To Turn from Fear to Love

“It is in saying, ‘Sister, you are not alone’ that spiritual hunger and thirst is met with the fullness of unity.  It is in realizing that you are not alone that you realize your unity with me and begin to turn from fear toward love.  (A Course of Love, 9.27)”

Affirmation:  “We are not alone.”

Reflections:

1 – Not Alone

Knowing that we are joined to Jesus through the Christ that we all share is a great blessing.  We do not have to ever–ever–feel alone.  Our needs, if they are truly needs, will be met.  We will join in the unity that is ours, and we will feel the touch of Jesus’s hand as we join.

2 – No Reason for Fear

When we have touched Jesus, we will finally–once and for all time–know that there is no reason for fear.  We may not be free of fear forever, for we have lived with its fruits for a long time, and habits die hard.  But if we consciously know that fear is not necessary, that we can live in love, we will intellectually understand.  And the feeling of the heart will follow.  When the feeling of the heart is there, we are truly free of the fear.  This goes a long way toward assuring that Christ-consciousness is welcome in our lives.

3 – Spiritually Hungry

Being spiritually hungry is a state easily overcome.  Just read scripture and inspirational writing.  Pray.  Meditate.  Commune with God.  Turn to our brothers and sisters for their insight.  Listen to ministers.

4 – The Pathway

Above all, don’t try to walk the pathway alone.  That is impossible.  We too often try to live our lives apart from others, and as a result, we are in pain and sometimes suffering.

5 – Do Not Isolate Yourself

Let us be through with this idea today.

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

May I gladly join with my friends and family today.  May I seek the benefits of comaraderie to offset any pain of isolation.  You are always with me; so are many other whom I cannot see.  There is no reason to fear; I am not alone.

I wish for Your blessing today.  I pray for Your blessing.  I would not be spiritually hungry.  I would know that You have prepared well for me in what I view as a separate state.  I know that it is impossible that I really be separate.  We are One.

Amen.

Be Reassured Today

“It is the relationship inherent in meeting another’s need that makes the meeting of the need a thing of lasting value.  It is your willingness to say, ‘Brother, you are not alone’ that is the benefit of such situations, not only to your brother but also to you.  (A Course of Love, 9.27)”

Affirmation:  “May I meet the need of another today.”

Reflections:

1 – Excuses

All too often we find reasons, excuses, not to meet the need of another, for we feel that it will be too difficult for us to endure.  We have busy lives, we get tired, we get sick, and so we excuse ourselves from doing for another what seems to be the need.  We turn a deaf ear to the silent cry for help.

2 – Jesus

Is this the way that Jesus would live?  Certainly not.  He too got tired, but he continued teaching.  He drew aside for replenishment, for prayer and communion with his Father, but he always returned to help people, individually and en masse.

3 – Pray

How do we proceed if we need the cooperation of others to meet a third party’s perceived need?  We pray about it.  We do not try to enforce our will on another.  God, if He sees the need also, will see that we are in a position that we can respond.  This I believe.

4 – Not Alone

We are not alone in this world.  We are meant to reach out to others, to help them, and, frequently, in the helping, we also help ourselves.  We are in this together.

5 – The Way Will Be Shown to Us

Be reassured today that if our intent is clear, the way will be shown to us.  We will find a way to help.  On the other hand, if we are wavering in our intent, others in our lives will pick up on our ambivalence, and we will contribute to the problem.  The need of the third party may not get answered.

6 – Needs of Ourselves and Others

Pray today for the needs of ourselves and all in our lives to be met, and with the joyousness that Jesus himself would offer.

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

Today it would be so easy to avoid thinking of the needs of others, focusing only on myself.  But this is not the way to live, of that I am sure.  Help me to reach out to the others whom I see today and those whom I do not see, but whom I affect in any way at all.

Be with me today as I seek to remain tranquil.  The best way to follow You is to remain calm.

Amen.

You Are Not Alone

“All that you are asked to give up is your insane notion that you are alone.  We speak much of your body here only because it is your proof of this insane idea’s validity.  It is your proof as well that a life of fear is warranted.  How could you not fear for the safety of a home as fragile as the body?  (A Course of Love, 9.25)”

Affirmation:  “I am safe.”

Reflections:

1 – Fragile Body

The body is indeed fragile, and when we focus on it to the exclusion of other people–the ones who assure us that we have companions–we think amiss.  Our bodies will be healthy and strong unless we choose otherwise, for reasons that only our inner Self can know.  We would have healthy and strong bodies, and to do so we are not to focus on ailments.  Thinking intently about the ailments only accentuates them in our minds, and even accentuates the ailments themselves.

2 – Life Filled with Love

We also choose a life filled with love, one that crowds out fear.  We will know less fear when we have come to understand that we do not have to “learn” to experience the demise of fear.  We need only reach out to others and to God, and to, we may believe, unseen forces beyond our  physical world.  These many helps are available to us, but when we are sick and feel lonely, we often give in to depression and do not avail ourselves of the help that is crying out to assist us.

3 – The Body

When we think that the body is our sole home, we will be fearful, because the world does things to the body that let us know that the ego does not wish us well.  The body is the ego’s home, and the fragility of the body is the ego’s best evidence that we need to turn to it [the ego] for protection.  But, as A Course in Miracles points out, this will never solve anything, because the ego has never answered any questions, though it has raised a great many (from the Text).

4 – The Christ/Self Within

Let us pray today for the strength of the Christ/Self within, and the knowledge that our position while in this world is a blend of the human and the divine.  We need not fear the physical, for we can overcome its frailty by a persistent dependence upon the power of God to raise us up above limitations.  We may never see the end to all limitations (as ACIM notes), but we can live better when we put our dependence where that dependence is wholly justified–on the spirit of God Who is within us.

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

May I not fear a weak and/or frail body–ever.  This physical framework is not all that there is to me, and I would know that and thus not fear the aloneness that the body would inspire.  It is my mind that is giving the body the “instincts” that so overcome me; the body does nothing.  May I recognize this today.

May my Christ/Self within come to the forefront and banish these thoughts of weakness and frailty.  There is no better way to live than to live in constant contact with You.

Help me to remember to keep You in mind and heart today, a conscious choice.

Amen.

A Call to the Eternal

“My words call you to the eternal, to nourishment and rest of the spirit rather than the body.  That your sights are set on the care of the body alone is another example of choosing an opposite for replacement.  (A Course of Love, 9.22)”

Affirmation:  “I think of my spirit today.”

Reflections:

1 – The Body

How often we think of the body first!  If we have a twinge of pain, we focus on it, and the very focusing may make it seem worse.  Even chronic pain that is very severe is overcome, in therapy sessions, with a focus on something other than the pain.  When we focus on something we would rather avoid, we only succeed in increasing its presence, even magnifying its presence, in our lives.  This we would not do.

2 – The Spirit

We are on safe ground indeed when we focus on our spirit.  We may not as of yet fully understand what Jesus means by “spirit,” but he elaborates throughout A Course of Love.  The spirit is the essence of the Christ/Self that in inward, and that combines the human and the divine.  We are still in physical form, of course, and we can even revel in that, but we know that there is something more.  And we do not let pains in the physical body distract us from our heart’s blessing.  We will find that ultimately we will combine mind and heart to form the wholeheartedness toward which Jesus is leading us in A Course of Love.

3 – ACOL vs. ACIM

The physical is emphasized a bit more in A Course of Love than in A Course in Miracles.  We may have even gotten the false impression from A Course in Miracles that the physical did not matter.  But Jesus would not have us in pain; he tells us in ACIM that we do not have to learn through pain.  Learning through rewards is lasting.  Learning through pain is temporary.  And we find, later on in ACOL, that the elevated Self of form is where we are headed.  We do not have to deemphasize or denigrate the physical; we just need to see the physical properly.  There is the truth that our spirit cooperates with the physical to bring us the glorious life that life on earth can be.

4 – Replenishment

We do want our spirit to be nourished and replenished.  All too often we have neglected our spirit in favor of trying, often in vain, to improve our physical condition.  Jesus would have both well and in excellent condition.  Such a wonderful promise is the one here!  Let us remind ourselves today of the nourishment and rest to our spirit that is here for the asking, and let us then ask for this nourishment and rest.

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

I would replenish my soul today.  I would not ignore the body, but I would realize where it is in the hierarchy, and I would choose to turn aside from attempts to emphasize the perishable.

Be with me today as I seek You.  I am in need of comfort, replenishment.  Please grant this to me.

Amen.

Banishing Fear

“Can you not see that when you chose to make yourself separate and alone you also made the choice for fear?  Fear is nothing but a choice, and it can be replaced by choice of another kind.  (A Course of Love, 9.18)”

Affirmation:  “I choose love.”

Reflections:

1 – Separate and Alone

This may not at first glance appear to be one of those most important and most reassuring passages from A Course of Love, but indeed the passage can be so read.  If being “separate and alone” is the choice for fear, then can we not reach out to others and find therein our choice against fear?  Everyone has some way of reaching out, some way of finding another who will prove to be a solace from pain.  And be assured that fear is pain of a very acute kind, and a kind that all too often becomes chronic unless we take steps to involve our brothers and sisters in our everyday life.

