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.

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.

Love Cannot Be Taught

“What love is cannot be taught.  Remember that your task here is to remove the barriers that keep you from realizing what love is.  That is the learning goal of this course–your awareness of what love is–and no earthy course can take you beyond this goal.  It is only your willingness that is required.  (A Course of Love, 11.5)”

renoir - womanAffirmation:  “May I love today.”

Reflections:

1 – From ACIM to ACOL

There is a movement in these words of A Course of Love that goes beyond A Course in Miracles, which had as its goal the bestowing of forgiveness of ourselves and others.  While love was certainly not absent from ACIM, the focus was on the mind and the ego, while A Course of Love looks to the heart, and, ultimately, the mind and heart in conjunction with each other.

2 – Intuitive Knowledge

We know intuitively that love cannot be taught.  We experience love, and we experience love most often as a function of the heart, without the involvement of the mind and the intellect.  We love someone, and we don’t know why–we just do.  Our emotions are involved, and the emotions, in our understanding, are heart-sent into our lives.

3 – Heart Is Central

This is why we cannot be taught love, because if we could, the mind would be the central player (an interpretation, not stated in ACOL).  And the mind is not.  We sometimes love in spite of ourselves, though often this is in special relationships.  After they turn, with our help and God’s, into holy relationships, then we come closer to the wholeheartedness that Jesus extols in A Course of Love.

4 – Love at the Center

Do not despair that love cannot be taught, because it can be learned, though perhaps not of the mind.  When we ease up, we are in a better position to allow love to overcome us, to grab us.  And then we have placed love at the center of our being, where love belongs.

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

May I offer love its central place today, in my heart, where love belongs.  I can intellectually choose to love somebody; it doesn’t work that way.  We cannot will love into being, and sometimes we love almost against our will.  

But love we will, for it is crucial to our being, the center of our being.  We may not express that love well, but even the most despised of human beings on our earth have loved, in the limited way that they knew.  Love is like a light that will not be extinguished.  And it is the way that joy comes into our lives.

May we all express love today to those closest to us.  May we receive the love that is offered to us.  And may we express and receive in totality.  You are with us always, and, today, when we need You most, You will be there for us, in love.

Amen.

Effortless Ease

“Even those who feel the power of these words within their hearts and vow to go slowly and carefully through each page and section, giving total dedication to what this text would have them do, are at risk of trying too hard to be earnest rather than simply desiring to learn.  (A Course of Love, 11.3)”

Affirmation:  “May I read ACOL with simple pleasure.”

Reflections:van gogh - house

1 – Trying Too Hard

Jesus seems to be saying that those of us who have studied earnestly are perhaps trying too hard.  He has say elsewhere that there is an effortlessness about salvation, an effortlessness that many of us have never given any credence.  May we give credence to the ease of salvation today.

2 – Learning Mode

In the first volume of the trilogy, we are still in learning mode and have not yet advanced to the observation that will stand us in good stead for the rest of our lives.  We have sought and sought, seeking new and different methodologies, new commentaries on salvation, and Jesus seems to tell us in A Course of Love that we have not recognized when we have actually accomplished what we set out to do.  We just keep seeking, never stopping, never looking inward, but always going to yet another outward source.

3 – A Time to Be Finished Learning

But there is a stopping point.  And Jesus says in the Dialogues of A Course of Love that the time to be finished with learning is now.  This is, however, the third of the trilogy, and now, still, we are in learning mode in this, the first volume.  Perhaps we need to start a bit of practicing for what will follow, to disengage a bit and realize that what we need to learn will come easily, peacefully.

4 – Jesus

Can you imagine Jesus in his life on earth, struggling to understand what he read in the Torah?  I think not.  When he read the scriptures before others, he asserted that this day what he was reading was fulfilled, and he meant “in him.”  This kind of authority, to my eye, is resplendent throughout A Course of Love (and also A Course in Miracles).

5 – Be Glad

Let us listen to the authority of Jesus, and be glad that we do not have to work so hard to learn.  We can just let the words sink in.  And with a grateful heart,, we will come to understand those words.

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

May I read A Course of Love with effortless ease.  Even as I seek, in reading this first volume, to learn precisely what Jesus has to say.  May my days be spent inn effortless ease, as he would also counsel.  His way is not hard, and it is our own ego, not yet withered away, that seeks to have us try to hard.  Our minds get in the way of our hearts.

Help me throughout this day.  May we rejoice in all that Jesus has said in ACOL.  His way is surely easy and peaceful, and he would have us walk a joyful path.

Amen.

Let’s Play Today

“This is not a test and you cannot fail.  You are merely playing:  Play at observing yourself from above.  Can you look down upon yourself?  And can you skip along and get in front to see your body coming toward you?  (A Course of Love, 10.28)”

Affirmation:  “Let’s play today.”

