Jesus’s Difficult Words about Healing

“Healing is the change of mind that the Holy Spirit in the patient’s mind is seeking for him. (M20)”

Affirmation: “Healing is a change of mind.

1 – Of the Mind

Yes! Healing is a change of mind—not necessarily of body! So this is why we have hesitated when we approached Jesus’s words about healing in the Manual of A Course in Miracles. Seeing the body as an illusion, he focuses on the mind.

2 – Healing

And the mind knows healing.

3 – Emotions

This sets the healing in the realm of the emotions, which everyone can recognize is a much easier place to be than the physical. All too often we are “caught” in the physical, seeing effects of illness, and we cannot get beyond this. That is why we doubt healing because of continuing symptoms.

4 – Jesus

But Jesus is talking about a healing of the mind, for the mind, unlike the body, is real. Of course, there may be healing of the body as well, but we do not have to depend upon this to believe Jesus’s encouraging words.

5 – Change of Mind

This passage summarizes the idea that we have been exploring for the last several days. Healing comes about with a change of mind, a change from a desire for illness–external searching–to a desire for health. Nowhere is this concept made clearer in A Course in Miracles than in this one sentence.

6 – Health

It is clear here that the Holy Spirit is for health all the way. Yet He will not stand between cause-and-effect, if our minds desire illness. Even when we don’t recognize that we desire illness, this still is true. It is frequently an unconscious choice.

7 – Death

Death would best come by just laying down the body as finished, its usefulness over (ACIM concept). There is no reason for a prolonged illness to overcome us at any time in our lives, unless we mistakenly think that this external searching will lead us to what we need to know. And often it appears to do so. A Course in Miracles would not choose this for us, though. ACIM would choose health, and by reading such passages as this one, we can see that health is the choice of the Holy Spirit as well.

8 – Holy Spirit

“And it is the Holy Spirit in the mind of the giver Who gives the gift to him. How can it be lost? How can it be ineffectual? How can it be wasted? (M20)”

The Holy Spirit gives healing. This is familiar territory for us, for long have we talked about guidance and the place of the Holy Spirit in our lives.

9 – Giver

The “giver” is the individual seeking to be a conduit to healing for another person. We must not doubt; that is imperative. And we must recognize that the healing will be accepted when it is not a threat.

10 – Sickness as a Way of Life

Elsewhere Jesus talks about healing that must stand aside if an individual has used the sickness as a way of life. He notes that perhaps depression would result from a sudden healing, that the person might even attempt suicide, his loss being so great. So, in such cases, healing must stand aside as too dangerous for the personal self (the “little” self).

11 – Gifts

“What concern, then, can a teacher of God have about what becomes of his gifts? Given by God to God, who in this holy exchange can receive less than everything? (M21)”

12 – God Within

“Given by God to God” is an indication that God is within each of us. God is the All, in the interpretation of A Course in Miracles.

13 – More Certain Healing

This whole exchange about healing in the Manual is an example of the level of the ideal to which ACIM points. Some are ready to meet Jesus at that level, but some are not. And it behooves us to commune with God to reach that level of the ideal. Then healing is far more certain.

14 – Body an Illusion

Certainly healing is of the mind, for the body is only an illusion. So emotional healing will get us home free every time. We won’t worry so much, even about pain, for we know that we are safe.

15 – Home

We have found the medical treatment that works—a healing of the mind. Let the physical symptoms remain, if they seem stubborn. We have found the way home.

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

Help me to realize that true healing is a change of mind, and that if continuing physical symptoms are present, it does not mean a lack of healing.

Thank you for the many healings that I have known in my life. I know that all of them came from You.

Amen.

Is Healing Certain?

“Healing is always certain. It is impossible to let illusions be brought to truth and keep the illusions. (M20)”

1 – Oft-Difficult Concept

The passages for today describe the oft-difficult matter of healing from sickness, physical and emotional. We leave illusions behind when we accept healing.

2 – Jesus

Elsewhere Jesus explains that to doubt a healing because of the presence of continuing symptoms is not where we want to go. In the New Testament, Jesus is described as asking the sick, “Do you believe that I can do this?”

3 – Doubt / Belief

I think that this question is at the heart of healing in our day also. If we doubt that the healing can take place, then our doubt rises in ascendancy. When our belief is able to take hold, healing—either emotional or physical—is much more likely.

4 – Healing

So Jesus tells us in the Manual that healing is always certain.

5 – Terminal Illnesses

I do not understand this, for I have known individuals who believed strongly that they would be healed of a terminal illness, only to find that they died, right on schedule. I can’t get into their minds, to determine if their belief in healing were true, or only wishful thinking and wishful speaking. I have heard of individuals who went to great distances for dubious healing methods, only to fall on their face.

6 – Ram Dass

What is Jesus saying, then? I think that his healing may be of the etheric body. This is not so stated in either A Course in Miracles or A Course of Love, but perhaps we find that healing is of many different hues. Ram Dass once counseled a dying woman to do more living in her final days; she was spending all her time obsessing about her impending death. She listened to him, and she had a great resurgence of true living before passing on. This type of healing may be some of what Jesus is saying to us in these passages.

7 – All Die

All individuals die eventually. Most choose some form of illness to make their departure. This choice does not negate Jesus’s words; it teases us out of thought to try to understand.

8 – God Is for Health

Most illnesses, though, over the course of a lifetime, are not life-threatening. And many spontaneous healings do occur, whether or not the person invokes Jesus’s healing power. We must believe that God is for health all the way. Guidance will lead us to legitimate forms of healing, either with ministering physicians or medication. We need not be afraid.

9 – Threats

“Healing will always stand aside when it would be seen as threat. The instant it is welcome it is there. (M20)”

This is yet another of the very reassuring passages that are prevalent in A Course in Miracles. We can be healed if we are not threatened by that healing. We will often not recognize that we are threatened by healing; in fact, we think just the reverse. Yet, if we are ACIM students, and we trust Jesus, we should look deeper for the meaning of this passage.

10 – Depression

Elsewhere Jesus talks of precipitating a depression in an individual who is unprepared by a sudden healing. He even talks of the possibility of suicide in such cases. This is an extreme interpretation, but one that we would be wise to accept. Sudden healing can be about as threatening to our belief system as anything we may encounter.

11 – When Will Healing Occur?

The more optimistic way to view this passage is to see that healing will be “there” when welcomed. This is reassuring indeed, as we noted at the beginning of this reflection. May we ask for healing, and may we welcome it when we are confronted by it. Anything else is chosen by the mind for reasons that may remain obscure to us as long as we are in this world.

12 – Offering Healing

“No teacher of God should feel disappointed if he has offered healing and it does not appear to have been received. It is not up to him to judge when his gift should be accepted. (M20)”

“Who gives a gift and then remains with it, to be sure it is used as the giver deems appropriate? Such is not giving but imprisoning. (M20)”

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

Help me to understand that I am threatened by healing when I am not healed. When the fear is gone, the healing will be present.

May I realize that there may be continuing symptoms, but the healing is real. Thank you for leading me to understand this paradoxical statement from the Course.

Amen.

When We See that Sickness Has No Value: One Need but Say, “There Is No Gain at all to Me in This” and He/She Is Healed.

1 – Valuelessness of Sickness

“Healing must occur in exact proportion to which the valuelessness of sickness is recognized. One need but say, ‘There is no gain at all to me in this’ and he is healed. (M17)”

2 – Belief

Do we really believe this? If we can believe it, then it will become true for us. “If thou canst believe, all things are possible to him that believeth” (from the Bible).

3 – Not Everyone

Of course, not everyone does recognize the valuelessness of sickness. Some are learning lessons through sickness. Some are healed physically, some emotionally. And some do die, for most develop an illness as a way to make the transition to the Other Side.

4 – Healing Difficult to Understand

Healing is a part of the Manual that may be especially difficult to understand. We look all around us, and we see some brothers and sisters who are sick, even unto death, and we just do not believe A Course in Miracles when it says that healing will occur when the valuelessness of sickness is recognized. If sickness has a value to us (which it often does), then according to ACIM, we won’t know healing.

5 – Pain

Yet we can feel better. We may know pain, but we don’t have to know suffering. To my mind, attitude makes a great difference.

6 – Decision of the Mind

“The acceptance of sickness as a decision of the mind, for a purpose for which it would use the body, is the basis of healing. (M18)”

The body does not become ill all by itself. The mind controls. Always the mind. If we change our mind about sickness, very often we get well—emotionally, even if not physically. And this is wellness as well.

7 – The Body

We need to recognize that the body is not autonomous, though the ego would have us imagine that it is. Sickness is a powerful ego device that keeps us in bondage to that ego. We become weak, and we identify with the body in that weakness, and then the ego is, once again, in the ascendancy.

8 – The Mind

This need not be. We can recognize that it is the mind that makes these decisions, and we can turn aside from the decisions that we don’t want.

9 – Physician

“Who is the physician? Only the mind of the patient himself. The outcome is what he decides that it is. Special agents seem to be ministering to him, yet they but give form to his own choice. He chooses them in order to bring tangible form to his desires. And it is this they do, and nothing else. (M18)”

This passage states that any illness or medical condition is chosen by the individual. Having the “right” physician to cure one is a wrong concept. If cure is desired, then the right physician will be present, for the physician is the mind of the patient himself.

10 – Dying

We do not often understand this concept, but it can be very helpful if a loved one is dying. We can realize that, on some level, he or she has chosen this time to make an exit, and the best medical care in the world will not save that individual if he or she has determined that the time to die is now.

11 – Cure

On a more optimistic note, we can see that the mind of the individual can also cure. The illness may have been chosen for some reason other than final exit. There may be things that the individual wishes to learn from the illness. Elsewhere Jesus says that illness is some form of external searching. We do not have to search externally, but often we do choose to do so. This then becomes the reason for illness. A change in mind can effect a seeming miracle, but it is a natural law, in many cases, rather than a miracle. Of course, it is clear that our world does not yet accept this natural law or even know of its existence.

12 – Personal Experience

I turned to this passage more than 20 years ago when it appeared that my father, in intensive care, was dying. The words are very comforting. I could realize that he had chosen this time to make his exit. And I was at peace.

13 – The World Does Nothing

“The world does nothing to him. He only thought it did. Nor does he do anything to the world, because he was mistaken about what it is. Herein is the release from guilt and sickness both, for they are one. Yet to accept this release, the insignificance of the body must be an acceptable idea.

14 – An Illusion

The implied message of this passage is that the world is an illusion, and hence it does “nothing to him,” “Nor does he do anything to the world. If we can really see that we live a dream, we will be released from our guilt about what we have said and done, and sickness will disappear as well. The body is also part of that illusion, for it is part of the world. Only the mind and spirit are real, and we project the perception that we see outside of us.

15 – The Body

Consequently, the body is seen as insignificant in A Course in Miracles. There is a slightly different focus in A Course of Love, in which we are said to occupy, once Awakening has occurred, an “elevated Self of form.” The body is not so insignificant when elevated to the real world. And the real world is a place of harmony, peace, joy—the intangibles of God.

16 – Pain

“With this idea is pain forever gone. (M18)”

We may see the bad things that happen, still, to be learning experiences more than an example of pain. So much is a matter of attitude, and pain is an egoic notion that elevates the ego so that we think that we can’t be free.

17 – Holy Spirit

We can be free, when we follow the Holy Spirit, for our will is no longer imprisoned, and His Way for us points out the good, the true, and the desirable.

18 – Remembrance of God

“The final outcome of this lesson is the remembrance of God. What do guilt and sickness, pain, disaster and all suffering mean now? Having no purpose, they are gone. (M18)”

When we remember God, we are at home in His love. We have awakened. Any bad thing that might still happen will not touch our hearts. We feel no guilt, we deemphasize sickness.

19 – Heaven on Earth

The way is cleared to Heaven on earth.

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

Help me to choose rightly in regard to my health. May I realize that the power of my decision, of my Self, makes the conditions in which I find myself.

Thank you for this insight. I know that the little self does not understand, but my larger Self does.

Amen.

What About Love, Sinlessness, Perfection, Knowledge, and Eternal Truth? These Are the Son/Daughter of God’s Inheritance.

