When Not at Peace. . .

“I must have decided wrongly, because I am not at peace. (T90)”

This passage starts a sequence of helps to return us to a peaceful state of mind. A Course in Miracles says elsewhere that the first obstacle that peace must flow across is our desire to get rid of it. How true, if we stop to think! We are so used to drama and turmoil that we think that we are depressed when we get calm for a change. Yet calm and quiet are where we are headed (ACIM tenets).

I have a friend who questioned this “perfectly calm and quiet all the time.” I know from our long friendship that she is especially prone to drama, and she was letting me know that she liked it like that! Yes, but a little farther along her pathway, and she may change her mind. I certainly hope so.

This passage bears repeating as a lovely blank verse poem. If we are not at peace, we have made one or more errors. We are in charge in making the decisions that will bring us to peace. We can decide otherwise, and thus choose peace, moment by moment.

We do not have to feel guilty, because of the power and glory of the Holy Spirit. He can undo the consequences of our wrong action or thought–the error that made us lose our peace in the beginning.

Peace is a great blessing. All of us would choose it, rather than drama, if we would give it more thought. “Perfectly calm and quiet” is said elsewhere in ACIM as the direction in which we are heading. We may, actually, not welcome this now, because we are tied to our dramas, but as we choose more and more the peace that God grants, we will know the genius of this proscription.

“I made the decision myself, but I can also decide otherwise. (T90”

This puts us back in the hot seat as the decision maker, which we always are. We make the decisions about what reality we will encounter, though not in a simplistic fashion, for the dictum, “We create our own reality” has been much misunderstood. Taken in its worst light, this means that we see ourselves as victims, and we blame ourselves for the wrongs in our life that happen. It is not quite like that.

Our Higher Self makes many of the decisions about what we will experience, and the Higher Self sees a much broader view.

It is also cautionary not to blame another as a victim. We can’t see what their Higher Selves have in mind. What others are going through is not a conscious choice of the lower mind.

“I want to decide otherwise, because I want to be at peace. (T90)”

This moves us into deciding that we want to change our minds, because we want peace. We are being gently led down a pathway to greater peace. Jesus recognizes that our ego will offer some resistance.

“I do not feel guilty, because the Holy Spirit will undo all the consequences of my wrong decision if I will let Him. (T90)”

Do not feel guilty! You will be OK. Guilt is not the same as remorse. If we have erred, it is natural to feel some remorse. But we do not wallow in it, and all too often we wallow in guilt. This is insanity.

The Holy Spirit will undo the wrong. Don’t interfere. Let Him.

“I choose to let Him, by allowing Him to decide for God for me. (T90)”

We always choose God when we choose aright. We always feel better after we have chosen for God. And the way home is several steps closer by our so choosing.

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

Help me to decide for peace, not drama. I am in charge of this decision, with the help of the Holy Spirit. If I am not at peace, I have decided wrongly. I choose now to change this decision to one of peace.

Help me to know the value of being perfectly calm and quiet all the time. May the Holy Spirit, day by day, lead me in this direction.

Amen.

Never Feel Guilty!

“If you allow yourself to become guilty, you will reinforce the error rather than allow it to be undone for you. (T90)”

1 – Reinforcing the Error

This passage emphasizes an important psychological truth, but one that we may never have heard before reading the A Course in Miracles. The passage also contains some ACIM teaching that would preclude full understanding without our reading.

2 – Ego

One of the greatest problems that we face when engulfed by the ego is the problem of guilt. We think that we have done horrendous things, and maybe we have, but only in illusion and only as mistakes–not sins. Mistakes cry out for resolution, for remedying. They do not have the attraction that a deed named a “sin” seems to have for our frail psyches.

3 – Holy Spirit

If we choose to eliminate guilt, we will help the error to be undone as well. But “we” do not undo the error; that is the providence of the Holy Spirit. He works in cooperation with our willingness to leave guilt behind. And, with guilt behind, the error is easily overlooked. We choose not to repeat the error as soon as we label it thusly–an error, or mistake, not a sin.

4 – Be Firm with Yourself

“Be very firm with yourself in this, and keep yourself fully aware that the undoing process, which does not come from you, is nevertheless within you because God placed it there. Your part is merely to return your thinking to the point at which the error was made, and give it over to the Atonement in peace. (T90)”

5 – Forgiveness

We need to forgive ourselves. This way we avoid the guilt that threatens to engulf us, even over minor matters (because we don’t perceive those matters as minor). A Course in Miracles says that guilt has made us mad (insane). And an important point: God does not forgive us, because He has never condemned us. One does not forgive unless he has first condemned. That is why it is so important for us to forgive our brothers and sisters. We have condemned, sometimes even unconsciously, and we need to rectify this mistake.

6 – Would I Fail to Forgive Myself for This?

But the most important aspect is that we have had trouble forgiving ourselves, and if we can’t forgive ourselves, we can’t forgive others. It is just that simple. So our prayer should always be, when faced with an attack from another, “Would I fail to forgive myself for this?” Often the answer will be “no,” and we need to alter that choice to something better—complete absolution through forgiveness.

7 – Atonement

Atonement is mentioned again in this passage. Many of us have a problem with the term Atonement, but it is mainly described in ACIM as an “undoing.” We let our errors be undone by the Holy Spirit, and thus we approach Atonement. We are absolved of error, for we have turned our misthoughts and misdeeds over to the only One who can correct them: the Holy Spirit. And He is always quick to change what has hurt us. He means us well, unlike the ego, which never means us well.

8 – Finding Peace

“Say this to yourself as sincerely as you can, remembering that the Holy Spirit will respond fully to your slightest invitation:

“I must have decided wrongly, because I am not at peace.

“I made the decision myself, but I can also decide otherwise.

“I want to decide otherwise, because I want to be at peace.

“I do not feel guilty, because the Holy Spirit will undo all the consequences of my wrong decision if I will let Him.

“I choose to let Him, by allowing Him to decide for God for me. (T90)”

The above passage is a good one to read and reread when in the throes of our neurosis. The Holy Spirit will act to relieve us of our neuroses, just as Jesus has promised to so act as well. Jesus will stabilize us, and he will heal us. The Holy Spirit, being a part of the Holy Trinity, but an Idea, will move to do the same. All that is asked of us is that we surrender to His will for us. We will never regret that surrender.

9 – Unequivocal Call

The Holy Spirit does not impose Himself on us, but He acts at our slightest invitation. This is similar to Jesus’s promise to come at a single “unequivocal call.” We need the Holy Spirit at the point in our progress. Later on, approaching Awakening, we will turn to our inner Christ Self to change us for the better.

10 – Peace that Passeth Understanding

We are at peace when we have allowed the Holy Spirit to have His way with us. That peace is akin to the peace that passeth understanding, from the Bible.

Prayer:

Dear Father,

If I make mistakes, I will feel guilty when I come to myself. This feeling of guilt can be undone when we seek to be forgiven, of ourselves and of the other person whom we feel we have wronged. May I find that forgiveness now, and leave guilt behind.

Help me to turn to the Holy Spirit when I am tempted to make mistakes that will induce guilt. Thank you for being there for me.

May this be a good day. I am so thankful for the new turns in my life. Blessings seem to be reigning down upon me, and it behooves me to be grateful for these blessings. You are the Source of blessings. And I can so choose to recognize how to react non-neurotically in my daily life. This much I can do, though I cannot do it all. Be with me as I seek to make the best decisions as I go about my day. May my decisions always be informed by guidance. And may I fail to be resistant to that guidance.

Thank You.

Amen.

Holy Spirit = An Idea

1 – Transfer of Perception to Knowledge

“The way to recognize your brother is by recognizing the Holy Spirit in him. I have already said that the Holy Spirit is the bridge for the transfer of perception to knowledge, so we can use the terms as if they were related, because in His Mind they are. (T78)”

Perception is temporary, caught in time with us, but knowledge is eternal, and is of God. These are tenets from elsewhere in A Course in Miracles. Miracles are perceptual, and therefore do not last. Revelation is knowledge, and therefore is eternal. Revelation always comes from God, and it is intensely personal and therefore hard to convey to another. Its validity is determined by the self, the personal self that is trying to access the inner Christ Self (from A Course of Love).

2 – Holy Spirit in Our Brother/Sister

The Holy Spirit is in our brother, and when we recognize the Holy Spirit in him/her, we are seeing the other truly. The Holy Spirit is in us in a very practical sense. Though an idea, He is the Source of Universal Inspiration, the way that we come to know, as opposed to our perceiving. The ego perceives; the self which is accessing the Holy Spirit knows.

3 – Idea of Healing

“The Holy Spirit is the idea of healing. Being thought, the idea gains as it is shared. (T78)”

Ideas do increase when shared. That is why it is so important to seek first the intangibles of God, the peace, hope, joy, harmony, and the like. If we seek first for material pleasures, we will never be satisfied very long with anything we get.

4 – Increases when Shared

“The idea of the Holy Spirit shares the property of other ideas because it follows the laws of the Universe of which it is a part. It is strengthened by being given away. It increases in you as you give it to your brother. Your brother does not have to be aware of the Holy Spirit in himself or in you for this miracle to occur. (T78)”

This is a passage with deep meaning. It suggests that we do not have to get our brothers and sisters to study the A Course in Miracles before they will derive great meaning from it. They will derive that great meaning by our own living out of the principles of ACIM.

5 – A Strengthened Idea

When we give away our understanding of the Holy Spirit, we enrich our brothers and sisters. The idea of the Holy Spirit is strengthened. And they do not have to even be aware of what we are doing.

6 – Miracles

Jesus calls this sharing of the Holy Spirit a “miracle.” It will indeed seem so as we see our brothers and sisters more loving and peaceful, just by the fact that we are trying to share our understanding of the Course with them.

“The Voice of the Holy Spirit is weak in you. That is why you must share It. It must be increased in strength before you can hear It. (T79)”

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

May I share my understanding of the Course and the Holy Spirit, silently, with my brothers and sisters. May I especially share this understanding with those most close to me.

We will bless our brothers and sisters by our own understanding. May I not try to get anybody else to follow my way, but by my own following of it, may I lead others to You.

Amen.

The World Is Very Tired. . .Our Task: the Joyous One of Waking It to the Call for God

1 – Weariness

“The world is very tired, because it is the idea of weariness. Our task is the joyous one of waking it to the Call for God. (T77)”

Have we not often awakened in the morning with a sense of weariness, thinking, ungratefully, “another day.” Our lack of gratitude for the day is what is keeping us from a great day. And our lack of gratitude is making our world weary.

2 – Don’t Rue the Day

We have better things to do with our time than to rue the day. We have a joyous function—to wake up this weary world to the Call for God. This is the sense that we are to save the world, that the salvation of the world is in our hands.

3 – A Smile

We do not proselytize those individuals who are not ready, though. Many are not, needing only a smile from us to make their day. The way of A Course in Miracles is not everybody’s way. Far from it. And there are many thousands of other courses that point the way. Indeed, even for ACIM students, each teaches a different version of the course.

4 – Joyousness

So affirm the day with an invitation to joyousness. It will make all the difference, not only for ourselves but also for others.

5 – Tired?

Do we feel tired when we wake up in the morning? That common feeling is what we see discussed in this passage. Elsewhere Jesus assures us that we are not really capable of being tired, but we are very capable of wearying ourselves. When we feel joy, we most often drop weariness.

6 – Waking the World

Our function in the world is variously described in A Course in Miracles. Here it is defined as the task of waking the world to the call for God. (Elsewhere, our function is defined as forgiveness, or even just happiness.)

7 – Helen Schucman

ACIM, according to Helen Schucman (the scribe) was sent at this time because the world is in a very bad situation. All are called to help to create better conditions. May this be our function today: to make those we meet or even think about have a better experience of their day.