Reflections:

1 – Skip Ahead

The deeper meaning of the passage for today is that time is an illusion (an interpretation, not stated in A Course of Love).  If we can skip ahead of ourselves, and see ourselves coming ahead, then we are in a fantasy about the future, that we are that future, and that we ourselves are coming along on the pathway just as we ought to come.

2 – A Glorious Play

What a glorious play this is!  Can we be sure that we are following along on the pathway that we ought to take?  But is there even a choice?  How much is preordained?  A Course in Miracles says (as does this passage in A Course of Love) that we are merely reliving the past, that the past is like a carpet that will roll up when the end is reached.  If so, it is obvious, at least to me, that Jesus is here playing with this idea a bit further, and encouraging us to do the same.

3 – The End Is Sure

If we can imagine that the end is sure, and that we are caught in an illusion that does not have to be  painful in the least (we choose), then perhaps today is the time to affirm this understanding in the depths of our being.

4 – In a Joyous Frame of Mind

If we skip ahead, and then look back, we are in a joyous frame of mind and spirit and heart.  May we imagine this game for ourselves today.  May we imagine that we see tomorrow and that it is better than today–even if today is pretty good already.  Is this not where Jesus is leading us in A Course of Love?  He would have us, in the third volume of the trilogy (The Dialogues of A Course of Love), join him on the mountaintop, where we will finally know Christ-consciousness in a sustained and elevated Self of form.  This is where we are headed.  Let us take care that the individual steps on our pathway are well-chosen, so that we will be ready for the mountaintop when that time comes.

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

Thank You for this playful exercise today.  May we imagine ourselves ahead of the time which we are in now, and enjoy the pleasures of a future time.  We will help to make those pleasures real.  Be with me today and always, present and future.

Help me to lighten the mood of those with whom I interact.  Your way is always best, and You are not the solemn God that so many of us may have thought in the past.  Help me to lighten up, even as I seek to help others to do the same.

Amen.

Eliminate Fear

“The separated self is so ensconced in fear that the known fears of its existence seem preferable to the unknown fears of any other kind of existence.  (A Course of Love, 10.22)”

 
van-gogh-tree in landscape
Affirmation:  “I would leave fear behind today–once and for all.”

Reflections:

1 – Separated Self

Why do we experience fear?  We have not let go of the separated self.

2 – Not Actually “Separate”

What does this mean?  It doesn’t mean that the separated self is real.  It would have been impossible, regardless of whenever, to actually separate from God or from our brothers and sisters.  The best that we could do when the “tiny, mad idea” (from A Course in Miracles) entered our minds was to imagine an illusion in which we were separate.  We could not fully know the glory of what we had until we went on a journey without distance (from ACIM) away from it.  This was a choice, ACOL tells us, that God and we made together.  We were rebellious adolescents, and so He made the choice that so many parents on this earth must make when their teenagers are rebellious:  We let go.  God “let go,” but He did not leave us alone, anymore than earthly parents leave their teens alone.

3 – In Illusions (Dreams)

And in this analogy I see much of our dilemma here on earth.  We think ourselves separate from God, and so this separation is what we experience.  Separation is not true in any real sense, but it becomes real enough to us, caught as we are in illusion (dreams).

4 – We Are Not Alone

May we leave behind the fears that our presumed separation has brought to us.  We are not and never have been alone.  God is as much with us as He has been in the eons that we have been entities in the universe(s).  May this reassurance stay with us today, as we navigate once again through the minefield that this world often is for us.

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

May I let fear go today.  May no obsessions mar my enjoyment of this day.  May I know that I never have separated from You, and that Your felt presence is frequently with me.  I am at peace now.  May I remain so all the day long.

May all of us leave our fears behind, when we recognize that we are never alone.  God is always with us, and so are our brothers and sisters.  We need You, dear God, and may we never be tempted to go it alone.  That is no way to live.  No way to try to negotiate a way through this sometimes difficult world.

Thank You for teaching me years ago that it is better to share with others, to reach out.  I was never happy when I tried to hold in my conflicts.  Such isolation ignores You, and it also ignores other people.  We are all in this together.

Amen.

Happiness So Fulfilling

“Each of you is aware of a threshold you would cross that leaves no route open for return.  That threshold is often a happiness so fulfilling that once you have experienced it you say, ‘I will take this despair no more.’  For others this threshold is the opposite, an experience of pain so great that they would rather die than continue on in such a way.  (A Course of Love, 10.21)”

Van-Gogh-sunflowersAffirmation:  “May I choose despair no more.”

