Tolerance for Pain May Be High, but It Is Not without Limit

caillebotte - paris street“An imprisoned will engenders a situation which, in the extreme, becomes altogether intolerable. Tolerance for pain may be high, but it is not without limit. (T21-22)”

Affirmation: “Tolerance for pain is not without limit.”

Reflections:

1 – Imprisoned Will

This “imprisoned will” is a philosophical tenet of A Course in Miracles. When we are in the throes of the ego, we have an imprisoned will. Only when we are in our right minds, loving and renouncing fear, are we on the right track, are we working with a will that has been freed.

2 – Ego’s Interpretation

This theological construct can seem malicious in the ego’s eyes. It may sound as though God is tricking us into salvation, that we have to do it His way or the highway. After all, an imprisoned will becomes intolerable, according to the passage for today. It is just the way that the universe works. It was set up for loving individuals, and we introduced a “tiny, mad idea” that changed everything.

3 – Is God “Tricking” Us?

Is it appropriate to think that God is “tricking” us into Heaven? Not in the least. We are dealing with cause and effect here, an immutable law of the universe. When we let the ego rule, we invite fear and fear gives us the imprisonment of the will (an interpretation, not stated in A Course in Miracles). The only way that the ego can work is through our fear. We think that we will not be protected in this uncertain and troubled world unless we remain independent of God, for we fear God most of all when in the egoic frame of mind. This means that we are not open to the guidance of the Holy Spirit, and not being open to His judgment is surely evidence of an imprisoned will. Pain soon follows.

4 – The Separation

When the separation seemed to arise, we were caught in a situation that seemed to make God’s will and our will at odds with one another. Actually the two are inseparable, and only our dim understanding makes this aspect of faith difficult. When we think that God’s will is something that we wouldn’t want, we do in fact invite fear, for His will is actually what, in our heart of hearts, we DO want!

5 – Holy Spirit

When we reject the guidance of the Holy Spirit, we are caught in the bonds of an imprisoned will, which engenders pain–sometimes extreme pain. Although ACIM affirms the releasing truth that we do not have to learn through pain, the truth is that many of us do learn through pain. We can suffer in this pain greatly, but our tolerance for pain, as this passage says, is “not without limit.” Sooner or later we will come to see that there must be another way, a better way, to live, and this is when we turn to God and His Voice, the Holy Spirit.

6 – Helen and Bill

Helen Schucman and William Thetford, the two individuals responsible for bringing us A Course in Miracles, agreed together to seek another way. At the time they and their department at Columbia University were embroiled in competition and attack, and camaraderie was largely missing. Helen and Bill embarked on a seven-year project, with Helen channeling from Jesus, and Bill, typing what had come through the day before. Tolerance for pain in these two had become intolerable.

7 – Tolerance for Pain

May this tolerance soon become intolerable for us as well, and then we will be ready to listen, perhaps for the first time, to innermost guidance.

Prayer:

Dear Father,

May I choose to eliminate pain from my experience. I know that pain is not Your will, and may it not be mine either.

If I have learned through pain, may this learning come to an end. Your will for me is total happiness.

Amen.

There Is Nothing Outside You. It Is the Realization that the Kingdom of Heaven Is Restored to You.

1 – Theology

The passages of today are theological construct, but they are quite helpful, I find, to what we are trying to learn in A Course in Miracles. The title of this posting is emphasizing, in the quotation, that projection makes perception. And we are projecting illusion. The world does not exist! Elsewhere in ACIM Jesus says this, and he says that we must ultimately come to understand this. Not all are yet ready, but for those who are, we can recognize many blessings.

In short, this absolves others of responsibility in hurting us. We don’t have to feel hurt in any way, because nothing has really happened outside of illusion. Of course, we can imagine that this does give us (or them) free rein to do just anything. Morals are still important, and Christian ethics are still important. But we have a genuine basis for forgiveness now. We don’t pardon real “sins,” only mistakes made in illusion. And such mistakes are easily correctable.

2 – Nothing Outside of You

“There is nothing outside you. That is what you must ultimately learn, for it is the realization that the Kingdom of Heaven is restored to you. (T-18.VI.1)”

Is the Kingdom of Heaven really restored to us? The answer lies in how we feel, for feelings are of the heart, and, as A Course of Love, says, the heart is the way that we will come to know now. (Ultimately, we combine mind and heart to form “wholeheartedness.”)

3 – Heaven on Earth

Can we experience Heaven on earth? Indeed, I believe that we can. Jesus implies as much in the Gospels, when he is enjoying camaraderie with his disciples. And Edgar Cayce once channeled the Last Supper in such a way as to suggest that Jesus was totally at ease and enjoying his disciples’ company at this final meal.

4 – How So?

What would it take to experience Heaven on earth? Very little change, if we look to peace and joy and harmony—letting conflict, anger, and attack go out the window. All of us have known the flights of joy that the ego has brought to us, but the ego gives only to take back. And we paid for those flights of joy by tears of pain and suffering. There was no high without a low.

5 – Let the Ego Loosen

Things are different when we have let the ego loosen. When we no longer look to things of this world for satisfaction, for, as Jesus suggests, there are no satisfactions in this world. That may seem extreme, but in the context of material satisfactions most of us can see how it is true. We do need certain material goods, and God knows this and will provide, if we do not stand in our way by the world that we make, the poverty that we make by the law of attraction.

6 – Heaven

“Heaven is not a place nor a condition. It is merely an awareness of perfect oneness, and the knowledge that there is nothing else; nothing outside this oneness, and nothing else within. (T-18.VI.1)”

The definition of Heaven in this passage suggests the need for much reflection. We have traditionally thought of Heaven as a place, especially to which we hoped to go after death. But not a place, Jesus tells us. And not a condition. This latter is harder, for we tend to think that if we live harmoniously, we will have the condition of Heaven on earth. But if we are aware of the perfect oneness that we share will all others, indeed, the All which is, we will know Heaven. This Oneness will give us the forgiveness that we all need to extend and that we all need to receive.

7 – A More Tangible Heaven

How might we conceive of Heaven more tangibly? I think that we need to relax “into” Heaven, not become agitated at the slightest provocation, not to invite anger or attack, and not to feel envy, malice, jealousy, and the other negative emotions. How do we do all these “nots”? We don’t focus on the “nots,” but instead look to the positive side of all of this. We cultivate tolerance, patience; we look for reasons to be joyous. And, maybe most of all, we accept the past with all its mistakes. God has forgiven us. Why is it so hard for us to forgive ourselves?

8 – Mind Reached to Itself

“Mind reaches to itself. It is not made up of different parts, which reach each other. It does not go out. Within itself it has no limits, and there is nothing outside it. It encompasses everything. It encompasses you entirely; you within it and it within you. There is nothing else, anywhere or ever. (T-18.VI.8)”

This is the fullest explanation of projection makes perception that we find in ACIM. We are seeing mind in its entirety, and there is nothing outside that. Of course, we do not mean the brain, which is only a tool on earth, a lodging place for the mind. Mind is composed of ideas, and we are an idea (from the Text of ACIM). God is an idea as well, and we are part of Him. There is no other theological concept in ACIM that is so important as this. We must understand this. And then we will walk a peaceful walk home to God.

Affirmation: “The Kingdom of Heaven is restored to me today.”

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

I feel that my trying to understand “there is nothing outside you” is finally becoming possible. We live in a hologram; the universe is a hologram. Each part is the whole; the whole is in each part. And that is God, the One, the All. That is You.

Be with me today as I seek to live a harmonious life. May today be the start of a glorious year of harmony. May I reach out to my significant others with peace and comfort. May our days be long and good.

Be with my brothers and sisters. We need each other so very much. May I know better how to interact socially in the coming year. May my interactions with others be satisfactory.

Amen.

I Am Here Only to Be Truly Helpful. I Do Not Have to Worry about What to Say or What to Do, because He Who Sent Me Will Direct Me.

“I am here only to be truly helpful.
I am here to represent Him Who sent me.
I do not have to worry about what to say or what
to do, because He Who sent me will direct me.
I am content to be wherever He wishes, knowing
He goes there with me.
I will be healed as I let Him teach me to heal.
(T28)”

Affirmation: “I do not have to worry about what to say or what to do.”

Reflections:

1 – What Am I to Do?

One of you who reads this blog frequently finds a favorite post by typing into a search engine the question, “What am I to do? Where am I to go?” Today’s passage just happens to be a precise answer to this question, a question that affects all of us to one degree or another. We are here to represent God; that is the spiritual answer. But not all who read this blog are ready for such spiritual talk. It is enough to know that those of us in the secular world, as well, can see that we do receive guidance about what to say or do next. This guidance can be very precise: Turn left at the next corner, even. Of course, if we are unbalanced, everything can seem to be a sign. But if we are reasonably well put together, our guidance will come in rational ways, though we will need to enlarge what we think of as “rational.”

2 – Lovely Prayer

The passage for today is a lovely prayer, set in the form of a blank verse poem. The “He” and “Him” referred to in the poem mean the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit is the Universal Inspiration, the part of us that is in communication with the Father, with God. ACIM uses the triume God as a part of its theology: Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. But we are all the Son or Daughter, in a departure from traditional Christianity. We all have the Christ Self within as part of the inner Being whom we are.

3 – Holy Spirit

Two of the most beautiful lines are Lines 3 and 4, in which we are assured that the Holy Spirit will guide us. We do not have to reach ahead to the future, wondering what to do. We will be told in the present. If there are plans that need to be made, we will be told of them at the point of need. There is no need to worry. This lack of a need to worry is powerful incentive to let the Holy Spirit makes decisions for us. If we turn over our judgment to Him Who knows all circumstances–past, present, and future–the cause of worry is negated. We have previously shown a lack of trust in the universe when we have worried. We have shown a lack of faith. But we do not have to stay in this state of unrest. We can move with a surety that is not of this world. We can move in God’s grace.

4 – Guidance

We will follow guidance to go wherever in this world we are led to go. This is truly being led by the Holy Spirit, and it may not take what is commonly known as blind faith. We will know inwardly and with assurance what pathway is best, and where that pathway is physically located. We will go with knowledge that we are there with the Holy Spirit.

5 – Our Brother’s Keeper

We are also our brother’s keeper. “I will be healed as I let Him teach me to heal,” which is the last line, is an assurance that our relationship to our brother is where healing lies. This points out a frequent emphasis in this blog, that our holy relationship to our brother/sister is our means home to God. Here is the healing. And we heal him/her as surely as we heal ourselves. This is the means that A Course in Miracles is using to save us time. Each of us will save a thousand years as the world reckons. The world is old and worn down, very weary. It is a place of joylessness, but we can turn it into a place of joy. (These are paraphrases from ACIM.)

6 – Study the Poem

If we study this poem, we will have its blessing, for it is indeed dense with meaning. Let the Holy Spirit speak to us as we read.

Prayer:

Dear Father,

Thank you for helping me to make decisions through the Holy Spirit. Let me realize that I do not have to worry about what to say or do, because I will be guided. This is Your promise.

Help me to be helpful to others in my daily life. As I am healed, I will be better able to effect healing in others through Your grace.

Be with me this day. I ask You to give me good energy as I walk through the day. Give your blessing to my brothers and sisters as well as to myself. May I follow the guidance that I receive. May I not be stubborn in my own alienated will.

Amen.

Jesus: “Fear Cannot be Controlled by Me, but It Can Be Self-Controlled. Fear Prevents Me from Giving You My Control.”

Impressionist-Paintings-020

Affirmation: “Fear can be self-controlled.”

Reflections:

1 – Previous Posts

I have posted on passages from A Course of Miracles about fear three times in the very recent past. Fear is a motif of ACIM, and fear and love are said to be the only two emotions–with all others being subsets of those two. Fear is of the ego, and the presence of fear is a sure sign that we are letting the ego rule once again. We need to find out how to avoid letting the ego rule. We will never make much progress on our spiritual “journey without distance” (from ACIM) unless we find a way to overcome fear. But Jesus also tells us that we cannot “master” fear by our insistence; he says that the only true mastery is through love. So this puts us back at square one. We need to understand how to love, to get ourselves and our egos out of the way, to see how we can view our world, the people in it and ourselves, with only the positive sense of love. Then and only then will we be free of anxieties. It is true, though, that such mastery may come ultimately only with Awakening.

2 – Conditions Bringing Fear

The quotation is not the complete passage, and what is quoted can be a little misleading. Later on Jesus says that we are to ask for help in eliminating the conditions that have brought the fear about. That then frees us to accept the control of Jesus. What are these conditions, usually? That we have been too self-centered, that we have not let go and let God, or, more precisely, the Holy Spirit as the Communicator to us. We have not let the Holy Spirit have His way in the guidance that we have asked to recognize as we live our lives. In these early passages in the Text of ACIM, Jesus has not yet introduced the Holy Spirit fully, and he uses the first person, himself, to introduce us to the idea that we need help in our daily lives. He is there for us, and later on he will make clear that the Holy Spirit is there for us. Here we are bade to give control to Jesus in regard to the conditions that have brought fear about. It is always a desire to be separate, these conditions. And it is not the will of the universe that we see ourselves as separate and apart from the whole. We desire so much to be independent, but we are not intended to be as independent as the ego has said. We are part of the All, and the sooner we join the whole in our minds and hearts, the quickly we will be free of fear, free of anxieties.