1 – Our Inheritance

“You may have noticed that the list of attributes of God’s teachers does not include things that are the Son of God’s inheritance. Terms like love, sinlessness, perfection, knowledge and eternal truth do not appear in this context. They would be most inappropriate here. (M16)”

Affirmation: “My inheritance as a Son (or Daughter) of God includes love, sinlessness, perfection, and like concepts.”

This appears to be a somewhat mysterious passage. Perhaps the best explanation is that these terms listed–sinlessness, perfection, etc.–are assumed rather than given to the teacher of God as a new attribute to signify his or her more lofty status. Even this description is misleading, though, because “lofty status” is an egoic concept, not one that we associate with the A Course in Miracles. Perhaps it is enough to say that everyone–student or teacher of God–has the attributes listed by birthright. This is the reason that the word “inheritance” is used in this context.

2 – Trust

This passage is part of a lengthy explanation of attributes of God’s teachers, of which “trust” is the most important. It is elsewhere explained that all of these attributes are achieved as time goes by and learning proceeds. Learning within the context of ACIM, it is believed that the teacher will acquire all of these attributes over time.

3 – Egotistical?

To acquire all of these attributes sounds daunting, and perhaps even egotistical. Yet it is anything but. No egotistical attribute is meant by any of the terms given in the passages in the surrounding pages to M16. God’s teachers learn what they need to learn to acquire these attributes, and, once learned, they will have left the ego far behind.

4 – Unlearning

“It is the function of God’s teachers to bring true learning to the world. Properly speaking it is unlearning that they bring, for that is ‘true learning’ in the world. (M16)”

5 – Questions

What does this mean? Why do we bring “unlearning” to the world, if we are following our mission?

6 – Self-Reliance

The world trains for self-reliance, believing that as we grow older, maturing, we will almost stand alone, certain in the truth of our judgments. A Course in Miracles indicates that we are not ever intended to be solitary creatures, that our relationship to our brother (and sister) is our way home, to salvation, to Awakening. This holy relationship to our brother/sister is the means that ACIM uses to save us time. We don’t have to spend long hours in contemplation, which can be tedious. We simply need to forgive our brother for what he has not done in truth, because we live in an illusion and in his/her heart of hearts, he/she is innocent of wrongdoing. (All of the ideas in this paragraph of ACIM tenets paraphrased.)

7 – Judgment

We don’t easily give up judgment. We think that it is personally insulting to give over our judgments to the one Answer, the guidance of the Holy Spirit. But do so we must, if we are to have a free will. It is only in bowing to the guidance of the Holy Spirit, who chooses for us, for what we really want, that we finally lose our imprisoned will and become free. God set the limits on our miscreation, for otherwise his creation would be flawed and fail to work. So all will return ultimately, sure finally that God’s Way is the only correct, right Way.

8 – The Secular

We may state this truth in more secular terms. That does not matter. God is God of the secular as well as the religious.

9 – Guidance

So we are bringing unlearning to this world, for the world and the ego teach amiss. Rather than self-reliance, we depend on guidance from either the Holy Spirit (as in ACIM) or the inner Christ Self (from A Course of Love). Once we taste the difference, we will not want to turn back (though we may, if we fall away from ACIM teachings). Our days will develop a flow, a smoothness, that will have us only wanting more of that smoothness.

10 – Happiness

We will finally be happy, a sustained happiness/joy that is unlike the cheap thrills that the ego offers.

11 – Forgiveness

“It is given to the teachers of God to bring the glad tidings of complete forgiveness to the world. Blessed indeed are they, for they are the bringers of salvation. (M16)”

All of us are teachers as well as students. The teacher of God teaches to himself/herself as much as to others—often more, for in teaching we truly learn.

12 – Time

Only time separates the teacher from the learner, the student. And time does not really exist, a tenet of modern physics and Einstein, and his followers, as well as A Course in Miracles.

13 – Salvation

We are to bring salvation to the world. That is one of the functions to which A Course in Miracles calls us. (The others are happiness and forgiveness.) We do not become overbearing, for not all are ready for our message. In a favorite passage of mine, we learn from the Manual that some of our brothers and sisters are ready only for a smile. We do not press, unless others express interest in knowing how and why we have changed. So to my mind a good example is one of the best things that we can present to the world.

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

Help me to realize that my inheritance as a Son or Daughter of God includes love, perhaps most importantly. I receive this and many other things as a birthright.

This is not egotism. I appreciate very much the gifts that are mine as one of Yours.

Amen.

Nothing but Sparkles Now which Seemed So Dull and Lifeless Before. And Above All, All Things Are Welcoming.

“Open-mindedness comes with lack of judgment. As judgment shuts the mind against God’s Teacher, so open-mindedness invites Him to come in. (M16)”

Open-mindedness is said to be the last of the traits which a teacher of God takes unto himself/herself. I wonder about that, whether it is true for all people. I have personally found other traits to be harder to acquire. Open-mindedness makes a smooth pathway in the walk ahead. When I am mellow, open-mindedness seems an easy way to go. When I am stressed, open-mindedness seems impossible, for I lapse into judgment.

1 – Non-Judgmental

Open-mindedness suggests a non-judgmental stance, and certainly judgment is a problem for many of us, perhaps most of us on the spiritual pathway. Hugh Prather says as much, in a little book entitled, The Little Book of Letting Go. He indicates that those on a spiritual pathway are perhaps more insufferable than those who have never given much thought to spirituality.

2 – Personal Experience

This attitude, expressed by Hugh, is a stern warning. I have thought back over some of the religious individuals whom I have known, and, like Hugh says, I have identified three deeply religious men (two of whom are ministers) who have particularly big egos. They are difficult to be around, because judgment is also a big part of their emotional makeup.

3 – Sanctimoniousness

We really don’t want to be like this. Sometimes I think that I would rather be around people who are not particularly religious, because they are more comfortable people with whom to associate. There is none of the sanctimoniousness that religious people sometimes exude.

4 – Judgments

These, in themselves, are judgments. I wonder how much others might agree with these thoughts. I myself struggle with judgments when I am confronted with seemingly irrational anger and attack. What did I do to cause this, I ask in vain. Probably nothing. The anger and attack are just manifestations of the depth of insanity into which all of us have fallen. We have to climb the ladder back up to sanity, but we do have help from guidance. It helps sometimes just to identify anger and attack, directed at ourselves, to be just madness or insanity. Then we are in a better position just to forgive without judging.

5 – Avoid Judgment

Judging should always be avoided.

6 – Peace

“Only the open-minded can be at peace, for they alone see reason for it. (M16)”

Affirmation: “When I am open-minded, I can be at peace.”

Open-mindedness and tolerance for the thoughts and actions of others are closely aligned. It is good to find out in the Course that open-mindedness will allow us to be at peace. Who would not want to know how to be at peace?

7 – Definition

What does open-mindedness mean? Basically, it is the contrasting way to say that we do not judge each other. We need a positive expression, rather than the more negative “do not judge.” And “open-mindedness” is given us in the Course. It is always better to state a truism in positive terms rather than to muddy our minds with the negative.

8 – Peace

We will be at peace when we embrace open-mindedness. Do we want this? Of course, and the Course specifies exactly how to make peace of mind ours.

9 – Forgiveness

“How do the open-minded forgive? They have let go all things that would prevent forgiveness. They have in truth abandoned the world, and let it be restored to them in newness and in joy so glorious they could never have conceived of such a change. (M16)”

This passage is a great promise and promises a great joy. To have the world restored to us in newness is a blessing, a boon, that all of us would want.

10 – Let Go of Judgment

What things do we need to let go that prevent forgiveness? Primarily judgment, I think. We need to avoid the memory of wrongs done to us. We need truly, as they say, to forgive and forget, remembering that we live in an illusion and nothing bad has, in truth, happened. Our brother/sister has been living in madness, saying and doing things that hurt us. He/she would not say or do those things if they knew better. We sometimes cannot teach them any better, and to do may be arrogance. We don’t have to make the way to Heaven plain (an ACIM tenet). We are not better than they, forgiving out of a sense of superiority. We are not superior in any way. Only time separates us from our brothers and sisters on the spiritual pathway, and time does not really exist.

11 – Spiritual Pathway

The spiritual pathway is its own reward. Others do not have to change for us to be at peace. We may have to distance ourselves from an abusive relationship, but we still can forgive even the heinous wrongs. We do this for ourselves as much as for the other person, who may not even know of our forgiveness. We simply walk a better path, a joy-strewn path.

12 – Seeing the World Anew

To see the world anew is what we really want. It can be done, and, when we are calm and harmonious, seeing the world anew seems the easiest thing out there. Stress is, to my mind, the great boogieman. We don’t need to let stress get to us, although sometimes this seems unavoidable. Anger and attack can be left behind, as many hours out of the day as possible. Our lives will be immeasurably better for walking the primrose pathway.

13 – Sparkling

“Nothing but sparkles now which seemed so dull and lifeless before. And above all are all things welcoming, for threat is gone. No clouds remain to hide the face of Christ. Now is the goal achieved. Forgiveness is the final goal of the curriculum. (M16)”

We frequently feel anger, and we attack, when we are threatened. One family member in my past was particularly vicious when threatened, and I understood this even as quite a small child, long before I discovered A Course in Miracles. Recognizing what had happened, the fact of feeling threatened, meant that the insanity of it did not touch me very deeply. I knew that in her better moments, the love for me was very deep. I could forgive, even as a quite young child.

14 – Forgiveness

The passage above ends with the a truth that we need to understand about A Course in Miracles. Forgiveness is the final goal of ACIM. We do not, in these books, go beyond that. A Course of Love does take us beyond, though, and some feel that this trilogy is a sequel to ACIM, that Jesus had more to teach us. The idea is that we seemed to have dislodged the ego, but didn’t have anything with which to replace it, leaving us still searching. In A Course of Love, we end the search. We are enough. It is time to end the search. We do not have to remain endless seekers.

15 – Single Aim

“Forgiveness is it single aim, at which all learning ultimately converges. It is indeed enough. (M16)”

Learning converges with forgiveness. A Course of Love goes beyond learning, though, and it would be good for us to review some of those lessons. (See the “History of the Blog” in “About Miracles Each Day,” and then refer to the Archives to get the right month and year for previous postings.)

16 – ACIM and A Course of Love

I wonder if Jesus changed his mind between A Course in Miracles and the scribing of A Course of Love. Was forgiveness not enough? I wonder deeply. Certainly we need to realize that we want an end to the endless searching for something more. Otherwise, we are never truly at peace. Jesus would have us be at peace.

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

Help me to be open-minded and tolerant of the words and actions of my brothers and sisters. May I not fume in private at anything that they say or do.

I long for Your peace. Thank you for giving me one more way that Your peace can come to me.

Amen.

TRANSFORMATION FOR EVERYONE

Note: I am reblogging this post from a new blog by Ann Glover O’Dell. Ann experienced a radical transformation more than 30 years ago, a transformation that has been sustained. Her blog is located at http://anngloverodell.wordpress.com. She plans to post once a week, often from her manuscript describing the transformation that is also called awakening or enlightenment.

I Am a Transformed Humpty!

Humpty Dumpty sat on a wall;
Humpty Dumpty had a great fall;
All the king’s horses and all the king’s men
Could not put Humpty Dumpty together again.

Thirty-five years ago I was dying. One of the two things I vowed not to let happen to me had happened. Cancer loomed large. I went to my pastor for comfort but received instead a strange directive. He told me to listen to the message the pain had for me. What ensued was a conversation between two parts of my personality which resulted in a cooperative venture that saved my life physically and allowed an entirely new personality to emerge.

Part memoir of a miracle and part unique insight into psychological phenomena, Humpty Dumpty Hatched: Transformation for Everyone has indeed something for everyone whose shell is breaking and whose wall is crumbling. It tells the secret that is intended to be shouted from the rooftops. No trying harder. No giving yourself endless affirmations. No getting busy.

As personal story, Humpty Dumpty Hatched suggests our kinship with the nursery rhyme egg, but unlike Humpty, our need is to break open our shell and allow a new being to emerge. A new being that is cleansed of anger and guilt. A new being that has expanded space for creativity and authentic joy. A new being that finds itself satisfied in merely being rather than needing to justify its existence by doing.

