Pray. . .and True Humility Will Come at Last to Grace the Mind that Thought It Was Alone and Stood Against the World.

1 – True Humility

True humility means that we no longer act egotistically. A friend of mine whom I think has reached enlightenment seems ego-less. She is calm and easy in her demeanor, and she seems very much at peace—regardless of what swirls around her. She is a results-oriented person who works hard but is not compulsive about work. And she engages in written dialogues with what she calls her Inner Wisdom, which we can understand is the inner Self.
We know that prayer helps us to reach this new state of mind and heart. Here is the relevant passage:

“Prayer is a way to true humility. And here again it rises slowly up, and grows in strength and love and holiness. Let it but leave the ground where it begins to rise to God, and true humility will come at last to grace the mind that thought it was alone and stood against the world. (S-1.V.1)”

2 – Personal Experience

Prayer is very important to me personally. When I am anxious, I can pray and immediately feel God’s presence, soothing me. And this is a very practical way of viewing prayer. But the Presence is enough to allow communion with the Divine. It is enough to set a day on the right pathway. There is no end, it seems, to be blessings that prayer can wrought.

3 – Prayer

“Now prayer is lifted from the world of things, of bodies, and of gods of every kind, and you can rest in holiness at last. Humility has come to teach you how to understand your glory as God’s son, and recognize the arrogance of sin. A dream has veiled the face of Christ from you. Now can you look upon His sinlessness. (S-1.V.3)”

4 – Beyond the Illusion

We seem in this passage to have reached beyond the dream, the illusion in which we live. But here we can see that there has been a dream that “veiled the face of Christ from you.” Now we look upon His sinlessness.

5 – Personal Experience

I once met an individual who told me that we were eventually to see Christ in all people whom we meet. And at that time, I was in a satori that allowed me to do just that. It was a challenging time, because who can see the face of Christ in all her brothers and sisters, and remain calm? The change in venue was startling. It was heartwarming, though, very heartwarming. I could even see pictures in the newspaper and sense the realness of the people depicted there. The satori ended soon enough (too soon), but the memories dwell on. And I hope for a return, a safe return, to such perception.

6 – No Blame

When we see Christ in all people, we do not blame them for anything. We are completely forgiving, though this does not mean that we allow ourselves to be abused. We absence ourselves from the scene if abuse is taking place. Abuse is less likely, though, because we are no longer doing anything to bait it. We are benign creatures, living solely for Christ. We are calm and at peace; anger and attack do not touch us. And so the individuals with whom we come in contact are influenced by our attitude.

7 – Sinlessness

We truly see sinlessness for what it is. We know that our brothers and sisters have only “missed the mark,” as the word “sin” actually means. And this missing of the mark is the way that a mistake can be defined. Our brothers and sisters are innocent. And well it is for us to view them that way. It preserves our rights (from ACIM Text).

8 – Ladder Ends

“The ladder ends with this, for learning is no longer needed. Now you stand before the gate of Heaven, and your brother stands beside you there. The lawns are deep and still, for here the place appointed for the time when you should come has waited long for you. Here will time end forever. At this gate eternity itself will join with you. Prayer has become what it was meant to be, for you have recognized the Christ in you. (S-1.V.4)”

9 – Awakening

This passage represents a beautiful rendition of the state of Awakening, or Christ-consciousness, enlightenment. When we have recognized the Christ within, we are home in God. “The lawns are deep and still,” for nature means much to us in this state of mind and heart.

10 – Jesus

The ladder ends with this, for Jesus has come to cancel out all mistakes that we ourselves could not cancel out by our own efforts. And God has reached down and taken us up into Christ-consciousness. This truly is the end of the ladder, when the ladder can be withdrawn, because the “climb” is complete.

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

May I live in an ego-less state of mind. May I eliminate judgment from my repertoire of emotions. I know that when I have eliminated all judgment, then I will awaken. Jesus has promised this. Thank You. May I be patient in the meantime. May nothing mar my wondrous peace in this ever more beautiful world of yours.

Be with me today so that I don’t lapse into judgment and therefore into anger and attack. These fearful emotions are just that—emotions of fear. And we would leave all anxiety behind as we walk into the sunlight with You.

Thank You for the blessing of another good day.

Amen.

Living in Relationship Provides. . .the Certainty You Have Lacked. The Fears You Have Experienced Will Not Arise within This Knowing.

manet - day in paris“Living in relationship provides a constant knowing of this sort, a simple knowing of a way things are meant to be. It is a knowing felt within the heart for which there still will be no proof, but for which there will be the certainty you heretofore have lacked. The typical fears you have experienced in the past will not arise within this knowing. (A Course of Love, 27.19)”

Affirmation: “May no fears arise in me today.”

Reflections:

1 – Knowing

When we live in relationship to God and ourselves, our deepest Selves, plus with others, we are living as Jesus recommends in this passage for today. We will feel a “knowing” in our heart that we are on the right pathway.

2 – Relationships

This is the pathway recommended initially in A Course of Miracles, but then the emphasis was on relationships, holy relationships with others, especially our most significant brother (or sister). In A Course of Love, Jesus expands the concept of relationship to mean a relationship not only to God, but to the Self/Christ within. When we reach deep, deep, inwardly, we are reassured, in a way that nothing else can, that all is well.

3 – Home

This is the certainty of which Jesus speaks in this passage. This is the assurance that we are on the way home, and not to the Other Side, but the heaven on earth that we can actually know here.

4 – Listen

Be with Jesus’s words today. See if they don’t make a huge difference.

5 – Certainty

The certainty that we are on the right pathway comes when we lift ourselves up mentally and in a heartfelt way, and we do the best that we know how. We don’t allow ourselves to get downhearted, if there is any way that we can avoid it. We are cheery, we are upbeat. We are not discouraged, for Jesus is with us always.

6 – A Promise

He has promised this.

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

I would know certainty of true knowledge today. I would not press to know, but I would rest in the certainty that this is what You want for me. I would not fall into a too-strong desire for Christ-consciousness, for You make that decision. You are always with me, inside of me, for I am part of You. Thank You for this knowledge.

Be with all of my brothers and sisters today. May we let typical fears that arise with just living to fall away. We need be fearful no more. Thank You.

Amen.

The Ego Becomes Strong in Strife. If You Believe There Is Strife You Will React Viciously. The Idea of Danger Has Entered Your Mind.

1 – Anger

We know that when we get angry, the ego is responsible. Without the ego, we would remain perfectly calm and quiet all the time (from the ACIM Text). While many of us think that we want to continue to have some drama in our lives, we will not want drama when we have Awakened. We will be glad for the quiet.

2 – Strong in Strife

And so when we are arguing with our significant others, the ego is strong, for this is strife. And we may even react viciously, because we feel threatened; the idea of danger has entered our minds:

“The ego becomes strong in strife. If you believe there is strife you will react viciously, because the idea of danger has entered your mind. (T80)”

3 – Separation

When we separated from God (in illusion, making a world that is illusion), we developed a split mind—one part of God, one part of the false persona, the ego. We can heal this split by choosing God; but we can never heal this split by choosing the ego. God does not give up on us that easily. He is always in our Mind, and so it is impossible to choose the ego be ascendant. There is actually no conflict, no danger that the devil ego can win. This ought to give us comfort as we seek to incorporate the teachings of A Course in Miracles:

“The separation is merely another term for a split mind. (T80)”

4 – Ego

“The ego is the symbol of separation, just as the Holy Spirit is the symbol of peace. What you perceive in others you are strengthening in yourself. You may let your mind misperceive, but the Holy Spirit lets your mind reinterpret its own misperceptions. (T80)”

This passage is ever more substantiation that the ego and the Holy Spirit, part of the triune God, are at odds. And only one is going to be the victor—always the Holy Spirit. But we do have free will, and our timing for relinquishment of the ego is respected by God. He and His Voice, the Holy Spirit, do not force themselves upon us. We choose. And then God chooses—when He deems that we are ripe for Awakening.

5 – Internally

This passage shows us a way to know what is really going on internally with ourselves. Whatever we perceive in others, we have, usually unconsciously, looked within and found (ACIM concept).

6 – Perception

This truth of perceiving in others what we really hold within is a powerful teacher. The “sins” that we perceive in others are, first of all, within ourselves. Seeing this, we can see what needs to be changed. And it is not our brother. It is something within ourselves.

7 – Loving

Our brother will seem much more loving as our own thoughts become loving. “Projection makes perception” is an ACIM concept. May we learn from our brother, even as we sometimes note lamentable emotions in him or her. These emotions (and often actions) have first been within ourselves.

8 – Holy Spirit

“The Holy Spirit can deal with a reluctant learner without going counter to his mind, because part of it is still for God. Despite the ego’s attempts to conceal this part, it is still much stronger than the ego. . . .(T80)”

Our Mind always chooses God. We don’t always realize this, but if we consider in contemplation, we will know the truth of this passage.

9 – Peace

“You who are part of God are not at home except in His peace. If peace is eternal, you are at home only in eternity. (T80)”

May we recognize that we want to be at home only in eternity. Time is an illusion, and therefore we only need it for practical purposes. We can ignore time far more often than we do, and then eternity will burst upon our insight.

Affirmation: “perceive in others. . .strengthen in yourself”

Prayer:

Dear Father,

May I learn from others: What I see in them is actually something that is within myself. May I use this knowledge to improve my disposition, my mind and spirit, and my behavior.

As my thoughts become more loving, my brothers and sisters will be perceived as more loving. This is a great boon for us. May we realize the truth that projection makes perception, as we learned in the Course.

Amen.

From the Dialogues, 40 Days/Nights. Jesus: “Accept Me.”

“This has been spoken of as the second coming of Christ because my story goes unfulfilled without your fulfillment. It is only in your fulfillment of the continuing story of creation that my story reaches completion. (A Course of Love: Dialogues, p. 90)”

Affirmation: “May I know my fulfillment.”

Reflections:

1 – Continuity with the New Testament

This first day of the Forty Days and Nights on the mountaintop with Jesus in the Dialogues of A Course of Love solidifies continuity with the New Testament and Christian orthodoxy:

“Acceptance of me is acceptance of Your Self. Acceptance of me is acceptance of your inheritance. This is nothing new to those of you of the Christian faith.”

2 – Personal Interpretation

I have long viewed A Course in Miracles and A Course in Miracles as a continuation, to fulfill modern-day needs, of the Bible. Jesus has not changed a great deal in the last 2,000 years. He is steady as a rock. He is with us still. And he makes claims that no individual would make who was unsure of himself.

4 – New Testament

“The New Testament was the beginning of the new.”

We see a direct statement from Jesus here in regard to new times. The implication to me clearly is that the Old Testament/Hebrew Bible did not present, very often, a loving God. And the New Testament presented a God who was loving and forgiving, quite different from the monarch who would punish if his every rule were not kept.

5 – Why Required?

“Why should this [acceptance] be so important? Why not leave well enough alone? If acceptance of Jesus is a stumbling block for many, why should it be required?”

Jesus goes on to explain that to take college courses and get a degree have requirements. To get to the moon requires a spacecraft and spacesuit. Would we strain at the gnat? Jesus is only giving it to us straight, straighter than he did in A Course in Miracles. We must accept his authority, which is what accepting him is all about.

6 – Second Coming

“This has been spoken of as the second coming of Christ because my story goes unfulfilled without your fulfillment. It is only in your fulfillment of the continuing story of creation that my story reaches completion.”

We are making the succession from Jesus to a new day. We are It. There is not compromise herein, and only when we accept Jesus’s authority do we find the peace that he is offering us.

7 – Cease Searching

“Lay aside your want of other answers, other stories, and accept the story we share.”

Jesus is asking us to stop searching, and this injunction will become clearer when we realize that many of us who studied A Course in Miracles did not stop searching at its conclusion. We kept looking for something further, almost like an addiction to searching. Now in A Course of Love, the trilogy, Jesus says that enough is enough. We no longer have to keep searching. With the “Treatise on the New,” we recognize that we are The Accomplished. We no longer need nor should we, search.

8 – Day One

This “Day One” represents the first of 40 days and nights on a “mountain top” with Jesus as our guide. In this chapter of the Dialogues, Jesus makes a comparison of these 40 days and nights with his own 40 days and nights in the desert, prior to the beginning of his mission on earth 2,000 years ago. We are to become what he became.

9 – God

Jesus stresses that it matters not what we call “God,” because God knows who He is. But acceptance of Jesus as our guide is necessary; it explains that this is just the way it is in salvation. This tenet of A Course of Love, the Dialogues, will be difficult for some of us to accept, perhaps, but if we realize that in A Course in Miracles we have already accepted Jesus as our guide, we will be less resistant.

10 – Jesus

We are meant to become all that Jesus was. His was the example life. We do not have to go through what he experienced, because that was for him alone. But we do have to accept him as our guide. Then we will be well on our way to recognizing that indeed this is the time of the second coming of Christ. We are meant to embody that second coming as we elevate our self of form to the elevated Self.

