Miracles Meet Our Every Need

ACIM Workbook Lesson 357 – for Friday, December 23, 2011

Affirmation:  “Truth answers every call we make to God,
        Responding first with miracles, and then
        Returning unto us to be itself.”

 

“Your Voice instructs me patiently to hear Your Word, and give as I receive.  And as I look upon Your Son today, I hear Your Voice instructing me to find the way to You, as You appointed that the way shall be:

    “Behold his sinlessness, and be you healed.  (WB483)”

Reflections:

1 – See Sinlessness / Be Healed

When we see sinlessness in our brothers and sisters, we are herein promised that we will be healed of our sickness and pain.  This is a strong statement.  Perhaps the physical element of sickness or pain may remain, but the shackles will be gone from our minds.  And is that not healing?

2 – From the Old Testament / Hebrew Bible

So often we use sickness and pain as excuses not to do our best for God.  The Old Testament is filled with examples of prophets who tried to resist the call because they did not think that they were the right person for the job.  But God knew best, and when the call was answered, they too learned that He had been with them.

3 – Let Us Be All that God Would Have Us Be

The miracle can heal even physical and emotional sickness and pain.  But the real blessing of healing is the freedom that it grants our minds.  We are not longer limited by what we perceive to be boundaries that hemmed us in.  We are freed to be creative in the fullest sense, the sense that God meant for us as his children, our Self/Christ.  This miracles happens when we perceive others as sinless, sinless because we live in an illusion.  May we recognize this truth, and soon overcome our reluctance to be all that God would have us be in this world.

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

I would allow miracles that You prompt to restore my sense of equilibrium today.  May no pain or sickness intrude on the day that belongs, rightfully, to You.  I would choose to see the good in my brothers and sisters, and I would ask Jesus what miracles he wants me to perform that will ease their lives.  All of us have troubles from time to time, but we do not have to lie down and give up.  Your way always gives a solution, because the solution is always with the problem.  Help me to remember this when stress builds up.

If I sense that You are asking me to do something that I do not feel able or strong enough to do, help me to realize that most people have, at least those who follow a religious pathway, have found themselves in this predicament before.  I would ask You to do the leading, to show me the way, and then I would give up all illusions that I could do anything that You ask without the constant guidance of Your Guide, the Holy Spirit.

May I be flexible today, to turn on a dime as I go about my day.  This is not a straitjacket; you know what is best for me, and, if I listen, the Holy Spirit will point out the next step.  And the one after that, and after that.

Amen.

Sickness Is but Another Name for Sin

ACIM Workbook Lesson 356 – for Thursday, December 22, 2011

Affirmation:  “Sickness is but another name for sin.
Healing is but another name for God.
The miracle is thus a call to Him.”

“Your Name replaces every thought of sin, and who is sinless cannot suffer pain.  Your Name gives answer to Your Son, because to call Your Name is but to call his own.  (WB482)”

Reflections:

1 – Sickness and Pain Are Illusions

This is the level of A Course in Miracles that offers no compromise.  Certainly in this world we do know sickness and pain, but, ultimately, these are not real.  That is the one conclusion to which we can come.  We live in illusion, in maya.  And as long as we project from an egoic interior, we will project sickness and pain.  We will perceive sickness and pain, but when we tell ourselves that what we are seeing is not real, we will be at peace.

2 – But Do No Deny Your Sight

God grants us healing–healing that sometimes we can see and sometimes we cannot.  ACIM is always practical, and these books would not have us to deny the sight of our egoic eyes.  We see sickness and pain, and therefore it is there for us.  To deny this sight would be a particularly unworthy form of denial.  But we can be healed when we find God within.  Healing is not always of the physical, and even the mental may take its hits.  But healing is real when we trust God to show us the Way.

3 – Sinless in Eternity, Not in Time

We are sinless in eternity, not in time.  But there is no time, ultimately.  And so there is no lasting sickness or pain.  Let us ask God today to teach us the real truth behind these words.  May we take unto ourselves the truth of the illusion in which we find ourselves, and may we walk into the sunlight with Christ.

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

The lesson for today teaches me important truths, and I thank you for those.  I cannot deny the pain and sickness that my perception shows me in this unreal world, but I can turn to You for help in handling the pain and sickness that I observe.  And I can know that what is happening does not affect the Self, that we are well in eternity.  And You will help us to cope in this world, when pain and sickness intrude.