Meet the person I was for much of my life—driven, controlling, determined to have life work on my terms. Meet the me after of my shell-breaking, three-day crisis—free, laughing, whole, for all these 30 years.

My repeated question, “Why me? Why has this happened to me?” was, each time I asked it, answered with , “Why not you? Why not everyone?” And I realized that my story is intended for everyone.

Stay tuned next week for part of the Humpty Dumpty story. . . .

May We Be Faithful—Honest, Trusting, Gentle, Joyous, Tolerant

“True faithfulness, however, does not deviate. Being consistent, it is wholly honest. Being unswerving, it is full of trust. Being based on fearlessness, it is gentle. Being certain, it is joyous. And being confident, it is tolerant. (M15)”

1 – Dense Passage

This is a dense passage, dense with meaning. It builds upon the definition of faithfulness we read yesterday, and it is extols consistency in our image of the idea.

2 – Honesty

We have read elsewhere that honesty is actually consistency of thought and deed–nothing contradicts our inner beliefs and nothing that we do externally contradicts what we feel inside.

3 – Trust

Trust is mentioned again, as it was yesterday. We must place our trust in the Word of God to set all things right.

4 – Gentleness

Gentleness leads to fearlessness, because we are not always looking toward our backs to see who might betray us.

5 – Joy

When we are certain about the course that our lives will take, in love, we can feel joy.

6 – Tolerance

And then, finally, when we are tolerant we can live with the strength of confidence in our choices.

7 – Promises

Nowhere else in the Course are so many promises packed in so short a span of phrases.

8 – Strengths of the Manual

This is one of the strengths of the Manual, which can lead some readers to choose this shorter part as the one with which they begin. Jesus does not counsel against this, leaving it to the reader to choose the parts first that speak to him or her the most.

9 – Faithfulness

“Faithfulness, then, combines in itself the other attributes of God’s teachers. It implies acceptance of the Word of God and His definition of His Son. (M15)”

10 – Faith

We so often misread the concept of faith and faithfulness. In the Bible, we learn that faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.

11 – “On Faith”

Growing up, we may have rejected taking things “on faith,” because perhaps this implied to us that we were to leave our minds behind, let our intellect go. While this is probably a false conception, even when based on biblical teachings, this conception is totally antithetical from the spirit and words of A Course in Miracles.

12 – ACIM’s Take on Faith

In ACIM, we are not ever required to take anything on blind faith. We are led, step by step, to knowledge that we can accept with our intelligence even working overtime (unless this intelligence is overly informed by our egos). We are led to realize that nothing in faith need contradict reason, a tenet of St. Thomas Acquinas. We are led gently to pathways of faith. We are not ever chastised if we are not yet ready to a given concept. The Holy Spirit is eminently patient with us.

13 – Defenselessness

“Toward Them [God and God’s Son] it looks, seeking until it finds. Defenselessness attends it naturally, and joy is its condition. And having found, it rests in quiet certainty on That alone to Which all faithfulness is due. (M15)”

This use of the term “Them,” capitalized is a bit confusing in ACIM. It does mean God and God’s Son (and Daughter), as a careful reading will let us know. We do seek God; we do seek our real Selves, the Christ Self deep within us (a tenet of A Course of Love).

14 – Quiet Certainty

We do rest in “quiet certainty,” a wondrous concept. All of us thrive on certainty in this ever-changing world. Most of us don’t take kindly to change that barrels us forward at breakneck speed (though some of us thrive on the thrill of it all). Quiet certainly is calmer, and in this stressful world we often want calm.

15 – Peace of Mind and Joyous Living

Faithfulness to our curriculum in A Course in Miracles will bring us peace of mind and joyous living. This is ACIM’s promise, and the vast number of students of ACIM will attest that the books live up to their promise.

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

I can remember all parts of this great promise as I walk through the day. Forgive my limitations. Help me now to drive these ideas deep into my mind, so that they are there in my subconscious when I need them.

Help me to be tolerant of my own limitations. I know that in this world I will have limitations, but Your promises are sure, and I can depend upon the guidance of the Holy Spirit as I walk through the day.

Amen.

Do You Still Select Some Aspects of Your Life to Bring to Your Learning, While Keeping Others Apart?

“The extent of the teacher of God’s faithfulness is the measure of his advancement in the curriculum. Does he still select some aspects of his life to bring to his learning, while keeping others apart? (M15)”

1 – Upset the Apple Cart

In the beginning of our walk to Awakening, we remain careful not to upset the apple cart. We bring part of our life, sometimes the small part that we formally devote to devotionals, to our learning toward salvation. We don’t surrender all. Oh, we may surrender, even surrender anew, from time to time, even frequently. Yet in our daily walk we keep some parts of our lives separate from Who we perceive God to be. We don’t want Him “controlling” us.

2 – Fallacious Reasoning

This type of reasoning is fallacious. Only when we bring all parts of our learning, in life, to God and the Holy Spirit do we really make progress along the way. Although at first, selectivity in what we bring to God is almost inevitable, later on we need to keep a tight rein on ourselves to be sure that we are not falling away. We need to relax in God’s love, knowing that nothing that the Holy Spirit bids us to do will undo us. Of course, we are fallible, and so we can misconstrue the Holy Spirit’s messages—His guidance—but not for long, if we stay close to the Divine. We will get hints that what we are about to say or do is not kosher.

3 – Judgment

At first we don’t give up judgment very readily; at first we don’t choose guidance consistently. This is because the world’s training has consisted of reliance upon judgment, our own judgment, about what to do or say. As we grow, we think that we are honing judgment to be a more complete and competent person. Eventually, we think, we will stand on our own two feet, not making mistakes, or at least not making as many.

4 – False Persona

This is wrong, for this type of thinking is of the false persona that we have adopted that is the ego. The ego is a part of our belief about ourselves, but a false part. The definition of the ego in A Course in Miracles is, I am quick to say, not the definition of Freud. He saw a strong ego as necessary to our effective survival and our living. But he defined ego differently. Freud saw ego as a unifying, coalescing piece of the psyche that mitigated between the id and the superego. A Course in Miracles, in contrast, sees the ego as a false persona, but one that we all develop. Yet life constantly undoes this false persona, because that is the way that life is set up. The ego, constantly being undone, throws us on a shift between joy (false joy) and despair. The thrills that the ego shows us in our dramas always cause tears of pain. ACIM notes that every flight of joy is matched by these tears of pain, bought at the cost of tears.

5 – Why?

Do we really want to live this way?

6 – Faithfulness

“Faithfulness is the teacher of God’s trust in the Word of God to set all things right; not some, but all. (M15)”

To believe the Course in all situations is to remain faithful to its tenets. This makes us faithful followers of its tenets. This only is faithfulness.

7 – All Things Set Right

We must believe that all things will be set right, not in some far-off future, but here and now. It all has to do with our perception. We project what we perceive (a Course tenet). If we can believe that the Word of God will set all things right, we do not have to take upon ourselves the “sins” of the world.

8 – Trust

“Trust” is mentioned in this passage. Elsewhere we learn that trust is the bedrock of the teacher of God’s faith. If trust goes, all else follows. We lose our faith, and we have slipped once again into egoistic thinking. If we attack, make judgments, or plan defenses against an unknown future, we have lost our way. We need to regain trust, and study of the Course is our way, our way Home.

9 – One Answer

“To give up all problems to one Answer is to reverse the thinking of the world entirely. And that alone is faithfulness. (M15)”

This passage identifies the giving up of self-control is favor of God-control, or control by the Holy Spirit, through our willingness to be led. Most people make this shift only very gradually, because the shift is seen by us, in the throes of the ego, to be personally insulting (a Manual tenet). The world has taught us to rely on our own judgment; we do, usually, not easily give this choice up, and we usually do so only in fragments. We choose some aspects of life to bring to the Holy Spirit, keeping carefully limited what we “tell” Him.

10 – Happiness

This is not the way to live well! All of us want to live well. Indeed, the Workbook, as well as other parts of ACIM, counsel us that happiness is God’s one intention for us. We may question this, thinking that happiness is not a lofty goal. Yet can we really help others from a position of misery? In such states of downtrodden living, we are normally turned inward on ourselves, and only begrudgingly offer solace to others at all. When I was in my early twenties, and in the grip of neurosis, I was not outgoing, and I did not like other people to the extent that would be normal. I felt that it was all that I could do to keep myself going, to solve my own problems. Little did I realize at the time that turning outward miraculously cures neurosis, curing personal problems at the same time.

11 – Readiness

“Yes each degree, however, small, is worth achieving. Readiness, as the text notes, is not mastery. (M15)”

God will take us where we are and go from there. When we are in readiness, the miracle happens. We are still a long way from mastery, but we need, at least, to cultivate readiness.

12 – Guidance

Readiness means that we do make a decision to follow guidance of the Holy Spirit in our daily lives. We develop flow, and flow feeds on itself. We have a good day in flow, and the next day we want to have yet another good day in flow. “In flow” means that we move freely throughout our day, choosing easily because we are in constant touch with the Divine.

There is no better way to live.

Prayer

Dear Father/Mother,

May I acquire this faithfulness that You describe. May I have the trust that You will set all things right.

If I study the Course, I will come to understand faithfulness. I do not fully understand now, but I hope to do so, with Your help. Help me to understand the Word of God in this matter of setting all things right.

Amen.

The Gentle Have No Pain. Why Would They Not Be Joyous?

1 – Beloved

“The gentle have no pain. They cannot suffer. Why would they not be joyous? They are sure they are beloved and must be safe. (M13)”

Gentleness works. On the days that I am most gentle, I walk a smooth pathway. Nothing fazes me. Life is good. Part of this blessing is that I know that I am safe in this world, regardless of what the world throws at me.

2 – Safety

You are safe also. All of us are equal children of God, receiving equal blessings when we come to ourselves enough to ask for those blessings. But we must ask. The Bible is filled with examples of blessings that can be ours, but for which we must ask (ACIM tenet).

3 – Greedy?

We are not being greedy when we ask for what God wants for us anyway. He wants all good for us. Never is He guilty of bringing to us pain; we do this to ourselves.

4 – Personal Experience

When I was growing up, I did not want to be greedy in any sense at all. My mother told me that she and my father had a hard time knowing what Santa should bring, because I would not name what I wanted.

5 – Personal Experience II

Later on, when I was 25, I saw a vision (hallucination) of my bad karma, and it was the fact that I wanted to “get mine.” This is technically called “rapaciousness,” and William Faulkner, Nobel Prize laureate, has a great deal to say about this character trait. It is wanting for self, a reaching forth in a negative fashion. Loosely understood, it is greed.

6 – Restlessness

But gentleness quells all this restlessness to “have.” It is quite true that God wants us to have everything good, and we will not be satisfied until we do have everything. The ego tells us that sometimes we separate out something very desirable (from the ego’s standpoint) as if to say that having this one thing, we will forego all other (ACIM paraphrase). Yet this fails to satisfy, if we succeed in getting this desired goal. For we want everything, and everything does belong to us in truth.

7 – Joy

“Joy goes with gentleness as surely as grief attends attack. (M13)”

We will be happy if we can remain gentle; this is joy. We will certainly feel remorse, at least later on, if we succumb to attack; this is the tragedy of grief experienced.

8 – Attack

It is true that momentarily after attack, we may feel better, not worse. This is because we think, erroneously, that we have gotten rid of the guilt that has otherwise dogged us on our paths. But we haven’t really gotten rid of the guilt. It has, instead, become enhanced through our giving in to attack. This is the folly that we don’t see when suddenly we “see red.”

9 – Find the Gentleness

To find the joy, we must find the gentleness. To remove the grief, we must disavow attack. This formula works in daily life. Why don’t we all give it a try?

“God’s teachers trust in Him. And they are sure His Teacher goes before them, making sure no harm can come to them. They hold His gifts and follow in His way, because God’s Voice directs them in all things. (M13)”

Yet another passage affirming the validity of guidance by the Holy Spirit, Who is identified here as God’s Voice, we know that this is true—if we have studied A Course in Miracles to any extent at all. The Holy Spirit, to Whom we give up our own puny judgment, gives us our real will. And we are made happy in this exchange.

10 – No Harm!

No harm! Yes! Even bad things lose their sting. We know that our real Self, the Christ within, cannot be harmed in any way. Let the world do what it will, we are safe.