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

May I wholeheartedly accept Jesus as my guide. May I drop any resistance that I have ever had around this idea. May I choose the best for my future, and may I realize that Jesus is a part of my personal future.

Thank You, dear God, for leading me to love better. As I go to the mountain top with Jesus, may I know a resurrection that only You can bring to me.

May today I attract only good things. May I love with a deep love, feel gratitude for all things coming from Your hand, and be at peace in the midst of my too busy life. Today has lightened up since I awoke, and I thank You for that. I will cocoon on this winter day, ready for another busy day tomorrow. But keep me in the present moment, the Now. That is the only way to live Your way. And I thank You for this truth.

Amen.

Jesus: “I Heard One Voice because I Understood that I Could Not Atone for Myself Alone.”

1 – Holy Spirit

“I heard one Voice because I understood that I could not atone for myself alone. (T82)”

This one Voice is the Voice of the Holy Spirit; this Voice is how Jesus knew what to do, and when. This Voice is also how we know what to do, and when. There is no difference. The Christ Self is a shared Self.

2 – One Voice

“Listening to one Voice implies the decision to share It in order to hear It yourself. (T82)”

We do hear the Voice because Jesus set in motion the means by which we can hear. Certain Old Testament/Hebrew Bible prophets certainly heard the Voice as well, but we normally consider that this gift was reserved for Pentecost, occurring in the New Testament, for the masses for believed in Jesus’s mission and Atonement for us.

3 – Sharing

But Jesus shared Who he had heard. And in the sharing we were gifted with a great blessing. This is the Holy Spirit, our guidance as to what to say and do. Only when we have walked further along the pathway, approaching Awakening/Christ-consciousness, do we rely on the Christ Self within. All are aspects of the Trinity—the spark of divinity within, Father (God), Son (Christ), and Holy Spirit (or Holy Ghost).

4 – Mind

“The Mind that was in me is still irresistibly drawn to every mind created by God, because God’s Wholeness is the wholeness of His Son. (T82)”

This Mind is the Holy Spirit, also known as the Universal Inspiration (from the ACIM Text). This Mind is drawn to us when we have received the baptism of the Holy Spirit. And this is traditional Christian orthodoxy. The lineage from the New Testament is, to my mind, clear.

5 – You Cannot Be Hurt

“You cannot be hurt, and do not want to show your brother anything except your wholeness. Show him that he cannot hurt you and hold nothing against him, or you hold it against yourself. This is the meaning of ‘turning the other cheek.’ (T82)”

It hurts our brother for him (or her) to see that he has hurt us. While our brother may not tell us this, and he even may not recognize it, still is it true. We cannot seek to hurt another without being in pain ourselves.

6 – The Self

Our real Self cannot be hurt in any way. This is a magnificent truth that even among seasoned veterans of ACIM can easily be overlooked as we live daily in this world.

7 – Suffering / Pain

Certainly we seem to suffer, or, at the least, to know pain–even when it doesn’t lead to real suffering. Yet the Self continues unabated. The Self knows that we are whole.

8 – Turn the Other Cheek

What a blessing to have in ACIM with this interpretation of the New Testament injunction of “turn the other cheek.” So often over the years have Christians sought to understand this Scripture, and so often we have failed to understand. May this remedy of A Course in Miracles end that confusion. We are whole Selves, and a part of us that we do not usually recognize is unhurt by anything that the world can do to us.

Affirmation: “You cannot be hurt.”

Prayer:

Dear Father,

Now that I know the real meaning of “turn the other cheek,” may I do so promptly when something happens that disturbs me. May I realize that my real Self is never hurt at all.

May I come to feel my real Self more and more. When I do so, I am safe in this world. Thank you for this safety.

Help this day to go well. It has already begun well, by which I mean that flow seems assured for the day. I got started right, for once. Thank You. Your guidance is absolutely necessary to me when I walk through a day. And my gratitude for what You have given is complete, at least so far as I can feel it.

Amen.

All Your Past except Its Beauty Is Gone. I Have Saved All Your Kindnesses and Every Loving Thought You Ever Had.

“How can you who are so holy suffer? All your past except its beauty is gone, and nothing is left but a blessing. I have saved all your kindnesses and every loving thought you ever had. (T83)”

Affirmation: “I have saved all your kindnesses and love.”

Reflections:

1 – Difficult Passage

This is a hard passage to understand. It is true that Awakened individuals acknowledge feeling pain, but not suffering. Eckhart Tolle (The Power of Now; A New Earth) is one of these individuals. He says that since his Awakening some 30 years ago, no thought has brought him pain. But most of us have not yet known Awakening on a sustained basis, and what are we to do when bad things happen?

2 – Holy Spirit

I think that the Answer is the one we so often find in the Course. The Answer is turning to guidance from the Holy Spirit. Jesus himself says in this passage that he has saved our kindnesses and loving thoughts. We can, without self-satisfaction, realize that, almost despite ourselves, we have had moments of kindnesses and loving thoughts. If these were ever a comfort to our brother, they can also be a comfort to us in our times of pain. This recollection will help to ensure that suffering, even in the midst of pain, will not arise.

3 – Purification

“I have purified them [kindnesses and loving thoughts] of the errors that hid their light, and kept them for you in their own perfect radiance. They are beyond destruction and beyond guilt. They came from the Holy Spirit within you, and we know what God creates is eternal. (T83)”

What a good thought! We have within us many good things, things that we hid when we did not live in the light. The Holy Spirit or the Christ Self thus knows only kindnesses and loving thoughts. May we be so fortunate, sooner rather than later.

4 – No Struggle

The Holy Spirit or the Christ Self (the latter described in A Course of Love), inwardly, does make these adjustments for us. We no longer have to struggle to be good. Indeed, we ought not to so struggle. Our redemption is sure. Jesus has seen to that in the resurrection (which is never disclaimed in either A Course in Miracles or A Course of Love, though I would postulate that we are talking about Jesus in his ethereal body as the resurrection).

5 – Ego

We have a problem with our egos in this matter of seeing ourselves as possessing kindnesses and loving thoughts. We are never good enough for the ego, and if we think that we are (even when thinking in an egoless state of mind), we are warned by the ego that we are arrogant. But Jesus assures us that it is the ego that is arrogant only. Once we have let the ego wither away, on its way away, then we can be certain that the good things said about us have more truth than formerly. It is the ego that is the bogeyman here. Avoid egoistic thinking, and the bane of our existence, the ego, will be undone.

6 – Satan

The ego is indeed the devil of our mythology.

7 – Pain

If we are still not above suffering, we can find in the pain a blessing. The initial passage in this posting seems to say this. The passage also notes that we ourselves are holy, a concept that we find difficult to accept, because we usually feel so unworthy. May we take Jesus at his word, and believe that we do not have to suffer in this world. As we study A Course in Miracles, perhaps we will come to see this concept more clearly and to feel pain, when it comes, but no suffering.

8 – Peace of God

“I place the peace of God in your heart and in your hands, to hold and share. (T83)”

This is Jesus speaking. We are so early in ACIM at this point that Jesus has not yet made the role of the Holy Spirit explicit. So he has us turn to him.

9 – Jesus Holding Our Hands

Indeed, he never neglects or abandons us. He is always available to hold our hands in our imagination. May this image walk with us today.

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

May I know in my innermost being that I do not need to suffer. In the Course, Jesus says that we do not have to learn through pain. May I feel the truth of this reassurance.

It is good that my loving thoughts have been saved. This seems to mean that my unloving thoughts will fall away. Thank you.

Be with me today as I seek to live an egoless life, an egoless existence. If I falter, please set my foot back on my pathway to You. I specifically ask that the impediments to Awakening be removed, for it is only these impediments that make You realize that I am not yet ready. I do not try to merit Awakening, for that is beyond what can be done. I ask only for patience to run the race set before me.

Amen.

The Ego Believes that by Punishing Itself It Will Mitigate the Punishment of God

“The ego believes that by punishing itself it will mitigate the punishment of God. (T84-85)”

Affirmation: “The ego believes. . .mitigate the punishment of God.”

Reflections:

1 – Masochism

This passage seems to explain masochism. We think that if we cause pain to ourselves first, then God’s punishment of us (in which we erroneously believe) will be lessened.

2 – Insane Thinking

This is insane thinking. The ego is insane. Let us not forget this concept of A Course in Miracles.

3 – Punished Less?

We think that we will be punished less if we level the punishment on ourselves. We are trying to manipulate God, who actually does not punish at all. But we ourselves make a grievous mistake when we seek to bring down hell fire on our heads. What a waste!

4 – Arrogance

“Yet even in this it is arrogant. It attributes to God a punishing intent, and then takes this intent as its own prerogative. (T85)”

The ego is always arrogant. That is why, when we give ourselves noble intentions, the ego often tells us that WE are arrogant. We are children of God, who when we are in our Self, are not arrogant at all. God has given us a very lofty purpose—forgiveness, salvation, happiness—that we are not meeting, and therefore we feel guilty. But our sense of guilt needs to be overcome. And it certainly does not merit punishment, which is masochism.

5 – Egotistic Thinking

We in our egoistic thinking do not have to punish ourselves at all. To do so actually is the reverse of what we want, for any number of reasons, including the fact that punishing ourselves strengthens the ego. We want to let the ego wither away. In no way does God punish us. This concept of A Course in Miracles is in line with the New Testament, but opposed to the Old Testament. May we accept Jesus’s teaching in both ACIM and the New Testament, and know God as a loving and accepting God who wants only the best for us. Anything else we have unconsciously chosen, and this can be changed with the right understanding, and the right reflection upon what we are actually doing to ourselves.

6 – What Do You Want?

“The ego cannot oppose the laws of God any more than you can, but it can interpret them according to what it wants, just as you can. That is why the question, ‘What do you want?’ must be answered. You are answering it every minute and every second, and each moment of decision is a judgment that is anything but ineffectual. (T85)”

We must ask ourselves, not the ego, but our real Self, what we want in every moment which we view as a moment of choice. We get guidance, sure, but we still have the right to refuse that guidance (though that is not wise). And when we set ourselves on the right course, we take the next right action without consciously asking for advice from the Holy Spirit.

7 – The Question

“What do we want?” is an especially potent question, filled with meaning and lofty with purpose. If we want God and God alone, we are on the right track. If we want the things of this world first, we have our priorities skewed. If we want God first of all, all of the things of the world will be added according to our need and often according to our want. This is New Testament thinking that is supported also by the later ACIM. Jesus does not change his mind in that regard.

Prayer:

Dear Father,

May I know that there is no need for me to punish myself for anything that I have done. I may know guilt, and this is a form of punishment. God would never punish; it is always us that are doing this.

May my ego wither away. I have prayed for this often, and so I have not accepted the truth of this promise that it can wither away. May I accept this promise now and forevermore.

May this day go smoothly for myself and all who read this prayer. May we walk in Your way, sure of our purpose and certain of Your love. Thank You for the presence of Yourself that so often I feel.

Amen.

Praying for Others Lifts Projections of Guilt

water-lilies - monet

“Praying for others, if rightly understood, becomes a means for lifting your projections of guilt from your brother, and enabling you to recognize it is not he who is hurting you. (S-1.III.1)”

When we pray for our brothers and sisters, we are enabled to feel more positively toward them. We begin to feel compassion much more readily, and, if all goes well, we recognize that others deserve the forgiveness that we try to offer.

2 – Projecting Guilt

This passage indicates that what we are doing when we fail to forgive is to project guilt upon our brother. The reason for this projection is that we never hold anything against our brother that we do not first think we ourselves are guilty of (from the ACIM Text). We first denounce and reject ourselves, and then we project that denunciation upon our brother, who is actually as innocent as are we. We ourselves, though, while we can see ourselves as innocent (and normally do see ourselves as innocent), do not automatically, without some guidance from the Holy Spirit or the Self, see our brothers and sisters as innocent. On the contrary, we are wont to blame them for all manner of our troubles. This is projection from our own inner personal self (or “little” self) to others. And it is insane.

3 – Hurt Ourselves?

Our brother is not really hurting us. We are hurting ourselves. Our brother has done nothing to hurt our Self, though he may verbally or physically abuse our minds/bodies. Our Self remains above the fray.

4 – Special to Holy Relationships

We always hurt ourselves by this dynamic of projecting guilt onto our brothers and sisters. We would not have it so. And we must not have it so if we are to see our special relationships turn to holy. Turning to holy relationships prepares us for the Awakening.

5 – Praying in Error

“It is not easy to realize that prayers for things, for status, for human love, for external ‘gifts’ of any kind, are always made to set up jailers and to hide from guilt. These things are used for goals that substitute for God, and therefore distort the purpose of prayer. (S-1.III.6)”

This can be a difficult passage. When we pray for tangible goods, we often mislead our inner personal selves, our little selves. Our Self is not mislead, but this inner Self can become inaccessible to us in our rapaciousness to gather the physical to ourselves.

6 – Intangibles

We need to focus on the intangibles. We need to rise above a constant desire for more material goods, because this is an endless road. We will get one “toy,” only to want another, and then another. There is no end to the desire of the ego for material things.

