Monthly Archives: October 2013

No More Time to Waste

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“This is why no more time can be wasted and why so many are being called in the strongest manner it is possible to call them. It is only when what is observable is so widely evident that it can no longer be denied that changes of a large scale will begin to be seen. (Treatises of A Course of Love: Treatise on the Personal Self, 19.14)”

Affirmation: “Guide me to do my part in change today.”

Reflections:

1 – Our World

This passage for today from A Course of Love is similar to the celestial speedup that was said to be the genesis of A Course in Miracles. We are in trying times indeed, and enough people in our world need to get on the pathway so that we can turn around the chaos in which we find ourselves.

2 – The Call

Many are, according to this passage, being called in the “strongest manner.” If you have felt the urgency of this call, then you too can add your testimony to this phenomenon.

3 – Social Gospel

We need change on a large scale. But just as traditional evangelists said, we need to change internally before we can meaningfully change the world. This is an attitude in some contradiction to the social gospel, which often was deemed by some to be enough. But we make mistakes when the unchanged seek to make change. We don’t accomplish nearly as much as we might if our minds and hearts were first changed. We fall down on our faces, giving people bread without teaching them to grow wheat—or giving them a fish without teaching them to fish.

4 – Avoid Controversy

This gets us into controversy, and I would not lean credence to controversy. Listen to your mind and heart, and make the changes therein that you are called to make. Then will the social gospel really make change in a meaningful way.

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

I would do my part to effect change today. If I see a need, I will try to fulfill it if I can, if it is my part to do so. I will offer solace to those with whom I come in contact. And I will remember that an internal change is necessary before meaningful social change is possible.

May I not be tempted to be an “unhealed healer,” and that is what I would be if I sought to change the world before my heart were changed. Change my heart today, to be more loving and more kind, more peaceful and more joyous. The change that this will bring in my outer world will happen instantaneously, and for that I thank You.

Amen.

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Do Not Blame the Victim

lenfest exhibition - pennsylvania“These lessons could not be taught while blame remained within your thought system. No victim is to blame for the violence done to them. No sick person is to blame for the illness within them. But you must be able to look at and see reality for what it is. Just as we are telling you that new beliefs and ideas will lead to a new reality, old beliefs and ideas led to the old reality, a reality that will still exist for some even after it changes completely for you. (Treatises of A Course of Love: Treatise on the Personal Self, 19.12)”

Affirmation: “I would change my reality to the better today.”

Reflections:

1 – Needlessness of Suffering

We see in this passage for today the needlessness of suffering, the fact that we are not to blame the victim—but to recognize that he/she is innocent of the trouble that has come about. We also recognize that individuals who are suffering do not need to carry this cross, but that their degree of enlightenment may be hindering them.

2 – A Victim Mentality

There is a problem with this interpretation, because it leads to the false conclusion, perhaps, that if a person were stronger, more enlightened, these bad things would not be happening, and so he/she is made to feel a victim of his/her own struggle to grow in faith. If his/her mind and heart were right with God, would bad things happen?

3 – Higher Self

There is a mystery here that needs to be cleared up. The higher Self makes the decision about which circumstances we move through. Not everyone is ready to learn through rewards; for some, the enlightenment that comes through passing through suffering is a good thing. For some, not for all. But if we are to understand the plight of ourselves and others when we suffer, we must recognize that our own thought processes play a role in what we experience. We can rise above the suffering and diminish it into simply “pain.” We don’t have to exacerbate the problem by saying something to ourselves about “poor me.”

4 – Out of Control?

We all too often think we are out of control in the reality that we create. We are not. We create our own reality, but this is the reality that the Christ Self wants us to have. The little, or personal self, does not know nor see the whole picture. And with our limited understanding, we think that the more enlightened suffer less.

5 – False Understanding

I think that this is a false understanding. Many choose suffering still, not sure of the value of choosing rewards. Many are enlightened individuals who have chosen a path other than A Course in Miracles or A Course of Love. Jesus takes us where we are, and then he enlarges that vision. Never make the mistake of thinking that another’s pathway is wrong. We don’t know enough to say that.

6 – Ego

But we do know enough not to blame the victim, however tempting this solution might be to the still-present ego.

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

I know that no full answer will be possible about the problem of suffering. I know that we do not have to learn through pain, but the fact remains that many of us do learn through pain. I can ask to learn through rewards, though, as Jesus bade, and I do ask that today.

May the stumbling of the problem of suffering and the evil that it seems to indicate be ended. I live in a good world, and I would not misuse my mind by dropping into doubts about the joy that is available here for the asking.

