The Definition of Prayer

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“Thus prayer must be redefined as the act of consciously choosing union.  With this definition, you can see how your life can become a prayer.  This does not negate the fact that a prayer is also a constant dialogue of asking, being answered, and responding.  This is the aspect of prayer that makes of it an act of creation.  (Treatises of A Course of Love:  Treatise on the Art of Thought, 6.3)”

Affirmation:  “I will choose union through prayer today.”

Reflections:

1 – Union

This passage for today emphasizes once again how important prayer is to our well-being in this life.  We are said to make of our whole life a prayer, when we follow what Jesus is saying in A Course of Love.  We consciously choose union with our Self/Christ and God within, with our brothers and sisters in this world and all worlds (even unseen), and we choose to embrace the universe(s).  Union is all-inclusive, and it is a big part of our way home.

2 – Prayer

The second sentence in this passage is important:  “This does not negate the fact that a prayer is also a constant dialogue of asking, being answered, and responding.”  Certainly!  This is the way that we have traditionally seen prayer at its most simple:  asking and being answered.  But here we also see that we are to respond.  And this is the new art of thought.  We learn through receiving and then responding, not only to God, Who has answered our prayer, but also to others who can benefit as well.

3 – Personal Experience

I have personally found that my answers to prayers have increased in very recent days.  What we believe does make a difference, and I have been expecting answers to come at the point of asking.  I have not had to wait long.  Recently I asked for a solution to a minor health problem, and immediately–yes, immediately–the answer to my problem came into my mind, not as a voice, but as an internal word that was my own thought, but yet a bit beyond me.  At first I thought that I had misheard, that another one-word answer was meant.  But as the afternoon wore on, I realized that the initial word had been accurate.  I acted on this precise directive, and my minor health problem cleared up.

4 –  Mind

The word that come into our minds are not always God speaking to us.  There is much left in our minds that alter His messages.  But as we walk further along the pathway to Awakening, the chaff tends to fall away, and our internal hearing does seem more on the beam with God.  We can ask silently, and receive an answer.  We can also journal our questions, and wait for an internal prompting of what to write by way of an answer.  This latter suggestion is championed by a writing expert, Julia Cameron (The Artist’s Way).  And it works.  The fact that we capture on paper what is impressed upon our minds encourages us to reread and to respond in the future to what has been answered in our prayer.

5 – Listening in Prayer

So, pay attention to the internal, silent monologue of thoughts when asking in prayer.  I have been very, very pleasantly surprised that this type of listening increases as it is used.

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

Thank You for the immediate answers to my prayers that I have been receiving.  I realize that this is the way that prayer is supposed to work, for our communion with You answers all problems.

May all of us have a good day.  May anxieties fall away, and may we walk into the sunlight with You.

Amen.

The Value of Prayer

pissarro-montmartre-night“Prayer is but reproducing and recollecting a divine memory and divine memory cannot help but produce a divine outcome.  Said in another way, prayer reproduces the truth and allows the truth to exist as it is.  Prayer does this because it is the act of consciously choosing union.  (Treatises of A Course of Love:  Treatise on the Art of Thought, 6.2)”

Affirmation:  “I will pray often and sincerely today.”

Reflections:

1 – Personal Experience

One of the most important points of the spiritual life, to me, is the matter of prayer.  A favorite professor of mine once, in effect, witnessed to me about prayer.  In answering a question as to how he had come to a given answer, he replied, quietly, “Prayer.”  In truth he was a changed man from what he had been like just a couple of years previously.  The witness of his truth about prayer was a defining moment in my own life.  The exchange constituted a peak experience.

2 – Practice Prayer

So, in my own way, in many years since, I have practiced prayer–deep prayers when I was upset about something, deep prayers in which I felt God’s touch of healing.  A Course in Miracles refers to this action as “communing” with God, and that is, in effect, what I have tried to do in times of crisis.  Prayer rights things.  There is absolutely no emotional charge that can remain, of an upsetting nature, that in my experience is not made better by deep prayer.  And by “deep” prayer, I mean the heartfelt reaching toward God that I imagine the author of The Cloud of Unknowing (an anonymous medieval treatise) had in mind.

3 – Tenderness

Now we find in A Course of Love that prayer is counseled.  Of course, this simply reinforces in my own mind something that I have believed since I was 24, when the encounter with my professor occurred.  The joy of communing with God is exceedingly tender, for He is a gentle God.  His way is not perceived, in prayer, to be a hard or difficult pathway to follow.  His is the way of supreme good sense.  His is the way that I know, in such moments, that I want to walk.

4 – Healing

We cannot all be healed of physical ailments, and there are emotional ones as well that are not healed.  But certainly the physical and emotional ones stand a much better chance of healing if prayer has taken place.  And, in my experience, the emotional difficulties are especially prone to healing by prayer.  There is a calm that settles over one who is in deep prayer.  Sleep comes gently in such a case, if one is saying nightly prayers.  We end the day aright, and we are preparing, in our own way, for a subsequent day that will be started aright.  There is no substitute for the comfort that prayer can and does give.  This I know from personal experience.

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

Thank You for the myriad answers to pray that You have given me over the years.  Prayer works in a very practical sense, and I am not upset by “using” prayer in this way.  Of course, I do not want to use You, but to love You.  And to know that You love me.  Communing with You in deep prayer shows me that love flows in both directions.

Thank You for the experience that I lived through when I was 24, the experience of first learning how valuable prayer could really be.  Thank You that this occurrence happened so early in my life.  I am very grateful for the role that You have played in my life through the deep prayers that I have been led to have over the years.

Be with all of us today.  If hard times come, let us know that we always have You to whom to turn.  And the hard times melt away in the blessing of communing with You.  Thank You especially that healing of emotional issues comes with prayer.  I do not rule out healing of physical issues as well, but it is with the emotional that I am especially grateful today.  When our mind and heart are calm, we can live through any struggle, and we, with Your help, can turn that struggle into ease.

Amen.

Practicing Mindfulness

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“The art of thought invites the experience of the new thought system by being willing to replace the old with the new.  While this will at first be a learned activity, and as such have its moments of seeming difficulty, it is learned only in the sense of your practicing the mindfulness that will allow the memory of it to return to you.  (Treatises of A Course of Love:  Treatise on the Art of Thought, 5.13)”

Affirmation:  “May I understand the art of thought today.”

Reflections:

1 – No Longer Struggle

When we practice the art of thought, we do not furrow our brow and study hard.  We read almost as though we were reading a story, for the pleasure.  We learn, therefore, effortlessly.  We no longer struggle to gain concepts.  We let the meaning be shown to us by gentle means.  We do not negate the idea that maybe revelation is showing us the way.  Revelation is not always recognized for what it is.  And A Course of Love indicates that it is with us more and more as we walk further along the pathway to Christ-consciousness.

2 – Gestures of Love

We respond to our outer environment when we practice the art of thought.  We do not take responsibility for others, but we do try to alleviate their needs.  Again, this is not a struggle, but simply gestures of love.

3 – Observation

And we learn by observation of ourselves and others.  Observation is the new way of learning in this new world we are on the verge of entering.  We observe, we reflect, and we come to understand.  Again, this is all effortless.

4 – Gain a Whole New World

Can so much be had for so little?  Can we gain a whole new world in such effortless ways?  Indeed, we can, for the pathway is not one of struggle any longer.  We walk into the sunlight, prompted by intuition, feelings, insight–any means of guidance that comes to us.  We are not alone.  That is a primary message.  We never have to do all of this work of salvation unaided.  Indeed, salvation is not work at all, but the most glorious child’s play possible (paraphrased from A Course in Miracles, which says that salvation is a game that happy children play).

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

I would spend today in a relaxed mind and heart, listening for Your guidance and knowing that it will come when I have stilled myself so that I can hear.  Thank You for being here for me.  May I observe this world in a new way of thinking, by observation rather than intense study.  May I no longer be tempted to struggle through my days.  You do not mean this for me.

Help all of my brothers and sisters to have a good day.  You mean for all of our days to be good, even the ones that have some pain in them.  Pain in the present moment simply doesn’t occur; we are always seeing the past in our pain.  May pain never been turned by our minds into suffering.  You would choose for all of Your children to rest in Your blessings, to receive Your ease, and to solve any and all problems, with Your help, that have presented themselves and may be causing pain.  Guide us to know what to do when faced with less-than-desirable life circumstances.  May our stress remain low and our spirits high.

Thank You for Your presence, always, in our lives.

Amen.

Choice to End Suffering

4_Boating_Realism_Impressionism_Edouard_Manet“While I can tell you suffering is illusion, you cannot still your fear of it nor tear your eyes away from it or remove from it the feelings of your heart.  While I came to reveal the choice of Love to you, the choice that you each must make to end such suffering, the illusion of suffering has continued and in its continuation made the choice of Love seem all but impossible.  (Treatises of A Course of Love:  Treatise on the Art of Thought, 5.3)”

Affirmation:  “I would end any personal suffering today.”

Reflections:

1 – Maya

It is not enough to say that we live in a world of maya, illusion, or dreams.  As long as we suffer, we will find it impossible to be satisfied that we do not blame God because all except the real world is illusion.  This attitude, expressed by Jesus in this passage, is electrifying and very practical.  He knows our limitations.  And he knows that we will continue to see God as less than loving when we have not yet given up suffering.