3 – Self-Controlled Fear

In getting the guidance of the Holy Spirit to eliminate the conditions that brought about the fear, we are going to the root of the fear. This is true self-controlled fear.

4 – Cause and Effect

Jesus also says that cause and effect are involved in fear. When the conditions that bring about fear are present as a cause, then the effect is the fear. To tamper with this cause-and-effect relationship would be to deemphasize our minds, which Jesus would never do. He also says that we fear the power of the mind, but to think of it as impotent is not a helpful concept. We are actually afraid of the power of the mind.

5 – Fear Can Be Overcome

Fear can be overcome. It is simple to read these words and to take them to heart, but perhaps it is not easy to effect the eradication of fear. As indicated, A Course in Miracles Course returns again and again to the differences between love and fear, and ultimately tells us that the only true mastery of fear is through love. How do we effect this change? How do we choose love in every situation? Ah, that is the question. But one of the best ways to so live is to turn often to the inner Self, as well as to the inner Deity, in communion and prayer. If we keep a reverent attitude toward what we are going through in daily life, we will be living in a more centered way. We will not become so scattered, with attempts made so often to go off in many directions at once. The scattered approach to living is an invitation to allow fear the upper hand. And stress fuels anxieties.

6 – Stress

How might we reduce the daily stress that comes with the territory of being human? One of the best ways is to devote a short period, morning and evening, to devotionals. The Workbook of ACIM is certainly a way to learn how to do this. When we touch base with God on a regular basis, we find that we are conscious of His Presence when our minds are on the things of this world. This is the best way that I know to “self-control” fear.

Prayer:

Dear Father,

May I be free of fear. May I have help with the conditions that bring the fear about. And may I be guided in how to control my fear.

I pray for Jesus’s help in my life. He promises this to me. May I turn to him and to the Holy Spirit for the help that I so much need.

Amen.

The First Obstacle that Peace Must Flow Across Is Your Desire to Get Rid of It

1 – Masochism

I think all of us have some masochism in us that we need to overcome. Certainly if we take this passage to heart, we will realize that we do have symptoms of masochism, though we don’t often call it that, and this passage certainly does not use the term. But here it is:

“The first obstacle that peace must flow across is your desire to get rid of it. For it cannot extend unless you keep it. You are the center from which it radiates outward, to call the others in. (T-19. IV.A.1)”

2 – Why?

Why would we try to get rid of peace? Why indeed? Is it not what Marianne Williamson, lecturer/teacher of A Course in Miracles, has said in her books: We are addicted to the adrenaline rush. Certainly we must push ourselves often in this world of which we are a part. We have jobs, we have families, we have obligations. And so time is short and stress is severe. We do produce adrenaline in our bodies, and we get addicted to the high that it gives. But is this wise?

3 – Adrenaline

Most assuredly to become addicted to adrenaline is not wise. We need the peace of God. We need the felt oneness of Being that Eckhart Tolle recommends. We need to feel the presence of God in our inner body (also a recommendation of Eckhart).

4 – Peace

Peace needs extension, an extension which is the way of creation. And as much as we need peace, so do others with whom we come in contact. There is no limit to what we can do when we extend the love that we feel within. Love knows no bounds even in this world of ours, our flawed egoic world. Others need the peace that we can extend, but to be willing to extend it, we first must experience that peace ourselves. And to experience that peace, we need to “keep” it. Let us vow to do so today.

5 – Feather of a Wish

“This feather of a wish, this tiny illusion, this microscopic remnant of the belief in sin, is all that remains of what once seemed to be the world. (T-19.IV.A.8)”

This “feather” can light on anything, marring the beauty of anything. But it is only a feather, a wisp of unreality. And with our wish, it is gone. The love that we share with our brother or sister is the best example of when this feather can interfere. If we feel conflict arising in our relationship, we can know that the belief in sin has reared its ugly head once again. And we will be disquieted.

6 – Distress that Rests on Error

Know that this unreality is “distress that rests on error” (from ACIM). Seldom have I found any quotation from ACIM so useful as this one, this distress based on error. It immediately counsels forgiveness, for mistakes are being made, mistakes that can be corrected.

7 – Home

“His home is in your holy relationship. (T-19.IV.A.6)”

The “His” is the Holy Spirit. And the Holy Spirit is our way of guidance, as recommended in ACIM. (A Course in Miracles uses the inner Christ Self as our guidance.) And it is through our holy relationship that we see God, that we experience Him. And that we awaken. A Course in Miracles sees our holy relationship as a means of saving time, a means to further salvation by collapsing time. Let us ask for this blessing today, for the world, as ACIM says, is worn and very weary.

8 – Accept Peace

Let us accept the peace that is ours today. We cannot know what blessings are ours until we walk in peace throughout the day—not in an adrenaline rush that has become addictive.

Affirmation: “I would accept and extend peace today.”

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

So many times when I awaken too early in the morning, and I get up to listen to music, I eventually find myself agitated. After all, before 5 in the morning is not what I would wish to be awakened. But You have plans for me. I think that there are times when You want me all to Yourself, and early in the morning, with the black sky dotted with stars, You have me. All of me.

The next time that I awaken early, help me to remain calm, to let Your peace overwhelm me. That is what You would wish, of that I am sure.

Be with me today as I seek to walk through another day with peace and comfort and joy. I wish to be contented, and, so far, this has been a good day for that. Thank You. May I carry out Your wishes, which are also my own, in a tranquil and serene spirit.

Amen.

Jesus: “Whenever You Are Afraid, It Is a Sure Sign that You Have Allowed Your Mind to Miscreate and Have Not Allowed Me to Guide it.”

“Whenever you are afraid, it is a sure sign that you have allowed your mind to miscreate and have not allowed me to guide it. (T29)”

Affirmation: “My I allow Jesus to guide my mind.”

Reflections:

1 – Mind Wandering

Elsewhere A Course in Miracles counsels against mind wandering. This mind wandering is exactly the way in which miscreation happens. We fantasize about horrors of the past, present, or future, and soon we find ourselves afraid–full of fear. The exact opposite of love. When we recognize that also, in this other passage, we learn that there are no idle thoughts, that they all create form at some level, we are brought up short, and we realize what a mistake we have made. We don’t know what these forms are, but we can imagine that some of them are probable realities (from Jane Roberts’s Seth), and we may get ourselves in very serious trouble if we allow the forms that we are creating to stand. Allowing these forms to stand is exactly the reason that we are becoming so fearful (an interpretation, not stated in ACIM). And fear is of the ego, always. Let us never forget that.

2 – Our Guide

When we allow Jesus to guide our thoughts, we do not know fear. This takes great deal of concentration in the beginning, an awareness of what our minds are doing. This kind of concentration usually does not come easily to us. But it can be done, when motivation is strong. Jesus also indicates that we only need to strengthen our motivation to learn A Course in Miracles, that once the motivation is strengthened, everything else will fall into place. We need to talk to Jesus as to a friend, to realize that he is actually near–when we have called to him. It takes very little deviation from science to know that a single object can be in more than one place at a time; this is current day physics. And Jesus, master that he is, can appear wherever and whenever he is needed. In addition, the Teachers of Teachers can help us, giving us their ideas when we falter (from the Manual of ACIM). If having either Jesus or a Teacher appear to us would be disconcerting or fearful, we can tune our minds and hearts to their words. It is not beyond reasonable consideration that we are guided every step of the way. And we do sometimes, even with clear minds and no mental illness, hear locutions (inner thoughts that we did not “think”) that guides our journey.

3 – Strong Fear

If the fear is strong, the motivation to change to a better way of living will be strong as well. We need at first attend only to the motivation to change, and then the remainder will fall into place without effort. This cannot be said enough. The motivation is key. And the more time that we devote to following Jesus’s words, the more desirous we will be to do so all the time. He does not want to make our decisions for us, though. Mari Perron, the scribe of A Course of Love, indicates that he told us just that in an internal monologue. At that time, she was depending on Jesus to make her decisions for herself, and he let her know that this was inappropriate.

4 – Monitor Thoughts

So let us monitor our thoughts. Let us turn inward when we sense fear rising. Let us not fall into miscreation, though we ourselves do not fully understand what we are miscreating. It is enough to know that mind wandering will miscreate, and we need a better option, a better way to spend our days.

Prayer:

Dear Father,

May I allow my miscreating mind to rest in Your power and strength. May I allow the Holy Spirit to guide my thoughts.

When my mind does not wander into fantasies, I am better off. Thank you for the wisdom that would lead me to eliminate miscreations of my mind and eliminate fear.

I have too long experienced anxieties from time to time, even frequently. I would leave this habit of mine behind me as I walk ahead on my pathway. Help me to do so. Help others to do so as well.

Amen.

Nothing Real Can Be Threatened. Nothing Unreal Exists.

manet - bar“This course can therefore be summed up very simply in this way:
Nothing real can be threatened.
Nothing unreal exists.
Herein lies the peace of God. (T-in.2)”

1 – Illusion

As I read this passage, it seems to me that we are encouraged, once again, to see that the world in which we live is illusion. It is not real, and therefore does not truly exist. The real, in my view, are the intangibles of hope, love, joy, peace, and the like. These cannot be taken from us except by our choice. And when we are in our right minds, we choose to keep these blessings in our hearts.

We have the peace of God when we have His intangibles. And the passage concludes, “Herein lies the peace of God.”

2 – Special Attention

This passage is the epigram for A Course in Miracles, and, as such, deserves particular consideration. Let’s take a look at the words themselves, and how they are interpreted elsewhere in ACIM.

3 – The Real

The “real” is usually referred to as the “real world,” the unplaced place that we see when we are nearing Awakening. The real world is experienced only briefly, but we don’t know what “brief” means in eternity. Mari Perron, the scribe for A Course of Love, believes that when we have experienced Awakening, we are in fact not living an illusion any longer, but are experiencing reality. Hugh Prather, in an afterlife visit to his friend Jerry Jampolsky, however, said that A Course in Miracles was absolutely correct, that we are living an illusion. And Hugh was an advanced teacher of God. So there can be no easy answers. We, each of us, need to turn within to ask what truth is for us, what we truly believe.

4 – The Unreal

The “unreal” is the illusion, the maya in which we find ourselves throughout most of our lives, before Awakening, at the least. And this unreal does not have to affect us adversely, though it usually does. The pain, the suffering, all can be seen as the mirages that they are. And we can turn aside from them just as surely as we welcomed them.

5 – Real World

There is an extremely reassuring passage that bears quoting, about the real world:

“Sit quietly and look upon the world you see, and tell yourself: ‘The real world is not like this. It has no buildings and there are no streets where people walk alone and separate. There are no stores where people buy an endless list of things they do not need. It is not lit with artificial light, and night comes not upon it. There is no day that brightens and grows dim. There is no loss. Nothing is there but shines, and shines forever.’ (T-13.VII.1)”

6 – Mystery

I do not pretend to understand what is being said here. But I know that the real world, if experienced as joy, is not dependent upon things of this world to sustain it. This is what I think is meant here. Not that there will be no things of this world, but that we will see them differently. They will not mean anything particular, just because what we see is physical. We will have our sights on the nonphysical, on the intangible. And we will be much the better for it.

7 – Take a Moment

We need to take a moment from time to time to ask what really matters, what the real world will truly show to us. And when we find an answer, we need to engrave it upon our hearts. Certainly we have progressed beyond the desire to attract material objects as a way of self-aggrandizement. But we need something to replace the physical objects with, or we will experience a sense of loss. And there is no need—ever—to experience a sense of loss. The happiness that Jesus gives as we approach Awakening, as we experience the happy dreams the Holy Spirit sends, is without parallel in the physical universe. It is not physical at all. We have our physical needs satisfied, but that is of small consequence to us. We are looking at a higher reality.

8 – All Will Be Well

So let us seek the real as we go about our world. Let us drop the unreal.

And all will be well.

Affirmation: “Let us seek for the real today.”

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

I am thankful for You today. This is a particularly good day, and it comes to me from You. May all with whom I come in contact in any way be blessed by their circumstances today.

Be with my significant others today and every day. May I fulfill what You would have me say and do for them.

Amen.

The Correction of Fear Is Your Responsibility. When You Ask for Release from Fear, You Are Implying that It Is Not.

pennsylvania impressionism - winter snow
“The correction of fear is your responsibility. When you ask for release from fear, you are implying that it is not. You should ask, instead, for help in the conditions that have brought the fear about. (T29)”

Affirmation: “help in the conditions that have brought the fear about”

Reflections:

1 – A Sequence of Thoughts

These three sentences, and the order in which they appear, are a very important sequence. We may feel that the correction of fear is beyond what we can do, but this passage says not. We can get help, though, in the slightly different matter of the “conditions” that brought the fear about. For that we ask for help, and rightly so. And when we ask, we receive.

2 – Cause and Effect

Jesus says elsewhere that if he were to remove the fear for us, he would be tampering with a most important aspect of reality, cause and effect. We have to take responsibility for what we have made in this world, and fear is one of those things that the ego has made. It is not real, but we don’t realize this when we are in throes.

3 – Personal Experience

I have not always taken kindly to this assertion of Jesus. I have thought, previously, that if a minor tranquillizer could remove anxiety, how is this OK to be effective when Jesus himself does not help directly (as he says he won’t)? The reason is that the Valium or Xanax is a magic potion, but a pill that is quite in line with what we might do in our fear-weakened state. Jesus does not directly encourage pills, but he does say that sometimes we have to take an oblique approach to illness and let medication do its work. He indicates, though, that pills are a form of magic or magical approach to our ailments.

