Monthly Archives: December 2012

Admit Your Desire to Rest

“Admit now your desire to rest, a desire that could make you weep and make you wish to sleep an endless sleep.  If you but understood the energy required to keep the world of your illusion in its place, you would understand the rest that will simply come of giving up your need to do so.  (A Course of Love, 12.7)”

Affirmation:  “Rest today.”Renoir-La-Lecture

Reflections:

1 – Exerting Energy

I find the idea interesting that we are exerting energy to keep illusions in place, and that we will feel more rested when we have given up this essentially heartless task.  The world is here, once again, defined as illusion (A Course in Miracles said “dreams”).  We do project our interior to the outside of our seeing eyes.  We make what we view first within.  If hate finds a place in our hearts, we will see a hateful world.  On the contrary, if love finds a place in our hearts, we will view a loving world.  Cannot we see the wisdom in this interpretation?  Cannot we realize that when we see others who are conflicted, we ourselves are at that moment conflicted, and we are conflicted first?

2 – Hugh Prather

Hugh Prather makes the latter point very precisely.  He notes that when he and his wife Gayle see couples in public who need to have something “fixed,” then at that moment the two of them seem to need to have something “fixed” in their normally loving relationship.  How could it be otherwise?  And is not this dynamic something that can be noticed, easily, in daily life?

3 – Fixing the Outer / Inner

When we have drunk too much coffee, are we not prone to pick a fight with our nearest and dearest?  We are too stressed from the caffeine, and we therefore react.  We do not act for no good reason, but we try to fix the outer when the inner has been compromised.

4 – Rest Today

Today would be a good day to decide that we will rest rather than try to prop up the world of illusion by wishing for that which we don’t have.  Just turn inward when stressed, and know that this too shall pass.

5 – Invite Rest

The only way to get rest is to invite it.  And this we do when we stop trying to make this world into something that it is not.

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

I would rest today from my weariness.  I know that I am not nearly as weary as some of my brothers and sisters, but the ego has not yet died in me, and keeping the illusions going has sapped my strength.  I would end this foolishness today.

Thank You for the joy that You have given me today.  I know that the joy comes from You, even as I struggle against egoic impulses.  Be with me as I leave the struggle behind and simply rest.

Amen.

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How to Find Happiness

“God’s will for you is happiness, and of this you can be certain.  To align your will with God’s is but to make this certain state your home.  This is but a wish come true, and when it is all you wish for it will come to be.  And in the granting of this wish will come your rest and the laying down of every heavy burden you have carried.  (A Course of Love, 12.6)”

Affirmation:  “I am grateful for the happiness that I have today.”

Reflections:

1 – Is Happiness a Laudable Goal?renoir-auguste-die-kleine-irene-cahen-danvers-9701659

I have mentioned previously in this blog that I have not always believed that “happiness” was a laudable goal.  I remember encountering a college freshman in my early teaching days who proclaimed without hesitation that “happiness” was her goal.  I did not challenge her, but I did, inwardly, cringe.  I felt that she was missing the mark.  At that time I felt that the only worthy goal was a contribution to society.

2 – Being Unhappy

I still feel that contributions to society are important, but I have also recognized that one who is unhappy in a personal sense will find outward manifestations to caring to be limited at best, ineffectual at worse.  We don’t do so well when we are not joyous, and other people certainly do recognize when we are not joyous.  How can we win over others to a point of view that is negative?  Who wants negative interpretations to rule the day?

3 – Inner Contentment

A Course in Miracles gave several answers to the questions of our function–salvation, happiness, forgiveness.  A closer look at these three, and the interpretations that are given them in ACIM will let us see that these are all one function.  To be believed by others, we can’t espouse one without the others.  Now A Course of Love makes the point that God’s will for us is happiness.  What a joy it is to hear this assertion!  What can we not accomplish when we are happy?  Certainly we can do much more for others when we are contented within ourselves.

4 – The One that All of Us Are

And we are meant to be in a body that includes all others–the One.  We are meant to be in unity and relationship with the All.  And the All most assuredly includes our relationships with any brothers and sisters whom we encounter.

5 – Love of Our Heart

Let us today let the free-flowing thought of our minds touch base with the love of our hearts, and then we will be contented.  And in this contentment is found the germ of happiness that we seek.