2 – Eckhart Tolle

Pain does not have to turn into suffering!  That is the secret.  Eckhart Tolle says much about this in The Power of Now and A New Earth.  His understanding of the “pain body” is described in great detail in both books, but especially in A New Earth.

3 – Pain into Suffering

How do we accomplish feeling pain that does not lead to suffering?  Ah, that is the rub.  And the truth may be that we cannot overcome the tendency to turn pain into suffering without divine help.  But we do need to end suffering in order to experience all the blessings that the elevated Self of form has been promised (from the Dialogues of A Course of Love).  We do need to pray for help, to commune with God, when challenged by pain.  He will find a way to get through to us when we are at our lowest point.  Indeed, individuals often turn to God at their lowest when they do not do so at any other time.  When human resources are exhausted, we relinquish our own attempts to solve our problems, and we turn them over for divine solutions.

4 – Prayer of Relinquishment

Catherine Marshall, an inspirational writer of the last century, said much about the “prayer of relinquishment.”  We would do well to pray that prayer often.  We do not give up, but we do surrender the problem to a higher solution, that of God’s solution.  We wait to be told what to do to make things better, and we do not have to wait long, because A Course in Miracles promises that the solution is with the problem.

5 – Jesus

Let us turn today to consideration of how to end suffering in our lives.  This may seem a pipe dream, but I trust that if Jesus channeled A Course of Love (and I think he did), and he says that giving up suffering, seeing an end to suffering, is possible for us, I believe that it is.  Let us seek within for the guidance that will tell us what and how to proceed.  Everyone’s answer will be different, but the end is sure, and the end is the same for all of us.

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

I would release suffering today.  Any little aspect of suffering needs to be gone.  And with Your help it will be.  Pain does not have to turn to suffering.  There are remedies.  May my brothers and sisters know freedom from suffering today.

Guide me to any and all remedies that I need to feel totally well in all respects.  I sense that You will do this today for me.  Thank You for that intuition.

Help others whom I encounter in any way.  We need to be there for each other in this sometimes difficult world.  Help us to have good days in Your care.

Amen.

Time of Miracles Is Here

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“While I [Jesus] succeeded in revealing a God of love, this revelation has not been reconciled with your experience here.  This is what we will seek to do by putting an end to fear and ushering in, with this ending, the beginning of a time of miracles.  (The Treatises of A Course of Love:  Treatise on the Art of Thought, 4.27)”

Affirmation:  “I will consider anew today that God is a God of love.”  

Reflections:

1 – God of Love

There is a great promise in this passage for today.  Jesus refers back to his time on earth and notes that he did succeed in revealing God as a God of love.  But humankind, from our limited perspective, did not take the lesson unto themselves.  We continued to fear God, and by that I do not mean a respect that is healthy and good.  We feared God in that we were afraid of His wrath, afraid that we would be punished for our wrongdoing.  Of course, with cause and effect a law of the universe, sometimes what we do brings dire consequences.  But God is not doing this unto us.  We are doing this unto ourselves.  And there are tangible ways that we can bring good things to ourselves, and certainly there is no reason–ever–to blame God for our misfortunes.

2 – Attract the Good

These tangible ways of bringing good to ourselves include positive outlooks.  We are never guaranteed to be forever without pain, but our own attitudes can do much to attract the good to ourselves.  Our experiences in this world can and will improve when we get our minds, hearts, and spirits right.  We will know the good again when we attract the good.

3 – Glorious Promise

The promise that is so pronounced in this passage occurs at the end, when Jesus promises that when we succeed in seeing God as a God of love and not of fear, we will receive miracles, “ushering in. . .the beginning of the time of miracles.”  What a glorious promise indeed this is!

4 – Attitude toward God

This passage indicates that only one change is needed, a change in our attitude toward God:  the acceptance of Him as a God of love.  And then with the ending of fear we are led into a much better world of miracles.  And miracles are always good.  We will see miracles, I think, where we have not recognized them previously.  And there is an indication that the number and magnitude of miracles will increase.

5 – Don’t Blame God

Can we see God as a God solely of love?  Can we sincerely stop blaming God, sincerely and intellectually knowing that He is not the cause of anything going wrong in our world?  We do not need to accept such a view of God on blind faith.  There is much in A Course in Miracles and A Course of Love that explains this view of how to see God as loving.  And what a glorious promise we receive–that we are ready for miracles when we can see God as loving.  Can we make this transformation in our thinking now?

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

I thank You for this promise of a time of miracles.  We all need this so much, we in our little self-centered worlds, still often encased in our ego.  

May we cease all this nonsense forthwith.  I pray to do my part rightly to ease the coming of better times.  May we know that we can attract a better world when our attitudes are right.  And our attitudes need to be attune with Yours in order to ask rightly for what we need and what we want.  I do not ask material goods, though You know that I have these needs also.  I ask more for the love, joy, peace, harmony that You will gladly bestow to all of Your children, regardless of their financial circumstances.

Be me with today.  I thank You for the gentleness of Your presence, the peace of Your Being.  May today end on a positive note, clearing the way for another positive day tomorrow.

Amen.

Afraid of God?

monet - garden at Giverny“While God is nothing but the Source of Love, you have, in your doubt, made of God the source of fear.  Pause a moment here and let the enormity of this confusion sink in, for this is the reversal in thinking that will pave the way for all the rest.  Because of this confusion you have responded to Creation with fear.  Is it no wonder a new response is asked of you?  (The Treatises of A Course of Love:  Treatise on the Art of Thought, 4.26)”

Affirmation:  “I now choose to let fear of God melt away.”

Reflections:

1 – Fear of God

“Fear” of God, in the Bible, is, to my own of interpreting, actually a form of respect that is asked of us.  But along the way, we have also feared God in a more concrete way, in that we have been made anxious when we thought of Him.  This fear was of the ego, for the ego knew only fear, having been made out of a separated state (an illusory separated state) of being.  We became so used to fear that we did not even realize the extent to which we were dominated by it.

2 – Blaming God

We blamed God for this fear, because our ego could not accept that we ourselves had made the fear (through the ego).  So we were in a quandary.  We did not know how to escape the ego, and we may, as students of Freud, believed that the ego was necessary for our successful living in this world.

3 – Freud’s Definition of the Ego

Freud’s definition of the ego is not quite what A Course in Miracles means.  For Freud, the ego mediated between the superego and the id, and gave the personality stability.  In A Course in Miracles, the ego is seen as a false self, a part of ourselves that has gone awry, a belief about ourselves that does not mean us well.  And so, with this understanding, we want to rid ourselves as quickly as possible from a false sense of self that the ego perpetuates.  We do not need this self-image to form our personality in such a way that it can function in the world.  It is a persona, a self-image, that is best let fall away.

4 – Personal Self

When the ego has withered away, the personal self will change greatly.  I have earlier called this personal self, the “little” self.  And indeed it is little, for it partakes of illusion.  We still live in this dream, this maya, this illusion, but the real world will dawn on our inner sight as a little more time goes by.  Then the inner Self/Christ, the elevated Self of form, will take predominance.

5 – At Home

And we will be home in God.

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

I would be at home with You today.  Thank You for the good beginning to this glorious day.  May my day go well.  May I say and do for my significant others what they need.  May I be there for them.

Help us to respect You, but not to be afraid of You.  Surely it would be disappointing to You to see Your children cringe in fear before You.  May I love You unreservedly.  And may I love with respect but not fear.  I sometimes feel awe, and I understand from A Course in Miracles that this is alright.

Be with me throughout this day.  May I feel Your Presence in a tangible way.  Thank You for the times in my life when I am conscious of Your Presence.  And may this feeling overwhelm me today in a cocoon of love.

Amen.

Revelation

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“Revelation is a proper description of the mode by which the art of thought teaches and helps you learn.  It is not through study, effort, or re-interpretation but through revelation.  (The Treatises of A Course of Love:  Treatise on the Art of Thought, 4.23)”

Affirmation:  “Revelation is now how I will learn.”

Reflections:

1 – Now Ready

This passage for today is a sea change from previous passages cited from A Course of Love, because the passage indicates that we are now ready for revelation.  And the implication is that this revelation will be constant and ongoing.  What a blessing!

2 – Do We Recognize Revelation?

Perhaps we will not be aware of all the times that revelation comes to us.  Perhaps revelation has already come many times and often in recent weeks and months, as we study A Course of Love, and we did not recognize revelation for what it was.  This is my interpretation, that we just didn’t recognize the times that God has spoken to us, has revealed to us that which we needed to learn.

3 – Observation

We do know that no longer do we learn through intense study, but through observation–an observation that is more of the abstract mind than the concrete (an interpretation, not stated in ACOL).  Now we find that it is not just our personal self that observes, but the Self/Christ within that senses revelation and therefore is guided about what to say or do next.  Our minds and hearts are guided.  We know beyond doubt that we are not alone.  And it is our Self/Christ that has risen to the forefront in our very being.