4 – Conditions

The most important thing to remember is that Jesus will help with the conditions that have brought the fear about, and this is a very close thing to helping directly with the fear. And it does not tamper with the effect that we have wrought when we made a cause that brought the anxiety upon us. We do have the power to handle anxiety, and prayer and meditation are among our most potent tools in our tool kit. Jesus walks beside us, when we call for him (“a single unequivocal call” from the Text of A Course in Miracles), and this in itself is frequently enough to take the agitation from us. It has proved to be enough for me on any number of occasions.

5 – Pivotal

The matter of conditions is pivotal. There is always an (insane) reason that we feel fearful. We don’t need to understand insanity, but we do need to leave it behind, and this passage notes that the help we need in leaving insanity behind is there for the asking. Indeed, we cannot understand insanity, for it is beyond reason, being irrational. Remember that the ego approves of our analyzing our conditions, as this seems to lean credence to the importance of the ego. Let such analysis drop by the wayside. It will get us nowhere. Instead, we need to note madness when we see it, and then quietly let it go.

6 – Fearful Thoughts = Madness

Fearful thoughts are always a form of madness, the form in which most of us live in this world the vast majority of the time. Until we willingly leave fear behind and return to love consistently, we will be afraid periodically. Can this be something we want to keep?

7 – Our Power

It is very reassuring to hear from Jesus in ACIM that we have the power to remove fear. Our minds are very powerful and never rest, even in sleep (from ACIM). We do not normally credit the mind with such power because we are afraid of this power (also from ACIM). But we need not fear our own minds when we have willingly laid down our own judgment and turned to the Holy Spirit for His help. He will guide us surely. More than surely. It is one of His functions, and He will not neglect His functions. We do not know all the conditions that surround us–past, present, and future–and so we would choose wrongly. Turn to one who does have this prescience. And life will smooth out. I know this for a fact.

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

May I leave fear behind. This sometimes seems impossible to me, but You have promised that I can do so.

May I have the help that You have promised with the conditions that have brought the fear about. Then my fear is self-controlled, which is what Jesus asks me to do.

Amen.

There Is No Strain in Doing God’s Will as Soon as You Recognize that It Is Also Your Own

manet - girl with earring“There is no strain in doing God’s Will as soon as you recognize that it is also your own. (T30)”

Affirmation: “no strain in doing God’s will”

Reflections:

1 – Theory

This sentence is a primary theoretical foundation for the Course. Much of our rebellion has been predicated upon the idea that we would not believe that God’s will would be desirable; we think that we can choose better. We even think that His will is punitive. But we are a part of God, and He chooses for us when He makes decisions. We truly want what He wants for us. He chooses in our best interests, nothing punitive at all. And we are happier when we follow His Will as conveyed by the Holy Spirit. This conveyance can come by way of intuition, locutions (inner thoughts that appear to be beyond us), silence in which we come to “know,” words that we say to ourselves that somehow seem to be a wisdom that is greater than our own. God’s ways of reaching us are myriad. Being sure that we want what He wants for us is the most important point.

2 – Procrastination

If we cannot fulfill what we feel to be God’s will for us, then let us change our decision as soon as we can. Often we are stubborn. And we set ourselves on a given course of action, thinking that some small thing will satisfy us, when we want it “all.” A Course in Miracles makes this clear. It is according to our natures to want the All, everything. And to decide that some small boon is what we want, and that we will be satisfied if we have it, is to listen to the ego, which wishes us no good.

3 – God’s Will and Our Real Will

How wrong we are! God’s will and our own “real” will are the same! What a relief this can be. Our thoughts of Jonah and the whale may be relegated to an Old Testament/Hebrew Bible story, not meaningful in the world in which we live today. With Jonah, the idea that God would pursue us and demand that we do His will, is the main crux of the matter. In ACIM, we are gently led to do God’s will, once we have understood that we are actually doing our own will at the same time. The God of A Course in Miracles is in no way a punitive God.

4 – Personal Experience

I used to fret quite a bit about God’s will, for I determined a course of action for my life when I was 22 that did not let up until I have followed that pathway through the early months of my 35th year. I had various “signs” along the way that I was on the right pathway, but nobody believed me. God had shut me up to Himself alone, and there He kept me. Thankfully, I stayed true to the course. I think that maybe I would have had emotional crises unless I had, and my life from age 25 to 34 was rather smooth. I was not happy about following this course that appeared laid out by God, but though a reluctant follower, I did not seriously consider leaving aside this pathway. I still, many years later, don’t know if I was really right, but what I know of God has expanded, and it seems to me that I would have followed a very wrong pathway if I had deviated. Most people do not have to follow a Jonah’s pathway for 14 years, and that is good. I ultimately got what I really wanted out of life, though that life has taken a very different form than I thought at age 22. God does care for us when He gives us specific missions, missions of which we cannot be sure even years later on.

5 – No Strain

So, we experience “no strain” in doing God’s will. We see no conflict in following God’s pathway. It is the pathway that we would choose if we could see the whole picture. Our judgment is not that wondrous; we see imperfectly and only in part. But when we acquiesce to the Holy Spirit, we truly know the peace of following God’s will as our own.

Prayer:

Dear Father,

What a relief to learn that God’s will is really our real will! Thank you, dear Father, for this insight.

When we know that doing God’s will, as we perceive it, is really our own real will, we do not feel coerced. Thank you for this insight, this great blessing.

May I have a good day today, years after my wrestle with You about Your will for my life. May I recognize that ultimately I will know whether or not You were really demanding a certain course for my life. My certainty has wavered over the years. But I thank You that You shut me up to Yourself alone. That gave me a solidarity about my life that no other circumstance could have wrought.

Amen.

You Are the Dreamer of the World of Dreams. No Other Cause It Has, nor Ever Will.

1 – Idle Dream

“You are the dreamer of the world of dreams. No other cause it has, nor ever will. Nothing more fearful than an idle dream has terrified God’s Son, and made him think he has lost his innocence, denied his Father, and made war upon himself. (T-27.VII.13)”

We are caught in an idle dream, nothing more. And we can escape. We can have the happy dreams that the Holy Spirit brings (from the Workbook of A Course in Miracles). That idle dreams have consequences is superbly obvious now. Elsewhere Jesus says that the concept of “idle thoughts” is untrue, that every thought produces form at some level. Now, we cannot understand this, but we know that the forms that our nighttime dreams produce do seem real at the time of nighttime dreaming. Now we are told that idle thoughts are not really idle, that they too produce form. We may soon come to realize that this is how we make our reality, create our reality. We envision what we want (or don’t want), and it becomes our reality.

2 – Cause and Effect / Law of Attraction

This is the concept of cause and effect. This is the concept of the law of attraction. We must begin to guard our thoughts more carefully, lest we fall into the doldrums and see our world fall apart. But there is a way out, and A Course in Miracles and A Course of Love point out that way out. We turn from judging what to do next, or what to think, and we let inner guidance point out the way. There is no better way to proceed than to listen to intuition.

3 – Personal Experience

I remember recognizing intuition first when I was 21 and in the throes of an emotional crisis. My first precognition was intuiting that I ought to take a look at a specific monologue in Shakespeare just before the final exam, while I was in college. I did so, and in a few moments I found myself sitting in a classroom with that monologue staring back at me on the test. I had to identify not only the speaker, but also the context. And if I hadn’t intuited just moments before walking to class that I ought to take a look at the monologue, I would have been up a creek.

4 – Intuition

All of us have had these experiences. As time wore on, I felt such intuitive experiences more and more. There have been times when I have listened to little else. This can lead to some foolish choices.

As Jesus says, “The partial innocent are apt to be quite foolish at times” (from A Course in Miracles).

My best moments have been, though, when I listened to the intuition bubbling up from my interior, even when that intuition bade me say or do something that seemed embarrassing at the time. (Jesus also warns that this will happen, in the Manual.)

5 – Fearful Dream

“So fearful is the dream, so seeming real, he could not waken to reality without the sweat of terror and a scream of mortal fear, unless gentle dream preceded his awaking, and allowed his calmer mind to welcome, not to fear, the Voice That calls with love to waken him; a gentle dream, in which his suffering was healed and where his brother was his friend. (T-27.VII.13)”

What a beautiful passage! Can we not imagine a God who welcomes us gently and with love to Awakening? Can we not all look forward to this experience, however far in the future it may seem to be?

6 – Awakening

Our suffering is healed when we experience Awakening. Even if the body is sick. Our suffering is healed because we know mental clarity, and mental clarity is much to be preferred over bodily health. Many medieval mystics would be considered certifiably mentally ill if alive in our culture today. One need only scan Evelyn Underhill’s Mysticism to recognize the truth of this statement. But their culture was different. There is, as Joseph Campbell (The Hero with a Thousand Faces; Mythology to Live By) has pointed out, a fine line between swimming in the waters of the unconscious and being drowned in them. The mystic swims; the mentally ill (all too often) drown. But the waters of the unconscious are the same in both cases. And many people in psychosis are extremely religious.

7 – Change the Dream

“Accept the dream He gave instead of yours. It is not difficult to change a dream when once the dreamer has been recognized. (T-28.VII.14)”

Here is an indication that we play a part in determining just when our Awakening will be. If the dream is changed, if we determine to change it, we will be ready to awaken gently and without terror. Is it really so difficult to change a dream? There are those who can experience lucid nighttime dreaming, in which they determine the course of nighttime dreams. We are in a better position in daytime dreams, the illusion in which we are caught, for we are able to act more freely, are not so buffeted about by the dream.

Affirmation: “I would dream happy dreams today.”

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

May my day go well, with dreams that I do not rue. May I follow guidance consistently and therefore have a great flow to my day.

Our desires sometimes get us into trouble. May we wash our desires in the unconscious that You inform, so that life is good and we are contented and happy.

Amen.

Jesus: “It Is Possible to Reach a State in which You Bring Your Mind under My Guidance without Conscious Effort.”

“It is possible to reach a state in which you bring your mind under my guidance without conscious effort, but this implies a willingness that you have not developed as yet. (T30)”

Affirmation: “reach a state in which you bring your mind under Jesus’s guidance”

Reflections:

1 – Contradiction?

This passage occurs at the beginning of A Course in Miracles. It suggests that following our guidance must be a willful thing, and that we choose to follow guidance by conscious effort. Yet we are also told that much of the learning of the Course can be effortless. Is this a contradiction?

2 – Progression in ACIM

No, because there is a progression here that we would be wise to understand. In the beginning of our study, we cannot just turn our wills over to Jesus without choosing to do so. It is noteworthy that in these beginning passages, Jesus says that it is “my guidance,” and later on in ACIM, he stresses following the guidance of the Holy Spirit. We are not yet, at this point early on, ready for the more theoretical aspects of the guidance of the Holy Spirit. Later on we are ready. Then we can truly move effortlessly to make decisions with our minds and our spirits.

3 – Jesus as an Accompanying Friend

It is very possible to see Jesus as our friend who accompanies throughout our day and all of our rounds in it. Norman Vincent Peale also recommends that we adopt this attitude. Is it a fallacy? Actually I draw on my faith when I believe that Jesus can clone himself, and be anywhere at once. His mission is to save our souls, and he does so by being on call when we place “one unequivocal call” (from the Text of ACIM) to him. This assurance is much desired on a personal note by me. I like the fact that the Beloved of God is willing to spend time with me–and with all of us, upon the asking. I like the fact that he guides our decision making. He does not want to make our decisions for us, though, as he pointed out, in interior monologue to Mari Perron (scribe of A Course of Love). We make our decisions in consultation with the Holy Spirit (when following ACIM) and in consultation with the inner Christ Self (when following A Course of Love). We are never left bereft of guidance. And I personally have needed to know what to do and say in my life. I have wanted that guidance, though sometimes (in my weakest moments) I have chafed against it. I have sometimes felt, when sensing intuition, that I was in a straitjacket, that I had to do what the guidance indicated. I don’t have to do so, but long experience has shown me that I am happiest when I follow guidance. And the fact that that guidance comes with Jesus’s hand in mine is a very loving attitude that improves my day.

4 – Personal Experience

I have sensed, as time has gone on, that I do not struggle so much to know what guidance is telling me. Words come into my mind, but from a place a bit beyond me, giving me guidance. I test out this form of guidance, for if anything is harmful to anybody, it is of the ego and best left alone. But, by and large, the guidance that I get through unconscious turning over my mind to God is sure. It is benevolent. And kind. This progression is much sought after by me, but it was a long time coming. Surely all of us can can await the time that we bring our minds under guidance without conscious effort. In the meantime, we can use our intuition, which is a form of guidance, to know what and how to respond in our world.

5 – Jesus as Helper

We need to realize that Jesus in all likelihood gets a great deal out pleasure out of helping us. I don’t see it as a burden to him, but the fulfillment of his mission–begun years ago, and if we read Edgar Cayce, honed through many reincarnations before he became the man Jesus. (I neither encourage not reject reincarnation. Let your guidance tell you what you believe.) If I felt that I were burdening Jesus by encouraging the sense that he is near, I would be loathe to do it. But his fellowship is one of the great blessings of my life, and I welcome his help in the decisions that I am called upon to make.

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

May I bring my mind under the guidance of Jesus and the Holy Spirit. May this form of intuition be something that will bless others in my world as well as myself.