2 – Brothers and Sisters

Perhaps we don’t feel kindly toward the others we encounter.  Maybe these others don’t seem like “brothers and sisters.”  If we choose to interpret this way, we are sealing our own  fate, for indeed these others are our brothers and sisters.  While it is not true that we can “get along” with everyone we encounter, we can always choose to send along a kindly and loving thought as they hover on the edge of our life, or even exit from it.  God would not have us constantly harassed by individuals who do not mean us well, but we ourselves must always ask what our part has been in this interpretation of actions, words, and thoughts exchanged between us.  For we are interpreting.  It is always an interpretation that leads to ill feelings, never a fact.  One does not get angry at a fact.  (There are tenets of A Course in Miracles.)

3 – Banishing Fear

If we choose not to be alone and separate, the passage for today indicates that we will have come a long way toward banishing fear from our lives.  Such a simple thing!  But how many of us feel misunderstood by others, and how many of us are rejecting when that dynamic occurs?  The love we feel toward others will be returned, if not by the one loved, then by others sent into our lives by God.   I have never known an individual so introverted and shy to not need somebody else in life.  We are not meant to go it alone.

4 – Independence

We often think that independence is a better state.  But this is the choice of the ego, and what good has the ego and egoic ideas ever brought to us?  We have learned through pain when we have learned of the ego.  And this type of learning is always temporary, and we await the next pain.  Learning through rewards, the rewards, perhaps, of having others return our overtures, is a much improved concept.  Even this is not the whole truth, but it is something.  God Himself is always there, and He will be our companionship when brothers and sisters fail us.

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

I would feel kindly, in love, for the people whom I encounter today.  If my mood is low, I am likely to feel less inclined to be generous with those I encounter.  If my mood is high, all is right with the world and everyone in it.

I would be right with the world and everyone in it today.  Help me to overlook any feelings of lassitude as well as thoughts of worry.  You can take our worries from us, because we willingly give them over when we feel assured that You are handling any perplexity.  I would leave my obsessions with You today, and walk into the sunlight with You.

Be with us as we seek to follow Your pathway.  Help me to know with surety what that pathway is.  This is such a repeated prayer, but very important to me.  Let me not abdicate all responsibility in seeking for guidance, but help me to walk easily and effortlessly with You taking me by the hand.

Amen.

Fear and Love = the Two Emotions

“Fear, like all the rest of your emotions, comes in many guises and is given many names, but there are really only two emotions:  one is fear, the other love.  Fear is thus the source of all illusion, love the source of truth.  (A Course of Love, 9.16)”

Affirmation:  “I choose love today.”

Reflections:

1 – From A Course in Miracles

This passage is a direct replay of ideas from A Course in Miracles.  Indeed, the idea that there are only two emotions, love and fear, is one of the most frequently recognized statements from ACIM.

2 – Eliminate Fear

If we would leave illusion behind, and walk into the sunlight with God and our Self, we must find a way to eliminate fear.  This is not always easy, for there are a multitude of disguises, even though at base all of these disguises are of fear.  Jesus indicates in A Course in Miracles that we cannot ask him to remove fear from our lives, for we have made it, and if he acted to remove fear, he would be coming between cause and effect, a most important law.  But we can ask that we get help in alleviating the conditions that have led to the fear (from the Text of ACIM).  This is always a helpful prayer, and like all real prayers, when this prayer is truly meant, it is answered quickly.

3 – Personal Experience

The next night of insomnia you experience would be a good time to test out this idea.  First, commune/pray with/to God, relax, and then decide that maybe God has a reason for your sleeplessness.  What conditions have brought about the fear/sleeplessness?  What do you want to have help on?  Be specific, and it may help to write out on paper or computer the conditions as you view them.  Be certain that answers will come, if not immediately, when you have calmed down enough to let intuitive thoughts rise to the surface.  Then let the prayer sink to your depths.  You have done all you can for one night.  Know that the answers will arrive.  Make this a primary belief.

4 – Anxiety

Anxiety has dogged me all my life, and so I have had sleepless nights.  This, in spite of more than 30 years of making A Course in Miracles my primary study.  But, as time has gone by, the anxiety over a sleepless night has abated, and, as this abatement has happened, the blessing of God’s love has overcome me more and more frequently.  I have also learned secular techniques for dealing with anxiety.  And, of course, I have prayed, long and deeply, for help in the conditions that have brought my fear to the forefront at any given time.

5 – Love

But Jesus also says in this passage that love is the source of truth.  We know this intellectually, and now, through  A Course of Love, we have reached the time to know this through our hearts.  Unlike our minds, which raise unanswerable questions, our hearts do not question.  We feel, and from the feeling, we know.  That is the blessing of this passage from Jesus in A Course of Love.

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

Another night of an hour and a half of no sleeping, but thank You that I can devote awhile today to a nap.  Help all of us to deal with those things that are less than the best.  We would choose to walk Your way, and this way is always one of peace.  Help me to remember that the next time I awaken in the middle of the night.

Be with us as we seek to choose love and eliminate fear.  This is our major task, along with the forgiveness that we have come to recognize.  We too must forgive ourselves, once we have asked of You the forgiveness that we all need.

Be with me throughout the day today.  May my mood is high, and my actions and thoughts be congenial.  Be with my significant others, and all others who are touched by my words and actions.

Amen.

Jesus Holding Our Hand

“Now you seek to know how to escape what you have made.  To do so you must withdraw all faith from it.  This you are not ready yet to do, but this is what your heart will now prepare you for.  As you are prepared, you walk alongside he who has waited for you with a single purpose instead of alongside the conflicting desires you chose to let lead you to this strange world.  You travel lightly now where before you walked in chains.  You travel now with a companion who knows you as you are and would show your Self to you.  (A Course of Love, 9.9)”

Affirmation:  “I walk with Jesus today.”

Reflections:

1 – Jesus

Jesus is talking about his presence with us in this remarkable passage.  I have earlier speculated about the “how” that Jesus could be everywhere at once.  But there are natural laws in the metaphysical realm that our science know not of.  And this is one of them.

2 – Escape

We would escape from what we have made, and we would withdraw our faith from it.  We need to realize the world that we made has been deeply flawed from the beginning.  We sought to learn apart from God, and we immersed ourselves in mire.  But we are returning.  And in A Course of Love, we look to our heart to guide us, our heart that is within, where Christ/Self is, and where God is.  And we have mighty companions with us as we follow this pathway (from the Manual of A Course in Miracles).

3 – Jesus = Our Companion

Jesus is the companion who knows us as we are, and we travel lightly with him.  This statement is akin to the teaching of Jesus in the New Testament, in which he is quoted as saying that his burden is “light.”  We indeed no longer have to even think in terms of “burdens” (an interpretation, not stated in ACIM or ACOL).  Previously we traveled in chains, with a bundle of troubles that we might periodically release to God, but which we would always retrieve, for we felt bereft without our bundle of problems.

4 – We Have No Problems

Let this thinking fall by the wayside!  A Course in Miracles said that we would come to see that we had no problems.  Our primary problem–separation, or our perceived separation–has been solved, and we have no other problem that God will not address, removing it from our sight.

5 – Healing Is Certain

Healing is certain, and the continuance of physical symptoms is not evidence that healing has not occurred (from the Manual of A Course in Miracles).  The passage for today is talking about healing in the greatest sense possible (though the word is not used).  May we accept Jesus’s hand as we walk through this illusory world.  And then we will be home in God, and ready to reach out to all that might receive our words and actions.

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

May I recognize anew that today I have a companion beside me.  I have nothing to fear.  There is nothing in this world to fear, though difficulties abound.  There are no real problems when faith is strong.  May my faith be strong today.

May we know that healing is certain, once we listen to the guidance that we receive.  The healing may come through doctors, through medication, through natural means, and even through prayer–a miracle happening.  May any and all “cures” be appropriate and not a misguided effort to bypass that which You would have us experience.

Amen.

The World of the Body

“A desire to know everything but only through its [the body’s] own effort, a desire to see everything but only through its own eyes, a desire to be known but only through what it would choose to share.  Alongside these desires it is easy to see how a world such as that of the body developed.  (A Course of Love, 9.7)”

Affirmation:  “I choose amiss when I choose the way of the body.”

Reflections:

1 – Made the World

We made amiss when we made the world.  Note that I did not say “create.”  Only God creates, and it is the theology of both A Course in Miracles and A Course of Love that God did not create the world of the body, the physical illusion of the body, and indeed all illusions of the dream in which we find ourselves.  Do not let theology delay you; if this idea is foreign to your thinking, then just set it aside until such time as you wish to consider the idea again.  Jesus does not want for theology to delay us, nor to be a dividing factor between ourselves and our brothers and sisters.

2 – God’s Children

We can understand the thinking of this passage, because we so wish to be independent, even when we know that being God’s children is the only sane response.  Our wish to be independent is akin to an adolescent’s desire to separate from his/her parents.  And it is also akin to our perchance toward competition.

3 – Cooperation

We may know intellectually (or we may not) that cooperation gets us farther, even in this dream or illusion of a world, than competition ever could.  But our ego thrives on conflict, and competition always brings jealousy (of one person to another), hard feelings, envy (of one’s possessions to those of another).  Do we really want to live like this?