Reflections:

1 – Dark Night of the Soul

When we reach the threshold that today’s passage proclaims, we are on our way to better times–that, or we choose to die (but normally not by suicide).  We have often heard that it is darkest just before the dawn, and it helps me to realize this when I feel a dis-ease or discomfort, or agitation (any negative emotion, in fact).  The turning point that is called the “threshold” is, though, an example of living in the midst of the dark night of the soul (a characterization by St. John of the Cross).  Most of us choose to put one foot in front of the other, and to go forward.  Very few choose to end their lives before the span of their years has run out.  (I speak now of choice in regard to physical ailments rather than the taking of one’s own life, for the physical ailments, even unto death, are a choice.)

2 – Accept Despair No Longer

Choosing to accept despair no longer is a choice for life, and a choice for a healthier life, both emotionally and physically.  It is also a better life spiritually, though we do not often think in those terms.  Sometimes the despair drives us to our knees, and we have an experience of God that has not come heretofore in our experience.  This is the blessing of dark nights of the soul.

3 – We Do Not Have to Learn through Pain

But we do not have to learn through pain (from A Course in Miracles).  It is said in ACIM that learning through pain is temporary, and that learning through rewards is lasting.  Here in the threshold, though, I think we are dealing with something qualitatively different.  We have reached the limit that we can withstand  in regard to pain.  And we choose pain no more.

4 – Eckhart Tolle

The experience described in the above paragraph hints at the experience that Eckhart Tolle so clearly has described as leading to his Enlightenment (i.e., The Power of Now and A New Earth).  The way of A Course in Miracles and A Course of Love is not so extreme, but this very low point can and does come to students/teachers of these two works.  We cannot predict the future; we can only ask that God be gentle with us.  And then we need to cooperate in that gentleness.  He cannot reach us until we open the door from the inside.

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

I would choose a happiness so fulfilling today that there is no turning back to despair.  I would reach the threshold that is You.  You are my goal as well as my Blessing.  Be with me as I walk along the path that You point out today.

May we live through dark nights of the soul, but may we not linger there.  They are teaching devices, but we are reaching the point that we come to know by observation, not learning, as A Course of Love tells us.  Be with me today as I seek to “learn” in the old way no more.

I cannot change overnight.  I need You to make the transition to a better life.  Help me to thank You for the blessings that You give so abundantly.  And may I never forget to thank my brothers and sisters who are also there for me.

Amen.

Transformation

tilt-shift-van-gogh-wheat-field-with-rising-sun-detail“The beginning of all transformation is at the source, and this is as true of illusion as of the truth.  You see your body as your self, and your self as source of all that you have done and felt in all your days upon this earth.  Yet your real source is at the center of yourself, the altar to your creator, the Self you share in unity with Christ.  Christ is the ‘part’ of God that resides in you, not in separation but in the eternal wholeness in which God and you together exist in truth.  (A Course of Love, 10.4)”

Affirmation:  “God is within.”

Reflections:

1 – ACIM

There are some ideas from A Course in Miracles that need to be explored before we take up the passage for today.  When we say (as the passage says, in other words) that God is within, we must also realize that projection makes perception.  And I believe that the earthly concept of the hologram is a correct analogy, that each part contains the whole.  Of course, this bottom line is that All is One, and that is the why that God is within, and we can also project a world outside of ourselves.  We perceive other people, and so they are, but they are also “us.”

2 – Follow Your Heart

Do not let theology delay you.  If the thoughts in the paragraph above do not resonate with you, then instead set them aside, and take only what feels right in your heart.  We are not too concerned with bodies now, but with the center of our being (not the physical organ).  And this center is the heart.

3 – Real Beauty

We would know that the body deceives.  The body deceives by letting us think that if we just make it pretty or handsome enough, we will attract other bodies who want to be with us.  And so we may.  But will this superficial value last?  I think now.  Aging comes to all of us, though the real beauty is within.  And the holy relationship recognizes that the real beauty is within.

4 – A Summary

The passage for today encapsulates a good bit of the good news of A Course of Love.  God is our Source, and we are heart-centered beings who also use our minds as need be.  But we must not let the ego-oriented mind take over.  We must ask that this ego be dislodged, and then we must replace it with something better. ACOL‘s answer is wholeheartedness–a melding of mind and heart to make one, or One.  The One that is God, as well as all things.  Illusion has no place in this concept.  Behind the illusion is the real, and we would peek behind the illusion to see that real today.

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

I long for this transformation that is described today in the passage selected.  Help me to be patient, as I am not ready, or the revelation would already have occurred.  This transformation is the Awakening or the Christ-consciousness that is the birthright of all of us.  But we may need to wait for this blessing.

Help me to realize that to beautify the body is not enough.  It is good to look good, but even better is to have inner beauty.  And as one ages, the inner beauty becomes more and more apparent.  May we all walk safely along the pathway from birth to old age, and then beyond.  May nothing keep us from You at all times.  Thank You for the guidance that You give me, especially when the guidance comes in unexpected ways and at unexpected times.  You make the decisions.  I will follow.