I realize that this need not be hard. Indeed, surrendering to guidance can be effortless. Help it to be effortless in me today.

I would lead a good life today, though I know that good intentions are not enough. Give me governance over my temper. May I be good to the people whom I encounter today. May I feel Your Presence, and may Your Presence inform me about what and how to think, say, and do. Thank You.

Amen.

The Only Remedy for Lack of Love Is Perfect Love

“Know first that this is fear.
Fear arises from lack of love.
The only remedy for lack of love is perfect love.
Perfect love is the Atonement. (T30)”

Affirmation: “The only remedy for lack of love is perfect love.”

Reflections:

1 – Poetry

This is another beautiful blank verse poem from the Course. It is also a syllogism, which Jesus seems to appreciate a great deal, for he uses syllogisms from time to time throughout A Course in Miracles.

2 – Fear and Love

It is unlikely that we will understand this poem completely without reading our way through the entire ACIM. Basically, the poem refers to the fact that the only two emotions are fear and love, and that only lack of love makes fear. And even when we have studied diligently, the poem works as a Zen koan, always teasing us out of thought.

3 – Atonement

The Atonement is a shift in perception that allows us to see that we are actually innocent children of God. Heretofore we have believed that we were guilty of black sins that will require retribution. Throughout A Course in Miracles, we learn that reaching perfect love is the ultimate end of our journey here. Knowing only love, we will fear no longer. This too is the Awakening.

4 – Love and a Call for Love

This blank verse poem also calls to mind the admonition in ACIM that only love and a call for love really exist, because fear (being of the ego) is an illusion. We can forgive other people, especially our significant others, by remembering that their anger and attack (never justified, as explained elsewhere in ACIM) are always “distress that rests on error” (from the Text of ACIM). Also, anger and attack are madness, the madness of which we all partake until we see the real world and we experience Awakening. Recognizing insanity is all of us can be a decision that helps us get through the day. We would not blame severely a person acting out of mental illness, even if the deeds were lamentable, and all of us have elements of madness in us. We need therefore to reject fear as unwanted vestiges of the ego in us, and turn to our best expression of love. We need to forgive, even when what has happened does not appear to deserve forgiveness. It does deserve forgiveness, for all actions and thoughts are innocent; we have been guilty of nothing, for we live an illusion, and God’s Sons and Daughters are only sometimes mistaken in their choices. We should not hold an error against anyone. And errors are all that the ego perpetuates, and which of us can say that the ego has really died? Only the Awakened, and this percentage is very tiny in our world.

Prayer:

Dear Father,

When I find the day hard-going, may I realize that my love is imperfect. Imperfect love makes for a bad day.

May I find the perfect love that You have promised all of your children. May I leave fear behind as I find this perfect love.

I have long sought to see the ego wither away in me, but it is still there, because I do still feel anxiety–a form of fear. Help me to remain calm and at peace today, for I know that the test of perfect peace is evidence that I am listening to You. Thank You for being there in the middle of the night when I am agitated. Things always look better in the daylight. May I take the light of Your day into every 24/7.

Amen.

Whenever You Are Not Wholly Joyous, It is because You Have Reacted with a Lack of Love to One of God’s Creations

“Whenever you are not wholly joyous, it is because you have reacted with a lack of love to one of God’s creations. (T89)”

Affirmation: “not wholly joyous. . .lack of love”

Reflections:

1 – Being Unloving

This passage is particularly insightful. We can determine when we have been unloving, because we don’t feel any joy. I find the greatest help from A Course in Miracles in my primary relationships, past and present. ACIM resets my attitude from any grievances to a sense that we live in a dream, an illusion, and this is my dream. Regardless of how aggrieved I might feel, if I recognize that I am dreaming my dream, the dream figures can be as hateful or as vicious as they may, but it will fail to have any effect on me (from the Text of ACIM). I have noticed that others in my immediate circle seem to act much better when I am not being neurotic, when I am loving and feeling love (even if I don’t say anything). Though ACIM doesn’t say this specifically, we do share thoughts with each other, thoughts that are not reflected in what we say to each other. This is actually mind reading, and if our thoughts are dark, we are apt to encounter dark words from another. I once said to someone, “I don’t make very much progress when I am angry with you.” And this statement, true then, has been played out repeatedly with other people as I have progressed through my life.

2 – Depressed Thoughts

We are likely to get depressed if we don’t adopt loving thoughts throughout our day. Of course, this sounds extreme. Surely there are reasons for depression other than a lack of love toward God’s creations. But are there really? Virtually all of us are trapped in egoistic thinking, which is by definition unloving. We do know joy, and by this we can recognize the difference. When joy comes upon us, all seems right in our little world. We then recognize that we love the world and everyone in it.

3 – Holy Spirit

This statement can become a harbinger of the times to change our thinking to be more in line with the Holy Spirit. If we are wholly joyous, very likely we would wish to change nothing. When we are not wholly joyous, we will want to change much, and the first thing that we need to change is our own unloving attitude.

4 – Joy through the Years

I would never have followed A Course in Miracles so intently and so consistently if I were not getting a great deal out of it. I realized when I first read it that it was my way home. This is akin to the sense that Jerry Jampolsky, founder of attitudinal change as evidenced in the lives of seriously ill children, had when he first opened the books. “Physician, heal thyself,” he heard. And he has spent a lifetime carrying out that injunction. Not everyone can gain from ACIM what we who study it a great deal do. And it is important not to try to force our way upon someone else. That would only be counterproductive. Proselytizing is not the way of ACIM. My own subscriptions to this blog are modest, and I have realized, from where my blog sits in the query, “course in miracles blogs,” that those who wish to find me have done so. But maybe what I say about ACIM is not evidential to but a few. Yet it is to those few that I devote a good bit of time.

Prayer:

Dear Father,

May I know the joy that you would have me to know. To feel this love, I must love my brothers and sisters. I must react with love toward them.

When I am not wholly joyous, let me realize that my ego has interfered, and that I have reacted without love. I can change this, with Your help. Please give me Your help.

Help me to be satisfied with the life that I have built. Give me joy in relationship, and thank You for the memories of times gone by. My life has been fortunate, and I would be the first to say so. Thank You for granting me happy dreams sent by the Holy Spirit. May I give back as much as it is reasonably possible for me to do.

Amen.

Fundamental Error: that Fear Can Be Mastered. The Only Real Mastery Is through Love.

“We have already attempted to correct the fundamental error that fear can be mastered, and have emphasized that the only real mastery is through love. . . .You may think this implies that an enormous amount of time is necessary between readiness and mastery, but let me remind you that time and space are under my control. (T33)”

Affirmation: “only real mastery is through love”

Reflections:

1 – Mastery through Love

This is one of Jesus’s great promises in A Course in Miracles: that fear can be mastered by love (and only by love). I know this first hand, though I have as yet had only glimpses of Awakening that I did not sustain. I know that when I have let all grievances go, I know that I am safe (from the Workbook). And when I know that I am safe, I do not feel fear. And it is my love for others, especially significant others (past and present) that gives me the wherewithal to forgive what has not happened, for we live in illusion. Pardon is totally justified due to this. Nothing has ever really hurt us except in illusions, the maya of Eastern religions.

2 – Time and Space

The final sentence also states a truth that we would be wise to accept at face value, though perhaps it is early yet to recognize the miracles that the sentence represents. Isn’t it wonderful to think that Jesus has such power that time and space are under his control? But he would not demand that we believe this yet, while we are not yet sure of miracles. It might help our belief if we stop to realize, often, that we live in an illusion. Dreams can be manipulated, even by ourselves, when we dream them in sleep. So it is not so very far from credulity that Jesus, the Ascended, could manipulate time and space to aid us in our “journey without distance” (from the Text of A Course in Miracles).

3 – Learn how to Love

We must learn to love if we are to be happy, for who can remain happy while intermittently experiencing pangs of fear? A Course in Miracles is the way that many of us have chosen to learn how to love, how to live a better way. It is a beginning, a way home for those of us who follow diligently its guidance. Early in the Text, Jesus tells us abundant willingness and great patience are needed for learning. And that revelation can occasionally reveal the end to us. I have personally had that revelation. The end is Awakening, which I have not sustained. But the glimpses that I have had–once for a summer, once for six months–sustain me through more difficult times and assure me that all of us will eventually reach the good outcome. In the meantime, I aim for patience and willingness to learn (and this learning, according to A Course of Love, is now through observation, not intense study).

4 – Mastery of Fear

The time between readiness and mastery of fear does not, as implied by this passage, have to be lengthy. It is true that it may be lengthy, but elsewhere Jesus recommends that we be content to walk the pathway, even if the way seems long to us. I have, in my own experience, found that the time has indeed been lengthy, though I have known periods of great calm and peace, without any fear at all. I see my own limitations as the reason for the fact that the mastery of fear through love is taking so long. Jesus says in ACIM that here we are not meant to be without limitations, but we are to overcome them when and where we can (a paraphrase).

5 – Sometimes Time Moves Fast

It is not always long. Many people find themselves at home in God within a few days or weeks of reading ACIM. When this happens, we have experienced a revelation of the end. And the revelation may not last. Yet we will take away from the experience our certainty, also given us by Jesus, that once the way is begun, the end is certain. A Course in Miracles then becomes our pathway home.

Prayer:

Dear Father,

May we see Jesus control time and space in our world. Even when we do not understand this, may we realize that what he has promised is real–more real than the things of this world. May I suspend doubt and let my mind play with this concept. It is indeed a great blessing.

May we master fear by love. We know that this is the only way. May we feel the love that You have placed in our hearts. When we feel this love, however briefly, and we abandon resentments, we feel safe and therefore fearless.

Be with me today as I seek to follow Your way. I know myself, and so I know that I will stumble and fall, but I ask that You walk beside me and help me back up, each time that I fall. May I keep the words, “distress that rests on error,” keenly in my mind as I react to individuals who are pursued by their demons. The anger that I sometimes hear is actually a call for help, as Jesus tells us in the chapter on forgiveness in ACIM. May I recognize any and all calls for help today, and rush to the side of the one doing the calling.

Amen.

The Last Judgment Is a Final Healing rather than a Meting Out of Punishment

“The Last Judgment is generally thought of as a procedure undertaken by God. Actually it will be undertaken by my brothers with my help. It is a final healing rather than a meting out of punishment, however much you may think that punishment is deserved. (T34)”

Affirmation: “The Last Judgment. . .a final healing”

Reflections:

1 – Healing

The Last Judgment is usually fraught with fear. The way Jesus explains it, though, it is a healing, not an opportunity to determine if punishment is justified. This is a much more modern way of interpreting the Last Judgment, and also much more in line with the love that emanates from the New Testament. What would an angry God want to do with His children but to heal them? Why would He punish in some hell-fire-and-brimstone way? What good would that do? And how could we still believe this of a loving God?

2 – Traditional Concepts

We couldn’t believe the traditional hell of a loving God, although perhaps in an earlier era people were “scared” into heaven by sermons warning of hell. Maybe. I’m not so sure. I think that the “hell” concept has made many enemies for God, many people who don’t believe that He could do such a thing. And indeed, A Course in Miracles tells us that God cannot.

3 – Brothers

There is an indication here of our “brothers,” working with Jesus, to carry out the Last Judgment. There are no other indications in the Course of what Jesus meant, aside from the tenet that our brothers are our way home, that we learn through our holy relationships. I once had a waking dream, a kind of hypnosis, in which a brother of mine walked me through the Last Judgment. I was asked to do all kinds of things in my life (most of which I have done, later on), and I cried during the trance that I felt myself in. But was this the brother, sent by Jesus, to walk me through the Last Judgment? I think that he was, for he meant many things to me, and he was an advanced spiritual soul.

4 – Holy Relationship

We must just accept the idea that Jesus puts forth in this passage, without being able, within ACIM or without, to understand the message fully. As time passes, perhaps we will come to understand. It is perhaps in the final working out of the holy relationship that the Last Judgment actually takes place.

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

My I no more fear the Last Judgment. I do not understand how my brothers will help with the Last Judgment, but I trust what Jesus has said.

May I endeavor to have holy relationships with all of my brothers. May this concept grow in time, and may I feel your blessing in it.

Amen.

Dream of Your Brother’s Kindnesses instead of Dwelling in Your Dreams on His Mistakes

“Dream softly of your sinless brother, who unites with you in holy innocence. And from this dream the Lord of Heaven will Himself awaken His beloved Son. (T-27.VII.15)”

1 – The Dream

The “dream” here is the illusion in which we are caught in this world. The passage implies that we have a choice in our dreams, that we can “dream softly,” i.e., fail to focus on disappointments and instead focus on the good parts of our relationships. This dream, this soft dream, is also the tranquility out of which the “Lord of Heaven” (God Himself) awakens us. We are told elsewhere that if a light is turned on while we are asleep that we will be terrified, but when this light is perceived as the end of sleep, we are no longer terrified. We are further told that we would scream in “mortal terror” if we awakened suddenly from our “sleep” of forgetfulness. So a “gentler dream” precedes our Awakening, and all is well.

2 – Relationships

This passage also holds the hint that we are to find our way back home by our relationship to our brother or sister. This is the means that A Course in Miracles uses, always. Thus we do not need long periods of contemplation, though due to their intent, these would also work. But our way is different. We turn our special relationships to holy ones, and we know peace in so doing. We recognize the innocence is our brother who has not meant to do any harm (and has not, in actuality, done any harm at all). We live in an illusion. This cannot be said often enough. We do not pardon real offenses. There are no real offenses.