4 – Demanding Proof

We also want to “prove” everything in this physical world through our own eyes.  This is why science has been such a boon to those who sought secular wisdom of the world, the need to understand where we are apart from what our religious traditions have told us.  And this is not wrong, for our science has taught us much that religion would have discounted.  And the new physics is bringing us home to a concept of God that mystics have long found true and compelling.

5 – Share Selectively

We also want to share, about ourselves, only those things that we “want” to share.  Yet psychology, even secular, says that a willingness to self-reveal is the quickest and easiest route to acceptance from others.  Otherwise, our brothers and sisters do not trust us, because they don’t feel that they know where we are coming from.

6 – The Time of Return

So the world of the body, the physical world, arose before our eyes.  And we lived in it for eons.  Now is the time of return, though the time may take millions of years, just as the separation extended over millions of years (an ACIM tenet).  Let us know that, even as we seek, we will find, and the sooner we find, the more help we can be to ourselves and our brothers and sisters.  We will not live in misery for the millions of years ahead, before everyone is home in God.  We will be joyous, knowing that the outcome is sure.

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

May I do what I can today to begin, immediately, to live in the world that You would have us see and experience.  This world that You want for us is not the world of the body, but the direct opposite.  May I assist my brothers and sisters who are coming to the same conclusion–that this world does not work, because its premises are wrong.

May I cooperate with the universe and You today.  May I listen to my intuition, the guidance/signal system given me by You.  May the signs that I note be genuine and sure.  Let nothing today interfere with my desire to be One with You.

Amen.

How the Body Is Used

“The body could not help but be thus, as it was made with dual purposes in mind.  It was made to make real and then glorify a separated self, and it was made to punish that separated self for the separation.  Its creator had in mind what is reflected in the body:  self-aggrandizement and self-effacement, pleasure and pain, violence and gentleness.  (A Course of Love, 9.7)”

Affirmation:  “May I unite today, rather than live in dualism.”

Reflections:

1 – A Dualistic Manifestation

We know such variations in our everyday mood when we are tied to the body too closely.  We do know pleasure, and we can know gentleness–but not all the time, for the body is a dualistic manifestation.  We are often led astray by our desire for the things of the body, the pleasures of this world.  But these pleasures turn to ashes and dust in our hands when we have avoided the joys and attributes of God.  He gives us joy, harmony, peace, tolerance, kindness, gentleness, and the like.  Only when we place these intangibles above any material things do we find the peace of God that “passeth understanding” (from the Bible).

2 – Why So Dense?

Why do we so often seek to attract the things of this world, when we ultimately find that these things do not satisfy for long?  Why are we so dense?

3 – Ecstasy of the Spirit

It is because we have known such poverty of spirit that we do not know the ineffable heights to which the ecstasy of the spirit can lead.  We have bowed down to idols, with the ego’s firm approval.  We have had this part of ourselves, our ego, tell us what to do and when to do it.  And, when we learn that we can attract better things for ourselves, the first thing that we think about is the material.

4 – Material Needs

Be sure that God wants to meet our material needs as well.  He knows that we have physical bodies that desire warmth and comfort, but He would comfort our hearts as well.  And the only way that He can do this for us is to bind our will to His.  To turn to our egoic will is to deny the joys of God.  And to turn to the material to satisfy us is to turn to something insubstantial and non-lasting.  Everything in this world will one day turn to dust.

5 – Christ/Self’s Action

Be careful of what you set your heart upon, for you will surely have it.  This is quotation the source of which I have long forgotten.  But it speaks to me today.  We need God and He knows it.  He would come from our depths to speak to us today, through the Christ/Self that knows both human and divine.  The Christ/Self mitigates the dual nature of spiritual/physical, and turns all to productivity.  May we have the happiness that we all seek, and may we get very clear about what will bring us that happiness.  It is not solely the material, or even primarily the material.  It is the intangible from God..

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

I would pray that I know the dualistic nature of the body no longer, that I experience the Christ/Self within that unites physical and divine.  This is a tall order, for I have traveled far into oblivion.  But I would reverse that direction today, to know You as my Creator and Sustainer.

Be with me as I seek to live a calm and tranquil life, but one with happiness and joy.  You know that I need aliveness and vitality, and the union of physical/divine in the Christ/Self can bring all these blessings to me.  Thank You.

Amen.

True Meaning of Love

“Your faulty memory has caused you to believe love can be used to keep you safe, to make you happy and bind to you those you choose to love.  This is not the case, for love cannot be used.  (A Course of Love, 9.3)”

Affirmation:  “May I come closer to understanding love today.”

Reflections:

1 – Bind Closest?

Many of us subscribe to a definition of love that is not unlike what Jesus has said in this passage, by implication, as incorrect.  But when we look at the conclusion of the passage, that “love cannot be used,” then we more readily agree.  We know that sometimes, even when we have studied the Bible, A Course in Miracles, and A Course of Love, we still would try to bind closest to us those whom we love the greatest.  Is this really wrong?

2 – Two Solitudes Turned Inward

In the manner in which we do so, yes.  When we bind closely to us those whom we most love, we are all too likely to force those individuals to give up some of their freedom as they “care” for us.  We become greedy, wanting all their time.  And even in this world, two solitudes turned inward, only toward each other, are recognized as being disfunctional.

3 – Free Those Closest to Us

If we remembered correctly, not with a “faulty memory,” we would know that to turn loose our nearest and dearest is the easiest way to bind them to us.  This is not a play on words.  It works.  Only in freedom is love at its finest and best.  Only in freedom do we know what love is at all.

4 – Do Not “Use” Love

We do not actually want to “use” love.  We would not try to do so, if we knew what we were really doing.  And if we try, what we do is counterproductive.

5 – No Coercion

May we turn our nearest and dearest loose into God’s love today, and then when they turn to us, we will know that they turn with full hearts and minds–ready to give love and to accept our love, totally without coercion.

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

I would seek to free my nearest and dearest today, not to find anyone to me by any means that is wrong.  All of us crave freedom, myself among them, and I would not want to be “bound.”  Let us recognize how best to love by giving up all false conceptions.

May our love be true and honorable.  May we leave nobody out of this love.  May we turn to You when in perplexity about love’s rejection.  May You tell us what to do.  I know that You do tell us, for You have told me.  

Thank You.

Amen.

Avoid Assuming Guilt and Misery

“Now you look for one upon whom you can unload your burdens, hoping you can pass your grievances en mass to someone else.  If you succeed through anger, spite, or meanness, you simply take on guilt and withdraw still further into your own misery.  (A Course of Love, 7.12)”

Affirmation:  “May I avoid misery today.”

Reflections:

1 – Unloading Burdens

Sometimes others unload their burdens on us.  This is what happened to me two days ago.  And I could not take it.  I became even more stressed than I already was, from a stressful day.

2 – A Recollection

May I not make this mistake.  I know that for years I did unload my burdens over breakfast, which we enjoyed at a diner.  But that was a mistake, and I know better now.  A Course of Love tells me so.

3 – Turn Inward

So how do we handle burdens?  We turn inward, to the Christ within.  We know that God is within as well, the All, the One of which we are a part.

4 – Sometimes Share Your Problems

This does not mean that we can never share our problems with other people.  This would be taking the passage for today out of context from A Course of Love.  We are in relationship to all others, and it is good that we share.  But not to blame, and not through ill will.  We need to recognize that these negative emotions are not worthy of a child of God.  And such we are.

5 – Alternatives to Dumping on Another

So, share if we must–but not in misery and not in ill will.  If we feel badly, it would be wiser to settle down and read inspirational literature, meditate, or pray.  These are not new ideas, and we know that these ideas work.  All of us know this, for we have followed religious ideas for a long time now.  May we turn aside from the ego.  May we just turn aside from stresses.  We live in a sometimes difficult world, but this world does not have to be difficult when we attract the best to ourselves, and our gratitude for a good life is paramount.

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

As my life lengthens, I become ever more conscious of the need to surrender anew to You each day.  When I do this, my day goes smoothly.  And that is because I feel Your partnership.  It is not because the day is any less stressful.  The things that troubled me before just do not have the power to touch me now.

Be with me on this day.  May I reach out to others to lessen their burdens.  May we join together in trusting the universe to care for us.  You are with us constantly; You are in us.  May this knowledge keep us in the faith today.

Amen.

How to Stop a Bad Day

“An unreturned phone call, a bit of traffic, a harsh word spoken, an unremembered errand–all can be resentments you hold to yourself and refuse to let go.  By the time you begin your day you may hold several of these in your mind, and there you build them into reasons for even further withholding.  Now you have an excuse–or several excuses–for a bad day.  Why should you give anything to anyone when your day has already treated you so badly?  You withhold even a smile, because you have chosen grievances over love.  (A Course of Love, 7.11)”

Affirmation:  “May I have a good day today.”

Reflections:

1 – Personal Experience

We know when our day has gotten off to a bad start.  Last night I had had stress in the day, and then I got home and found more stress, for stress had impacted my home life as well, in my absence.  I needed just to get quiet.  But I allowed my ego to take over my life momentarily, and I did not act well, the way that I know is best.