7 – God as Our Friend

It is hard to realize sometimes that having God as our Friend will ensure that we stay on the right pathway, the pathway to complete and total happiness—even in the absence of material goods. We know that God also wants our material needs satisfied; He is not blind to our creature comforts. But the communion of our spirit with God is the greatest blessing that human beings have on this earth. And this communion, in prayer, assures that more and more good will flow to us. It is an example of the law of attraction, like attracts like. Our desires are in the right place, and God answer us, therefore.

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

Help me today to life guilt from my significant others. May I realize that I am always blaming myself when I see guilt in others; it is my own presumed guilt that I see.

Be with me today as I seek to get my projections ended. I would not push onto others my own sense of guilt. And my own sense of guilt is misplaced. To know this is such a blessing!

Help me to have a good day. I haven’t asked for this recently, but this day promises some stress, and I would not buy into that emotion. Help me to offer gratitude to You for the day that has been given. And may I reap the reward of another day in this world, the intangible rewards of communion with You while still on earth.

Amen.

The Ego Will Not Be Destroyed

“The ego will not be destroyed because it is part of your thought, but because it is uncreative and therefore unsharing, it will reinterpreted to release you from fear. (T87)”

Affirmation: “The ego is uncreative and unsharing.”

Reflections:

1 – Ego’s Misinterpretations

“There are many examples of how the ego’s interpretations are misleading, but a few will suffice to show how the Holy Spirit can reinterpret them in His Own Light. (T87)”

This section from the early pages of the Text of A Course in Miracles gives abundant quotations from the New Testament which point out how we have misinterpreted Scripture, out of our ignorance and while in the thrall of the ego.

2 – Sow and Reap

“‘As ye sow, so shall ye reap’ He interprets to mean what you consider worth cultivating you will cultivate in yourself. Your judgment of what is worthy makes it worthy for you” (T87)”

This passage is often seen as evidence in the New Testament that the Eastern view of karma is accurate. Here Jesus does not say this, but gives a more benign interpretation. Jesus does not scare little children, which is what we all are.

3 – Vengeance

“‘Vengeance is mine, sayeth the Lord’ is easily reinterpreted if you remember that ideas increase only by being shared. The statement emphasizes that vengeance cannot be shared. Give it therefore to the Holy Spirit, Who will undo it in you because it does not belong in your mind, which is part of God. (T87)”

Ideas do increase when they are shared, unlike material goods. Jerry Jampolsky made much use of this truth in his bestseller from years ago, Love Is Letting Go of Guilt. And it is the immaterial that gives us greatest comfort, despite the view that we think, in this world, we have to have lots of material toys.

We would not allow negative ideas, such as vengeance, to remain in our minds. To do so will invite those ideas to turn back on ourselves. And they will do so.

4 – Generations

“‘I will visit the sins of the fathers unto the third and fourth generation,’ as interpreted by the ego, is particularly vicious. It becomes merely an attempt to guarantee the ego’s own survival. To the Holy Spirit, the statement means that in later generations He can still reinterpret what former generations had misunderstood, and thus release the thoughts from the ability to produce fear. (T87)”

Here Jesus hints at his reinterpretation of “sin” to “mistake.” We will no longer view sin as attractive when we drop it from our vocabulary. A mistake does not hold the repetitive nature of sin; we just want to correct a mistake. And we will do so.
5 – Wicked Shall Perish

5 – Wicked

“‘The wicked shall perish’ becomes a statement of Atonement, if the word ‘perish’ is understood as ‘be undone.’ Every loveless thought must be undone, a word the ego cannot even understand. To the ego, to be undone means to be destroyed. (T87)”

To be “undone” is not the same as death. And that is a good thing. Here the Atonement is emphasized. The Atonement, Jesus’s contribution 2,000 years ago, has undone our propensity to imagine that we are guilty creatures who require damnation for our sins. He has undone that representation.

6 – Ego

The ego represents a false self, the little self–not the Self. We are asked to live as though we were not an ego. We can realize that the ego will just wither away when our false thinking is eliminated and we are living under the guidance of the Holy Spirit.

7 – Ego = Uncreative and Unsharing

What does it mean to say that the ego is uncreative and unsharing? We isolate ourselves when we feel oncoming the hard, tough shell of the ego. It is an unloving stance, and one that we would be wise to recognize when it rears its head. Pray to leave this uncreative and unsharing aspect of ourselves behind. Soften the heart, and lean unto its counsel. Then we will feel more a part of our brothers and sisters. We will love.

8 – Self

The ego is “uncreative.” Surely this makes sense! The ego has only “made” things (an ACIM concept). Creativity is of the Self, not of the little self, which is egoistic in the extreme. May we live so that we are the real Self, insofar as we can ascertain. Then we will let the ego and its unproductive part of ourselves collapse.

Prayer:

Dear Father,

May I realize that the ego will not be destroyed because I need it, but because I do not. It is uncreative and unsharing. This is the opposite of the way that I want to be.

May my creativity blossom as I let the ego wither away. May I share more with my brothers and sisters. These two blessings will enable me to realize that the ego is unneeded and undesired.

Amen.

revised

Forgiveness-for-Salvation

“Forgiveness-for-Salvation has one form, and only one. It does not ask for proof of innocence, nor pay of any kind. It does not argue, nor evaluate the errors that it wants to overlook. (S-2.III.1)”

1 – Attack / Anger

The most important thing to remember when faced with the attack and/or anger of another person is to remember just to overlook the error. If we dwell upon the error, we will make it real to us, and thus much harder to forgive. Jesus knows that we tend to retaliate, and he would not have it so.

2 – Innocence

In this passage, Jesus indicates that we are not to spend any time looking for “proof” of innocence. We just know that, in his inner Self, our brother/sister is innocent of wrongdoing. Our brother/sister has merely made mistakes, which cry for correction, but not punishment. As Richard Carlson (Don’t Sweat the Small Stuff) says, nobody (except very disturbed people) get up in the morning with the express purpose of making our life miserable. If an individual knew how to have perfect love for us, that is what we would get. It is only ignorance of how to bring this about that brings on the problem. And the problem doesn’t really exist, being in illusion or dream.

3 – Payback

We do not ask for payback when we love our brother/sister. We do not just return love where we find it, and only there. We return love, in the form of forgiveness and pardon, even when we superficially think that another person does not “deserve” forgiveness. We especially return love at such times. And then we know the bliss that comes from going with the flow in our love. We do not retaliate; it is the worst thing that we could do.

4 – Forgiveness

Jesus indicates elsewhere that forgiveness preserves our rights, that it is the only sane response. We would be sane in an insane world.

5 – Comfort

“He will not leave you comfortless, nor fail to send His angels down to answer you in His Own Name. He stands beside the door to which forgiveness is the only key. Give it to Him to use instead of you, and you will see the door swing silently open upon the shining face of Christ. Behold your brother there beyond the door; the Son of God as He created him. (S-2.III.7)”

The “He” in this passage is the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit will not leave us comfortless, even when all the world seems against us. There is no conspiracy of attack on us. We are in fact seeing the attack because we do not want to see it. But we have attracted it to ourselves. Our brother is showing us a tableau of our secret wishes—what we would do to him. And we would change our brother only when we ourselves have changed.

6 – Key

Forgiveness is the only key, as given in this passage. We can, in following A Course in Miracles, only reach Awakening by our relationship to our brother, and that relationship must be transformed from the special to the holy, and this transformation happens only when we have forgiven. If only one person forgives totally, all the world is saved—a statement made in the Manual of ACIM that is not easily understood. But it may be understood by the fact that we all are One, and therefore there is actually only one person in this world—all of us in the One.

7 – Christ in Our Brother

When we see Christ in our brother, we will forgive. And Christ is in our brother’s heart. The Christ Self, according to A Course of Love, is deep within us all. It is the real person, not the persona, or little self, or personal self. This real person wants our forgiveness, and this real person does not wish to harm us in any way. Indeed, we cannot be harmed, though we can think that we are. For we live in illusion—a truth to which we return over and over.

Affirmation: “I would seek comfort in my brother today.”

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

Please give me patience today. Especially patience with my significant others. I cannot get inside their minds to understand the motives of what they do. I can only forgive them their distress. I can go with the flow, and let their decisions in some measure dictate what our life together will be. This is as it should be. We are walking alongside each other, with neither ahead or behind.

Thank You for the many blessings that I can see, as well as the many that I can’t see. All comes to me from Your hand. I appreciate the love that You send down upon my head. May blessing reign upon my loved ones as well.

Amen.

Prayer Is a Ladder Reaching Up to Heaven

1 – Spiritual Transformation

We seek transformation as in Awakening, a spiritual transformation but one that allows us to function even better in the secular than we did before. Secularism is not to be discounted. Many are ready to be reached only through the secular. Here is the full quotation:

“Prayer is a ladder reaching up to Heaven. At the top there is a transformation much like your own, for prayer is part of you. (S-1.II.7)”

2 – Reach Heaven

We see in this passage that prayer will allow us to reach Heaven, and nothing is said but that this is a Heaven on earth as well as beyond death. We do not have to wait for death; indeed, in A Course of Love, we are bade to allow the elevated Self of form to function unheeded in the world of form—this world. If prayer will get us to Heaven, why do we not pray more often? Is it because we didn’t know about the goal before? We didn’t know that prayer would get us to Heaven?

3 – Efficacy in Prayer

Perhaps. But maybe we don’t see evidence of efficacy in prayer, though prayer is its own reward. We shouldn’t be trying to “get” things in prayer. We simply ought to relaxed and be easy with God, our Source. He wants us to commune with Him; He is lonely without us (from ACIM Text).

4 – Forgiveness

Prayer guides us toward forgiveness:

“Prayer in its earlier forms is an illusion, because there is no need for a ladder to reach what one has never left. Yet prayer is part of forgiveness as long as forgiveness, itself an illusion, remains unattained. (S-1.II.8)”

We don’t attain forgiveness for ourselves and others because we don’t recognize that all is an illusion, and we don’t recognize that the things—attack and anger—that we hold against our brothers and sisters are “distress that rests on error” (from ACIM Text), and thus calls for help. Forgiveness is fully justified, because our brother is innocent in his heart of hearts. It is only in illusion that he has sought to harm us by word or deed. And we try to forget the misthought or misdeed, not holding it against him as undeserving of pardon. This continued “holding” is the way that the world forgives, thinking that the one pardoned is not worthy of being forgiven, that he does not deserve forgiveness.

5 – Deserve Forgiveness?

We doom ourselves when we think that one does not deserve forgiveness. This is the “forgiveness to destroy” that Jesus talks about in the supplement to A Course in Miracles on psychotherapy. What we offer another, we receive. Like attracts like in the law of attraction. What we give, we receive.

6 – Wholly Justified

Let us give forgiveness as wholly justified, for it is wholly justified. In actuality, our brother has only called for help by his misthought, bad word, or bad deed. And when one is calling for help, we are to respond where we see that need.

7 – Anger and Attack

It is not easy to see the wholly justified way of forgiveness when we are confronted with anger and attack. We want to retaliate. This is a very human response, and Jesus indicates that people will respond in kind when attacked. But we need to make a different choice, a better choice, another way. We need to recognize that all want love just as do we, and it is only ignorance of how to attain love that leads us down the wrong pathway (a concept addressed by Hugh Prather in The Little Book of Letting Go). Only very disturbed people would get up in the morning making plans to hurt us. Only ignorance of how to live can mean that the choice of attack is made. And would we denounce another for his/her ignorance? We too have been ignorant of the way, but now, at last, we are learning.

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

May this day go well. May I use the law of attraction, like attracts like, to offer to all my brothers and sisters the best of which I am capable. I would be calm and relaxed today, for it is only under stress that I lose my temper. I would remain tolerant and, above all, forgiving today.

Be with me throughout the day. Be with others. May I do what I can to give everyone that I see a good day. This is especially true for my significant others, for they are the most impacted by any moods that I might drop into.

Keep me settled in a generous good will to my fellow men and women. And thank You for being there last night, when I slept in Your peace.

Amen.

Song of Prayer: Prayer Is the Greatest Gift with Which God Blessed His Son

A beautiful passage follows from A Song of Prayer:

“Faith in your goal will grow and hold you up as you ascend the shining stairway to the laws of Heaven and the gate of peace. (S-1.in.2)”

1 – Laws of Heaven

Note that we are to abide by the “laws” of Heaven. That means that the laws of this world are superseded. We do not have to follow the ego’s ways any longer; we are free, because our will has been set free. And we are at peace. We have inner peace. This blessing is one that we should not push away from ourselves, but welcome. The first obstacle that peace must flow across is our desire to get rid of it (from the Text of A Course in Miracles).

2 – Another Way

We are so restless in this world, in these days. We need to know that there is another way, the other way that Bill and Helen (co-scribes of ACIM) were led to discover. Bill reached that peace, though Helen never did—despite the truth that she understood A Course in Miracles very, very well. We need to give up our own restlessness.