3 – Dream Softly

“Dream of your brother’s kindnesses instead of dwelling in your dreams on his mistakes. Select his thoughtfulness to dream about instead of counting up the hurts he gave. (T-27.VII.15)”

What a reassuring passage indeed this is! We have a choice of what we will dream of, of what we will think about in our waking hours in this waking dream. If we dwell on the good things about our brother or sister, we will know peace. We will be lighthearted and joyous. We will not rue the day. What better frame of mind could we ask?

4 – Kindnesses

So we remind ourselves of the kindnesses that our brother or sister has done for us. And these are many. Sure, there have been hurts, but we do not propose to dwell on these. Dwelling on the hurts is a sure way to feel less loved, and feeling less loved, we receive less love. Our very reactions will betray us. Most of us receive as much as we are capable of receiving, and the point of this is that we become capable when our hearts are warm. We can just as easily turn off the love from another, by our own chilly thoughts and reactions. But we would not have it so.

5 – Hostile Attitudes

We sometimes display a hostile attitude, years after we have been hurt by another in love. If we recognize what we are displaying, though, we can rectify the mistake, and then we will open out our hearts in a receptive fashion. Receiving is everything. If we close ourselves off, we cannot recognize a miracle if one appears at high noon. And it is miracles that we want.

6 – Illusions

“Forgive him his illusions, and give thanks to him for all the helpfulness he gave. And do not brush aside his many gifts because he is not perfect in your dreams. He represents his Father, Whom you see as offering both life and death to you. (T-27.VII.15)”

This passage is part of the theology of A Course in Miracles. We see our brother as representing God to us, and if we see God as offering both life and death, we will see our brother or sister as doing the same. This is difficult to understand, but it does make eminently good sense when contemplated. We project our image of God onto our most significant others; we see divinity in them. And so if we see an imperfect companion, we will also question God’s integrity. And this is serious business indeed.

7 – Eternity

We do not want to question God’s integrity. He offers only life (from ACIM). He does not offer death, for there is no death. We live in an eternity. Be happy today.

Affirmation: “Dream softly of your sinless brother.”

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

I can dream of the peace that my brother offers to me. I do not have to dwell—ever—on hurts perpetrated at any time by anyone. Let me remember the peace today.

Amen.

Understanding the Lesson of the Atonement, the Sons and Daughters of God Are without the Wish to Attack

music-in-the-tuileries-gardens-1862 - manet
“Understanding the lesson of the Atonement, they are without the wish to attack, and therefore they see truly. (T39)”

Affirmation: “without the wish to attack”

Reflections:
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1 – The Innocent

The “they” in this passage are the innocent, the Sons and Daughters of God, those who have experienced the Self as an indwelling spirit. Not all of us are ready for this blessing immediately. It takes great patience, abundant willingness, and study to see the manifold blessings that are held out to us when we experience the truth of Jesus’s words.

2 – Crucifixion

There is a built-in confusion about the word “Atonement,” because traditional Christianity looks to what is viewed as the sacrificial death of Jesus on the cross as our way out. Jesus says in A Course in Miracles that it is wrong to look to the cross, that the resurrection pointed out his part in our Atonement. And what a more joyous interpretation this is! We do not have to see an angry God who demanded sacrifice because of our many “sins,” but a loving Father who gave proof of our place in eternal life.

3 – Personal Experience

I read many years ago that Jesus, as a boy, in all likelihood saw the sacrifice of animals to God as a way of meriting God’s good graces. He may have interpreted the sacrifice of the best which existed as the sole means of finding a way back to God. And, as time proceeded, and he realized his mission, he realized what his end would be. And that end, that time of seeing the crucifixion as the propitiation of our sins, worked for many generations. But we are no longer as open to this interpretation. And ACIM has come along for our generation. The resurrection points out Jesus’s contribution to our salvation, and, ultimately, our Awakening.

4 – Definition of Atonement

In only one place in A Course in Miracles is there a definite definition of the Atonement. It reads as follows: “the restoration of the integrity of the mind. (T74)” There are also broad explanations that encompass a definition that is at odds with traditional Christianity. Jesus asserts that to cling to the crucifixion is a mistake; the crucifixion points out to us that he did not launch a defense under the extreme situation in which he found himself. Not to be defensive is a major Course tenet.

5 – Resurrection

Instead, we are to look to the resurrection, the overcoming of death–the promise of eternal life. This step will bring us peace. Our binding of ourselves to God is a lesson of the Atonement. To do so constantly is a challenge to the neophyte, but not to the advanced teacher of God. We learn more as we progress through the ACIM.

6 – At – One – Ment

Atonement is sometimes viewed as “at-one-ment,” but this is a bit limited in its interpretation. It is this and more. Atonement is the surrender of the little self to the larger Self that is allied with the Holy Spirit. When we make this surrender, we see the futility of attack, and our perceptions are therefore cleansed. Atonement is the correction, the undoing of error (from ACIM). And when our minds are returned to God, that correction has been made for us.

Prayer:

Dear Father,

May I see the futility of attack today, and if and when I am tempted to attack, may I refrain. Often no response is better than a vicious one. But You have taught me that the best response is to run to my brother’s side with love, for he is hurting.

May I look to the resurrection of Jesus as I realize that there is no death. We will all live eternally, because this is Your great promise.

Amen.

When I Let All My Grievances Go I Will Know I Am Perfectly Safe

monet - water lily pond with bridge1 – Anxieties

I have long been prone to anxiety, really all of my life. Of course, not feeling “safe,” in that I am secure in my relationships with others, has followed. So I have long appreciated the following passage from the Workbook of A Course in Miracles:

“Love holds no grievances. When I let all my grievances go I will know I am perfectly safe. (W-68)”

2 – Safety

If I let all my grievances go, would I be safe, feel safe? This means resentments of all types, including a lack of forgiveness for apparent wrongs done to me by others in the past. If I let all this baggage go, would I be free of anxiety? I have found that there is some difference in my anxiety level when I am feeling perfectly safe. I do, in fact, feel anxiety-free at such times. I am calm and easy and happy to be a part of this world. I feel loving.

3 – Love

I think that the fact of feeling loving in the most salient point. One does not hold grievances or any resentment as such times. I remember particularly a Christmas Eve with my family. I was very, very peaceful. Yet what happened the next morning? I had an anxiety attack while trying to lie peacefully in bed before time to get up.

4 – Ego-Mind

Why would anxiety have attacked me so viciously at such a time? I think that my mind, my ego-mind, was trying to tell me that I couldn’t be rid of the ego that easily—that it would reassert itself and that I would not be rid of it.

5 – Illusions

Of course, this is an illusion, but illusions seem a lot like the real world when in the grip of them. So I think that the ego is part of the anxiety problem. In my early-morning anxiety attack, I obsessed about a workshop that I was to direct a month after Christmas. I was on the job, fearful that I would not perform well enough. I would fail, even about some minor matter that I had in mind. So obviously the ego was at stake in this fantasy, this illusory future. It is important to note that the anxiety attack did not prompt me to do anything about the particular matter that I had fantasized about when I got back to work in early January. I knew, by then, that the anxiety had been a straw man, an illusion in my attempt to do everything in my job perfectly.

6 – Self

“You who were created by love like itself can hold no grievances and know your Self. (W-68)”

Certainly! This passage is accurate. My Self, as described in both ACIM and A Course of Love, knows no grievances. This Self, the inner Christ, has long ago let all such negativity recede. And I must listen to this inner Christ. I must let go of the negativity of holding things against other people.

7 – Personal Experience

I do not think that I am particularly prone to grievances or resentments. I found out, long ago, that I lived better, I was happier, when I did not retain obsessions about the past, a past that had previously upset me. If others have treated me badly, that is their problem. For some reason, I needed to experience their bad actions, but that is over now. I don’t have to rehash it. I don’t have to re-hurt myself, like a phonograph record going around and around on the turntable.

8 – Grievances

“It is as sure that those who hold grievances will suffer guilt, as it is certain that those who forgive will find peace. It is as sure that those who hold grievances will forget who they are, as it is certain that those who forgive will remember. (W-68)”

We need to remember who we are, and the only way that we can remember the inner Self/Christ is to be sure that grievances do not find a place in our hearts. Of course, that is not the whole change that needs to occur. We need also to loosen the ego’s grip upon us, which means that we will not lapse into egotistical states of mind. In my case, that means that I need not to “plan the workshop” in an egoistic state of mind. As if my whole reputation depended upon it. Yes, all of us fall into such perplexities often, and we stay in those perplexities far longer than we ought.

9 – Guilt

I would not suffer guilt, because I have learned that this is what has made all of us insane. Guilt is insanity, as ACIM says. And the loosening of the bonds of guilt on our frantic minds will pave the road for the coming of Christ-consciousness, or Awakening. There are things that we can do to ready ourselves, though the timing is God’s own.

Affirmation: “I would be safe today, because I know that I walk free of grievances.”

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

I would be perfectly safe today, and for this to be true, I need to let all regrets about the past fall away. Regrets, as such, are not grievances, but they are closely akin. And I would feel perfectly safe, perfectly.

Help me to sense Your presence throughout the day, as I am sensing right now. You are my lodestone, my center in a world that can be difficult—but does not have to be. This world can be Heaven on earth, and such I propose for it to be in my life.

Help this to come true.

Amen.

If You Attack Error in Another, You Will Hurt Yourself. You Cannot Know Your Brother when You Attack Him.

“If you attack error in another, you will hurt yourself. You cannot know your brother when you attack him. Attack is always made upon a stranger. (T41)”

Affirmation: “Attack is always made upon a stranger.”

Reflections:

1 – Very Little Rightmindedness

It takes very little rightmindedness to see the truth of the quoted passage. How often have we responded in anger to another’s words, felt a surge of self-righteousness, and then sunk into a depressed spirit? Why did you fall into a depressed spirit? Why did the moment of “triumph” not last? We thought that we had gotten the guilt out (an interpretation by Ken Wapnick). But the guilt resurges, because even when in the ego, we are misled, and we know it, somewhere in our minds. The ego, in fact, always oscillates between triumph and depressed spirit, because the ego is constantly being undone. That is the way of salvation, so that we will eventually see that the boons that the ego holds out to us are mirages.

2 – Seeing the Unholy

When we attack, we are not seeing the holy in our brother. We are not seeing his (or her) innocence. So we are not seeing truly. We have made of him (or her) a stranger. But do we want our nearest and dearest to be a stranger to us? Of course not. So we must reevaluate, and in the reevaluation, we come to see that making a stranger of our brother or sister is not going to lead us to salvation. It is our joining in relationship to our brother or sister that we know God, that we walk the pathway to Awakening–for this is the way of A Course in Miracles. Once one has known even once the joy of a heartfelt kinship, in a holy relationship one to another, we will never be satisfied with less than this best. We are ruined for any other kind of unholy alliance.

3 – Feeling

When we attack, we may feel momentarily better, but then the insanity of guilt will overcome us. We will feel worse than before, and this comes from knowing that we have betrayed both our brother and ourselves. Attack is rarely physical, but often verbal. And it is in response to anger borne of stress. The world we live in is a very stressful place, and so anger and attack dog our steps.

4 – Anger and Attack

Yet would we have it so? Would we have anger and attack as our constant companions? I think not. We recognize, however dimly, the insanity of such a defense against the truth of the holiness of our brothers and sisters. We know that we have done them a disservice when we attack them or respond in anger. Their own anger may have sparked the lamentable exchange, but we need to recognize, then, that the anger was distress based on error (from the Text of ACIM). Many times our significant others will bait us when in a low mood. And always we can respond by remembering the distress that is at the heart of this response. Remembering this will pave the way for our forgiveness, for momentarily the “pain-body” (a concept of Eckhart Tolle) is in ascendancy. Our brother or sister wants to experience pain at such times, but we do not have to oblige. We can fill our bodies with presence, and the pain-body will dissipate, sooner rather than later.

5 – Innocence

Recognizing the innocence in our brother even if he (or she) has attacked us first, is to know the evidence of insanity in our world. A special relationship is usually filled with attack, once the bloom of infatuation is off the relationship. A holy relationship, however, has moved beyond the specialness (which was always a lie), and knows one’s brother as the loving Self that he (or she) truly is.

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

May I make no brother or sister a stranger by attacking that person. May I realize that I have always made him or her a stranger when I have attacked.

May I see the innocence even in attack received from another. Attack is a form of insanity–nothing more. May I forgive and walk into the light.

Amen.

Jesus: “I Can Erase All Misperceptions from Your Mind if You will Bring It under My Guidance.”

“I cannot unite your will with God’s for you, but I can erase all misperceptions from your mind if you will bring it under my guidance. (T43)”

Affirmation: “I can erase all misperceptions from your mind.”

Reflections:

1 – Jesus’s Place

Jesus does not take away the power of our minds. We retain in full control, but it is a control that we are bade willingly to relinquish to the Holy Spirit. How do we do this? We listen to a knowing, an intuition of how to live our days. Thus Jesus cautions that we cannot ask him to take over our minds. The desire that Jesus take over our minds is most often seen in which we ask him to remove fear from our minds. But he tells us that we made fear, and he would be tampering with cause and effect if he interfered with that which we have made. Fear can be mastered, but by our own minds, in touch with the Holy Spirit. We get quiet, go within, and feel the presence of God that quells all apprehensions. This is the best way to move toward love, by relinquishing our masochistic attachment to fear and anxiety.