2 – Stress

This morning I awoke with a fresh start.  At first I did not even remember what had happened last night that was bad.  But, regrettably, I searched my memory until I did remember the stress of the previous evening.  Bad mistake!  This was enough to start the day off badly.  A day that I was about to rue.

3 – Begin the Day Again

But now I have settled down to write about A Course of Love, and, lest I feel like a hypocrite, I must put aside the stress and, yes, the grievances, that arose last night, and, to a lesser extent, this morning.  I must begin the day again, as Jesus encourages us to do in A Course in Miracles.  I do not like the way that I am feeling, and so I will start afresh.  And then, as promised, all will be well.

4 – Guilt

Why would any of us cling to a bad day, except out of guilt, a form of madness?  There is no other reason.  Thinking of reasons to be unhappy does not turn around unhappiness, nor does it ensure that we will make amends for our poor thoughts and behavior.

5 – Start Over

The only way to get around a bad day is to start over, a feat that can happen at any time.  And Jesus has recommended this practice in ACIM.  Surely the same technique will work, now that we are considering A Course of Love.

6 – A Good Day without Guilt

Be quiet.  Be tranquil.  Pray.  Even meditate, if this helps.  The only thing standing between us and a good day is our sense of guilt.  And we are not perfect, nor, we find later on in A Course of Love, is perfection required of us.  We are human and divine; let us look to the divine within to solve our dilemmas.  And then just let the grievances drop away.  Forgiveness of ourselves and others was our function in A Course in Miracles.  Let us return to those statements, and live a better day from now on out.

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

If I begin each morning with the affirmation, spoken to You, “I turn myself over to You,” then I am well prepared for anything that might happen, anything that might seem to give me a bad day.  Even the so-called “bad” things do not faze me as they would if I had not said to You, “I belong to You.”

We have plenty of helpers on the Other Side, and plenty of helpers in this world, as well.  Try to keep a good mood going, and the day will seem much, much better.  How to keep a good mood going?  I need to lighten up before You.  And then I know that You will handle everything else.

Amen.

Grievances

“A grievance is something you have chosen for yourself, a piece of a relationship separated off and held in contempt and righteousness.  You are unaware that you choose this form of withholding, sometimes dozens or even hundreds of times a day.  (A Course of Love, 7.11)”

Affirmation:  “May my grievances disappear in the light today.”


Reflections:

1 – We Are Guilty of Grievances

We do still hold grievances against our brothers and sisters.  And we do not always recognize this.

2 – When Not Angry

Surely we do recognize our grievances when we are angry, and when anger leads to attack.  But this outcome is not always present, and with milder reactions, we may not even recognize that at the heart of our discontent is a persistent grievance.  We hold things against others, and they against us, and, all in all, this makes for a mess.

3 – When Mood Drops

We would not live such constricted lives today.  We need to ask for help all through the day, anytime that our mood drops.  It is very likely that the depressed feeling is because we are holding something against somebody, even against ourselves.  Our guilt has taken over in this cases.  And even when the guilt is not evident, it is there.

4 – Ask for Help

We would not live this way.  Ask God for help, ask your Self for help, for the Christ within can solve all such interpersonal problems.  We do not ever need to hold tightly to grievances.  To do so is to invite the strength of the disreputable ego to return.

And we would not have that.

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

I sometimes feel down when it is not apparent to me why this is so.  Maybe it is, as today’s passage indicates, because I am unconsciously holding a grievance against someone.  Even when I am not angry.  This unconscious “down” feeling is evidence that I am withholding love from someone, perhaps even myself, and perhaps my significant others.  May I turn aside from this poor behavior.  May I love with a depth that I have never experienced before.

I would invite loving feelings only today.  I would pray for help to You in solving any problems that arise, wait in patience for Your answer (which will not be long in coming), and then walk a green earth again.

I long for the depth of loving feeling that only You give me.  Be with me today as I sense Your felt Presence.

Amen.

The Christ/Self Avoids Bargains with God

“Rejoice that there is something in this world that you will not bargain with, something you hold sacrosanct.  This is your Self.  Yet this Self that you hold so dear that you will never let it go is precisely what you must be willing to freely give away.  This is the only Self that holds the light of who you are in truth, the Self that is joined with the Christ in you.  (A Course of Love, 7.7)”

Affirmation:  “May I freely ‘give away’ my Self today.”

Reflections:

1 – Human / Divine

We are meant to be both giving and receiving human beings, human and divine in one in our Self.  This Self is the Christ within.  We need to be careful, lest our ego, still present, has a field day with this idea.  We can easily slip into grandiosity, inflated notions of ourselves, and that would only strength the egoic notions that we have held for eons.

2 – Give the Self Away

There is something better for us.  We can give ourselves away to others, constantly, because we are receiving constantly.  This is the way that our union of the human and the divine in the Christ within is supposed to work.  And in the giving and receiving with our brothers and sisters, we will know joy, for we will be accomplishing what God has ordained that we do.

3 – Christ/Self Is Not Blasphemy

This Self does take some understanding.  We are not accustomed to thinking in these terms.  We think that to say that Christ is within us, the Self is within us, is the height of blasphemy.  Yet it is not.  Jesus indicated while on earth that he had nothing that we did not also.  Yet he had walked the whole pathway, and we are just beginning.  Yes, our egos have been weakened, but not dispelled, and we would do well to depend mightily upon the power of God to do for us what we cannot accomplish for ourselves.  Jesus will be with us also, in some ineffable way that we ourselves cannot understand, but which I take as a promise.  Jesus said in A Course in Miracles that he would come with “one unequivocal call” and he recommended that, if it would help us, we imagine that he is holding our hand, saying that this will be no “idle fantasy.”

4 – The Self Is Inexhaustible

Let us take Jesus at his word as we seek to give to our brothers and sisters today.  We can give and give, because the Self is inexhaustible.  We do not have to worry that we will burn ourselves out, for this is no sacrifice being asked of us.  This is pure love.

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

May I give myself away today, certain that I am inexhaustible–as I give, I receive.  And may I think it not blasphemy to know that the Self is the Christ within.  May I see glimpses of this Self today.

Be with me all day long, as I try to walk the path that You would have me walk.  Help me to own my power, and to cooperate with You in guidance.  You do not mean for me to be a passive creature, pushed around as a puppet.  We are partners in guidance, and I seek and am certain that You will see that I find.

Thank You for this glorious day.  May all of us find You, but each in his/her own time.

Amen.

Where Is Heaven?

“Think about this now–for how could heaven be a separate place?  A piece of geography distinct from all the rest?  How could it not encompass everything and still be what it is:  home to God’s beloved son and dwelling place of God Himself?  It is because God is not separate from anything that you cannot be.  It is because God is not separate from anything that heaven is where you are.  It is because God is love that all your relationships are holy, and from them you can find the way to Him and to your holy Self.  (A Course of Love, 6.19)”

Affirmation:  “Heaven is here, when I choose for it to be.”

Reflections:

1 – Heaven = Here / Now = Choose God’s Peace

Heaven is not a piece of real estate off somewhere in the skies.  Heaven is here and now, when we choose God’s peace.  A Course in Miracles says that here in this world we will not be without limitations, but with the help of the Holy Spirit, we will rise above misfortune and know heaven on earth.  A Course of Love makes the same point here, except that in back of the statement is the idea that Christ-consciousness will grant us knowledge of the right way to go to create heaven.  God is here with us, and we would do well to remember this throughout the day.  How can one fume and fret, when he/she knows that God is within, righting all the wrong that we look upon?  And we know also that that wrong will be created anew when we seek Christ in the faces of all of our brothers and sisters.  This Christ is the unifying Self, the one that can see both human and divine (an ACOL tenet).

2 – Relationships

As with ACIM, A Course of Love indicates, declares, that our relationships are meant to be holy, and it is through our relationships that we will find our way home.  Pray today for the grace to belief this reassurance.

3 – Holy Day

And see if the day does not turn holy indeed.

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

May I do what You would have me do to create heaven on earth today.  May I love my brothers and sisters with an ever-deeper love, and may I not forget that I too must love myself, to have anything to give to others.  May my sense of self-esteem partake not of the ego, but of the spirit.  And when self-esteem is of the spirit, all is well.

Be with me today as I walk through this day in peace and joy.  If there are challenges to my day, let me realize that there are no challenges when we are trying to be teachers of God.  And all of us are teachers as well as students of God.

May today be good.  May I do for others what they need, especially those who are my significant others.  And may Your peace fill my heart with joy.

Amen.

In Peace Create the World Anew

“Creation becomes the new frontier, the occupation of those too young to rest, too interested in living still to welcome the peace of dying.  Those who could not change the world one iota through their constant effort, in peace create the world anew.  (A Course of Love, 6.17)”

Affirmation:  “I would create the world anew in peace today.”

Reflections:

1 – Our Vocation

What a glorious vocation this passage elucidates!  We are to create the world anew, in peace but not effort.  What we will change permanently will indeed come effortlessly.  And in peace.  Our effort could not make this change, but our peace will do so–not in the future, but here, now.

