Mind Returns to Full Creation when Atonement Is Accepted

“Your mind does make your future, and it will turn it back to full creation at any minute if it accepts the Atonement first. It will also return to full creation the instant it has done so. Having given up its disordered thought, the proper ordering of thought becomes quite apparent. (T-5.V.8)”

This quotation is, I think, very important to the theology of A Course in Miracles, and it may be easily overlooked. We do “make” our future by projecting from within, but our better nature, once we accept Atonement, is to “create” our future in the real world, the one that isn’t all illusion. This real world comes into being as we approach Awakening.

Our minds have had disordered thought, in that our thought has really been insane. All of us are afflicted with insanity to one degree or another. The insanity starts leaving as we follow along the pathway to return home to God. But not by death. We return home to God by fulfilling the purposes for which He created us. We fulfill the function of salvation, forgiveness, happiness—for all of these are actually one.

Our minds will work right to create a new future when we have given up our insane desire to control reality (as we perceive it). We do not at first perceive true reality, but illusions. And it is these that we give up as we follow the pathway of Atonement.

Advertisements

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

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

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

Reflections:

1 – Guilty

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

2 – Anger and Attack

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

3 – Atonement

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

4 – Anxious

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

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

5 – Pills

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

6 – Vigilance

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

7 – Sad

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

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

8 – Form of Magical Solution

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

9 – Depression

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

10 – Not Joyous

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

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

11 – Guidance

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

12 – Holy Spirit

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

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

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

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

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

Thank You.

Amen.

The Ego Will Not Be Destroyed

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

Affirmation: “The ego is uncreative and unsharing.”

Reflections:

1 – Ego’s Misinterpretations

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

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

2 – Sow and Reap

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

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

3 – Vengeance

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

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

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

4 – Generations

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

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

5 – Wicked

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

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

6 – Ego

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

7 – Ego = Uncreative and Unsharing

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

8 – Self

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

Prayer:

Dear Father,

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

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

Amen.

revised

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

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

Affirmation: “Revelation may occasionally reveal the end”

Reflections:

1 – Revelation

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

2 – Means to Awakening

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

3 – Personal Experience

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

4 – Individual Who Is Awakened

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

5 – Preconditions

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

6 – From God to Us

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

Prayer:

Dear Father,

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

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

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

Amen.

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

1 – Simple Course?

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

2 – Go toward Happiness

We need to follow roads TOWARD happiness:

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


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

3 – Decisions

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

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

4 – Our Brother and Us

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

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

5 – Madness

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

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

6 – Awakening

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

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

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

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

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

Thank You.

Amen.

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

1 – Dreams

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

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

2 – A Perfect Brother

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

3 – Senseless Scripts

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

4 – Forgiveness

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

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

5 – Happy Dream

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

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

6 – Happy Dream

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

7 – Relationships

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

8 – Read A Course in Miracles

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

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

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

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

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

I love You.

Amen.

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

1 – Afraid to Walk Beside

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

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

2 – Cooperation

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

3 – Don’t Walk Alone

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

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

4 – Confusion

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

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

5 – Blindfolded?

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

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

6 – Personal Experience

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

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

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

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

Amen.

There Is No Order of Difficulty in Miracles

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

Affirmation: “unaffected by lacks of love”

Reflections:

1 – Easy Miracles

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

2 – Guidance in Choosing Miracles to Perform

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

3 – Lack of Love

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

4 – Reality Unaffected by Lack of Love

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

5 – First Principle in ACIM

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

Prayer:

Dear Father,

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

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

Amen.

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

1 – Forgiveness

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

2 – The Answer

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

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

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

3 – Anger and Attack

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

4 – Responses

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

5 – The World’s Forgiveness

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

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

6 – Healing

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

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

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

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

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

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

Amen.

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

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

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

Reflections:

1 – Unclear?

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

2 – Role of the Self

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

3 – Something in You

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

4 – Emotional Health

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

5 – Medication

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

6 – Physical Health

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

7 – Summary

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

8 – Healing?

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

Prayer:

Dear Father,

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

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

Amen.


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

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

Affirmation: “True denial is protective.”

Reflections:

1 – The Self

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

2 – A Course of Love

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

3 – We Live a Dream

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

4 – Error

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

5 – Pain

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

6 – Unhurt

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

7 – Hearts Full and Heads High

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

Prayer:

Dear Father,

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

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

Amen.

Definition of the Real World

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

1 – Forgiveness Reigns

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

2 – Holy Relationship with Our Brother

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

3 – Holy Spirit

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

4 – Forgive, and Then Understand

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

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

5 – Idols

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

6 – Materialism

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

7 – Simple Course

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

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

8 – Definition of the Truth

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

9 – One Way Is Not Way for All

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

10 – Real World Will Vanish

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

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

11 – Translation into Heaven

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

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

12 – Our Inheritance

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

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

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

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

Amen.

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

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

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

2 – Salvation

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

3 – Forgiveness and Happiness

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

Here is the full passage:

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

4 – Living in Reality

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

5 – The Elaborately Framed Picture

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

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

6 – Special Relationships

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

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

6 – Holy Relationships

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

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

7 – A Better Understanding

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

8 – Love

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

9 – Eliminate the Ego

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

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

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

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

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

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

Amen.

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

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

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

Reflections:

1 – Imprisoned Will

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

2 – Ego’s Interpretation

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

3 – Is God “Tricking” Us?

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

4 – The Separation

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

5 – Holy Spirit

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

6 – Helen and Bill

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

7 – Tolerance for Pain

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

Prayer:

Dear Father,

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

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

Amen.

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

1 – Theology

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

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

2 – Nothing Outside of You

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

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

3 – Heaven on Earth

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

4 – How So?

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

5 – Let the Ego Loosen

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

6 – Heaven

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

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

7 – A More Tangible Heaven

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

8 – Mind Reached to Itself

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

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

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

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

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

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

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

Amen.

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

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

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

Reflections:

1 – What Am I to Do?

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

2 – Lovely Prayer

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

3 – Holy Spirit

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

4 – Guidance

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

5 – Our Brother’s Keeper

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

6 – Study the Poem

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

Prayer:

Dear Father,

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

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

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

Amen.