4 – Do Not Analyze

This passage also says a great deal about what Jesus means by the “art” of thought, the title of this treatise.  We are no longer to analyze, but to receive, and then, in turn, to give.  We receive from the Self/Christ within, a Self that is in intimate contact with our God within, and then we know how to respond.  And our response is very, very important.  We don’t take responsibility for our brothers and sisters, for that is their role for themselves, but we do respond to their needs whenever appropriate.

5 – ACIM

In A Course in Miracles, we learned that revelation would occasionally show us the end, but to get there the means were needed.  And the means were being explaining in ACIM.  (Paraphrases from ACIM, the Text.)  Now we are encouraged to accept that revelation will be much more of a constant in our lives.  The passage does not say, and does not even imply, that we need to be enlightened before we can receive from revelation.  The books in the trilogy of A Course in Love are to be read in sequence, and it is not until the last half of the third book that we go to the mountaintop (metaphorically) with Jesus, and there become the elevated Self of form (assumingly reaching Christ-consciousness).  The Treatise of the Art of Thought is the first of four treatises in the second book in the sequence.  So we are not at Christ-consciousness when revelation begins to speak to us in an ever-more constant way.

6 – Revelation Now More Constant

We learn that revelation is more constant today, from this passage.  May we learn in this new way, and may we thank God for the new means of learning.  We will make great strides, if our heart is right, from  now on.

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

May I learn how to distinguish revelation from something else.  It seems akin to intuition, but perhaps You need to teach me further.

May I be open to revelation today.  May I learn this new way of knowing, in the depths of my being, in my Self.

Amen.

Response, Not Responsibility

“Responsibility implies needs that would not be met without you.  Response is given and thus genuine.  It is a natural act of giving and receiving as one.  Responsibility is a demanded response, a necessary response, an obligation.  Response happens from within.  (The Treatises of A Course of Love:  Treatise on the Art of Thought, 4.13)”

Affirmation:  “I will respond to my significant others today.”

Reflections:

1 – Responsibility vs. Response

Here is the distinction made between having responsibility for another and simply giving a response, surely heartfelt, to him or her.  This passage continues the theme of the last several postings, emphasizing how very important these concepts are to A Course of Love.  We do not want to do things for others out of obligation; we want to do so with love, and this love is a response rather than a duty-bound responsibility.

2 – Giving and Receiving

Perhaps giving and receiving as one is such a commonplace part of our religious culture that we aren’t sure what it does mean.  Giving and receiving as one mean that what we give, we receive in equal measure.  The equality of giving and receiving will give us pause for thought.  If we don’t give, we don’t receive.  But I think that first we almost have to have received blessings from God that prepare our heart to respond by giving back–to Him, as well as our brothers and sisters.

3 – Demands

We do not want to do that which is demanded of us–at least, not often.  We rebel, because negative emotions such as resentment enter the picture.  But when our hearts are right with love, flowing over with love, we eagerly give a response from love.  And we do not recognize any covert demand at all.  We are too eager to give, in response to all that we have received.  Love does not keep record books; we give much as we forgive, 70 times seven (from the New Testament).  We respond with a willing spirit, and we respond because God has placed that will to do so in our hearts and minds.  He has first given to us, and with this recognition, we know that we can give and give and give, and yet our own store is forever full.  We do not give out of scarcity ever.  We know no scarcity.

4 – Look to Inner Self

The “within” aspects of this passage emphasize once again that we are to look to our inner Self for the direction that we need.  We look within and see no lack; we are therefore quite willing to respond to all needs that present themselves to us from those who are our brothers and sisters.  We do not respond when to do so would be inappropriate.  But the fact of appropriateness of response is broadened considerably when we open our thoughts to God and His way.

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

I need to tell myself that You love my significant others even more than I do.  I have said this to myself many times over the past number of years, and I know that it certainly is true.  I can love only imperfectly, but Yours is perfect love.  And You will care for my loved ones.  I never need to think that I have to carry the burden all by myself.

Be with my loved ones today.  May I respond to their needs, without feeling that I have a particular, insistent demand from them for responsibility for their needs.  This is a great burden reliever, and I thank You for these words of Jesus.

Be with me today.  I need You.  Thank You.

Amen.

Call to Respond

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“Your thoughts are released from their concentration on what exists outside of you as your responsibility is placed where it belongs, in the call to respond.  This response is only yours to give and is all you are asked to give.  This response comes from within the Self–the rightly identified and acknowledged Self.  (The Treatises of A Course of Love:  Treatise on the Art of Thought, 4.9)”

Affirmation:  “I will respond as my Self tells me.”

Reflections:

1 – Restatement

This passage for today is a restating of the same passage quoted yesterday.  Jesus repeats his ideas when the idea is especially important.  Maybe he wants to be sure that we have caught the meaning.  And the idea is very, very important to central themes in A Course of Love.

2 – Internal Looking

We need to look within to determine what response to the outer world is called for.  This internal “looking” is a bid for guidance from the Self/Christ, who is within all of us.  We could also see that God is within, and look to Him for guidance.  The distinction is not too important, in my estimation, for we are a part of God.  This is in line with the monistic nature of A Course in Miracles and A Course of Love.

3 – Eternity

When we recognize the Self within, we are well on our way along the pathway to Awakening.  Only time delays us, and time does not really exist.  All time is simultaneous, but it appears spread out to allow us to experience all that is happening.  Eternity is timeless.

4 – Look Within

We are not to focus too much on externals, seeking external cues as to how to respond.  We are actually becoming more introverted in our movement toward Christ-consciousness.  We no longer look to others to tell us what to do.  We look within.  And there we find our peace.

5 – Personal Experience

I personally started out as an introvert, and then moved closer to extroversion (as tested on written tests) when I practiced reference librarianship.  All of those questions from the reference, all of that interaction with library users, turned me outward.  Now that I am no longer practicing reference librarianship, I find myself naturally turning inward more, to introversion–actually my most natural response.  And it is good to know that this change is in line with A Course of Love.  We need to seek our cues from within, because listening to our brothers and sisters does not mean that what they say is “our” truth.  We can easily be misled.  We need to take nothing external unto ourselves unless it finds a welcome place in our heart.

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

Thank You for being with me today, even when I was not conscious of Your presence.  I know that You were with me, because in spite of a hectic day, I am calm and at peace now that it is the evening.  Only You could effect such an experience.

May we be transformed as we live our lives day to day.  I belong to You, and that statement is one of the most important that I remember from my early years.  A woman friend, rich with faith, said, “I belong to God.”  And I have remembered that witness all the years since.  Now I too belong to You.  And knowing that this is true gives me a life beyond my wildest dreams.  Thank You.

Amen.

Relationship

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“The second rule of the art of thought is to acknowledge relationship, the call for a response, and the nature of all gifts as being given to all.  This is thus a call to realize that you exist in relationship, that your relationship calls for a response, and that you are given to all as all are given to you.  (The Treatises of A Course of Love:  Treatise on the Art of Thought, 4.6)”

Affirmation:  “I am part of all.”

Reflections:

1 – Respond

The Treatise on the Art of Thought emphasizes that in relationship, one is required to respond, but not to take responsibility for another.  We are all equal.  We can help one another, but each is responsible for himself/herself.

2 – Responsibility

What about the sick, the infirm, or those who are too old to care for themselves well?  I would say that this is still a time when one responds to need, but does not take “responsibility” for another.  This is a fine point, a fine distinction.  One does respond to another’s needs, but the actual choice of when to live and die belongs to the other individual’s Self.  We are not to interfere with all decisions that another is making on behalf of his/her Self/Christ.  That is not our business, not our responsibility.

3 – Given to All

But we are given to all, all others.  We are a part of God and all others.  We are One.  And this response that we are called upon to make may be a tremendous giving on our part.  The response may be gigantic, though only, perhaps, rarely.  We are not to turn aside from need, though.  We are to give to others by way of responding to their needs.  We just don’t take their integrity from them.

4 – An Example

I think of this mostly in regard to a parent who has dementia.  We take care of that individual, but we do not steal their choices from them until the very last, when they can no longer express preference.  We let parents with dementia retain their integrity and their dignity.  To do less would not be kind.

5 – Puzzling Reactions

We often need to respond to individuals who puzzle us in their reactions.  If we know the person well, we can often fall back on that knowledge and react in ways that have worked previously.  But this is not always a viable solution.  We are not to look to the past, when guidance will come to us in the present.  We are, after all, meant to live in the present as much of the time as possible.  If unsure of what response to offer another, go inward for an answer.  And we can be certain that the answer will come, usually immediately.  Only if there is strong emotion (which may mislead us), need we wait at all for a solution to the problem.  As I have said many times in this blog, quoting A Course in Miracles, the solution is with the problem.  And we will respond accordingly, if we are thinking and acting wisely.

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

May we respond with love, realizing that taking responsibility for another is  not what is needed or asked.  And this is true even for children and the infirm.  May I respond fully to need as it is presented to me.  May in no way I turn aside from one who asks for help.

May the challenges I face be known as an incident only, for there is no challenge when one has studied long and hard.  I try to be attuned to guidance, and I ask, especially today, to be so attuned.

Help me to reach out to others who need my care.  I will respond, and I will do so lovingly, given Your help to do so.

Amen.