3 – Restlessness

Giving up our restlessness is easy when we understand what blessings await us, even while still in this world. We need to get quiet within, to become perfectly calm and quiet. And often, to do so, we need to commune with God, to pray. He will not let us down.

4 – Our Need

“To you who are in time a little while, prayer takes the form that best will suit your need. S-1.in.2)”

We are the ones who are in time now. And we can even “use” prayer, in a practical sense, to get us where we want and need to go along God’s pathway home. It is not against grace to see the practicality of prayer. It is an exceedingly fruitful way to sense God’s presence in everyday life. And to see His blessings come raining down upon us.

5 – Don’t (Always) Ask

“The secret of true prayer is to forget the things you think you need. To ask for the specific is much the same as to look on sin and then forgive it. Also in the same way, in prayer you overlook your specific needs as you see them, and let them go into God’s hands. (S-1.I.4)”

This is a step beyond “asking.” We know that our needs will be met; it is only our wants that are at issue. And our wants are frequently things that do not serve us.

6 – Are You Ready?

Not everybody is ready for this next stage of prayer. I frequently am not, and I do not feel that this is a shortcoming. When my faith is strong (and strong faith vacillates among all of us), then I know, beyond the shadow of a doubt, that my practical needs will be satisfied without my asking. But when I am in anxiety, I am not so sure. This is when I have feet of clay. And I am convinced that God hears my prayers for the tiny things that I think I need. He answers me in tangibles, when they are called for—and in intangibles, when his comfort is all that I really need.

7 – Not Supplication

“Prayer is a stepping aside; a letting go, a quiet time of listening and loving. It should not be confused with supplication of any kind, because it is a way of remembering your holiness. (S-1.I.5)”

This is the highest form of prayer: to reach toward God, as in The Cloud of Unknowing (a medieval, anonymous treatise) with a dart of longing. We do not supplicate when in this frame of mind, for all that we want is God. He alone satisfies our every need.

8 – At Peace

And we are at peace. But we cannot always reach this height. Sometimes we do not reach this height at all:

9 – Can You Reach This Level of Prayer?

“This is not a level of prayer that everyone can attain as yet. (s-1.I.6)”

Do not be chagrined if you find that you still needs prayers of supplication. God hears all types of prayers. I think that his major wish is that we feel Him near, that we commune with Him, that we are friends. After all, ACIM says that God is lonely when His children do not communicate with Him. He recognizes that channels are closed, and He thinks that His children sleep and need to be awakened. (These are paraphrases from the Text of A Course in Miracles.)

10 – Sleep

May we seek today to rouse ourselves from sleep. In the highest sense, the words that I paraphrased were meant to be a precursor to Awakening, a step that God takes for us. But in another sense, we can rouse ourselves from the deepest sleep to feel the quiver of our eyelashes as we come into consciousness. We do this every morning, and then we see another dream, for this world is a dream, an illusion, maya.

11 – Prayer of Thanksgiving

We need to realize that God is with us, however we pray. We can recognize that our needs are already met, and then we will move easily to the prayer of thanksgiving. This is a higher form of prayer than supplication. It is the prayer of gratitude, which puts us on God’s wavelength immediately. When we are thankful, God moves to answer more and more of our needs and even some of our wants. Always He is a loving God who would not leave His children to drift apart in a world without escape.

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

Be with me today. I seek to express my gratitude to You for the manifold blessings that You have bestowed on me, even when I did not take time for gratitude. Now I do take that time. From the bottom of my heart, thank You for my good life. And may I do what I can to lead my brothers and sisters to a good life. We are all in this together. And we will sink together or we will swim together in the waters of the unconscious, You.

May this day go well. May I be tolerant of everyone with whom I come in contact. May I be forgiving, always forgiving of those who have distress that rests on error. Help me to have the healing of my anxious emotions that I need, and this is a need. I can serve better when I am calm and relaxed. Help me to be easy and relaxed today.

Thank You for being there for me. Thank You for staying close to me so that I can feel You.

Amen.

Healing is of God. Revelation May Occasionally Reveal the End to You, but to Reach It the Means Are Needed.

“Healing is of God in the end. The means are being carefully explained to you. Revelation may occasionally reveal the end to you, but to reach it the means are needed. (T16)”

Affirmation: “Revelation may occasionally reveal the end”

Reflections:

1 – Revelation

We may know revelation, the revelation of Awakening, several times before it is permanent. These are but glimpses of what will await us when the elevated Self of form (from A Course of Love) is sustained, something that has not reached our world very often yet. Revelation does show us the end, though, and these glimpses happen to many of us. They are called, in Eastern terminology, “satori.” We can see glimpses of Awakening in our brothers and sisters, for this is far more common than is the sustaining of Awakening, or the elevated Self of form. To have known Awakening, even briefly, is a very wonderful blessing; it shows us what is possible. We really do live in the present, and we live without anxiety in the present. It is a time of great joy and freedom from fear.

2 – Means to Awakening

The “means,” in this passage, are found in A Course in Miracles. When we follow the way pointed out in its lovely writing, we will ultimately know the end of the Awakening that does not leave us. Jesus, as the one doing the channeling, is carefully pointing out, in ACIM, what needs to happen for Awakening to occur. For God to reach down and lift us up.

3 – Personal Experience

I have known two glimpses of Awakening–both long ago. One was for three months, a summer; and the other, right after I discovered A Course in Miracles, lasted six months. I did not sustain these satori, these glimpses. Now I have moments of sensing a Oneness with God, and I have hope that these will be sustained. I do know that the understanding that came to me in the glimpses of long ago have stayed with me. I was filled with joy, totally without worry and anxiety, and enjoyed living in the moment. I was very satisfied with life in general, and though my circumstances were mostly favorable, it was my attitude that colored everything. Glimpses of Awakening are gifts to be treasured. I can only believe that a sustaining of Awakening would bring a continual happiness, but I would be conscious, I think, of making a contribution to this world at the same time that I was reveling in my joy.

4 – Individual Who Is Awakened

I know one individual who has sustained Awakening, or enlightenment, or Christ-consciousness for more than 30 years. She is a modest individual who has many friends, thinks well of others, but does not push herself forward in any way. She speaks softly to others of her experience, which was begun as three crisis days of pain when she was 42; she is 75 now, and is seeking to publish a 350-page book of her experience and the sources in history that have explained to her what happened so long ago.

5 – Preconditions

My friend is certain that everybody can have what she has. She believes that people have aborted their own transformation by putting preconditions on God, something that she admits that she did not do. She opened herself up to God in total surrender. And as a result the world was restored to her in glory.

6 – From God to Us

It is comforting to know that we are, at any time, subject to revelation. This is not quite the same as miracles, which are perceptual and therefore do not last (from ACIM). We cannot easily explain revelation, as it sounds truthful only to ourselves, being intensely personal–from God to us, always. He knows us as nobody in this world can. An inner awareness of God will go a long way toward recognizing that He and we are not separate at all.

Prayer:

Dear Father,

Thank you for the times in my life that revelation has revealed Awakening to me. It was not sustained, but that it happened at all is grounds for hope that one day Awakening will be permanent.

May all of us know this great joy of experiencing Awakening. A Course in Miracles explains the healing that leads us to it.

Be with all of us today. Help us to have respect for others, respect and compassion. May we recognize when our brothers and sisters are in distress that rests on error, and thus calls for help. Most walk a difficult pathway in this world, but this does not have to be. Through love and gratitude, we can effect a better life for ourselves. May all of us do so today.

Amen.

A Course in Miracles – What It Says, Part 2

1 – Special Relationships

“The special relationships of the world are destructive, selfish and childishly egocentric. Yet, if given to the Holy Spirit, these relationships can become the holiest things on earth—the miracles that point the way to the return to Heaven.”

2 – Special Relationships into Holy

A central concept of A Course in Miracles, special relationships are turned into holy, and then their healing remedy takes effect. We who are students of ACIM need to see that our way to salvation and ultimately Awakening is through out relationship to our brother. This relationship is saving us time. Contemplation is said to have the same ultimate effect, but to be very tedious and time-consuming—though it will ultimately succeed because of its purpose. For us who are students of ACIM, though, relationships are key.

3 – Seeing and Hearing

We no longer stress seeing with the body’s eyes or hearing with the body’s ears:

“The opposite of seeing through the body’s eyes is the vision of Christ, which reflects strength rather than weakness, unity rather than separation, and love rather than fear. The opposite of hearing through the body’s ears is communication through the Voice for God, the Holy Spirit, which abides in each of us.”

4 – Illusory World

We are to see that when we use the body, we are using attributes that are inherently illusory. And we are seeing an illusory world, a world of maya or dreams. And it does not have to be this way; farther along the pathway home we come to the real world, which we see for just a moment before God reaches down and lifts us up to Awakening. What is Awakening? It is a synonym for Christ-consciousness or enlightenment, and those who have experienced this undergo, frequently, a complete personality change. They are joyous, where previously they may have been morose. They forgive easily, where previously they may have found forgiveness difficult. They are at home with all people, and their ego has died in them.

5 – Christ’s Vision

“Christ’s vision is the Holy Spirit’s gift, God’s alternative to the illusion of separation and to the belief in the reality of sin, guilt and death. It is the one correction for all errors of perception; the reconciliation of the seeming opposites on which this world is based.”

6 – Separation from God?

We have not really separated from God, though we think we have, and we need to see that the Holy Spirit heals this sense of rift. We cannot separate from God, because we are a part of Him; to do so would be annihilation, and nobody is ever annihilated.

God is found in our depths, the spark of divinity who is within us all.

7 – Forgiveness

“[I]n this world, forgiveness is a necessary correction for all the mistakes that we have made. To offer forgiveness is the only way for us to have it, for it reflects the law of Heaven that giving and receiving are the same.”

Forgiveness is the central theme of A Course in Miracles. When we forgive, we recognize that forgiveness is completely justified. Nothing bad has ever happened to us, for we live in illusion. The things that we seek to forgive have been distress that rest on error, and thus call for help. We answer that call for help in the best way that the Holy Spirit guides us. Forgiveness has a sound basis. We do not forgive only to remember the offense; we forget the offense, because pardon is completely justified. Our brother, in his depths, is innocent.

8 – Remembering

“Forgiveness is the means by which we will remember. Through forgiveness the thinking of the world is reversed. The forgiven world becomes the gate of Heaven, because by its mercy we can at last forgive ourselves. . . .Acknowledging Christ in all our brothers, we recognize His Presence in ourselves. Forgetting all our misperceptions, and with nothing from the past to hold us back, we can remember God. Beyond this, learning cannot go. When we are ready, God Himself will take the final step in our return to Him”

This final passage in the introduction to A Course in Miracles indicates that God takes the final step in our return, the Awakening. And we are made ready for that step when we can forgive. The means are being carefully explained to us. To get there the means are needed, though earlier revelation may reveal the end to us.

9 – Revelations

These earlier revelations are glimpses of Awakening, and we do not sustain them. But as A Course of Love points out, we want the elevated Self of form, by which we live in this world, but are enlightened. We have the ultimate in what salvation can offer.

10 – Awakening, Enlightenment, Christ-consciousness

No accounts are given in ACIM of what we will be like when we have awakened. But there are passages that suggest that happiness will be constant with us. And we will forgive any and all offense against ourselves easily and well. Our homecoming is joyful.

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

May I take the tenets of A Course in Miracles unto myself today. May all go well. Help me to forgive. Help me to love. It is Your blessing that ACIM is available for all of us to study. May I take full advantage of this great blessing, this great read.

Be with my brothers and sisters today. May we have a good day. Help others and myself to be forgiving, because anger and attack are distress that rests on error, and thus calls for help. Help me to remember this truth from ACIM.

Thank You for Your Presence, which I sometimes feel so acutely. Thank You that You have stay with me, in me, and that You have not withdrawn in recent memory to the dark night of the soul. May this prayer go out also to all my brothers and sisters. May we learn benignly, not in a difficult fashion. May we awaken gently. Sooner rather than later.

Thank You.

Amen.

A Course in Miracles – What It Says, Part 1

1 – The Real vs. the Unreal

“Nothing real can be threatened.
Nothing unreal exists.
Herein lies the peace of God”

This is how A Course in Miracles begins. It makes a fundamental distinction between the real and the unreal; between knowledge and perception. Knowledge is truth, under one law, the law of love or God. . . .The world of perception, on the other hand, is the world of time, of change, of beginnings and endings. It is based on interpretation, not on facts.

To read the epigraph is awe-inspiring, a proper approach to God Himself. The epigraph makes a sharp contrast between illusion and reality, between illusion as perceived, and the real world as a result of the coming knowledge. And what we know in this world is illusion.

2 – Jerry Jampolsky and Hugh Prather

Shortly after his death, Hugh Prather spoke to a friend, Jerry Jampolsky, in which he declared that A Course in Miracles is absolutely true. We live in illusion. Hugh said that we need not to worry so much. His message suggested that he himself regretted the worry that he had given some of the events and happenings of his just-lived life.