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

Impressionist-Paintings-020

Affirmation: “Fear can be self-controlled.”

Reflections:

1 – Previous Posts

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

2 – Conditions Bringing Fear

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

3 – Self-Controlled Fear

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

4 – Cause and Effect

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

5 – Fear Can Be Overcome

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

6 – Stress

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

Prayer:

Dear Father,

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

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

Amen.

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

1 – Masochism

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

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

2 – Why?

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

3 – Adrenaline

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

4 – Peace

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

5 – Feather of a Wish

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

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

6 – Distress that Rests on Error

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

7 – Home

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

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

8 – Accept Peace

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

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

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

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

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

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

Amen.

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

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

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

Reflections:

1 – Mind Wandering

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

2 – Our Guide

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

3 – Strong Fear

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

4 – Monitor Thoughts

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

Prayer:

Dear Father,

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

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

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

Amen.

Nothing Real Can Be Threatened. Nothing Unreal Exists.

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

1 – Illusion

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

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

2 – Special Attention

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

3 – The Real

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

4 – The Unreal

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

5 – Real World

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

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

6 – Mystery

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

7 – Take a Moment

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

8 – All Will Be Well

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

And all will be well.

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

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

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

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

Amen.

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

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

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

Reflections:

1 – A Sequence of Thoughts

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

2 – Cause and Effect

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

3 – Personal Experience

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

4 – Conditions

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

5 – Pivotal

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

6 – Fearful Thoughts = Madness

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

7 – Our Power

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

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

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

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

Amen.

Glass in which the Ego Sees its Face Is Dark Indeed

pennsylvania impressionists - house
“If you cannot hear the Voice for God, it is because you do not choose to listen. That you do listen to the voice of your ego is demonstrated by your attitudes, your feelings and your behavior. Yet this is what you want. This is what you are fighting to keep, and what you are vigilant to save. Your mind is filled with schemes to save the face of your ego, and you do not seek the face of Christ. The glass in which the ego seeks to see its face is dark indeed. (T-4.IV.1)”

Affirmation: “I would hear the Voice for God today.”

Reflections:

1 – Holy Spirit

A Course in Miracles is written for the time of the Holy Spirit, the Voice for God, the Universal Inspiration. A Course of Love is written for the time of the second coming of Christ, though in this trilogy no predictions are ever made about a physical second coming of Jesus. Now that we are taking a look, again, at part of ACIM, we need to realize that there is great importance in listening for the Voice. Do we actually hear anything? Probably not. If we did hear something, we probably would fear for our sanity.

2 – Guidance

But the guidance of the Holy Spirit comes in promptings, feelings, intuition. The guidance comes in a chance word overheard from friends or even strangers. The guidance from a word written in a book that we are reading. And there are innumerable other ways that the Holy Spirit speaks. (“The Gift of Guidance,” available in this blog as a lengthy article, identifies ten common ways that the Holy Spirit speaks to us. Click on “Articles and Book Reviews” in the bar at the top of the screen.)

3 – The Voice

At this point in reading ACIM we are still listening to our ego. We don’t know anything else to do. The idea that there is a Voice that can accurately tell us what next to do is foreign to us. It means relinquishing our own judgment, and we find this difficult, because the world has focused on educating our judgment to try to make sound decisions in this world. ACIM takes the opposite tack.

4 – No Harm

It is important to know that guidance, the Voice, the Holy Spirit, will never counsel us to say or do anything that is harmful to ourselves or to others. So we need to test our this guidance until the guidance becomes a reliable guide for us. The ego is wily, and we can sometimes interpret the voice of the ego for the Voice of the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit is quiet; the ego is raucous. The Holy Spirit is gentle; the ego is insistent. We will not be forced in any way by the Holy Spirit. It is always our decision to follow Him.

5 – Pathway

And the decision to follow becomes easier as we see how much more smoothly our pathway becomes.

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

May I listen to guidance today. I say this to You a lot, and I do mean it. I find that my life flows much more smoothly with the helps that You give me. Thank You.

May my brothers and sisters have a good day today. And may I as well. The day is starting off brightly, and I have hope. Thank You for that hope.

Amen.

False Persona

pennsylvania impressionists - river road
“I can be entrusted with your body and your ego only because this enables you not to be concerned with them, and lets me teach you their unimportance. I could not understand their importance to you if I had not once been tempted to believe in them myself. Let us undertake to learn this lesson together so we can be free of them together. I need devoted teachers who share my aim of healing the mind. (T-4.I.13)”

Affirmation: “I would seek to heal the mind today.”

Reflections:

1 – Undo the Ego

A Course in Miracles seeks to undo the ego, undo that part of ourselves that is a false persona. The body is normally a big part of the ego’s system of thought, for the body is the ego’s home. We need to recognize early on that Jesus can take over both ego and body, and in so doing, we will save ourselves much conflict. We will not be concerned anymore with that which is actually unimportant.

2 – The Body

It is important to note that the body is deemphasized in A Course in Miracles more so than in A Course of Love. By the time we have read, several times usually, A Course of Love, we have relinquished the ego. But we have seen from our reading that in the awakened state of mind, our physical bodies are still with us. We occupy the “elevated Self of form,” but we do not emphasize the body anymore as an ego device. We simply use the body, as it was intended, as a communication device (from ACIM). When we have relinquished the ego, we naturally do not place undue, egotistical pleasures on the body. The body cannot sustain such thoughts. We will always be dissatisfied after a moment of supposed glory in our own beauty or handsomeness. We will like our clothes, and then we will be dissatisfied. Living in the ego is a matter of living in conflict.

3 – Devoted Teachers

We are being encouraged to become devoted teachers, and there is a whole book, the Manual for Teachers of ACIM, that is designed to give us guidance. Only time separates student and teacher, and often the roles are reversed. All of us teach all the time, and we are teaching what we are (from the Manual). We are trying to teach salvation, mostly by example, but also by words. We will not be effective either as students or teachers if we cling to the ego and the body as its home.

4 – Holy Spirit

We need to get beyond ego and body. A Course in Miracles, when studied, will tell us how. Whether or not we take its advice to heart is a matter of motivation only. We will learn what we consider important. And The Holy Spirit, as described in ACIM, will guide us along the way. We will not be left to our own devices.

