Monthly Archives: August 2013

An End to Suffering?

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“Could suffering really gone on for countless ages simply due to your inability to birth the idea of an end to suffering?

“Has not a part of you always known that suffering does not have to be even while you have accepted that it is? Let us now put an end to this acceptance through the birth of a new idea. (Treatises of A Course of Love: Treatise on the Personal Self, 8.12 – 8.13)”

Affirmation: “I may have pain, but I will not suffer today.”

Reflections:

1 – Eckhart Tolle

The passage for today develops an idea that Eckhart Tolle has propounded at length (The Power of Now; A New Earth). Eckhart is a modern-day spiritual teacher who is not affiliated with a particular religious tradition, but has quoted from A Course in Miracles, and is noted especially for the radical transformation he underwent around age 30, a number of years ago.

2 – Pain-Body

Eckhart notes that the “pain-body” emerges from time to time (different for each person), and that when this pain is sought, we all too often turn that pain into suffering. He says that this does not have to be the case. In physical bodies, we will experience pain, but we do not have to turn this pain into suffering.

3 – Jesus

Jesus and Eckhart agree in this regard. A Course of Love, in this passage, indicates that suffering might have been discontinued in our world if we had only realized that this was a possibility.

4 – A New Day

And we are now ready for a new idea: The end of suffering as we have known it. We will still have pain from time to time, but we do not have to activate the pain-body (given divine help), and we do not have to turn pain into suffering.

5 – Divine Help

What a blessing these ideas are! The ideas seem too good to be true, yet if Jesus has said it, then I personally find the ideas to be true. We need help, obviously, and divine help will be on the way.

6 – What Can We Do?

Practically, what can we do to eliminate the suffering? We can pause a moment and ask for help when we realize that a situation is getting out of hand, especially if someone, someone close to us, is baiting us. We can say a prayer. And we will be answered, for we are asking in God’s will. He would not have us suffer, and he would not have us activate Eckhart’s clarification of the pain-body. We do not have to invite pain.

7 – New Idea

A new idea is dawning on our world. We are living in the time of Christ now, and the blessings that will be ours are manifold. Let us set aside our doubts, and realize that we can live in a world that is better than has been previously. But for the better to emerge, we need to commune with God. And, in line with A Course of Love, we need to hold Jesus’s hand as we walk through this world.

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

I would hold Jesus’s hand today as I walk through my world communing with You. I am happier when I commune with You. This ought to tell me something. You want us happy, and our struggles are to be overcome so that we can experience happiness. I would not suffer today. I would rise above any pain.

Help me to keep a rational head. I know that confusion can be generated by too much analysis, because I have long be guilty of too much analysis—and analysis is of the ego nearly always. The ego approves of our analysis of it, for this reaffirms the ego’s importance. I would see the insignificance of the ego today.

And I would walk through my world in peace.

Amen.

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Change that Even Angels Could Not Bring About

hass - pennsylvania impressionist“How difficult it is to believe that you need not change the world but only your own self. How difficult to imagine that this one change could bring about all the changes you would imagine that even an army of angels could not bring about. While such a thought remains inconceivable to you it will not come to be. (Treatises of A Course of Love: Treatise on the Personal Self, 8.8)”

Affirmation: “I need change only myself today.”

Reflections:

1 – Comparison to Traditional Christianity

The passage for today actually suggests a similarity to traditional Christianity, the personal salvation that will reach and change the world. But it is not the social gospel. We must change ourselves first through a personal commitment to God, and, in traditional Christianity as in A Course of Love, this commitment extends to Jesus as our leader and savior.

2 – Change Ourselves

If we can change ourselves, we will walk a new earth. This is a tenet of A Course in Miracles as well as ACOL. We will see things differently, entirely differently. We project that which is within, and when the within is informed by the Christ Self, that projection changes accordingly. And we dream the happy dreams the Holy Spirit brings (from the Workbook of A Course in Miracles), at least until Awakening beckons. And then we are in the real world, a concept that is never defined very precisely, but which we can intuit is a shining world awash with joy.

3 – No Idle Fantasy

How can we change ourselves? It could be argued that we are in the driver’s seat on this one, but we have plenty of assistance. Jesus himself will assist us. We need only imagine that he is holding our hand as we walk along the pathways of this world. And this will be no “idle fantasy.”

4 – Changing the World

We imagine that we need to change the world, but we will be curiously inept until we change ourselves. Other people, the ones we are trying to help, will see through us, knowing that our hearts are not right. And they will be helped only superficially, if at all. When we change our hearts to be in league with God, we will know success as we seek to change the world.