8 – All Power

“My mind will always be like yours, because we were created as equals. It was only my decision that gave me all power in Heaven and earth. My only gift to you is to help you make the same decision. (T77)”

This is Jesus speaking. It is a welcome idea that Jesus is there for us, and that we are equals, or are meant to be equals. He has walked the whole pathway, and he stands at the end to rectify any mistakes that we could not alter (ACIM tenets).

9 – Heaven and Earth

The “same decision” would be the intent to have all power in Heaven and earth. Jesus is still our leader, though, for we do not usurp his power. But we have our own power to walk into. We have very big shoes to fill. And, when we do fill those shoes, we will know a joy that is unbounded. We will be home.

10 – The Mind

“I have assured you that the Mind that decided for me is also in you, and that you can let it change you just as it changed me. This Mind is unequivocal, because it hears only one Voice and answers in only one way. (T77)”

The “One Voice” is the Holy Spirit:

“The Holy Spirit is the call to awaken and be glad. (T77)”

We are to respond to this call to awaken. We must realize, though, that we cannot effect the Awakening by our own volition. God takes that step, but we will be ever more ready when we have mastered the means that Jesus is describing to us in A Course in Miracles. He says elsewhere that revelation may occasionally show the end to us, but to reach the end, we must have the means. And the means are being carefully explained to us.

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

May I drop weariness from my list of troubles. May I substitute joy as the feeling that I would experience.

May we come this day to a new understanding of our task in this world. May we take the part that God has given to us–waking the world to the Call for God.

Amen.

The Call to Joy Is So Strong that the Ego Always Dissolves at Its Sound

1 – Strong Call

“The principle of Atonement and the separation began at the same time. When the ego was made, God placed in the mind the call to joy. This call is so strong that the ego always dissolves at its sound. (T75)”

This passage identified why joy is the preferred way to come to salvation and on to Awakening. The ego dissolves when we are overcome with joy. Indeed, we could not feel such joy if we held onto the ego, for the ego does not mean us well.

2 – Blessing

A call for joy that is so strong! This is a great blessing.

3 – Separation

What did the separation accomplish? Nothing! That is what A Course in Miracles teaches. We have actually never changed in our Selves as we really are. The separation was a tiny, mad idea that is now no longer in the mind that thought it (ACIM concept).

4 – Peace and a Calm Mind

May we react to the joy that God would have us feel, and thereby leave the ego and separation behind. We will then know the peace that a calm mind induces.

5 – Holy Spirit

“The Holy Spirit is in you in a very literal sense. His is the Voice That calls you back to where you were before and will be again. (T75)”

The presence of the Holy Spirit is not abstract, is not theoretical, and is not a metaphor. The presence of the Holy Spirit in us is fact, truth, literal truth.

6 – Separation?

We have only fallen away from where we were “before,” before the presumed separation. I say “presumed,” because we never actually separated from God; we only thought that we did, and this thought has made all the difference.

7 – Part of God

We are part of God, and so we could not really separate from Him. But in illusion we could think that we did separate, and this tiny, mad idea built up a world of separation that has been a trap for us.

8 – Trap

Let us get out of this trap forthwith. We stay only because we prefer it, the familiar to the forgotten, the unknown. Yet the forgotten is where our real joy comes. And with this call for joy, we are well on our way home.

9 – The Voice

“It is possible even in this world to hear only that Voice and no other. It takes effort and great willingness to learn. It is the final lesson that I learned, and God’s Sons are as equal as learners as they are as sons. (T75 – T76)”

If we can get ourselves to follow guidance consistently, we will be led away from judgment and therefore on our way home. Judging our brother/sister is the only thing, repeat, the only thing, that has stood in our way. And the guidance of the Holy Spirit will take us consistently away from that tendency toward judgment.

10 – Choose Again

We cannot be unjustly treated. This is a tenet of A Course in Miracles. We are deprived of nothing except by our own choice. And we can, at any and every moment, choose again.

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

May I have a calm mind, because I have known joy that dissolves the ego. May I remember these moments of peak experience, so that I can call on them when the going gets rough.

May I realize that the separation accomplished nothing–that my real Self has continued in peace and joy with You.

May this good day go well. Thank You for my many blessings. I know that I am fortunate indeed, as are my brothers and sisters when they stop to think about it. You have never left us bereft, but are always near. The sense of Your Presence will sustain us through the darkest nightmare. And, if we remember to thank You for our blessings, the nightmares will fall away for our thinking will be straight and true.

Amen.

“Seek and Ye Shall Find” Does Not Mean that You Should Seek Blindly and Desperately for Something You Would Not Recognize.

1 – Where Can I Go for Protection?

“This is the question that must be asked: ‘Where can I go for protection?’ ‘Seek and ye shall find’ does not mean that you should seek blindly and desperately for something you would not recognize. Meaningful seeking is consciously undertaken, consciously organized and consciously directed. (T66)”

We ought not to beseech Heaven for a miracle that we would not recognize at high noon. This is a paraphrase from a favorite book of mine by Michael Drury. If we seek haphazardly, we seek amiss. And we will not find. But meaningful seeking, that is seeking that is directed by the Holy Spirit, always ends happily. We find. And we are blessed by what we find.

2 – Seek and Ye Shall Find

When I was in high school, the quotation from the New Testament given here (“Seek and ye shall find”) meant a great deal to me. With science and evolution, I was no longer a fundamentalist. And I needed something to cling to. I somehow realized that if I sought from God, He would answer.

“Ask, and it shall be given you; seek and ye shall find; knock, and it shall be opened unto you. (Matthew 7:7)”

This was my lodestone, in high school and beyond.

3 – Learning

“You learn best when you believe what you are trying to learn is of value to you. However, not everything you may want to learn has lasting value. Indeed, many of the things you want to learn may be chosen because their value will not last. (M66)”

Why would we choose to learn something that is not of sting value to ourselves? This seems to be a paradox, and perhaps it is. But when we realize that we may have chosen whole careers that were not chosen for the right reasons, we may realize that the ego has been involved.

4 – Careers

But we probably had problems in those careers that were chosen for less-than-the-best reasons. More than just careers have been involved, though. Our choices in relationships may have been flawed as well. Our insanity covers a great deal of our lives.

5 – Value

We can learn best when we turn to learn those things that are of value. And those things are always lasting. Surely we can do this as we learn from A Course in Miracles to choose aright.

6 – What For?

“In all these diversionary tactics, however, the one question that is never asked by those who pursue them is, ‘What for?’ This is the question that you must learn to ask in connection with everything. What is the purpose? Whatever it is, it will direct your efforts automatically. (T67)”

We need to choose aright, obviously. “What for?” can put us on the right pathway. Elsewhere ACIM says that we sometimes want to learn something because its value will not last. I think that this is a diversionary tactic by the nefarious ego, always with the intent to waylay us. The ego acts as though it were autonomous, and sometimes it does seem to be, but we remain in control. Our minds can turn to the Holy Spirit for guidance just as easily (more easily, actually) as the ego.

7 – Egotistical

Turn from the egotistical. Don’t let such notions occupy our holy minds a moment longer. The “egotistical” is not all that the ego means, but it is a start. The ego is our false persona, the one that strives for triumph at our brother’s expense, the one that longs to achieve when cooperation works best in our world, the one that puts the self in a very self-centered light. Don’t follow these dictates any longer. They will not get us what we want. Oh, they may seem to do so. But after the short-lived joy of getting something we want, we are once more in despair because our wants have not been satisfied. When we place our faith in the intangibles of God, the peace, hope, joy, harmony, music of the spheres, we are led along a rose-strewn pathway that always leads to what we truly want.

Prayer:

Dear Father,

May we choose only those things that have lasting value. May we turn aside from those things that do not have lasting value. May we not be tempted to learn those non-lasting things because they do not have value.

I know that the ego is involved when I reach for something that cannot be sustained. Help me always to choose aright, and this means that it is time to leave the ego behind.

Amen.

Being Dis-Spirited / Stabilizing the Unstable

“I raised the dead by knowing that life is an eternal attribute of everything that the living God created. Why do you believe it is harder for me to inspire the dis-spirited or to stabilize the unstable? I do not believe that there is an order of difficulty in miracles; you do. I have called and you will answer. I understand that miracles are natural, because they are expressions of love. My calling you is as natural as your answer, and as inevitable. (T65)”

1 – Jesus

Jesus is again speaking here. He is emphasizing that all miracles are natural and any is as easy for him to effect as any other.

2 – Miracles

We obviously find this hard to believe, for others if not for Jesus. Yet we are told elsewhere in A Course in Miracles that miracles are our natural inheritance. It is fascinating that here Jesus reaffirms that he raised the dead in his life on earth. This, perhaps, has been an element of the New Testament that some have found hard to understand–even long-time Christians. ACIM, scribed 2,000 years later, may make this claim more plausible.

3 – Certainty

Jesus is certain that we will respond to him. This certainty is comforting to us, because perhaps we see the way to Life as long and arduous. The pathway need not be such. We can turn to

4 – A Friend

Jesus as our Friend, as he has always promised that he would be. (In A Course in Miracles, he identifies himself as an elder brother.)

5 – Mind

“Your mind will elect to join with mine, and together we are invincible. You and your brother will yet come together in my name, and your sanity will be restored. (T65)”

This passage is a reassurance from Jesus that when we join in holy relationship with our brother, we are joining with Jesus. Our sanity is restored, according to the teaching of ACIM, by this method. It is the method of ACIM.

6 – Relationships

In the way of ACIM, we are meant to see that our special relationships transform into the holy. This saves us time. It is said in ACIM that contemplation will achieve the same purpose, because of its aim, but that contemplation is tedious and time-consuming. With a joining to our brother/sister, we are well on the way to Awakening.

7 – Romance

This way of proceeding works well with our Western propensity to romanticize our relationships. We believe in falling in love, and we do so, sometimes many times over the course of a lifetime. But we never forget the ones we have loved. Love is, as Shakespeare said, not love that alters when it alteration finds, or bends with the remover to remove (from Sonnet #116). And so those of us who subscribe to this truth are particularly apt to find A Course in Miracles appropriate to our needs. We are ready for it. And we find it, this means to our way home in God.

8 – Higher Mind

“I do not attack your ego. I do work with your higher mind, the home of the Holy Spirit, whether you are asleep or awake, just as your ego does with your lower mind, which is its home. (T65)”

This is Jesus speaking. He is our elder brother (a Course concept), willing to help at any and all times. It is important that Jesus does not attack our egos. Elsewhere he tells us that attack is never justified, and he himself exemplifies this assertion.

9 – Holy Spirit

It is reassuring to know that we have help in trying to change our minds to be at one with the Holy Spirit. We surely do not understand what all of this change entails, and we need counsel that is sure and lovely. Jesus provides this, but silently, nearly always without our being aware of his presence.

10 – Holding Jesus’s Hand

There is a passage elsewhere in ACIM that invites us to imagine our holding Jesus’s hand as we go about the world. He asserts that this is no idle fancy. We cannot understand how this is possible, but Jesus is one who has made it Home, and we dare not doubt his word. We never need to feel alone or lonely again. Not only do we have Jesus, but also other companions of whom we are not usually aware. Surely there is no reason to be afraid, though, as very human people, we will probably still succumb to this temptation to fear for ourselves. In our better moments, passages such as the one above from ACIM can be our reassurance that all is truly well.

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

I need help, now and always. Help me to keep my mind in close cooperation with the Holy Spirit, and not dip into ego-oriented desires.

May Jesus help me, as he has promised. Then I can rest assured that all will go well for me in this world.

Amen.