11 – Song of Thanks

“Joy is their song of thanks. . . .How joyous it is to share the purpose of salvation! (M13)”

Would it not be a wonderful thing to be joyous all the time! That is indeed the very blessing that is held out to us in Awakening. I have a friend who experienced Awakening some 30 years ago, and she is a prime example of happiness in life. The negative does not hurt her at all. She sees the bigger picture.

12 – Awakening

And so can we all, even before we experience enlightenment. Enlightenment is increasing in numbers, according to Eckhart Tolle, but is still comparatively rare. Let us run with patience the race that is set before us (from the Bible), knowing what the glorious end will be.

Dear Father/Mother,

May I give up attack in all my dealings with my brothers and sisters. This one step will give me joy. Gentleness will also accompany this change in me.

Thank you for the courage to give up attack. Help me to realize that it offers nothing that I want, and everything that I do not want. Lead me along Your pathway to joy, led by the gentleness that You will help me to acquire.

Amen.

God’s Teachers Are Wholly Gentle. They Need the Strength of Gentleness, for It Is in This that Salvation Becomes Easy.

1 – Harmfulness

“No teacher of God but must learn,–and fairly early in his training,–that harmfulness completely obliterates his function from his awareness. It will make him confused, fearful, angry and suspicious. (M13)”

Certainly, if we think about it, we know the truth of this passage. When we have dipped or dropped into a negative mood, everything looks black. We are courting depression.

2 – Reaping the Results

If we do harm to another or to ourselves even in a thought, we will reap the result. We will become confused about our purpose because we will start being suspicious, even paranoid. We will become fearful, because we don’t know where the next attack will appear—and it will appear. When we become fearful, we are stressed, and stress (at least in my experience) nearly always produces anger, even attack.

3 – Nobody Wants to Live This Way

Nobody wants to live this way. We do not wish to do harm to others or ourselves, and we are given in A Course in Miracles the way to live so that we lives harmlessly. The Manual of ACIM is especially helpful in this regard, including most especially the passages on giving up judgment and living in the guidance of the Holy Spirit.

4 – Pray Harmlessly

If we pray to live harmlessly, our prayer is in accord with what God wishes for us, and we will walk a primrose path. Our prayer WILL be answered, being the divine Way. Let’s make a decision today to live in the Presence of the Divine, of God, and all of the subsequent decisions will be ever so much better.

5 – God’s Teacher

“Nor can God’s Teacher be heard at all, except by those who realize that harm can actually achieve nothing. No gain can come of it. (M13)”

We lose the guidance of the Holy Spirit, God’s Teacher, when our minds dip into harm. He simply departs from us, knowing, probably, that we are temporarily unable to access our better nature, the nature of the indwelling Spirit of Universal Inspiration. We will feel bereft, especially once we have become accustomed to hearing God’s Voice (the Holy Spirit).

6 – Voice?

Note that in all likelihood we don’t actually hear a voice. We might worry about our sanity if we did. My own sense of the Holy Spirit comes through intuitive feeling, a knowing, or my own thinking that enters my mind when I am not consciously choosing to think of a given puzzle in my life, a given decision that I want to make about what to say or do next. I used to have feelings almost exclusively. The internal “thinking” mode has come to me only in the last few years, and I have not truly known how to interpret this. I have never read anything like it, though surely the phenomenon is commonplace. I have wondered if this new phenomenon is akin to the thesis set forth by Julian Jaynes in The Origin of Consciousness in the Breakdown of the Bicameral Mind.

7 – Julian Jaynes

Julian, since the seventies, has enjoyed quite a following in some circles. He hypothesized that the ancients thought differently from us because they had not yet developed consciousness; they hallucinated voices, and these voices were largely auditory. His thesis explains the many passages in the Old Testament in which we are told that “God spoke” to individuals. The theory cannot be disproved; nobody can know what thinking was really like in the distant past.

8 – Madness

But surely there are times we ourselves may experience something similar, something similar even in our relative sanity. I say “relative,” because ACIM notes that all of us who have not yet awakened are mad, to one degree or another. We are not living as ultimate salvation would have us live. Yet there are degrees of insanity, and we live more and more sanely when we follow the Holy Spirit’s directives. We learn that gentleness really works.

9 – Wholly Gentle

“. . .God’s teachers are wholly gentle. They need the strength of gentleness, for it is in this that the function of salvation becomes easy. (M13)”

10 – Consoling

This is a consoling passage. Which of us would not want to be gentle, to feel gentleness?

11 – Strength of Gentleness

When we learn, through this passage, that the strength of gentleness helps us in salvation, then our motivation to become gentle multiplies.

12 – No Anger and No Attack

To be wholly gentle is not to attack and not to act on anger. Both are lamented elsewhere in the Course as not being justified under any circumstances. How so? Our brothers and sisters are innocent of sin (though perhaps not of having made mistakes). When we can see the innocence of others, we are well of our way to becoming gentle in our interactions with them.

13 – Praying

Gentleness is a trait much to be admired. We do not often pray for this, perhaps, but perhaps we should. In it are found many of the other traits that we do aspire, frequently, to have.

14 – Might of God’s Teachers

“The might of God’s teachers lies in their gentleness, for they have understood their evil thoughts came neither from God’s Son nor his Creator. Thus did they join their thoughts with Him who is their Source. And so their will, which always was His Own, is free to be itself. (M13)”

Our will becomes free, no longer imprisoned, when we realize that God’s Will and our real will are actually identical. The Holy Spirit chooses for us. We are not lost in a quandary of false values and false decision-making points. We don’t have to feel like Jonah. We actually do what we truly want when we follow the guidance that comes to us, guidance that we do test out, because we can still be mistaken in our choices.

15 – Harmfulness of the Ego

If the guidance that comes to us is of no harm to another, we are on the right track normally. Any harmfulness is of the ego, and we are trying to let the ego wither away.

16 – Our Path

Gentleness is our path now. Let’s make a decision to react gently to any and all circumstances, to any and all circumstances that we can.

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

I ask for gentleness, for in gentleness is the function of salvation made easy. I pray for Your help to allow gentle thoughts and actions in my life and the lives of those I touch.

May I be a teacher of God. This is something that Jesus would have me to be, and I pray that I am doing what is necessary to be such a teacher.

Amen.

Steps on the Way toward Awakening

1 – Period of Undoing

“First, they must go through what might be called ‘a period of undoing.’ This need not be painful, but it usually is so experienced. (M10)”

At this point in the development of trust, the movement toward Awakening, we find that many of things in which we placed great value are, very suddenly, no longer in our lives. We may experience substantial grief at this point.

This period of undoing may occur relatively early in one’s life. College is an awakening experience, in another sense, and the changes that one undergoes are not always happy. We may lose touch with our treasured friends from high school, college may be much tougher than high school, and all in all we experience identity crises as the old props of home and family are removed.

Not everybody, of course, goes through this stage at this point in life. There are many variations.

2 – Period of Sorting Out

“Next, the teacher of God must go through ‘a period of sorting out.’ This is always somewhat difficult because, having learned that the changes in his life are always helpful, he must now decide all things on the basis of whether they increase the helpfulness or hamper it. (M10)”

Once the props have been removed, we need a new stasis of personality, a new way to accept the life that we have been given. One important made in the Manual, in this passage, is that we have here learned that all changes are always helpful. This is akin to the biblical injunction, “All things work together for good to them that love God, to them that are the called according to His purpose.” This quotation meant a great deal to me when I was going through this step.

We do not have to fret. We will come through this mixed up period and be the stronger for it.

3 – Period of Relinquishment

“The third stage through which the teacher of God must go can be called ‘a period of relinquishment.’ If this is interpreted a giving up the desirable, it will engender enormous conflict. (M10)”

Sometimes we have to give up something that seems, at the point, very precious to us. We may be asked to follow God’s will, as we perceive it, without reassurances that all is well. God sometimes withdraws and lets us make our own decisions. While guidance is very much a part of this step, it does not mean that we understand the “why” of what we are being asked to say and do. I think very often we don’t. We follow blindly, if we stay true to the pathway. We know what we are to do, but we may not fully want to do it, not yet realizing that God’s will for us is always our real will (ACIM tenet).

4 – Period of Settling Down

“Now comes ‘a period of settling down.’ This is a quiet time, in which the teacher of God rests a while in reasonable peace. Now he consolidates his learning. (M10 – M11)”

We do have periods of respite on this gentle path to Awakening. This identifies such a time. We are told, shortly after this passage, that we will go on from here with “mighty companions.” This seems to indicate help from the Other Side, whether angels or not is not clear. We may be helped by Teachers of teachers, those who have gone on to beyond this life to help those of us still left behind (ACIM tenet).

We need these quiet times, for without them the way would be too arduous, and we might drop out—choosing to make our way blindly, without listening to the Holy Spirit. We might lose our way on the path to Awakening. There are no guarantees.

5 – What Do We Really Want?

“And now he must attain a state that may remain impossible to reach for a long, long time. He must learn to lay all judgment aside, and ask only what he really wants in every circumstance. Were not each step in this direction so heavily reinforced, it would be hard indeed! (M11)”

This is the real disappearance of the ego, in my understanding. What one really wants is not egoistic things of this world, yet the call of the ego has been strong in us, and we relinquish the things of this world with some struggle.

What do we really want? Ah, that is the question. We do want the peace of God, and we cannot have this on a sustained basis as long as the ego is strong in strife.

6 – Period of Achievement

“And finally, there is ‘a period of achievement.’ It is here that learning is consolidated. Now what was seen as merely shadows before become solid gains, to be counted on in all ‘emergencies’ as well as tranquil times. . . .This is the stage of real peace, for here is Heaven’s state fully reflected. From here, the way to Heaven is open and easy. In fact, it is here. Who would ‘go’ anywhere, if peace of mind is already complete? (M-11.”

I think I can say without ego that the first part of this passage is where I am now—but not the second part of the passage. I can see my learning being consolidated, even as I write my blog. Part of my “solid gains” can be seen in difficult times, “emergencies.”

I have not yet reached the state of real peace, with Heaven’s state fully reflected. I still have difficult days part of the time. I still forget all my learning sometimes, especially when stressed.

It seems to me, from where I sit, that the final half of this passage, the “period of achievement,” identifies the state in which one has been awakened or enlightened.

7 – Recapitulating

Affirmation: “Help me to ask what I really want in every circumstance.”

This passage explains one of the steps on the way to Awakening. It sounds easy, but the playing out of the passage is hard indeed. To lay all judgment is not easy, as the ego thrives on judgment. And the ego it is that we need to lay aside.

But Jesus assures us that we have “heavily reinforced” help to lay all judgment aside. This is a great blessing. This help comes from the Holy Spirit. In addition, Jesus himself has said that he is always with us. We have only to ask for help, and it will be forthcoming.

This passage represents a stumbling block to many. This is where we get stuck in our pathway to Awakening. We must recognize that the way may be long, and that there may be setbacks along the way. But the glorious end is certain.

“This is the stage of real peace, for here is Heaven’s state fully reflected. From here, the way to Heaven is open and easy. In fact, it is here. Who would ‘go’ anywhere, if peace of mind is already complete” (M11)”

This passage represents the ultimate achievement in matters of salvation. The passage tells us that peace of mind is possible even in this world, and that therein lies Heaven.

The theology underlying the Course is not always easy to follow. But here we have a definite stand that Heaven is possible of achievement even in this world. And this is a grand promise indeed.

The way to Heaven is “open and easy,” and, in fact, it is “here” now. What more glorious release could we wish to have? This is a goal worth striving for, and Jesus’s promise is that we shall know Heaven even here, once we have walked the pathway that the Course sets out.

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

I long for Heaven on earth. Jesus has promised it to me, and I claim his promise.

May I have the peace of mind that gives Heaven to me, even in this world. I thank you in advance for the fulfillment of this glorious promise.

Amen.

God’s Teachers Have No Basis for Judging, because We Are Not Aware of All Situations that Have Impacted Points of Decision.