Amen.

The Body Is a Tool

“The body is a tool made for your use in maintaining the illusion of your separation.  That it has seeming power can only be because you think you put your power there.  If this were true, much power indeed would it wield.  But what you have made cannot be invested with the power of creation without your joining with it.  (A Course of Love, 10.1)”

Affirmation:  “Let me deemphasize the body today.”

Reflections:Van-Gogh-Paintings-Wallpapers-olive trees

1 – Joining?

We do not and cannot join physically with all whom we meet.  That physical joining is limited to very few, or just one.  So what type of “joining” does this passage imply?

2 – Joining = of the Spirit

The joining that we must do is not of the body.  It is of the spirit.  The body is meant to affirm our separation from each other.  The body, like all illusions, fails us in this purpose.  We learn from living in separate bodies that we are not very happy being separate.  So how might we join?

3 – Join in Holiness

We join in holiness, in holy relationships that have, in many cases, been transformed from special relationships.

4 – Join in Minds

We join in minds as well as in spirit, but we do not leave it to our minds to determine all that we need to know.  We listen to our hearts.  And in the listening, we learn that we are not meant to walk along and and to be lonely.  We are made for each other and for God.  There is no better way to live.

4 – Power of the Body

What type of power could the body wield?  Only matters of power and prestige.  The ego.  The things of this world that are tangible.  Success.  Vanity.

5 – Perishable

You get the picture.  Do we really, truly, in our wholeheartedness, want such perishable things?  Let us be glad that their value will not last for us, for in them we lose ourselves.  We instead want the peace, joy, harmony, and serenity that God grants to all who turn to Him.  And He grants this peace, I believe, even to those who have not yet learned that turning to Him is the complete answer.  He is the God of the secular and profane as well as the religious and spiritual, for we are all His children, and He does not forget His own.

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

I would join in spirit and mind with all whom I meet today.  Help me to do so purely.  I know that You do not deemphasize the physical in A Course of Love, but today we are not considering physical joining.  I wish the joining that will bring me closer to being a co-creator with You.

I wish for those things which will last.  And the perishable, tangible things of this world, some of which are necessary for survival, will not last.  I know that You want my material needs met also, but today I focus on the things of the spirit.  May my egoic mind, still a burden in many ways, just diminish in intensity as I seek for the things of the spirit.

Be with me today, as always.  I know that You are with me, for life just keeps getting better and better.  My prayers are being answered, and You are guiding me to find the answers.  Thank You.

Amen.

End the Charade

“Despite your bravest attempts to remain separate, you must use your brothers and sisters in order to even maintain the illusion of your separation.  Would it not simply be better to end this charade?  To admit that you were not created for separation but for union?  To begin to let go of your fear of joining and, as you do, let go of use as well?  (A Course of Love, 9.49)”
van gogh - starry night and house
Affirmation:  “union–not separation”

Reflections:

1 – Independence

This desire that we all have had, and many of us still seem to have, in being separate, is actually the laudatory way that we look on independence (an interpretation, not stated in ACOL).  We think that not to “need” anybody, except perhaps “special” bodies, is all to the good.  But has it ever worked for very long?

2 – We Need Union

We need union, and not just genuine union in holy relationships with our brothers and sisters, but also union with God.  While union with God has never gone away, and could never go away, for we are part of Him, we can stay oblivious to this union.  And when we are oblivious, we are unhappy and we feel separated.  So in an unnatural way we turn to special relationships to solve our problems.  And these special relationships seem to work for a time, and then they fail us, for they were not made in heaven, but in hell.

3 – Interdependent

We need to recognize that we are meant to be interdependent, which is quite different from the dependence that we all fear, to one extent or another.  And interdependence is different from independence, which we never can sustain for very long at all.

4 – Union

Our union is a more positive, a more exalted, way of expressing our love with our brothers and sisters, and also, of course, with God.  And union is also a more positive way of expressing interdependence.

5 – Joining in One

We can never be satisfied or happy alone, solely alone.  We need God, and most of us need each other.  Very few people are spiritual enough to rely solely on our union with God, and in all likelihood, we are in this world with other people because we cannot sustain separatism.  May we join together today in the holy relationships that we are all intended to have.

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

May I see interdependence as the blessing that it is.  May I no longer strive to independence that leaves my brothers and sisters out in the cold.  We all need each other, and likewise we all need God.  May we come to laud the interdependent nature of our world, and may we understand enough to carry out a relinquishment of independence.

The way in which I discuss independence with You does not rule out isolated times of independent thinking and doing.  But we cannot sustain isolation from You and from others for an extended period of time.  We are social creatures; that is the way that You created us.  May we accept Your intentions today.

Amen.