Peace Is the Ego’s Greatest Enemy, for War Seems to Be the Guarantee of Its Survival

“You cannot understand yourself alone. This is because you have no meaning apart from your rightful place in the Sonship, and the rightful place of the Sonship is God. (T79)”

1 – Relationship

We are meant to be in relationship to each other, to be in a relationship of sharing—not only with each other but also with God, in our communion (prayer) with Him. All too often we try, in vain, to be independent, needing nobody. The ego supports this in us, but it is a support that is shaky and withdrawn at any point. The ego cannot sustain us, for it is a false persona, a false sense of who we are. We are meant to be in union with one another (for All is One), and in relationship to one another. This latter understanding is a primary tenet of A Course of Love.

2 – Sonship

We have a rightful place in the Sonship, and by this we mean women as well as men, of course. The Sonship encompasses all of us, though we cannot and do not take our rightly place in it until we have moved beyond our little, personal selves. We need to recognize the Christ Self within (from ACOL). Only then we will have walked far enough along the pathway to know who we really are and what we really want. That end is always God, but not, perhaps, in the traditional sense of Christianity. The traditional sense does not usually see us as part of God, but A Course in Miracles makes this point very clearly. We are a part of God, and so it is impossible that we ever separated from Him except in illusions.

3 – Alone?

We do not understand ourselves alone, try as we may. We are not, in our essence, all alone and lonely. We do not have to strive to be independent, needing no one. This is a false idea planted in us by the part of our belief about ourselves, the ego. And the slings and arrows of outrageous fortune (from Shakespeare) will see to it that this false idea, this persona, will not stand. It cannot give us what we need. It cannot sustain us.

4 – Calm Vision

“This vision frightens the ego because it is so calm. (T79)”

We are calm when we see ourselves in relationship to one another. We know, when we think this way, that there will always be someone there for us. And by this someone, I do not here emphasize God. Of course, God is always there for us. But when we cease our senseless attempts to remove ourselves from partnership with other people, we will know that we are never alone, that we will never be alone. We are put in this world with other people for a reason. The ego would teach us otherwise, but the ego is insane. And who would follow an insane guide if he/she knew better?

5 – Isolation

We do know better now. We are calm in certainty that we are never alone. If we have physical needs, if we have emotional needs, there are people in the world who will help us. It is wrong to try to walk the path of isolation. We are going against our very nature.

6 – Enjoyment

So enjoy the calm. And do not fear the anxiety that the ego would arouse in us. We are not on the edge of a cliff, ready to fall off. We are on the way home. The calm will sustain us in the midst of the worst nightmare that still remains for us in this troubled world. We are not so insane that we will not find the help that we need when confronting the demons of the ego that still pursue us.

7 – Peace

“Peace is the ego’s greatest enemy because, according to its interpretation of reality, war is the guarantee of its survival. (T79-80)”

When we are tempted to attack our brother, may we realize that it is the ego up to its old tricks. The more we attack, the stronger the ego in us becomes. Do we really want this?

8 – Alive?

When we are peaceful, we may at first feel that we are not as “alive” as we would like to be. This is the longing for drama in our relationships, and it is a sick longing. Peace is actually the best thing that can happen to us. Elsewhere ACIM says that we are meant to be perfectly calm and quiet all the time. This may sound extreme, but the things of heaven are obscure to us.

9 – Ego

When we allow peace to be, we reduce the size and complexity of the ego. We reduce its influence on us. Elsewhere we learn in the Course that the first obstacle that peace must flow across is the desire to get rid of it. This sounds like a paradox, but if we reflect, we will see that the statement is true. We too often want drama to make ourselves feel alive.

10 – A Better Way

A Course in Miracles holds out a better way for us. Invite peace in our daily lives, and we will soon know a joy that is boundless–even if everything is not perfect in this world.

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

May I long for peace in my life far more than I long for drama. May I realize that drama only strengthens the ego, and this I do not want.

May I have Your inner calm and quiet. This is the best way that I can come to know You, and it is this that I want.

Amen.

The Second Coming of Christ

“The First Coming of Christ is merely another name for the creation, for Christ is the Son of God. The Second Coming of Christ means nothing more than the end of the ego’s rule and the healing of the mind. I was created like you in the first, and I have called you to join with me in the second. I am in charge of the Second Coming, and my judgment, which is used only for protection, cannot be wrong because it never attacks. (T64)”

1 – Reassessment

In this passage, if we can believe that Jesus channeled it, is a reassessment of what the First and the Second Coming of Christ means. Christ here means the spirit which we all share; it is not solely attributed to the Jesus spirit. Jesus does not talk about his living 2000 years ago as the First Coming; neither does he talk about a physical embodiment of the Second Coming, with him as the spirit embodying a reincarnation.

2 – Jesus

What are we to make of this? Can we not think of Jesus as both the First and the Second Coming? In the broadest sense, no. Jesus is not seeing himself as unique, as having something that we too can’t have. He sees himself as equal to us, not in time but in eternity. He has nothing that we cannot ultimately reach; he makes this clear elsewhere in A Course in Miracles.

3 – What Is Jesus Saying?

So what is he saying in this passage above? We were created by God in the First Coming; our Self, as the real internal essence of ourselves, is the Christ Self discussed in A Course of Love (viewed by some as a sequel to A Course in Miracles). And in the Second Coming, we see what ACIM has been leading us to all along—the end of the ego’s rule and the healing of our minds. This healing will finally bring us to Awakening, though the timetable for this extreme form of salvation is not ours, but God’s.

4 – ACIM and ACOL

The interpretation of the First and Second Coming of Christ, to my mind, unites both A Course in Miracles and A Course of Love, but the passage is from A Course in Miracles.

5 – Gladden Yourself

“Have you really considered how many opportunities you have had to gladden yourself, and how many of them you have refused? (T64)”

This is a message of extreme optimism. We can be happier! Jesus says that we have actually turned aside moments of joy, turning again to depressed thoughts. How wrong of us!

6 – This Day

It would be a useful practice for all of us to look upon the day as full of opportunities to gladden ourselves. Elsewhere Jesus asks us to think of pure joy and limitless release in our daily lives. This passage is a reiteration of this request.

7 – Mistake

It is a serious mistake to refuse to entertain joy. We make our lives much harder than they need to be as a result. Would that we might remember this passage often when faced with a day that seems filled with woe!

8 – United Minds

“Your mind and mine can unit in shining your ego away, releasing the strength of God into everything you think and do. (T64)”

When we shine the ego away, we are participating in the Second Coming of Christ. Nowhere in either ACIM or ACOL does Jesus affirm nor deny a physical embodiment of himself in the Second Coming. It is likely that he doesn’t know if a physical embodiment would be recognized in the probability in which we find ourselves. (Probabilities are exhaustively explained in Jane Roberts’ Seth books, an entity channeled in the last century.)

9 – Give Up Judgment

When we shine the ego away, we are turning light on our inner reflections. We are giving up judgment, the obvious prerequisite to Awakening. In fact, Jesus tells us in ACIM that when we give up judgment, we will awaken. But the giving up of judgment, so long cherished by us, is not always easy.

10 – Guidance

We need to let guidance direct us in all things, and in ACIM this guidance comes from the Holy Spirit, and in ACOL this guidance comes from the Christ Self. The two are not really different; they just represent a different place on the continuum of our walk toward home and Heaven—not after death, but very much in the midst of the life that we live in this world.

11 – Give Up Judgment

We think, based on ego’s thinking and the teaching of this world, that we aim to refine judgment of our own so that we will know how to best live. But in the Manual, Jesus makes clear that we cannot judge rightly, and so we must give it up. This is in direct opposition to the teaching of this world. He explains that we cannot know all circumstances, past, present, and future, that impinge on a given decision. So we rightly give up judgment, and let our “knowing” tell us what to do. This knowing is frequently intuition, though guidance does not always come as intuition. As we progress, the knowing comes more often as simple knowing that we cannot explain. (See “The Gift of Guidance” under “Articles and Book Reviews” at the top of this blog.)

12 – Disheartened

“The disheartened are useless to themselves and to me, but only the ego can be disheartened. (T64)”

This passage indicates another reason that withdrawal from the world is not recommended. We have a role to play in the salvation of the world. If we do not take our place, it is left empty, and Jesus needs us to take the role that he assigns.

13 – Ego

Remember that feeling disheartened is a function of the ego. In fact, it is one of the most common ways in which we are derailed. Ego-based action is always misguided; there are no exceptions to this rule, in the tenets of the Course.

14 – Ego II

We see, therefore, another way that we can recognize that the ego has taken over again. If we feel disheartened, we are leading our lives in the way of the ego. This cannot but bring us down. The answer? Give up thinking that we are more special than our brothers. We are all equal, though not all equal in time. Some have greater and some have lesser roles to play. Some are closer to Awakening than others. But we will all take the pathway to Awakening and find its conclusion eventually. That is what time is for.

15 – Temptations

“Watch your mind for the temptations of the ego, and do not be deceived by it. It offers you nothing. When you have given up this voluntary dis-spiriting, you will see how your mind can focus and rise above fatigue and heal. Yet you are not sufficiently vigilant against the demands of the ego to disengage yourself. This need not be. (T63)”

“Voluntary dis-spiriting.” Of course! This is what Jesus has been trying to tell us in these several passages with a similar theme. Elsewhere he indicates that the disspirited are not helpful to him, and we need to give up this emotion. Now we learn that it is voluntary. We can choose to leave this depressed spirit behind.

16 – Depression

Jesus places the blame for our depression solely on the temptations of the ego. Elsewhere he believes that we are strong enough to leave these temptations behind. Of course, we do not do it alone ever, and we do not have to feel that we are alone in this trial. The Holy Spirit will guide us if we let Him into our lives, if we turn to him often.

17 – Do Not Withdraw

Elsewhere Jesus also counsels in ACIM that we not withdraw from the world in our low moments. We will make more progress if we stay engaged. The only exception might be the need to take control of ourselves in a weak moment, but even this is a momentary withdrawal. And even the thought of taking control of ourselves is a little misleading. We are never alone. This cannot be said often enough. We need only ask for help, and it is there for us. Life then gets a whole lot better.

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

May I just give up feeling low, feeling disspirited. There is no need to feel this emotion when the Course tells us that we can feel pure joy and limitless release.

Be with me as I resolve to drop disspirited feeling from my range of emotions. I know that You will help me, because you have promised this to me.

Amen.

Definition of Atonement II

“The Voice of the Holy Spirit is the Call to Atonement, or the restoration of the integrity of the mind. (T74)”

1 – What Does This Mean?

What does it mean to restore the integrity of the mind? How much salvation does it take?

2 – Awakening

I think that full salvation always means an Awakening, but Awakenings can be rare, though many of us experience glimpses of Awakening before it is sustained (satori). The idea that the mind can be restored to its integrity is, essentially, a freeing of the mind from the ego. Once this has been accomplished, once and for all, and once we have relinquished judgment that the ego supports, the way is cleared for God to act in granting us Awakening.

3 – Holy Spirit

This passage sets forth the pivotal role that the Holy Spirit, our guidance, plays in restoring us to our right mind. When we listen to this Voice only, we are well on our way to peace and happiness.

4 – Atonement

Atonement is reached when we have made peace with the world and all who are in it. We have reached a state of oneness with all living beings. This does include our forgiveness of all with whom we come in contact, or even think about. Forgiveness frees us for Atonement.

5 – The Voice

We must listen for the Voice always. This does not mean that we are mentally ill, or that we are choosing a pathway that is detrimental to our mental health. The Voice is usually manifested in varieties of way, but mostly through an inner knowing that defies description. Sometimes the Voice comes through what is obviously our own thinking, but yet paradoxically a bit beyond us. We know that we are reaching wisdom that is not ours alone. We have reached to God, and He will guide us when we are willing to give up self-will.

6 – God’s Will = Our Real Will

God’s will for us and our own real will are actually identical. When we realize this, we have overcome a feeling that we are being pursued as Job was in the Old Testament. The Course says that we need not fear God’s will for us, that the Holy Spirit would wait for our willingness; He will not impose His will on us if we are not ready. Actually we will not need for Him to step aside unless we feel threatened. And this false sense drops away when we listen more carefully to His dictates. They are always for our good.