5 – Mari Perron

Mari Perron, the scribe of A Course of Love, seems to me to be particularly interested in seeing changes in our world. This is perhaps a difference between Mari and Helen Schucman (the scribe of A Course in Miracles). Their times were different, and Helen kept her involvement with ACIM a secret; even the channeling was not mentioned at her funeral. Mari is actively speaking for A Course of Love, to great benefit to our world.

6 – Personal Salvation vs. Salvation of the World

This question of personal salvation vs. salvation of the world is a controversial one. Here A Course of Love says definitively that no lasting change will occur in this world until we ourselves are changed first. Then our efforts, and only then, will bear fruit.

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

All too often I want to make a greater change in this world than I am capable of doing. I know that only when I change myself will any action in the world bear fruit. This is the message of ACIM and ACOL, as well as traditional Christianity. It is a step removed from the social gospel, but changes do occur in this world when our own hearts are right. And we will be zealous then in making those changes.

Thank You that there is no conflict in changing myself and changing the world. But I must change myself first, and that is not my doing only. You are there every step of the way; You make the changes, with my consent.

Thank You for the joys that You are giving me every day. Thank You for being there for me. And thank You for the smooth path on which I walk. Even struggles take on a different hue when I realize that You are there for me in the midst of them.

Amen.

Bitterness Retains Cycle of Suffering

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“Bitterness is the cause of this inability to make a new choice and what keeps the cycle of suffering in motion. (Treatises of A Course of Love: Treatise on the Personal Self, 8.7)”

Affirmation: “I would leave bitterness behind today.”

Reflections:

1 – Self-Pity

Here Jesus takes up bitterness again. We are filled with self-pity when we are bitter (personal interpretation, not found in ACIM or ACOL). May we leave self-pity with its attendant bitterness behind today. May we fail to get discouraged with our lot in life. After all, we chose it, and we can choose again; indeed, we must choose again.

2 – Comparisons

When we feel bitter, we set ourselves up for disappointment in our daily lives. We think that others have it better than ourselves. While this may appear to be true, we cannot really know the state of someone external to ourselves. They may appear to have everything we have dreamed about, but how much pain and suffering really are held within?

3 – Physical Beauty

Physical beauty is often seen to be a way to give us what we want. And we think that those who have more beauty are happier than are we. Studies have found, though, that those with more physical attractiveness may actually suffer from low self-esteem, more so than more average-looking individuals. We don’t know what another experiences, even when we think that we know them well. So let us not guess that there is a reason for our bitterness, when actually our bitter feelings just may be partaking of the universal insanity in which we are caught.

4 – Blessings

Leave bitterness behind today. Blessings are easily counted when we give it half a try. And let us give counting blessings a full try today.

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

I would just enjoy my lot in life today, not comparing myself to anyone at all, and certainly not deciding that another has it better than I. I would leave any bitterness behind today, for bitterness would keep me from You. It would say that maybe You blessed another more than I, and You give equally from Your storehouse—different blessings, but all are meant to share equally, though some blessings are easier to recognize than others.

I would move forward toward You today. And this means that I am comfortable with the blessings that You have given me. I don’t always have to beseeth You to give me “more.” I can rest content. And I will do so today.

If I constantly wail for more, I am not grateful for what You have given. You will give more, as I am ready to receive. And gratefulness for the present is a prerequisite for more in the future. That is Your way.

Amen.

Negate the Choice to Suffer

pennsylvania impressionists“What happens when you believe the choice to suffer, as well as the choice to leave suffering behind, has always been found within? Who then are you to be angry with for all that has occurred? Do you blame yourself and your ancestors for the history, both ancient and recent, that you think you would have given anything to change?. . .And do you not thus attempt to see it [suffering] not and then blame yourself for looking the other way? (Treatises of A Course of Love: Treatise on the Personal Self, 8.6)”

Affirmation: “I would leave suffering behind today.”

Reflections:

1 – Eckhart Tolle

We do not have to suffer. Such a current spiritual advisor as Eckhart Tolle (The Power of Now and A New Earth) says the same as Jesus, and he was influenced by A Course in Miracles. Certainly as long we embody the physical, we will know pain, but we do not have to turn that pain into suffering, for suffering is mental. Do you believe that? Note that emotional pain is always suffering, but physical pain is just that—pain. And we would feel pain when we must, but suffering, never.