Be with me and guard my mind so that I do not make my own pain and sickness.  Help me to realize, as Jesus has said in A Course in Miracles, that sickness is external searching.  I would not search externally today.  I would turn inward to have You heal me, and even when my perception still sees pain and suffering, I will know that, ultimately, all will be well.  My prayers can do much to lead me to accept Your healing.

Be with me today and with all brothers and sisters who suffer.  May we ask for a quick healing, and ask in faith that what we ask for, frequently is granted.  Thank You.

Amen.

There Is No End to All the Peace and Joy

ACIM Workbook Lesson 355 – for Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Affirmation:  “There is no end to all the peace and joy,
And all the miracles that I will give,
When I accept God’s Word.  Why not today?”

“I need not wait an instant more to be at peace forever.  It is You I choose, and my Identity along with You.  Your Son would be Himself, and know You as his Father and Creator, and his Love.  (WB482)”

Reflections:

1 – Recommitment

This is yet another dedication of ourselves to God.  We need to realize that just accepting God once, or even myriad of times, is not enough.  Our acceptance of God and His Will has to be ongoing, a recommitment daily, and even moment by moment.

2 – “Create”

When we rededicate ourselves to God, we know peace and joy.  This is the great blessing.  We are at the point of “creating” rather than “making” our world.  We have accepted the Self/Christ Whom we are meant to be, and we are at peace.  What more could we really want?

3 – Perfectly Calm and Quiet

In the Text, we are told that we will ultimately want to be “perfectly calm and quiet” all the time.  Perhaps this did not seem a worthy goal at the time we first read it, but do we not see it now?  Have we not changed this much over the course of this year?

4 – An Ongoing Commitment

Let us accept God’s Word today, ultimately.  And then let us do the same tomorrow, and the day after.  There is no end to the joy and peace that we can know when we have accepted God’s Word as our own.

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

I would know peace and joy, in quietness and calm, today.  I would not rush through this harried world at all.  Your way is perfectly calm and quiet, and that is what You intend for us to emulate.  Help me to emulate You today.

I would recommit to You today.  I know that You need me never to forget You, as I walk through my days.  Help me to remember Your presence.  Help me to feel Your presence in my heart.  With that felt presence, I know that all will be well with me.  Thank You.

Amen.

Christ = the Self We Are Meant to Share

ACIM Workbook Lesson 354 – for Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Affirmation:  “We stand together, Christ and I, in peace


And certainty of purpose.  And in Him
Is His Creator, as He is in me.”

“For who is Christ except Your Son as You created Him?  And what am I except the Christ in me?  (WB481)”

Reflections:

1 – Definition of the Christ

Here is a further amplification of what “Christ” actually means.  He is the Self that we all embody in our essence.  We are still as God created us.  We only think that we ever separated from Him.  And in the lack of separation, we find the Christ/Self whom we are.

2 – Be at Peace

We are at peace when we have remembered these truths.  We do not have to rely only upon the personal self, the little self which has all too often been informed by the ego.  We can rely on the Voice that God gave in Answer to the separation, the Holy Spirit.  And we have one purpose with the fullest understanding of the term “Christ.”  We have certainty of purpose in furthering salvation.

3 – Projection Makes Perception

Our Creator is within.  We project the world that we see.  There is nothing outside of us, and that is what we must ultimately learn (Text tenets).  May we turn to our Creator, our God, within, whenever we are perplexed.  We do not have to remain in doubts.  The solution is always with the problem.  Not ultimately, but right now.  It, practically, may take awhile for the truth of  a solution to dawn upon our deluded minds.  But dawn it will, and all will be well.

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

I would turn inward today, constantly listening to the guidance of the Guide that You gave me.  I would have a good day, knowing that my intention does make some difference in the way things turn out.  Be with me today as I share my day with my brothers and sisters.  Help me to know when to reach out and when to refrain.  May I make no overtures that are unwelcome, but may I not hesitate to make overtures that I sense may be welcome.

Help me to understand what my real Self, the Christ within, really means.  I know that my little personal self may not comprehend fully, but guide me gently to a fuller understanding of all that You intend us to know on this plane.  

Be with my significant others, those nearby and those at a distance, those I have contacted recently and those I wish to contact but hesitate to do so.  May all I have ever encountered be aware of the love that surrounds all of us when we turn inwardly to You.

Amen.

May Miracles Bless This World

ACIM Workbook Lesson 353 – for Monday, December 19, 2011

Affirmation:  “My eyes, my tongue, my hands, my feet today
Have but one purpose; to be given Christ
To use to bless the world with miracles.”