1 – Do Not Judge

“God’s teachers do not judge. To judge is to be dishonest, for to judge is to assume a position you do not have. (M12)”

In our better moments, all of us are God’s teachers as well as His students. There is no difference between teacher and student; only time separates, and time seems to be flexible. In our better moments, as well, we don’t judge. Judgment implies a omniscience that we do not have. Only the Holy Spirit (and later on, the inner Christ Self, deep in the Unconscious) can see what past, present, and future circumstances impinge on a given situation. Since we as our personal self don’t have the benefit of knowing all of these factors, we need to depend on Someone who does. This means that we give up judgment, which is always false, in opposition to what this world has taught us from childhood on. We give up what we never had, which was a prescience about the things to come, so that we might make sound decisions. We must learn that we were wrongly taught. We alter what the world has taught us about developing sound judgment on our own, and we move to listening internally to what the Holy Spirit says about what we best think and say and do.

2 – Choosing Wrongly

We are being “dishonest” when we depend solely on our personal selves, our “little” selves. We do not have a position that can see all past, present, and future circumstances—and so we virtually always, if left to our own devices, will choose wrongly. We try to assume a position that we don’t have, a position of all-knowing, when we all know that this is a mirage.

3 – Give Up Illusions of Grandeur

Let’s give up these illusions of grandeur about our knowledge forthwith. Let’s give over our judgment to the Holy Spirit or the Christ Self (as detailed in A Course of Love), knowing that now we have a Guide Who will not fail.

4 – Judgment

“Without judgment are all things equally acceptable, for who could judge otherwise? (M12)”

Judgment is one of the hardest ego tactics to give up. Herein we are bade not to make choices using our own judgment, but to let all things be equally acceptable.

5 – Don’t Condone Wrongdoing

This does not mean that we condone wrongdoing, or that we accept, without action, all the things in our world that we believe need correction. But it does mean that we start with ourselves first, and we don’t judge our brothers and sisters for choices that we cannot understand. We leave that judgment to the Holy Spirit, who sees all events prior and forward in time.

6 – Judgment Causes Misery

Judgment is easily laid aside once we see all the misery that it has caused for us and this world. Why would we hold to an illusion that we can judge at all? We have no basis for doing so, because we are not aware of all the situations that have made a given choice in this world. To judge is to be involved with an illusory self, one that really cannot know the best way. It is far better to leave judgment to Someone who does know–the Holy Spirit. He always sees the innocence is all actions. Everyone does the best that he or she can, given the circumstances, and everyone feels justified in his or her choices. The Course would not have us to judge matters of which we cannot know the whole.

7 – Honesty / Trust

“Judgment destroys honesty and shatters trust. No teacher of God can judge and hope to learn. (M12)”

We are in the time of learning when we are studying A Course in Miracles. Later on, if we follow the sequence and entertain the possibility that A Course of Love is a true sequel to ACIM, also channeled by Jesus, we will give up learning in favor of simple observation of our surroundings, present before us and thought about.

8 – Honesty = Consistency

Now we learn, as we follow A Course in Miracles. Honesty actually means consistency (ACIM Manual), and no word or act belies our desire to be honest in our dealings with ourselves and with others, as well as with our God. If we judge, we give up the chance of being right. We give up our experience of love, for judging is a separating factor, ruining our relationships. We find ourselves caught in a negative spiral, and negativity breeds further negativity, as Rhonda Bryne in The Power points out so eloquently. Only when we inject the positive in our dealings will we find peace and more positivity. Only then can we hope to be happy.

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

My ego clings to judgment because judgment–as well as anger, attack, and planning for the future–keep the ego alive. May I recognize this ploy for what it is, and turn aside from judgment this day.

May I understand why I need to be accepting in this world. May I recognize when action is required of me to right a wrong, but may I be very careful about these choices. May I seek the guidance of the Holy Spirit always.

Amen.

Honesty. . .Nothing You Say Contradicts What You Think or Do.

“Honesty does not apply only to what you say. The term actually means consistency. There is nothing you say that contradicts what you think or do; no thought opposes any other thought; no act belies your word; and no word lacks agreement with another. (M11 – M12)”

1 – Important Passage

This is, to my mind, a most important passage from A Course in Miracles. Being honest, constantly honest, has been a point for me in my life; I have sometimes rejected people who did not tell me the truth. And I have been lied to, though when encountering one who is dishonest, it is hard to know at what point the lie occurred.

2 – Trust

Honesty promotes trust, and dishonesty makes one doubt every encounter. I think that my own first dishonesty as a child, when I lied to my mother when she was punishing me for a misdeed, has colored my perception of honesty all the time since. I seemed to lose God at that point. I was five years old, and the loss of God was the dimming of my sight. Even my physical sight dimmed, causing me to require glasses by age 9 (and needed glasses sooner).

3 – Sound Good Sense

The important of honesty is that it is sound good sense. We don’t have to remember what we have lied about. The fact that consistency is the hallmark here is pivotal to a good life. We don’t have to say one thing, and think or do another. We are at one with ourselves, through and through. Anyone who can reach this level of understanding is well on the pathway to Awakening, but most of us still dissemble, at least from time to time.

4 – Stop the Dissembling

We are encouraged with this passage to stop the dissembling, to be consistent in our inner thoughts and our outer words. No less would be required of us along the pathway home to God.

5 – No Conflict

“At no level are they in conflict with themselves. Therefore it is impossible for them to be in conflict with anyone or anything. (M12)”

An admirable situation, we are out of conflict. And conflict is often what gives rise to attack, because conflict breeds stress, and stress breeds anger, leading to attack. At least in my experience.

6 – Peace of Mind

“The peace of mind which the advanced teachers of God experience is largely due to their perfect honesty. (M12)”

What would we not attempt to do to experience peace of mind always? Throughout each and every day?

7 – How to Have Peace of Mind

This passage tells us how. Just strive to be at one with one’s subconscious thoughts, leading to conscious deeds that are consistent with inner Self. The inner Self is the Christ Self (according to A Course of Love), and this is our beacon as we move beyond A Course in Miracles, away from the time of the Holy Spirit and into the time of Christ.

8 – Consistency

Perfect honesty, as explained, really means “consistency.” We don’t say or do anything that contradicts the love that is in our hearts. We therefore do not know conflict, but instead perfect peace of mind.

9 – Teachers of God

Are all of us advanced teachers of God? Not yet, but we are destined to become that, once we have gone through the workbook, as well as studied carefully the other parts of the Course. We will know the peace of mind that is reserved for those who have walked the full pathway.

10 – Heaven on Earth

This is a glorious promise, one of the best in the Course. Surely we will do our part to bring about this Heaven on earth of peace of mind. No one can ask more of us, and Jesus assures us elsewhere that it is easy. We may find this hard to believe, even after years of studying the Course, but easy it can become for us when we turn to the Holy Spirit for all of our answers.

11 – At One with One’s Self

“No one at one with himself can even conceive of conflict. (M12)”

This is an endeavor worth pursuing! Ask today how we might effect this positive persona. May we be at one with ourselves, and in the achievement, we will cease to know conflict. And when conflict goes, so many negative traits of our personal self go as well. This passage is, to my mind, extremely important.

12 – Communion with God

Pray to know how to be at one with self. There are no easy answers, but communion with God will give us those answers.

13 – Challenge

“There is no challenge to a teacher of God. Challenge implies doubt, and the trust on which God’s teachers rest secure makes doubt impossible. Therefore they can only succeed. (M12)”

I have long loved this passage, the fact that “challenge” does not have to arise. In my past, I have thrived on challenge, but sometimes the challenge was of the ego. This passage indicates that challenge is not a desired state of mind. We choose for all people when we eliminate challenge as an egoic notion.

14 – Marching Orders

We do not need to doubt. We get our marching orders from the Holy Spirit (if we are following ACIM) and from the inner Christ Self (if we are following A Course of Love).

15 – Guidance

What a wonderful state of affairs! To fail to doubt our words and deeds is to know that we are listening to guidance, though of course we remain sometimes vulnerable to misthought. We may not hear aright. But when we are on the beam, and emotionally stable, we will know with an inner knowing what we are to say and do next. Ask often. We will be led well.

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

I long for peace of mind above all other joys. And I recognize that it is joy that this peace gives to me.

May I be perfectly consistent in my thoughts and behavior, and may I realize that this is what honesty actually entails. Please stay by me.

Amen.

The Surface Traits of God’s Teachers Are Not All Alike. Their Superficial “Personalities” Are Quite Distinct

1 – Characteristics of God’s Teachers

“The surface traits of God’s teachers are not at all alike. They do not look alike to the body’s eyes, they come from vastly different backgrounds, their experiences of the world vary greatly, and their superficial ‘personalities’ are quite distinct. (M9)”

2 – Everyone

This world has a variety of people, and any of them may have come to see the light, and to follow the way of God. Personalities can conflict, though, and so we may not always like everyone, even when they too are on the pathway. And this, being on the pathway, does not it include everyone?

3 – Surface Traits

The fact that surface traits differ can be reassuring. It does ensure that we will not necessarily recognize our brothers and sisters who are walking the pathway. It makes us more tolerant of diversity. Would God have made us so distinct unless there were a good reason?

4 – Different Pathways

This passage says that we can walk very many different pathways to God. ACIM is just the way that you and I have chosen. We should recognize that other pathways are just as valid for others. Nowhere does the A Course in Miracles contradict this idea.

5 – Differences Are Temporary

“All differences among the Sons of God are temporary. (M9)”

Elsewhere in ACIM we learn the talents of individual people differ in this world, but there will come a time when all talents are shared alike. This is one reason that we need not be vainglorious about differences among us. Only time separates us in differences, and time does not really exist.

6 – Other Side

A second reason that we need not be vainglorious is not discussed in A Course in Miracles, but is widely discussed in other New Age literature. We get help from the Other Side. This includes the geniuses among us as well as us ordinary people. We don’t even have to turn to New Age literature to recognize this phenomenon. Julia Cameron, a creative artist of fiction and drama, who has written and taught widely to undo the blocking of creativity, quotes numerous famous people from the past who credit their work to God. She herself knows that she does not so much think up writing as sense that the writing is coming through her.

7 – Julia Cameron

Julia also recommends initiating a dialogue with Higher Power, in which we pose questions and seek to get answers. We “listen” for answers. This practice works. When I practice it, I find that the advice which I scribe is much superior to anything that I might think “on my own.”

8 – Pride

So let us realize that our differences are temporary, and we have no reason for hubris. We need to realize that we are the same, not different, and it behooves us to be grateful for this sameness (ACIM tenet). The ego would never tell us this, for the ego thrives on differences that seek to set us apart from others. But we will never be happy with such thinking. What pride has not failed to put us in a depressive spiral once the thrill of momentary victory is gone? This is the only happiness that the ego gives, and the ego gives to take away. The ego is always being undone.

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

When my sisters and brothers who are on the pathway seem very different from me, may I not despair, but instead give thanks. We need to be different to appeal to different sisters and brothers. The diversity serves God.

Help me to know what to say when I meant someone who seems quite distinct from me. Help me to reach out in the best way, the way that You would have me to reach.

Amen.

Lifelong Relationships Are Generally Few

“The third level of teaching occurs in relationships which, once they are formed, are lifelong. These are teaching-learning situations in which each person is given a chosen learning partner who presents him with unlimited opportunities for learning. (M8)”

1 – Examples of Lifelong Relationships

This third level of learning is most often seen in parent-child relationships. In bygone eras, it was also seen in life-long partnerships, but with divorce so prevalent, this is no longer true. If we are extremely fortunate, we will know a few individuals throughout our lives who offer unlimited opportunities for learning. Be this parent-child, or partners for life, the potential is reason for rejoicing.

2 – Our Society

Sometimes, in our society, we move far away from our birth city, and far away also from our parents. The same holds true for our children. If our primary relationship is intact, we will continue to learn from our partner. But one source also is the friends that we make along the way. Most will eventually fade from our lives, and therefore not be the lifelong relationship that this passage proclaims as so pivotal to our lives.

3 – Keep Relationships Intact

It is good to keep our relationships intact, even if separated by distance. In this era of e-mail, this is more easily done than previously. Phone calls, of course, can continue as well. We would be wise, in all likelihood, never to let anybody fade from our lives permanently–at least, anybody who was once significant. This is an ideal, though, and few of us will be fortunate enough to find it.