7 – Perceptions

“He [God] also blessed His children with a way of thinking that could raise their perceptions so high they could reach almost back to Him. The Holy Spirit is the Mind of the Atonement. He represents a state of mind close enough to One-mindedness that transfer to it is at last possible. (T74)”

This passage further explains how Atonement comes about. We reach a high realm of thought when the mind has been returned to integrity. This One-mindedness does not have room for conflict, for the ego to rear its ugly head. We are following in the steps revealed to us by the Holy Spirit, and this Way always involves a willingness to relinquish judgment of our fellow beings, our brothers and sisters.

8 – Unfairly Treated?

Of course, to relinquish judgment, we must understand that we cannot be unfairly treated (from ACIM Text). Our brothers and sisters are innocent, having done nothing to us in this world of illusion. We live in a dream, and it is a dream that we ourselves devised. We are learning, and we have developed the script for our learning. We wrote the dream. Hugh Prather says a good bit about this, and there is a quotation from him in a blog posting that I wrote which may be helpful. See “A Tribute to Hugh Prather,” which can be put in the search box for this blog.

9 – Comforter / Universal Inspiration / Holy Spirit

“I myself said, ‘If I go I will send you another Comforter and He will abide with you.’ His symbolic function makes the Holy Spirit difficult to understand, because symbolism is open to different interpretations. As a man and also one of God’s creations, my right thinking, which came from the Holy Spirit or the Universal Inspiration, taught me first and foremost that this Inspiration is for all. (T74)”

The Holy Spirit is for all. Make no mistake about that. All of us can and do experience the baptism of the Holy Spirit when we have asked for it. The Holy Spirit is our Comforter; he is also the Universal Inspiration. He is the link between God and ourselves when we have fallen out of communication with God. God knows that His channels of communication are closed, and He is lonely. He thinks that we are asleep and need to be awakened. And He will move to our Awakening as soon as we have removed the roadblocks to its realization.

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

Help me to discern when my inclination is coming from the Holy Spirit. Help me not to let my own thoughts interfere.

May I follow the guidance that I perceive to be true. This will lead me Home to You.

Amen.

It Is Impossible to Be Wholly Helpful without Being Wholly Harmless. The Two Beliefs Must Coexist.

“God is praised whenever any mind learns to be wholly helpful. This is impossible without being wholly harmless, because the two beliefs must coexist. The truly helpful are invulnerable, because they are not protecting their egos and so nothing can hurt them. (T71)”

1 – Helpful and Harmless

May we learn to be both helpful and harmless. This passage recommends that harmlessness is an attribute of those who are following its way of peace and love. We will not attack when in our right mind, though we sometimes slip up. We know that anger is unjustified, even though we may still feel it from time to time.

2 – Invulnerable to Pain

When we are bent on helping our brothers and sisters, we will not knowingly do them harm. Not only do they benefit, but so do we. This helpfulness renders us invulnerable to the “slings and arrows of outrageous fortune,” to quote Shakespeare. What this means is that we are invulnerable to pain from our egoic selves. We are leaving our egos behind as we embark on the pathway set forth by A Course in Miracles.

3 – Goals

So: helpful and harmless. What goals these are! And how blessed we are when, even in our imperfection, we reach those goals in our daily lives.

4 – Existence vs. Being

“Existence as well as being rest on communication. Existence, however, is specific in how, what and with whom communication is judged to be worth undertaking. Being is completely without these distinctions. It is a state in which the mind is in communication with everything that is real. (T70)”

This passage is often overlooked in A Course in Miracles, but it is a comparison of existence (which is of the ego), and being (which is of God). Previously, many of us who study ACIM might have made decisions about which people were worth our time. But this is a false distinction. We need to be totally in communication with all that is real—and individuals, our brothers and sisters, are real. We feel love for them, and sometimes we feel hate. But never are we indecisive about feeling for others. We may not know what to feel, but feel we must. It is locked in our bones.

5 – God as Being

We need to understand our being, which is better than mere existence. Another name for God is Being, with a capital “B.” And we are part of God, but we do not capitalize our personal, or little, self. We need to be in communication with others, giving them our love, not our hate. And we will find a way when we open ourselves to the Holy Spirit, the Universal Inspiration.

6 – Sharing

“God, Who encompasses all being, created beings who have everything individually, but who want to share it to increase their joy. Nothing real can be increased except by sharing. That is why God created you. (T70)”

Gerald Jampolsky, in Love Is Letting Go of Fear, put a great deal of emphasis upon the fact that the intangibles of God—the love, the harmony, the peace, the joy—are increased by sharing; other the other hand, material goods diminish when shared. And material goods, like everything in this world that we can see with our physical eyes, are illusion.

7 – Why God Created Us

Here we learn why God created us: to increase the real by sharing. He shared with us, and we are meant, ultimately, to be co-creators with Him. Let us hasten that day along today.

8 – Praising God

“The Bible repeatedly states that you should praise God. This hardly means that you should tell Him how wonderful He is. He has no ego with which to accept such praise, and no perception with which to judge it. (T70 – T71)”

I have often found this passage to be somewhat amusing. In our previous lives, before ACIM, we may have thought just that—that God wanted us to tell Him how wonderful he is, by praising Him. But this type of praise feeds the ego, and God knows not the ego. So we praise God, but not to appeal to an ego-less Being. We praise because we need to express gratitude for our own sakes.

9 – Lonely God

“The constant going out of His Love is blocked when His channels are closed, and He is lonely when the minds He created do not communicate fully with Him. (T71)”

This is an especially sweet passage, that God would be lonely if we do not commune with Him. Elsewhere we learn that He recognizes that we are asleep and need to be awakened. And He sends the Holy Spirit to show us the way.

10 – Internal Dialogue

We would be far better off if we carried on an internal dialogue with God all through our days. He will speak to us, and we do not have to fear that our sanity will be jeopardized. Indeed, our sanity will be restored instead. For we have been mad, quite insane, with an ego that has driven us to madness. Let us be done with this foolishness. Learn what joys await on a day dedicated to communion with God. We do not have to jeopardize anything in our busy lives. But the better parts of ourselves will be augmented.

Prayer:

Dear Father,

May I not lose my temper. May I remain helpful and harmless to my brothers and sisters. May I communicate with God today on an ongoing basis. May I forget not.

It God is lonely when He realizes that our channels of communication are closed, may we act today to open them up to Him. What better way to experiment with reality?

When I have remained helpful and harmless, then I am invulnerable to hurts as well. This is a great desire of mine. Thank you for helping me to be both helpful and harmless.

Amen.

You Retain Thousands of Little Scraps of Fear that Prevent the Holy One from Entering

“You retain thousands of little scraps of fear that prevent the Holy One from entering. . . .Watch your mind for the scraps of fear, or you will be unable to ask me to do so. I can help you only as our Father created us. (T61)”

1 – Anxiety / Fear

Here Jesus is explaining something that he discusses at length elsewhere. We cannot ask him to relieve us of anxiety or fear, because it is created by our minds. He does not want to interfere with the results of our thinking. Instead, we are to ask the Holy Spirit to help us to eliminate the conditions that led to our fear. These fears are ego-related, without exception, for love knows no anxiety.

2 – Daunting Task

It is a daunting task if we surmise from this passage that we must remove “thousands” of little scraps of fear. But the passage does not indicate this. We can easily remove them all at once, in the best case scenario, by asking the help of the Holy Spirit.

3 – Peace

Then we will know peace. If another day arrives, with more scraps of fear, we simply ask again. We cannot expect complete freedom from anxiety until surrender to God is complete, and this may not happen immediately. It could, of course, but realistically it often doesn’t, because we are very much still creatures of this world.

4 – Light

“Light cannot penetrate through the walls you make to block it, and it is forever unwilling to destroy what you have made. No one can see through a wall, but I can step around. (T61)”

Jesus is here giving us reassurance that he can overrule our propensity to build walls around us: He will simply step around the walls. In A Course in Miracles, Jesus identifies himself as our elder brother, who has walked the whole pathway, and thus stands at the end to correct any mistake that we cannot correct. He guides us in his teaching. He does not interfere with the cause and effect nature of our choices, but he does guide us to new choices that are better for us.

5 – Ego

Light will not destroy what we have made. Similarly, the ego will not be destroyed, but we will simply step aside from it, letting it wither from our awareness. This when we have realized that the ego never brought us anything that we wanted. Of course, we thought that the ego was bringing us what we wanted, but never were its triumphs not bought with tears of pain. Highs and lows are the only directions that the ego knows.

6 – Highs

We want consistent highs, and the ego, being egocentric and unsharing with our brothers and sisters, can never give us consistent highs. We are meant to be in this world with others, and we are not to think of ourselves more highly than we think of others. We are equals. At this point, some of us know more, temporarily, than others. But that doesn’t make us better. Those who, as the New Testament says, have been given much, will much be required. As we share with others, our life smooths out, and we know a harmony that was unknowable as long as the ego was in ascendancy.

7 – Jesus Speaking

“I can help you only as our Father created us. I will love you and honor you and maintain complete respect for what you have made, but I will not uphold it unless it is true. (T61)”

We have “made” with the ego, not yet “creating” as co-creators with God. We have made illusion. And Jesus will not uphold those illusions that are not dreams given us by the Holy Spirit—happy dreams.

“I will never forsake you any more than God will, but I must wait as long as you choose to forsake yourself. Because I wait in love and not in impatience, you will surely ask me truly. I will come in response to a single unequivocal call. (T61 – T62)”

8 – Single Unequivocal Call

I find the last sentence in the above passage to be one of the most reassuring in all of A Course in Miracles. Jesus will come to us—we know not how—but he has the ability to be in many places at once. And when we call without conflict, he comes to us, a “single unequivocal call.” What more could we ask?

9 – Holding Our Hands

Elsewhere in ACIM he says that we can imagine walking along with him holding our hand. And he asserts that this will be no “idle fantasy.”

10 – Elder Brother

Jesus, our elder brother in ACIM, is dedicated to us. He walked the pathway to the resurrection 2,000 years ago, and he is still walking along with us to better times. Don’t let your doubts get the best of you. Imagine that he is here with us, and he will be. Use your imagination. That is what we have been imagination for.

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

When I awake in the middle of the night, fearful, may I turn these scraps of fear over to the Holy Spirit for resolution. May I gently return to sleep, knowing that He is taking care of them.

May I have help in the conditions that have brought this fear about. Thank you for being there for me.

Amen.

Love Does Not Conquer All Things, but It Does Set All Things Right.

1 – Gratitude

The passages for today emphasize that our gratitude to our brother/sister is our way home to God. The way of special relationships turned holy is the special way that A Course in Miracles is saving us time on the road to Awakening. We may need to be patient, for God’s timing is not always our own. A short time to God may seem very long to us. Awakening is, to my mind, still rare in this world, though Eckhart Tolle (The Power of Now; A New Earth) believes that there is a speeding up of the number of people being awakened. He says that indeed this process must be speeded up, or our species will not survive. He cites the statistics on murder of our fellow beings in just this century as the reason for his cautionary note to us.

2 – Brother/Sister

Here is the first relevant passage:

“I will go with you to the Holy One, and through my perception He can ridge the little gap. Your gratitude to your brother is the only gift I want. I will bring it to God for you, knowing that to know your brother is to know God. (T69)”

The “Holy One” is the Holy Spirit, who sets all things right. There is a difference of opinion among ACIM students about whether or not God knows about us. ACIM does state that there are some things that God does not understand about us. This is a confusing statement—for how can God, who is omnipotent according to traditional teachings, not know everything about ourselves? The answer lies in the Gnostic interpretation of A Course in Miracles, which believes that we live in an illusion, and that God does not enter into that illusion. So there are, apparently, things that even He does not understand.