“Father, I give all that is mine today to Christ, to use in any way that best will serve the purpose that I share with Him.  Nothing is mine alone, for He and I have joined in purpose.  (WB481)”

Reflections:

1 – Rededicating to God

Today’s lesson is a dedication, or rededication, of our lives to God.  We share with Jesus our true Selfhood, the Christ that we really are.  And so we give our personal selves–our tongue, hands, feet–to the service of Christ, meaning more than just our elder brother, Jesus, but the Self that we all share.

2 – Sharing with Our World

We do not selfishly hold on to what we think “belongs” to us.  We share with Christ, and we use our gifts to save the world.  We do not cling to what we imagine to be “mine,” but we notice that we have joined with a larger purpose.

3 – We Do Not Need Many Words

As these final lessons come to us, we realize that we do not need many words to understand what is being said in A Course in Miracles.  We are finding our way home, and the best way to do that is to commune with God, in quietness.

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

I would be quiet today, communing with You.  Thank You for this year of Workbook lessons.  Of course, they are invaluable to our growth in Your Spirit.  May I remain stress free during this holiday season, with so much activity in my daily life.  May I know what Christmas really means.  This is a prayer that we all pray, but may I make it my true prayer today.

Thank You for comforting me in times of stress.  Help me to know that You are the only cure.

Amen.

Judgment and Love Are Opposites

ACIM Workbook Lesson 352 – for Sunday, December 18, 2011

Affirmation:  “Judgment and love are opposites.  From one
Come all the sorrows of the world.  But from
The other comes the peace of God Himself.”

“You have not left me comfortless.  I have within me both the memory of You, and One Who leads me to it.  (WB480)”

Reflections:

1 – Love / Don’t Judge

We do not really want to judge.  We do really want to love.

2 – Love vs. Judgment

The experience of love brings great boons, even in this world.  The experience of judgment brings only sorrow.  It is as though we pointed our index finger at another, and three other fingers on the same hand are pointed back at us.  We indict ourselves when we judge another.  We cannot know all that each individual, each brother or sister, is going through.  We need to give slack, just as we ourselves would want the same.  We forgive, and we find that same forgiveness flowing back toward us.  The three fingers pointed back at us then offer comfort.

3 – Finding Comfort

We have the memory of God within, and we have access to His Voice (the Holy Spirit).  This dual gift is unbeatable.  We cannot lose, when we turn inwardly to the memory of God and the Voice that guides us.  We have comfort.  Much comfort.  And we are well on our way to being at home with God.

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

I would feel Your peace today.   And I would feel the comfort that the Comforter, the Holy Spirit, provides to all who turn to Him.  May i not forget today that Your Guide is always true.

I would not judge.  If I am tempted to do so, i will remember that any attack or display of anger is actually a call for help and love.  And I will ask, inwardly, if there is something that I can do to render my view of this situation more in line with Your own.

I would love today.  I sometimes realize that the feeling of expressing love is an attribute of my real Self, the inner Self that has not believed in separation.  I would remember this truth today.

Be with me as I seek to find You often today.  You are always there, and please never let me forget this.

Amen.

How to Have Peace / How to Have Pain

ACIM Workbook Lesson 351 – for Saturday, December 17. 2011

Affirmation:  “My sinless brother is my guide to peace.
My sinful brother is my guide to pain.
And which I choose to see I will behold.”

“I can also see my brother sinless, as Your holy Son.  And with this choice I see my sinlessness, my everlasting Comforter and Friend beside me, and my way secure and clear.  Choose, then, for me, my Father, through Your Voice.  For He alone gives judgment in Your Name.  (WB480)”

Reflections:

1 – Sinful or Sinless?

We can choose to see our brothers and sisters as sinful or as sinless.  And what we see becomes the reality that we make for ourselves.  We ourselves, as well as others, are not really sinful, though we have made errors, and these need to be corrected.  Common sense would tell us this, and errors (mistakes) do not hold the allure that sin often does.  Sin has an attracting feature, and often makes us want to commit the same or a similar sin once again, and then again indefinitely.  Error calls only for correction.  And then we have made the right decision.  (The Text says that the perception of “sin” has an attracting quality.)

2 – Sinless Brothers and Sisters

When we see our brothers and sisters as sinless, we have freed ourselves from the grip of perceived sin.  We live as Sons/Daughters, when released from the grip of perceived sin.  We get out guidance as to how to react from the Holy Spirit (called in the passage above, the “Comforter” and “Friend”).  This Comforter is the only One meant to make judgments, for He alone knows all circumstances–past, present, and future.  His alone is the infallible judgment.