3 – Worry

We all need to cast worry aside. Worry dissipate when fear has been rejected in favor of love. And A Course in Miracles counsels forgiveness of our brother, and through our relationship to him, we come prepared for Awakening.

4 – Dream

“When you have been caught in the world of perception you are caught in a dream.”

ACIM uses the term “dream” more than “illusion.” There are some very beautiful passages in which we learn that Awakening is as though a light has come on in our dream. But we will not awaken with fear and a scream of mortal terror, because A Course in Miracles has given us the means to awaken without fear (from ACIM).

5 – Perception

We are perceiving with our minds. And perception always partakes of ourselves.

“’Projection makes perception.’ (ACIM Text) We look inside first, decide the kind of world we want to see and then project that world outside, making it the truth as we see it. We make it true by our interpretations of what it is we are seeing.”

This oft-quoted statement, “Projection makes perception,” means further that we not only project the world, but that it is therefore not really there! There is no world, we are told, though we are also told that not everybody is ready to accept this startling statement by Jesus.

6 – Sins vs. Mistakes

“Sin is defined as ‘lack of love’ (from ACIM Text). Since love is all there is, sin in the sight of the Holy Spirit is a mistake to be corrected, rather than an evil to be punished.”

Sin is described in ACIM as an attracting concept, one that will be repeated because of an attraction. Mistakes, a simple change of word, in our language simply denote something that we want to change, to correct. There is no attracting characteristic to mistakes. And sin suggests something that is unforgivable, whereas mistakes are always forgivable. We need to see all that our brothers says to us or does to us as forgivable, though we will not always stay in his vicinity if the situation becomes untenable.

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

Thank You for the calm that these messages of A Course in Miracles induce in me. I have learned much. My only regret is that I sometimes forget when stress is present in my life. And that is when I need to remember most.

Help me to be a non-controversial, congenial writer about ACIM. I would focus on the ways that we are similar, not the ways that we differ in our attitudes and beliefs. Help me to stay true in my interpretations to what ACIM really says. May I interpret what ACIM says in a way that is open to all individuals who study the volumes.

Please be with me.

Amen.

A Course in Miracles – What It Is

1 – Read in Any Order

“As its title implies, the course is arranged throughout as a teaching device. It consists of three books: a 669-Text, a 488-page Workbook for Students, and a 92-page Manual for Teachers. The order in which students choose to use the books, and the ways in which they study them, depend on their particular needs and preferences.”

Unlike A Course of Love, which is to be read in order, A Course in Miracles has no standard recommendation of order in which to read. Jesus says, in fact, that different students will tackle different books in the trilogy.

2 – Text

“The Text is largely theoretical, and sets forth the concepts on which the Course’s thought system is based.”

The Text is my favorite part of A Course in Miracles. I have studied it very intently over the years, and that has paid off in memorized passages and affirmations that come to me in difficult times. It is dense writing, though Jesus himself says that the course is simple. But the reading of it does take concentration.

3 – Workbook for Students

“The Workbook includes 365 lessons, one for each day of the year. It is not necessary, however, to do the lessons at that tempo, and one might want to remain with a particularly appealing lesson for more than one day.”

Many are drawn to the Workbook for Students. When I was in the early years of studying ACIM, an ACIM teacher recommended that I focus on the Workbook. I did, some years later, go through the Workbook as recommended, paying special attention to following its words throughout the day. But I did that only once, and once is enough—though many students/teachers make an annual practice, beginning on January 1 with Workbook lesson 1 and going through the December 31.

4 – Manual for Teachers

The Manual for Teachers is especially helpful to the new student who wants an overview. It is possible to comprehend, even though the content of the Text and Workbook is unknown at this point. The Manual can be read through intently in an afternoon, a few hours. The broad overview is very, very helpful—but then so is all of ACIM.

5 – No Claim to Finality

“The Course makes no claim to finality, nor are the workbook lessons intended to bring the student’s learning to completion. At the end, the reader is left in the hands of his or her own Internal Teacher, Who will direct all subsequent learning as He sees fit.”

This passage raises some question for those of us who are also students of A Course of Love. Did Jesus write a sequel? And are there other works that he has also channeled (many are available)? I have read one or two of these other works, but A Course of Love seemed to me to be the most logical culmination of what might need to be said to us who still live in this world. Why? Many of us have gotten stuck on the matter of the ego, and what follows the ego, and whether or not we have actually given up the ego. A Course of Love answers these questions by focusing on this world, once we have Awakened: We are to have an elevated Self of form that lives in the world and seeks to be happy here.

6 – No Finality

I view the fact of no finality in ACIM as launching Jesus’s possible new conviction that something more was needed, because his students/teachers were not as much at peace as he would have them. A Course of Love takes Jesus’s message a step farther for those of us still living in the world. Jesus tells us how to proceed.

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

Help me to stay on an even keel today. It is sometimes so hard to do that in this world. Stresses come up; we lose our cool; and before I know it I have struggled to avoid intense anger or attack. You are not finished with me yet. Help me to remember that any anger I feel is “distress that rests on error.” I am calling for Your help, and I know from the depths of my being that You are there helping me.

May this day finish out well. If I keep in mind the wonderful writing of A Course in Miracles, I will always be OK.

Thank You.

Amen.

A Course in Miracles – How It Came

A Course in Miraclea began with the sudden decision of two people to join in a common goal. Their names were Helen Schucman and William Thetford, Professors of Medical Psychology at Columbia University’s College of Physicians and Surgeons in New York City.

1 – Sudden Decision with Far-Ranging Consequences

This sudden decision was to have far-ranging implications for the world of spirituality. The two individuals chosen were not eager for the assignment. They had much investment in their academic careers, and they were afraid that their work on what would become A Course in Miracles would jeopardize those careers. In addition, Helen’s husband objected, so much so that when she died a number of years later, absolutely nothing was said in her eulogy about her scribing of ACIM. There is controversy about such omissions in the ACIM community.

2 – Helen’s Personal Description of Herself

Helen describes herself:

“Psychologist, educator, conservative in theory and atheistic in belief, I was working in a prestigious and highly academic setting. And then something happened that triggered a chain of events I could never have predicted. The head of my department unexpectedly announced that he was tired of the angry and aggressive feelings our attitudes reflected, and concluded that ‘there must be another way.’ As if on cue, I agreed to help him find it. Apparently this Course is the other way.”

What Helen describes here is typical for academia, not all setting, but many. I have seen first hand such acrimony. But I have also worked in a setting that was very congenial. Be that as it may, the setting for Helen and Bill was very dysfunctional. Bill, as department chair, was in the thick of political battles. He would eventually seem to become an Awakened individual who gave up his academic career and talked about ACIM publically, though he tried to maintain some secrecy in the beginning, using only his first name and not telling Helen’s name.

3 – An Unlikely Choice?

Helen, as an atheist, would seem an unlikely choice by Jesus. But she recognized that somewhere she had signed on for this assignment. And, despite a few faltering steps, she remained true to the assignment. On some level she understood ACIM very, very well and could expound on it easily. But A Course in Miracles never gave her the peace that it gave so many others. She remained a tortured soul. Unlike Bill, who came into his own in his final years.

4 – This Is A Course in Miracles

Helen continues:

“Although I had grown more accustomed to the unexpected by that time, I was still very surprised when I wrote, This is a course in miracles.’ That was my introduction to the Voice. It made no sound, but seemed to be giving me a kind of rapid, inner dictation which I took down in a shorthand notebook.”

5 – Phone Call Interruptions

Helen said elsewhere that she could answer a phone call in mid-sentence and yet return to have the internal Voice pick up right where he left off. She used a homemade shorthand, and it is from that that Bill typed the message of the day, each morning, with the shade pulled down over his office door window.

“The writing was never automatic. It could be interrupted at any time and later picked up again. It made me very uncomfortable, but it never seriously occurred to me to stop. It seemed to be a special assignment I had somehow, somewhere agreed to complete It represented a truly collaborative venture between Bill and myself, and much of its significant, I am sure, lies in that. I would take down what the Voice ‘said’ and read it to him the next day, and he typed it from my dictation.”

6 – Helen’s Death

Helen was at peace at the time of death. She said that Jesus had promised her that he would come for her. And the expression of peace on her face said it all: Jesus had come.

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

Thank You for A Course in Miracles. I find the background to its scribing fascinating, but remain sorry that Helen did not enjoy the peace from her channeling that so many others who followed, have.

Thank You for this good day. May each of us find a contribution to You that will be personally meaningful.

Amen.

Forgive Yourself Your Madness, and Forget All Senseless Journeys and All Goal-less Aims

1 – Simple Course?

Jesus says repeatedly that his course, A Course in Miracles, is simple to learn. Most students/teachers don’t agree with him, I think. It takes some digging to get through the prose, though it is beautiful prose poetry (iambic pentameter after the beginning of the Text, which was Shakespeare’s rhyme scheme). But when we master the text of all three works in the trilogy, we can see that Jesus is right: ACIM can be viewed as easy to learn.

2 – Go toward Happiness

We need to follow roads TOWARD happiness:

“Think not that happiness is ever found by following a road away from it. This makes no sense, and cannot be the way. To you who seem to find this course to be too difficult to learn, let me repeat that to achieve a goal you must proceed in its direction, not away from it. And every road that leads the other way will not advance the purpose to be found. If this be difficult to understand, then is this course impossible to learn. But only then. For otherwise, it is a simple teaching in the obvious. (T-31.IV.7)”


We need to go in the direction toward truth, toward happiness. And we want to do so. We must remember, always, that happiness is a worthy goal. Certainly we feel more like helping our brother when we ourselves are contented, not tied up in neurotic knots. Only if we aren’t inclined to take the straight road do we encounter difficulty. The first obstacle that peace must overcome is the attempt to do away with it (peace). This is an ACIM tenet, and it is important. Why would we do away with peace? In Marianne Williamson’s opinion, we are addicted to the adrenaline rush. We have walked along our pathway in such stress for so long that we are unfamiliar with anything else. If things are calm, we think that we are getting depressed. But the Holy Spirit would tell us to relax always. Even in the midst of busy activities. Maybe especially then. We function best when we are on a relaxed and easy pace.

3 – Decisions

“This course attempts to teach no more than that the power of decision cannot lie in choosing different forms of what is still the same illusion and the same mistake. (T-31.IV.8)”

We often, according to ACIM, choose to learn things that are not lasting, simply because they are not lasting. This is ridiculous! It is avoidance behavior. And we would not go this way along our pathway to home. Why would we choose transient things to learn? We are scared that the permanent things are threatening to us. We also think that they are not applicable to our world. And they may not be, as we have been living. But we would not live as we have been living. It is time for a transformation. We are seeking Awakening, and, while we cannot effect it ourselves, we can study the means, as given in ACIM. Revelation may occasionally reveal the end to us, but to get there the means are needed. And they are being carefully explained. All ACIM tenets.

4 – Our Brother and Us

“All choices in the world depend on this; you choose between your brother and yourself, and you will gain as much as he will lose, and what you lose is what is given him. How utterly opposed to truth is this, when all the lesson’s purpose is to teach that what your brother loses you have lost, and what he gains is what is given you. (T-31.IV.8)”

In ACIM’s way, we walk with our brother as a means of saving time. This cannot be stressed too often. If we walk a little ahead or a little behind, walking ahead and falling behind, we make no progress. So we take our brother’s hand, and all improves. We can also take Jesus’s hand, as he encourages us to visualize. He will come in response to one unequivocal call (ACIM tenet).

5 – Madness

“Forgive yourself your madness, and forget all senseless journeys and all goal-less aims. (T-31.IV.11)”

We need to realize that all of us are mad to one extent or another. All of us who have not yet experienced Awakening, that is. We can be especially compassionate to the certifiably mentally ill in our midst, with our recognizing that we have more in common than we realize. Joseph Campbell, in Myths to Live By, said that schizophrenics are drowning in the very unconscious waters that mystics are swimming in. That may be the secret to the fact that many mentally ill people become highly religious. They are seeing some truth, though their health providers and family/friends do not normally recognize this insight of theirs.

6 – Awakening

If we move into Awakening, our unconscious will become conscious for us—just as it does for mentally ill people. But we will not scream in mortal terror (from ACIM), because we have been prepared by A Course in Miracles. If a light is suddenly turned on in a nighttime dream, we will fear, for we will at first think that the light is in the dream. But when we awaken fully, we will realize that the dream is over.

And that is what happens in our spiritual Awakening, the culmination of all forgiveness and our blessing of greatest degree.

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

Please be with me in the stresses of this day. May I listen to You so that the stresses disappear into oblivion.

Be with my brothers and sisters. May we all have a good day. I ask that so often, but I know that our happiness is in Your will. Help me not to tangle myself up today. Help my brothers and sisters not to get tangled up, either.

Thank You.

Amen.

Your Dark Dreams Are but the Senseless Isolated Scripts You Write in Sleep. . . .Only Dreams of Pardon Can Be Shared.