2 – Edgar Cayce

I welcome the continued chance to make a difference.  I am personally not ready for death.  According to Edgar Cayce, many of us came to earth to make a difference in the lives of those who were trapped, without hope, in physicality.  We do not, with ACIM, take a stand on reincarnation, but since all time is an illusion, we do not need to feel that reincarnation is an issue.  We certainly do have this one life to live, and we can spend all of our days, in peace, with the hope and desire that others will live better lives because we have been here with them.  This indeed is our function of salvation, and we do live this function in conjunction with happiness.  God takes care of us, in unity with Him and in relationship to others.

3 – Effortless Work

When we desire peace, we sometimes think that death would be a welcome option.  But we still have effortless work to do here on this earth.  And death is nothing; it is like walking through an open door (from Ruth Montgomery’s Guides).  So do not long for death when the world turns difficult.  Put one foot in front of the other, and walk.  We will walk through the difficulty, so long as our thought and feeling processes remain good.  For this is the world that we make.

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

I would have a good day today, an effortless day of work that will improve the world–indeed, that will create it anew.  What a glorious promise You have made to us!  It gives a motivation for living, a goal toward which we can all look–but without the ego making of anything a challenge.  Just effortless work.  Thank You!

Be with me as I seek to smooth the way for others today, and in so doing may I also smooth the way for myself.  As I treat others, I will be treated.  To give and to receive are one.  Be with  me as I seek to live this truth today.

Amen.

THE GIFT CALLED GUIDANCE

Published in Miracles for November/December 2012 (publisher Jon Mundy).

by Celia Hales

A Course in Miracles would have us defer to the Holy Spirit in our decisions.  This guidance is true, and it does not always have to be constant in our lives.  But it can be.  Let me explain.

“Does this mean that you cannot say anything without consulting Him?  No, indeed!  That would hardly be practical, and it is the practical with which this course in most concerned.  (M71)”

Jesus goes on in this passage to recommend consulting with the Holy Spirit in the morning, asking for the His guidance when it is feasible to do so, and then thanking Him at night.  In other passages throughout the Manual, though, Jesus goes further in recommending that we turn over our decisions increasingly to the Holy Spirit.  He speaks of this need particularly in regard to judgmental thinking, which he indicates that accuracy is impossible for us, because we do not know all the facts–past, present, and future–that impinge on a given decision.  If Jesus really means this (and I feel certain that his words are very intentional), how might we turn our decisions, especially our judgments, increasingly over to the Holy Spirit?  How do we know when the Holy Spirit is speaking to us?

My own reflections over the years of studying ACIM have evolved from a primary dependence upon feelings, or intuition, to a broader recognition that the aspects of life that we cannot get out of our minds may be the Holy Spirit speaking to us.  Here is a 10-point list with some commentary of the ways that I have discovered guidance acting in my life.  Do not take anything unto yourself unless it finds a place in your heart.

1 – Listening in Prayer.  The “listening” time of prayer is the best way that I believe that I receive guidance.  I am careful, though, not to forget that my own desires may interfere with what I “hear,” and that I may make a mistake.  Many have said that God speaks in the silence, and I think this is an appropriate way to seek His Will.

2 – Keep a Prayer Log.  In the early eighties the spiritual writer Catherine Marshall recommended keeping a prayer log, very specifically, with prayers listed succinctly and then the answer, when it was received, recorded and dated.  I followed this recommendation for the remainder of the eighties and into the nineties, and I found it very, very useful.  (Probably I should return to this practice.)

3 – Intuitive Advice.  In daily life I receive guidance through a feeling that I ought to take a given course of action.  “Feeling” is akin to intuition, but that is not the whole of it, I think.  I believe that our minds, our intellects, frequently interfere with receiving the Holy Spirit’s messages, and that the Holy Spirit finds it easier to reach us through our emotions, our feelings.

4 – Intrusive Words.  Sometimes I am able to be in a spirit of inspiration, and, much as if I were writing without being sure what I would say next, words come into my mind from my unconscious that suggest a given pathway.  I do not actually hear a voice; it is my own thinking, but it also seems to be a bit beyond me.

5 – An Inner Knowing.  Quiet times may bring forth an inner knowing of how to proceed in a matter that is troubling us.  This is non-verbal, akin to hearing the Holy Spirit in our innermost hearts.  This “knowing” without being able to verbalize “how” we know is powerful stuff.  I think that it is certainly one of the most potent forms of guidance.

6 – Journaling.  Writing out our struggles in a journal is a way to invite the Holy Spirit’s input.  I try to let my conscious mind die down and to invite thoughts from my deepest spirit.

7 – Dreams.  In especially faithful times, we may have a dream that appears vivid and suggests the next step for us in our life.  Certainly dreams and visions are important ways in which God spoke to His people in the past, as recorded in Scripture.  I have had two significant “warning” dreams in my life that I still recall vividly.  The dreams came when I was contemplating a pathway that I now realize would not have been healthy for me.

8 – Agitation.  Occasionally in my life I have become severely agitated when I was walking along a given pathway.  I have come to see such agitation as evidence from the Holy Spirit that I am walking the wrong way.

9 – Visions.  Many years ago, when I was 25, I had a series of nighttime hallucinations, or visions, that became important to me in setting the pathway for my life.  Perhaps there was a reason that this gift came at an early age.  The visions have not recurred.

10 – Signs.  Signs are welcomed by many, but I would caution against too much an emphasis here, because it is very easy to twist signs around to mean anything that we want.  (Jesus says in ACIM that we can twist symbols around.)

I have not followed blindly.  Jesus would not have us check our minds and spirits at the door.  I have tested out my perceived guidance, and that is how I have found it true.  I invite you to do the same.  Intuition is a right-brain activity, and, as such, it does not respond well to our timetables.  We may need to present a question to the Holy Spirit, and then go about our day in full confidence that the answer will come when the matter has retreated from the forefront of our minds.  Present a problem or question, and then let go.  Trust the Holy Spirit to make His will known to us.  He will not fail.

In my twenties I heard a very dynamic preacher of the gospel speak on the topic of guidance.

He stressed, “I have known people at the end of their lives who said, ‘I knew that God was telling me to do that.  But I didn’t do it, and I regret it.'”

He went on, vehemently, “I have never known anyone to say, at the end of their lives,  ‘I knew that God was trying to get me to do that, and I did it, and I regret it.'”

Jesus may be commenting on the same guidance when he says the following in the Manual, in a passage that is comforting in the extreme:

“Do not, then, think that following the Holy Spirit’s guidance is necessary merely because of your own inadequacies.  It is the way out of hell for you.  (M70)”

By this statement, I think that ACIM is telling us that we make our own hells on earth.  Listening to the Holy Spirit with increasing frequency shows us the way out of our self-made hells.  I believe that in fact there is no limit to how the Holy Spirit speaks to us,  for our God is not a limited God in any way.  He will find a way to get through to us.  He asks only that we try to discern.  If we miss the first glimmering of guidance, God will bring the same message to us in yet other ways until we get the message.    Remain flexible.  Learn to turn on a dime.  Following the Holy Spirit in this way is joyous.  It is the enlightened way to live, even before we know the Awakening that the Course holds out to us.  As A Course in Miracles makes clear, there can be no better way to live, in the time of the Holy Spirit,  than in following the guidance of Universal Inspiration.

I once read, “Why beseech heaven for a miracle one would not recognize at high noon?”  After actively seeking guidance, we are perhaps in the right frame of mind, for the first time, to recognize miracles when they occur.

Peace = Enjoyment of Rain and Sun Alike

“How can I make peace attractive to you who know it not?  The Bible says, ‘The sun shines and the rain falls on the good and evil alike.’  Why then do you think that peace is endless sunshine?  Peace is merely enjoyment of the rain and sun, night as well as day.  Without judgment cast upon it, peace shines on all that you would look upon, as well as every situation you would face.  (A Course of Love, 6.16)”

Affirmation:  “I would find peace today, regardless of circumstances.”

Reflections:

1 – Tranquility in Tough Times

This passage may be a new idea for us.  Peace can be found even when there is rain in the forecast.  And rain is a metaphor.  Any difficult situation can be the impetus to pray for the tranquility that we seek, and we can rest assured that the tranquility will come.

2 – “Perfectly Calm and Quiet” Good?

Many of us live in parts of the world that have seasons around the year.  We enjoy the variations in climate, the heat, the cold, and the in between.  So it is not surprising that we turn aside from the injunction in A Course in Miracles that says that being “perfectly calm and quiet” all the time is what we are headed into, when we accept ACIM‘s teachings.  We are not used to calm and quiet all the time.

3 – Judge Not the Negative

We do not have to fear peace in whatever form it comes to us in this world.  So long as we do not judge the negative, we will be alright..  We may wish mightily to change the negative into something better, but we do not have to judge it to make a change.  The peace that we will find, the calm and quiet, will have variations in affect.  We do not have to make drama, but we will sometimes find it.  But it is for ourselves to seek the peace without the drama, being ever mindful that we can live peaceably amid the chaos.

4 – Being with Our Brothers/Sisters

May we be with our brothers and sisters today when we see that difficulties of “rain” are occurring.  Others need us, and it is up to us to rush to their side with aid, but only to the extent that the aid is welcomed.  We ought to avoid “helping” when our help is not desired or wanted.  We then withdraw, and wait for a more propitious time.

