his level, can see.

4 – We All Choose Sickness

In this section of the Manual, Jesus places sickness as a decision that we all make from time to time.  We think that sickness gives us something that we want, and therefore we think that it is strength rather than the weakness that he declares sickness to be.

5 – Tiny Bits of Time to Rest

May we take the tiny bits of time today that we have to rest, so that we are not tempted to allow sickness as a legitimate way to avoid work.  May we open our minds, ever so little, to the idea that it is ourselves who welcome sickness into our lives, by our own decision.  And may we make the opposite decision today, the decision to stay healthy, or to invite health back into our lives, if we have already chosen sickness.

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

May I not be tempted today to choose sickness, when actually I just need some time to rest.  We are all so busy much of the time.  We think that we cannot take a timeout without a plausible excuse, and we think that sickness is a plausible excuse.

May I realize that this kind of thinking is akin to the insanity that the ego always leads us into.  I would thank You today for knowing that sickness is a decision, made on some level which I cannot always comprehend.  My Self is beyond my little, personal self that gets into trouble with the ego.  I would ask for Your blessing today so that I might know the Self better.

Be with me in the tiny illnesses that sometimes come my way.  I ask for the patience to heal, the patience to get the recuperation going.  Your Way is always the way of peace, quiet, and calm.  And it is these very things that keep sickness from being a part of my life.  I know that sometimes there are exceptions to this view of sickness, but help me to realize that my decision is the primary factor.  This places me under Your Providence, and gives me the strength to stay well.

Amen.

When Not at Peace

“I must have decided wrongly, because I am not at peace.
I made the decision myself, but I can also decide otherwise.
I want to decide otherwise, because I want to be at peace.
I do not feel guilty, because the Holy Spirit will undo all the
   consequences of my wrong decision if I will let Him.
I choose to let Him, by allowing Him to decide for God for me.  (T90)”

Affirmation:  “I can decide for peace.”

Reflections:

1 – Choose Peace Moment by Moment

This passage is a lovely blank verse poem.  If we are not at peace, we have made one or more errors.  We are in charge in making the decisions that will bring us to peace.  We can decide otherwise, and thus choose peace, moment by moment.

2 – Do Not “Study” the Ego

If we have already chosen wrongly, we may feel an ennui that is hard to describe.  This appears to be a time that we need to be especially protective of ourselves, but actually it is a prime time that we need to turn to the Holy Spirit for guidance.  We have seen or done something that has made for increased fatigue, either mental or physical, and until we get to the root of the problem, we will suffer.  We are not to study the ego, though!  Jesus specifically says in A Course in Miracles that the ego (this part of ourselves that has led us astray) approves our study of it, that this study seems to increase its importance to us (from the Text).  But if we find fatigue, an unnatural fatigue, steeling over us, perhaps we need to stop what we are doing and commune with the Holy Spirit.  He will respond with some quiet thoughts that will come automatically into the mind, when we have calmed down the agitation enough to listen.  (These are interpretations of ACIM, not stated therein.)

3 – Undoing Eliminates Guilt

We do not have to feel guilty, because of the power and glory of the Holy Spirit.  He can undo the consequences of our wrong action or thought–the error that made us lose our peace in the beginning.

4 – “Perfectly Calm and Quiet

Peace is a great blessing.  All of us would choose it, rather than drama, if we would give it more thought.  “Perfectly calm and quiet” is said elsewhere in the Course as the direction in which we are heading.  We may, actually, not welcome this now, because we are tied to our dramas, but as we choose more and more the peace that God grants, we will know the genius of this proscription.

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

Help me to decide for peace, not drama.  I am in charge of this decision, with the help of the Holy Spirit.  If I am not at peace, I have decided wrongly.  I choose now to change this decision to one of peace.

Help me to know the value of being perfectly calm and quiet all the time.  May the Holy Spirit, day by day, lead me in this direction.

Amen.

Guilt Reinforces the Error

“If you allow yourself to become guilty, you will reinforce the error rather than allow it to be undone for you.  (T90)”

Affirmation:  “If. . .feel guilty. . .allow it to be undone”

Reflections:

1 – Psychology in ACIM

This passage emphasizes an important psychological truth, but one that we may never have heard before reading the Course.  The passage also contains some Course teaching that would preclude full understanding without our reading ACIM itself.