2 – Erase Misperceptions

What Jesus can do, though, as he tells us in this passage, is to “erase all misperceptions” from our minds. We are willingly putting our minds under his guidance. We have, at this early point in the Text of A Course in Miracles, not yet received an understanding of the place of the Holy Spirit in our salvation. So Jesus speaks to us personally, as part of the Holy Trinity, and bids us place our minds in his care. What better thing might we do? How better might we reach salvation?

3 – Retain Power but Listen to Guidance

Retaining the power of our minds, but listening to guidance, is not contradictory. We willingly relinquish all that does not matter, choosing to keep only the real and the true. Jesus guides this activity when he is shown a willing mind and spirit.

4 – Our Minds

We need to realize that we don’t want misperceptions. And we can be protected from them by following guidance and placing our minds under the protection of Jesus. He takes on a very personal meaning at this point. And not everyone will accept this personal protection of Jesus. He will do as much for us as we will allow, as long as his actions do not interfere with the law of cause and effect. We must take responsibility for our anxieties and fears, and he will help us to overcome. But he will not take our power away from us. Never will he do so. And we are the better for it. Our minds are very powerful, and we never cease thinking, except in deepest meditation. Our minds are very busy, even into dreams in sleep. Our minds never cease creating. And so the power is very great.

5 – Erase Misperceptions

What a glorious promise this is! To erase misperceptions, and with this comes the erasure, or the withering away, of the ego. We want to see clearly, and we can do so, but we need help. And that help is now forthcoming.

Prayer:

Dear Father,

May I enthusiastically and willingly place my mind under the guidance of the Holy Spirit. Then misperceptions fall away, and I live in a much happier world.

Thank you for Jesus’s guidance. He will help us to eliminate misperceptions if we are open to his guidance.

Amen.

Your Worth Is Not Established by Teaching or Learning. Your Worth Is Established by God.

1 – Worth

To those of us who have been perfectionists in growing up and continuing throughout adulthood, the assertion that our worth is not tied up with achievement is welcome indeed. Let’s look at the whole passage:

“Your worth is not established by teaching or learning. Your worth is established by God. As long as you dispute this everything you do will be fearful, particularly any situation that lends itself to the belief in superiority and inferiority. (T-4.I.8)”

2 – Achievement

It is easy for us now to recognize that the will to achieve is associated intimately with the ego, at least in many cases, perhaps most. We may feel, additionally, that we are superior to others because of those achievements, and, indeed, the reason for the achievement initially was to set one’s self apart from others, to see one’s self as superior.

3 – Inferiority Complexes

Actually, though, psychologists tell us that there is no such thing as a “superiority complex,” that this idea is just a manifestation of an underlying sense of inferiority, an inferiority complex. Certainly when one says internally or outwardly that he is better than another because of some accomplishment, it is now easy for us to see the ego in action. It isn’t hiding from us this time, as it frequently does. So we are wise to see the fallacy of our assertion of being better in any way than another.

4 – Temporary Differences

Any differences in talent are just temporary:

“When the Atonement has been completed, all talents will be shared by all the Sons of God. God is not partial. All His children have His total Love, and all His gifts are freely given to everyone alike. (T-1.V.3)”

5 – Time Does Not Really Exist

So it is quite possible, and not an ego orientation, to recognize that right now we have some talents that others do not share. But only time separates, and time does not really exist. Time is an illusion. The ones who temporarily have more are bidden to share with others out of their bounty, but not to feel superior because of this wholly temporary discrepancy.

6 – Repeating Lessons

Jesus continues:

“Teachers must be patient and repeat their lessons until they are learned. . . .Again,–nothing you do or think or wish or make is necessary to establish your worth. This point is not debatable except in delusions. (T-4.I.7)”

7 – No Delusions

And we would not be lost in delusions. The ego has always been illusory, not made by God but made by us as a part of our belief about ourselves. Our spirit, though, was created by God, and is therefore never at stake in this illusory world. That is the ultimate reason that our worth is established by God and does not have to be “deserved” by anything that we do.

8 – Conditional Love

Children who were raised by conditional love have a particularly hard time with believing that they are worthy in and of themselves. And so those of us who share that background (and we all do to some extent) can be particularly warmed by the passage for today. We don’t have to achieve to be loved! God loves us, even with all of our lazy ways. Even when we make mistakes. Even when we don’t achieve anything much at all. We don’t have to accomplish to “merit” love. Love is part of our inheritance from God.

9 – Take Words to Heart

If we can take these words of Jesus to heart, our lives will never be the same again. We will stand tall, knowing that we are children of the Almighty, and that he does not love us conditionally, but unconditionally. We are still innocent, regardless of how many mistakes we have made. He doesn’t pardon us for those mistakes, because he has never condemned us (from A Course in Miracles). What a joy to finally put to rest the thought that we had to achieve to merit love!

Affirmation: “My worth is established by God.”

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

I would remember today that I do not have to “do” anything to merit Your love. You love me unconditionally. You do not have an ego that is enlarged by identification with my achievements. You love me just as I am.

Be with me today as I seek to make these words my own. May I no more feel that achievement is the way to Your grace, for it is not. Your grace is granted to me, day by day, in an undying affirmation of my place in Your heart.

Thank You.

Amen.

Your Brothers’ Meaning Is Lost to You Precisely because You Are Judging Them

“When you recognize what you are and what your brothers are, you will realize that judging them in any way is without meaning, In fact, their meaning is lost to you precisely because you are judging them. (T47)”

Affirmation: “their meaning is lost to you. . .because you are judging them”

Reflections:

1 – Obscure Meaning

This passage is a bit obscure. What exactly do we recognize (in our brother and ourselves) that we are? The answer of A Course in Miracles is that we are Sons of God (and Daughters); we are innocent in the inner essence of who we are. We have not “sinned,” but the self which lives in this world has, instead, made mistakes–easily corrected when recognized. We are said to want to correct mistakes in a way that we don’t want to correct “sins”; there is a attracting feature to sin that sounds irrational and that encourages that sin to be repeated.

2 – A Way to Understand

But there is a way to read this passage that makes a good bit of common sense, along with the focus emphasized from ACIM. When we fail to forgive our brother or sister, we are not seeing them as they are. We recognize this lack of seeing rightly, however obscurely, and as a result we don’t make much progress on our own pathway. Our brothers and sisters, according to ACIM, are our way home. So when we think badly of them, we block ourselves from the better way. We don’t, as said, make much progress when we are mad at them.

3 – Philosophy of ACIM

This is part of the philosophical basis of A Course in Miracles. Judging by ourselves is always tainted, impossible in essence. We cannot know all the circle of causes and effects that we sometimes find ourselves judging. We give up judgment to the sure judgment of the Holy Spirit, which is only that God’s Son is guiltless, and that sin does not exist.

4 – A Darker Side

There is a darker side to judgment as well. We are told elsewhere that attack, judgment, and making defenses against contingencies to come will make us lose our way again. These actions can accomplish nothing, and they will divert us from our pathway to light. So let us give up judgment (i.e., relinquish it to the Holy Spirit, Who sees truly), and find the real meaning of ourselves and our brothers.

5 – Not Seeing Accurately

When we don’t see our brothers accurately, and this accuracy can come only with forgiveness of all that they have not done to us, then we lose our way. Why have they not done anything? Illusions. Yes, that is our fate in this world. And when we choose to give up illusions, and along with illusions the ego, we will see God reach down and lift us up to Awakening and the reality that we all long to see.

Prayer:

Dear Father,

May I give up attack, judgment, and making defenses against contingencies to come. If I do these things, I will surely lose my way. While the way can and will be found again, we lose much time, and we may suffer much.

May I completely relinquish attack in all its forms. This is the ego personified, and only in the relinquishment of the ego is peace found. Thank you for your help, for I will surely fail unless You walk with me.

May I drop grievances entirely from my group of emotions, my range of emotions. Holding grievances will never get me where I want to go, and holding grievances is eminently unfair to our brothers and sisters. Let us treat all others fairly today, however much we may be tempted to blame them for something.

Amen.

It Is because You Have Made Your Brother a Stranger that You Are Afraid of Him

“It is because you have made him a stranger that you are afraid of him. (T41)”

Affirmation: “made him a stranger”

Reflections:

1 – Sense Fear

When you sense fear of your brother, you have made of him (or her) a stranger. You do not really know the Self that is loving.

2 – Precautions

Do we ever need to protect ourselves against a brother or sister who would harm us? Yes! Of course, there are times in our world when we need to take precautions against harm from another. A Course in Miracles is always practical, and it does not sanction sacrifice of any kind. No sacrifice is ever asked of a child of God. We are talking here of normal times, but we know abnormal ones. In many cases, a soft word will turn aside anger. We have to be careful that we don’t exacerbate bad times in which we find ourselves embroiled. We can escalate a fight, as well as defuse one. And it is in the defusing that we see the other as the Self/Christ which he/she really is. This way of interpreting events does not in any way mean that we put ourselves in jeopardy. If the situation is dangerous, absent yourself from it. This would then be the loving gesture. Sacrifice of one’s best interest (in the interest of the Self, not the egoic self) is never recommended, nor is it called for by ACIM.

3 – Everyday Events

In everyday events, though, we usually feel afraid of our brother when we have reacted in anger or verbal attack. Then we may even wonder if our holy relationship is irreparable. Certainly these thoughts make of our brother a stranger, and make us afraid of what he (or she) may do, even if he may sever the relationship. In extreme cases, this may happen. We must realize another ACIM tenet, though, that no relationship is ever lost to us. Those who have once formed a relationship will meet again, to make of what may have been only a special relationship into a holy one. ACIM does not specify when this meeting will happen, but seems to imply that it may be beyond the veil of death. Eternity is stressed repeatedly in the A Course in Miracles. If we have not righted things with a brother/sister, we are bade to do so at the earliest opportunity. If this “righting” would be unwelcome, we are best to stay out of the picture. We need to refrain from entering the lives of those who do not want us. And this is a strong lesson to learn. We don’t have to be present with another to offer him/her forgiveness of the wrongs that existed in the past. We can offer that forgiveness silently, and it is quite likely that the other will sense what we are doing–that we are offering forgiveness for the wrongs that, in actuality, have not even occurred (for we live in illusions).

4 – Be at Peace

When we are at peace, we do not often get into altercations with others. This is something to remember in times of turmoil. We may be overwrought, and this may be a problem. The brother or sister may be overwrought, and this may be the problem. Ask for calmness to come over the situation, and know that our lives will smooth out. This is a certainty. Our lives smooth out when we listen to the Holy Spirit for advice, for the guidance (without judgment) that we sorely need.

5 – No One a Stranger

Make no brother a stranger, then, if we would know peace.

Prayer:

Dear Father,

My I retain my holy relationships, and let not even one fall into a “special” relationship. In so doing, I will make no brother or sister a stranger to myself. And I will not be afraid of any person.

May I know that all who meet are destined to meet again, to make their relationship a holy one. Thank you for this reassurance.

May I have a good day today. Be with me as I seek to remain in peace with my brothers and sisters. Help me to answer their needs, if such I can do. Let me take no situation upon myself to resolve if it is not mine to resolve. Help me not to meddle. But also help me not to judge a brother or sister as a stranger.

Amen.

You Have No Idea of the Tremendous Release and Deep Peace that Comes from Meeting Yourself and Your Brothers Totally without Judgment

“You have no idea of the tremendous release and deep peace that comes from meeting yourself and your brothers totally without judgment. (T47)”

Affirmation: “meeting. . .totally without judgment”

Reflections:

1 – Just Love

How true! We cannot even comprehend the full blessing of this passage, but we do see glimpses when we try to withhold judgment and just love. The irony is that so long as we judge, we will perceive others as judging us. This is the tenet of A Course in Miracles that projection makes perception. Nowhere will we find this more evident than in both judgment and attack thoughts. Why do we say harsh things, meeting kindness with anger and attack? We are stressed. Or we just got up on the wrong side of the bed. We know better, but we are not able to put into practice our good intentions. We must put into practice our good intentions. The best to do this is through prayer, though ACIM and A Course of Love do not specify this, per se. We need to give our brothers and sisters the love that they deserve, and they do deserve our love, for they are innocent, in illusions, of wrongdoing.

2 – Transformation

The words, “tremendous release” and “deep peace” are comforting in the extreme. Do we not all wish for this? Here we find out how to effect this transformation. The peaceful nature of these words will carry us a long way toward avoiding anger and attack. We do not need to judge the holy one that God has given us to love. We do not need to feel stressed for any reason, and once we have met Awakening, we will know that no situation is there to cause us fear. We will not fear any longer. This is motivation indeed to find within ourselves the wherewithal to follow the teaching of ACIM and thereby learn what we need to understand before Awakening can descend upon us.

3 – Do Not Judge Ourselves

We must remember not to leave ourselves out of the equation. We must not judge ourselves, just as we must not judge our brothers. Frequently, we seem to have an internal judge that chastises us for misdeeds, real and imagined. These we are bade to leave behind, and we will know release and peace.