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

Today let me know when to feel peace.  The optimal is always, but of course we are all human, and this likelihood is slim prior to Awakening.  May we enjoy both the rain and the sun, the things that cry for improvement, as well as the joys.  And may we thank You for the variation in our lives that lead us farther along the way to You.

May I help my brothers and sisters who need help.  May I be a comfort to them.  And may I too feel Your comfort when I am anxious or depressed.  We all then need You more than anything else.  And the blessing is that You are her for us, even when we are too agitated to take notice.  Let us take notice today, even in our agitations.

Amen.

Relationship = the Truly Real

“You must forgive reality for being what it is.  Reality, the truly real, is relationship.  You must forgive God for creating a world in which you cannot be alone.  You must forgive God for creating a shared reality before you can understand it is the only one you would want to have.  (A Course of Love, 6.1)”

Affirmation:  “I would share my reality today.”

Reflections:

1 – Withdrawal

Sometimes, when life turns bad for us, we seek to withdraw.  We want to be alone, sometimes because we blame others for what seem to be our troubles.

2 – We Made Our Own Reality

This is a false reaction.  Others did not make the reality in which we live.  We did.  We drew what we see to ourselves, and thus we are in relationship to it.  We cannot improve this false reality as long as we see ourselves separate from it, sitting in judgment.

3 – Unity and Relationship

We do want to be with others, in unity as One and in relationship one to the other.  This is the only way that we can understand our world.  We are meant to be a part of this shared reality, a part of the love that we can offer to ourselves (first), and then to our brothers and sisters.

4 – Not Meant to Be Alone

We are not meant to be alone.  And when we withdraw into isolation and solitude, in the long term, we react amiss.

5 – Cooperation Necessary

We truly cannot be alone in this world.  Sometimes others seem to get into our “business, and we just want to withdraw.  But a new world requires cooperation with others.  And it is a new world that we would see.

6 – The Real World

Here we get a greater understanding, in this passage, of what Jesus did not fully elucidate in A Course in Miracles.  What is the real world?  It is the world of relationship, of joining with all that is (an ACOL tenet).

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

I thank You that today I do not want to withdrawn, for I am truly grateful for a world filled with other people.  We are in this together.  We all need each other.

May I do my part to see that our relationships in this world are good and joyous.  May today go well, always following Your guidance.  And knowing that You would not have us to be alone.

Amen.

This World Can Be Heaven

“You think that to come in contact with violence is to have a relationship with it.  This is not so.  If this were so, you would be joined to all you come in contact with and the world would be heaven indeed, as all you see became blessed by your holiness.  That you move through your world without relating to it in any way is what causes your alienation from the heaven it can be.  (A Course of Love, 5.31)”

Affirmation:  “I would see heaven in this world today.”

Reflections:

1 – Violent World Overcome

We who try to live good lives would make a difference in this violent world if we were truly in relationship to all of it.  This is not a grandiose belief, unless this belief is viewed through the ego’s eyes.  We can make a difference, but we at this point are not in relationship to all.  And that is what is causing the problem.

2 – Make a Different World

If we truly turned aside from violence of any kind, we would make a different kind of world, a heaven in this world.  That is what the passage is saying.  And we would be blessed, along with all the world.

3 – Extend Love

But we turn aside from having any relationship with those who perpetrate violence, by denouncing violence in them.  We do not extend our love to fellow human beings who are struggling, trying to do the best they can, even though we don’t think what they are doing is very good.  We must see other people as the brothers and sisters that they are.  And then we will see real change happening on earth.

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

I would reconsider my attitude toward those in this world who do violent things.  I have so often wanted to turn off the radio when the news is on, for the violence being reported is overwhelming and, oh, so disturbing.  This is a way that I denounce violence, by refusing to listen to it.  

Instead, I would send a prayer abroad and in this country, that violence might be dispelled.  In my own life, I would turn aside from any kind of verbal violence or verbal attack, because, just like the ones who perpetuate real violence in the world, at such times that I verbally attack, I am feeling anger–just as they are.

I would not directly resist, for I am not in the military service.  But I would gently, very gently, just turn aside from violence that I hear about, giving it no credence.  Misguided people need our understanding.  If religious people do not offer understanding, to whom can the misguided turn?

Amen.

Relationships = All that Are Real Here

“God is known to you within relationships, as this is all that is real here.  God cannot be seen in illusion nor known to those who fear him.  (A Course of Love, 5.30)”

Affirmation:  “Thank You for my relationships.”

Reflections:

1 – Our Way Home

Here we confront the idea of relationship and its pivotal place in our lives when we follow both A Course in Miracles and A Course of Love.  It is our brother (or sister) from whom we learn the way back to God, when we follow ACIM and ACOL.  Relationships are our way home.

2 – Contemplation Not Required

We do not have to spend long hours in contemplation, for this is tedious (from the Manual of ACIM).  Others who do follow contemplation will find their way back also, but why would we seek a pathway that is different from the way that we are following?  Why seek and seek and seek, only to be led in circles?

3 – Unity and Relationship

Our way, if we choose ACIM and ACOL as our lodestone, is the unity and relationship that we know in this world.  ACIM stresses relationship, and ACOL adds unity to this equation.

4 – What “Fearing” God Means in ACOL

And we do not “fear” God, if we wish to come home.  The word “fear,” in this context, is different from the “fear of God” that is described so often in the Bible.  The definitions are different.  Here we are talking about having an anxiety about God, a sense that maybe He doesn’t wish us well.

5 – One Unequivocal Call

Do we really believe such, given all that we truly know?  I think not.  We know not to blame God for the condition of our world.  We have made these conditions, and He stands ready to save us from ourselves at any moment.  Jesus is also ready to assist, always.  He says that he will come at “one unequivocal call” (from ACIM).

6 – Mists Evaporate

When we are lost in illusions, in dreams, we do not really see God, and we are likely to be afraid of Him, afraid that we will be found out for misdeeds that seem unforgivable.  But all of this foolishness.  We need to commune with God to the extent that our needs dictate.  And then the mists will evaporate, and we will see the real world–a dream (illusion) no longer.

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

I would know no fear or anxiety, because I would find my way Home to You in my relationships.  Thank You for my nighttime dreams as well as my daytime ones.  All are good and welcome in helping me to find my way back to You.

We need our relationships to live well in this world.  We are never meant to live in too isolated a fashion.  Thank You for the friends and family whom I have.  We are One with you, in union with each other and in relationship that blesses all of us.

Amen.

Overcoming Terror

“For every joining, every union that you enter into, your real world is increased and what is left to terrify you decreased.  This is the only loss that union generates, and it is a loss of what was merely illusion.  (A Course of Love, 5.28)”

Affirmation:  “May my real world increase today.”

Reflections:

1 – Definition of the Real World

Ah, the real world!  This was the blessing that we often did not understand in A Course in Miracles, and here the concept is made clear.  We see the real world in snatches, and as we enter into union with all that exists, we see more and more of the real world, and this happens more and more often.  The real world is what God created, not what we made.  And from here, the real world, it is but a step into Awakening (as A Course in Miracles says), or Christ-consciousness (as A Course of Love says).

2 – Little Terror

We will not spend so much of our time in terror.

3 – Fear, Terror, and Anxiety

Perhaps we don’t realize how much terror we actually experience.  We often just call it “anxiety,” and we know, when we have studied ACIM, that anxiety is a form of fear.  And that fear and love, in their various manifestations, are the only two emotions.  We would not walk this world, even this world that we made, in terror.  God would not have us give Him a bad day.  Of course, we do not know that God has entered our illusion with us.  Perhaps I am anthropomorphizing.  But certainly we do know that we are quite capable of giving ourselves and our loved ones, and, indeed, all those we encounter, a bad day if we are lost in dreams of terror.

4 – God with Us

Drop such nonsense immediately.  Terror is not worthy of a Son/Daughter of God.  And terror is so unnecessary.  God is with us, always.  And when we turn a difficulty, no matter how difficult, over to God, we will know peace.

5 – Terror Easily Given Up with Union with Others

Try it today, if chance should bring something that terrorizes you.  Be glad that the fear is so easily given up.  I can assure you that, once surrendered to God, the terror will subside, and once again you will walk a green earth.  This assurance is extended to all forms of difficulty.  And we are at peace again, regardless of what swirls around us.

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

I would join with all whom I see today, in union to overcome the terrorizing that this world inculcates in me.  This is a terrifying world, unless we have the wherewithal to turn to You.  And then You make all things right again.

Be with me as I seek to join in union with all today.  Especially my significant others, and all from my past and future, as well.  Help all of us to find You in everyday life.

Amen.

Dedicate Your Thought to Union

“Dedicate your thought to union.  When senseless thoughts fill your mind, when resentments arise, when worry comes, repeat the thought that comes to open your heart and clear your mind:  ‘I dedicate all thought to union.’  (A Course of Love, 5.20)”

Affirmation:  “I dedicate all thought to union.”

Reflections:

1 – One

We are all One.  Everything is One.  For God is one, and the All is He.