Union

“Instead of recognizing your union, a state in which you are whole and complete because you are joined with all, you have determined to stand separate and use the rest to support your separate stance.  Do you see the difference in these two positions?  In what way is your way better than the way God created for you, a way that is completely free of conflict?  (A Course of Love, 9.49)”

Vincent-Van-Gogh-painting-wallpaper-Paintings-Wallpaper-19
Affirmation:  “union–not separateness”

Reflections:

1 – What Does “Union” Mean?

What does Jesus mean by “union”?  It is the same idea, I think, that he alludes to earlier in the first volume of A Course of Love–the holy relationships that we develop as we drop the separate stance that is actually the special relationship (an interpretation, not stated in ACOL).  Why is it so important to let go of the superficial values that special relationships provide?  For they provide for an illusion of safety, an illusion of a haven–not the real thing.  In this world our holy relationships normally being as special ones, but, if we follow Jesus, the special turns into the holy.  We see our brothers and sisters for their intangible values, and we walk in union with them.  We do not separate as we will, when we are disenchanted because he or she has not fulfilled some part of the secret bargain that we have made with them.  We stay the course, and we look for the peace and joy that is a part of all that is holy.  We do not mind the fading beauty as years go by; we don’t even see fading beauty.  All of our holy relationships simply become more precious as time goes by.

2 – The All = God

We join with the All, the God in All.  This is union; this is not separatism that masquerades as union.  We do not let disappointments that our brothers and sisters are not perfect interfere with the love that we have for them.  We bask in the glory of their union, and ours, with God, and we join hands to walk toward Christ-consciousness.

3 – No Conflict

We are not in conflict at such times.  We do not encounter conflict very often, even though the Dalai Lama said that he sometimes feels anger.  That is the human part of the human/divine joining that we will come to know.

4 – Need to Love

We need to love, and to love deeply.  We especially need to love when we are feeling unloving.  Holy relationships do not demand that we be perfect.  Jesus does not demand that we be perfect (from ACOL).  We are human beings on a divine mission, with a spirit inside that is both human and divine.  When we recognize the divine, we will have walked at least a few steps along the pathway to Christ-consciousness.  And all will be better for us.

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

I would choose union with the All today, and that includes my brothers and sisters as well as You.  May we have a good day together.  May we join, knowing that this is Your will for us, and we need You and each other.

Be with us as we seek to have a good day.  There is no reason for conflict when You are sensed by us.

Amen.

A World So Lovely and Peaceful

“Why did not God create a world benign and unable to harm you?

“Such is the world that God did create:  A world so lovely and so peaceful that when you see it once again you will cry with joy and forget your sadness in an instant.  There will be no long remembering of regrets, no feeling badly for all the years in which you saw this not.  There will merely be a glad ‘Aha!’ as what was long forgotten is returned to you.  You will but smile at the childish games you played, and have no more regrets than you would have for your childhood.  (A Course of Love, 9.46 – 9.47)”

vangogh_sunflowers1888Affirmation:  “a lovely and peaceful world”

Reflections:

1 – Lovely and Peaceful World

This is a passage of the Ideal, but I think not so much ideal as true to what we experience when our attitudes change.  How we view this world is largely a matter of attitude, and Jesus will reform our attitudes.  We will recognize the illusions in which we have been living, we will step into the real world (from A Course in Miracles), and we will know Christ-consciousness.  With these blessings, our way will smooth out, and we will see a world “so lovely and so peaceful.”

2 – Jesus

What would it mean to cry with joy at the world we behold?  It may sound like a pipe dream, but nothing that Jesus promises is a pipe dream, and I take him at his word.  We do start looking at those parts that are joyous, grateful to be acknowledging the beauty of our world.  We turn aside, but not in neglect, from those parts that disturb us, for we do help where we can.  We know that the ugliness is all illusion.  We know that our brothers and sisters did us, and we respond, but not to the ugliness.  We respond to “Christ in all his distressing disguises” (a quotation from Mother Teresa).

3 – Walk a Lovely World Today

Would we not walk in a lovely world today if we knew that we had that option?  Pray to be shown what needs to change in your world for you to be happy.  Then, using your wisdom, your internal guidance, make those changes.  We all know people (and maybe you are one of them) who face tremendous odds, and yet walk through this world with a smile behind the pain.  We must all learn to do this, and in the doing, the pain will fade.  Promise!

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

I would choose peace and harmony in the hope that, with this change, the Christ-consciousness that I really wish to have will come upon me in glimpses.  Thank You.  I know that I have already seen glimpses of this world, and a world seen with forgiving eyes is indeed beautiful.  May I be forgiving, unconditionally, in all respects, for this is a requirement of Yours which I would meet.

May I wait patiently for You to reach down and lift me up.  You know the time that is best.  I choose to be unafraid, knowing that if I am not ready, the light that I see would terrify me.  I would not be terrified today.  Guide me to Your way, the way that Jesus is pointing out in A Course in Miracles and A Course of Love.