Prayer

female impressionistA Course of Love began with an injunction to pray.  A Course in Miracles began with a definition of miracles.  Both are the same.  Prayer and the art of thought are the same.  This should serve to make it clear that the request I have made of you is once again far more broad and generalizable than your old habit of thought has led you to see.  (The Treatises of A Course of Love:  Treatise on the Art of Thought, 4.3)”

Affirmation:  “May I pray often and deeply today.”

Reflections:

1 – Speaking Abstractly

These frequent statements by Jesus in A Course of Love that two phrases mean the same can be confusing.  He is speaking from an abstract basis.  We are still thinking concretely, specifically.  We need to change that, so that the egoic mind does not gain a toehold again.

2 – Choose a Miracle

The request that Jesus refers to is his injunction to choose a miracle.  He is encouraging us to see the broader implications of miracles, the miracles that are present all the time in everyday life.  When we pray, we receive miracles as a matter of course.  When we employ the “art of thought,” then we are praying by definition.  The art of thought is the abstract, generalizable way of thinking and speaking.  It is not something foreign to us any longer.

3 – Drop the Ego

Our old habit of thought was informed by the ego.  And we would not have our new habit of thought unless we drop the ego.  Let us all choose to fail to reinforce anything that smacks of egotism.  We will know disaster unless we drop the ego, and we will know peace when we have done so.  Any pleasure is short-lived when it involved the ego.  And we pay for that pleasure with tears of despair.

4 – Pray without Ceasing

May we remember to pray as we go about our day.  It is the most satisfying way to live.  The Bible enjoins us to “pray without ceasing,” and many of us find this injunction beyond us.  But we don’t have to be foxhold pray-ers either.  We can pray often and deeply, and the blessings that will be ours will surprise even ourselves.

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

Thank You that prayer has meant so much to me throughout my life.  It is the way that I go to sleep at night.  It is the way that I calm anxieties.  And it the way that my entreaties reach Your ears.

Be with me today so that I do not deep into worries.  Prayer heals that tendency in me.  And I thank You for it.  Fear and worry are of the ego, and, as I have said to You many times, I would quit the ego immediately.

Help me to reach out to others today, to answer whatever needs are mine to answer.  Be with all other whom I touch in any way today.  And may the day go well.  Thank You.

Amen.

Transformed Thinking

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“Thus we must dispel, with the illusion of fear, the illusion of specificity.  You have not been asked to request a specific miracle.  Although your thoughts have naturally gone to consideration of the specific, this is but an indication that you are still in the habit of thinking that you learned under instruction of the ego-mind.  This Treatise must change that habit in order for all your thoughts to become the miracles that express the truth of who you are.  (The Treatises of A Course of Love:  Treatise on the Art of Thought, 4.2)”

Affirmation:  “I would relinquish the ego-mind today.”

Reflections:

1 – Thoughts

All of our thoughts will become miracles that express who we are!  That sentence is a quotation from the passage, paraphrased, and is vitally important to understanding what Jesus is trying to say to us.  We are not asked to request a specific miracle, because ultimately all of our thoughts will become miracles.  We will know the truth of who we are.  We will know that we are the Christ/Self who is within us.

2 – Hoodwinked?

Do we feel hoodwinked by this progression of thought, in asking for a miracle?  We should not be, for Jesus is teaching us something very important.  We have always thought in terms of an external God who granted miracles, or of an external Jesus who directed miracles (from A Course in Miracles).  But the real truth is that when we transform, all that we think will become a miracle.  All that we see will be experienced as a miracle.  This is the glory in which we will find ourselves when Christ-consciousness has come upon us.

3 – Wait Long?

Will we have to wait long for this blessing?  Perhaps, but it will not seem long when we have the patience to wait for God’s grace.  He will not leave us comfortless in the interim.  And He will not hesitate, when the time is ripe, to act and to act quickly.

4 – Too Specific in Our Thinking

We have been too specific in our thinking, the specific thinking of the ego-mind.  We need, before we can rightly ask for Christ-consciousness, to do what we can accomplish to let the ego wither away.  We do know when the ego is informing our decisions of what to say or what to do.  And we would not have the ego so inform our decisions.  Be patient with God, but know that He cannot act toward us as long as our own personal selves have the ego in ascendancy.  We need to get our act together first.

5 – Glimpses of Christ-Consciousness

And this is why we see only glimpses of Christ-consciousness or Awakening now.  We have not fully relinquished the ego’s hold on our thought processes.  Until this hold is abandoned, we are not ready for this great blessing that God has waiting for us.

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

It is a glorious blessing that ultimately all of our thoughts will become miracles.  How can I think this of myself?  I cannot, and certainly I cannot when in the ego-mind.  It is only with Your pleasure that I recognize miracles at all.

Could I recognize a miracle at high noon?  Could I really?  Then, if I could, I am on the right pathway.  May I walk the right pathway today.

Amen.

Why Not Request a Miracle?

images - impressionism 2“See you not the choices made in each of these scenarios and the reasoning or lack of reasoning behind them?  You are not worthy.  You are not saintly, godlike or even holy.  You might choose incorrectly.  You might invoke retribution.  You might be selfish.  You might be proved to have no faith.  You might succumb to thoughts of grandeur.

In short, you are too afraid, for a variety of reasons, to try.  (The Treatises of A Course of Love:  Treatise on the Art of Thought, 3.24 – 3.25)”

Affirmation:  “I choose not to be afraid.”

Reflections:

1 – Why Hesitate?

This passage discusses the reasons that we hesitate to ask for a miracle.  But are we really these negative things?  I think not.  We are The Accomplished, not perfect, but worthy of all that God would bestow upon us.  And He would bestow quite a lot.  His will is that we find salvation leading to Christ-consciousness, and He will guide us every step of the way.

2 – Finding the Way

How might we find that way?  We find it in dedication to the pathway on which we find ourselves.  We find it from our reading (for our purposes, principally, A Course in Miracles, A Course of Love, and the Bible), from our prayers, and particularly, from our relationships to the within, Christ/Self, and our relationships to the without, our brothers and sisters.

3 – Relinquish Ego

We do not stay true to the pathway by egoistical means.  All ego must be relinquished.  How?  By recognizing when we have egotistical thoughts and then dismissing them.  By not gaining pleasure from our fantasies that are lost in illusions or dreams.

4 – Ask Amiss?

We are afraid to ask for a miracle for we think that the ego has not died within us, and that, in asking, we will ask amiss.  

5 – God

Perhaps we will ask amiss, but God will correct our mistakes, and Jesus himself will stand at the end of the pathway to right what wrongs we cannot right, to correct what errors we cannot ourselves correct.  

6 – Be Not Afraid

So let us not be afraid, keeping in mind that God is guiding our minds as we ask for a miracle.  Keep in mind that we learn later on in the Treatise on the Art of Thought that we are not being asked to ask for something specific, but for the abstract concept.  We are not being misled here, prior to learning of this.  We are in learning mode, and Jesus is still teaching us.  (He will eventually relinquish that role, making us equal to himself.)

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

May I think in abstract terms today, asking for a miracle, but not a specific one.  This is tricky, and I would not be misled.  Asking for a miracle in the broadest sense is a way to get closer to You.

Be with me today as I leave fear behind.  There is no room in Your world for fear.  Fear is of the ego.  And I would turn aside from egoic thoughts forever.

Amen.

Free-Floating Anxiety

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“What is needed to convince you will be provided.  Such is the urgency of your return to unity.  If not now, then soon, you will be asked to make this final choice, this choice to leave fear behind for good and to become who you are.  (The Treatises of A Course of Love:  Treatise on the Art of Thought, 3.14)”

Affirmation:  “I would leave fear behind today.”

Reflections:

1 – Fear

Jesus seems very bent on our leaving fear behind.  Let him talk to us today.  His way will lead us from the anxieties in which we have often been caught, to the peace and joy of a will that is firmly established in God’s choices for us.

2 – Christ/Self

Who we are is a being, a Christ, that is without abnormal fear.  Of course, Jesus is not talking about the fears that keep us from danger.  He is talking about the free-floating anxiety that prevents many of us from enjoying life.  And he came 2,000 years ago so that we would have life, and more abundant life at that.

3 – Jesus

We will be convinced of the truth of Jesus’s words.  This is the promise of this passage.  And what a glorious promise it is!  To be convinced!  What we need will be provided.  And how?  We will experience this truth through our wholeheartedness, but first through our hearts, which do not actually need the proof in an intellectual way at all.  The heart understands and believes when the mind doubts.  And this mind is the ego-mind, which we would leave behind.  We would see it wither away, and then we will know with the wholeheartedness of a sane mind and a full heart, joined.

4 – Return to Sanity

We are urged to return to sanity.  All of us have been insane to one degree or another all of our lives, except when experiencing glimpses of Awakening.  Jesus would lead us away from this deplorable situation into the light of day, the light of his will also.  He would have us leave insanities behind.  He does not mean pathological insanities as in mental illness, but insanities that are the crux of the human condition.  And we would join him in wishing for an end to these insanities as well.

5 – Christ-Consciousness

Such is the triumph of Christ-consciousness.

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

May I release all free-floating anxiety today.  May nothing mar this beautiful day.  Thank You for the brilliant sun, the balmy weather, the sense that love is out there, waiting for all of us.  May we be patient, but may we know that we do not have to see love delayed.  Open our hearts to Your love, and then may the significant others who would enhance our lives be on their way to us.