4 – Lifelong Relationships Are Few

“These relationships are generally few, because their existence implies that those involved have reached a stage simultaneously in which the teaching-learning balance is actually perfect. (M8)”

We won’t have many lifelong relationships, though those with our parents, until death do us part, are the most common. Those with our siblings are next. But the best, for us, is a lifelong partnership with our significant other—if we are so lucky, for divorce is so very common these days. Nothing seems stable in an unstable world.

5 – “Brother” as Significant Other

The “brother” that is often mentioned is, I think, your significant other. If we don’t have one significant other, it is likely that A Course in Miracles will not interest you quite so much. A widow whom I tried to interest in ACIM (she was a minister) just did not find anything which resonated with her, and I think it is because her beloved husband had died several years earlier.

6 – Forgiveness

If we forgive our brother/sister of any and all wrongdoing (as we perceive it), then we are well on our way to following the pathway whom that A Course in Miracles points out. This forgiveness thing is tricky, for all too often even long-term students/teachers of ACIM will dip into what Song of Prayer calls “forgiveness-to-destroy.” That is when we think we forgive out of a sense of superiority, that the person does not really deserve forgiveness, but because we are “spiritual,” we say that we pardon. We do not really pardon. We hold the offense against them, forgetting that we are in an illusion that we ourselves have devised. It is impossible to be unfairly treated (ACIM statement). May we remember this truth when we are believing that we are treated unjustly by our brother. Even if he/she has done or said something really bad, still is this true. We may have to distance ourselves to avoid abuse, but still this is true. We cannot be unfairly treated, for our Self devises the things that we become involved in.

7 – Hostility?

“This does not mean that they necessarily recognize this; in fact, they generally do not. They may even be quite hostile to each other for some time, and perhaps for life. Yet should they decide to learn it, the perfect lesson is before them and can be learned. (M8)”

Lifelong partners do not always get along. And they will not, in such cases, realize how well-suited for each other they really are. Let us remember today. We are in a partnership for a reason, and we ought to try to learn what that reason is. We need to drop hostility from our group of emotions. Our brother/sister does not deserve this. Only when we forgive others, can we forgive ourselves. It just works this way. And our own unforgiveness thus will always return to haunt us.

8 – Saviors

“And if they decide to learn that lesson, they become the saviors of the teachers who falter and may even seem to fail. No teacher of God can fail to find the Help he needs. (M8)”

9 – Perfect Lesson

So when we learn the perfect lesson from our significant other, we can become saviors of others. We can say the right thing at the right time. We can share salvation. What better way to spend our day, than to share it with those we love?

10 – Holy Spirit

This “Help” is the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit always provides—never fear. He is there for us through thick and thin. He guides us to what is best for us. If we listen to His guidance, we will lead a charmed life. Others may not understand what causes the charm, but this is the secret: Following the Holy Spirit’s guidance. How do you do that? Check out the many ways that I identified in the blog posting, “The Gift of Guidance.” Enter gift and guidance and hales to bring it up. This is a posting based on an article featured in Miracles magazine, published by Jon Mundy. Thank you for reading.

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

Thank you for the lifelong relationships that I have, and have had. May I come to understand what a teaching-learning balance really means.

I ask you to help me keep my relationships intact. If I have lost someone from my life, and it seems feasible to reach out once again, may I have the courage to reach out.

Amen.

Yet All Who Meet Will Someday Meet Again

1 – Second Level of Relationship

Jesus embarks on describing different levels of relationship, from the most casual to the most sustained. In this passage, he is describing a second level:

“. . .[T]he second level of teaching is a more sustained relationship, in which, for a time, two people enter into a fairly intense teaching-learning situation and then appear to separate. (M8)”

I have known a good number of these relationships of a second level. I particularly think of relationships with male friends before I married. Many of us have experienced this type of relatively fleeting, but intense, relationship. This passage encourages us not to lament the fleeting nature:

“As with the first level, these meetings are not accidental, nor is what appears to be the end of the relationship a real end. Again, each has learned the most he can at the time. (M8)”

We are encouraged to believe that we encounter those whom we do for a purpose, that these meetings are not accidental, and that we will meet again. Indeed, sometimes these individuals contact us again,
and we have to decide if that contact is something that we can handle in the present, given our other relationships. Facebook has prompted many to reassess past relationships, and this is probably
on the whole a good thing. But we must not sacrifice anything in our present relationships to past ones. Perhaps our current significant others are not open to a friend from the past. Only we can decide.

2 – Do Not Lament the Past

We need not lament the past. There is an oft-quoted statement to the effect that if we knew the whole circumstance, we would praise God for removing from us the relationships that we thought we wanted.
This is a stern warning not to live in the past. It is also a call to be grateful for what we have now.

If we still long for the long-forgotten past, here is a passage of great comfort:

Yet all who meet will someday meet again, for it is the destiny of all relationships to become holy. God is not mistaken in His Son. (M8)”

3 – We Will Meet Again

Yes, we will meet again. This is quite in line with traditional Christianity. And it does, to my mind, seem to mean that we will meet on the Other Side, where, if we are to believe Jesus in the New Testament, there is no marriage or giving in marriage. We are free to love all, though undoubtedly there will still be restrictions when some are more ready to commit to a relationship than others. We must respect boundaries, here and in the other world.

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

Grant me a day to rejoice over all the relationships which I have known. May I not rue the ones that ended, for the ending is not a real ending. If I can believe Jesus, and I do, we will meet again all who have been important to us in this lifetime.

May this day go well. For me, it will be a busy late afternoon, but the relative leisure of the early part of the day will prepare me for the whirlwind of later on. All of us need such respite. May we have the “down” time that we all need.

Thank You for your presence in my life.

Amen.

There Are No Accidents in Salvation. Those Who Are to Meet Will Meet. . . .They Are Ready for Each Other.

“. . .[T]he plan includes very specific contacts to be made for each teacher of God. There are no accidents in salvation. Those who are to meet will meet, because together they have the potential for a holy relationship. They are ready for each other. (M7)”

1 – No Accidents

The fact that there are no accidents in the plan of salvation is a comforting thought. Those who are meant to meet, will meet. Our potential, with each person in our personal world, is the potential to have a holy relationship. There are no exceptions.

2 – Contacts

These “very specific contacts” may give us solace as we go about our days, even as we encounter those whom we find it difficult to love. These may be our most important teachers. It is instructive that the plan of salvation, in the view of A Course in Miracles, is a detailed plan, with particular people entering our lives whom we are meant to meet.

3 – Holy Relationships

Finding the way to a holy relationship is not a straight line. Elsewhere we are bade to turn our special love relationships into holy relationships, but we are not perfect, and at times the hatred in our hearts, as yet unhealed, will surface with attack and anger. This is not a reason to despair, but one to recognize as an opportunity. When we fall down, we are helped up, often by the same brother or sister who has been the catalyst for our fall. Then we will see that special love relationships really can and do become holy, given time and the incentive to make the transformation.

4 – Teaching

“The simplest level of teaching appears to be quite superficial. It consists of what seem to be very casual encounters; a ‘chance’ meeting of two apparent strangers in an elevator, a child who is not looking where he is going running into an adult ‘by chance’ two students happening’ to walk home together. These are not chance encounters. (M7)”

For Jesus to affirm that such casual encounters as described in the passage are not accidental is a momentous assertion. It places our day solely in the hands of a benevolent Providence. Most things that we normally attribute to chance thus become something entirely different—a chance to show others what we are like, and thereby to improve the world, however minutely.

5 – Witnessing

We can witness in the most secular environment, the most secular surroundings. We do not have to make a big deal out of sharing ourselves in everyday life. It does behoove us not to resort to attack and anger in encountering others, whether they be significant others or very casual encounters with people who, at the point of meeting, are indeed strangers to us.

6 – Comforting Passage

This passage is very comforting, for it means that even when we feel alone, we are not really alone. Most of us encounter others who are strangers daily. We can see that each encounter has the potential for a holy relationship, and so we see that we are surrounded by potential friends.

7 – Casual Encounters

“Even at the level of the most casual encounter, it is possible for two people to lose sight of separate interests, if only for a moment. That moment will be enough. Salvation has come. (M7)”
This passage explains what happens in these casual encounters. Salvation has come! What an assertion and what a blessing! We reach out to another, almost unconsciously, and we are rewarded with a sense of good having been done.

8 – Alone?

We need to invite the feeling that we are losing our separate interests. We are not meant to be all alone, independent beings who don’t need each other. In our heart of hearts, we know that we do need others. Of course, our tendency toward introversion or extroversion will determine how many people we will let into our circle. This need not be a situation of conflict. Not everybody can welcome the whole wide world. Everyone can be open to the individuals given him/her to save. If we don’t get too intent on our own interests and desires, we will know when others are ready, and we will respond accordingly. Be careful not to give more than another is ready to accept. Salvation is always reciprocal, with the giver receiving even more then he/she is receiving, at least part of the time. We give and receive as one. In that One, we are teachers and students together.

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

I thank You that we have particular people whom we are destined to meet. This is one truth that gives meaning to our lives.

May I transform all the special relationships that I have into holy ones. If this seems a too-lofty goal, let me remind myself that I have started the pathway, and once on the pathway, the end is certain.

Amen.

When We See in Another Person the Same Interests as Our Own, We Have Made the One Decision that Made Us a Teacher for Him/Her.

1 – One Goal

“Those who would learn the same course share one interest and one goal. And thus he who was the learner becomes a teacher of God himself, for he has made the one decision that gave his teacher to him. He has seen in another person the same interests as his own. (M6)”

2 – Loved Ones

Those whom we have loved are likely to be the ones in whom we have seen the same interests. And, even if these brothers and sisters have left our lives, still there is a tie one to another. We have seen in those people the same interests as our own.

3 – Teachers

We do not always recognize when a teacher has entered our lives. Only as time passes do we recognize the new insight that he or she is giving us. Teachers of A Course in Miracles share one interest and one goal–as well as one philosophy. This is a blessing in and of itself.

4 – All One

To see in another person the same interests as our own is to recognize that we are all One. Surely this will speed our way toward Awakening, because it is certain that we cannot reach that final healing on our own.

5 – Self-Doubt

It is important to note that we are teaching ourselves, even as we teach ACIM. Our version of ACIM differs from any other’s version. And we are learning at least as much as the person we are teaching. Teaching always diminishes self-doubt. (These are ACIM tenets.)

6 – Proselytize?

What a glorious way to spend our time! But we don’t proselytize when people are unready. I have quoted often in this blog the truth that sometimes, maybe often, all that a person is ready for is a smile (ACIM tenet). It is a maxim of all religious conversion that if we try to force the issue with an unbeliever, we will fail. We will turn that person even more against the creed that we are trying to promulgate. This alone ought to cause us pause for thought, and ensure that we don’t proceed into proselytizing when our thoughts and words are unwelcome.

7 – When the Student Is Ready. . .

Those who are ready will find us. When the student is ready, the teacher will appear—a old maxim. And ACIM says that that the students assigned to us will begin to look for us as soon as we have answered the call. This call is the greatest way that we can spend our day. Often we spend our day by example, not overt words. So it behooves us to represent A Course in Miracles well. That means forgiveness, and love, extended to others.

8 – Forgiveness

Remember that forgiveness has a sound basis that prevents our rights from being sacrificed. In a sense, we forgive to help ourselves, for resentments place a pall over our lives. When we pardon, we always feel lighter and more at ease with religious principles. Intuitively and consciously, we realize that forgiveness, or pardon, is the right action. Sometimes forgiveness is entirely internal, but if the situation seems propitious, we can share with others our pardon of them. Be careful not to allow forgiveness-to-destroy to contaminate your interactions. This false method of forgiveness, described in Song of Prayer, means that we don’t forget the misthought or misdeed. We think that we are better persons for our forgiveness, and therefore forgive out of that “superiority.” This is false thinking. We forgive and forget. This dynamic does not mean that the attack/anger that we are forgiving will be more likely to be repeated. Actually, the more we keep bad things in our minds, the more likely that this behavior on the part of another will be repeated. When we release (as in the Sedona Method: Could you let it go? Would you let it go? When?), the way is cleared for a happy day for all concerned.