3 – Listen to the Voice of the Comforter

When we listen to this Voice, we determine what to say or do next.  And we can follow His guidance only when we are flexible, when we can turn on a dime.  Then we surely see ourselves and others as making errors that require correction, but nothing else.  We do not require punishment either for ourselves or others.

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

I know from A Course in Miracles that we are not sinless in time, but that we are sinless in eternity–and there is no time.  This seems beyond me often, but physics alludes to such tenets.  Help me to live in eternity today, to know that my brothers and sisters have not harmed me in any way, that my Self is still as You created me.

Thank You for the Holy Spirit, the Comforter.  I thank You that I am often comforted by Him, and that sometimes this comes when worries occupy my mind.  Help me to turn all negative things, including useless anxiety about everyday concerns, over to Your Guide.  He will resolve all in His own time.  I am not to get impatient and wish for a quick resolution, because Your time–Your eternity–is different from what I experience in my daily life.  

Help me to feel peace in the midst of the chaotic circumstances that constitute our larger world.  May I do what I can to help the larger world, but may I especially do what I can in the smaller sphere of my own home and hearth and significant others.

Amen.

Miracles Mirror God’s Eternal Love

ACIM Workbook Lesson 350 – for Friday, December 16, 2011

Affirmation:  “Miracles mirror God’s eternal Love.
To offer them is to remember Him,
And through His memory to save the world.”

“What we forgive becomes a part of us, as we perceive ourselves.  The Son of God incorporates all things within himself as You created him.  Your memory depends on his forgiveness.  What he is, is unaffected by his thoughts.  But what he looks upon is their direct result.  (WB478)”

Reflections:

1 – Miracles in This World

We would “save the world,” and the way that we can do this is through miracles.  We do not, as we have noted many times in this blog, choose which miracles to perform.  Jesus guides us in this decision.  And no miracle will be unaccepted forever.  If it does not seem to have effects now, we need only wait, and the results will become evident.  Time does not have any meaning, for only eternity exists.  When we remember God, we do save the world.

2 – Projection Makes Perception

Our thoughts determine what we will see with our body’s eyes.  And this the truth of projection making perception.  We are not determine by our thoughts, for we have not changed in essence.  But what we see is so determined, and if we would see aright, we need to think aright.

3 – At Home in God

These final lessons are guidance in how to worship rightly (an interpretation, not stated in ACIM).  Words become unnecessary, as we are  at home in God.

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

May the miracles that You would have us perform arise easily and peacefully before our eyes.  May we not arrogantly choose what miracles we will perform, but let ourselves be guided, sometimes almost imperceptibly.  May we do Your will in this world.

I would, in these final weeks of the year that we have spent together, be reassured that the end of the Workbook is not an end to our communion.  Nor is it the reassurance that we have learned all that we need to know.  We await Your word on when our learning is at an end.  In the meantime, may we be patient students, eager and willing to learn Your way.  And may we help our brothers and sisters as we continue to learn.

Amen.

Today I Let Christ’s Vision Look Upon All Things

ACIM Workbook Lesson 349 – for Thursday, December 15, 2011

Affirmation:  “Today I let Christ’s vision look upon
All things for me and judge them not, but give
Each one a miracle of love instead.”

“Father, Your gifts are mine.  Each one that I accept gives me a miracle to give.  (WB478)”

Reflections:

1 – All Miracles Come from Love

All miracles come from Love.  And vision is what we will see when we have let Christ’s vision take the place of our false perception.  May we offer miracles today that Jesus prompts us to offer.  May we make no decisions today, ourselves, about what miracles to offer, for our own decisions will be faulty.  We look to our elder brother, Jesus,  for his guidance in these matters.  Time is under his control, and he can arrange time to allow us the time that we need to perform the miracles that he asks us to perform (from the Text).

2 – Vision vs. Perception

May our perception be replaced today by vision.  Then we will be seeing truly.  The body’s eyes do not really have vision; they only perceive, and falsely.  Vision shows us the things of eternity–the intangibles of peace, love, joy, tranquility, calm.

3 – Accept God’s Gifts

God grants us many gifts over the course of a lifetime.  When we accept His gifts with grace, we are well on the way to accepting Him and the salvation which he offers to us.  When we accept a gift, we are granted the power to offer a miracle.  And our miracles will foreshorten time considerably (a Text tenet)–each one of us, acting in concert with one another.

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

May my day be filled with miracles.  This seems a bold request, but I know that You wish joy for me.  Happiness is a laudable goal.  And it is in happy times that we can give the most to the others in our world.