Amen.

No Need to Learn through Pain

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“The thought system of the truth sees no value in suffering and so sees it not in truth. The thought system of the truth is a thought system that is not split by varying goals and desires. It is a thought system of unity. It is a thought system of one thought, one goal. That goal is the original thought that began the experience in physical form, the thought of expressing the Self in observable form. (Treatises of A Course of Love: Treatise on the Personal Self, 19.9)”

Affirmation: “I would follow the thought system of the truth today.”

Reflections:

1 – When Captured

How do we escape from suffering when captured by it? Is there a way out? If we don’t get out of suffering, are we thinking wrongly? What about people who grow in faith through their suffering? What do we say to saintly people who fall victim to illness or misfortune?

2 – Illness

The questions above all come to mind swiftly as I read, “The thought system of the truth sees no value in suffering.” And truth sees not suffering at all. What can we make of these assertions? Are they just for the very advanced? What if the very advanced soul gets cancer, or heart disease, or diabetes? What do we say to them?

3 – An Ideal

I think that here, in this passage for today, we are dealing with an ideal, and this world does not always support ideals. Even the most advanced teacher of God makes mistakes here, and would all others be bereft of help if that teacher of God falls down? No, Jesus assures us in A Course in Miracles. All of us here fall victim to temptation, but there is a way out.

4 – No Need to Learn through Pain

What is that way out? We can recognize, however dimly, that we don’t have to learn through pain (from the Text of A Course in Miracles). And, as Eckhart Tolle has said so eloquently, we don’t have to turn pain into suffering. We have that much available to us. Even here we will not always succeed, but the way is clear, once we are calm enough to call on God’s help and turn to Him for the way out that we need. He is always there.

5 – Choose Once Again

So we can choose again. We can choose once again (also from ACIM). The disease may not abate, but we are no longer trapped by it, even if it is a sickness unto death. After all, death comes to all, and normally there is a physical cause, either identified or not. We can cry out to God, in our infirmity, and he will lessen the burden of this physical life. He will see to it that our truth does not see pain, or suffering, or death, for He always chooses for life—which equates to health, abundance, peace, and happiness.

6 – Change in Circumstances

This is not pie-in-the-sky thinking. The mind and heart, working in conjunction with each other, are very powerful, and a change of mind moves to a change in circumstances. We don’t have to wallow in our misery. We can, through a change of mind, effect an acceptance that sees the truth that God does not bring suffering upon us. However bad the situation, always is this true. We have chosen the events through which we live. And though those events can get very bad, they are not the master of our lives. We can affirm for the truth in the creation of the life that we live, and we can recognize that if bad things have come upon us, we had a hand in creating those bad things. We may never know the “why,” but our heart knows. And our heart and the Christ Self within can offer, in alignment with God, the answer to our most fervent prayer for release. We may not know an end to this “thorn in the flesh” (from St. Paul in the New Testament), but we will live peacefully in this world until our time comes to leave it.

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

I would accept suffering, first of all, if it comes to me. I recognize this acceptance as the first step to overcoming suffering. If the ego is dislodged from my mind, then this step becomes easier.

Thank You for the insight that suffering need only to be accepted, and then it is oft likely to dissipate. Let me never blame another if this dynamic fails to happen in his/her life. But let me help the other to a newer life, free of those impediments to happiness and peace.

May this day go well, as I give myself up to flow and ease in that flow. If I follow my intuition, then the day will turn out well, regardless of what pain it may hold. I ask for no pain, of course, but I accept the pain if it comes. Then and only then can I transcend the pain, and especially transcend the suffering into which the pain may turn.

Amen.

The External World Is but a Reflection of the Internal

pennsylvania-impressionist-impressionism-painting-by-george-sotter-autumn-gold-1930-original-size-22-x-26-bucks-county“The thought system of the truth realizes that the external world is but a reflection of the internal world. Thus you can observe with your eyes closed as easily as you can observe with your eyes open. You can observe by having an idea of another’s health, abundance, peace, and happiness. You can observe this within yourself because it exists within your Self. (Treatises of A Course of Love: Treatise on the Personal Self, 18.10)”

Affirmation: “I would know that my external world is a reflection of my internal world.”

Reflections:

1 – Projection Makes Perception

The passage for today paraphrases what was said, but perhaps not always understood, from A Course in Miracles: “Projection makes perception.” What this means is that the external world which we see is but a reflection of the internal world that we experience. We can observe the outer with eyes open or closed; it makes no difference. We see what we feel within, and we perceive without what has first found a home within our minds and hearts, the internal.