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

I would move beyond the ego today and every day. There is no need for a false persona, and with Your help, my Self will assert and all will be well with me. I pray for this new direction today.

May I replace the ego with the Self. May I leave the personal or “little” self behind. I would choose enlightenment if it were up to me to decide. But You make that decision. Guide me to follow the pathway to Your choice for me of Awakening.

Amen.

Your Worth Is Not Established by Teaching or Learning

degas - ballet“Your worth is not established by teaching or learning. Your worth is established by God. As long as you dispute this everything you do will be fearful, particularly any situation that lends itself to the belief in superiority and inferiority. Teachers must be patient and repeat their lessons until they are learned. I am willing to do this, because I have no right to set your learning limits for you. Again,–nothing you do or think or wish or make is necessary to establish your worth. (T-4.1.7)”.

Affirmation: “My worth is sure, established by God.”

Reflections:

1 – Conditional Love

Children who have been subjected to conditional love, and that includes most people (young and old), are not likely to grow up to have a sense of worth that is recognized as separate from achievement. Only children and first born children are especially susceptible to the false idea that they must “do” to establish their worth. Indeed, many feel that they will not be loved if they do not measure up to the ideal that their parents have inculcated in them. If good grades are encouraged, a child may feel that he/she will not be loved unless those good grades are brought home. And there are many variations on this theme of unworthiness, or of worth that has to be proved by deeds.

2 – Do / Think / Wish / Make

What a welcome change the passage for today can make in the minds of those who first come to A Course in Miracles, and especially for those who read the Text first. (Note: There is not prescribed order in reading the three volumes of ACIM.) “Nothing you do or think or wish or make is necessary to establish your worth.” Jesus uses four verbs in this sense, as though he wishes to cover all the territory of our false thinking about worth.

3 – Fear

Farther on, Jesus indicates that if we cling to trying to measure up to be worthy of God, everything that we do will be fearful. And fear is of the ego. Here he is beginning to set down the limits of what the ego can do for us. And the limits are enormous; in fact, innumerable. The ego has led us down a false path, and we will be the better for it only if we learn how to turn aside from the ego. The ego is here defined as a part of our belief about ourselves (from the Text), but it is the coalition of false values. The ego is constantly being undone, because we cannot have both Awakening (toward which we are headed) and listen to the ego. The ego will always mislead.

4 – Emphasis

Jesus repeats these words about worth to emphasize, I think, their importance to the undoing of our thought system. To my way of thinking, this particular passage is one of the more important in all of ACIM, because it goes to the heart of our self-image. We are children of God, and we are already worthy because of that status.

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

Thank You so much for this lovely, lovely passage. It is one of the most helpful, for me, in all of A Course in Miracles. I learned that I don’t have to achieve to be loved. I learned that You accept me just as I am, Your child. Thank You for the knowledge of this great blessing.

May I fret no more about conditional love. That is all in the past, and the conditional love was from individuals who only meant well, wanting me to live up to my potential. May I forgive completely and totally.

Be with my brothers and sisters who are struggle under conditional love. You love all of us, completely unconditionally. We don’t have to “measure up.” We are alright. You are transforming the mistakes into the pathway that You would have us walk.

Thank You.

Amen.

Miracles

cezanne - jas de bouffan - pool
“Ask me which miracles you should perform. This spares you needless effort, because you will be acting under direct communication. The impersonal nature of the miracles is an essential ingredient, because it enables me to direct its application, and under my guidance miracles lead to the highly personal experience of revelation. A guide does not control but he does direct, leaving it up to you to follow. (T-1.III.4)”

Affirmation: “I will ask what miracles to perform today.”

Reflections:

1 – Selecting Miracles to Perform

This passage for today is a return to A Course in Miracles, and we will focus on ACIM for the next several days. In this early passage in the Text, Jesus is asserting his authority as our guide. He tells us that we ought simply to ask (internally) what miracles we ought to perform, and we will be told. Elsewhere we are told that consciously selected miracles are apt to be misguided, and so it is necessary to follow his guidance. Then, we are also told, we will be led into experiences of revelation.

2 – Revelation

Others will not understand our experiences of revelation, should we try to describe these experiences. They are very personal to us, in the same way that dream symbols are frequently unique to ourselves (at least according to Jung). But this is not solely an illusion, as dreams as seen to be in ACIM. The miracle still is of perception, and thus of the personal self, and because it is of perception, the miracle will not last (an ACIM tenet).

3 – Perception vs. Knowledge

But revelation is never defined as being of perception, though whether or not it is might be open to question (an interpretation, not stated in ACIM). Revelation reveals the end to us, the end that I believe A Course of Love spells out. We are heading beyond the personal or “little” self (ruled by the ego), and toward the Self/Christ, within, who will guide us once we are awakened (living in Christ-consciousness). Revelation, being intensely personal, could not be described adequately, even if we tried. Visions or hallucinations may be seen as miracles, and they too do not last, for they are perceptual.

4 – Unrecognized Miracles

Most miracles will, at first, not be recognized as such (an interpretation, not stated in ACIM). Others may benefit from miracles that we do about which we have been totally unaware. We will just sense that there is a right action that we ought to take, we will take it, and others will benefit. We ourselves will benefit as well. And, later on, we will look back and proclaim, “That was a miracle!”

5 – Salvation

The way of salvation is indeed miraculous.

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

I ask You and Jesus what miracles to perform today. May I follow guidance always, never trying to do my personal will alone–for this would be misguided all too often. I would love the ones whom I see, with whom I make contact.

Thank You for this interlude of peace. May the peace extend to other times, other places. I am aware of feeling intensely grateful for my many blessings. You have been extraordinarily gentle with me as I have walked through this lifetime. May my future smooth out even more. I have need for harmony and joy as I walk ahead. May these blessings come to me, as well as to others whom I encounter.

Thank You for leading me to understand more fully about miracles. I would work miracles today, those that You and Jesus indicate, and I would do so in a joyous spirit. I have the intuition that indeed this prayer will be answered, and answered today.

Amen.