Thank You for the many blessings that You give so freely.  Your help is always a free offer.  May I know in the depth of my heart that I am not meant to struggle.  Your way is easy, and with You, even the difficult becomes easy.

Be with us as we walk through a normal day in a normal, but especially be with us if this day brings challenges.  There is no challenge to the advanced teacher of God, according to Jesus, but often we don’t feel that we are very advanced.  Things still trip us up.  I would have a day today that is calm and peaceful, minus the chaos that sometimes seems to engulf all of us.  May we be conscious of Your guiding Presence at all times, leading the way out of dilemmas and granting us Your peace that passeth understanding.

Amen.

Request a Miracle

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“I ask you now to request a miracle.  (The Treatises of A Course of Love:  Treatise on the Art of Thought, 3.7)”

Affirmation:  “I ask for a miracle today.”

Reflections:

1 – Not a Specific Miracle

This passage does not mean a specific miracle, we find out later.  But Jesus leads us along a long pathway to that conclusion.  We have long been thinking in specifics, and he is more general, more abstract.  We do not ask for specificity except with the ego, which dwells in the specific.  We ask for the larger concept of miracles that are in the will of our Father/Mother, God.

2 – Our Attitude toward Miracles

I have perhaps let on too soon that the miracles is not meant to be specific.  Jesus has a reason for planning his words in such a way.  He would have us contemplate our attitude toward miracles, our fears and our anxieties about asking for miracles.  He would have us know that when we believe that our answer will be in the affirmative, more than likely the answer will indeed be in the affirmative.  God will say “yes” to our heartfelt prayer.

3 – Personal Experience

I once went for 14 years without asking, in prayer, for something that I really wanted.  I did not get the green light to pray for that outcome.  And so I did not (except for three days toward the end of that pathway, but that is another story).

4 – Asking in God’s Will

We do know when we are asking in God’s will.  And we know when we are asking from the ego.  So our intuition or our feelings do guide us.  There is no need to pray in vain.  We know in advance when the prayer is right, and when we need to ask what to pray for.  God does not keep secrets of this nature from us.

5 – Miracles Are Our Birthright

Miracles are our birthright.  And we first learned this concept, this knowledge, in A Course in Miracles.  Now A Course of Love follows to guide us all the way home.  And much later, on the mountaintop with Jesus, we will see how that comes about (from the Dialogues of A Course of Love, the “Forty Days and Forty Nights,” previously discussed in this blog).

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

May I know what miracles to request, always asking for what would be good and true, and not spending time changing windmills.  May I know that Your will and my real will are identical, but until I have experienced Awakening, I don’t have as likely a way to discern what is good and true.

Be with me today as I walk through this world.  May my prayers and my communion with You be good and true.

Help us to help each other.

May the joy of asking for miracles, in the abstract, overcome any disappointment that we might mistakenly feel that our every wish will be granted.  

Amen.

Leave Fear Behind Permanently

images - impressionist“All your reasons for fear-based living have been discounted one by one.  And yet you dare not try to live without it.  Why?  Because of the thoughts of the ego-mind.  The ego-mind is concerned only with its own survival but it has you convinced it is your survival that depends on it.  (The Treatises of A Course of Love:  Treatise on the Art of Thought, 3.5)”

Affirmation:  “I would leave fear behind permanently today.”

Reflections:

1 – Anxiety

Most of us have known anxiety far more than we would like to admit.  This is not a personal failing, but just evidence that the ego-mind has not withered away.  We can make a determination that we will not reinforce the fear, when it arises, but take a timeout and commune with God.  We can and will relax in such communion.  Gradually the times of anxiety and fear will lessen, and we will know that we are making progress.  Watch for hints of intuition that will lead us out of this long-time trouble.  Listen for what to do and say that will weaken the ego.  And then the anxiety that has dogged our steps will eventually be a thing of the past.

2 – Ego

The fact that the ego-mind has not withered away is not cause for downheartedness.  We spent eons building up the ego, and it will take some time to reverse the process.  We need to realize that the ego gives us nothing that we want.  Sure, we have flights of pleasure (we think “joy,” but it is not), but the pleasure is balanced with times of dejection.  We always pay for our flights with tears of pain.  Is this any way to live?

3 – Relinquish

I think not.  We must be willing to relinquish egotistical attitudes, ask God for help, and then be reassured that we are asking in His will.  He will help us.  His help is a free offer; he wants to help.  And then we will know the blessedness of peace that passeth understanding (from the Bible).

4 – Release

At any time that we are aware of an egotistical attitude, let us go within and release it to God.  We would not dwell in fantasies of ego-inspired notions.  We would let all of this foolishness go, and with the vacuum, God himself will inspire us to listen to our Christ/Self, which never acts or thinks from egotism.

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

I would release whatever fear I still have in me today.  Not tomorrow, but today.  Help me to do my part to accomplish this.

May my ego-mind just disappear in the light of Your sun.  Your light gives true vision, and it is true vision that I would seek today.

Amen.

A New Way of Thinking

InspiringImpressionism_Morisot

“The experience of truth dispels illusion and thus the ego-mind.  The art of thought replaces the ego-mind with the wholehearted.  The wholehearted is but the heart and mind joined in unity.  (The Treatises of A Course of Love:  Treatise on the Art of Thought, 3.4)”

Affirmation:  “wholeheartedness today”

Reflections:

1 – Wholeheartedness

This passage for today is a summary statement of the importance of wholeheartedness.  We have deemphasized the ego-mind to the extent that we personally can.  It is up to God to do the rest.  And He will not fail us.

2 – New Art of Thinking

When we have truly experienced the truth of our world, we will perhaps not recognize it at first.  We need time to grow accustomed to a new way of thinking, the new art of thought.  But we will recognize that the illusions in which we have believed in the past seem to have fallen away.  We will see more clearly, but with an inner eye, not our physical sight.  This is all it takes:  To see with the inner eye.  This is the way in which the Christ/Self within experiences the world.  And when we identify most clearly with the Christ/Self within, we are well on our way home.

3 – Personal Experience

Christ-consciousness is not yet for everyone, and it particularly behooves us not to claim to have experienced it if we are not living it.  Others will take notice and realize that we have deluded ourselves.  We need to set a good example of absolute truthfulness in this regard.  Those who would claim Christ-consciousness may only be getting glimpses that will fade.  As I have mentioned, I have had two experiences of Awakening that did not last–one for three months, one for six.  These experiences were life-changing for me, and they led me to understand what would be in store for me when the change was permanent.  But a permanent change cannot be rushed.  We do our part by reading and studying, praying and communing with God, and then we wait in patience for Him to act.  He will reach down (metaphorically) and lift us up when the time is right.

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

May this day go well.  May I appreciate what is before me, never crying after something that I don’t have.  May I be satisfied as long as I am pursuing Your way, to the best of my ability and may the set of my will be strong.  There is no way that I can be of use to others if I am not well-equipped personally and emotionally.  May I find Your peace today in everything that I say and do.  May the joy of the moment replace second-guesses and ruminations.

May I find Your way amid the myriad ways that this world points out to me.  This world is not what I would have until it has been transformed before my eyes by You.  May this happen today, if it be Your will as well as mine.  May I no longer be afraid of Awakening, for if I am afraid of it, it is not the prayer of the heart, and You cannot honor my request.  May all of my requests to You be from deep within me, and may nothing be asked that is superficial.

Thank You for putting the right book in my hands at the right time.  And this is repeated with many books over the course of years.  Thank You for giving to me the significant others who do all that they can to meet the needs that are theirs to meet.  May this day go smoothly for all whom I encounter in any way.

Amen.

Re-Experiencing What Has Shaped Your Life

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“The first opportunities for the art of thought to be applied relate to memory in terms of your experience here.  In other words they will relate to the re-experiencing of all that you believe has shaped your life.  These opportunities are but the forerunners of new learning.  They are but opportunities to replace illusion with the truth so that the truth of who you are is all that remains.  (The Treatises of A Course of Love:  Treatise on the Art of Thought, 3.1)”

Affirmation:  “I would know the truth of who I am.”

Reflections:

1 – Meaning of Passage?

This is a particularly obtuse passage.  What does it mean to know the “truth of who you are”?  We can only guess until this knowledge becomes our own.  Basically, it is a coming home, a return to our roots.  We know that we are finding the right pathway when we are serene and at peace throughout more and more of our day.  This perfect calm and quiet are the way that we are intended to be, the way that God would have us interact with our world.  Then we are truly in the spirit of the truth of who we are.

2 – Illusions

We have been lost in illusions for eons, and illusions (i.e., dreams) do not die easily.  We will at first not be able to distinguish illusions from the truth, so accustomed are we to illusions.  But we will come to understand when our way becomes clearer.  We are not actually, here, experiencing the happy dreams that the Holy Spirit brings (from the Workbook of A Course in Miracles).  We have gone beyond this, because we are having glimpses of enlightenment or Christ-consciousness.  After all, we are no longer in the time of the Holy Spirit, but in the time of Christ.  We have passed innumerable hurdles to get where we are today.

3 – Perfect?