2 – Differences

We think of union, most of all, in regard to other people with whom we are particularly close.  But we don’t often realize that the union that we seek is also aware of differences.  And we blame others, for they are different from ourselves.

3 – The All

Jesus would not have us think this way.  We are in relationship one to another, but this relationship is a relationship of “sameness.”  We would do well to consider how alike we are to other people–indeed, how alike we are to all in God’s creation.  We made this world, but it often reflects a heaven on earth when union with the All has been accomplished in us.

4 – Unity and Relationship

Let us ask today for the union that we all need, whether or not we are aware of it.  This union (in relationship) is a keynote of A Course of Love.  When we have mastered this concept, we will not need to learn much more.

5 – Rise Above Difficulties

If we dedicate our thought to a desire to understand union, we will rise above.  We will know joy.  And God Himself will be glad that His children are once again communicating with Him.

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

I would indeed dedicate my thought to union today.  I would see my brother and me as One, along with You and everyone else.  Help me to hold this one thought foremost in my mind, and I will be well on the road to a good day.

In union, we are One.  With You, we are the All.  And we are in union with everyone and everything, and we are also in relationship to other people and things, celebrating our differences, but still in union.  While these concepts may seem difficult at first, I know that they are simple but profound ideas.  Help me to teach them well.

Thank You.

Amen.

A Full Heart

“Your heart becomes full only through relationship or union.  A full heart can overshadow a full mind, leaving no room for senseless thoughts but only for what is truly real.  (A Course of Love, 5.19)”

Affirmation:  “May my full heart overshadow my mind today.”

Reflections:

1 – No Senseless Thoughts

Jesus lets us know, right in the beginning of A Course of Love, that we have let the mind run rampant.  We are overshadowed by the mind’s activities in many cases.  This needs to end.  The heart does not need the same “proof” as the mind, in concert with the ego, often seems to require.  The heart and the ego are antithetical to each other.  And so we can safely leave the ego aside, not in a rigid rejection (which would only make things worse, for the ego is strong in strife when resisted).

2 – Wholeheartedness

The heart, according to Jesus in ACOL, is where we come close to the fullness that we need, without interference from the mind.  Later on, we will see that Jesus is not denigrating the mind, because what he really wants is for us to join the mind and heart in “wholeheartedness,” a state of wholeness from which we are to live out our lives.

3 – The Mind Leads Astray

All to often we struggle, when the mind is in ascendancy.  The ego just does not wish us well, and the mind is its home.  When we come from the heart, we are better able to function well.  We don’t get so tangled up.

4 – Mixed-Up Thinking

So often we get lost in the senseless thoughts that this passage indicates.  We worry; we fret; we imagine “what it”–and all for naught.  For what purpose do we get ourselves all mixed up?  It is a waste of our talents, a waste of our lives.

5 – Pray

But we don’t have to remain “stuck” in this mire.  We can find a way out.  Pray from the depths of hearts, and we will know comfort.  We will know joy.  And peace will find a home in our lives once again.

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

May I spend another good day with You.  There is so much to be thankful for in this marvelous world, when we don’t let the ego rule, and we don’t dip into depression because the ego has, once again, misled us.

Be with my significant others today.  May I have the energy and wisdom to do for them what they need to have me do,

Amen.

Joining = End of Illusion = Beginning of the Real

“What you join with becomes real.  As you take it into yourself you thereby make it real because you make it one with your real Self.  This is reality.  All you do not join with remains outside and is illusion, for what is not one with you does not exist.  (A Course of Love, 5.17)”

Affirmation:  “I would join today with that which is one with my real Self.”

Reflections:

1 – Fool’s Gold

This passage is a further elucidation of what was discussed in the passage posted yesterday.  “What you join with becomes real.”  We need to join with all that is laudable, and we need to refrain from joining with those things that appear shiny to the ego.  We need not to resist those things that satisfy the ego, for to resist is to make stronger in our concepts.  We just need to turn aside, and not give feeling, to those shiny objects of what is fool’s gold, not real gold.  The material is often only fool’s gold.

2 – Material Blessings

This statement does not mean that God does not want us to have material blessings.  He does indeed, and He will move to help us to acquire material things when we have so worked with our minds that we attract what we wish for.  But we must realize that the material, being outside of ourselves, is not real.  It cannot be brought within us, and joined with, and that is why the material is not ultimately satisfying.  We need the love, joy, harmony, tranquility–all of which are intangible and thus can be brought within ourselves, and there “joined with.”

3 – Perfectly Calm and Quiet

This interpretation means that we assent to the “perfectly calm and quiet” goal that Jesus would have us reach (from A Course in Miracles).  It means, in the words of Eckhart Tolle (The Power of Now and A New Earth), that we no longer seek for drama in our lives.  Drama is distracting, and also very satisfying to the remnant of the ego that will always be a part of ourselves.  (The ego will not be destroyed, because we made it, but it will be deemphasized into insignificance.)

4 – Intangibles of God

Let us seek for the intangibles of God today, and join with those intangibles within our heart, our Christ within, our love within.  Then love has truly done its best to make us ready for Christ-consciousness.

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

I would feel tranquility today.  I would turn aside from anxiety, regardless of what transpires.  I have this in my power, because of the cause-and-effect power of my thoughts, my mind.  I will “listen” with my heart today.  The heart knows how much better life can be when we do not become embroiled in the egoic.

Help me to leave anxiety behind from this day forward.  I do know what to do; I just have to implement.  I know what to do because You have shown me.  And Jesus has given words to Your Wisdom.

Amen.

See the Real World Truly

“To look inward at the real world requires another kind of vision:  the vision of your heart, the vision of love, the vision of the Christ in you.  (A Course of Love, 5.15)”

Affirmation:  “I would see with my heart today.”

Reflections:

1 – A Vision of the Heart

When we see the real world truly, we have seen the vision of our heart.  When we have walked farther enough along Jesus’s indicated pathway inward to God, we also know that we are viewing the Christ, the Self, within.  And we are feeling love.  Mind and heart will ultimately be joined into what Jesus terms “wholeheartedness.”  And then the ego’s reign will be over.  The heart will have made a tremendous contribution to this withering away of the ego, for the heart does not ask for proof in the way that the mind does.  The heart simply “knows,” and in this knowing is something different and more profound than the perceptions of the mind.

2 – Further Explanation of the Real World

It is a great blessing to have a further explanation of the real world.  I had personally been confused by this concept, and I struggled to understand what Jesus meant when he described the “real world” in A Course in Miracles.  Of course, struggle is always ill-advised, but that did not stop me.   I was wrongly using my mind to understand something that could only be understood by my heart, a point that Jesus seems to consider in ACOL.

3 – A Vision of Love, of the Heart, of the Christ Within

May we all have a vision of love today, a vision of the heart, a vision of the Christ within.  And may we walk farther along the pathway that leads to Christ-consciousness (a concept in ACOL that appears to be equated with the Awakening described in ACIM).

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

I would look within today with my heart and therein see a vision of love.  When I am feeling love, all is well with my little world.  And I feel a tremendous gratitude, when my mind is tranquil.  May my mind and spirit be tranquil today.

May we come to understand what the “real world” is all about.  I would not be lost in misconceptions.  We do not see the real world with our physical eyes; we see with an inward vision, the vision of the Christ/Self within.  May this blessing me bestowed upon me today.

Thank You.

Amen.

Safe, Sure, and Secure World–within You

“Within you is all the world safe, sure, and secure.  No terror reigns.  No nightmares rule the night.  Let me give you once again the difference between what is within and what is without:  within is all that has joined with you.  Without is all that you would keep separate.  Within you is every relationship you have ever had with anything.  Outside of you is all that you have kept apart, labeled, judged, and collected on your shelves.  (A Course of Love, 5.14)”

Affirmation:  “I would choose the real life within me.”

Reflections:

1 – Joining Inside of One’s Self

This “joining” inside of one’s self is a new concept in A Course of Love, not discussed specifically in A Course in Miracles.  We can take within, we know, but often the only world that we observe is the one outside of ourselves–the one we enter to earn a living, to find a mate, to make friends.  But Jesus says here that it is the inner joining that creates the real.  And the real is inside of us.

2 – More Complete Definition of the Real World

This is a more complete definition of the “real world” than A Course in Miracles ever gives.  If we believe that Jesus channeled A Course of Love, perhaps to clear up misconceptions and to lead us farther onward, then this more complete definition of the real world, of reality, is a blessing.  We join with that which we love.  And love is the overriding aspect of A Course of Love.

3 – We Have Judged What Is Outside

We have judged what is outside of ourselves.  And that is where our errors lie.  ACIM did say that we were not to attack, judge, or make plans against contingencies to come (unless the Holy Spirit so prompted us to make plans).  So we have made a mistake (but not a sin) when we have judged.  And the judgment has made happiness impossible for us.  We cannot love those whom we judge.  Oh, we love them sometimes, and we hate them sometimes, but this is not love as Jesus mean the word.  We need to love unconditionally, and in A Course of Love he is trying to teach us how to love unconditionally (an interpretation of ACOL, not stated therein).

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

I would join within today, and with this “within” I will reach outward to my brothers and sisters–and those are all of us.  May this view of the real world satisfy me.