2 – Guilt

One of the greatest problems that we face when engulfed by the ego is the problem of guilt.  We think that we have done horrendous things, and maybe we have, but only in illusion and only as mistakes–not sins.  Mistakes cry out for resolution, for remedying.  They do not have the attraction that a deed named a “sin” seems to have for our frail psyches.  Sins remain attractive, but mistakes call out for simple correction.  We probably do not realize the extent to which the ego depends on our sense of guilt when we believe that we have “sinned.”  Elsewhere we learn that guilt is hell.  And so we are getting into territory with this theology from ACIM that will be very, very threatening to us when we are identified with the ego.

3 – Error Undone

If we choose to eliminate guilt, we will help the error to be undone as well.  But “we” do not undo the error; that is the providence of the Holy Spirit.  He works in cooperation with our willingness to leave guilt behind.  And, with guilt behind, the error is easily overlooked.  We choose not to repeat the error as soon as we label it thusly–an error, or mistake, not a sin.

Prayer:

Dear Father,

If I make mistakes, I will feel guilty when I come to myself.  This feeling of guilt can be undone when we seek to be forgiven, of ourselves and of the other person whom we feel we have wronged.  May I find that forgiveness now, and leave guilt behind.

Help me to turn to the Holy Spirit when I am tempted to make mistakes that will induce guilt.  Thank you for being there for me.

Amen.

Not Joyous? Study Your Lack of Love

“Whenever you are not wholly joyous, it is because you have reacted with a lack of love to one of God’s creations.  (T89)”

Affirmation:  “not wholly joyous. . .lack of love”

Reflections:

1 – When Feeling Low

This passage is particularly insightful.  We can determine when we have been unloving, because we don’t feel any joy.

2 – Love Brings Joy

Of course, this sounds extreme.  Surely there are reasons for depression other than a lack of love toward God’s creations.  But are there really?  Virtually all of us are trapped in egoistic thinking, which is by definition unloving.  We do know joy, and by this we can recognize the difference.  When joy comes upon us, all seems right in our little world.  We then recognize that we love the world and everyone in it.

3 – Drop the Unloving Attitude

This statement can become a harbinger of the times to change our thinking to be more in line with the Holy Spirit. If we are wholly joyous, very likely we would wish to change nothing.  When we are not wholly joyous, we will want to change much, and the first thing that we need to change is our own unloving attitude.

4 – Being Happy

All of us wish to be happy, and one of the great benefits of studying A Course in Miracles is that we learn that this desire is not an inferior choice.  We are intended to be happy, and it is only the ego and its “gifts” that prevent joy from embracing us throughout the day.  We need only look to people of great faith, who have afflictions, to know that suffering is not necessarily a part of one’s experience.  The greater one looks beyond the physical (which is illusion, of course), the more likely we are to cease turning any pain into suffering, and hence avoiding joy.

5 – We Are Meant to Be Joyous!

We are meant to be joyous!  If we are not, let us make this prayer the first one that enters our minds every morning.

Prayer:

Dear Father,

May I know the joy that you would have me to know.  To feel this love, I must love my brothers and sisters.  I must react with love toward them.

When I am not wholly joyous, let me realize that my ego has interfered, and that I have reacted without love.  I can change this, with Your help.  Please give me Your help.

Amen.

Let the Ego Wither Away

“The ego will not be destroyed because it is part of your thought, but because it is uncreative and therefore unsharing.  (T87)”

Affirmation:  “The ego is uncreative and unsharing.”

Reflections:

1 – When the Ego Is in Charge

The ego represents a false self, the little self–not the Self.  We are asked to live as though we were not an ego.  We can realize that the ego will just wither away when our false thinking is eliminated and we are living under the guidance of the Holy Spirit.   We will still have a personal self (from A Course of Love), but this personal self will be informed by the guidance that with gain through embodying Christ-consciousness or Awakening.  Note that the use of the term “ego” in both A Course in Miracles and A Course of Love is not precisely what today’s psychology means by the term.  Today’s psychology would believe that we need a strong sense of self, or ego, out of which successful living can result.  And unless this sense of self is made strong, we will waffle and be ineffective individuals.  But ACIM and ACOL mean a egoic state of mind that does not acknowledge that we are part of a whole, God, of Whom we know very little.  The egoic state of mind rarely looks for guidance from the Being Who knows all factors that impinge on any decision.  We need to give up judgment and acquiesce to a Higher Power, Who does know all the factors in our world–past, present, and future.  And this guidance means that our egoic state will wither away, and we can be assured that the loss of “ego” in these terms is a fortunate happening.

2 – Soften the Heart

What does it mean to say that the ego is uncreative and unsharing?  We isolate ourselves when we feel oncoming the hard, tough shell of the ego.  It  is an unloving stance, and one that we would be wise to recognize when it rears its head.  Pray to leave this uncreative and unsharing aspect of ourselves behind.  Soften the heart, and lean unto its counsel.  Then we will feel more a part of our brothers and sisters.  We will love.