Amen.

A Valley Full of Lilies

“You realize not that if you were to stop and take your brother’s hand, the race course would become a valley full of lilies, and you would find yourself on the other side of the finish line, able at last to rest.  (A Course of Love, 9.40)”

Affirmation:  “holy relationships”

Vangogh-bridge

Reflections:

1 – Holy Relationships

This passage from ACOL is another phrasing of a pivotal assertion of A Course in Miracles.  The passage is especially beautiful in wording.  The central point is that we need to have holy relationships with our brothers and sisters, and that when we reach out to touch them, we are finding our way to heaven.  Heaven is not a place or a condition, but Oneness (an ACIM tenet).  When we hold our brother or sister’s hand, we are aiming for oneness with him or her.

2 – Lilies

The “race course would become a valley full of lilies,” which is a lovely reminder of the lilies mentioned in the Bible as well as A Course in Miracles.  Surely lilies must be one of Jesus’s favorite flowers.

3 – We Want to Rest

We would not have to race about to achieve.  Our achievement is found in the closeness with which we hold our brother and sister’s hand.  We want to rest, for we are very weary.  This world is a place of weariness, and we would not want that if we could change it.

4 – A Blessing

To be on the “other side of the finish line” is a blessing indeed!  May we, in sweetness and light, join our brothers and sisters today in holy relationship.  We do not ask for special relationships, unless we see the means to transform those special relationships into holy.  When we do that, all is well.

5 – Transforming Special to Holy

Our special relationships will not be snatched from us (an ACIM tenet), but transformed into holy ones.  The transformation may be a bit difficult, even very difficult, but the change in goals for the relationship makes the period of transition hard.  We have transformed a relationship entered into for unholy reasons (e.g., attractiveness, ambition for success, ambition for worldly glory) has been transformed into a relationship that will take us home to heaven.  How could we ask for more?

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

I would know that there is no need to rush about and hurry so.  I am holding my brother’s hand, and that is sufficient.  I ask that all of my holy relationships remain holy, that no attack nor anger mar their beauty.

Help us to find the will to rest.  Often we push ahead when we would be better off to wait, to rest in serenity that You offer to us.

Be with me today.  Help me to know that You are always present with the solution of every problem that presents itself, at the time that the problem presents itself.

Amen.

Holy Relationships vs. Special Relationships

“Your natural state is one of union, and each joining that you do in holy relationship returns a little of the memory of union to you.  This memory of your divinity is what you seek in truth from each special relationship you enter into, but your true quest is hidden by the concept of use that gets in its way.  While your heart seeks for union, your separated self seeks for what it can use to fill the emptiness and ease the terror of its separation.  (A Course of Love, 9.36)”

Affirmation:  “holy relationship = union”

Reflections:ProjectVanGoghMBE

1 – ACIM vs. ACOL

The concept of “use” is new in A Course of Love,  not mentioned at all in A Course in Miracles.  But the other concepts in this paragraph are reminiscent of ACIM and follow precisely some of the familiar terminology.

2 – The Gap

A holy relationship does seek union as its goal, but special relationships are first sought to fill a gap that we might sense in ourselves.  Yet gaps cannot be filled by special relationships, because the special can so quickly turn to unpleasantness and even hatred.  Holy relationships are not seen as always romantic relationships, though romantic relationships are certainly not excluded.  We need to change the goal of our special relationships from a focus on finding what we lack to sharing what we both have.  We don’t gain by taking from the other, something that we seek to do when the relationship is only a special one.

3 – “Using” Another

We use the other person when we seek to find in him or her something that we lack.  We are seeing to be made whole through the other person.  And our secular psychology has even made clear that it takes two whole people to form a new whole in a relationship that will seek to be permanent.  In special relationships, we may think that our “half” added to the other’s “half” is enough to form a bond that will be a whole.  This is a fallacy, though, and most individuals who have formed special bonds with another, over time, come to see the fallacy of this sort of thinking.

4 – Transform the Special Relationship

So seek to make of your special relationships a holiness that will stand the test of time.  The Holy Spirit (re ACIM) will not snatch our special relationships from us, but will seek to transform them into the holy.  At this point, many relationships are broken off, but the greatest blessings await those that survive this change in focus to the holy.  And then we will know truly what it means to love unconditionally another person.

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

I would seek to turn all of my special relationships into holy ones, excluding no one.  Thank You for the holy relationships that I have known.  And thank You for the ones that have endured, as well as the ones that have not.  Be with me as I seek to live the life that You intended for me.

May we all turn our special relationships into holy ones, for special relationships, we find, hold much pain.  When the pain is realized as inevitable, eventually, we will know that there is something better awaiting.  And that something better is a holy relationship.