When Not at Peace

“I must have decided wrongly, because I am not at peace.
I made the decision myself, but I can also decide otherwise.
I want to decide otherwise, because I want to be at peace.
I do not feel guilty, because the Holy Spirit will undo all the
   consequences of my wrong decision if I will let Him.
I choose to let Him, by allowing Him to decide for God for me.  (T90)”

Affirmation:  “I can decide for peace.”

Reflections:

1 – Choose Peace Moment by Moment

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

2 – Do Not “Study” the Ego

If we have already chosen wrongly, we may feel an ennui that is hard to describe.  This appears to be a time that we need to be especially protective of ourselves, but actually it is a prime time that we need to turn to the Holy Spirit for guidance.  We have seen or done something that has made for increased fatigue, either mental or physical, and until we get to the root of the problem, we will suffer.  We are not to study the ego, though!  Jesus specifically says in A Course in Miracles that the ego (this part of ourselves that has led us astray) approves our study of it, that this study seems to increase its importance to us (from the Text).  But if we find fatigue, an unnatural fatigue, steeling over us, perhaps we need to stop what we are doing and commune with the Holy Spirit.  He will respond with some quiet thoughts that will come automatically into the mind, when we have calmed down the agitation enough to listen.  (These are interpretations of ACIM, not stated therein.)

3 – Undoing Eliminates Guilt

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

4 – “Perfectly Calm and Quiet

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

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

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

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

Amen.

Guilt Reinforces the Error

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

Affirmation:  “If. . .feel guilty. . .allow it to be undone”

Reflections:

1 – Psychology in ACIM

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

2 – Guilt

One of the greatest problems that we face when engulfed by the ego is the problem of guilt.  We think that we have done horrendous things, and maybe we have, but only in illusion and only as mistakes–not sins.  Mistakes cry out for resolution, for remedying.  They do not have the attraction that a deed named a “sin” seems to have for our frail psyches.  Sins remain attractive, but mistakes call out for simple correction.  We probably do not realize the extent to which the ego depends on our sense of guilt when we believe that we have “sinned.”  Elsewhere we learn that guilt is hell.  And so we are getting into territory with this theology from ACIM that will be very, very threatening to us when we are identified with the ego.

3 – Error Undone

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

Prayer:

Dear Father,

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

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

Amen.

Not Joyous? Study Your Lack of Love

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

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

Reflections:

1 – When Feeling Low

This passage is particularly insightful.  We can determine when we have been unloving, because we don’t feel any joy.

2 – Love Brings Joy

Of course, this sounds extreme.  Surely there are reasons for depression other than a lack of love toward God’s creations.  But are there really?  Virtually all of us are trapped in egoistic thinking, which is by definition unloving.  We do know joy, and by this we can recognize the difference.  When joy comes upon us, all seems right in our little world.  We then recognize that we love the world and everyone in it.

3 – Drop the Unloving Attitude

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

4 – Being Happy

All of us wish to be happy, and one of the great benefits of studying A Course in Miracles is that we learn that this desire is not an inferior choice.  We are intended to be happy, and it is only the ego and its “gifts” that prevent joy from embracing us throughout the day.  We need only look to people of great faith, who have afflictions, to know that suffering is not necessarily a part of one’s experience.  The greater one looks beyond the physical (which is illusion, of course), the more likely we are to cease turning any pain into suffering, and hence avoiding joy.

5 – We Are Meant to Be Joyous!

We are meant to be joyous!  If we are not, let us make this prayer the first one that enters our minds every morning.

Prayer:

Dear Father,

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

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

Amen.

Let the Ego Wither Away

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

Affirmation:  “The ego is uncreative and unsharing.”

Reflections:

1 – When the Ego Is in Charge

The ego represents a false self, the little self–not the Self.  We are asked to live as though we were not an ego.  We can realize that the ego will just wither away when our false thinking is eliminated and we are living under the guidance of the Holy Spirit.   We will still have a personal self (from A Course of Love), but this personal self will be informed by the guidance that with gain through embodying Christ-consciousness or Awakening.  Note that the use of the term “ego” in both A Course in Miracles and A Course of Love is not precisely what today’s psychology means by the term.  Today’s psychology would believe that we need a strong sense of self, or ego, out of which successful living can result.  And unless this sense of self is made strong, we will waffle and be ineffective individuals.  But ACIM and ACOL mean a egoic state of mind that does not acknowledge that we are part of a whole, God, of Whom we know very little.  The egoic state of mind rarely looks for guidance from the Being Who knows all factors that impinge on any decision.  We need to give up judgment and acquiesce to a Higher Power, Who does know all the factors in our world–past, present, and future.  And this guidance means that our egoic state will wither away, and we can be assured that the loss of “ego” in these terms is a fortunate happening.

2 – Soften the Heart

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

3 – The Self

The ego is “uncreative.”  Surely this makes sense!  The ego has only “made” things (a Course concept).  Creativity is of the Self, not of the little self, which is egoistic in the extreme.  May we live so that we are the real Self, insofar as we can ascertain.  Then we will let the ego and its unproductive part of ourselves collapse.  Then we will be ever more ready for God, metaphorically, to reach down and lift us up to Awakening (or Christ-consciousness).  In the meantime, before we sustain Christ-consciousness, we will very likely see glimpses of that better state of mind and spirit that will encourage and keep us going forward in God’s own Way.  These glimpses may not yet last, but they will be harbingers of the way that we are to be when we have walked the complete pathway home.

Prayer:

Dear Father,

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

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

Amen.

Overcoming Masochism

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

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

Reflections:

1 – An Explanation

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

2 – Insane Thinking

This is insane thinking.  The ego is insane.  Let us not forget this Course concept.

3 – We Do Not Have to Punish Ourselves

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

4 – Healing

It is true that we can seek guidance and often be told the way to proceed in any affliction.  This does not mean that we avoid other healers and depend only on our minds.  Jesus says in A Course in Miracles that pills are a form of “spell,” but that if we are not strong enough, we need to turn to medications as a compromise approach to healing.  To do without the medications might raise the fear level, which is the last thing that we want to do.  (These are Text tenets.)

5 – Jesus Is Near

So we seek for healing on whatever level we can, knowing that the healer who is Jesus is never very far from us.  He promises us that he will come in response to one unequivocal call (from the Text).

Prayer:

Dear Father,

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

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

Amen.