4 – What to Do when We Are Bad

Good intentions are not enough; we all know that. And we need to know that the Holy Spirit, in prayer, will give us the self-control that we need (a personal interpretation, not given in ACIM and ACOL). We need to recognize that we are good people, though we still make mistakes. Then our propensity for making mistakes will gradually fall away.

Prayer:

Dear Father,

May I leave judgment behind forever. May I know the release and the joy that come from tolerance for my brothers and sisters.

May my day go well today. This will happen if I just remember to be tolerant of my brother’s perceived failings, and I open my heart to love.

Amen.

When Everything You Retain Is Lovable, There Is No Reason for Fear to Remain with You. This Is Your Part in the Atonement.

“When everything you retain is lovable, there is no reason for fear to remain with you. This is your part in the Atonement. (T35)”

Affirmation: “retain the lovable”

Reflections:

1 – When Love Is Complete

Here is the idea that we keep finding again and again in A Course in Miracles. When love is complete, fear is abandoned. But how do we abandon fear? We listen to what Jesus has told us in ACIM. That is primary for those of us who have chosen ACIM as our lodestone. Prayer helps. Meditation helps (though some do not believe that ACIM teaches meditation, yet the final lessons in the Workbook are meditative in content). Study helps, study of ACIM and A Course of Love. The final way that love is chosen, once and for all, is by what we are heading toward–Awakening. In the meantime, we can relinquish ourselves to the Holy Spirit, whose contribution is great, while we ourselves are actually asked to do very little (from ACIM). We are even told that we don’t understand why the Holy Spirit’s contribution should be so great, when ours is so small. How can this be? We are weak, but He is strong. And His guidance is what leads us home, to Awakening. We cannot do it ourselves.

2 – Abandoning

We ourselves do this abandoning of fear when we realize that the only reality is that of love. Of course, anxiety can still overcome anywhere along the way. That is the way of this world, and we have not abandoned it entirely–just yet. We are still very much a part of the egoic system. But we are destined to leave the ego behind, and when we let all grievances go, according to the Workbook, we will know that we are perfectly safe. This sense of safety will do a very great deal to abandon fear, for which of us is so strong as to be fearless in the face of threatening events. When we give up resentments (grievances), we will know, finally, that we are safe. So there is no need for fear.

3- Love

Love then becomes our way into the Atonement. Atonement is the shifting of our perception to that of a love-centered world. The Awakening then follows.

4 – Help from the Holy Spirit

We must ask for the help of the Holy Spirit to retain only what is lovable in our world. We cannot do this by an ego-centered self, and only the real Self, informed by guidance, can effect this change. The tenets of A Course of Love are particularly appropriate as we seek to discover what this Self, this Christ Self, holds out as promises to us. I counsel guidance as the way home, and this guidance will direct us very specifically (from the Manual of ACIM). We will be told all that we need to do (also from ACIM). Is this not eminently better than trying, in vain, to listen to our own judgment? We can never know all that affects past, present, and future, and so it is foreordained that we would choose awry. But there is One with us who does know. And He is the Holy Spirit. Let us give up judgment today, and walk into the sunlight with Him.

5 – Atonement

Atonement is a concept much misunderstood, with meaning that is much sought. One of the most visited postings for this blog is the one entitled, “The Meaning of Atonement.” We have heard the traditional concepts from traditional Christianity, and we wonder what A Course in Miracles has to say to us. We need simply to rest in Jesus’ promises, for he is not wrong. We are justified when we rest in Atonement. We are headed home. We need only give up fear for what is lovable. But sometimes what a daunting task this seems to us! Turn over any anxiety to the One who knows how to quell our fear. Turn over our fear to the Holy Spirit. And we ourselves need to love only, though this too is not easily understood. How do we love only? We forgive that which has not happened in reality. We forgive illusions, and we forgive our brother/sister of his/her distress based on error (from ACIM). When we understand why our significant others, in error, bait us, we are a long way toward the forgiveness that will take us home.

Prayer:

Dear Father,

Help me to retain only what is lovable in this world and worlds beyond. When I retain only what is lovable, I leave fear behind. Surely this is motivation.

May we accept the Atonement for ourselves. Jesus has said that this is our only real purpose in this world. So much follows from this acceptance, and we welcome our brothers and sisters with a new, abiding love.

May I have a good day. I pray this prayer so often, but I need to pray it today. Today will be long, with many activities. Keep fear from me as stress undoubtedly will arise. And I am never fearful, angry or attacking, lest stress rears its ugly head. I ask that stress not rear its ugly head today.

Amen.

Mind Awakens from Its Sleep and Remembers Its Creator

“Nothing can prevail against a Son of God who commends his spirit into the Hands of his Father. By doing this the mind awakens from its sleep and remembers its Creator. (T39)”

Affirmation: “the mind awakens from its sleep.”

Reflections:

1 – Awakening

This statement by Jesus is a paraphrase of one of the cries made from the cross. Here we are asked to also commend our spirit into the Hands of the Father. What happens is the greatest miracle A Course in Miracles holds out to us: Awakening. “. . .[T]he mind awakens from its sleep and remembers its Creator.”

2 – Is There Anything that We Can Do to Hasten Awakening?

There may be some things that we can do to hasten Awakening. Eckhart Tolle, in The Power of Now, identifies certain “portals” that are possible. The principal one is living, as he says, in the Now, the present. And we will have glimpses of Awakening before this blessing is sustained. We will have satori, an Eastern concept, of these glimpses. Most that I have read about come when the individual is very, very present. There is a story, told by Eckhart, in which a master and his pupil go along, and the pupil asks, in effect, how one enters into greater life. The master is quiet for a while, and then says, “Do you hear that mountain stream?” The pupil had not heard it, but then he did. The master continues, “Enter through that.” And the pupil, the seeker, receives his first satori, his first glimpse of Awakening. So living in the Now is a very, very powerful way to see what Awakening on a sustained basis might actually become.

3 – Glorious Promise

Awakening is such a glorious promise! Here, in the passage for today, is the way is pointed out to us in a very few words: Commend our spirit to God and all will be well. We will be at home with God, even while in this world. We will inhabit the real world, where projections are cleansed, and thus perceptions are seen afresh. We may know pain still, but we will not know suffering. And to know pain without suffering is a glorious promise as well. It has been said that Jesus did not suffer on the cross. Maybe this is wishful thinking on the part of his followers, who love him. But maybe there is something grander at heart in this assertion. He was at one with the Father, and so he knew that his pain was not personally intended. The fear that God is bringing pain upon us is often the reason that pain turns into suffering. And this is indeed anguished suffering, for which of us would wish to believe that God is cruel? Jesus says elsewhere in ACIM that none of us have escaped this thought in this world, that God is cruel. Yet if we turn to our heart, as A Course of Love, encourages us to do, we will know that there is nothing at all cruel in God. We ourselves are responsible for the sorry state that our world is in, and we have brought this upon ourselves by the wayward practicing of our own free well–a blessing that could and should be our greatest blessing.

4 – Surrender

“Nothing can prevail against. . .” is a powerful introduction to this idea. “Nothing!” What a boon this really is. And what a beautiful promise from God. We do not have to fret that the world of special relationships, not yet holy, will impede our progress. True, we want our special relationships to transform into the holy, but until they do, we are protected, because we have accepted God’s protection (from ACIM). “Nothing” can prevail against us once we have made the decision to surrender completely to God and to His guidance through the Holy Spirit, or if we are following A Course of Love, His guidance through the inner Christ Self.

Prayer:

Dear Father,

May I know what it is to commend my spirit into Your hands. By so doing may I awaken from my sleep in this world.

All will be well with me when I do commend my spirit into Your hands. Thank you for this great promise.

May all of my special relationships turn to the holy, for my brothers and sisters are my way home, according to A Course in Miracles. These relationships are the special means that we find our way back to You. I would return to You, yet remain a part of this world, today. Allow me to do so, for my inner guidance is that this is Your will, and my own as well.

Amen.

All Are Called but Few Choose to Listen. Chosen Ones Are Merely Those Who Choose Right Sooner.

manet - day in paris
“‘Many are called but few are chosen’ should be, ‘All are called but few choose to listen.’ Therefore, they do not choose right. The ‘chosen ones’ are merely those who choose right sooner. Right minds can do this now, and they will find rest unto their souls.

Affirmation: “rest unto their souls”

Reflections:

1 – All Are Called

In this passage Jesus corrects a statement attributed to him in the New Testament. We will stress the new version: “All are called.” There is nobody outside salvation, ultimately. It may be millions of years before the Atonement takes place for all, just as the separation occurred over millions of years. But we are bade to be patient, because once begun, the end of the journey is sure. We will all come home in God.

2 – Pessimistic?

This idea of millions of years may seem to our finite minds to be pessimistic in the extreme. Who would want to wait for millions of years? But I think that that is why our contribution to this world is so important. Elsewhere Jesus says that the world is very tired:

“The world is very tired, because it is the idea of weariness. Our task is the joyous one of waking it to the Call for God. (T-5.II.10)”

3 – Thousand Years Saved by Each of Us

And we are also told that each can save a thousand years as the world judges time. So we are not to admit defeat before we have hardly begun to save this world.

4 – Much Rides on Us

There is another point to make. We are probably in the forerunners for those who have the knowledge of how to proceed to salvation, and then on to the ultimate, Awakening. Each person that we lead aright will derive great happiness from the changes in his/her life. And we will as well. So the more that we can reach, the faster that million years will shrink, if indeed the shrinkage in time is possible. Jesus does not promise this, but the sad state of our world would indicate that now is the time. Eckhart Tolle says, indeed, that more people must awaken now, or the planet is doomed (The Power of Now and A New Earth).

5 – Teachers of God and Their Mission

Teachers of God are those who lead the way, but only time separates students from teachers, and time does not really exist (a concept of A Course in Miracles). Teachers of God have chosen right sooner, and are thus freed to lead others back to God. We do not and ought not in any way to see ourselves as more privileged than others. To give thanks for such a blessing is to make the mistake made in the New Testament, in which a “spiritual” man prayed that prayer and did not return to his house reconciled with God.

6 – All Are Called

So all are indeed called. We don’t have to wonder anymore if “evil” men and women will be damned. Hell as has historically been perceived is a myth, though we can imagine anything that we want and therefore think that it is true. There are stories of individuals who have died (and returned to life) who saw fire and brimstone on the Other Side. So the imagination is keen, and the imagination brings to us the experiences that we believe we deserve. We create our own reality, as has often been said by many New Agers.

7 – New Testament

Jesus corrects a number of statements attributed to him in the New Testament. This ought not to surprise us, but to be a comfort, for his words in ACIM are always more comforting than the words from the New Testament that he seeks to alter. An important one is, “I came to bring a sword,” and Jesus in the Text of ACIM says that this could not be something that he would ever say. As we proceed, there is much about ultimate reality that we will learn. Listen to inner guidance, and ask yourself what is more likely to be true. A loving God and a loving Jesus pave the smooth pathway.

8 – Rest

We are children of God, and we will then find the rest that all of us crave.

9 – Yes, Rest

So many of us think that we are tired, though Jesus says elsewhere that we are not really capable of being tired–but are very capable of wearying ourselves. And so many of us weary ourselves in the course of a day. Much of this weariness seems to me to be a kowtowing to the ego. We are sensitive about what people think of us, and we try so hard to put up a good front. A perfect persona. This lamentable choice is just what the ego would have us do. And until we do otherwise, we will not find that rest that we crave. Great masters have learned that they need to be the same, regardless of what company they keep. They need not to awed by the “greats” of this world. They are humble and quiet in demeanor, and so we ought to be. We may not have awakened, as have they, but we can take steps in that direction. The initial movement comes from God, but we can indeed influence our path after that initial nod from God. Glimpses of Awakening come to many us, called satori in Eastern terminology. But be careful not to let the ego rule such occasions. It is nothing of which one ought to be “proud,” and pride is, of course, a sure sign that the ego has reared its head once again. Watch the wily ego, for its days are numbered, and so does this part of our belief about ourselves know surely.

Prayer:

Dear Father,

Thank you that all are chosen, and that we can choose to listen sooner rather than later. Then we have rest unto our souls. This is a great blessing. Thank you.

May we realize that we are called to save our brothers and sisters. This is the plan of salvation, and when we take our place in it, the time of return is shortened considerably.

May none of us be disheartened by the statement by Jesus that the return of everyone may take millions of years. As long as the outcome is certain, we ought to take heart. And the sooner we fall in line with Jesus’s teachings, and the sooner we lead others to him, the more time will be collapsed.

Thank You.

Amen.

A Thought of Pure Joy. . .A Thought of Limitless Release

manet - girl with earring“There is one thought in particular that should be remembered throughout the day. It is a thought of pure joy; a thought of peace, a thought of limitless release, limitless because all things freed within it. (M-16.6)”

1 – A Mantra

I have used the words, “pure joy” and “limitless release,” almost as a mantra over the years. There is such hope in the promise of joy and release. We have been so doubled up with agony over the machinations of the ego. And it is such a blessing to know that we need not live this way. We can live in the hope of continual joy and release, and this is just what Jesus is asking us to do in this passage. “. . .[O]ne thought in particular that should be remembered throughout the day.” That message to me embodies hope.

2 – Achievement Required?

We often think that we have to achieve to merit grace. Yet this is a false concept. We are accepted just as we are, in all of our mistakes and false notions of an ego-oriented self. Jesus would not have us stay in such an ignoble state, though. He would carry us through and out of misery. He would have us live a limitless release in daily life, even when bad things happen. We can rise above without suppressing or repressing the bad things. We can know that grace is there for us.