1 – Dreams

“Your dark dreams are but the senseless isolated scripts you write in sleep. Look not to separate dreams for meaning. Only dreams of pardon can be shared. They mean the same to both of you. (T-30.VII.6)”

We cannot have smooth sailing in our relationships, even when those relationships have shifted from the special to the holy. Personalities differ, and when we live in close proximity to others, we will pick up on their unhealed natures, the parts of their personalities that the ego still rules. We will suffer accordingly, unless we invite a quick restorative, to forgive the illusion in which we live, to forgive our brother for the pain that he only seems to be causing.

2 – A Perfect Brother

For our brother is perfect in his inner Self, and only when we see him as perfect will we be freed. This can seem a long stretch, when tempers are frayed and love seems far away.

3 – Senseless Scripts

But these dark dreams are merely senseless scripts, A Course in Miracles tells us. We do not have to dwell on such misgivings. Our brother has been given up to heal. We have one purpose in our holy relationship, and that is to love despite appearances. Pray for a miracle, if the way seems hard. The miracle will not be long in coming. It may come in the form of a changed attitude on our part. Our brother may be just as vicious as he may, and it will have no effect on us, for we see that it is a script that we have written; it is our dream (from ACIM).

4 – Forgiveness

“Our common language lets us speak to all our brothers, and to understand with them forgiveness has been given to us all, and thus we can communicate again. (T-30.VII.7)”

Forgiveness, pardon, is fully deserved by every Son or Daughter of God. Because we live in illusion, in a dream, nothing bad as ever, in reality happened to us. Our brothers and sisters may have reacted to us many times out of “distress that rests on error” (from ACIM). This distress is a call for help (also from ACIM), and we are asked to run to their side with the healing for which they are really calling.

5 – Happy Dream

“The happy dream about him [your brother] takes the form of the appearance of his perfect health, his perfect freedom from all forms of lack, and safety from disaster of all kinds. The miracle is proof he is not bound by loss or suffering in any form, because it can so easily be changed. (T-30.VIII.2)”

We can, as Marianne Williamson so often reminds us, ask for a miracle. And life can quickly be turned around. But even if it isn’t, our minds will be at peace. We rest on knowing that, when we have consulted the Holy Spirit about our next step, we have done all that we can. If we realize that our own anger and attack is always unjustified, we will be well on our way to lightening the atmosphere in our personal spaces, and granting our brother or sister the healing that is needed.

6 – Happy Dream

So we do have a “happy dream” about this brother or sister who is disturbing us. We can see his/her perfect health, perfect freedom from all want, safety from disaster. And this will not be a pipe dream (an illusory belief in what may transpire that has no basis in reality).

7 – Relationships

Ask today for a happy dream about all the special and holy relationships in our lives. The dream will not be long in coming.

8 – Read A Course in Miracles

And, in the meantime, read A Course in Miracles. It can become, as it has for me, a “happiness” book.

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

May I live harmoniously with my brothers and sisters, especially my significant others. May all I encounter be led to a greater happiness by our encounter; help me to know what so say and do. Help me to relax as I interact with others. A pent-up mind does not do anyone any good.

Be with me today, to give me a happy day. I ask this so often, but it is always apropos. You want my happiness, and in the happiness, I am moved to make a contribution to Heaven. Guide me to know what that contribution ought to be.

May my significant others be relaxed and at peace today. We have a lot on our plate. Help us to stay on the same page in our discussions.

I love You.

Amen.

Is It Not Clear that While You Still Insist on Leading or on Following, You Think You Walk Alone, with No One by Your Side?

1 – Afraid to Walk Beside

“He [your brother] is afraid to walk with you, and thinks perhaps a bit behind, a bit ahead would be a safer place for him to be. Can you make progress if you think the same, advancing only when he would step back, and falling back when he would go ahead? For so do you forget the journey’s goal, which is but to decide to walk with him, so neither leads nor follows. Thus it is a way you go together, not alone. And in this choice is learning outcome changed, for Christ has been reborn to both of you. (T-31.II.9)”

This passage capsules the essence of how A Course in Miracles is saving us time: We are focusing on our relationship to our brother (or sister). We are forgiving that significant other, because his distress is based on error, and calls for help—not retribution or retaliation. We live in an illusion, a dream, maya, and so nothing bad has actually ever happened to us. Forgiveness has a sound basis. We seek to forget the trespasses that our brother has made against us (or so we thought he has made against us). And this is an echo of the Lord’s Prayer from the New Testament: “Forgive us our trespasses, as we forgive those who trespass against us.” So here we see, in essence, how much ACIM builds on previous Scripture.

2 – Cooperation

We often think that we want our brother to be the leader. But then, just as often, we think that we want to lead. Here Jesus is saying that neither is the way to get home. We walk together, with neither leading or following. We cooperate. We have a meeting of true minds (from Shakespeare’s Sonnet #116).

3 – Don’t Walk Alone

“Is it not clear that while you still insist on leading or on following, you think you walk alone, with no one by your side? This is the road to nowhere, for the light cannot be given while you walk alone, and so you cannot see which way you go. (T-31.II.11)”

Our light is given when we are with our significant others. It is not stated in ACIM, but we do not have to have a single significant other to follow ACIM’s way. Many of us walk through life as a single person. But we do know, if this logic is carried out, that we function best when we are not in competition with each other, but instead cooperate, making decisions jointly with others.

4 – Confusion

“And thus there is confusion, and a sense of endless doubting as you stagger back and forward in the darkness and alone. (T-31.II.11)”

This is our fate is we don’t walk with others: to stagger back and forward in the darkness and alone. Who would want that? There is another way, as Helen and Bill found out. They were the co-scribes of A Course in Miracles, with Helen taking dictation from Jesus, and each morning, at work, going to Bill to have him type up the notes. Their rancorous academic environment smoothed out, at least somewhat, though they themselves never reached a smooth relationship in its totality.

5 – Blindfolded?

“Yet these are but appearances of what the journey is, and how it must be made. For next to you is One Who holds the light before you, so that every step is made in certainty and sureness of the road. A blindfold can indeed obscure your sight, but cannot make the way itself grow dark. And He Who travels with you has the light. (T-31.II.11)”

This is the Holy Spirit, the guidance of Universal Inspiration. This is the part of the Trinity Who speaks to us of the way to walk. Many have had the baptism of the Holy Spirit, but many do not yet know all that this blessing holds out. Learn today. There are a variety of ways that guidance speaks to us. (Please read “The Gift of Guidance” in this blog. See “Articles and Book Reviews,” an icon at the top of the blog.)

6 – Personal Experience

Lately I have observed that, more and more, words come into my mind which are instructive and just a bit beyond me. They seem inspired, though I do not want my ego to have a field day with this interpretation. I have also learned that I can write a dialogue with my Inner Wisdom (as a friend calls the Holy Spirit, or the inner Christ Self), and come to better insight than my mind, working alone, can discover. The ways of receiving God’s guidance are manifold. Experiment today. Just be careful that the guidance that you think you get is not harmful to anybody at all, lest of all yourself. That would be the ego’s confiscation of mind, and the end of true guidance.

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

Help me to walk with my significant others today. Help me to stay serene and relaxed so that I am flexible in my interactions. Help me not to be overbearing and rigid. This day can and will be good to the extent that I do not plan ahead. You have told me that. Thank You.

Be with my brothers and sisters also. We are all in this together, and we will get out of it together or not at all.

Amen.

True Prayer Must Avoid the Pitfall of Asking to Entreat

“True prayer must avoid the pitfall of asking to entreat. Ask, rather, to receive what is already given; to accept what is already there. (S-1.I.1)”

1 – Advanced Stage of Prayer

Prayer is at a very advanced stage when we DON’T ask to entreat, because most of our prayers, in truth, are requests to God that he fulfill something that we perceive as a need. And this is not lamentable in the early stages of our pathway to salvation. But when we have become certain that God wishes us well, that He is answering our needs (and that He wants to do so), we can instead thank Him for His blessings in a benediction.

2 – Ask, Receive, Thank

Even rudimentary prayer, as outlined by Norman Vincent Peale, a writer/minister in the last century, is to be seen as asking, and then immediately conceiving of receiving, and then showing gratitude by thanking God. If more of our prayers were of the thanksgiving type, we would sooner know that God wishes us well, because when we are thanking Him, we are expressing our faith that He has already answered our prayer. And He does answer all prayers, in my belief, but just sometimes the answer is to wait, and sometimes the answer is no. He has our best interests at heart, and we often don’t perceive our own best interests—hence we ask amiss.

3 – Expert Askers / Inexpert Receivers

We ask to receive. So many of us, as Norman said, are expert askers but inexpert receivers. And we would reverse this. We already know how to entreat God, and so Jesus does not need to give us lessons in this. But receiving is another matter entirely, and we often don’t contemplate the receipt of that for which we have asked.

4 – Contemplation

“Prayer is a stepping aside; a letting go, a quiet time of listening and love. It should not be confused with supplication of any kind, because it is a way of remembering your holiness. Why should holiness entreat, being fully entitled to everything Love has to offer? (S-1.I.5)”

The above passage explains further why entreaties somehow miss the mark. The definition of prayer given here is closer to contemplation, or even meditation, than we usually recognize. But we cannot get through to our innermost Being, the God/Christ within, if we are overwrought. Our emotions are stirring up the ego in us, and we flounder in not being able to perceive or to know guidance. So Jesus asks us to get quiet, to let go and let God. And we listen for the guidance that will be forthcoming, either (as described) from the Holy Spirit or the Christ Self within.

5 – Holiness

When we have remembered our holiness, we are not in the throes of the ego, unless we feel guilty about so praying. The ego believes that we cannot see ourselves as holy, that we are sinful creatures who have thrust off God. This means that it would seem to be arrogance to believe ourselves holy, or even to see our brothers and sisters—others in this world—as holy.

6 – Arrogance?

It is not arrogance. The Christ Self within knows of no arrogance. The altar within is very still, and the still point of our contemplation will assure us that we are innocent, guilty only of making easily correctable mistakes.

7 – One Problem / One Answer

“You have been told to ask the Holy Spirit for the answer to any specific problem, and that you will receive a specific answer if such is your need. You have also been told that there is only one problem and one answer. In prayer this is not contradictory. (S-1.I.2)”

This passage allows supplication, but it points out that there is really one problem—separation, or presumed separation from God. And when this is healed, we do not have to focus on supplication to the extent that we have previously. We will know inwardly what to say and do; we will be heirs of the Kingdom, and we will know ourselves as beloved of God.

8 – Supplication

Yet supplication is not denigrated as long as there is a need, as long as we perceive ourselves as having needs that have gone unfulfilled. Asking, according to Catherine Marshall (an inspirational writer of the last century) is the most elemental form of prayer. And God listens to this form as well. Just remember to thank Him for what we are about to receive. He does not need our gratitude, but we need a soft heart, a full heart filled with thankfulness.

9 – Song

“The form of the answer, if given by God, will suit your need as you see it. This is merely an echo of the reply of His Voice. The real sound is always a song of thanksgiving and of Love. (S-1.I.2)”

This passage sums up the benevolence of God in prayer. Our needs will be supplied, as we perceive them. Our needs never go unfulfilled. It is just our desires that sometimes are answered with a no, and there is a blessing in this, for God knows the context, and He does not give us hurtful things. Often we ask for that which would hurt us, and He would protect normally protect us in this prayer. Only when we are still pursuing a separate pathway, in separation, presumed, from God, does He let us continue along. This is the hard way, the way of turmoil and more problems. And pain. But sometimes we are not ready to learn the easy way, though that is God’s first choice for us.

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

Be with me as I seek to pray prayers that are in line with Your highest wish for me. I know that You hear my prayers, regardless of how raw they are. You take me as I am. I can always go to You. There is no separation between us. Guide my thoughts to pray prayers that enhance my relationship to You. Be with me throughout the day when I am not actively praying. And thank You so much for the presence that I feel when my prayer seems heard.

I know that my prayers are always heard. Thank You for giving me that reassurance. If life seems good, it is because I have prayed. Thank You for engaging me in mental dialogue. May this form of prayer continue to take me farther along my pathway.

Amen.

There Is No Order of Difficulty in Miracles

“But remember the first principle in this course; there is no order of difficulty in miracles. In reality you are perfectly unaffected by all expressions of lack of love. These can be from yourself and others, from yourself to others, or from others to you. (T18)”

Affirmation: “unaffected by lacks of love”

Reflections:

1 – Easy Miracles

Do we really believe that one miracle is as easy to effect as another? Perhaps we contemplate that this would be easy for Jesus, but not for ourselves. But we are to do miracles under his guidance. And ours will be easy also. There is no difference in difficulty. We must take this assurance unto ourselves, and be glad. Marianne Williamson focuses on miracles a great deal. She tells one story about V8 juice, “I could have had a V8!” This is an old commercial, of course. Marianne changes this to, “I could have had a miracle!” It is clear that miracles mean a great deal to teachers of God, teachers of ACIM.