Do Not Turn Pain into Suffering

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

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

Reflections:

1 – Suffer?

This is a hard passage to understand.  It is true that Awakened individuals acknowledge feeling pain, but not suffering.  Eckhart Tolle is one of these individuals.  But most of us have not yet known Awakening on a sustained basis, and what are we to do when bad things happen?

2 – Think Kindness

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

3 – Pain but No Suffering

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

4 – Difficulty in Avoiding Suffering

We need to realize that we transform pain into suffering by our own thought processes.  Certainly in physical pain, it is hard not to get the mind involved.  We feel so bad physically that our bodies temporarily seem to take over our minds.  Whatever we do, in this world there probably will never be one correct action to take–other than asking for the Holy Spirit to give us the guidance that we need to remedy the situation.  He will answer, though if we are agitated, we may not “hear” what He has to say.  Seek calm and quiet, not agitation, and see how much more readily the physical pain ceases to be an affliction that can only be called “suffering.”

Prayer:

Dear Father,

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

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

Amen.

Turn the Other Cheek

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

Affirmation:  “You cannot be hurt.”

Reflections:

1 – Pain Hurts Ourselves and Others

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

2 – The Real Self Is Unhurt

Our real Self cannot be hurt in any way.  This is a magnificent truth that even among seasoned veterans of the Course can easily be overlooked as we live daily in this world.  Certainly we seem to suffer, or, at the least, to know pain–even when it doesn’t lead to real suffering.  Yet the Self continues unabated.  The Self knows that we are whole.

3 – The Personal Self Is Hurt

Our real Self is not hurt, but it is still obvious that the personal self does seem to be hurt by words and actions of other people in our world.  We also seem to hurt the personal self through our own thoughts, words, and actions.  We should not deny the fact that the dream in which we find ourselves seems very real indeed.  We are not to deny what appears before our eyes, for as long as we are in the dream and not yet in the real world, we will have times in which we are hurt, either by others or by ourselves.  Jesus does not ask in A Course in Miracles that we live in denial of what we see before us; he only indicates that we are lost in a dream that we are making up.  We are the actors; we are doing this unto ourselves (ACIM tenets).

4 – “Turn the Other Cheek”

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

Prayer:

Dear Father,

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

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

Amen.

Living in the Flow

“What you perceive in others you are strengthening in yourself.  (T80)”

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

Reflections:

1 – Without Reflects Within

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

2 – The Prathers

Hugh Prather and his wife Gayle once wrote that they were aware that when everyone that they encountered seemed to need “fixing” in some way, it was their own perception guiding them to take a look internally.  (Note:  This is a paraphrase of their writing.)  Certainly we can easily see the truth of this assertion.  If we are living “in the flow,” and all seems right in our little world, then it is likely that we are at peace and that we are not trying to change anybody.  A Course in Miracles does not emphasize changing our brothers and sisters.  Repeatedly we are encouraged to take a look at a brother or sister, and to try to determine what, if anything, they are ready to accept by way of salvation.  We are not meant to be aggressive (an interpretation of ACIM, not stated directly therein).

3 – How Do We Live in the Flow?

How do we easily live in the flow?  We do not hold such strong, stubborn attitudes in our daily lives.  We are flexible, and we guide our lives by the guidance that the Holy Spirit so often gives to us when we are receptive.  If we are having a good day, it is very likely that we are, consciously or unconsciously, giving up our self-will and living in the flow of the Holy Spirit.  What would it take for us to do this, to follow His guidance, all the time?  It takes the flexibility that I alluded to, just above.  We need to stop being so certain that we are right in the plans that seem necessary for our day.  We may have first decided that something is so, when actually the truth is far from us.  We need to ask that the truth about what we need to do with our day be shown to us, as the day unfolds.  The day is not often shown far in advance.  (This is personal interpretation, not stated in ACIM.)

4 – Changing What Is Within

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

5 – Projection Makes Perception

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

Prayer:

Dear Father,

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

When I am in a critical mood, I am not happy.  In fact, I would say that a critical mood is the primary factor if I run into a rough patch in which I seem to experience unhappiness.  Take this habit from me, dear God.  I would be tolerant of my brothers and sisters, and I would reap the benefit of a more benign attitude toward all of them.

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

Amen.

Perfectly Calm and Quiet

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

Affirmation:  “Peace is the ego’s greatest enemy.”

Reflections:

1 – Attack Strengthens the Ego

When we are tempted to attack our brother, may we realize that it is the ego up to its old tricks.  The more we attack, the stronger the ego in us becomes.  Do we really want this?  I think not.  We can take a timeout, a break of any kind, exiting ourselves from the irritating situation.  We can say a mantra, breathe deeply, especially pray for calm–all of which are personal recommendations not cited in A Course in Miracles.  We are most likely to attack when we are stressed.  We are most likely to get angry when we are stressed.  So, if we reduce the stress, we are well on our way to reducing the ego in ourselves.  And what a joy that is!  We think that egotistical thinking helps to fuel our ambition, to lead us to greater heights of achievement.  But actually we are pulled down by the ego in exact ratio to how much we seem to be on a lofty plane.  The ego is always being undone.  We have set  it up that way (an interpretation, not stated in ACIM).

2 – Drama Best Avoided

When we are peaceful, we may at first feel that we are not as “alive” as we would like to be.  This is the longing for drama in our relationships, and it is a sick longing.  Peace is actually the best thing that can happen to us.  Elsewhere the Course says that we are meant to be perfectly calm and quiet all the time.  This may sound extreme, but the things of heaven are obscure to us.  I have a friend who does not think that drama is all bad.  She indicated that she would not want to be “perfectly calm and quiet” all the time.  But lately she has been taking a prescribed mild tranquillizer, and she reported to me that she doesn’t go “over the top” anymore.  I plan to ask her eventually if “perfectly calm and quiet” is still not a goal that she would ever seek.  We are not living when we are caught up in adrenaline-producing drama.  We are riding the tide of the ego.

3 – Just Allow Peace to Be

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

4 – A Better Way Shown in ACIM

The Course holds out a better way for us.  Invite peace in our daily lives, and we will soon know a joy that is boundless–even if everything is not perfect in this world.  We will know a mellow feeling that is close to the peace that passeth understanding.  And we must not seek to get rid of this mellow feeling, even though, when unused to it, we may rush toward a drama-filled scenario again.  Let’s don’t do that.  It is completely counterproductive to everything that A Course in Miracles says.