There is no better way to live.  To join with all that we are, and reach outward to all that we see.  Thank You.

Amen.

False Palaces to Love

“You build your banks as well as your museums as palaces to your love and no longer see the golden calves hiding within the palace wall.  (A Course of Love, 5.8)”

Affirmation:  “I would avoid thinking too often of material things today.”

Reflections:

1 – Is This All There Is?

When we long for material things, we may actually draw those material things to ourselves.  But without a strong certainty that God walks with us, the material will turn to ashes and dust in our hands.  We may be happy for a time, in an egoic fashion, but life will catch up with us, and we will ask (as so many have), “Is this all there is?”

2 – Priorities

We will not be lost in an existential crisis if we keep our priorities in order.  And our priorities need to be for the intangibles–love, peace, tranquility, harmony, joy.  Even an atheist can have these values straight, and he/she will be blessed as a result.  I do not believe that God withholds blessings from any of us who are having trouble “believing” in Him.  Jesus welcomes (in the Manual of A Course in Miracles) those of no religion to be teachers of God.  What does he mean by that?  Perhaps “belief” does not mean what we have often taken it to mean.  God surely knows who struggles and who believes easily.

3 – Agnostics / Atheists

I once had a close friend who went on a search for God when she was about 60.  She said, “I didn’t choose not to believe.”  And I, somehow, understood.  She finally found her peace and died shortly thereafter.  God had touched her, even if she did not formally believe in Him.  And He will do the same for any agnostics or atheists in our midst.

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

I ask for things today that do not cost anything–excellent habits of mind and spirit, the felt experience of Your Being, the expression of love to those surrounding me, and over it all, the sense of well being that living in the present, even when times are hard, brings about.

Any of us can live successfully if we are not tied to a negative state of mind, if we have enough trust and hope to believe that the healthy functioning of our minds is not dependent on the material or the lack of pain.  We can ask to be shown how to keep a rational head, informed by guidance.  And we can be shown how to live in the present, which is a key to finding You successfully.

Be with those who are hurting today.  May they know that not only do You care, but also their surrounding friends and family care.  May we do all that you bid us to help one another today.

We are in this together.

Amen.

End the Chaos

“You who have so filled your mind with senseless wanderings and thoughts that think of nothing that is real, rejoice that there is a way to end this chaos.  The world you see is chaos and nothing in it, including your thoughts, is trustworthy.  (A Course of Love, 5.2)”

Affirmation:  “I would turn aside from the chaos of this world.”

Reflections:

1 – Don’t “Resist” Chaos

It would be wrong to “resist” the chaos of this world, for in the resistance, the chaos becomes strong.  The ego is strong in strife.  We need merely to turn aside, gently, to say to ourselves that we long for harmony in our live, and that we choose to avoid chaos.  Then love will work its blessing upon us.

2 – Ego

We cannot trust too much our own thoughts, for the ego has a toehold in us.  The ego is always wrong, for it is a part of ourselves that seeks to live as though God were not real.

3 – God’s Action

And God is very real.  We will know His love when we turn to Him in communion, and when He reaches down (metaphorically) and lifts us up in Awakening, we will be certain that the elevated Self of form has been our “journey without distance” (a quotation from ACIM).

4 – Awakening

This world is not trustworthy because this world is illusory.  This world is a dream that we have bought into.  And the best that we can hope, before Awakening comes, is to dream the happy dreams that the Holy Spirit brings (from the Workbook of A Course in Miracles).  These happy dreams will prepare us further for the Awakening, an Awakening that will come to all of us, though the all-inclusive nature may be a very long time in the future.  We are not to be disheartened by this wait, for God gives blessings to those of us who wait.  His blessings are not limited to any few who believe in Him.  His blessings are also for non-believers, for He would not leave anyone out.

5 – Commune with God

But there is great joy for those of us who commune with God, who communicate with Him.  We have taught ourselves the most unnatural habit of not communicating with our Creator.  And A Course in Miracles and A Course of Love would change all of this unfortunate thinking.

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

Thank You for promising that You will finally reach down and lift me up to Awakening.  This is Your choice, and I would be patient while I wait.  May I do my part, in that I refuse to encourage egoic thinking just by turning aside from such thinking.  I would not resist anything, because resistance makes the ego strong.  The ego is strong in strife.

But the ego is powerless against me when I commune with You.  As I live in the present moment, looking to You for guidance through my intuition, I am assured that this is all that You ask of me.  Your guidance is all that I need, and if I stay true to it, then You will respond at the time You feel is best.

Amen.

Wholly Human / Wholly Divine

“The Christ in you is wholly human and wholly divine.  As the wholly divine, nothing is unknown.  As the wholly human, everything has been forgotten.  Thus we begin to relearn the known as the One who already possesses all.  It is this joining of the human and divine that ushers in love’s presence, as all that caused you fear and pain falls away and you recognize again what love is.  It is this joining of the human and divine that is your purpose here, the only purpose worthy of your thought.  (A Course of Love, 5.1)”

Affirmation:  “Let’s join the human and the divine.”

Reflections:

1 – Christ Is Within

This passage is packed with meaning.  We are the Christ within, but we often do not recognize this, and we do not act on it.  Elsewhere this Christ within is called simply the “Self,” and perhaps this latter term is more acceptable to us.  Later on, in the remaining volumes of A Course of Love, we will hear a great deal of the sustainability of the “elevated Self of form.”  This is where we are headed, a Self that is physically present in this work, in a recognizable physical form–our body.

2 – What We Can Do

In joining the human and the divine, we have made of ourselves what we can do in this world.  It is not unlike what Jesus is credited with doing, and we ought not to feel that we are taking from him when we assert this truth.  Jesus has indicated that there is nothing that he has that cannot also be ours.  We are meant to be equals with Jesus, when we touch the divine within us, within what is actually physical form.

3 – Jesus

Of course, we don’t live in a ethereal body, as I believe that Jesus did in his appearances after the crucifixion (a personal belief, not a tenet of either A Course in Miracles or A Course of Love).  We live in a very physical body, and this body is holy (an ACIM tenet).  We do not have to apologize for being physical, in physical form.  This choice is all part of God’s plan for us.  And His plan was mutually chosen by us and Him, and so we do not have to feel guilty that we fell from grace.  We are as God created us (an ACIM tenet).  The separation has happened only in illusion.

4 – What God Wills

When we join the human and the divine, we will know the love that God wills for us in this world.  We will not put heavy expectations on others to fulfill our longings for love, especially romantic.  We will not make an idol of our beloved.  We will know that only God’s love is that which we actually seek.  And God will be there for us.

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

I ask that You help me to recognize that the human and the divine are One within me, and that I exemplify this union in my relationships to others.  Be with us today as we travel throughout this world.  Help us to exhibit the love that You would have us to show.

Amen.

Inner Life Becomes Fuller

“The world is but a reflection of your inner life, the reality unseen and unprepared for by all your strategy and defenses.  You prepare for everything that goes on outside yourself and nothing that occurs within.  Yet it is a joining that occurs within that brings about the joining of all the world for all the world to see.  This joining of the world within is but your recognition of what love is, safe and secure within you and your brother, as you join together in truth.  (A Course of Love, 4.26)”

Affirmation:  “Love is safe and secure within my brother/sister and me.”

Reflections:

1 – Inner Life

We might ask that our inner life become fuller, because so often we are outwardly focused.  Jesus would have us look within, to the heart, in A Course of Love (and, ultimately to a union of the mind and heart, which he calls “wholeheartedness”).

2 – The Psychic

If our inner life is well-developed, it is very likely (according to A Course in Miracles) that we will “know” things that we have no earthly way of knowing.  There are psychic powers that come to us, and as long as these new powers are not used for self-aggrandizement, all is well.  We need the support of this inner life as we try to navigate a sometimes difficult world.  Despite our best efforts, our minds intrude and attract poor choices, and then we feeling badly and thinking badly.  Jesus would not have this for us; God would not have this for us.  We need to learn to be quiet enough that the inner truths, deep inside, have an avenue for rising forth and touching ourselves consciously as well as others in our circle.  Indeed, we influence the very world itself when we turn to the inner Self for guidance.

3 – Love Is Within

Love is within us, safe and secure, as well as within our brothers and sisters.  We do not have to look far, for we ourselves are Love, in a word reminiscent of the “God is Love” emphasis of the Bible, A Course in Miracles, A Course of Love, and other sacred works.

4 – Love Is a Force

We need to realize that love is a force, that it is not solely an emotion.  We think of romantic love when someone mentions love, but there are many kinds of love, and all are good, wherever the experiences of love are found–as long as we do not harm another person.  We need to be careful with ourselves about this, for we may make mistakes, and reach for love where we are not welcome.

5 – Attract Love

Be with us today as we seek to attract only the love that You countenance.

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

This joining that I would know today is the joining of the inner Self to the outer elevated Self of form.  And this joining also includes everyone, for we are One.  May I come to understand and to recognize the benefits of these understandings today.

Be with me as I seek to reach out to my brothers and sisters in love.  If they are resistant, help me to desist.  You would not have me go where I am not wanted.  Your love will reach to them, when mine cannot.

Amen.