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

It is a blessed day indeed when we can live it in a contented, happy fashion.  This does not mean that nothing will go wrong.  Some things may go awry, but we will be able to handle all problems with assurance that they are handled correctly when we live in the light of God’s will.  He wishes for us only the best, and we must reocgnize that He has our best interests in mind always.

May I listen with my heart today.  There is no reason to let the ego rule any longer.  We ought to be getting past this, as far along in A Course of Love as we have come.  May the egoic rule of our mind end, and the more serene message of our heart take over instead.  May today go well.  You would have it so.

Amen.

What Do We Really Seek?

“This Course may seem to have come far astray from what you would have it do, for you are looking for something specific from it, though you know it not.  You are looking for the rest and quiet joy that only comes from love.  You are looking for the safety and security of a loving home, even if it is one only of philosophy  You look for the soft assurance of certainty, not of your mind, but of your heart.  (A Course of Love, 12.5)”

Affirmation:  “peace, serenity, calm, tranquility”

Reflections:vangogh - blossoming almond tree2

1 – Blessings

All of us want the blessings so beautifully mentioned in the passage for today.  Some of us choose to turn aside from the quiet that could come from a genuinely spiritual attitude in life.  And perhaps that is not all wrong.  God is God of the secular, and He does not need our worship (though He does want our communion with Him, according to A Course in Miracles, the Text).  God does not have an ego with which to accept the praise that traditional religion has asked us to give to Him.  But we ourselves do need to be thankful for His generous blessings, and the fact that He is always here for us, even (especially) when we fail to recognize His Presence.

2 – What Do We Want in Life?

Today let us get very quiet within ourselves, and ask in genuine calm if Jesus doesn’t have it right here.  What do we really want in this life?  Jesus mentions rest, quiet joy, love, safety and security, and soft assurance of certainty in our hearts.  Jesus does not mention “success” as the world views success.  Is it not therefore likely that we are amiss when we seek for the successes that this world recognizes?  All blessings in the list are intangibles, even the reference made to “home” is considered to be metaphorical.  If we pray for the blessings in this list, are we not praying in God’s Will?  And will He not grant what is in His Will?

3 – Our Real Will and God’s Are Identical

Remember that our real will and God’s are identical.  He chooses for us what we really want.  But he does give us the free will to reject what He has offered, though He does set limits on our miscreation.  If He did not set limits on our miscreation, we would be lost indeed.  So let us be thankful that we can stray from Him just so far.

4 – Living in a Dream

Pain is the way that, more often than not, we know that we have strayed.  This does not mean that every illness is an indictment from God.  Certainly not.  We live in a world of dreams, and our Selves can choose illness for a myriad of reasons, most often being a way to learn.  Yet we can learn through rewards (an ACIM tenet), and we might spend some time today asking that our pains be reduced and our rewards be increased.  Learning through rewards is lasting, and learning through pain is not.  Sometime, somehow, we realize that there is another way.  And then we are ready to find it.  A Course in Miracles and A Course of Love are two courses that seek to set us on the pathway back to God and all holiness that, in our dreams, we have forgotten.

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

Thank You for the intangibles of rest, peace, certainty of the heart, and the like–intangibles that you have offered to me so freely.  When I seek for success as measured by this world, I often seek amiss.  But Your will is that I have these intangibles that are Your blessings.  When I ask for them, Your giving them to me is assured.  Thank You for the gentleness of Your response.

I would learn through rewards, not pain.  I would choose the way of Jesus, a way which is sure to be lasting.  Pain teaches, but only for a season.  We have to come to know, eventually, that there is another way to live, another way other than encountering pain wherever we look.  I would find that other way today.  And when I do so, I will  not cease to thank You for the joy that You are so desirous to give me.

Amen.

The Reason for Unhappiness

“Yet you must understand that nothing that is not part of God is worthy of joining, nor can join with you.  What you have sought to join with is the reason for your unhappiness.  For you seek to join with what cannot be joined, and you seek separation from all that could be joined with you and all that would fill your dark and lonely places with the happiness you seek.  (A Course of Love, 12.4)”

Affirmation:  “I would join, metaphorically, with all today.”

Reflections:Woman in a Boat - renoir

1 – Joining, Not Separation

The passage for today is obscure, but it is likely that Jesus is referring to our belief in a separated state, and the idea that we can join with special others when we wish, and depart from those same special ones when we wish (from the Manual of A Course in Miracles).  But nothing separated can actually be joined.  We need to, at least tentatively and temporarily, share an idea of Oneness with all.  And then the joining is easy.