9 – Time

Remember that only time separates the teacher from the student, and time does not really exist. In actuality, we are teaching each other, for the teacher is not really the teacher any more than the student is solely the student (from the ACIM Manual). We are caught in a learning environment, though when we have proceeded farther toward Awakening, we will cease learning and let the inner Christ Self inform our decisions (from A Course of Love). For now, though, we listen to the Holy Spirit. Sometimes this means that we in fact see words come into our minds. This is a form of hallucinatory advice. But it is not mental illness, but very likely the way that the Old Testament prophets “heard” God. Julian Jaynes, in Origin of Consciousness in the Bicameral Mind, explains this phenomenon as it appeared centuries ago. His thesis is still controversial, but well worth exploring.

10 – Hallucinations

To “hallucinate” an intuition is not frightful, for the advice coming has the clarity that one’s own thought from one’s own personal self lacks. We are, I think, speaking with our Inner Wisdom, a term used by a friend of mine who has experienced Awakening, and sustained the Awakening for over 30 years.

11 – We Are in This Together

So let us be both teachers and students for each other. There is no difference. We need each other, for we are in this together.

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

Help me to see in my brothers and sisters the same interests as my own. We want the same things–love, peace, joy, and a sense of aliveness about life. The Course can show us the way.

Help me to share the Course in the way that these books can best be received. May the Holy Spirit guide me in my interpretations, keeping me from mistakes and leading my brothers and sisters to Home.

Amen.

Time Goes Backward to an Instant So Ancient that It Is Beyond All Memory

“Time really, then, goes backward to an instant so ancient that it is beyond all memory, and past even the possibility of remembering. Yet because it is an instant that is relived again and again and still again, it seems to be now. And thus it is that pupil and teacher seem to come together in the present, finding each other as if they had not met before. (M5)”

1 – Difficult Passage

This is a difficult passage, but one that is central to the Course’s tenets. Time, which really doesn’t exist, does in our world go backwards for eons, and in our world we relive that instant over and over. We have met everyone whom we encounter sometime before. “Everyone” includes our pupils, for only time separates us all from being teachers of God. This is theology, and if we can’t accept this assertion now, then just lay it aside for a while. It is better to focus on an experience. (ACIM tenets.)

2 – Pupils

Moreover, in interpreting a bit from A Course in Miracles, we are all pupils also. There are those who are more advanced than are we, who teach us. Indeed, the Course says that all of us are teaching all the time, because we cannot avoid it.

3 – Healing

It is good to know that our brothers and sisters are familiar to us, that we have met before. When the going seems rough with any of them, we can realize that we are working out our problems with each other. Surely this is reassuring. If the time of healing seems a long way off, we must be patient, for time indeed will work to heal when we follow guidance.

4 – When Pupil and Teacher Come Together. . .

“When pupil and teacher come together, a teaching-learning situation begins. For the teacher is not really the one who does the teaching. God’s Teacher speaks to any two who join together for learning purposes. (M6)”

This passage reiterates that we are teaching and learning all the time, and the two cannot be separated. And even a teacher does not really do the teaching, for the Holy Spirit—God’s Teacher—is informing the discussion. Of course, I do not believe that this means that we are beyond making mistakes in our interpretations of ACIM or of anything else that we say. We do make mistakes, and we need to be aware that we are very, very far from infallible. The ego would remind us of this constantly, for the ego believes that to think that we are led by the Holy Spirit in our speaking is arrogance.

5 – Holy Spirit

To believe that we are led by the Holy Spirit is not arrogance. It is the most supreme good sense. Only when we are listening to guidance do we speak wisely. And this comes only in communion, in opening ourselves up to what we “hear” internally. This does not mean that we are mentally ill—quite the reverse. We are more sane than we have ever been.

6 – A Course of Love

In A Course of Love, believed by many to be a sequel to ACIM and believed to be channeled by Jesus, we learn that the inner Christ Self becomes our guidance. It is said that the time of the Holy Spirit is over, and that the time of Christ is here. But right now, in this blog, we are considering A Course in Miracles, and this work is consistent in giving credit to the Holy Spirit, or Universal Inspiration.

7 – Walking Farther Along

Is there really any difference? When we have walked further along the pathway home, we will be more open to the divine spark within. And ACOL calls that spark the Christ.

8 – Holy Relationship

“The relationship is holy because of that purpose, and God has promised to send His Spirit into any holy relationship. (M6)”

Our purpose with each other determines what we will accomplish. Our relationship to our brother/sister is our way home, in the way of A Course in Miracles. We seek to let the Holy Spirit transform all of our special relationships into holy. At the point that the transition is made, the relationship will appear, to our limited eyes, to be dysfunctional. And we may break off the relationship at this point and seek a new relationship that will accomplish the old goals. Yet, if we persevere, we are at the point of greatest achievement. We will move into a new day in our most significant relationships. When the relationships have turned holy, we will consistently offer pardon, knowing that nothing bad has ever happened in reality.

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

Thank you that You have taught me that I have met all my brothers and sisters, whom I encounter, earlier. I do not understand how time can go backward, but let me accept Jesus at his word.

Please help me to say and do the right things with my brothers and sisters to lead them to You. Whether I am a pupil or teacher at the time, may I learn from You.

Amen.

Certain Pupils Have Been Assigned to Each of God’s Teachers, and They Will Begin to Look for Him as Soon as He Has Answered the Call.

1 – Answering the Call

“Certain pupils have been assigned to each of God’s teachers, and they will begin to look for him as soon as he has answered the Call. They were chosen for him because the form of the universal curriculum that he will teach is best for them in view of their level of understanding. His pupils have been waiting for him, for his coming is certain. (M5)”

This is a reassuring passage. There are people out there who are only waiting for us to respond to God’s call, reiterated by Jesus. When we have responded to that call, we will find these new people showing up in our lives.

2 – Maybe Old Friends/Family

And not always are they “new” people. Some may have been in our lives for years, but because we were not ready, we did not teach properly. We may have even led these long-time brothers and sisters into greater mistakes, because we ourselves knew no better. Let us let this insanity end today.

3 – Distinct Teaching

All of us have a certain way of teaching salvation. There are no two ways identical, just as there are no two fingerprints identical. The fact that these pupils have been waiting is a Course concept that we may not fully understand. The fact that our coming was “certain” is also a Course concept that may be difficult to understand. Again we must take Jesus at his word, and know that these understandings, once accepted, will speed us, as well as others, on the way to total joy and fulfillment.

4 – Separation from God

“The instant the idea of separation entered the mind of God’s Son, in that same instant was God’s Answer given. In time this happened very long ago. In reality it never happened at all. (M5)”

God’s Answer is the Holy Spirit, an Idea Who is the Universal Inspiration. The Holy Spirit is in our minds in a very real sense. Traditional Christianity recognizes the baptism of the Holy Spirit, and we know of Pentecost, when the Holy Spirit was given to the new church.

5 – Tiny, Mad Idea

This passage gives additional, very interesting information. It affirms that the Holy Spirit has been with God’s children since the idea, the tiny, mad idea, entered into their minds. But in time, we are told, this happened a very long time. Since time is an illusion, it actually never happened at all.

6 – Moving Backwards in Time

We are moving backwards in time to that instant of the tiny, mad idea. Time is like a carpet that rolls up, going backward. (These are ACIM tenets.) So we are hearing theological underpinnings to A Course in Miracles. We do not have to believe theology, because Jesus is concerned only that together we have a universal experience. A universal theology is impossible, but a universal experience is not only possible but necessary. (ACIM tenets.) This is fascinating read from ACIM, but we don’t need to get lost in the mystery of it all. We need to focus on the experience of forgiving our brother, returning to our love for him/her.

7 – World of Illusion

“The world of time is the world of illusion. What happened long ago seems to be happening now. (M5)”

More theological underpinnings that build on the previous passage. We cannot understand these assertions. They just stand in ACIM, for us to accept, believe, and build upon, or to reject as too strange. Let us not reject anything in ACIM because, at first reading and even subsequent readings, it seems strange.

8 – A Dream

We are caught in illusion, in a dream. And time is part of that illusion. Einstein taught this. And so our physics is keeping pace.

9 – The Curriculum

“As the course emphasizes, you are not free to choose the curriculum, or even the form in which you learn it. You are free however, to decide when you want to learn it. And as you accept it, it is already learned. (M5)”

We have free will. We can choose when we want to learn. The fact that this passage seems to indicate that we do not have free will in everything is not to be lamented. I do not fully understand that we seem not to have free will in all particulars. I assume that some of us, years ago, chose certain a certain curriculum, including the form in which we would learn. And for many of us, that curriculum is A Course in Miracles, and the form becomes the particular way, individual to all of us, in which we learn ACIM.

10 – No Struggle

We need struggle not to learn. As we accept ACIM with a full and grateful heart, it is already learned. Indeed, ACIM is very easy to memorize. Many students have memorized large chunks of the work. But we don’t need to be fundamentalists about its words. The Second Edition underwent extensive editing by both Helen Schucman and Ken Wapnick, working together. I personally believe that that editorial work was informed by Jesus, but I have no proof. A first draft is rarely as good as a carefully edited version, and even Jesus’s words might be, and probably are, no exception. So I have seen no need to revert to an “original version.” The Second Edition is a polished document and is well-accepted by the course community.

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

May my pupils find me. May I speak Your Word to them in such a way that they can come to greater love and understanding.

It is reassuring that I have a place in salvation. Thank you for making this clear to me.

Amen.

A Teacher of God Somehow, Somewhere Has Made a Deliberate Choice in which He Did Not See His Interests as Apart from Someone Else’s.

1 – If One Chooses. . .

“A teacher of God is anyone who chooses to be one. His qualifications consist solely in this; somehow, somewhere he has made a deliberate choice in which he did not see his interests as apart from someone else’s. (M3)”

This passage opens up the teachers of God to anyone. Once we have seen someone else–a brother or sister–as being wholly worthy of forgiveness, we are ready for the designation of ‘teacher of God.’” We see our interests as the same as his (or hers). We don’t make distinctions, nor do we judge another’s actions. We are forgiving through and through.

2 – Mistakes

Of course, we do not often sustain this powerful way of living. We fail, sometimes repeatedly. But Jesus notes that these are correctable mistakes, not sins, and once we have realized that these moments of judging are mistakes, we will be forgiving once again, of both ourselves and others. Mistakes call out for correction, and we respond accordingly.

3 – Brother or Sister in Christ

If we do not see another’s interests as different from our own, we are seeing him (or her) as a brother or sister in Christ. This change of perspective will bring us joy. Let us make it today.

4 – From Where Do Teachers of God Come?

“They [teachers of God] come from all over the world. They come from all religions and from no religion. They are the ones who have answered. The Call is universal. (M3)”

This passage is very reassuring for the agnostics among us. We can still be teachers of God, even if we aren’t sure that we believe in Him. What a revolutionary statement: “They come from all religions and from no religion.” Of course, this passage is a bit controversial, in that one can believe in God without belonging to a religion. But I think that implication of agnosticism as a possibility is here, though this is personal interpretation only.

5 – Universal Call

The Call is universal. Yes! Everybody hears, however dimly, a call to return to God. Everybody. And when we have answered that Call, we are ready to try to teach others.

6 – Self-Doubt

Of course, we teach ourselves even more than we teach others, for when we teach, we diminish self-doubt (ACIM tenet). What we reinforce by saying something becomes stronger in ourselves. And we understand our teaching more than anybody else. Helen Schucman was prepared for channeling A Course in Miracles, and though the work did not give her the peace of mind that it has so many others, she did understand ACIM and could expound on it beautifully and movingly. We who teach ACIM likewise may not always feel its comfort, but even lacking that, we can sometimes comfort others. And that is as it should be. We are learning from each other. Students teach us also, for only time separates the student from the teacher, and time does not really exist.

7 – Saving Time

“Their function is to save time. Each one begins as a single light, but with the Call at its center it is a light that cannot be limited. And each one saves a thousand years of time as the world judges it. To the Call Itself time has no meaning. (M3)”

I knew the truth of this statement, the thousand years of saving time, when I was in a six-month glimpse of Awakening some years ago. I somehow knew that by my efforts I was saving time for others. I could see that happening in my everyday interactions.

8 – Lights

That assurance has faded now, but still I believe what Jesus is saying about saving years and years for others. We begin as a single light, but if we don’t hide that light under a bushel (New Testament), we can make a difference. All of us, whether we know A Course in Miracles (or other Scripture) well or not.