Help me to know which miracles to offer.  I realize that this are not to be under conscious control, as this would be misguided.  But I ask You to use me today in any way that You deem appropriate.

Amen.

I Have No Cause for Anger or for Fear

ACIM Workbook Lesson 348 – for Wednesday, December 14, 2011

 

Affirmation:  “I have no cause for anger or for fear,
For You surround me.  And iin every need
That I perceive, Your grace suffices me.”

 

 

“I have no cause for anything except the perfect peace and joy I share with You.  What need have I for anger or for fear?  Surrounding me is perfect safety.  Can I be afraid, when Your eternal promise goes with me?  (WB477)”

Reflections:

1 – Anger/Attack Not Justifieed

A Course in Miracles counsels against anger and attack, saying that they are not justified or warranted in any situation.  Of course, most of us cannot live on this level consistently.  But when we can, we turn aside from fear.  God surrounds us and is in us.  His grace is sufficient unto every need.

2 – Turn to God

With God, we feel perfect peace and joy.  When we pray, we normally feel His presence, and we are comforted.  Anguish turns to peace; fear drops away.  What more could we ask, when that is all that we need?

3 – Grievances Gone / Safety Found

The Workbook says that when we let all our grievances go, we will know that we are perfectly safe.  May we know this today.  May we forgive our brothers and sisters all of their attacks and expressions of anger toward.  May we know peace in this forgiveness.  There is “sin” in time, but there is not time; since there is no time, we are living in eternity, where the world that we see is an illusion, a projection from within.  So we ourselves and others have made errors, but we have not “sinned,” being ultimately outside of time and in eternity.

4 – Walking through the Day

May this knowledge, and it is knowledge rather than perception, follow us through this day and out into the greater world.  And may we do for others those things that we wish to have accomplished in ourselves.

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

I would so live today that I do not give stress a welcoming mat.  I know that if I remain relaxed and in Your care, there will be no reason for anger to arise in me.  I will know that my brother or sister’s attacks are calls for help, and I will rush to their side with the aid that they need.

May this day be peaceful.  I know that I can so pace the day, with Your help, that I can get my “to do” list done, and still have plenty of time with which to commune with You.  You come first; it is when I forget that that I get into trouble.

Amen.

Anger Must Come from Judgment

ACIM Workbook Lesson 347 – for Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Affirmation:  “Anger must come from judgment.  Judgment is
The weapon I would use against myself,
To keep the miracle away from me.”

“Straighten my mind, my Father.  It is sick.  But You have offered freedom, and I choose to claim Your gift today.  And so I give all judgment to the One You gave to me to judge for me.  (WB477)”

Reflections:

1 – The End of Insanity

This lesson offers more than just a plea for communion, prayer, with God.  We are asking for the end of insanity, the end of our sick minds, the end of our madness.  And we ought never to underestimate the extent of this world’s insanity (an ACIM tenet).

2 – Eliminate Judgment

We must eliminate judgment from our cluster of mental gyrations.  Attacking, judging, and making plans against contingencies to come–these are the three ways that we lose our way.  If there are plans to be made, the Holy Spirit will prompt us at the appropriate time.  But judging is something else entirely.  It is to be left to the Holy Spirit, Who alone knows all the circumstances, past, present, and future, and judges, therefore, rightly.  (We can never have enough understanding to see all circumstances, though sometimes we think, arrogantly, that we do.)

3 – Anger Has No Justification

There is never any justification for anger.  But this does not mean that we stuff our emotions.  We sublimate, in the presence of the Holy Spirit (an interpretation, not stated in ACIM).  If we are not judging–making an interpretation that is not true–then we will never see a reason for anger.  We will rush to our brother/sister’s side with healing, recognizing the unhealed thought or action is only a call for help or love.  Would we not want to be understood, unconditionally?  Would we now want love when we have felt anger?  Let us do to others what we would wish that they might do for us.  As is stated in ACIM repeatedly, giving and receiving are one.

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

I would remember, now and forever, that my thoughts of anger are insanity, and it is not this that I would invite into my world.  May my stress be alleviated, for I know that virtually always I am stressed if I get angry.  You know that anger is a call for help, either on my part or the part of another.  I would focus on that call for help, and ask You how best to resolve the issue;

I would give up insanity, the insanity that almost all of us who live in this world have to a greater or lesser degree.  We are living in a mad world, and we are influenced by the madness of others.  Perhaps we see this madness most as neurosis, but however it appears to us, it merits compassion.  We do not have to be sucked into the malaise of our brothers and sisters, nor do we have to remain in malaise ourselves.  You are always here for us, and when we turn inward, in a serene frame of mind, You set our minds and hearts at rest again.