3 – Holy Spirit

But the Holy Spirit, given by God to us as a means to heal the presumed separation, does understand. And the Holy Spirit is part of the Triune—God, the Holy Spirit, and Christ. And we are the Christ Self, at least once we have walked farther along our pathway. The Christ Self was walked by Jesus, but he is not exclusively Christ.

4 – Universal Experience

But this is theology, and I would not stress theology, for there can, according to ACIM, never be a universal theology. There can and must be a universal experience, though, and A Course in Miracles is pointing out that experience. The means to Awakening are being carefully explained to us, and revelation may occasionally reveal the end to us. But sustainability of Awakening is what we choose to have.

5 – Have You Known of Awakenings without Pain?

A reader, yesterday, asked me if I knew of individuals, following ACIM, who have awakened without pain. I do not know of individuals at all who are students of ACIM and have awakened, despite having read publications of A Course in Miracles for years. Is this evidence that the way is indeed long? I think that it may be. But I do believe that we are being prepared. We are to awaken without a “scream of mortal fear,” and thus without pain, but the way may be long and may demand patience.

6 – Please Write to Me

If you, my reader, know of examples of individuals studying ACIM who have awakened, I would appreciate your commenting on this posting. Your comment, once I approve it, will appear on the left sidebar of this blog. This question is such an important one that I solicit your opinion and your comments.

7 – Love

“Love does not conquer all things, but it does set all things right. . . .As you come closer to a brother you approach me, and as you withdraw from him I become distant to you. (T69)”

Perhaps we have not come close enough to forgiving our brother/sister completely and unreservedly. Perhaps that is why we do not see Awakening happening with regard to studying A Course in Miracles. Perhaps too many of us are caught in “forgiveness-to-destroy,” which is a forgiveness that does not forget the presumed misdeed. In this type of forgiveness (which if not forgiveness at all), we think that the deed that has been done is something about which we have a choice whether or not to forgive. It further thinks that there are some deeds that are beyond forgiveness. But ACIM declares that pardon has a sound basis, that what has happened has happened in illusion, and that our brother/sister is innocent.

8 – Forgiveness

Would we not want our own misdeeds forgiven?

9 – Salvation

“Salvation is a collaborative venture. It cannot be undertaken successfully by those who disengage themselves from the Sonship, because they are disengaging themselves from me. (T69)”

We are not meant to isolate ourselves in this world–even to study A Course in Miracles. We are meant to stay in the world, and to minister to our brothers and sisters. Our brothers and sisters are the Sonship.

10 – Withdrawing

When we withdraw for too long, we also withdraw from Jesus. And we cannot do that, because he and the Holy Spirit are our guides to better living. He is the elder brother who catches us when we fall, and the Holy Spirit is the inner guide that leads us every step of the way–guidance.

11 – Sonship

Surely we do not want to disengage from Jesus. So this passage has a warning for those of us who would seek our own salvation and not frequently enough think of the Sonship. The two go hand-in-hand.

Prayer:

Dear Father,

When I am tempted to withdraw, help to remember my contribution to my brothers and sisters. They need me, as I need them. Salvation lies in our relationship.

May I learn from the Course with careful study, and then may I take that learning into the world. This is the solution that will work for the world and for me.

Amen.

Jesus: “You Are Asked to Live So as to Demonstrate that You Are Not an Ego, and I Do Not Choose God’s Channels Wrongly.”

“My trust in you is greater than yours in me at the moment, but it will not always be that way. Your mission is very simple. You are asked to live so as to demonstrate that you are not an ego, and I do not choose God’s channels wrongly. (T68)”

Affirmation: “I do not choose God’s channels wrongly.”

1 – Jesus

Jesus seeks to bring us to him in these well-chosen words. He assures us that he is certain that we will live without the ego, that we will first live as though we are without an ego.

2 – Mission

We have a substantial mission in this world. We are one of “God’s channels.” We are meant not to find our way Home ourselves, but also to facilitate the coming Home of our brothers and sisters. Jesus’s faith in us in intense, because he knows that the only way that this world can work is if we do our part to reform the hearts and minds of our brothers and sisters–not to speak of our own. When we do this, all will be well.

3 – God’s Channels

“I do not choose God’s channels wrongly.” This is not meant to be a call to specialness. All are chosen as God’s channels; all are meant to return Home. And Jesus says elsewhere that all will return, though it may happen over millions of years. This is not cause for despondency, because we have Jesus as our elder brother every step of the way. Our own way will lighten immeasurably as we learn to put into practice the dictates of the Course.

4 – Misery and the Ego / Joy and the Spirit

“I am teaching you to associate misery with the ego and joy with the spirit. You have taught yourself the opposite. You are still free to choose, but can you really want the rewards of the ego in the presence of the rewards of God? (T68)”

We are used to the ego; we do not think its dictates strange. But we can realize, if we reflect a little, that egotistical longings have not brought the happiness that we sought through fulfilling those longings. There must be a better way.

5 – Satisfactions

At this juncture we can see where Jesus is heading. The ordinariness of everyday life is where the real satisfactions lie. This, almost paradoxically, is where the joy of the spirit lies. When we experience this joy, we will be much more inclined to give up the ego in favor of something better.

6 – Awakening

How do we do that? Reading A Course in Miracles, really studying it, will take us a very long way. It is the means that lead to the ultimate revelation of the Awakening. We can truthfully rarely find anything better to do. But this does not mean withdrawing from the world. Our salvation rests in our relationship to our brothers and sisters in the world. That is, in fact, the means that the Course is using to bring us Home.

7 – Atonement

“I have said before that I am in charge of the Atonement. This is only because I completed my part in it as a man, and can now complete it through others. My chosen channels cannot fail, because I will lend them my strength as long as theirs is wanting. (T68)”

8 – Our Leader

Jesus affirms his central place as the leader here on earth in this passage. A Course in Miracles does not require that you believe this, though A Course of Love does. But we can learn more easily if we invite Jesus’s presence into our lives. This is not a simplistic notion. It is in line with traditional inspirational writings, but in ACIM Jesus elaborates. We cannot understand how he can clone himself all over, with anybody, but I do think that there is something to this. Use your imagination, and so if you don’t, from time to time, sense the presence of Jesus in your life. You will never be the same again. You will know that you always have a friend with you, when you make “one unequivocal call” (from ACIM Text).

9 – Pathway

Jesus is strong; he has walked the whole pathway. That is why it is so important to lean on his strength in our daily walk. “My chosen channels cannot fail, because I will lend them my strength as long as theirs is wanting.” What a joy to read this! We do not have to contemplate failure in our daily lives, when we are on the beam. We can recognize that our mission will be fulfilled when we stay in line with Jesus’s thinking. We do not have to fear defeat.

10 – Ego / Holy Spirit

Of course, we can still let the ego, and with it, egotistical thinking, encroach on our lives. But we do not have to fear that this will happen when we stay in close communion with the Holy Spirit, the Universal Inspiration.

11 – Higher Purpose

Keep in mind today that there is a higher purpose to our days, beyond the mundane of work and boring life. We can see a freshness about life that will not leave us, when we invite the Holy Spirit into our lives.

12 – Holy Spirit

He will not fail us. Try Him and see.

Prayer:

Dear Father,

Thank you for the joys of everyday life. I do not seek the thrills associated with the ego, because they are not lasting, and ultimately they bring unhappiness.

May I turn to the Course more and more often, knowing that, as I do, I will meet You there. May I drop the miseries of the ego and walk into the joys of the spirit.

Amen.

You Do Not Have to Learn through Pain!

1 – Awaken in Pain?

Many New Age writings emphasize the coming of Awakening, or enlightenment as a coming of pain first. Eckhart Tolle, the most obvious example of enlightenment in the modern world, endures great depression with accompanying anxiety for upwards of 30 years, before in one significant night, he fell into an abyss and awoke to find himself entranced by the ordinary objects in his bedroom. He now embodied enlightenment, and this all happened some 30 years ago. Likewise, I have a friend in my town who experienced three days of crisis that were filled with pain, and then she emerged into enlightenment. She has written a manuscript which details this experience. Her experience has also been sustained for more than 30 years.

2 – Our Way Will Be Different

Our way, when we follow A Course in Miracles, will be different. Jesus asserts that we are being prepared, the means are being given to us, to awaken without pain. It will be as if a light is turned on when we are dreaming, but instead of awakening with a mortal scream of terror, the means are being given to awaken gently and without fear. (These are all paraphrases from ACIM.) What a blessing this benign way would be for us!

3 – Learning through Rewards

Listen to this significant passage:

“No one who learned from experience that one choice brings peace and joy while another brings chaos and disaster needs additional convincing. Learning through rewards is more effective than learning through pain, because pain is an ego illusion, and can never induce more than a temporary effect. (T68)”

So we want to encourage learning through rewards, because learning through pain may be temporary. As we have seen with Eckhart and with my friend, the Awakening still may be sustained. But what a pity to let pain be the means! We do not have to let pain be the means, for Jesus assures us that we can have a joyous awakening, a freedom from pain. Both individuals whom I have cited knew joy as soon as enlightenment descended. But they knew pain just previously. Yet neither had been a student of A Course in Miracles.

4 – Revelation

Jesus says in ACIM that revelation may occasionally reveal the end to us, but to get there the means are needed. And these means are being carefully explained to us in A Course in Miracles. I myself have known two glimpses of Awakening, and, though not sustained, I remember details of the experience, the satori, and I expect that when Awakening descends, I will immediately recognize what has happened.

5 – Important Passage

The above passage is very important. It assures us (as Jesus also does elsewhere in ACIM) that we do not have to learn through pain. Here he even tells us that learning through pain will be a temporary learning at best. We long for a breakthrough to the joy that is ours to claim, and then the learning can commence in earnest.

6 – Peace and Joy from ACIM

Anyone who has studied the ACIM sincerely over years will have experienced the increased peace and joy that come with this study. Of course, if there were no peace and joy, the effort would probably have been given up fairly early upon discovery of the teaching. Not everyone, of course, finds his or her “home” in A Course in Miracles. But many do, and if you are reading this, it is likely that you are one of those who will benefit greatly from your study of ACIM.

7 – Happiness

Jesus would have us learn through rewards, because he would have us happy. Elsewhere he defines happiness as our function. This may be hard to believe for individuals who think that some sort of higher goal would not mean true happiness for the self. But the Self does not know this logic. Happiness is intended for us, even here in this world. May we go forth to let our light shine in the joy that the Course ;promises.

8 – Temporary Effect

“Learning through rewards is more effective than learning through pain, because pain is an ego illusion, and can never induce more than a temporary effect. The rewards of God, however, are immediately recognized as eternal. (T68)”

So Eckhart and my friend were experiencing, we can imagine, an ego illusion when they walked through pain to enlightenment. But ACIM aims at relinquishing the ego as the means to attain Awakening, and A Course of Love shows us what lies beyond the ego—the Christ Self, who will direct our every move into joy beyond description.

9 – Ego

“[Y]ou and your ego cannot be identical. You may believe that you have already accepted this difference, but you are by no means convinced as yet. The fact that you believe you must escape from the ego shows this; but you cannot escape from the ego by humbling it or controlling it or punishing it. (T68)”

This is a bit of a confusing passage, for elsewhere we deduce that we do need to escape from the ego. But if the ego is a part of our belief about ourselves (and it is just this), then there is another Self that has continued unabated during this time of separation from God (or presumed separation, a separation that has not been real). We need not try valiantly to cause the ego to wither away; this would only strengthen it, for this type of mental activity affirms the importance of the ego. And resistance makes what it seeks to eliminate. The correct method is simply to turn away from the ego gently. Try to avoid acting egotistically toward one’s brother or sister. We throw away our indebtedness to him/her when we act egotistically toward him/her. And this will never do.