2 – How Many Angels?

This is the reason that the medieval question, “How many angels can be on the point of a needle?,” is so far beyond its time. There is no world! Jesus says in ACIM that this is what we must ultimately comprehend. We are projecting what we have made real within, and this projection causes us to use our perception (though informed by the ego) to see what we see in the external world.

3 – Hallucination

We are part of a mass hallucination. This is a theological point, but one that will help many to understand what ACIM and A Course of Love are trying to tell us. Certainly all is illusion before we let go of the egoic mind, but whether or not the real world is truly “real” is a question of theological debate. Is anything outside our minds? If God is the All, and we are part of a hologram (another concept that may be useful), then it means that each part is part of the Whole, and that the Whole is present in each part.

4 – Health, Abundance, Peace, Happiness

We can see health, abundance, peace, and happiness. Maybe not exclusively, but more and more as time passes, and our minds and hearts work in tandem. We first see these positive experiences when we listen to the Holy Spirit, and He brings happy dreams to us. The dreams expand so that even tough times often lose their sting. We can be sure that a lovely God watches over us, just as we learned long ago in Sunday school. We may have moved away from our childhood understanding of God, but the germ of an idea may never leave us. And traditional Christianity still is there for us, expanded and enlarged by Jesus’s channeled writings for our era.

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

I would not worry so much about how many angels can balance on the point of a needle, but how many are watching over me now. I would hope that there are a few doing just that. My life does not work well without help—help from others on this plane, in this world, and help from an unseen world. Thank You for giving me the assurance that I do have assistance, and that this assistance is with me always.

Amen.

Worship

Towpath_Bridge - gordon hass“You must constantly remember that your observance is now an act of worship and of devotion and that you are called to observe the truth rather than illusion no matter how real illusion may still seem to be. (Treatises of A Course of Love: Treatise on the Personal Self, 18.8)”

Affirmation: “May I observe in reverence today.”

Reflections:

1 – Reverence

The term “reverence” seems to my mind to be the best way to find a synonym for both “worship” and “devotion” in regard to the observance of the truth as opposed to illusion. We need reverence in our daily life, as it calms our minds and gives us a settled good will toward divinity. God does not need our praise, according to A Course in Miracles, but we need the act of communing with Him, and in this there is an element of devotion, if not outright worship. We need worship of, and devotion to, God, even if He doesn’t need or require either of these from us.

2 – Reality

The section of A Course of Love that we are considering does repeatedly stress the pursuit of truth as opposed to illusion. This leads me to conclude that truth, or reality, or the real world, is available to us. Previously truth, reality, or the real world had not been available; we were lost in illusion, or maya (the Eastern term), and there was little we could do about it other than ask for the “happy dreams that the Holy Spirit brings” (from the Workbook of A Course in Miracles). Now, it seems, we have traveled farther along the pathway, and, while I do not want us to get lost in theology, we are perhaps, most of us, able to at least catch glimpses of the truth, glimpses of reality or the real world. ACIM says that this experience will be fleeting, because God will act quickly to reach down and lift us up to Awakening—once we have experienced the real world for a time. Because time differs in eternity from our world, we cannot know what a short time in experiencing the real world would be like. We do not know how long we must wait for Awakening (or enlightenment, or Christ-consciousness—all synonyms).

3 – Impatience

Let us hope today that the wait is brief. We are impatient, but this is often an egoic notion that is best left behind. We need to cultivate patience with others, our brothers and sisters, in part because this helps to create the holy relationships that we long to have. And holy relationships are our ticket to the ultimate in salvation.

4 – No Injury to Others

Let us open ourselves to the truth today, but take care that what we perceive to be the truth is not injurious to anybody.

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

Unless I am anxious, I sometimes forget how important communing with You really is. I go about my business in this world, safe in Your love, but not realizing fully where my safety lies.

My safety lies with You. I would not choose anxiety as a goad to greater prayer. I would pray willingly and repeatedly, for communing with You is life-affirming. It is the best that this world offers. The sense of Your presence brings a serene and calm outlook on this world. It alleviates stress, and all of us need to have that, given the state of our world.

May today be the first day of a new sense of continuing communion with You. May I never forget You. I know that You will never forget me. Thank You.

Amen.