I would live in rest today.

Amen.

Today the Peace of God Envelops Me

ACIM Workbook Lesson 346 – for Monday, December 12, 2011

Affirmation:  “Today the peace of God envelops me,
        And I forget all things except His Love.”

“. . .I would find the peace which You created for Your Son, forgetting all the foolish toys I made as I behold Your glory and my own.  (WB476)”

Reflections:

1 – A Reality Check

This passage is a reality check.  What is really important to us?  If we say the “peace of God,” then we will forget those “foolish toys” that the ego inspired us to cherish (and probably to spend our hard-earned cash on, if they are material things).

2 – The Felt Presence of God

We are at peace when we are feeling the presence of God.   When we are still and quiet, that peace envelops us.  And we do not hanker for things beyond our sphere.

3 – Commune with God

Spend time today in communion with God.  He will not fail us.  And that communion will bring happier days, beginning immediately and going full force into the future.

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

Today I would see as a quiet day.  I would not make waves.  I would know peace.  And this will be the day that You give me if I commune with You on a continual basis.  I would pray often today.  Guide me throughout this day.

May this quietness enfold me and give me peace without anxiety.  I would not ask for a solace that I would not extend to others.  May my peace enfold the brothers and sisters whom I meet along my walk today.

Amen.

I Offer Only Miracles Today

ACIM Workbook Lesson 345 – for Sunday, December 11, 2011

Affirmation:  “I offer only miracles today,
        For I would have them be returned to me.”

“Peace to all seeking hearts today.  The light has come to offer miracles to bless the tired world.  It will find rest today, for we will offer what we have received.  (WB476)”

Reflections:

1 – A Weary World

A Course in Miracles says that the world is very weary now.  We have seen such troubles  over the centuries.  No comprehensive Awakening has occurred, and so the world looks to those who cherish salvation to save it from itself.  We are “seeking hearts.”  We have received help, and it is up to us now to offer that help.

2 – Offer Miracles

If we offer miracles, then miracles will be returned to us.  And rest will come to our tired hearts.  It is obvious that we must offer what we have received.  That is the way that salvation is effected in our world.

3 – May We Find Peace Today

May we find peace today.  Staying close to God in our thoughts and emotions is the best way to find that peace and also to offer it to others.  Pray often, and the blessings of those prayers will rebound to one’s self.  Then we will feel comfortable enough to reach out, because we are no longer self-centered enough to want salvation only for ourselves.

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

I would ask You to help me to do my part today in bringing hope to this weary world.  We are, many of us, beset with difficulties.  Although this is an illusory world, and these difficulties are not real, we experience them as real–for we are caught by the illusion.  May we ask Your help today in rising above our difficulties, whether they be physical or emotional or both.  May we know that You are greater than whatever may beset us in an illusory world.

May some of the weariness of this world fade away.  It is unrealistic to ask for all to fade away, for the night has been long, and we have gone deep into insanity.  Lead us, step by step, out of the madness and into the light of Your love.  Be with us, and help us to feel Your presence always–and especially today, as we consider all that seems to beset us.

Amen.

The Law of Love

ACIM Workbook Lesson 344 – for Saturday, December 10, 2011

Affirmation:  “Today I learn the law of love; that what
        I give my brother is my gift to me.”

“Let my forgiven brothers fill my store with Heaven’s treasures, which alone are real.  Thus is the law of love fulfilled.  And thus Your Son arises and returns to You.  (WB75)”

Reflections:

1 – The Law of Love Is Benign

“All that I give is given to myself” is an ACIM fundamental.  Jerry Jampolsky elaborated beautifully on this concept in his early work, Love is Letting Go of Fear.  The law of love is benign, unless we are still letting the ego rule.  We get what we give; that is the law of love.  When we love another, that same love is returned to us (but not always by the same person that we love at the time).

2 – What Are Heaven’s Treasures?

What are Heaven’s treasures?  ACIM does not specifically detail each treasure, but we can interpret that at the head of the list is the peace of mind that God alone can give.  God deals most often in intangibles, but He also knows that we have material needs, and it is not contrary to the spirit of A Course in Miracles to pray for the material as well as the intangible.  But the material is illusory, and the intangibles are eternal.  So where does it seem that we should put our emphasis?  The conclusion is obvious.