10 – Head in the Clouds / Feet on Earth

Live with your head above the clouds but your feet on the ground. “Love and do as you will” is another statement that may be helpful to us. If we love sufficiently, we draw all good things to us, and we are less inclined to allow fear a toehold in our lives. The best way to live is to recognize that our purpose here is to live in love.

11 – Magic

And then all good things will come to us—magically, we might say (though this use of the term “magic” is different from the definition that Jesus uses in ACIM).

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

May I know that pain is an unnecessary way to learn. I ask that I learn through rewards, which is the only lasting learning.

What a grand promise this is! Thank you. That You want my happiness is a great blessing for me to realize. May I know that any so-called higher goals do not entail my sacrifice or my unhappiness.

May I live today in love. Love and do as I will. I won’t make mistakes with this mind slant, at least not when I am fully in the mind slant. Only the ego is capable of the type of mistakes that will separate us from God and the Holy Spirit. I would not resist the ego today, but would turn aside from it gently.

Thank You for Your many blessings. And I do know many, and I have known many. This encourages me to believe that the future is bright indeed. May my brothers and sisters see this brightness for themselves as well.

And may we thank You with heartfelt gratitude.

Amen.

Definition of the Ego

“I have spoken of the ego as if it were a separate thing, acting on its own. This was necessary to persuade you that you cannot dismiss it lightly, and must realize how much of your thinking is ego-directed. (T67)”

1 – Autonomous Ego?

How autonomous the ego seems to be! Yet it is only our own thinking, the part of our thinking that is insane. Insanity is a concept that some of us find hard to imagine; we think that we are thinking clearly. But, in the grip of the ego, we are quite mad. And in not thinking clearer, we give up any hope of Heaven.

2 – Ego Separate?

Is the ego a separate thing? No. We made the ego when we wanted to separate from God and His guidance. We thought that to be independent would give us something that loyalty and love for God would not. But we are never intended to fail to communicate with our Creator. We are intended to share with others, not to be separate and apart. And we will be unhappy as long as we cling fiercely to independence (or try to do so) and avoid God and others in our daily lives.

3 – Ego-Directed Thinking

“. . .[H]ow much of your thinking is ego-directed. . . . We cannot safely let it go at that, however, or you will regard yourself as necessarily conflicted as long as you are here, or as long as you believe that you are here. (T67)”

4 – Conflict

We do not have to be sorely conflicted, even when the ego is not dead in us. We can turn more and more to the Holy Spirit, letting Him guide our thoughts and actions. If we do not turn to the Holy Spirit, we ask for conflict, for how do we know what to do that will make it all turn out right?

5 – Intuition

If at first we don’t “catch” an intuition, then we can always ask again for advice. Jesus says in ACIM that we always seek advice before taking action, either of the ego or the Holy Spirit. We cannot take action autonomously. And if we are resistant to the advice that we get from the Holy Spirit, it would be wise to wait. If we have already forged ahead, then stop as soon as we can make ourselves, and then follow the guidance as we perceive it. Our perceptions can always lead us astray, of course, but our perception of what the Holy Spirit is saying is likely to be less wrong than is our perception of what the ego says. The ego advises to confuse.

6 – A Part of Your Belief

“The ego is nothing more than a part of your belief about yourself. Your other life has continued without interruption, and has been and always will be totally unaffected by your attempts to dissociate it. (T67)”

This is the best succinct definition of the ego in A Course in Miracles. “A part of your belief about yourself.” Such a definition removes some of the allure that the ego will continue to have until we have found our way home. It deemphasizes the ego as a major difficulty; it implies that a “part” of belief can be disrupted without too much trouble.

7 – Motivation

Is this true? Can we dissociate ourselves from the ego easily? That depends on motivation (a concept of A Course in Miracles). Jesus seeks to encourage our motivation to learn, and then, through learning, to remove the blocks to love’s awareness. Our guide is the Holy Spirit. ACIM spells out the means.

8 – Another Life

Very reassuring is the statement that we have another life continuing without interruption. This implies that there are parts of ourselves elsewhere, in other dimensions, but this is an interpretation, and A Course in Miracles is not specific about what is meant. We can hope that we have another life in other dimensions, the Self that we have forgotten in this world. Truly this is a great reassurance, and a great cause for giving thanks. We have not lost everything by the tiny mistake that we made when we chose this world of the ego over heaven.

9 – Escape from Illusion

“In learning to escape from illusions, your debt to your brother is something you must never forget. It is the same debt you owe to me. Whenever you act egotistically towards another, you are throwing away the graciousness of your indebtedness and the holy perception it would produce. (T67)”

When we love our brother/sister, we know that we are indebted to him/her for a good life, for we are not in this alone. Others play gigantic parts in what we believe to be our reality. And when we love, we see the good parts of others. We are not blinded by what we imagine, rightly or wrongly, to be their “faults.”

10 – Significant Other

This passage also suggests that our way is in our relationship to our most significant other—as ACIM says, our “brother” (which also includes our “sister”). This is the way of A Course in Miracles, and cementing our relationship to a significant other is how ACIM is saving us time. “Save time,” and “learn what time is for.” These are quotations from ACIM, and we are encouraged to take to heart the truth that time is to bring us closer home, to Awakening, to Heaven on earth. What better way is there to spent time? We need to help others, but we ourselves are limited in what we can do when we are still stumbling about in the shadows. “Love thy brother as thyself” is still operative. But traditional Christian orthodoxy has not always stressed the social gospel. The traditional indicates that we have to get our heart right first before we can make a meaningful contribution to the lives of others.

11 – “Holy”

“The term ‘holy’ can be used here because, as you learn how much you are indebted to the whole Sonship, which includes me, you come as close to knowledge as perception can. The gap is then so small that knowledge can easily flow across it and obliterate it forever. (T67)”

This passage emphasizes the distinction between “perception” and “knowledge.” Perception is our own contribution, and it is temporal. It is also often wrong. Knowledge is of God, and it cannot be effectively imparted to us as long as the ego rules. Miracles are perceptual, and therefore none of them is lasting. But revelation is of God, and is therefore knowledge. Of course, with our limited perspective, we cannot always see the difference between what is happening. We can ask, “Is this my perception or is God granting me knowledge?” Then let one’s heart be the guide.

12 – Knowledge vs. Perception

Knowledge usually comes as an inner process, a sense that, “Yes, this is right!” We are surprised by knowledge, whereas we often reason our way into a perception. Knowledge does not ask for the ego’s analysis, knowing that by definition the ego’s analysis is faulty, inaccurate, incorrect. Ask for knowledge of the Holy Spirit and do not let our mind run amuck with musings about the real state of what we are viewing in the world. Because we will usually be wrong. And we will always be wrong if the ego is, at the moment, in ascendancy.

Prayer:

Dear Father,

May I deemphasize the ego in my own mind, as I realize the truth of the “part” of me that it is. Something that is only a “part” can be overcome, with Your help, easily.

Thank you for the reassurance that I have a Self that stands above all the doings of this world. I do not understand, but I do not have to understand to be reassured that all is well in Your world.

Amen.

The Bible Gives Many References to the Immeasurable Gifts Which Are for You, but for Which You Must Ask.

“The Bible gives many references to the immeasurable gifts which are for you, but for which you must ask. This is not a condition as the ego sets conditions. It is a glorious condition of what you are. (T61)”

Affirmation: “immeasurable gifts are for me”

Reflections:

1 – Greedy?

Sometimes we feel greedy when we pray for something specific. This is not, however, the way of either the A Course in Miracles or the Bible. Here we see that asking is the way to receive. Actually, asking for something specific is the intended way for us to receive.

2 – Be Specific

If we are not specific, the Holy Spirit will need to lead our minds and hearts to know what it is that we really want. This takes additional time, time that we do not need to waste in such a fashion. If we want the “immeasurable gifts,” we need only ask. The Bible says, “Ask, and you will receive.” This glorious promise is in line with the teaching of the Course as well, as we see in this passage.

3 – What Gift?

What gift would you really like to have? If it is in line with our best interests, we can have it for the asking. Elsewhere Jesus points out that our Father does not give gifts that are not good to His children; He protects us from our own misunderstandings. So do not be afraid that you will ask amiss. Pray for His will, and the blessings will always be good.

4 – God’s Will and Our Real Will

The unspoken truth that the will of God and our real will is identical is implied in this passage:

“No force except your own will is strong enough or worthy enough to guide you. In this you are as free as God, and must remain so forever. (T61)”

5 – Imprisoned Will

Our will, though, becomes imprisoned when this will is placed in the hands of the ego. This imprisonment leads to terrible things, terrible pain. And ACIM says that when this pain becomes bad enough, we will be led to understand that there is another way. Tolerance for pain may be high, but it is not ascendant. We change our ways.

6 – Not Punishment – Cause and Effect

This is not punishment, but just the inexorable way of cause and effect. Jesus says a lot about cause and effect in ACIM, and he makes it very clear that he will not tamper with our mind’s choices until we see that a different way is called for. If he interfered with cause and effect, he would be tampering with a law of the universe, and this is not something that he would ever do.

7 – Joy

So we choose with our will. That will must be bent to the will of God eventually, knowing that that is what we really want. And the joy that we know when we have surrendered makes certain to our minds and heart that we have chosen correctly. We are free to choose, always. But ultimately, we will not choose to walk apart from God. All of us find our way home at last.

8 – No Preconditions

A side issue that is important to our study of A Course in Miracles is that we need not use our free will to put preconditions on God. He cannot even move to bring Awakening to us when we have closed off ourselves by preconditions. We don’t want to be made anxious, we don’t want to feel pain, we don’t want to have a scream of mortal terror when the light comes on. And when we study ACIM, we are promised that we will not have a scream of mortal terror when the dream ends and we awaken. The light will come on, and we will recognize that we are no longer dreaming of a light, but seeing a genuine light. And we will not fear.

9 – Mindfulness

“Let us ask the Father in my name to keep you mindful of His Love for you and yours for him. He has never failed to answer this request, because it asks only for what He has already willed. (T61)”

This is a plea that we remain open to God’s Love for us. There is no Force greater in the universe. And when we walk in Love’s way, we walk with a charmed life. We are joyous. We live in harmony. We do not suffer. Life is good, for we have found the secret.

10 – No Other Gods

“Those who call truly are always answered. Thou shalt have no other gods before Him because there are none. (T61)”

This passage is akin to the New Testament’s “Ask and ye shall receive.” We will receive answers to our questions, when we ask those questions of the Holy Spirit. Our problems will be solved, for the solution is always with the problem. So we need not wait long, unless we think (erroneously) that we have a long wait. The actual truth is that God moves immediately when we ask the right questions. This harkens to the first passage in this posting, which emphasizes that we have to ask for things from God. He will, however, in my opinion guide our thinking so that we stay on track. He will guide our thinking so that we know the right questions to ask.

11 – Gentle Way Home

This way home is gentle. The light comes on, but we do not scream. And Jesus is the companion who holds our hand on this walk.

Prayer:

Dear Father,

Help to realize that asking for Your gifts is not greedy. And I must ask if I am to receive. Guide my asking in line with Your will.

May the Holy Spirit inform my choice about what to ask for. Then may I thank You for those manifold blessings.

May today go well, because it starts off well. May I keep my mind and heart positive, full of Your grace. May I know that any and all problems have a solution, right with the problem. And may I open myself to find the solution to anything that troubles me.

Amen.

When Feeling Guilty, Anxious, Sad, Depressed, Not Joyous

“When you feel guilty, remember that the ego has indeed violated the laws of God, but you have not. Leave the ‘sins’ of the ego to me. That is what Atonement is for. (T63)”

Affirmation: “When you feel guilty, leave the ‘sins’ of the ego to Jesus.”

Reflections:

1 – Guilty

A reassuring passage, we are here reminded that our true reality is innocence. The ego is not our true reality. It is only a part of our belief about ourselves, a part that Atonement can and does heal.