2 – Guidance in Choosing Miracles to Perform

How do we actually do miracles? For one very important thing, we don’t do them willy-nilly. We don’t choose what miracles we perform; we act under guidance only. Consciously selected miracles are apt to be misinformed (an ACIM tenet). So we wait to see what we are guided to do, and then we effectively carry it out. There is no strain, for we are acting under guidance of Jesus, or, later on, the Holy Spirit, and, still later on, the Christ Self within (from A Course of Love).

3 – Lack of Love

This passage is illuminating, too, when it talks of lack of love. We think that we are affected when others don’t love us as we wish, or when we recognize that we too don’t love as we ought.

4 – Reality Unaffected by Lack of Love

Jesus admonishes us to recognize that reality is actually unaffected by lack of love. Our real selves have never been damaged in any way. We are loved in the universe. We have been blessed. And so, if our brother attacks us or shows anger, we don’t have to feel that we are damanged in any way. For we are not. We are still whole.

5 – First Principle in ACIM

The first principle in A Course in Miracles, no order of difficulty in miracles, is a blessing that we do not understand. How can this be? But Jesus asserts that it is true, and we would be wise to take him at his word and ask for his blessing and his miracles.

Prayer:

Dear Father,

Please forgive me, and help me to forgive myself and others, for the lacks of love that we show. May we replace lack with the grace to live peacefully in all situations and events.

Jesus tells us that there is no order of difficulty in miracles. So this need will be answered just as soon as we ask. Thank you.

Amen.

Salvation Does Not Lie in Being Asked to Make Unnatural Responses which Are Inappropriate to What Is Real

1 – Forgiveness

Many of us who are long-time students of A Course in Miracles carry around a very earthbound idea about forgiveness. We forgive, maybe for years, our significant others, and then we think that they are not changing enough to suit us. We think that we have been setting a good example, and still they show anger and attack us verbally when we don’t perceive a good cause. Then we are stuck, because we think that we have forgiven them for anything and everything, but this lack of what is perceived to be little meaningful change for the better draws us up, and we begin to blame them. This is the “forgiveness to destroy” that the pamphlet on psychotherapy channeled by Helen makes so clear. And all of us have a little of the tendency to “forgive to destroy.”

2 – The Answer

What can we do? How can we see differently? Note the following:

“Salvation does not lie in being asked to make unnatural responses which are inappropriate to what is real. . .[Y]ou are merely asked to see forgiveness as the natural reaction to distress that rests on error, and thus calls for help. Forgiveness is the only sane response. (T-30.VI.2)”

If we can see that someone else’s progress or lack of it is not our concern, that it is only up to us to live with them peaceably, then we can say, over and over if need be, “distress that rests on error.” Most of us live with individuals who are not ACIM students. Very few of our significant others are. And we get weary of forgiving, don’t we? We think that others ought to think as we do.

3 – Anger and Attack

But have we actually made as much progress as we think? How many times do we “lose it,” falling into attack and anger when things do not go our way? The brother, the significant other, may not have our frame of reference, and yet we see in him or her the tendency to forgive us for these lapses. We see this because we are not where we are in life by accident. We are placed with the ones who can be the best mirrors for ourselves.

4 – Responses

But we do not have to make unnatural responses. We are living an illusion, and as such the anger and attack do not really matter. They are transient. Of course, anger and attack do matter on some level for the one who is so emoting; karma takes its toll (not an ACIM tenet). But we can see that we are living a dream, and that it is our dream; we are not figures in somebody else’s dream (ACIM tenets). So regardless of how hateful or vicious someone might be, we can still realize that there is a reason that we are seeing this. We do not have to remain with this person if the drama is too negative for us. We can ask, “Am I better with or without this person?,” and let our answer dictate what we do. And we can know that regardless of how alone we might feel in this world, we do have guidance about what to say and do.

5 – The World’s Forgiveness

“Unjustified forgiveness is attack. And this is all the world can ever give. It pardons ‘sinners’ sometimes, but remains aware that they have sinned. And so they do not merit the forgiveness that it gives. (T-30.VI.3)”

This four-sentence explanation is “forgiveness to destroy” in a capsule form. We think, in our lowest moments, that others do not deserve the forgiveness that ACIM seems bound to make us offer, if we are to live our salvation.

6 – Healing

“Look on your brother with this hope in you, and you will understand he could not make an error that could change the truth in him. It is not difficult to overlook mistakes that have been given no effects. But what you see as having power to make an idol of the Son of God you will not pardon. For he has become to you a graven image and a sign of death. Is this your savior? Is his Father wrong about His Son? Or have you been deceived in him who has been given you to heal, for your salvation and deliverance? (T-30.VI.10)”

Our brother has been given us to love and to heal. Our most significant other is a gift. While not all of us will live a lifetime with one person, there are many who do. And forgiveness makes that road much easier. He/she is the one who has been given us to heal, and we are well-advised to take this command as a command.

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

I wish to be very certain today that I don’t “forgive to destroy.” Help me to know in the depth of my being that all is well. That the one given me to love is the one given me to heal. That one also must forgive me, even if lacking the understanding that ACIM gives. I realize that this may make forgiveness harder.

Help me to live a good life, a relaxed life in Your presence. I take life too seriously sometimes, and I would be done with that attitude.

Help me to come to You for rest and renewal, when the burdens of life seem too great. And may I never forget to thank You for my brothers and sisters, who challenge me even as they love me.

Amen.

Illness Is Some Form of External Searching. Health Is Inner Peace.

“Illness is some form of external searching. Health is inner peace. It enables you to remain unshaken by lack of love from without and capable, through your acceptance of miracles, of correcting the conditions proceeding from lack of love in others. (T18)”

Affirmation: “Illness is external searching. Health is inner peace.”

Reflections:

1 – Unclear?

Perhaps this passage will remain unclear for some time as we study A Course in Miracles. We may not fully understand for what we are searching when we become ill. But surely we have recognized, over our lifetimes, that we are peaceful when we are in good health. Good health can be either emotional or physical; it makes no difference. This passage holds the implication that it is ourselves that make us sick or ill. And that when we are at peace, we enjoy health. How rational does this appear to us? Perhaps not rational at all, because we know that we do not want to blame the victim. We do not want to feel that an ill person drew to himself/herself the sickness. How can we fail to blame the victim if we think that we are in control of our bodies, through our minds?

2 – Role of the Self

The answer is completely that it is the inner Self that makes these decisions, and the inner Self is not controlled by the “little” or personal self, the one that we carry with us as we walk through our days. Nobody, however holy, is immune to illness. Enlightened beings have died of cancer. Most people die in some suffering. This does not mean that if they were more holy, they would suffer less. It is true that the more we walk the pathway, the less mental suffering we will sustain. The emotional suffering is more in our control, at least sometimes, than the physical.

3 – Something in You

So don’t be afraid to recognize that something in you did make the illness. It is some form of external searching. Ultimately, when we identify what that external searching is seeking to tell us, the illness itself may be cured. God does not look with favor on sickness; He is “for health” all the way. Certainly Jesus’s miracles of healing in the New Testament are evidence that a holy one can see the need for healing, once the mind of the believer believes strongly enough in the power of God’s grace.

4 – Emotional Health

The emotional health can be seen in that many of us have no problem with the ACIM concept of refraining from attack when we are at peace. When stress happens, though, we may find it all too easy to succumb to attack and also the accompanying anger. This is not good emotional health. And we know that we have it under our power to change. We can release our angers, overcome our tendency to attack, and we will be emotionally well again–at least from those tendencies. Emotional health itself is much more complicated than this, though. There are illnesses that do not cure themselves without medication, at least for most people.

5 – Medication

Jesus in A Course in Miracles recognizes that pills are a form of magic, but that the medications can reduce fear, and this is good. So Jesus develops in ACIM a compromise approach in that he recommends pills, a magic potion, when the fear has sufficiently strong power over our minds that we cannot rise above the fear and heal.

6 – Physical Health

Physical health is frequently a challenge that either brings us closer to God or seems to drive Him away. We can respond either way, but the obviously better way is to seek God in our suffering. He will be there. And we will not have to wait long. Many miracles revolve around physical ailments. There is no damaging illness that has not been cured in somebody, and so there is always grounds for hope. Yet the disease may be present for a reason that only the Self recognizes, and we do not have access to the unconscious at every point. One aspect of prayer that may help is a dialogue with a Higher Power that asks what we might do to heal ourselves. Use pen and pencil, or type on a computer. Write nothing down that does not impress itself on your mind. Many cures have come about through just this method. And if living with one’s ailment is the only answer, we will also be given the grace to do so.

7 – Summary

So we see that we are seeking something external to ourselves when we become ill. But there is, according to ACIM, nothing outside ourselves. There is no world! So the secret to good health is an inner communion that transforms one’s mind to peace. Inner peace is healing. Any doctor will attest to this.

8 – Healing?

May the illnesses of my readers be assuaged today. The answer to healing may be, from God, a “no,” but if this is the case, we will be given the means to live well in spite of limitations. We are not without limitations in this world (an ACIM tenet).

Prayer:

Dear Father,

Surely you are with us in good health and bad. When we are in good health, may we experience gratefulness. When we are ill, may we experience the grace to be accepting of that which we do not understand.

May we move closer to You in health and in illness. May our emotional and physical condition make no difference in the zeal with which we seek You.

Amen.


True Denial. . .You Can and Should Deny Any Belief that Error Can Hurt You

cezanne - bowls of fruit
“True denial is a powerful protective device. You can and should deny any belief that error can hurt you. (T199)”

Affirmation: “True denial is protective.”

Reflections:

1 – The Self

True denial refers only to our real self–the Self that cannot be hurt. We aren’t usually very aware of this Self, but this Self influences us constantly. Whether or not we listen is our own decision, but this Self can and does influence what happens to us.

2 – A Course of Love

This Self is the inner Christ that A Course of Love discusses, and some view A Course of Love as a sequel to A Course in Miracles. We become much more aware of this Christ Self, who guides our actions, the farther along on the pathway to Awakening (Christ-consciousness) we have walked.

3 – We Live a Dream

We have been told that we live a dream, our dream. And that as long as we recognize that it is our dream, that dream figures can be as hateful and vicious as they may, but it can have no effect upon us unless we fail to recognize that it is our dream. Can we always do that, can we always recognize the dream and therefore feel no hurt? This way of perceiving is an ideal, and most of us cannot live an ideal all the time. But we can make progress. We can remind ourselves that we live a dream, and that what other dream figures do need have no effect upon us.

4 – Error

Error can actually accomplish nothing that is ultimately hurtful, because the Self is beyond being hurt. The Course does not use the word “soul,” but in common language this is what is meant. (ACIM usually uses the word “spirit.”)

5 – Pain

When we are caught in the midst of suffering, of feeling our pain, in our own lives, or when we see suffering in others (whether our significant others or the world at large), we can affirm that the pain is illusory. Certainly it is felt; this is not what is meant by “illusory.” The pain actually accomplishes nothing permanent except, upon occasion, bringing us closer to God and thus to ultimate release. This understanding will eliminate any tendency to project the blame for our pain onto God, thus removing one of the main reasons that we reject faith as being beyond our comprehension.

6 – Unhurt

We aren’t hurt in our essence. But pain can soften our hearts and bring us closer to God. It is better, though, to learn through rewards, because the effect of pain is only temporary (ACIM tenets). We do not have to learn through pain! (ACIM tenet.)

7 – Hearts Full and Heads High

Let us go forward today with hearts full and heads high. We don’t have to cringe when another treats us badly. It is their problem. We can pray for them, and send them along to a better attitude. This better attitude will come when we use forbearance not to retaliate with anger or attack.

Prayer:

Dear Father,

May I learn the power of true denial, and use it only rightly. May I truly know in the depths of my being that error–error in myself or error in others–cannot hurt my real Self.

May I forgive error in myself and in others. May the error that does occur be an occasion to practice forgiveness, and may I turn to the Holy Spirit for guidance in how to forgive.

Amen.

I Am Not the Victim of the World I See. I Have Invented the World I See.

impressionist paintings1 – There Is No World!

A Course in Miracles stresses repeatedly that we live in a dream, that this world is illusory. And in support of this idea comes the assertion that projection makes perception. So all that we experience comes from within ourselves. There is no world! (This is an ACIM declaration.) Now the following passage repeats this idea in slightly different words:

“You will escape from both [the inner and the outer world] together, for the inner is the cause of the outer. (WB31)”

2 – Projection Makes Perception

If our inner world makes our outer (what we have been learning), then it behooves us to transform our inner to loving concepts. Fear in the inner world will make the outer world seem fearful to us. And when the ego is reigning within, we have little choice but to view an outer world that scares us.

3 – ACIM’s Purpose
We would not have it thus. Nobody would, if they knew what to do to change things. And with ACIM, we are learning the means to Awakening the transformative experience that will make all the difference.