A Course of Love has helped tremendously.  We know that we are not perfect, but we also know that we do not need to be perfect.  Jesus stands at the end of the pathway to correct all mistakes (errors) that we could not rectify (a tenet from A Course in Miracles).  We simply assess our thoughts and behavior, choosing what to keep and what to discard.  And then it is done.  (These tenets are from A Course of Love.)  We have been told that we are The Accomplished.  But this is not an egotistical thing.  It is simply the next step in our evolution.

4 – Awakening

Glimpses of Awakening are very important.  They are our assurance that we are staying true to the path of God, and that the penultimate will eventually happen:  We will know Christ-consciousness.  Be grateful for those glimpses when they come, and then take back to everyday life the message of these epiphanies.  Life will change as we change.  Life will get better, even when there are challenges that would have derailed us awhile ago.

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

I would choose to have a good day, a day with, if You wish, glimpses of enlightenment.  This is not an idle thought, but a heartfelt wish.  Help me to follow Your pathway and to experience the best that You would choose for me today.

Awakening does not mean that I have to be perfect, because who could see Awakening if perfection were a stipulation?  But Jesus will help correct errors in me, and I look to him for this guidance in eliminating, without ego, the things that I do that are wrong.

Be with all of us who are seekers today.  I know that You would have us cease incessantly seeking, but this wish dies hard in me.  I would turn aside from seeking today.  You have shown the way, the way that is my personal pathway.  And I thank You for it.

Amen.

How to Read A Course of Love

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“This creating like unto the Creator may be used as a definition of the art of thought.  (The Treatises of A Course of Love:  Treatise on the Art of Thought, 2.22)”

Affirmation:  “I seek to create as my Creator creates.”

Reflections:

1 – How?

Here is the long-awaited definition of the art of thought.  But how do we create like our Creator?  We listen to the Christ/Self within, which is identified with God, the Creator.  We do not “make” as we did when the ego was in the ascendancy.  We may, of course, not even be aware that we are creating as does God.  But the good that goes before us will alert us that we are indeed using the art of thought to create in a new world.

2 – Abstract Writing

The Treatise on the Art of Thought is quite abstract in the writing.  We cannot “learn” it as we did A Course in Miracles.  It requires a different kind of thinking, and this kind of thinking is needed with all books in the trilogy of A Course of Love.  This is the art of thought, and it is in this treatise that Jesus seeks to acquaint us with the new mental abstraction necessary.

3 – Read like a Story

Don’t try to understand with the left brain.  It can’t be done.  Read the treatise as though it were a story and let the right brain take over.  There will be much less frustration this way.

4 – Reread

We will not “get it” on a first reading.  We will need to reread when the mind is relaxed.  Then and only then will the concepts begin to sink in, to become a part of ourselves.

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

Help me to comprehend A Course of Love with the more abstract portions of my mind.  This includes paying attention to what my heart is trying to tell me as I read.  Thank You for the ease with which the reading progresses, as I relax.  I do not need to diligently study, and indeed stern study just acts as an impediment to understanding.

Be with me today as I walk another day through this world.  Thank You for my many blessings.  Thank you for the benefits of a healthy body, mind, and spirit.  May others who may be experiencing illness today turn to You for a lessening of their discomfort.

May I follow You all the days of my life.

Amen.

Leave Off Fantasies and Obsessions

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“. . .[T]hese are the basic rules of the art of thought:  First, to experience what is and to acknowledge what is, both as a fact of your existence as a human being and as a gift of the Creator.  Second, to acknowledge the relationship inherent in the experience, the call for a response, and the nature of all gifts as being given to all.  (The Treatises of A Course of Love:  Treatise on the Art of Thought, 2.19)”

Affirmation:  “May I create rather than ‘make.'”

Reflections:

1 – Abstract Passage

This passage is not easy to understand because it is so abstract.  We, who so recently have been of the ego-mind, are used to concrete terms, and Jesus leaves out concrete terms when he channeled A Course of Love, especially the Treatises and the Dialogues (the latter two volumes of this trilogy).  What can we make of this difficult passage?

2 – House of Truth

We need to recognize solely “what is,” which is another way of saying that we will not be lost in illusions or in dreams any longer, but will dwell in the House of Truth.  We will not fool ourselves about what we are experiencing, lost in fantasies that bring only fleeting pleasure.  We will not be lost in fantasies at all.  Neither obsessions.  We will confront what is before us with wide-open eyes, not in the physical sense, but with the inner eye.  The Self/Christ within will be our lodestone.

3 – All Gifts Are Given to All

All gifts are given to all, not at the same time, but eventually.  We know that all gifts are shared, and that we are not “special” in any sense at all.  Or,  conversely, we are all special, but specialness is an attribute that A Course in Miracles downplays.  We are not actually special in that we possess anything that others do not also possess on some level.  Right now gifts seem to vary among people, but this will not always be the case.  In eternity all is shared; all gifts are shared.

4 – A Call for Response

What we experience calls for a response from us.  And this response practices the art of thought.  We do not feel a responsibility for others, to do for them what they can do for themselves, but we do respond when they are in need.  The need is, after all, only temporary, for all needs are met immediately.  It is only wants that are not always answered, and perhaps that would not be a good thing.  The solution is always with the problem.  We need not fear.  God is within, answering our every need.  And from this point of certainty, we respond to Him and to others.  We give of ourselves in this transaction, and we are not fearful in the giving.  We know that giving and receiving are one.

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

I would try to experience, directly, what is–not what I might wish for in fantasies or obsessions.  What is, is the art of thought in one of its main components.  Thank You for the clarity that today’s passage gives to this new concept.  May I take it unto my heart and walk a clear pathway back to You, a clear path with clear vision to see my way.

I have gifts, and this is not ego.  So does everyone else.  And these gifts right now vary, but ultimately all gifts will be shared with each other.  And there is no ego in this.  I need to be all that I can be for my brothers and sister, and I ask Your help to keep my Christ/Self perking away, with the go ever-withering, disappearing entirely.

Thank You for the benefits that Jesus has pointed out to us in A Course of Love.  May I comprehend with my wholeheartedness, and may my mind no longer try to dominate my heart.

Amen.

No Better Way to Spend a Day

rouen cathedral“The new means of thinking is referred to here as the ‘art’ of thought in order to call your wholehearted attention to the continual act of creation that is the relationship between creator and created.  Creation is but a dialogue to which you have not responded.  The art of thought will free you to respond.  (The Treatises of A Course of Love:  Treatise on the Art of Thought, 2.12)”

Affirmation:  “I will practice the art of thought.”

Reflections:

1 – Unlearning

We need to unlearn the way that we have been “learning.”  We have been using our ego-mind, and now we are encouraged to observe through wholeheartedness.  This is the art of thought, as Jesus describes it.  We arre unlearning the old way, and we are “learning” through observation.  We no longer use our left brain as much.  Our thought is more abstract.  And this is the very reason that reading and “learning” A Course of Love can seem frustrating.  We are still trying to learn in the old manner.

2 – Read like a Story

Let us stop this inefficiency of learning now.  Let us relax in our learning, reading as we would ready a story.  We do not need to concentrate with wrinkled brow.  There is a better way.  And the art of thought shows us what it is.

3 – Christ-Consciousness

We experience more real creation, rather than the things that we made with our ego.  Our Christ-consciousness creates in a way that the ego-mind never could (though it tried mightily).

4 – Create

Let us create today.  Let us ask for help in creating.  There is no better way to spend a day.

5 – Call to Create

We have not responded to this call to create previously.  We have chosen to be afraid instead.  Let us drop fear now, and create with the art of thought–the means of observation that will help us to learn aright.

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

I would observe rather than allow my ego-mind to ruin what could be a good day.  I will observe the world around me, and I will ask for help in understanding what I am seeing.  I will practice the new way of learning through the “art of thought.”

Be with me as I seek to make this transformation real.  There is no better way to proceed on my walk to You.  Be with me, with Your felt Presence, as I try to convert an old way of learning to a new, more effective way.  It is time for all of us to do what we can to effect transformation in ourselves and in our world.  But You must call the shots.  We are lost without Your guiding Presence.

Amen.

Law of Karma

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“The laws of God or the laws of love can be summarized by the simple statement of giving and receiving being one in truth.  The implications of this statement are far broader than at first might seem indicated. . . .The most essential of these implications is that of relationship for giving and receiving cannot occur without relationship.  (The Treatises of A Course of Love:  Treatise on the Art of Thought, 2.11)”

Affirmation:  “Giving and receiving are one.”

Reflections:

1 – Giving and Receiving

We are very, very familiar with the truth that giving and receiving are one.  We are so familiar with this concept that we may have trouble understanding it anew.  But to give is to know that what we give will be returned to us in like manner.  We will receive that which we gave.  This is the old law of cause and effect, or of karma.  An Eastern concept, it is not often identified as such by Christianity, but it is indeed a principle of karma.

2 – Relationship

The emphasis in this passage is the fact of relationship.  Union and relationship are hallmarks of A Course of Love.  We are in relationship to All.  And in the All is the giving and the receiving.

3 – Special Transformed to Holy

We understand the most about this law of cause and effect, receiving and giving, in our most significant relationships.  If we have diligently followed A Course in Miracles, we will have morphed our special relationships into holy ones.  We know from our intimate relationships that when we treat our holy other with love, he/she returns in kind.  When we are attentive, we turn the relationship ever more into love.