Prayer:

Dear Father,

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

May I have, today, the peace that passeth understanding.  May I not seek to rush back to some drama-filled situation out of boredom.  May I put my quiet times to good use.  And may I be a blessing to my significant others as I walk through my day today.

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

Amen.

How to Strengthen the Holy Spirit in You

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

Affirmation:  “The Holy Spirit is strengthened by being given away.”

Reflections:

1 – Live ACIM

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

2 – Set a Good Example

We have long taught in our world that one’s example is the best teacher.  Living what one says is far superior to giving the words.  Any parent knows this.  And if our words conflict with our living out of the words, the individual we are affecting will look to our behavior first of all.  We do a great disservice to Jesus if we study the Course and then do not live its principles among our most significant others.

3 – Strengthening the Idea of the Holy Spirit

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

4 – A Miracle

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

Prayer:

Dear Father,

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

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

Amen.

Overcoming Weariness

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

Affirmation:  “our task is a joyous one”

Reflections:

1 – How Do You Feel in the Morning?

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

2 – Hearing from the Holy Spirit

We may feel tired emotionally, not in our muscles.  We may be fretting internally about some matter that has not yet been wholly given over to the Holy Spirit.  We may not know exactly what is disturbing our equilibrium.  But we can always know that there is One who does know.  We can ask, and my experience has been that I am told–and quickly.  I do not hear a voice, but the idea appears in my mind, full-blown.  It seems a bit beyond me, as something that I could not have reasoned out, because my mind alone has been too close to the situation.  There is a freeing that comes when we turn a problem over to the Holy Spirit for rectifying.  This frees up the mind and soon the answer to what to do next appears, almost without prompting.  (These ideas are personal experience only, not stated directly in ACIM.)

3 – The Call for God

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

4 – Walk through This Day in Peace

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

Prayer:

Dear Father,

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

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

Amen.

Call to Joy Dissolves the Ego

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

Affirmation:  “the strong call for joy”

Reflections:

1 – Overcome with Joy

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

2 – Blessing!

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

3 – Like the Lilies of the Field

Certainly we will willingly give up our egotistical ways when we realize that avoiding that avenue is the very best way to happiness.  Our joy is not of this world.  Our joy comes from God, and He leads us down that pathway by guidance.  When we have heard this call for joy, we will react as many of Jesus’s early followers did.  We will leave behind much of our investment in the material things of this world, and we will seek the intangibles of God.  This does not mean that God does not care about our material needs being met.  He does care, for He knows that these things are important to us (though sometimes too important).  The lilies mentioned in the Text of A Course in Miracles are reminiscent of words in the New Testament.  And we are meant to be just as unfettered by living in this world as are those lilies that cover our world with beauty.

4 – Tiny, Mad Idea

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

5 – A Calm Mind

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

Prayer:

Dear Father,

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

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

Amen.

Definition of Atonement

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

Affirmation:  “The Holy Spirit. . .the Call to Atonement.”

Reflections:

1 – The Pivotal Voice

This passage sets forth the pivotal role that the Holy Spirit, our guidance, plays in restoring us to our right mind.  When we listen to this Voice only, we are well on our way to peace and happiness.  Atonement is a correction (an ACIM tenet) to our hearts and minds, a change of purpose in the way that we view our life on earth.

2 – Peace with the World

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

3 – Listen to the Holy Spirit Always

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

4 – God’s Will = Our Real Will

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

Prayer:

Dear Father,

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

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

Amen.

Helpful and Harmless

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

Affirmation:  “The truly helpful are invulnerable.”

Reflections:

1 – We Can Learn to Be Helpful and Harmless

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

2 – Conflict

When we are unnaturally tired, it is my interpretation that we are struggling with some conflict that Jesus would willingly take from us.  Ask the Holy Spirit how He would have us react.  If we are struggling to “do something” for a brother or sister, and it just doesn’t feel right (though it would be a loving act), perhaps now is not the right time.  Perhaps we need to reassess and ask how we might really help.  Sometimes doing nothing at all, at the present moment, is the right response, the harmless response.

3 – Invulnerability for Us

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

4 – Laudable Goals

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

Prayer:

Dear Father,

May I not lose my temper.  May I remain helpful and harmless to my brothers and sisters.  

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

Amen.  

Do Not Isolate Yourself

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

Affirmation:  “Salvation is collaborative”

Reflections:

1 – Don’t Isolate Yourself

We are not meant to isolate ourselves in this world–even to study the Course.  We are meant to stay in the world ,and to minister to our brothers and sisters.  Our brothers and sisters are the Sonship.  (Note:  Scribed in the sixties, A Course in Miracles uses the same masculine terminology that the Bible does, but in the sixties, the masculine gender was recognized by everyone as including both genders, male and female.)

2 – Let Jesus In

Jesus, in this passage, indicates how important it is that he be a part of our lives.  This is his wish, but it is not mandatory.  Indeed, Helen and Bill were reluctant, when introducing the Course, to tell their listeners that their considered opinion was that the speaker was Jesus.  They knew how foreign this would sound to some hearers of the new message.

3 – Jesus as Elder Brother

Jesus can do more for us if we consider him a friend, an elder brother.  He speaks at one point of how we can imagine him holding our hand as we walk along, and he indicates that this will be no “idle fantasy.”  We cannot understand how this is possible, but we can take him at his word and see if it does not appear that he is with everyone who gives an insistent call.  He will come at the first “unequivocal” call (from the Text).

4 – The Consequences of Withdrawal

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

5 – Salvation for Ourselves AND Others

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

Prayer:

Dear Father,

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

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

Amen.

Our Mission Is Very Simple

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

Affirmation:  “Jesus does not choose God’s channels wrongly.”

Reflections:

1 – The Ego

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

2 – Mission Substantial

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

3 – Proselytize?