4 – Useful Idea

“The idea for today [“I am not the victim of the world I see”] is also a particularly useful one to use as a response to any form of temptation that may arise. It is a declaration that you will not yield to it, and put yourself in bondage. (WB31)”

We are in control of our destinies. Our world is what we want it to be, once we have taken conscious control. Otherwise, we may be living with an imprisoned will, made that way because of the “tiny, mad idea” that changed us, that made the illusory separation from God. But many New Age writers have declared that we create our own reality. And ACIM says the same, though in this world ACIM uses the word “make” rather than “create.” We are not ready for true creation as long as we are in egoic clutches.

5 – We Invented This World

“Today we are continuing to develop the theme of cause and effect. You are not the victim of the world you see because you invented it. You can give it up as easily as you made it up. You will see it or not see it, as you wish. While you want it you will see it; when you no longer want, it will not be there for you to see. (WB32)”

6 – Cause and Effect

Cause and effect can be a hard concept to wrap one’s mind around. But it is really very simple. It says that like creates like, and when we live in egotism, we make egotism in our outside world. Again, projection makes perception.

7 – Avoidance of This World

We do not want to see the world in which we have been living. But it is things of the spirit that will save us, not materialistic goods. Our reality is one that cannot be viewed by the seeing eyes. Our reality is the intangibles of God, his blessings of joy, peace, harmony, serenity, love.

8 – The Secret

The Secret, by Rhonda Byrne, has given me personally much room for thought. In this book and DVD, she and others say that we attract the world that we want. The first book in the series, The Secret does focus quite a bit on the material. But the second and third books in the series, The Power and The Magic, look to spiritual concepts of gratitude and love far more.

9 – Spiritual Concepts

It is to these spiritual concepts that I want to take our attention. We will never be satisfied for long with material goods. We will always want more, as long as those goods are coming to us to satisfy egoistic wants. But when we are grateful for the world in which we live, and when we love mightily, we have it in our power to transform the world that we see. And transformation is what we are after, if the truth be told.

10 – Apply Today’s Idea

“The idea for today [‘I have invented the world I see.’] should also be applied immediately to any situation that may distress you. Apply the idea by telling yourself: I have invented this situation as I see it. WB32)”

All of the passages from this Workbook lesson say much the same as what Rhonda Byrne is saying, and she has gotten a great deal of press in recent years. The concepts are making their way into the mainstream, much as have the concepts of ACIM. (Frequently entire books are written which set forth the philosophy of ACIM without ever crediting where the ideas have originated.)

11 – Change Your World

So, if we are not victims of the world we see, we can change that world. And let us seek to do so today. Let us get started. The world will continue on in its poor, downtrodden ways until we seek to make a change. It is not hard to change a thought that we wish to change. And the world is a thought, an idea.

Affirmation: “I am not the victim of the world I see.”

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

May the world that I see today make a dramatic shift. May I see that this world is my own invention, that I am part of a mass hallucination. May I join others in the desire to make a better world that is not dependent on the physical eyes to see.

Be with me today. I long for an anxiety-free day, and I have much on my plate today. Help me to call upon You, to remember to call upon You, when I sense stress. You would not have me stressed. That is not Your way. Show me Your way today.

Amen.

Definition of the Real World

“The real world is the state of mind in which the only purpose of the world is seen to be forgiveness. (T-30.V.1)”

1 – Forgiveness Reigns

So here, nestled in among other gems of inspiration and knowledge, is the definition of the real world: a state of mind in which forgiveness reigns. This would mean that we have come home to God, that we have finally ended the reign of the ego. Elsewhere we learn that the real world dawns on our sight, and then, in a short while (but how long this period of time is is not defined) God Himself reaches down (metaphorically) and lifts us up to Awakening. Awakening is the same concept as Christ-consciousness, the term used in A Course of Love, as well as the same concept in Eastern religions of enlightenment.

2 – Holy Relationship with Our Brother

The means of finding our way back to God through our holy relationship to our brother is the particular way of A Course in Miracles. We are told in ACIM that this means saves us time, that we do not need to spend long hours in contemplation (though contemplation will succeed as well, because of its purpose). Jesus is keen on saving time, as he warns that the world is very old and weary, worn out and tired. We ourselves may feel this way sometimes. Or maybe we have moved past this feeling of tiredness in the world as we move closer to the Holy Spirit in daily life.

3 – Holy Spirit

The Holy Spirit will in fact save us from much weariness. He paces our day with His guidance, and He shows us how to rest.

4 – Forgive, and Then Understand

“The value of forgiveness is perceived and takes the place of idols, which are sought no longer, for their ‘gifts’ are not held dear. No rules are idly set, and no demands are made of anyone or anything to twist and fit into the dream of fear. Instead there is a wish to understand all things created as they really are. And it is recognized that all things must be first forgiven, and then understood. (T-30.V.1)”

I ran across a passage, before ACIM was written, that recommended that we forgive, and then we will come to understand. I kept this admonition on an index card for a long time; indeed, I may still have it in my files. Certainly ACIM agrees with this recommendation. The words are the same in the above passage.

5 – Idols

We do not want idols, and perhaps most of us have had many over the years. Most particular may be our special relationships, the ones that haven’t turned holy. We want a particular individual romantically, but we are still entrapped by the ego, and what we see in him/her is only a false gem, a persona, not the real person at all. We are projecting onto that person the characteristics that we ourselves would like to have. And the heights of joy fall into the depths of despair—the way of the ego. So special relationships do not hold value for long.

6 – Materialism

Likewise, many of us may have wanted security in this world in the form of material advantages. But we can never have enough money to be secure, and paradoxically, the more we have, the more uncertain we are about being able to keep it. So even though we long for objects of this world, we cannot be happy with them for very long. They do not satisfy, for only the emotions of joy, love, harmonious living, can satisfy for long. These long-lasting emotions are of God, for He is our real Hope. We will never be satisfied for anything very long that is not in some way an attribute of God.

7 – Simple Course

“This is a very simple course. Perhaps you do not feel you need a course which, in the end, teaches that only reality is true. But do you believe it? When you perceive the real world, you will recognize that you did not believe it. (T-11.VIII.1)”

This passage is forward-thinking and recognizes that we are still on the pathway to the real world, though we may catch glimpses of it ahead of time. What is true? Reality. What does this mean, for truth can be very subjective, can be based on falsities, and may lead us down a pathway that is not actually true for anybody but ourselves. Truth is a God-granted certainty about the world and our place in it.

8 – Definition of the Truth

I once worked for an afternoon for a man who needed some editing done for a newspaper article that he hoped to publish. His was a fanatical view of the world, and emphasized in the article, over and over, was his insistence in only seeing the “truth.” I realized that afternoon that truth could be a very subjective concept, for this man’s truth and my own were very, very different. Radical political views are usually perceived by their holders as being “true,” but many people may not hold these views. There is a wide range of views about politics, religion, and the like. That is why we are bade never to discuss politics and religion at a dinner party or other social occasion. The differences in our personalities are so obvious, and the egos of us all do love a good argument.

9 – One Way Is Not Way for All

So here in ACIM we still must realize that the truth that it develops is not the truth for everyone. Some will violently object to what others embrace. Our way to salvation is not the way of all, and thus it behooves us to walk softly.

10 – Real World Will Vanish

“Yet the swiftness with which your new and only real perception will be translated into knowledge will leave you but an instant to realize that this alone is true. And then everything you made will be forgotten; the good and the bad, the false and the true. For as Heaven and earth become one, even the real world will vanish from your sight. (T-11.VIII.1)”

This is a passage not easily understood. It seems to be far in the future, but perhaps that is only true for this world and the people still living in it. Gradually, one by one, we will make our way beyond this world. We need not fear the end of the world. It will end in stillness, not to be touched, but simply to fail to be (from the Manual of ACIM). This is Jesus’s great promise. We do not have to fear violent destruction of this world.

11 – Translation into Heaven

“The end of the world is not its destruction, but its translation into Heaven. The reinterpretation of the world is the transfer of all perception to knowledge. (T-11.VIII.1)”

A particularly potent quotation, this passage points out that destruction is not in the future of this world. It will be translated into Heaven. And this translation will happen when we do not have to perceive, but we know. Knowledge is of the Holy Spirit, and He alone knows how to give it to us. (A Course of Love indicates that the inner Christ Self performs this translation for us.)

12 – Our Inheritance

May we come to know internally how to reach God. We are a part of Him. He is in us, as well as in our brothers and sisters. The universe is his “body,” so to speak (an interpretation, not stated in ACIM or ACOL). The knowledge we seek is our inheritance. May we ask today that it be granted us in spades.

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

May this day I move closer to the real world. May this transition happen seamlessly, as I do not wish to be hurled into reality and frightened thereby. The real world is seen before Awakening, before God takes us unto Himself in enlightenment. May I experience the real world, the state of mind that knows only forgiveness of my brother and sister.

The real world is a concept that we often overlook. As a state of mind, it can come to us in snatches before the real world is sustained. May I walk quietly and serenely toward that blessing today.

Amen.

The Function of Relationships Became Forever “To Make Happy.” And Nothing Else.

camille-monet-and-her-son-jean-in-the-garden-at-argenteuil-renoir-large
1 – Happiness a Worthy Goal?

We often don’t think that happiness is a worthy goal. We think that there must be much bigger things to do in life than to be happy.

2 – Salvation

And, of course, there are. We are to bring salvation to our brothers and sisters. Forgiveness is our function, but happiness is also given in A Course in Miracles as our function. How might we link forgiveness and happiness?

3 – Forgiveness and Happiness

If we are in turmoil emotionally, we are likely not going to “be there” for others. If we are unhappy, that translates into turmoil, great or small. So when we develop lives that are happy, it stands to reason that we will be more likely to be there for others, to forgive them when they trespass against us. We are also more in a flow and better able to forgive ourselves for our shortcomings; we are not so hard on ourselves.

Here is the full passage:

“God established His relationship with you to make you happy, and nothing you do that does not share His purpose can be real. The purpose God ascribed to anything is its only function. Because of His reason for creating His relationship with you, the function of relationships became forever ‘to make happy.’ And nothing else. (T-17.IV.1)”

4 – Living in Reality

So we want what is real, and when we share God’s purpose for our lives, we live in reality (though maybe not yet in the “real world”). His purpose is lofty, we can be sure, and so we need to see happiness as well as forgiveness as lofty goals. We would not be satisfied with inferior goals. We want the best. We want it all (from ACIM).

5 – The Elaborately Framed Picture

“Look at the picture. Do not let the frame distract you. This gift is given you for your damnation, and if you take it you will believe that you are damned. (T-17.IV.9)”

The above passage comes from a particularly poetic portion of ACIM. Jesus describes an elaborate, overwrought picture frame that is inlaid with gems. He goes into some great detail, knowing that we would be attracted to such shiny objects. But he wants us to look at the picture that the ego has made, surrounded by all of that which would entice us, as well as distract us. The picture is small, a picture of nothing. If we believe the lies that the ego tells us, we will be “damned.” But we do not have to settle for this. We can leave this egoic part of ourselves in the ditch, with our eyes on the heavens. We can instead see a picture that is framed in light.

6 – Special Relationships

“The special relationship has the most imposing and deceptive frame of all the defenses the ego uses. (T-17.IV.8)”

We see here that this elaborately framed picture is a metaphor for our special relationships, and our special relationships are ego-inspired. We think that we will be happy if only we can possess this one special relationship, a relationship with a significant other who has attracted us. But we will not be happy for long. This way paves the path to hell for us, for the heights of joy are contrasted with depths of depression. The ego always does this to us. Never are we to be at peace. Never are we to have a stable happiness that will not desert us.

6 – Holy Relationships

“The picture of light, in clear-cut and unmistakable contrast, is transformed into what lies beyond the picture. As you look on this, you realize that it is not a picture, but a reality. (T-17.IV.16)”

The picture of light is a metaphor for the fact that our special relationships have been transformed into holy relationships. Jesus says that, in the beginning, when this transformation is first happening, we may be in a very disjointed frame of mind. The purpose of the relationship has shifted, and we are not immediately prepared for the shift. We may, in fact, break off the special relationship at this point, thinking that it no longer satisfies our needs.

7 – A Better Understanding

But we need to hang loose. We will come to know a much better relationship once the shift is completed. We will know love in a way that special relationships never promised (although they seemed to so promise).

8 – Love

The picture of light is gracious to us and gracious to God. We see an image that reflects back to us the love that we are offering to another. And this love is wholly pure. Though still in this world, it is not of this world.

9 – Eliminate the Ego

Change the elaborately framed picture of egoic special relationships to the picture framed in light that is a metaphor for holy relationships. Once we have done this, we will never look back.

Affirmation: “I would see the picture framed in light today.”

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

I would see the picture framed in light today. I would turn aside from the tiny picture hung in an elaborate frame of gems that are meant to betray. Help me to develop the holy relationships that You long for me to have. May I, with Your help, turn all special relationships, past and present, into holy ones.

My brothers and sisters, seen and unseen, are in my mind today. People from the past, and new people from the future, crowd my mind. May this mean that I would have holy relationships of all others.

Thank You for being there for me. There is no better way to live a life than without the ego, with You only.

Amen.