Amen.

To Sing a Song of Gladness

“Ages have passed since creation began, and still you have not learned the lesson of the birds of the air or the flowers of the field.  Two thousand years have passed since you were told to observe this lesson.  The lilies of the field neither sow not reap and yet they are provided for.  The birds of the air live to sing a song of gladness.  So do you.

“God’s will for you is happiness, and never has it been otherwise.  (A Course of Love, 9.32 – 9.33)”

Affirmation:  “I would live as the lilies of the field, the birds of the air.”

Reflections:van gogh - tree5

1 – An Ideal

How do we respond to this ideal, for it is an ideal?  We know that we have to do things in this world to provide for our families and ourselves, and so how can Jesus be serious with us when he invokes this long-ago parable?

2 – Effortlessness

We can work in a way that is effortless, for when we have given all to All, we know peace and joy in the midst of the most hard work.  We are not fooling ourselves at such times.  It is really possible to know ease in the midst of great work.  Work with ease, and we will live a long and fruitful like that will allow us to feel very much like the lilies of the field and the birds of the air.

3 – Calm and Centered

Do I say this on blind faith?  No.  When we are calm and centered, collected, the hardest work seems to be a “breeze.”  But when we become agitated, even the simplest effort becomes a chore of the greatest proportions.

4 – Attitude

We need today to ask fot the help that we need to do our necessary work with ease and delight.  If we are not where God would have us in our work, ask to be led elsewhere, and He will oblige.  But do not think that a change of venue is always what is needed.  Attitude makes a huge difference.

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

Help me to be calm and collected today in all the various tasks that I think I have to do.  Some of these tasks may not be necessary, and I ask You to guide me to delete those that are unnecessary.  Be with me for the necessary ones.  I know that You will be with me, for You are always.  And for that I thank You.

Help me to remain calm and collected at all times, now and into the future.

Amen.

Reassurance to Children of God

“Child of God, you need no imaginary friend when you have beside you he who is your friend always and he who would show you that you have no needs at all.  What you truly are cannot be used, not even by God.  See you not that it is only in illusion that you can use others who are like yourself?  (A Course of Love, 9.31)”

Affirmation:  “Jesus is beside me today.”

Reflections:vincent-van-gogh-paintings-from-saint-remy-1

1 – Strains of Thought

There are several strains of thought in these simple sentences.  Let us take the strains up one at a time.

2 – No Idle Fantasy

Jesus walks beside us, when we have asked for his presence.  This is a long-time declaration of traditional Christianity, but here in A Course of Love, we find the same declaration in New Age thought.  In A Course in Miracles, Jesus says much the same, inviting us to imagine that we hold his hand as we walk along, and he says that this will be no “idle fantasy.”

3 – No Needs

We do not have needs, because all needs are met at the point that they arrive.  The solution is with the problem (an ACIM tenet).  Now, it is true that we may not recognize that our needs have already been met; there may be some delay before this is recognized.  But when we look within, we can know, and know immediately.  We do not have to wait for God’s grace.

4 – No Need to be Defensive

We are not people who can be used by anyone.  For this reason, we do not have to be defensive about anything.  To defend against is to make the resistance strong, and to reduce the likelihood that we recognize that we do not need to be defensive.  Our defenses will not work, but we have no need of them (from the Manual of ACIM).  Even God Himself, most of all, would not seek to “use” us.

5 – Being “Used”

Only in illusion do we encounter the concept of being used by another.  And this world is an illusion.  Do we need to defend against illusions, thereby making them real to us?  We should not think in this way.  We would not make real the attacks of others by focusing on them, and being used by another is an attack (an interpretation, not stated in ACIM or ACOL).  Let us turn aside from attacks of all kinds, giving them no emotion, and thus not reinforcing them.

6 – Happy Dreams

Then all will improve in this dream world where we find ourselves.  We will know the “happy dreams the Holy Spirit brings” (from the Workbook of A Course in Miracles).

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

I thank You for the reassurance that nobody here can understand, but can only be experienced:  that Jesus walks beside all who ask him to do so.  Thank You for this helper, this companion.  Being companioned is a truly wonderful blessing, and, if we heed the message, we will fear no more.

May I leave fears and anxieties behind today.  This tendency toward anxiety which I have had does not have to haunt me any longer; that is your blessed reassurance.

Thank You.

Amen.

Safe Embrace

“You are the prodigal sons and daughters welcomed constantly to return home to your Father’s safe embrace.  (A Course of Love, 9.29)”

Affirmation:  “I am in my Father’s safe embrace.”

vincent-van-gogh-paintings-from-arles-1Reflections:

1 – In Trouble

The prodigal son or daughter is an image of an individual in trouble, an image with which we can all identify at one time or another.  We may not know “trouble” that is like that of our brother or sister, but we all know difficulties of one type or another.  And we need the prayers of ourselves and others to help us out of the mire.