3 – The Self

The ego is “uncreative.”  Surely this makes sense!  The ego has only “made” things (a Course concept).  Creativity is of the Self, not of the little self, which is egoistic in the extreme.  May we live so that we are the real Self, insofar as we can ascertain.  Then we will let the ego and its unproductive part of ourselves collapse.  Then we will be ever more ready for God, metaphorically, to reach down and lift us up to Awakening (or Christ-consciousness).  In the meantime, before we sustain Christ-consciousness, we will very likely see glimpses of that better state of mind and spirit that will encourage and keep us going forward in God’s own Way.  These glimpses may not yet last, but they will be harbingers of the way that we are to be when we have walked the complete pathway home.

Prayer:

Dear Father,

May I realize that the ego will not be destroyed because I need it, but because I do not.  It is uncreative and unsharing.  This is the opposite of the way that I want to be.

May my creativity blossom as I let the ego wither away.  May I share more with my brothers and sisters.  These two blessings will enable me to realize that the ego is unneeded and undesired.

Amen.

Overcoming Masochism

“The ego believes that by punishing itself it will mitigate the punishment of God.  (T84-85)”

Affirmation:  “The ego believes. . .mitigate the  punishment of God.”

Reflections:

1 – An Explanation

This passage seems to explain masochism.  We think that if we cause pain to ourselves first, then God’s punishment of us (in which we erroneously believe) will be lessened.

2 – Insane Thinking

This is insane thinking.  The ego is insane.  Let us not forget this Course concept.

3 – We Do Not Have to Punish Ourselves

We in our egoistic thinking do not have to punish ourselves at all.  To do so actually is the reverse of what we want, for any number of reasons, including the fact that punishing ourselves strengthens the ego.  We want to let the ego wither away.  In no way does God punish us.  This concept of the Course is in line with the New Testament, but opposed to the Old Testament.  May we accept Jesus’s teaching in both the Course and the New Testament, and know God as a loving and accepting God who wants only the best for us.  Anything else we have unconsciously chosen, and this can be changed with the right understanding, and the right reflection upon what we are actually doing to ourselves.

4 – Healing

It is true that we can seek guidance and often be told the way to proceed in any affliction.  This does not mean that we avoid other healers and depend only on our minds.  Jesus says in A Course in Miracles that pills are a form of “spell,” but that if we are not strong enough, we need to turn to medications as a compromise approach to healing.  To do without the medications might raise the fear level, which is the last thing that we want to do.  (These are Text tenets.)

5 – Jesus Is Near

So we seek for healing on whatever level we can, knowing that the healer who is Jesus is never very far from us.  He promises us that he will come in response to one unequivocal call (from the Text).

Prayer:

Dear Father,

May I know that there is no need for me to punish myself for anything that I have done.  I may know guilt, and this is a form of punishment.  God would never punish; it is always us that are doing this.

May my ego wither away.  I have prayed for this often, and so I have not accepted the truth of this promise that it can wither away.  May I accept this promise now and forevermore.

Amen.

Do Not Turn Pain into Suffering

“How can you who are so holy suffer?  All your past except its beauty is gone, and nothing is left but a blessing.  I have saved all your kindnesses and every loving thought you ever had.  (T83)”

Affirmation:  “I have saved all your kindnesses and love.”

Reflections:

1 – Suffer?

This is a hard passage to understand.  It is true that Awakened individuals acknowledge feeling pain, but not suffering.  Eckhart Tolle is one of these individuals.  But most of us have not yet known Awakening on a sustained basis, and what are we to do when bad things happen?

2 – Think Kindness

I think that the Answer is the one we so often find in the Course.  The Answer is turning to guidance from the Holy Spirit.  Jesus himself says in this passage that he has saved our kindnesses and loving thoughts.  We can, without self-satisfaction, realize that, almost despite ourselves, we have had moments of kindnesses and loving thoughts.  If these were ever a comfort to our brother, they can also be a comfort to us in our times of pain.  This recollection will help to ensure that suffering, even in the midst of  pain, will not arise.

3 – Pain but No Suffering

We can find in the pain a blessing.  The passage seems to say this.   The passage also notes that we ourselves are holy, a concept that we find difficult to accept, because we usually feel so unworthy.  May we take Jesus at his word, and believe that we do not have to suffer in this world.  As we study the Course, perhaps we will come to see this concept more clearly and to feel pain, when it comes, but no suffering.