This injunction from Jesus does not mean that we aggressively proselytize.  In A Course in Miracles, he states that some are ready only for a smile.  And so we turn off others if we try to interest them in “our” way–A Course in Miracles–prematurely.  We do not want to turn others off.  We seek to avoid the controversy of theology, as this is only dividing and a barrier between others and us.  We are best to seek help from guidance as often as we possibly can, because we are apt to become zealous in our approach if left on our own.  Jesus does not want us to strain to represent him in this world.  The easy and natural approach will always work best (an interpretation, not stated directly in ACIM).

4 – No Call to Specialness

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

Prayer:

Dear Father,

Help me to realize that I am a channel for God.  However many mistakes I make, still is this true.  Thank you.

May I take up my mission in this world.  To do so, I need to live as though I am without ego.  Help me to relinquish the ego, and to take my place in the salvation of this world.

I know that when the ego rears its head, I am unhappy.  This is my clue that I have gotten off my pathway to You.  Please guide me gently back home.

Amen.

Misery (Ego) vs. Joy (Spirit)

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

Affirmation:  “joy comes with spirit”

Reflections:

1 – The Egotistical Fails to Satisfy

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

2 – Ordinary Daily Life Satisfying

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

3 – Read ACIM Frequently

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

4 – Holy Relationships

We are in joy and in Heaven when we are at peace with our brothers and sisters in this world.  We are in joy and in Heaven when we have holy relationships that have brought us home.  May we always remember that the joys of the spirit are much superior to the egotistical “joy” that comes to us from egotistical motives.  We need to drop the competition that the ego fosters and walk home to God through the love that we hold for others in our world (an interpretation, not stated in ACIM).

Prayer:

Dear Father,

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

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

Amen.

Learning through Rewards vs. Learning through Pain

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

Affirmation:  “Learning through rewards is more effective than learning through pain.”

Reflections:

1 – We Do Not Have to Learn through Pain

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

2 – Study of ACIM Brings Increased Peace and Joy

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

3 – Pain Brings Only a Temporary Effect

It is enormously gratifying to know that someone like Jesus says that pain brings only a temporary effect.  So long in our world we have brought pain upon ourselves and our world, and we have believed (when we reflected) that we have learned something from this pain.  But here Jesus makes it plain that our pain is not wanted by God, and, especially, that God did not “cause” our pain.  We do not have Him to blame, but only ourselves and our mass hallucination (an interpretation, not stated in ACIM).  We can turn to reward whenever we wish.  We just need to ask the Holy Spirit for help in how to proceed.

4 – Choose to Learn through Rewards

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

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

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

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

Amen.

Definition of the Ego

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

Affirmation:  “The ego is a part of my belief about myself.”

Reflections:

1 – Succinct Definition

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

2 – Dissociation from the Ego

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

3 – A Course of Love

A Course in Love, scribed after A Course in Miracles, says that the time of the Holy Spirit has passed, that we are now in the time of Christ-consciousness.  This trilogy of books seeks to lead us outward and inward to Christ-consciousness, which is the state of mind and heart that is described in ACIM as the Awakening.  We have left the ego behind in A Course of Love.  We are not perfect, still, but we can know Heaven in our current state.  These ideas are perhaps more controversial than anything in A Course in Miracles, but some individuals believe that Jesus himself also scribed A Course of Love, having unfinished business with us.  (Of course, there are numerous books now in print that are attributed to Jesus.  We must following our own inner Guide in trying to determine the legitimacy of any and all of these books.)

4 – The Self

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

Prayer:

Dear Father,

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

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

Amen.

Inspire the Dis-Spirited / Stabilize the Unstable

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

Affirmation:  “miracles are natural”

 

Reflections:

1 – Miracles = Natural

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

2 – Marianne Williamson

Marianne Williamson has written a bit about the power of Jesus to heal neurotics.  This passage uses the term “unstable,” but I think the meaning is similar and the content essentially identical.  Surely we recognize when life is not running smoothly for us, and if we are astute, we will realize that the problems we are encountering are at least partially our own fault (some would say that we drew those problems to ourselves, but A Course in Miracles does not go that far).  If we can change our reality only by changing ourselves (which is akin to ACIM tenets), then it is probably abundantly evident that we need some help in changing ourselves.  And the Holy Spirit stands ever ready.  When we follow the intuitive indications that we get, we will find ourselves growing into ever-better relationships with our brothers and sisters in this world.  When we are patently neurotic, we will always have problems with relationships.

3 – Miracles = Our Natural Inheritance

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

4 – Certain to Respond

Jesus is certain that we will respond to him.  This certainty is comforting to us, because perhaps we see the way to Life as long and arduous.  The pathway need not be such.  We can turn to Jesus as our Friend, as he has always promised that he would be.  (In the Course, he identifies himself as an elder brother.)

Prayer:

Dear Father,

May I recognize Jesus as my elder brother.  May I know that he is always there to help me to adjust to this sometimes hard life.

May I know that life need not be hard, because there are always natural means–miracles–to smooth the way.  May I take this knowledge to heart, and truly believe it.  Then I will feel safe, regardless of what is going on around me.

Amen.

Let Jesus Take Your Hand

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

Affirmation:  “Work with my higher mind.”

Reflections:

1 – Elder Brother

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

2 – How to Solve Problems

As time goes by, and we have spent more of that time studying A Course in Miracles, we may find that our mind delivers to us, perhaps psychically, the answers to our questions and the answers to our problems.  It is normally better to pray (or “commune”), ask our question, express thanks with the assurance that the answer will come, and then get busy with something else.  Then and only then does it help to get quiet and to ask again.  It is very, very likely that the answer that has been eluding us will pop into our minds, seemingly unbidden and with great ease and comfort, with a sense of clarity that we have heretofore lacked.  This is the miracle, visiting us in a very practical way.  This is the Holy Spirit’s attending to our needs.  And we would not forget to say “thank you” for this blessing.

3 – At One with the Holy Spirit

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

4 – No Idle Fantasy

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

Prayer:

Dear Father,

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

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

Amen.

Gladden Yourself!

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

Affirmation:  “I will gladden myself today.”

Reflections:

1 – We Can Be Happier!