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

I ask to create for myself today only good karma, only good cause and effect, only good giving and receiving.  May my relationships transform, every one, into the holy.  May the specialness that we have all known in relationships be seen anew as a holiness that knows no bounds.

Thank You for leading me to understand that karma is at work in our lives, but in a more benign way than is usually believed.  You do not ever “punish” us.  We do that to ourselves.  May I make certain, within the bounds of my limited human mind, that I create only the good as I walk throughout this day.  Thank You for being with me, night and day, and thank You for Your perceived Presence.

Amen.

Choosing to Leave Pipe Dreams Behind

images“You have already succeeded in learning in this new way once or you would not be here.  This is your proof that you can do so again and again until the new way totally replaces the old and the art of thought leaves behind forever the need for what the ego-mind once but seemed to offer you.  (The Treatises of A Course of Love:  Treatise on the Art of Thought, 2.9)”

Affirmation:  “May I leave the ego-mind behind from now on.”

Reflections:

1 – Pipe Dream?

It surely seem a pipe dream that we can leave the ego-mind behind from now on.  But Jesus would not mislead us.  It is possible, and indeed probable, if we follow his advice.  We do not have to think egoistically.  We can “think” with our heart, which loves all others (and ourselves too, for we must not forget that we love our neighbor as ourselves).  The ego-mind has never given us anything that was a lasting peace.  We had flights of joy, but if these were ego-based, there was a low that followed the high.  We paid for those flights of joy with tears of pain.  And we would no longer have it so.

2 – Leaving the Ego-Mind

The change from ego-mind does not usually happen in one felt swoop.  We venture ahead, led by the heart, then take a step backwards into ego-mind, and then disown the ego-mind once again, choosing the heart instead.  This oscillation is common, and it should not be a cause for downheartedness.  We have listened to the ego-mind for eons, and now that we are leaving it behind, it does not go quietly.  We are constantly confronted with temptations of the ego, temptations to think more highly of ourselves than we ought to think.  And these temptations trip us up.  But we do not have to remain tripped up.  We ask for help, and the help is forthcoming.  Always.  When we ask help of God, He responds, gladly and quickly.  The solution is always with the problem.

3 – How to Have Lasting Joy

The ego-mind never gave us joy that was lasting.  But the heart, and the mind and heart together, do just that.  The joy is lasting.  There may seem to be some effort involved, but it is a peaceful effort.  And the peace that it gives soon makes the effort itself effortless.  There is no strain when we follow in God’s way.

4 – Perfect Calm and Quiet

We are just beginning to understand the art of thought.  It is totally alien to the ego-mind, and so there will be some difficulty in understanding.  But the difficulty will soon melt away.  And only perfect calm and quiet will remain.

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

Jesus has promised me that to think with my heart is a way that the art of thought manifests in my life.  I would have this new way of thinking encompass my living day to day.  Help me to understand enough to at least begin on this new way of living.  I would miss much in life, the full life that you want for me, if I still insist on listening to the ego-mind.

Help me to reach out to others in a way that is understandable.  We need each other in this world.  Let us reach forth our hands and join them in silent communion one to the other.  May we keep in mind that we first commune with You, and then we commune with the others whom we encounter.

Amen.

Being in the Right Place at the Right Time

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“But now this alternative [learning with the heart] is being revealed to you and it does call for a change of thought so extensive that all thought, as you once knew it, does need to cease.  (The Treatises of A Course of Love:  Treatise on the Art of Thought, 2.8)”

Affirmation:  “May I comprehend the new way of thinking.”

Reflections:

1 – What We Need

We do need to learn with the heart.  The heart knows things that our mind does not understand.  Frequently the mind wanted proof of God, and the heart knows of His existence without proof.  I do not mean that we never question, for that would not be realistic, but we rest in assurance that all that we need to know will be provided us.  And it will be.  We do not need to check our minds at the door of salvation.  But learning through the heart takes us through the door of salvation.

2 – Cease the Old Way of Thinking

It does seem daunting that we are asked to cease to think in the old way.  How will this be accomplished?  It seems so impossible and perhaps even impractical.  But it works.  We are reminded, at the point of need, of plans that need to be made.  When we listen to intuition, we know without being told.  We follow guidance, and we are where we need to be at the right time.

3 – Jesus

Can we make this shift?  Yes, but not totally alone.  Jesus promises to be with us, and in A Course of Love, he says that it is necessary that we accept him.  He does not mean that he is the only way to salvation, but if we have made our home in ACIM and ACOL, then he is our way to salvation.  We have made our choice, and we need seek no longer.

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

May I follow the guidance that comes with today’s passage.  May I listen to intuition, guidance, and may I follow–turn on a dime.  May I learn to even think in a new way.  May I listen with my heart, and not second guess.

Be with me today as I seek to make these changes that will be more in line with Your will for me.

Amen.

Disengage the Ego-Mind

images -garden visit“The closing pages of A Course of Love instructed you to think no more.  A break in time was needed for you to disengage the ego-mind that produced the type of thinking that needs to come to an end.  This ending is but a beginning in truth and has led you to readiness to learn the art of thought.  (The Treatises of A Course of Love:  Treatise on the Art of Thought, 2.1)”

Affirmation:  “May I remember that thinking is not always required.”  

Reflections:

1 – Eckhart Tolle

Eckhart Tolle (The Power of Now; A New Earth), an enlightened current-day teacher, tells us that his own thinking processes are much reduced in number.  We ourselves usually have such busy minds, busy minds that match our busy bodies.  But we would not have it so.

2 – Break in Reading ACOL

A break is recommended between reading A Course of Love, the original volume, and the remaining two volumes in the trilogy.  The Treatises are the second volume, and to be read next, after the break.  Here we learn the reason for the break.  We needed to teach the ego that it was not in charge any longer.  And the ego has been bent on its kind of learning.  We are now to learn to think a new way, because that is what this treatise is about.

3 – Observation

We are beginning something very new.  The art of thought is basically observation without engaging the thinking mind and its egotistical bent.  We have in truth left the ego behind by now, but we may not fully comprehend what this means.  The Treatise on the Art of Thought will tell us.

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

May I truly leave the ego behind in the days and weeks ahead, as I study the art of thought as described by Jesus.  I would not be buffeted about by fate, succumbing to times of depression brought on by an egoic thrust toward ecstasy.  The ego always knows highs and lows, and I would have my right mind seek drama no more.  Drama is not necessary, and the sooner that all of me recognizes this, the better off I will be.

Be with my brothers and sisters today.  May I respond in a compassionate way to real need, though I would not take on obligations that do not belong to me.  May I love with my whole heart, but in no way seek love from another who is unwilling to offer it.  May the blessings of this earth be bestowed on others whom I know, and may these blessings also come to me. 

Amen.

Joy that Knows No Bounds

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“The joy that will come to you from the thoughts of a mind joined in union will be unparalleled in your experience here.  ‘Ah,’ you will say with a relief and joy that knows no bounds, ‘this is what it is to experience and know the truth.  This is what it is to create for this is what it is like to think as God thinks.’  Where once you recognized only illusion, and called it reality, the mind joined in union will now, more and more, recognize only truth and experience only the truly real.  (The Treatises of A Course of Love:  Treatise on the Art of Thought, 1.10)”

Affirmation:  “May I experience truth more and more.”

Reflections:

1 – Enlightenment

This passage for today indicates that our enlightenment proceeds, frequently, in an ever-increasing way.  We know moments of peace and awakening more and more as time goes by.  For some people, of course, the experience is sudden and can be disorienting.  But this passage indicates that for most of us, it is a gradual process.

2 – Don’t Be Frightened by Awakening

We do not want to be frightened by the coming of Awakening.  And that is the purpose of both A Course in Miracles and A Course of Love.  Jesus says in ACIM that we may be frightened if a light is suddenly turned on when we are asleep, but we will awaken and then realize that the light is not part of the dream.  Well, we are in a dream in waking life as well.  And we do not want to be frightened by the light of Awakening coming on in our lives.

3 – God within Us

We want to think as God thinks, and He is within us, as well as without (though really nothing is without).  We will experience His truth as time goes by, and we will be experience this truth in ever-larger spans of time.  This is the way that Awakening comes to many of us.  The coming is not upsetting.

4 – Joy in Union

We will know joy in union with ourselves, our God, and our brothers and sisters.  This joy will be something internal that nothing can dissuade.  We will occupy an elevated Self of form that is the Christ-consciousness of which we have heard so much.

5 – All Will Be Well

And our days will go well.  All will be well with us.

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

I ask so to live in the Now, releasing feelings of discontent continually, that Awakening is welcomed by me.  It will never come if I am afraid of it, or so I believe.  My real prayer would not be for Awakening if I were afraid of it.  Thank You for the two glimpses in my life that I have had.  Both were a long time ago, even before I found ACIM and ACOL, but they presaged what is possible.  Thank You.

Be with us today as we seek to walk the pathway together.  May I have a smooth day with my significant others.  May I have patience, which I used to think I had, but I know different now.  May patience come in ever-increasing moments.

Thank You for your comfort.  Thank You for the channeled readings that mean so much to many of us.  May today be good, and may I find the will of Yours that is mine as well.  Your will and my real will are always identical.