2 – Spending Time with God

Jesus is not speaking here of physical joining, though he does speak of this joining elsewhere.  He indicates that this physical means was meant to remind us of our desire to one, not to be separate.  We are meant to be in relationship one to another; we are never meant to spend lives of isolation.  I do not mean for this statement to be controversial.  There are introverts who prefer solitude to the company of others, and shy people sometimes choose solitude also.  There are many religious individuals in religious orders that spend a good bit of time in prayer and meditation, and for these activities they may be alone.  But God is always with us, and He wants our companionship.  The opening pages of the Text of ACIM says that God is lonely when the minds that He created do not commune with Him.  He knows that we have fallen asleep and must be awakened.  And He seeks to do just that.

2 – Joining in Onwness

So, we learn today that joining in Oneness is the intention of God for us.  We are in unity and relationship, a recurrent theme of A Course of Love.  The unity makes us One; the relationship makes us differentiate from one another so that companionship can occur.  We are actually talking with a part of ourselves when we speak to another!  And we would not wish for ourselves a bad day, and so let us be kind and loving, sparing of anger and attack, when we are with others.  Our brothers and sisters deserve this of us.

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

May I never be guilty of choosing isolation from You.  And, except in special and particular times, I would not choose isolation from other people.  Be with me today as I seek to be sensitive to the interpersonal needs of other people, and to share my life with theirs, to the extent that we both desire.

I would thank You for leading me from too much introversion to a blend of being both introvert and extrovert.  I learned years ago that I get along better when I share my life with others, including the personal aspects that previously I kept between myself, my journal, and my God.

We do best when we join with others, not taking the idea of separation so seriously.  Separation, especially the independence that is so prized in our culture, is actually not always wise.  And separation, by itself, is never wise.  

May we seek and find You in the companionship that You would wish to have with us.  May I speak to You often today.

Amen.

Love Welcomed Becomes a Celebration

“What is a dinner party where love is not?  It is merely a social obligation.  But a dinner party where love is welcomed to take its place becomes a celebration.  Your table becomes an altar to the Lord and grace is upon it and the Lord is with you.  (A Course of Love, 11.18)”

 
renoir - luncheon3
Affirmation:  “I would celebrate with love today.”

Reflections:

1 – Dinners Shared

Every dinner that we share with others can be a celebration, however humble the fare.  I have found that the feeling of love greatly reduces and even eliminates anxiety (a major form of fear), and certainly one time that I feel love is when I have prepared a good dinner and want to share it with my beloved.  May you do the same today.

2 – For Those Lacking

We are led to think of those in our world who lack the necessities of life, including nutritious food.  We are led to do what we can,  out of love rather than obligation, for a contribution that is an obligation is not unlike a dinner party that has no love and is just a social obligation (see today’s passage).

3 – At Home in God

When we celebrate with the expression of love, we are at home in God.  We can imagine that He joins us in such celebrations, as Jesus herein tells us.  When we celebrate holidays, there is sometimes a great deal of tension, because our family members carry old wounds that have festered into resentments.  So we are tense, and they are tense, and we just want to get it over with.  I myself come from a small family, and these dynamics were not a part of my experience.  (This is one of my blessings.)  But even where these dynamics are present, a truly loving atmosphere can be encouraged.  Let us never give up on this encouragement.

4 – An Altar to God

Our dinner table becomes an altar to God, for Jesus tells us this.  Certainly this reminds us of the Passover dinner that Jesus celebrated with his disciples before the crucifixion.  Let us remember that Jesus loved deeply, and it is especially instructive that he would use the example of a meal that is filled with love and becomes an altar to the Lord.

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

May my meals today be celebrations with love.  May this humble and everyday occurrence for everyone be the celebration of love that it might be when we think of God.
May I think of those who have needs, and may I in some way seek to assuage that need.  Let us give to those who are without.  And may the love that we have for our loved ones also reach out to those in need in our world.

Amen.

On the Wings of Angels

“It is a call whose answer will come to you quickly on the wings of angels, a fluttering your heart will feel, for angels too are one with you. . . .

This is a call that requires you to do nothing but to remain faithful to it.  You do not need to think about it, but only let it be.  (A Course of Love, 11.16 – 11.17)”

Affirmation:  “May I remain faithful to the call today.”

Reflections:vangog - still  life of flowers

1 – Serenity and Peace

We need to live a serene and peaceful life, for it is this effortless ease with which we truly live or “be.”  We do not have to scurry around trying to accomplish all manner of things, many of which would be misguided.  God guides us every step of the way, for we are in  union with Him.  And angels accompany us, as this passage suggests.