2 – Blame

We do not need to blame our parents and our upbringing for the lacks in our lives. And we do not need to blame ancestors from farther back in regard to our genetic disposition. We have chosen this life, and we have chosen its lacks. Now Jesus would have these lacks removed, very easily and with virtually no effort on our part.

3 – Choose Once Again

The reason that we suffer is found within, not in any ancestral reason. And we can just as easily choose again. Indeed, we must choose once again (from A Course in Miracles).

4 – Mental Turmoil

Know that a quiet contemplation of suffering will ease the suffering, as well, very often, as the pain. Know that mental turmoil is aggravated by our own choices. Know that there is a way out.

5 – Commune Inwardly

And find that way today in communion with that which is within, the Christ Self informed by God Himself.

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

I would begin the day again if I think that I suffer over anything. I do not have to suffer, though in this physical world I will, from time to time, experience pain. I do not have to turn pain into suffering. And I vow not to do so today.

May I commune with You when the way seems hard. And thank You for giving me a smooth pathway most recently. May I not chaff under restrictions if that pathway turns harsh again. I have the secret—praying to You. Your smile lights my life and calms my turbulent emotions. And then, with no overwrought emotions, I don’t exacerbate the pain, turning it into suffering.

Help me to walk Your pathway, my prayer always.

Amen.

Shaking Up Our World

folinsbee - pennsylvania impressionism“You have chosen many doors to the same house and but thought them to offer different things, only to find that the house you entered was still the same house, the house of illusion. You took your self into these many rooms and in some you were even capable of representing your true self. This representation of the true self within the house of illusion was like an explosion happening there. (Treatises of A Course of Love: Treatise on the Personal Self, 7.6)”

Affirmation: “I would not participate in an explosion in a house of illusions today.”

Reflections:

1 – Exit

We need to depart from the house of illusion. I have mentioned this, in different words, many times in this blog. The house of illusion is what we have been caught in for eons. And it is now time to exit.

2 – Return to Illusion?

We may think that we can save others, lost in illusion, by going back into this house of illusions. Yet this is a falsehood. We need to beckon from without, not join others in their illusions. We need to exit ourselves before we can be of any effective use to others.

3 – Glimpses

Of course, we have done some good works when we have been lost in illusions, because illusions are never total. We have seen glimpses of the real world for a long time now. But glimpses are not enough now. We need to ask for a more constant dwelling in the house of reality, the real world. And God will answer us at the time that we are ready.

4 – Explosions

We did represent our true self in the house of illusion, but by so doing, we made explosions there. And this was disturbing, not only to us but also to our brothers and sisters. And explosions rocked the boat. As they were meant to do.

5 – Set the Right Example

Our brothers and sisters will see that there is a better way if we live right, if we set the right example. But deciding to do so is arguably difficult, because deciding to do so is based on good intentions, which often fail us. So turn to guidance to see how and in what way to reach others. Don’t make elaborate plans to proselytize, because this is not the way to go. Many are not yet ready. But when our brothers and sisters see us happy and well, many will be led to ask us what is different in our lives. Then we can tell them. And in the telling we will be witnessing.

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

I would not witness today to those who are not ready, but I would also never turn down a chance to witness to those who are ready to hear. I need Your help in this. Be with me today as I walk along the pathway that You have set for me; please keep me on this right pathway.

I would not fall back into illusions today. This is a return to maya, to the ego’s traps. I would walk ahead to the real world, in as fast a pace as I can. But I would not trip over my own feet. I would walk carefully and gently, finding companions along the way who need me. And I need companions also. It is a two-way street.

Be with me today as I seek to do what I recognize as my will, being identical to Yours for me.

Amen.

Meaningful Existence

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“The only thing within the human experience that made you incapable of representing who you are in truth was the ego. The only thing within the human experience that deprived the human experience of meaning was the ego. With the ego gone, you are perfectly capable of representing the truth of who you are and returning to an existence that is meaningful. (Treatises of A Course of Love: Treatise on the Personal Self, 7.5)”

Affirmation: “I would choose a meaningful existence today.”

Reflections:

1 – The Ego Is Gone

This passage says, once again, that for those of us who have read this far in A Course of Love, and taken its tenets unto ourselves, the ego is gone. We are The Accomplished. If we find this hard to believe, we are only being human. And we can always backslide. So the ego remains a temptation best left alone, and that follows for all the eternity that we have ahead of us.

2 – Ego Constantly Being Undone

The ego never meant us well. The ego was always a mad idea. And the ego was always being undone. If we were especially egoistic, we knew flights of joy that were undone by tears of pain that often turned to suffering. We paid for all the joy that we beheld.