3 – Forgiveness

Our forgiven brothers will fill our store with Heaven’s treasures.  This is just how important forgiveness really is.  Until we forgive, we are like beggars at Heaven’s gate.  But when we forgive, we are made ready for the bounty that is our real inheritance.

4 – We Forgive because We Need to Do So

We forgive because it is something that we need to do.  It is much like expressing love for God.  ACIM says that He recognizes that His communication channels are closed, and He thinks that we sleep and need to be awakened.  One means is A Course in Miracles.  Another might be seen in A Course of Love.  And yet others in the Bible, as well as other scriptures of other faiths.  ACIM says that there is a course for every teacher of God.  Our students are waiting for us, have been waiting for us to answer the call.  And they will find us.  Let us be ready and willing to do our part toward bringing salvation to them.

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

I would put into practice the benign law of love today.  Help me to know, as had been said many times, that we receive as we give.  May I give only love today.  And may I have the emotional and physical health not to be so self-centered that I seem to think only of myself.  Help me always to remember my brothers and sisters.

Be with all of us as we close this year of studying the Workbook.  May we glean from the words of the Workbook all that we can at this time.  And may we share as much of what we4 have learned as others are ready to accept.

Amen.

The Role of Relationships in Salvation

ACIM Workbook Lesson 343 – for Friday, December 9, 2011

Affirmation:  “I am not asked to make a sacrifice
        To find the mercy and the peace of God.”

“The mercy and the peace of God are free.  Salvation has no cost.  It is a gift that must be freely given and received.  And it is this that we would learn today.  (WB475)”

Reflections:

1 – No Sacrifices Asked of Us

A Course in Miracles never asks sacrifices of us.  This truth would go a long way toward reassuring us that our God is a loving God, never a punishing one.  God’s goals for us are free gifts; we do not have to earn His mercy and His peace.  These free gifts are freely give, without any cost to anyone.

2 – ACIM Salvation in Relationships

The history of many religions, including Christianity, are based on the idea of sacrifices.  We would be led to understand by ACIM that this is not the way for us.  Our way is found in the forgiveness that transforms our special relationships into holy ones.  Our salvation is found in relationship, in the relationship to our brother/sister.

3 – We All Have Many Relationships

We may think that we have no single significant other, and thus the way of ACIM is closed to us.  But this would be a misreading.  We have relationships of various duration with everyone who peoples our world–from the stranger that we meet in the elevator, to the child who accidentally runs into our pathway.  There are no accidents in salvation, according to ACIM.  All who are intended to meet, will meet; and when the ending seems premature, we can know that we will meet again.  It is the goal of every special relationship to become holy, especially those relationships that are most problematic to us.  The lesson can be learned when we recognize the same degree of readiness in ourselves and our closest associates.  We may not recognize that the balance is perfect, but if it is and we learn the lesson, we can help to transform others (from the Manual).

4 – Salvation Is A Gift

So let us learn the lesson for today, that salvation is a gift to be freely given and received.  And then let us thank God that this is so.

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

I would take some moments today to reaffirm the primacy of my relationships in my religion.  A Course in Miracles teaches that this is the way home, this forgiveness of each other.  When we focus on those closest to us, we are speeding up our way back to You.  I would ask for a celestial speed-up today.

Be with me as I seek to be loving and kind, forgiving and peaceful.  Today is not a day to lose my temper and to attack.  Your way is different, and as long as I keep the stress in my day low, it is likely that I will walk the way that You choose for me.  I never get angry unless I am stressed.  And I would ask that this personal characteristic not interfere with my pathway and my relationships today.  Help me to remain at ease in Your world.  And may I extend my peace and Your peace to all whom I meet.

Amen.

I Let Forgiveness Rest upon All Things

ACIM Workbook Lesson 342 – for Thursday, December 8, 2011

Affirmation:  “I let forgiveness rest upon all things,
        For thus forgiveness will be given me.”

“The key is in my hand, and I have reached the door beyond which lies the end of dreams.  I stand before the gate of Heaven,, wondering if I should enter in and be at home.  (WB474)”

Reflections:

1 – Paving the Way to Awakening

This passage paves the way to Awakening, a way paved first by our forgiveness of ourselves as well as our brothers and sisters.  But we are “wondering if I should enter in and be at home.”  This last sentence highlights the fact that the time of Awakening, while entirely God’s choice, is not untouched by our own dedication to forgiveness:  “The key is in my hand.”  When we reach beyond the door, we have gone beyond dreams, even the happy ones brought to us in preparation by the Holy Spirit.