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

2 – Personal Experience

My most vulnerable time is first thing in the morning.  I have a tendency to look quickly ahead to my day and not be too excited about what I see.  But this is insanity.  I have a good life, and it is only bio-chemicals in my brain that are leading me to see something different.  So what do I do?  Most importantly, I put one foot in front of the other, and keep going.  I fix breakfast, I enjoy a good breakfast with my husband, I give thanks for the many blessings that are mine.  Also, I get outside in the sunshine, because light helps the mood.  At the first opportunity, I make a list of all for which I am grateful.  And I mull over this list.  It is indeed a blessed life that I live!  And when the day wears on a bit, I will recognize that.  The mind, with God’s help, does rise above any sense of depression.

3 – When to Seek Help

If I were clinically depressed, having short-term memory loss and the like, I would seek medical help.  I would not suffer alone.  If this is not the case, though, there are simple things that we can do in any given day not to be disheartened.

4 – Make a List

Gladdening is a personal experience.  What would please you, might not please me.  It is up to each of us to make a mental list of those things that gladden our day.  And then refer to that mental list often, until the bad mood lifts.

5 – Pure Joy and Limitless Release

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

6 – Remember Today’s Passage

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

Prayer:

Dear Father,

May I be happy today, in all the moments of my day.  May I not succumb to depressed thoughts, but choose instead to find moments in which to gladden myself.

I have sometimes withdrawn into depression rather than to seek the way out to better thinking.  Optimism can be cultivated.  May I do so today.

Amen.

Starting Point = Truth = Not Ego

“Your starting point is truth, and you must return to your Beginning.  Much has been seen since then, but nothing has really happened.  Your Self is still in peace, even though your mind is in conflict.  You have not yet gone back far enough, and that is why you become so fearful.  As you approach the Beginning, you feel the fear of the destruction of your thought system upon you as if it were the fear of death.  (T51)”

Affirmation:  “My starting point is truth”

Reflections:

1 – Philosophical Backdrop

This is a difficult passage; it hints at a philosophical backdrop for the Course.

2 – Returning, but Still in Heaven

We are told that we are actually “returning,” even though we have never actually left Heaven.  This returning leads us to the Beginning, before the ego, in its madness, was made.  Naturally, to the ego, its own destruction is terrifying.  We can perhaps gauge the amount of ego still in us by the fearful nature of our thinking as we study the Course.

3 – Living an Illusion

“Nothing has really happened.”  Here is the point made again that we are  living an illusion, and should any of us really fear an illusion?

4 – Reason to Fear?

If we are truly walking a pathway that was over in an instant, long ago, and we only seem to be reliving it now–then what is there to fear at all?  We chose correctly, for God, in that tiny mad idea that arose in our minds, when we forgot to laugh (from the Text).  If this theology helps us, then we would be well to try to understand it.  But if the theology is a stumbling block, we are bade not to embrace theology that would divide us from one another, but instead seek the one experience that we all can share.

5 – We Share Love

And this experience that we all can share is always one of love.  We fall many times.  We attack verbally, we have misunderstanding and regrets, but all of this is meaningless when we recognize that we are caught in illusions, and that these illusions are madness.  Certainly we cringe at being called “insane,” but it is the best way, is it not, to describe the hold that the ego has over us.  The ego has never given us anything to keep.  It has always tangled prizes out in front of us, but prizes that rust and decay.  And then we cry, for we do not have what we really want.  And what is it that we really want?

6 – The Real World

The real world, as described by A Course in Miracles, is a world free of vengeance and rebuff, a shining world of joy and peace.  This is not “pie in the sky” thinking, because our projections make our perception (an ACIM tenet), and we can make any world that we want.  If we see something that we do not want to see, we turn inwardly to the Holy Spirit, and we ask for a new picture.  Indeed, ACIM says that we are seeing these distasteful things because we do not want to see them.  They are an outward indication of an inward condition, and only when that inward condition is healed will we, once again, walk a green earth.

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

As I study the Course, I may become fearful.  This is because my ego senses its elimination.

Help me to realize that this fear can be abated by Your strength.  Help me to realize that the elimination of the ego is what I really want.

Amen.

Voluntary Dis-Spiriting / Depressed Spirits

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

Affirmation:  “My mind can rise above fatigue and heal.”

Reflections:

1 – Voluntary!

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

2 – Blame the Ego

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

3 – Don’t Withdraw

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

4 – Remedies

If going through the trial of depressed spirits, there are helpful changes that can be made, small helpful changes that make a big difference.  (These are personal suggestions, not from ACIM.)  Getting out and about among people, early in the day, is a great way to start the morning.  We do know, from experiencing low spirits, that the morning hours are the most problematic.  Just putting one’s self in a position of having to talk to people will turn aside the dark inner thoughts that lower one’s affect.  A journal is a helpful concept, and some people have found writing early in the morning to be helpful.  I personally don’t follow this advice, as writing early tends to raise my anxiety level, something that I don’t welcome when facing a long day.  So some experimentation with any advice is always a welcome choice.

5 – We Are Never Alone

We can overcome depression, whether with the help of pills or without.  There are ways that we can drop the offending thoughts from our minds.  Ask for guidance in this matter, knowing that we are never alone.  This fact of knowing that we are never alone is one of the greatest unsung blessings of A Course in Miracles.

Prayer:

Dear Father,

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

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

Amen.

When Feeling Guilty

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

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

Reflections:

1 – Our True Reality = Innocence

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

2 – Guilt, Anger, and Attack

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

3 – Greatest Regret

My greatest regret is that once I expressed verbal anger at someone whom I cared a great deal about, because that individual did not see life as I did.  But now, through the joy of studying A Course in Miracles, I know that I do not have to feel guilty about this lapse in good judgment.  I can always ask for forgiveness, and it will be granted.  And I can ask not to repeat the mistake (and I have so asked).  Knowing that stress elicits anger in me, I can avoid stressful situations insofar as possible.  A few quiet moments alone are usually enough to get my thinking and emotions straightened out.  Then the ego withdraws its temptation to verbally attack, and my calm attitude returns to me.  What a blessing this scenario then becomes!

4 – We Do Not Have to Feel Guilty

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

Prayer:

Dear Father,

Help me to remember that when I feel guilty, it is only the ego in me that has misbehaved.  The real Self is innocent.

May I seek forgiveness of myself, and may I ask forgiveness of others.  Then may I know that there is truly no reason to feel guilty.

Amen.