9 – Different Courses

“There is a course for every teacher of God. The form of the course varies greatly. So do the particular teaching aids involved. But the content of the course never changes. (M3)”

We do not, any of us, teach the same content from ACIM, or even from any other religious tradition. We all, in a sense, teach different courses by what we choose to emphasize. And our teaching teaches us, for we cannot hide out from what we are saying. Our students will see through our attempts to hide out from them. We are sharing self even when we don’t want to do so. And it is far better to want to share self, for it invites reassurance that our heart is in the right place.

10 – Same Content

The form changes, but the content does not. The content is of universal truths, regardless of what specifically is emphasized. ACIM focuses on perennial truths, the type of perennial truth that Aldous Huxley described in his seminal work, The Perennial Truth.

11 – Form Changes

What does it mean to say that the form changes? We are very different in personality, but that does not mean that we can’t teach similar things. How we say what we do is strongly influenced by our personalities. We may be soft and gentle, or we may be somewhat strident. Different students gravitate to the teacher who speaks to him/her. Not all are open to the same form of instruction.

12 – A Special Curriculum

“This is a manual for a special curriculum intended for teachers of a special form of the universal course. There are many thousands of other forms, all with the same outcome. They merely save time. (M3)”

This passage is very practical and ecumenical as well. We are not told that A Course in Miracles is the only way; in fact, we are herein told just the opposite. Other Scripture sets forth perennial truth in a form that may be better accepted by others. We cannot speak for them.

13 – “Home” in A Course in Miracles

But for those of us who have found a “home” in ACIM, there is little doubt that we have found a safe and gentle way to Awakening. And its central message of completely valid forgiveness of self and others is reassuring in the extreme. Its message that anger and attack are never justified is an uncompromising truth. We are caught in illusion in which that anger and attack seems justified, but then we are prone to false forgiveness, called in the Song of Prayer “forgiveness-to-destroy,” and we would not destroy anything or anybody. So let us consider carefully the truth that forgiveness is always justified, that we are not called to forgive the unforgivable, that pardon has a rational basis that keeps our rights from being sacrificed (ACIM tenets). Perhaps if we were not caught in illusion, we would see things differently. But nothing bad that has ever happened to us has actually happened in the real world. Also nothing good. For we live in a dream, maya in the Eastern terminology.

14 – World Is Very Tired

“Yet it is time alone that winds on wearily, and the world is very tired now. It is old and worn and without hope. There was never a question of outcome, for what can change the Will of God? (M3)”

Yes, we can see that the world is weary anytime we turn on the news or boot up our smartphone. We too are weary, for despite having traveled some distance along the pathway home, most of us have not experienced sustained Awakening, and we too are weary.

15 – Wearying Ourselves

This does not have to be. We are not really capable of being tired, but we are very capable of wearying ourselves (ACIM tenet). We can rise up each morning with vigor for the day, if we take the time to be grateful for what we have been given. There is nobody who has not benefited from the many blessings of God, even the most down and out person. And all of this is illusion. We are not really down and out, even when we feel the most sorry for ourselves. God takes care of His own, and all of us, students of ACIM (or any course) or not.

We will succeed in this world. I do not believe that we are doomed as a planet. May we do our small part to change things today, to make a better way for the little part of the world that we occupy.

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

Please help me to see that the good wishes of someone else are the same as the good wishes of myself. This, in itself, will help me to help my brothers and sisters.

I would like to be a teacher of God. Help me to be this. I cannot do it without You.

Amen.

The Self-Deceiving Must Deceive, for They Must Teach Deception. And What Else Is Hell?

1 – Manual for Teachers (A Course in Miracles)

“This is a manual for the teachers of God. They are not perfect, or they would not be here. Yet it is their mission to become perfect here, and so they teach perfection over and over, in many, many ways, until they have learned it. (M2)”

2 – Perfection

This passage continues the theme of the previous passages in this blog. As we teach perfection, we gradually (almost without knowing it) become more perfect ourselves. We are not now perfect, because we are a part of this world. We would not choose to be here if we were already perfect. But there is a way that we can become more perfect, and this passage spells it out.

3 – Elusive Goal

We must not be too hard on ourselves. Perfection will probably always remain an elusive goal, and it is even neurotic to ask the impossible of ourselves. But Jesus holds out to us the promise that eventually we will know perfection. We truly cannot understand how, as we think over our shortcomings. But we need to take Jesus at his word.

4 – Description of the Manual

The manual is the shortest of the three parts to the Course. Some of us will want to start there, maybe simply because it is short. If this seems right, we should do it. Otherwise, we need to dip into both the text and the workbook, to see what seems right (guided by the Holy Spirit) for us.

5 – Salvation

“Except for God’s teachers there would be little hope of salvation, for the world of sin would seem forever real. The self-deceiving must deceive, for they must teach deception. And what else is hell? (M2)”

6 – Cooperation

This passage explains why it so important that we learn A Course in Miracles and become teachers of God. This world depends upon our cooperation in this great endeavor. If we do not take our place in salvation, the world itself is at stake. Of course, there are many courses in this world, and even ACIM students/teachers teach different versions of ACIM, each of them. So we are not to judge those who choose another pathway. The important thing is for there to be a choice to walk the high road in this sometimes troubled world.

7 – Hell

The definition of hell given herein suggests that hell is the worst that we know on earth. Nowhere is there any indication in the Course of a hell beyond death. In fact, the reverse itself is true. We are not to live in fear that we may end up, being judged of wrongdoing and cast into hell after death. The Course is very clear on its denial of this.

8 – This World – Real?

If we deceive ourselves in believing that this world is real, then we will teach this concept. It is a tenet of the Course that this world is not real; the real world awaits us as we have walked further along on the pathway to Awakening. Surely we are willing to take out places in bringing salvation to this world.

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

May I lose my fear of hell, because it is self-deception. The real world awaits my coming to it. This real world is the one of love and peace that Jesus promises to us.

I know that you need me to help save the world. This is not arrogance, but the sanest sense. May I join your great Awakening in this real world, ready to do my part in salvation.

Amen.

As We Teach God’s Lessons of Joy and Hope, Our Learning Finally Becomes Complete

1 – Convince Ourselves of What We Are Not?

“Everyone who follows the world’s curriculum, and everyone here does follow it until he changes his mind, teaches solely to convince himself that he is what he is not. Herein is the purpose of the world. What else, then, would its curriculum be? (M1 – M2)”

The ego is the important point to note here, for it is the ego that has us trying to convince ourselves that we are as we are not. The ego would have us believe that arrogant independence, standing alone, is the way to be strong and valiant. But A Course in Miracles shows us that we were never meant to be all alone and lonely. Our way to God is the pathway through our relationships. When we reach out to others, we are supporting them at the same time that we are allowing them to support ourselves. And forgiveness of our brother/sister is our way home.

2 – World’s Curriculum

The world’s curriculum also teaches that judgment of our own is a criterion for success in the world. We are led to believe to we need to hone our judgment so that we make better and better decisions as we grow older. Yet A Course in Miracles teaches just the opposite, for ACIM affirms that we cannot judge accurately, because it is impossible for us to know all circumstances—past, present, and future—that might affect a given decision. ACIM encourages us, above all, to place reliance in our guidance from the Holy Spirit. And we are led to understand that we will come to know through an inner knowing (and there are many ways to come to an inner knowing). Our way home is prepared by the guidance that we hear, and follow, from the Holy Spirit. And this knowledge, for it is knowledge and not perception, is contrary to what the world’s curriculum seeks to teach.

3 – Teachers of God

“Into this hopeless and closed learning situation, which teaches nothing but despair and death, God sends His teachers. And as they teach His lessons of joy and hope, their learning finally becomes complete. (M2)”

Jesus says elsewhere that the world needs us now. It is in a bad way, as all of us know who listen to the daily news. It is a “hopeless and closed learning situation,” and Jesus is looking to us to change the situation to something better.

4 – Teach. . .and Learn

As we teach, we learn. As we have been saying, there is no other way. When we teach that joy and hope are our rightful inheritance, we too learn this. We are traveling farther on the pathway to Awakening.

5 – Jesus’s Teachers

We are Jesus’s teachers (once we have completed the workbook of the Course). May we let our own neuroses drop away, with the help of the Holy Spirit, and may we do our part to save the world and all people in it from unhappiness and hopelessness.

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

May I know that as I teach joy and hope to a desperate world, I will find that my learning has become complete. Thank you for this reassurance.

May I turn to the world and seek to help the people in it in their distress. Jesus needs me, and to believe so is not arrogance, but the truth.

Thank You for Your many blessings. I can’t say that strongly enough or often enough. You have given me many, many good things for a good life throughout a lifetime that has included some challenges. All of us have problems, but when we recognize that Your solution comes with the problem, all is well able to be resolved. Thank You.

Amen.

Teaching Goes on Every Moment of the Day, and Continues into Sleeping Thoughts as Well.

1 – To Teach Is to Learn

“The course. . .emphasizes that to teach is to learn, so that teacher and learner are the same. It also emphasizes that teaching is a constant process; it goes on every moment of the day, and continues into sleeping thoughts as well. (M1)”

2 – Simultaneously

Teaching and learning occur simultaneously. When we teach, we are teaching ourselves as much as another person. Indeed, we are often teaching ourselves even more, for by teaching a given truth, we have accentuated its validity in our own minds.

3 – All the Time

Teaching goes on all the time (ACIM tenet). We don’t recognize that when we act badly, we are then teaching as well. So if we are to be good examples, we need to watch carefully. Learning also goes on all the time. Teacher and student are only separated by time, and time does not really exist (ACIM tenet).

4 – No Choice

“The question is not whether you will teach, for in that there is no choice. The purpose of the course might be said to provide you with a means of choosing what you want to teach on the basis of what you want to learn. (M1)”

5 – Teaching All the Day

When we go through our days, we are teaching–whether consciously or otherwise. And what we teach we learn. Not only, therefore, are others affected, but especially ourselves as well.

6 – Teach Something Good

This passage recommends that we make a choice to teach something good in our lives. In so doing, we are learning something good. There is no other way.

7 – All Are Teachers

All of us are teachers; whether or not we are a teacher of God is very much our own choice. The Course says that we cannot claim this title until we have gone through the workbook, because we are learning through the teachings recorded therein (and in the Course as a whole). May we choose to teach God, not the ego. May the Holy Spirit guide us.

8 – What We Teach

“Any situation must be to you a chance to teach others what you are, and what they are to you. No more than that, but also never less. (M1)”

We are talking about teaching in everyday life; we are not teaching in the formal classroom. The classroom, if we wish to think of it this way, is the whole world. And we expose ourselves in our daily lives with our teaching. By so doing, our relationship is enhanced. We do not have to be so private all the time. Sharing ourselves actually steps up the relationship by allowing us to see what we are like on the inside. They trust us more when we let them in.

9 – The Teaching Underlying What You Say

“It is the teaching underlying what you say that teaches you. Teaching but reinforces what you believe about yourself. Its fundamental purpose is to diminish self-doubt. This does not mean that the self you are trying to protect is real. But it does mean that the self you think is real is what you teach. (M1)”

Several themes play through this passage. We are, in whatever we say or do, trying to reaffirm our self, or, more precisely, what we think is our self. This does diminish self-doubt. But we may become certain of the wrong things, for the self that we teach may not be our real self.

10 – Displaying Our Personality

If we pay attention to what we are displaying as our personality, we may reassess this persona. We may decide that we really don’t want to present a shabby self-image. This need is particularly important so long we are in the grip of neurosis. If we second guess ourselves, hesitate to speak up at reasonable times, and cringe when someone corrects us, it is likely that the ego has developed a neurotic persona for us.

11 – Jesus

Jesus can and does heal neurosis. Studying A Course in Miracles is one of the best ways that I know to develop a positive persona. As long as we forgive, and we see a reason to forgive, other people, we will walk a smooth pathway. It is when we hold grievances and resentments that our way seems so tough. And our persona so negative. Let’s vow to give up negativity today.

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

May I teach what I want to learn. May I be led by the Holy Spirit to know what that good teaching is.

Help me to be clear about what I want to learn. This will help me to teach the right things to my brothers and sisters. May I have Your guidance as I make my choice of what to teach.

Amen.