2 – Anger and Attack

Guilt is frequently a component of anger and attack, two ideas that the Course says have no justification. It is true that immediately after an outburst, we are likely to feel better, but this does not last. Feeling better happens immediately because, as Kenneth Wapnick says in a recorded presentation, we think that we have gotten rid of the guilt. Have we? No. We have only vented. Soon the guilt at the outburst will overtake us again. Then the time has come for an apology to the one we have wronged.

3 – Atonement

So we do not have to feel guilty. There is a way out. Remember that the ego is a false sense of self. The real Self has been untouched by our guilt, and when we accept Atonement, we will know peace.

4 – Anxious

“When you are anxious, realize that anxiety comes from the capriciousness of the ego, and know this need not be. You can be as vigilant against the ego’s dictates as for them. (T63)”

Anxiety is a form of fear, of course. And fear and love are the primary emotions. The phrase, “capriciousness of the ego,” can be a bit difficult, but essentially it is saying that our egos are wily, and we cannot trust where they lead.

5 – Pills

Just as with sadness, anxiety is an emotion that most of us experience–some of us for long periods of time. Pills are not recommended long-term by physicians. So in this sense our medical establishment is in line with Jesus’s explanation that pills are a form of magic that work because we believe in them. Jesus implies that we would be better off without pills, if doing without would not raise our level of fear.

6 – Vigilance

Vigilance against the ego’s dictates is a call to action, mental action. We do not have to fall for the nefarious dictates of the ego, and we would do well to consider what some of those really are. Certainly the ego is in control when we are anxious. We need to consider whether or not this is really what we want. We need to realize that other people and their attitudes toward us are not the essential point. Our relationship to God is primary, and when we allow Him the upper hand, our anxiety about the opinions of others declines.

7 – Sad

“When you are sad, know this need not be. Depression comes from a sense of being deprived of something you want and do not have. Remember that you are deprived of nothing except by your own decisions, and then decide otherwise. (T63)”

This passage is part of a group in which Jesus negates negative emotions. He makes clear at this point that we make our own decisions, and we can change conditions that hurt. In particular, in this passage he indicates that sadness can be overcome, even when it is depression.

8 – Form of Magical Solution

Elsewhere Jesus notes that pills are a form of magic, but that they may be necessary if we are already fearful. They are an intermediate step that will assist us, still caught in illusions, to overcome what is wrong simply because we believe that it will work for us. Certainly medication for depression would seem to fall in this category.

9 – Depression

Note the explanation of why depression happens: a sense of being deprived of something you want and do not have. The vast majority of us can relate to this, sometimes on a daily basis–and certainly over our lifetime. It is a great relief to know that we have actually chosen these instances of deprivation. We are trying to learn something. The fact that we are learning through pain is not good, because elsewhere Jesus says that it is not necessary to learn through pain. Eckhart Tolle (The Power of Now) indicates much that supports A Course in Miracles, but his pathway toward Awakening was in fact through tremendous anxiety and depression. A later book by Tolle, A New Earth, makes this point even clearer by his explanation of the “pain body.” Jesus, though, would not have us take this route if we can follow him to the uttermost that he promises.

10 – Not Joyous

“When your mood tells you that you have chosen wrongly, and this is so whenever you are not joyous, then know this need not be. (T63)”

Our mood falls when we try to make decisions without first asking for guidance. Then we get that sinking feeling that we have made the wrong decision. That sinking feeling is frequently correct.

11 – Guidance

Of course, we cannot practically ask for guidance at every turn, but Jesus says elsewhere that if we set the proper tone for the day, asking for guidance at its beginning, and then again at the best opportunities, we will be well on our way to good days always. He says that the Course is always practical, and asking for guidance in every moment would not be practical.

12 – Holy Spirit

All of us want to be joyous. Staying close to the Holy Spirit is the secret to just that.

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

I am not joyous when I try to live by my own lights, leaving out the Holy Spirit. Let me turn to Him for guidance.

I can be joyous. Let me accept this as a lodestone. And I thank you for letting me know that joy is my right as a child of God.

May I turn around all these negative states of thinking and feeling today, right now. May I focus on positivity, not negativity, knowing that when I focus on positivity, I bring all things to myself that are good. May Jesus’s warnings be taken to heart. And may this day go well.

Thank You.

Amen.

The Kingdom of Heaven is You. What Else but You Did the Creator Create, and What Else but You Is His Kingdom?

1 – Understandable?

“It is hard to understand what ‘The Kingdom of Heaven is within you’ really means. This is because it is not understandable to the ego, which interprets it as if something outside is inside, and this does not mean anything. The word ‘within’ is unnecessary. The Kingdom of Heaven is you. What else but you did the Creator create, and what else but you is His Kingdom? (T60)”

2 – Not “Within You” – But “You”

Here Jesus clarifies a quotation from the New Testament: The Kingdom of Heaven is “within” you, but this becomes, in A Course of Miracles, that Kingdom of Heaven “is” you. This interpretation is theological, and we need to be careful about theology—not to let it divide us as students of ACIM. But, for those who are interested, I think that this means, essentially, that we are the body of Christ, or of God, that God does not stand outside His creation, but that the All is He. This differs from traditional Christianity, which sees all that is created as God’s handiwork, and sees God as standing apart from His creation. Here Jesus affirms, “What else but you did the Creator create, and what else but you is His Kingdom?”

3 – God Stuff

The “stuff” of the universe—the totality of all universe(s)—is thus seen to be God stuff. There are worlds upon worlds, much beyond what we can understand. But out of the void, the First Mover moved, knowing that He did not want to be alone. Joseph Campbell gives ancient myths that help to see this dynamic, metaphorically. The Void, that is God, felt fear upon realizing that He was alone. But then He said, “What do I have to fear? There is only Me.” Then he felt lonely, and so He decided to create from within His “body.” And from the undifferentiated Mass of His Body, He created the All that exists. And He is still creating.

4 – Prime Mover

This explanation is a very rudimentary form of explanation, something that we can hold to when we wonder about the Prime Mover, God Himself. It is not the truth, for our minds are too tiny to understand the truth, but metaphorically it answers some of our questions. The “you” in the following question is the One, the All, “What else did the Creator create?”

5 – Tiny, Mad Idea

So we move to the tiny, mad idea that we allowed to happen in our holy minds, the One that was the All, and then seemed to separate:

“You project onto the ego the decision to separate, and this conflicts with the love you feel for the ego because you made it. No love in this world is without this ambivalence, and since no ego has experienced love without ambivalence the concept is beyond its understanding. (T61)”

We thought that we would be controlled too much if we allowed God to direct us. We thought that All should not be One, that to express ourselves demanded diversity. And so the Whole fragmented. And the ego, part of our belief about ourselves—nothing more—separated. Even this was an illusion, for we cannot separate from our Essence, which is God. But we could think that we had, and in the thinking, God could experience with us what He is really like. We head ultimately to being Co-Creators with Him. But right now we are caught in “making,” not “creating.” For we make illusion, a dream.

6 – Love

Our loves are tainted. Our loves are not pure in this world. And the reason for this is the ego, which sees ourselves as not needing or wanting others. We try to be independent, but this is not the way of God’s creation, and so we fall on our faces repeatedly. Pain enters, for our will is no longer free. We are not listening to the Holy Spirit, Who chooses the best for us—the will that we would have if we knew what was best for us.

7 – True Want

“Love will enter immediately into any mind that truly wants it, but it must want it truly. This means that it wants it without ambivalence, and this kind of wanting is wholly without the ego’s ‘drive to get.’ (T61)”

We sometimes limit the love that we can receive by specifying that this love must come from a particular source. Such thinking usually signals that one is dealing with a special relationship, not a holy one. But the Course would purify our special relationships, rather than remove them from us by force. All special relationships are meant to become holy eventually.

8- Source of Love

We would do better if we did not specify the desired source of the love that we invite to come to us. Then the real world can deliver our desired love in any number of ways. Love is not always found in a special relationship, even in the beginning. The love of nature, for example, is a great healer in times of stress. The love we desire does not have to be always from another person.

9 – Love Is with Us

When we truly want love in our lives, it is there already. There are no exceptions to this rule, though the ego would often make us think so. God answers our prayer for love by sending into our lives the love that is ours for the asking. We do not have to plead or to struggle. We simply need to ask. And this is truly without the ego’s “drive to get.”

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

I do want love. I want love to enter my life immediately and unconditionally. I don’t want my ego to interfere.

May I drop all desires to have something that my ego dictates. May I have, instead, the love that You have promised me.

May the theology that I posted today be acceptable to some, and may others just drop it from their minds. We are not meant to divide ourselves by theology, but we are meant to enjoy a common experience. And You have pointed out that common experience in A Course in Miracles. Thank You. For this common experience is necessary, whereas a common theology is impossible for individuals with such disparate personalities.

Amen.

Forgiveness Is the Key but Who Can Use a Key when He Has Lost the Door for Which the Key Was Made?

“Forgiveness is the key but who can use a key when he has lost the door for which the key was made, and where alone it fits? Therefore we make distinctions, so that prayer can be released from darkness into light. (S-2.I.9)”

1 – Different Types of Forgiveness

This section of Song of Prayer confirms what the rest of the treatise says about prayer. This section identifies the various types of forgiveness, giving their distinctions. Jesus would have us release forgiveness from the shadows (“darkness”) into light.

2 – Most Insidious Form of Forgiveness

The most insidious form of forgiveness, the ego’s form of forgiveness is described in the following passage:

“Forgiveness-to-destroy has many forms, being a weapon of the world of form. Not all of them are obvious, and some are carefully concealed beneath what seems like charity. Yet all the forms that it may seem to take have but this single goal; their purpose is to separate and make what God created equal, different. (S-2.II.1)”

We are actually all the same; we are One, and therefore there are ultimately no differences among us. But forgiveness-to-destroy, being the ego’s brand of forgiveness, does—as all things of the ego—seek to divide, to separate. And God would not have it so.

3 – Free Will

But as a part of our belief about ourselves, our egos have a will of their own. And God gave us free will, never to be denied. He also sought to preserve that will in active ways. Cause-and-effect is one such effect with which Jesus himself will not tamper. It is a primary device of the mind, and Jesus will not interfere with our minds. So we must willingly give up our egos, and we have surely learned by now that this cannot be done alone. We need, desperately, the guidance of the Holy Spirit. And the Holy Spirit will never have us pretend to forgive offenses that we think do not deserve forgiveness. He wants all or nothing—forgiveness of the misdeeds (misdeeds at least as we perceive them) and a will to forget as well. Then we are home free. We have given up judgment, and with the giving up of judgment, the way to awake is near (from the Text of ACIM).

4 – “Better” vs. “Baser”

“In this group, first, there are the forms in which a ‘better’ person deigns to stoop to save a ‘baser’ one from what he is truly. (S-2.II.2)”

This is more elucidation of the “forgiveness-to-destroy.” When we think that we are better than another, we always think awry. And this is patently obvious to all who have studied A Course in Miracles.

Let us leave such foolishness behind forever, today. May we see that the equality of our brothers and sisters with us is a given. With that given, forgiveness is easy, because we wish that they too will forgive us when we have made mistakes. What we wish to receive, we must first give.

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

May I practice only genuine forms of forgiveness. May I know that all individuals deserve forgiveness, total and complete, and that to deny this is to fail to receive forgiveness myself. Would I allow myself to receive forgiveness? This I must ask. Thank You for letting me understand that forgiveness has a sound basis, that it is always justified, and that when we recognize that we live in an illusory world, we know that misdeeds have not really happened at all.

Be with us today, as we seek to forgive genuinely.

Amen.

Jesus: “I Need Devoted Teachers Who Share My Aim of Healing the Mind.”