2 – We are One

We are all one together.  Knowing that we are not meant to be separate from God and from others is a great blessing–just the knowingness of this concept.  We do not have to experience dark nights of the soul, though they may come.  Even in the blackest night, though, we can realize that the light dawns at the end of the path, that things will get better.  We can rest in assurance that this is the case.  And we can know that the old adage, “It is darkest just before the dawn,” is true–oh, so true.

3 – The Call

We can answer this call, and we can do so each new day.  This is what being faithful to a call really means (an interpretation, not stated in ACIM or ACOL).  Every new day that we reaffirm our commitment to God and His purposes is a new beginning for us.  And we will know it as the day unfolds.  A good beginning always presages a better chance a a good day all along.

4 – Angels

May the angels that accompany us know that we need their presence in our lives.  It is an ACOL tenet that angels are one with us, and this tenet is comforting indeed.  May we realize that the oneness extends to all.  We are one with everyone whom we have ever known, perhaps especially those who are no longer in our pathway.  We do not know what lies in the future, and of course that is best.  But we can be certain that when we are contented simply to “be,” at least most of the time, the many busy doings of our day will flow smoothly more often than not.

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

May my guardian angels see me through the day.  May I always remember, at least once a day (if not more), to acknowledge their presence in my life.  Though it is difficult to acknowledge someone whom I can’t see, it is the best way to live serenely and peacefully.  May I be serene and at peace today.

We are all One.  May all of us remember this as we seek to head into the next year.

Amen.

A Separated Self Is an Illusion

“You can be faithful to but one thought system.  One is the thought system of the separated self and is based on separation.  The other is the thought system of creation and is based on union.  Your faith in what you have made has been shaken now, and you realize you would like to place your faith elsewhere.  (A Course of Love, 11.6)”

Affirmation:  “I choose union today, with God and my brothers and sisters.”

Reflections:claude-monet-paintings-claude-monet-woman

1 – Separation

We have long believed that we are somehow separated from God because we fell from grace and were expelled from Paradise due to our missteps.  Perhaps we need to take another look at these concepts.

2 – Did We Separate from God?

What if we only thought that we had been rejected by God?  What if we have never really separated from Him at all?  These are the thoughts of A Course in Miracles and A Course of Love.  Our belief in separation is based on the illusion in which we live.  It would be impossible to actually separate from God, but we can imagine that we have done so, and thereby experience what it might be like to be “other than” God.  By such thinking, we recognize, eventually, that we are lost in dreams and that we want to return home.  And home is heaven.  We find ourselves welcomed home as the Prodigal Son was welcomed back by his earthly father.

3 – Union

What does “union” mean in this context?  Union is the consciousness of All That Is, the choice to join with God in knowingness and love, and with our brothers and sisters in knowingness and love.  We are One, and in union we come to see how this can be.  There is no separation among those who love each other.  We will all meet again those in our lives whom we have loved, either on this earth or in the world beyond (from the Manual of A Course in Miracles).

4 – We Have Not Separated

Let us put our fatih in a different place today.  Let us reaffirm that we have not actually left God at all, that this choice would be an impossibility.  But that we think that we have left is very possible, and it goes a long way toward explaining our fears and apprehensions.  We think that He is angry with us for “rejecting” Him, and we cringe in tribulation.  All of this is illusory.

5 – A Better Day

May the faith that we reach today, the turning aside from the separated state and the choice for union, give us a better day–and may this better day be the harbinger of many good days ahead.  Would not Jesus choose this for us?  Yet we ourselves make the choice, and if it is in line with what Jesus would see as best, we are poised for a new tomorrow.

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

I would choose today to place my complete faith in You.  You know my needs, and You care for me.  You will guide me to make the right decisions, in the things that I must do to be safe and loved by those about whom I care so much.  Your way is best.  Your way is actually the only sane response.  May my day go well in Your light.

I would join in union with all today, and with All, meaning You.  May any obsessions about my continued safety drop away before Your grace.

I know that to separate from You would be impossible.  But all of my brothers and sisters do not have this knowledge.  May I reach today those whom You would have me reach with this blessed news of Your constant presence in our lives.

May the day go well.  If I am true to You all the day long, paying attention to the promptings, then this day will be good indeed.  Thank You.

Amen.