3 – Safety

Jesus continues:

You think you made a place of safety for yourself. You think you made a place of safety for yourself. You think you made a power that can save you from all the fearful things you see in dreams. It is not so. Your safety lies not there. (M-16.6)”

4 – Ego Keeps Us in Conflict

That place of safety was a supposed retreat from the world promised by an ego that recommended to us that we turn to it for safety. Yet there is no safety at all in the ego, because the ego does not wish us or others well. The ego keeps us in conflict.

5 – Highs and Lows

I have mentioned several times in this blog the highs and lows on which the ego takes us. We know exhilaration when we cater to the ego, but we drop down in affect shortly thereafter, because the ego is constantly being undone. That is the way of the world. The ego, a part of our belief about ourselves, was never meant to sustain us. We are not made this way. We are being prepared for Awakening, and the only way that we can reach this degree of salvation is to relinquish our attachment to false ways of perceiving.

6 – Egoistic Ecstasy

Why do we dip low after an ecstasy brought on by the ego? I think it is because we know that we have separated, once again, from our brothers and sisters. And we are meant to be in unity and relationship with them (from A Course of Love). Somewhere we know that our egoistic ecstasy is putting us on a pedestal of our own making, and thus the feeling does not last. In fact, as we have noted, we dip into depression, which is anger turned inward (not a concept of A Course in Miracles or ACOL).

7 – Illusions

What you give up is merely the illusion of protecting illusions. And it is this you fear, and only this. How foolish to be so afraid of nothing! Nothing at all! Your defense will not work, but you are not in danger. You have no need of them. Recognize this, and they will disappear. And only then will you accept your real protection. (M-16.6)”

8 – Depression

Another reason that we dip into depression is that we become fearful after an egoic ecstasy. Our knowledge—and it is knowledge, not perception—lends us a sense that we can do better. Indeed we can, and A Course in Miracles and A Course of Love give us the hope that we not only can, but will.

Affirmation: “I would know limitless release and pure joy today.”

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

May this day go smoothly, on an even keel. May I know no highs and lows wrought by the ego. Indeed, may I let the ego slip away entirely today. And every day. This is my hope and my wish. For this, I need Your help. Be with me. Grant me Your presence in the day that hold events that I cannot predict.

Be with my brothers and sisters. May they find peace. May I find peace. We need Your presence to find that peace.

And You will grant us the sense of You when we turn to You in prayer.

Thank You.

Amen.

Prayer Is a Way of Asking for Something. It Is the Medium of Miracles.

manet - roses
“Prayer is a way of asking for something. It is the medium of miracles. But the only meaningful prayer is for forgiveness, because those who have been forgiven have everything. (T45)”

Affirmation: “the only meaningful prayer is for forgiveness”

Reflections:

1 – A Way of Asking

Prayer is not discussed a great deal in ACIM, and this passage hints at why. A Course in Miracles recommends forgiveness of ourselves and our brother as the only basis for a good life. If we forgive, we “have everything.” This passage indicates that prayer is a “way” of asking, but it does not mean that asking is the whole of it. We will find, when we consider Song of Prayer, that prayer is not really about asking at all. But this is for advanced seekers. In the meantime, most of us need to ask for things of the world and things of the spirit, and God, I believe, does not think less of us for so doing.

2 – What is “Everything”?

It is hard to understand what this “everything” really is, but basically it is the recognition that we are not deprived in this life except by our own choice. This is part of the theoretical construct of ACIM. It is part of the secret outlined by Rhonda Byrne (in The Secret), which elucidates the power of attraction, through our emotional and vibratory resonance with the universe. The Self that deprives us of things is following our persona’s lead, the personal self (as described in A Course of Love, though this is an interpretation not stated therein). We create our own reality. I cannot stress this enough.

3 – Jane Roberts’s Seth

Creating our own reality is a credo of Jane Roberts’s Seth, and this is the means that I first learned of this law. I have followed this law, at least subconsciously, for most of my life since–since the age of 30. And I do consider that my life has been charmed in many ways. The law of attraction works. My low points were not necessarily bad as I look back upon them. Time of crisis leads to a greater realization later on. And this has happened repeatedly.

4 – Personal Experience

I think that prayer is one of the most important aspects of our life here on earth. I pray often at night, when I am trying to sleep. I presume that God does not decry my tendency to drift back off at some point in my praying. I am driving the thought deep into my subconscious; I am seeing God as my Protector, and He comes through this way for me. What is better for a persona that is trying to let go of the ego? To lead toward Awakening? In my thinking, there is no better way to walk toward enlightenment than to have a rich and full prayer life.

5 – Norman Vincent Peale and the Dalai Lama

Norman Vincent Peale says that most people, in his experience, admit to praying about five minutes a day. This, he says, in equivalent to one-half of one percent of waking hours–not nearly enough. He counsels more and more prayer time. Likewise, none other than the Dalai Lama meditates for four hours every morning, regardless of what the rest of his busy day anticipates. Prayer and meditation are much linked, though not the same. The final lessons in the Workbook of A Course in Miracles are, to my mind, a call for meditation, for prayerful reflection–a sort of Westernized version of meditation.

6 – Not a Call for Materialism

Why would we choose to deprive ourselves of anything? Maybe we are looking for the wrong things in life. ACIM is practical, but nowhere is materialism sanctioned. We are simply asked in this passage to pray for forgiveness, and then the miracles that will transform our lives will be forthcoming. This is the prayer of faith. This is the way that our lives will be fact be transformed.

7 – Forgiveness

Forgiveness is the theme of A Course in Miracles. And when we forgive, we are living in flow, for we will sense that we are on the beam with God. Nowhere else can this blessing be found. Only in prayer can we know that we have forgiven ourselves and that we have forgiven others. And we are pardoning illusions–never let us forget that. The world that we see is illusion, and the misdeeds perpetrated against ourselves (or so we interpret) have not really accomplished anything in reality. So let us forgive freely, not out of compulsion. The way home will open up; the pathway will become clear, when forgiveness is intimately in our minds and spirits.

Prayer:

Dear Father,

May I ask forgiveness for all the ways in which I have failed. May I ask that forgiveness be in my heart for those whom I feel have hurt me. I realize that actually I cannot be hurt, but I can feel the pain of believing that I have been hurt.

May I forgive, as I have asked to be forgiven. May all that I encounter feel the results of my prayer today.

May the blessings of this day reach me. Will you assist me to walk in Your light of forgiveness?

Amen.

You Do Not Need Judgment to Organize Your Life, and You Certainly Do Not Need It to Organize Yourself

Edouard+Manet+The+Railway“You do not need judgment to organize your life, and you certainly do not need it to organize yourself. (T47)”

Affirmation: “You do not need judgment. . .to organize yourself.”

Reflections:

1 – A Simple Statement

This passage is stunningly simple in its words, but has profound implications. We are told elsewhere in A Course in Miracles that the world teaches us to rely upon our judgment and to monitor our actions by judging the best action to take.

“The world’s training is directed toward achieving a goal in direct opposition to that of our curriculum. The world trains for reliance on one’s judgment as the criterion for maturity and strength. Our curriculum trains for the relinquishment of judgment as the necessary condition of salvation. (M-9.2)”

2 – False Reasoning

Relying on ourselves is false reasoning. We cannot know the whole context in which our judgment occurs–the past, the present, and the future that we try to judge in incompleteness. These are tenets of ACIM:

“In order to judge anything rightly, one would have to be fully aware of an inconceivably wide range of things; past, present and to come. One would have to recognize in advance all the effects of his judgments on everyone and everything involved in them in ay way. And one would have to be certain there is no distortion in his perception, so that his judgment would be wholly fair to everyone on whom it rests now and in the future. Who is in a position to do this? Who except in grandiose fantasies would claim this for himself? (M-10.4)”

3 – Rely on the Holy Spirit

If we do not need to organize our life by judgment, then upon Whom should we rely? The oft-repeated assertion to rely upon the Holy Spirit is meaningful in this context. How do we do that? By listening to the still, small Voice within–what is commonly know as “feelings,” or intuition. By “feelings,” we do not mean emotional response; emotional response, especially that made in haste and under pressure of the moment, may be the ego prompting us to undertake a false pathway. By “feelings,” we do mean the inner sense of rightness about a given action or thought. With practice, we will learn to distinguish the difference.

4 – Give Up Judgment

But it is enormously freeing to give up the judgment of the world. We walk freely and peacefully as we let the moment guide us by insight not of ourselves. We know that if there are plans to be made, we will be told of them; they will occur to us at the proper moment for planning.

“As the teacher of God advances in his training, he learns one lesson with increasing thoroughness. He does not make his own decisions; he asks his Teacher for His answer, and it is this he follows as his guide for action. (M-9.2)”

5 – Walk as Free Spirits

We can walk as free spirits in a world set free from our judgments–a world lit from within by the guidance of the Holy Spirit.

Prayer:

Dear Father,

May I be led along the pathway that relinquishes judgment in favor of the guidance of the Holy Spirit. May I be flexible, be able to turn on a dime. May I not be stubborn in following this guidance.

Judgment, as taught by the world, is incomplete. Judgment, as given by the Holy Spirit, takes into consideration all the variables. I want to follow the guidance of the Holy Spirit. That is my intent. Help me to stand firm in this resolve.

Help me not to be headstrong. Sometimes when I am intent on a given direction, I resist You and Your Voice, and this is wrong. It will not get me where I want to go. Help me today to be flexible in the extreme. Never resistant to Your direction, however much I had determined to walk along a certain pathway, before I heard Your Voice inwardly speaking to me.

Amen.

How Should the Teacher of God Spend His Day?

“Broadly speaking, then, it can be said that it is well to start the day right. It is always possible to begin again, should the day begin with error. Yet there are obvious advantages in terms of saving time. (M-16.2)”

1 – The Secret, by Rhonda Byrne

This passage from A Course in Miracles is echoed in the popular book The Secret, by Rhonda Byrne. There is detailed the fact that stumbling when getting out of bed often starts a chain reaction, because we rue the beginning of the day, our thoughts turn negative, and then a little bit of everything seems to go wrong.

2 – We Create Our Own Reality

The Secret affirms that we create our own reality, we draw to us that which happens to us. And the work includes many examples of how better things, particularly material things, can come to us when we image those better things in our minds, affirming that our minds are very powerful.

3 – Positive Thinking

I recommend positive thinking on getting out of bed in the morning. I believe that the intangibles are more to be desired than the ego-oriented material aspects of our world. I also believe that we will never remain satisfied, regardless of how many material things we acquire, if we don’t have a handle on these intangibles of peace, joy, contentment, harmony, and the like. In my spiritual orientation, these intangibles are the blessings of God. And we can create these in our reality as well. These spiritual aspects are emphasized in two later books by Rhonda, entitled The Power and The Magic. In these two books, she focuses on the importance of gratitude and the importance of love in creating our reality.

4 – If the Day Begins Badly. . .

If the day begins badly, if we stump our toe, for example, we need a quick restorative. And this can come through The Secret’s emphasis on gratitude in daily life, which certainly is a spiritual concept.

5 – Gratitude

Gratitude expressed throughout a day is a day well spent.

6 – No Planning Necessary

The lesson for today from the Workbook of A Course in Miracles goes on to affirm that we do not need to plan our day. This is something that I especially need to hear, maker of “to do” lists that I am. It is true that we need a plan, but that plan is best, according to ACIM, the plan of the Holy Spirit, who will prompt us at various junctures about what to do next. This idea of guidance is not well-recognized in our world, and that is such a pity. Anyone who has met the Holy Spirit knows that He will guide us to the degree that we are open to His guidance. He will develop a flow to our day, and the day will indeed be marvelous, even if bad things happen. We will be largely impervious to those bad things, seeing them but not being intimately damaged by what we view.

7 – Offer Solace

We do need to offer solace to our brothers and sisters on this earth, though, especially if they are creating a reality that is detrimental to their well-being.

8 – Blaming the Victim

I do have a cautionary note. We all too often, in New Age circles, think that the individual who is suffering has somehow brought this suffering on themselves. But I believe that it is the Self that makes these decisions, not the personal self. And so the “little I” is innocent of the bad that seems to follow us into this world. The Self that is within, the Christ within, selects happenings that are intended to broaden our perspective. We sometimes suffer for a larger purpose. But it doesn’t have to be this way, and as soon as we ask for surcease, we are released from the pain. The physical and emotional pain may not subside immediately, of course, but the way has been paved. And the Self always has our best interests at heart. We can ask, as Jesus in the Text of ACIM recommends, that we learn through rewards, a more lasting learning experience than anything that pain can bring us.

9 – You Do Not Have to Learn through Pain

“You do not have to learn through pain,” we learn in ACIM. What a blessing this assertion really is. And all we have to do to merit this end is to step forward and claim it.

Affirmation: “I am going to do what I can to have a good day today.”

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

May this day go well. I am starting over, because already there has been some stress in my day, self-generated. I know that getting a slower start in the morning is good. And I know that when I get that slower start, the rest of the day falls in place.

May I have Your guidance to create my reality. I know that Your blessings are intangibles, though You know that we need the material also. I especially pray for peace in this sometimes difficult world. May my brothers and sisters, as well as myself, live in harmony with each other.

Amen.