I want to focus on several passages from A Course in Miracles in which Jesus is speaking directly to us about what he can and will do for us. They are as follows:

“I will substitute for your ego if you wish, but never for your spirit. A father can safely leave a child with an elder brother who has shown himself responsible, but this involved no confusion about the child’s origin. (T56)”

“I can be entrusted with your body and your ego only because this will enable you not to be concerned with them, and lets me teach you their unimportance. (T56)”

“I need devoted teachers who share my aim of healing the mind. (T56)”

1 – Reassuring Passages

These are all reassuring passages that indicate Jesus is aware of us, and he is able to be with any number of people all at once, a cloning, if you will.

2 – Ego

Jesus will “substitute” for our ego, when we still feel the need to have an ego. Psychology often tells us that we need a well-integrated ego, but this definition of ego is different from the definition in ACIM. The definition in psychology is a center around which the personality can well assimilate. The definition in ACIM is a false belief about ourselves, a persona that doesn’t cause our personality to assimilate properly.

3 – Difference

In this sense, the definition in psychology and the definition in A Course in Miracles are at loggerheads with each other.

4 – Ego re ACIM

We need to focus on the second definition, the one from ACIM. We don’t want to enhance a false sense of self, of the personal self. We want this false sense, this persona, to just wither away, and so we seek to turn aside from it to whatever extent we can at any given moment.

5 – Jesus

Let Jesus assume control of the ego that we recognize. Then the ego is in good hands, and we don’t have to worry about reinforcing it, for Jesus will grant us a positive persona that can give us good days.

6 – Ego and Body

We will not be concerned with either the ego or the body when we let Jesus be in charge. This accepts Jesus as a very personal friend, and this is all that he seeks. This acceptance is all, for him.

7 – Healing

When we let Jesus take over the ego, the healing of our minds is underway. This is the bottom line reason that letting go of the ego is so important.

8 – Healed Mind

And all of us want a healed mind.

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

May this day we listen to what Jesus has told us in A Course in Miracles. May we set outside any question that we have about the origin of ACIM. May we be healed by these words. May our day be a harmonious, peaceful way to follow the way of the Holy Spirit.

Be with us as we see an end to this day, a beginning to another one. May our day go well, in harmony and peace.

Amen.

In This World You Need Not Have Tribulation because I Have Overcome the World. This Is Why You Should Be of Good Cheer.

1 – New Testament

The title of this posting, a passage from ACIM, sometimes causes problems for students of A Course in Miracles, because it is a statement directly contrary to one that occurs in the New Testament. On a number of occasions, Jesus clarifies and refutes words attributed to him in the New Testament, but I do not think that a refutation is what is happening in this instance.

2 – Before Resurrection

In the New Testament, he is speaking before his resurrection. He says at that time that we will have tribulation in this world. But in A Course in Miracles, he is speaking after his life, death, and resurrection, from the Other Side, and he is saying that he overcame the world. He has made the journey before us. He has paved the way. So we need not have tribulation (a caveat: we sometimes do), but ought to be of good cheer.

3 – Tribulation

Why do we have tribulation in this world when Jesus says explicating in ACIM that we need not endure tribulation? I think that we don’t know any better. We use the law of attraction by thinking of disaster, and so disaster all too often comes. When we think of the joy that Jesus promises, we are much more likely to live a life of equanimity.

4 – Humility

When we have understood Jesus’s lesson, we will be in the spirit, and we will beyond humility. Note the following passage:

“Humility is a lesson for the ego, not for the spirit. Spirit is beyond humility, because it recognizes its radiance and gladly sheds its light everywhere. (T56)”

We do not have to worry about whether or not we are humble enough. The ego will always tell us that we are being arrogant when we claim “great” things for ourselves, but Jesus reassures us that it is not us, but the ego in us, that is really the source of arrogance. When we are meek, as Jesus encourages both in the New Testament as well as A Course in Miracles, we will know great things and not be moved, egotistically, by them.

5 – Meek

“The meek shall inherit the earth because their egos are humble, and this gives them true perception. (T56)”

True perception comes before knowledge, and knowledge is of God. Our true perception will not last when knowledge has arrived via Awakening. But most of us have not yet known Awakening, at least to be sustained. What may we hope for in that regard?

6 – Awakened

I think that the Awakened are meek people, and the adjective “meek” is not soft or downtrodden or falsely humble. They have let their egos go, and with that omission from their minds, they see truly. I know two enlightened people, one from books and one from my circle of intimate friends (right here in the town where I live). The first is Eckhart Tolle, and his accounts are engaging in the extreme. He is a distinctly and quietly happy individual, with no sense of ego involvement as he tells his story. He has sustained enlightenment for over 30 years, and so his experience is not just a glimpse, or satori.

7 – Personal Experience

Similarly, in the town where I live, my personal friend is to all accounts an ego-less individual. But she doesn’t push herself forward. I have known her for eight years, taking part in a writing group in which we share our impressions of religious themes. She always writes poetry that is deep and heartwarming. But I never suspected that she was Awakened until she requested that I read a manuscript that she drafted some 30 years ago. For several reasons, she has not tried to publish until now. But now she is eager to share her story. And I hope that she will succeed in finding a publisher. My friend’s demeanor is quiet and gentle. The words in her manuscript are convincing of her experience of enlightenment.

8 – Christ-consciousness

I feel blessed to have read, and to know, of experiences of Christ-consciousness. It gives hope to all of us that this blessing is perhaps not far away and impossible of accomplishment. But I hasten to add that we must be patient and wait on God’s timing, for it is He who makes the decision about when we are ready to Awaken. As my friend notes, God gave us free will, and if we impose preconditions on our desire for enlightenment, God will hold off. There must, in her belief, be a total surrender, no preconditions.

9 – Tribulation

Let’s return to the title of this posting:

“In this world you need not have tribulation because I have overcome the world. This is why you should be of good cheer. (T56)”

10 – ACIM Differs from the New Testament

This passage from Jesus is a paraphrase of what he is quoted to have said in the New Testament. But in the New Testament, we are led to believe that we will have tribulation. His resurrection is meant to counter all of that; the resurrection happened after his teaching that said the reverse. And the Course stands by the resurrection as truth. A Course in Miracles does not say if the resurrection was revelation or a miracle, but, given the definitions found therein, it seems to be a miracle.

11 – Avoid Tribulation

Tribulation is pain that we would want to avoid at all costs. Remembering that Jesus overcame the world, and harkening to good cheer are mental actions that we can take at any time.

12 – Be of Good Cheer

When we are feeling down, it is wise to recall such passages. We can conjure up good cheer, even when the day seems drab. It takes only a moment to recall us to ourselves.

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

Thank you that in this world we do not have to have tribulation. We can be of good cheer, because Jesus has overcome the world. Help me not to be confused by the difference that this quotation from A Course in Miracles constitutes from the New Testament. Help me to take from this ACIM quotation what it can do for me, something that is considerable.

It takes only a moment of reflection or of prayer to recall us to ourselves. We can know peace as well as good cheer, even in this world that too often seems filled with woe.

Amen.

Forgiveness Offers Wings to Prayer, to Make Its Rising Easy and Its Progress Swift

“Forgiveness offers wings to prayer, to make its rising easy and its progress swift. (S-1.in.1)”

1 – Justified Forgiveness

I return repeatedly to the truth that forgiveness is perfectly justified for our brothers and sisters. The bottom line is that none of them has ever done anything that has hurt us in our essence, because we live an illusion, a dream. But that does not mean that they could just do anything that they wanted, because it is a dream. They are held accountable for actions taken in the dream. But we forgive any negative actions, because we recognize that these actions are just mistakes, easily correctable.

2 – Sights Soaring

When we forgive, we set our sights soaring. Forgiveness helps US, for we are set free. Who has really been the jailor and the prisoner when we have held things against our brothers and sisters? A jailor must stay in jail to watch his prisoner. So too have we been in jail when we have watched over others whom we perceive as mistreating us. (These are paraphrases from A Course in Miracles.)

3 – Wings of Prayer

The “wings to prayer” that forgiveness offers are great blessings. It means that our prayers reach farther than the ceiling, metaphorically. I have an old family story that told of an individual who bent on his knees before the bed, to say nighttime prayers, and rose to anger and attack, continuing an argument that had begun earlier. My mother used to say that his prayers had not reached the ceiling.

4 – Conflicted Prayers

Be that as it may, the prayers were probably very conflicted and therefore lacked the wings that a forgiving prayer would have offered. So we are helping ourselves when we forgive; we keep our rights from being sacrificed (from ACIM Text).

5 – Misunderstood Forgiveness

“No gift of Heaven has been more misunderstood than has forgiveness. It has, in fact, become a scourge; a curse where it was meant to bless, a cruel mockery of grace, a parody upon the holy peace of God. (S-2.I.1)”

We, including myself, have in the past believed that a given action on the part of another did not “deserve forgiveness.” This was a very great mistake. All actions deserve forgiveness. We do not have to stay around, though, if the actions continue in the attack mode. We have to make a decision about whether we are better off with or without our significant other. (This is perennial advice of Ann Landers, the columnist.) But whether we stay or leave, we can still forgive. We can pray out our animosity. Norman Vincent Peale indicates that the prayer may need to be ongoing for a considerable length of time. But pray out animosity we can indeed.

6 – Disturbing Passage

This disturbing passage from Song of Prayer mentions a “scourge,” a “curse,” a “cruel mockery,” a “parody upon the holy peace of God. These are strong words indeed. We are in for trouble if we fail to heed. God would not have us fail to give full forgiveness to our equal. He would also have us will to forget the misdeed once we have genuinely forgiven (an interpretation, not stated in Song of Prayer). The only way, in my opinion, that we can be sure that we have forgiven is the litmus test of forgetting. This may come immediately or may lag behind the forgiveness, but prayer will always bring that day closer.

7 – Forgiveness-to-Destroy

“Forgiveness-to-destroy will overlook no sin, no crime, no guilt that it can seek and find and ‘love.’ Dear to its heart is error, and mistakes loom large and grow and swell within its sight. (S-2.I.2)”

Forgiveness-to-destroy is the ego’s interpretation of forgiveness. We still hold the “sins” against the other. We may say that we forgive, but we do not see ourselves as equals with the other. We see ourselves as better than the other, able to bestow forgiveness where forgiveness is not actually justified. Or we can withhold forgiveness. It matters not which we do, for when we have determined to remember the misdeed, not to seek to forget it, we have not really forgiven. We have bestowed “forgiveness” on an inferior brother, not as “advanced” as we are in spirituality.

8 – Foolishness

This is foolishness. All of us are equals, and ultimately all talents and gifts will be shared. Only time separates us, and time does not really exist (from ACIM).

9 – Not Worthy

So let us seek to eliminate vestiges of forgiveness-to-destroy. It is not worthy of ourselves, and it will not give us the peace that we seek. It is an example of the ego taking real solutions from God and then reinterpreting these solutions in way that will not work. We are duped into blaming the other, and when we blame we cannot forgive. We are as much victims in this scenario as anybody else.

10 – Holy Minds

We need to think of our own minds, holy minds given us by God. And we need allow no black non-forgiveness to mar the content of our minds. Let us seek today to be rid of the ego’s machinations. This part of our belief about ourselves—the ego—can be discounted, and discounted for all time. Awakening will ultimately free us of the scourge of the ego.

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

I would forgive my brothers and sisters their foolishness, their insanity, now and forever. Everyone does the best that he/she can at any given moment. There are no exceptions to this rule. And when I forgive, totally and without reservations, I am free to offer gratitude to others. This frees the way to happiness, great joy. I love more completely, and the one who benefits the most is not my brother/sister, but myself. Of course, the other benefits as well, for we are in this world together.

Help me to live a good day today. This day is a gift, for another day is always a gift. May I not forget to thank You for this gift.

Gratitude is a great releaser. It frees my mind to enjoy the day. It frees my mind to love. Thank You for these truths, brought home so readily by Rhonda Byrne.

Amen.