Amen.

How to Acquire a Restful Mind

monet - water lilies7“The mechanics of the mind were what engaged you in so many daily battles that you became almost too weary to continue.  The mechanics of the mind were what were in need of being overcome in order for you to listen once again to the wisdom of your heart.  The mechanics of your over-worked and over-stimulated mind were what you were asked to leave behind as this act of leaving behind was the only means by which you could allow your mind to be restful enough for it to even contemplate union or the new learning required in order to facilitate your return to union.  (The Treatises of A Course of Love:  Treatise on the Art of Thought, 1.7)”

Affirmation:  “I would seek a restful mind today.”

Reflections:

1 – The Over-Stimulated Mind

We have indeed been over-stimulated in our minds.  And we have suffered for it.  Our society is particularly, in recent years, prone to contributing to jangled and frenzied nerves, and we would not have it so.  Multitasking does not really result in better efficiency.  Indeed, productivity goes down and accuracy declines.  If, in God’s good time, something is not reached, then it was not meant to be reached.  God’s pace is measured and sure, calm and serene.

2 – How to Work

Most of us work too hard.  God will show us how to work, and it is the easy and relaxed method of getting work done.  Speed does not really contribute to anything but frenzy.  We will get more done, in the long run, when we take time out to recharge.

3 – Slow Down

The mind can hold only so much.  And we have greatly overtaxed our mind in recent years.  The best thing is to ask God to show us how to work efficiently, and almost always that prayer will be answered by “slow down.”

4 – We Are Weary

We have indeed been weary.  A Course in Miracles says that we are not really capable of being tired, but we are very capable of wearying ourselves.  Listening only to the ego will naturally do that to us.  And we would not have it so.  Listen to the heart.  We need to stop when we find ourselves becoming weary, because the best work is not done under those conditions.

5 – What Union Means

We need to get our minds in the right mind slant to recognize union when it is presented to us.  We are one with the Christ/Self within, the God within, and with others in our world.  That is what union means.  We are part of the All, and the All is One.

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

I would still my mind today, letting emotions ease and difficulties fall away.  I need to know that I have often tried to do too much, as do most people.  We are leading ourselves astray when we try to multitask.  We aren’t more efficient.  We are just frazzled.

You will show me how to work, how to proceed through my day with a paced and tranquil attitude.  If it is not there when I proceed calmly and peacefully, whatever it is that I have been after was best left alone.  It was not meant to be there for me.

Thank You for the peace that has engulfed me in my better moments.  May anxious and fretful times fall by the wayside, as I observe Your way and try to abide by it.  Thank You for the serene way in which You mean for me to live.  To live serenely is the only right way to approach life.  May I remember this all through the potential stresses of today.

Amen.

Seek No More

images - ballet dancer“The first instruction I give to you is to seek no more.  All that you are in need of knowing has been provided within A Course of Love.  That your learning does not feel complete is not a failing of this course or of your self.  That your learning does not feel complete is the result of forgetfulness, which is the opposite of mindfulness.  Your further learning then is learning based on mindfulness or remembering.  (The Treatises of A Course of Love:  Treatise on the Art of Thought, 1.3)”

Affirmation:  “I remind myself that I need seek no more.”

Reflections:

1 – Why ACOL Was Written?

This first passage selected from the Treatise on the Art of Thought encapsulates what may possibly be one of Jesus’s primary reasons for channeling A Course of Love.  We who have studied A Course in Miracles quite a bit do not always feel complete.  For unknown reasons we have sought so long that we want to continue seeking.  But there comes a stopping point, and the only way to stop is to stop.  Jesus would have us stop our hankering for learning by giving us the assurance that we are The Accomplished, that we have learned all that we need to know for salvation,

2 – Seek No More

Our minds have been the troubling part.  Our hearts have always known more than the egoic mind.  And now we are encouraged to join our mind to our heart in wholeheartedness.  But to seek no more.  There is enough in us already.  We must just observe, not “learn.”  And in the observation of daily life we will be fulfilled (an interpretation, not stated in A Course of Love).

3 – Eastern Thought

The Eastern theories about mindfulness are relevant here.  Jesus calls mindfulness “remembering.”  We pay attention to what we do daily, hourly, and even moment-by-moment.  And we are fulfilled thereby.  We rest in the assurance that all is well, that the world is unfolding as it is meant to unfold.  Not that we can’t improve things, because we are not encouraged to forget others.  But we know that when we are peace, the world in which we live seems more at peace also.

4 – Time of Christ

We have forgotten much, and we will call to mind what we need to call to mind when we rest in God.  He will recall those important things to mind for us.  In A Course of Love, the time of Christ, it is no longer the Holy Spirit.  But the Christ/Self within that directs our every thought and mood.

5 – Remembering

We need to ask for remembering today, while we practice the mindfulness that is meant for us.  We think about what we are doing, but we do not analyze it.  Jon Kabot-Zinn has written Coming to Our Senses, a vast compendium of guides to mindfulness in our world.  If additional help in mindfulness is desired, this would be a good place to start.

6 – The Accomplished

But we do not need to “learn” more.  We are The Accomplished.  We do not fully understand this, and to be accomplished, we do not have to be perfect.  This is a major contribution in A Course of Love.  We just turn aside from those thoughts and actions that are less than what we want, and then the thought or action falls away.  That is all, but it is enough.

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

May I take to heart what I wrote in my reflections today.  The basis of those remarks are mostly from Jesus, with some indication that religions other than Christianity have also spoken of mindfulness.  May I live in peace today, not reaching irritably after more and more.  I am enough, if I am living the Self within.  Help me to fully realize this Self within, sooner rather than later.

Be with all of us today as we embark on a new Treatise from A Course of Love.  May our reading inform our lives.  And may Jesus hold our hands as we walk.

Amen.

Time of Christ / Time of Holy Spirit Has Passed

images - impressionism“The way of the heart is the way of the Time of Christ.  The time of the Holy Spirit has passed.  The time of the intermediary is over.  The greatest intermediary of all has been the mind.  It has stood between you and your own inner knowing, caught in a dream of perception.  (Addendum to A Course of Love:  Learning in the Time of Christ)”

Affirmation:  “I would listen to my heart today.”  

Reflections:

1 – Final Passage to Consider Currently from ACOL‘s First Volume

This is the final passage from the first volume of A Course of Love that I will consider presently.  I see this passage as a summary passage, in that the heart is given ascendancy–a major theme of the Course of Love trilogy.  This passage does not link mind and heart together into wholeheartedness, which Jesus does elsewhere in ACOL. Here Jesus emphasizes the limitedness of the mind, which has, as we know, been the home of the ego for eons.  And the ego has not meant us well.

2 – Inner Knowing

We need to include the mind, but because the emphasis has been on the mind for so long, it is welcome now to address the heart.  We know with the heart, not just emotionally, but in practical terms that give us insight into the very nature of reality (i.e., the real world, as described in A Course in Miracles).  This is the inner knowing that the passage for today emphasizes.

3 – Perception of the Mind

The mind, on the other hand, has emphasized perception, which is always erroneous to one degree or another, for when we are perceiving, we are lost in a dream or illusion.  When we know, though, we cease to engage the mind to any great degree.

4 – Intent of ACOL Different from ACIM

The words of A Course of Love are far more abstract than anything in A Course in Miracles, because the intent is different.  The heart knows abstraction, and abstraction is the natural condition of the mind (from ACIM).  It is only when the mind has run amuck that we find that the specificity of detail gets us lost in a dream world.  We would not have it so.  We would awaken sooner rather than later.  And we await God’s timing on this.

5 – Glimpses of Awakening

In the meantime, we are apt to see glimpses of Awakening, from a few moments to a few months.  This is the revelation that is occasionally revealed to us, but for which preparation is needed (a paraphrase from the early pages of ACIM).  The means are explained in A Course in Miracles, which dislodged the ego, and then A Course of Love was channeled to allow us to come farther along the pathway to what our heart (rather than our mind) could show us.  We will not be finished until we give up constant seeking.  Jesus says in A Course of Love that we are the “accomplished.”  And, of course, he does not mean this in an egotistical way.  But the accomplished at stop seeking and rest in knowledge, calm in the certainty of a heartfelt understanding that is more than the mind can ever give.

6 – Stillness and Quiet

Let us rest in stillness and quiet.  Let us turn to Jesus as our companion, our teacher no longer.  He is ready to receive us as equals.  Would we hope for anything less?

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

May I rest for awhile.  The original volume of A Course of Love has been considered, and we need to take a brief break before we move to the first three Treatises.  May I have a calm mind today, supported by the comforting, abstract thinking that ACOL counsels.  May I be at peace, sure of Your love, certain of the truth of the assertions of A Course of Love.  If we are in the time of Christ, may I know what to do that is different from the time of the Holy Spirit.  Already words comes into my mind from the subconscious that seem to me to be a bit beyond me, but different from the counsel of the Holy Spirit.  Am I learning in the time of Christ?  Is this the way that it is?

We do not have firm guidance in other works for what the time of Christ really means.  ACOL counsels us, and I would do well to listen.  Help me to be relaxed and easy, to take each moment as it comes, to live in the Now.  And may I drop from thought any worry that threatens my peace.

Thank You.

Amen.