3 – Living, Not Existing

Now we would live a meaningful life, and it would be an existence that is truly “living.” We would be rid of the ego by turning aside from it gently, for to resist the ego is to make it strong. The ego, according to ACIM, is strong in strife.

4 – Truth

Jesus says a great deal in A Course of Love about the “truth.” We would do well to remember, though, that we are fallible beings who may not recognize the truth when we see it. Likewise, we may think that we are viewing truth when we are actually seeing falsity. So it behooves us to contemplate our decisions well, to let guidance form our decisions. We would always mess things up, if left to our own devices without divine guidance.

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

I know intellectually that I am better off without the ego, but still I fear that it rears its ugly head. Help me to be through with all this foolishness today. I would not do egotistic things, and I would not make decisions from an egoistic foundation. I would follow Your way, which substitutes love in every situation.

I would live a meaningful existence today, an existence that is truly “living” rather than merely “existing.” Help me to do this. I am so dependent upon You these days. I have chosen that way of living, and You have responded. I know that Your presence sustains me, even when I am saying affirmations that keep my temper under control. I would be rid of temper today. I would say “gentle,” and “What would Mary do?” I would stop and take a timeout if I am overwrought. There is no better way to come unto Your presence.

Thank You for being there for me. Thank You for giving me the blessing of a happy life, and may I serve You in ways that You would direct. This does not mean slavish obedience, because my real will is always Yours. We are not separate, and I thank You that, through Your help, I have come to know this.

May I reach out to others today who cross my path. May I be a blessing in Your world.

Amen.

Bitterness Is to the Heart What the Ego Is to the Mind

pennsylvania-impressionist-impressionism-painting-by-roy-c-nuse-along-the-river-1930-original-size-20-x-16“You may believe that bitterness is just another word, another label for the evil you have always been convinced existed in the hearts of some, but even being that it is just another word, it is one chosen to introduce an idea of such fallacy that it rivals only the ego in its destructive potential. Bitterness is to your heart what the ego has been to your mind. It is the one false idea that has entered this holiest of places, this abode of Christ, this bridge between the human and the divine. (Treatises of A Course of Love: Treatise on the Personal Self, 6.5)”

Affirmation: “I would drop any bitterness from my heart today.”

Reflections:

1 – Drop Bitterness

Bitterness is not stressed in A Course in Miracles, but it rivals the ego in A Course of Love. Here we learn that bitterness is to the heart what the ego is to the mind. And to learn such a lesson means that we ought to drop bitterness entirely. We ought not to hold anything against anybody. We ought to forgive entirely.

2 – A Raw Deal

Why are we sometimes bitter? I think that it is largely a matter of self-pity. We think that life has given us a raw deal, not a fair shake. We think that we ought to have had it better. But is this reasoning sound?

3 – Hard Knocks

Not at all. We may believe that we planned our lives before we were born (though this is not a concept in ACIM or ACOL). Certainly we know now that we have a loving Father who wishes us only well-being. And so the hard knocks of life are there to teach us something. And certainly the hard knocks would not be so hard if we were less stubborn. Our biggest enemy, as many have said, is our own self. We made our own difficulties, and then we project outward on others who surround us.

4 – Insanity

This is insanity. We would not blame another for our own difficult times. We would recognize perhaps that there is something that we cannot understand on this earth, and we would realize that there is a better way to live. This better way is what ACIM and ACOL are trying to teach us.

5 – Madness of This World

May we adopt a smooth walk through this world today. And may we know that the hard knocks are there for a reason, however obscure we may find the way to be. It may just be the madness of this world, and we ought never to underestimate how far into madness we have gone (from ACIM). We will be happier, and life will smooth out very well, when we have come to understand more. Ask God for the answers, and see if those answers don’t begin to come ever more frequently.

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

I would seek some answers today. Why is life sometimes so tough? Is it all just madness borne of the ego and of bitterness? Is there a larger reason that I sometimes struggle? I choose not to go from one crisis to another. I choose to live, with You, in harmony, peace, serenity, calm, tranquility. Help me to live this better way today and every day.

May I do for others what I would like for them to do for me. May I realize that giving and receiving happen in concert, that one leads inexorably to the other. And may I rejoice, with You, at my happiness over the many blessings that You give to me. You want Your children happy. Being happy is a worthy goal. May I remember this always.

Be with me today as I walk through this sometimes insane world. But I would not have it insane today. I would choose only happy dreams, and I would ask for glimpses of a reality beyond what I normally see.

Thank You.

Amen.