4 – Difficulty in Avoiding Suffering

We need to realize that we transform pain into suffering by our own thought processes.  Certainly in physical pain, it is hard not to get the mind involved.  We feel so bad physically that our bodies temporarily seem to take over our minds.  Whatever we do, in this world there probably will never be one correct action to take–other than asking for the Holy Spirit to give us the guidance that we need to remedy the situation.  He will answer, though if we are agitated, we may not “hear” what He has to say.  Seek calm and quiet, not agitation, and see how much more readily the physical pain ceases to be an affliction that can only be called “suffering.”

Prayer:

Dear Father,

May I know in my innermost being that I do not need to suffer.  In the Course, Jesus says that we do not have to learn through pain.  May I feel the truth of this reassurance.

It is good that my loving thoughts have been saved.  This seems to mean that my unloving thoughts will fall away.  Thank you.

Amen.

Turn the Other Cheek

“You cannot be hurt, and do not want to show your brother anything except your wholeness.  Show him that he cannot hurt you and hold nothing against him, or you hold it against yourself.  This is the meaning of ‘turning the other cheek.’  (T82)”

Affirmation:  “You cannot be hurt.”

Reflections:

1 – Pain Hurts Ourselves and Others

It hurts our brother for him (or her) to see that he has hurt us.  While our brother may not tell us this, and he even may not recognize it, still is it true.  We cannot seek to hurt another without being in pain ourselves.

2 – The Real Self Is Unhurt

Our real Self cannot be hurt in any way.  This is a magnificent truth that even among seasoned veterans of the Course can easily be overlooked as we live daily in this world.  Certainly we seem to suffer, or, at the least, to know pain–even when it doesn’t lead to real suffering.  Yet the Self continues unabated.  The Self knows that we are whole.

3 – The Personal Self Is Hurt

Our real Self is not hurt, but it is still obvious that the personal self does seem to be hurt by words and actions of other people in our world.  We also seem to hurt the personal self through our own thoughts, words, and actions.  We should not deny the fact that the dream in which we find ourselves seems very real indeed.  We are not to deny what appears before our eyes, for as long as we are in the dream and not yet in the real world, we will have times in which we are hurt, either by others or by ourselves.  Jesus does not ask in A Course in Miracles that we live in denial of what we see before us; he only indicates that we are lost in a dream that we are making up.  We are the actors; we are doing this unto ourselves (ACIM tenets).

4 – “Turn the Other Cheek”

What a blessing to have in the Course this interpretation of the New Testament injunction of “turn the other cheek.”  So often over the years have Christians sought to understand this scripture, and so often we have failed to understand.  May the Course remedy that confusion.  We are whole Selves, and a part of us that we do not usually recognize is unhurt by anything that the world can do to us.

Prayer:

Dear Father,

Now that I know the real meaning of “turn the other cheek,” may I do so promptly when something happens that disturbs me.  May I realize that my real Self is never hurt at all.

May I come to feel my real Self more and more.  When I do so, I am safe in this world.  Thank you for this safety.

Amen.

Living in the Flow

“What you perceive in others you are strengthening in yourself.  (T80)”

Affirmation:  “perceive in others. . .strengthen in myself”

Reflections:

1 – Without Reflects Within

This passage shows us a way to know what is really going on internally with ourselves.  Whatever we perceive in others, we have, usually unconsciously, looked within and found (a Course concept).

2 – The Prathers

Hugh Prather and his wife Gayle once wrote that they were aware that when everyone that they encountered seemed to need “fixing” in some way, it was their own perception guiding them to take a look internally.  (Note:  This is a paraphrase of their writing.)  Certainly we can easily see the truth of this assertion.  If we are living “in the flow,” and all seems right in our little world, then it is likely that we are at peace and that we are not trying to change anybody.  A Course in Miracles does not emphasize changing our brothers and sisters.  Repeatedly we are encouraged to take a look at a brother or sister, and to try to determine what, if anything, they are ready to accept by way of salvation.  We are not meant to be aggressive (an interpretation of ACIM, not stated directly therein).

3 – How Do We Live in the Flow?

How do we easily live in the flow?  We do not hold such strong, stubborn attitudes in our daily lives.  We are flexible, and we guide our lives by the guidance that the Holy Spirit so often gives to us when we are receptive.  If we are having a good day, it is very likely that we are, consciously or unconsciously, giving up our self-will and living in the flow of the Holy Spirit.  What would it take for us to do this, to follow His guidance, all the time?  It takes the flexibility that I alluded to, just above.  We need to stop being so certain that we are right in the plans that seem necessary for our day.  We may have first decided that something is so, when actually the truth is far from us.  We need to ask that the truth about what we need to do with our day be shown to us, as the day unfolds.  The day is not often shown far in advance.  (This is personal interpretation, not stated in ACIM.)