2 – We Are Safe

We are told in today’s passage that God Himself offers a safe embrace to us, an embrace that, because it is “safe,” is also comforting and protective.  May we reach inward today for that embrace.  May we know that God, the Divine within, wishes us well.  We only need to turn inward to know that we are safe, that we do not have to fear anything that this world can do to us.  Regardless, there will be a happy ending–if not in this world, then in the next.  Normally, though, there is no need to spend our days on earth longing for the better world that is beyond this one.  That is a very demoralizing stance to take.  God wishes us well here, and He is always here to help.  May we take Him at his word and enjoy the safe embrace that awaits us when we stop trying to do it all alone.

3 – We Are Not Alone

We are not alone.  A nightmare in sleep is inconsequential, and we have nightmares in the sleep that we have for eight hours at night, and in the illusions that we have during the day.  When we awake in the morning, we simply go from one form of sleep to another (an ACIM tenet).  Knowing this, cannot we feel some comfort?  Our nightmares are not real, whether they come in the night or the day.

4 – The Promise

We long for God’s safe embrace today, and we can have it–even today.  That is the overwhelming promise of the passage for today.

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

I would accept Your safe embrace today, ever mindful that when I turn to You, You are always there for me.  And You are there for me even when I am too upset and distracted to feel anything at all.  Your felt presence is a blessing that takes us out of our despair and gives a helping hand to the affairs of the day.  I would thank You for the felt presence, when it comes.  It is indeed blessed.

Be with me again today.  So often I ask for that.  And You always respond.  Thank You for the answers to recent prayers.  I see Your answers working out in my life.  And I pray that You will walk with me until the culmination of my prayers happen.  Be with me in the day and in the night, especially if the night does not bring sleep.  You are always awake, and I can use time awake to commune with You.  Help me to remember that just maybe You want some time with me that I don’t allow You during the day.

Be with me.  Help me.  Thank You for the many blessings that I have known throughout my life.  And thank You for learning at a young age that prayer is the secret to a good life.

Amen.

You Did Not Create Something from Nothing

“You are not your own creator.  This is your salvation.  You did not create something from nothing, and what you started with is what God created and remains as God created it.  You do not have to ask yourself to stretch your belief beyond these simple statements.  (A Course of Love, 9.28)”

Affirmation:  “I am still as God created me.”

Reflections:van gogh - tree4

1 – Akin to ACIM

The passage for today from A Course of Love is absolutely consistent and reminiscent, as well, of A Course in Miracles.  We do not understand “God,” but how could we?  It is enough to know the age-old injunction that God is Love.  He created us, not we ourselves.  Science cannot explain this, though the new physics is trying (and, in some cases, seemingly coming close).

2 – We Do Not Have to Understand Metaphysics

We do not have to understand metaphysics to have a good life.  We only need to turn to God in our perplexities.  But some concepts of metaphysics may help.  We are a part of God, and, like a hologram, the part is filled with the whole; every part is filled with the Whole.  And All is One–God.  This is not pantheism, which would see individual gods in everything.  There is a mystical understanding that will come as we proceed along this pathway.  All are truly One.

3 – We Would Self-Destruct

The fact that we are not our creator is indeed our salvation, for we would self-destruct if left to our own devices.  Indeed, we often think that we have done this anyway, when our way seems lost and very dark.  But we are saved from this impasse by the fact that there is One whose divine spark within us cannot be put out.  This is our salvation, that one divine spark.  And we will come to live joyous, happy times when we acknowledge that we did not make ourselves.

4 – This World

We did make this world, though, and that is a concept from A Course in Miracles that nobody on earth can understand.  There are worlds upon worlds, and a Self that is beyond all knowing while on earth.  But we did not create ourselves.  We did make the ego, and we can just disown it and thereby walk away from it.

5 – We Are Being Helped

If the way seems long and hard, know that Jesus and his companions are helping us.  The way back, the remembering, take great patience and willingness to learn, but as A Course of Love says, if we listen to our hearts we will make greater progress.  The heart does not ask for all of the “why’s” that the mind asks.  And that is a saving grace.

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

I did not create myself, though ACIM does say that we did “make” the illusion that is this world.  This is theology that I do not understand, and I thank You that I do not need to understand it.  It is enough to know that I remain as You created me, even though I have fallen away from the Ideal and made mistakes.  Be with me as I seek to move closer to Your way of life, the best way that all of us can live.

Help me to reach out to others even when I am not at my best.  Reaching out helps them, I hope, and I do know that reaching out helps me.  Thank You for shining Your light on the pathway that is ahead.  And knowing that all will be well, that I am coming into the good years.  Thank You for this insight.

Amen.