You Create Your Own Reality

“If you observe health rather than disease, abundance rather than poverty, peace rather than conflict, happiness rather than sadness–disease, poverty, conflict and sadness will be no more real to your brothers and sisters than it is to you. (Treatises of A Course of Love: Treatise on the Personal Self, 18.6)”

Affirmation: “I choose health, abundance, peace, and happiness today.”

Reflections:

1 – Reality

In my reading of this passage for today, I see two aspects that are important. The first is that we create our own reality. The second is that what we create affects others as well.

2 – Jane Roberts’s Seth

Creating our own reality is a fundamental tenet of Jane Roberts’s Seth, written in the seventies. Of course, we are listening to Jesus, and I cite Seth to show the emergence of this idea in our culture. Can we really have health, abundance, peace, and happiness just by wishing for it? In part, yes. But I think not entirely. It is our larger Self that actually determines the experiences that we meet, and this larger Self may have plans for us that we need rather than want. It is certainly wrong to blame the victim if bad things happen. The personal self isn’t in full control. Blaming the victim is a particularly insidious trap that makes that person feel even worse than he/she does anyway. The larger Self may make decisions that in the short run appear detrimental. The end result is always good, though, even if the end result is now to cease living on this earth—death.

3 – Affecting Reality of Others

The second aspect of this passage is the more startling and less well known assertion that what we anticipate directly affects the experience of our brothers and sisters. Can we really bring them good things if we think right? I think that this passage is saying “yes.” This behooves us to get right with God, to let our interactions with others be positive always, and to know that what we say and do affects on subtle levels and not just the superficial.

4 – Health, Abundance, Peace, Happiness

May we have the good things today. May we have abundant health, abundant wealth (either material and/or spiritual), peace (of God), and genuine happiness (joy). These positive experiences will follow us all the days of our lives if the larger Self (the Christ within) also believes that these things are in our best interests. The law of attraction is at work, but not in the materialistic fashion that it is sometimes depicted.

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

I would create a good reality today, for myself and, to the degree that I can, for others. I realize that I can use the law of attraction to make the materialistic attracted to myself, but this will be ashes and dust unless my heart is in the right place, unless I seek also for the intangibles of God. May I do so today.

May what I do affect my brothers and sisters is a right way, a good way. May I think, say, or do nothing that will hinder their progress toward You and Home. May we work together today to have the good, but to be equally certain that the good is shared.

Amen.

Observation

renior - girl with red hat
“You may wonder rightly then, how those who have not learned by the Holy Spirit will learn. They will now learn through observation. (Treatises of A Course of Love: Treatise on the Personal Self, 18.1)”

Affirmation: “I would learn through observation today.”

Reflections:

1 – Observation and Mindfulness

This passage indicates that many of us have not learned all that the Holy Spirit would teach, and for those of us who are moving into the new age of Christ-consciousness, we will learn in a new way—observation. What does this mean? I think that “observation” is a synonym for mindfulness.

2 – Meditation

Mindfulness is a concept closely related to meditation, and meditation as such is not taught in A Course in Miracles, though the final days of the Workbook of ACIM seem to be akin to meditation. The quietness of these final lessons, and the paucity of words in the lessons, suggest that we turn inward in mindfulness and meditation.

3 – A Definition of Observation

What is mindfulness (or observation)? We pay attention to what we say and especially what we do, as we are doing it. We just let the world be, not trying to change anything. The concept is especially elaborated in books on Zen Buddhism, but here we are getting into perennial wisdom that spans the most mystical aspects of most religions in our world.

4 – Flow

Observation works. It is also part of that peace that passeth understanding, something that we all want and need. We slow down naturally, and we pace ourselves. We are in “flow,” which means that we intuit what to do next, relaxing into life and not worrying about what happens. We are serene.

5 – When Emotionally Overwrought

Observation won’t work if we are emotionally overwrought. That is also when guidance is most elusive, guidance both from the Holy Spirit and the Self within. We need to recognize as well how to calm ourselves. Taking a timeout, spending some time without speaking, and turning to prayer, will lead to a still mind. Then we will be observing mindfully again.

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

Thank You for this good day. I am grateful for the peace that a new day brings, the hope that is riding on a new flow to my day. If I listen to You, this is the day that will be given me—a day of flow and peace. May I truly listen, even when my own initiative threatens to interfere.

Thank You for the thought that seemed to merge “observation” with mindfulness. I pray that this linking in my mind is in line with truth. It is my own interpretation, and it is meaningful to me. Thank You for the ease with which You inform me, or at least that I think You inform me. Be with me as I seek to observe today through the mindful movement of thought and deed.

Amen.