4 – Changing What Is Within

This truth of perceiving in others what we really hold within is a powerful teacher.  The “sins” that we perceive in others are, first of all, within ourselves.  Seeing this, we can see what needs to be changed.  And it is not our brother.  It is something within ourselves.

5 – Projection Makes Perception

Our brother will seem much more loving as our own thoughts become loving.  “Projection makes perception” is a Course concept.  May we learn from our brother, even as we sometimes note lamentable emotions in him or her.  These emotions (and often actions) have first been within ourselves.

Prayer:

Dear Father,

May I learn from others:  What I see in them is actually something that is within myself.  May I use this knowledge to improve my disposition, my mind and spirit, and my behavior.

When I am in a critical mood, I am not happy.  In fact, I would say that a critical mood is the primary factor if I run into a rough patch in which I seem to experience unhappiness.  Take this habit from me, dear God.  I would be tolerant of my brothers and sisters, and I would reap the benefit of a more benign attitude toward all of them.

As my thoughts become more loving, my brothers and sisters will be perceived as more loving.  This is a great boon for us.  May we realize the truth that projection makes perception, as we learned in the Course.

Amen.

Perfectly Calm and Quiet

“Peace is the ego’s greatest enemy because, according to its interpretation of reality, war is the guarantee of its survival.  (T79-80)”

Affirmation:  “Peace is the ego’s greatest enemy.”

Reflections:

1 – Attack Strengthens the Ego

When we are tempted to attack our brother, may we realize that it is the ego up to its old tricks.  The more we attack, the stronger the ego in us becomes.  Do we really want this?  I think not.  We can take a timeout, a break of any kind, exiting ourselves from the irritating situation.  We can say a mantra, breathe deeply, especially pray for calm–all of which are personal recommendations not cited in A Course in Miracles.  We are most likely to attack when we are stressed.  We are most likely to get angry when we are stressed.  So, if we reduce the stress, we are well on our way to reducing the ego in ourselves.  And what a joy that is!  We think that egotistical thinking helps to fuel our ambition, to lead us to greater heights of achievement.  But actually we are pulled down by the ego in exact ratio to how much we seem to be on a lofty plane.  The ego is always being undone.  We have set  it up that way (an interpretation, not stated in ACIM).

2 – Drama Best Avoided

When we are peaceful, we may at first feel that we are not as “alive” as we would like to be.  This is the longing for drama in our relationships, and it is a sick longing.  Peace is actually the best thing that can happen to us.  Elsewhere the Course says that we are meant to be perfectly calm and quiet all the time.  This may sound extreme, but the things of heaven are obscure to us.  I have a friend who does not think that drama is all bad.  She indicated that she would not want to be “perfectly calm and quiet” all the time.  But lately she has been taking a prescribed mild tranquillizer, and she reported to me that she doesn’t go “over the top” anymore.  I plan to ask her eventually if “perfectly calm and quiet” is still not a goal that she would ever seek.  We are not living when we are caught up in adrenaline-producing drama.  We are riding the tide of the ego.

3 – Just Allow Peace to Be

When we allow peace to be, we reduce the size and complexity of the ego.  We reduce its influence on us.  Elsewhere we learn in the Course that the first obstacle that peace must flow across is the desire to get rid of it.  This sounds like a paradox, but if we reflect, we will see that the statement is true.  We too often want drama to make ourselves feel alive.

4 – A Better Way Shown in ACIM

The Course holds out a better way for us.  Invite peace in our daily lives, and we will soon know a joy that is boundless–even if everything is not perfect in this world.  We will know a mellow feeling that is close to the peace that passeth understanding.  And we must not seek to get rid of this mellow feeling, even though, when unused to it, we may rush toward a drama-filled scenario again.  Let’s don’t do that.  It is completely counterproductive to everything that A Course in Miracles says.

Prayer:

Dear Father,

May I long for peace in my life far more than I long for drama.  May I realize that drama only strengthens the ego, and this I do not want.  

May I have, today, the peace that passeth understanding.  May I not seek to rush back to some drama-filled situation out of boredom.  May I put my quiet times to good use.  And may I be a blessing to my significant others as I walk through my day today.

May I have Your inner calm and quiet.  This is the best way that I can come to know You, and it is this that I want.

Amen.