2 -Forgiveness = Path to Salvation

When we forgive all things, then is forgiveness given to us.  God, it is said in the Text, does not forgive, because He has never condemned.  But the forgiveness required by this world is a function that we ourselves assume when we embark on the path to salvation.

3 – It Is Necessary to Go On

The affirmation and the passage chosen for today are working in tandem.  We forgive, the key is in our hand, and then we stop–wondering if we should go on.  It is necessary to go on.  We have been prepared by the Holy Spirit’s happy dreams not to be scared by the experience of Awakening.  Without that careful preparation, we would be terrified when confronted and thrown into Awakening.  God is too loving to have us enter a new state while tied to the old one.  We loosen the ties gently and easily, and walk into the sunlight with God.

4 – Why Are Happy Dreams Not Enough?

Sometimes, when the dreams are especially happy, we may think that this is “enough.”  Why go on when we don’t know what lies beyond the door?  But there is a definite reason why we need to go beyond the door.  It is our next reasonable step.  Once we have moved beyond the door, there is no turning back–if Awakening is sustained.  Prior to his sustainability, we may know glimpses of Awakening that do not last.  These have been brought to us by revelation, but to get to the end of the road, we need to have the means explained to us (Text tenets).  And A Course in Miracles is doing just that.

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

I need to key in today to the fact that forgiveness of my brothers and sisters is an absolutely mandatory next step for me.  I must make forgiveness total, and I must revisit shadows of unforgiveness that rear their heads.  We can always be a little more loving, a little more kind, a little more forgiving.  May all of us join in this common endeavor for salvation.

I would know today that You lead the way always.  Your Guide, the Holy Spirit, gently and easily maps out a daily walk, on which are found the people whom I need to meet, just for this day.  Help me to remember always that there are no coincidence in your universe.  We need to see the people whom You have led us to see.  May I be flexible enough to follow the guidance of the Holy Spirit throughout each hour of this day.

Be with me as I start a new day.  May I realize that this day is the beginning of the rest of my life, and may I be careful to thank You for the many blessings that lie around me.  May today be good in all respects, keeping my understanding of Your vision before always.

Amen.

My Sinlessness Is All that Keeps Me Safe

ACIM Workbook Lesson 341 – for Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Affirmation:  “I can attack but my own sinlessness,
        And it is only that which keeps me safe.”

“How pure, how safe, how holy, then, are we, abiding iin Your Smile with all Your Love bestowed upon us, living one with You, in brotherhood and Fatherhood complete; in sinlessness so perfect that the Word of Sinlessness conceives us as His Son, a universe of Thought completing Him.  (WB474)”

Reflections:

1 – Theology vs. the Practical

There are some theological concepts in the prayer for today.  While we do not want to haggle over the theological, it is fascinating to contemplate the nuances of meaning in A Course in Miracles.  Keep in mind, though, that theology can distract us, and that Jesus says that it with the practical that we want to focus.  There can never be a universal theology, but a universal experience is not only possible, but also desired.  And ACIM provides some theology, for those who like this type of message, as well as abundant practical helps for living in this world.

2 – Explicating the Prayer

I want to focus on two aspects of the prayer.  First, “living one with You [God], in brotherhood and Fatherhood complete” and second, “a universe of Thought completing Him [the Self that we are all meant to rediscover].”

3 – God = Brotherhood and Fatherhood

If we are to live with God in both brotherhood and Fatherhood, then there is an inkling, in my interpretation, that we are meant to become co-creators with God.  This is the “brotherhood” aspect.  But always we are aligned with God as our Father (using the masculine gender, as ACIM does).  Our brotherhood is assured as soon as our will is no longer imprisoned by an ego run amuck.  And Awakening will follow.

4 – A Universe of Thought

The second quotation, the “universe of Thought” suggests that the universe is Thought, a Thought that our Self knows, even though the egoic self does not.  This is Idealism in philosophical terms.  ACIM does see the world as an illusion, not real, and so nothing that happens in this illusion is actually true.  We are Thoughts of God, when we are in our most exalted Self rather than the egoic self.  The “Word of Sinlessness” is God Himself (though the prayer is not specific).  And if God Himself gives us the indication that He is the Source of Sinlessness, then we might find it easier to believe that we are sinless–only having made mistakes that are theoretically correctable.

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

What nuances of meaning are in today’s lesson!  Thank You.  I would ultimately know You as co-creator, regardless of how long (in earth years) this may span.  I would follow Your Guide, the Holy Spirit, as I seek to walk the pathway back to You that You indicate is possible.  I would give no credence to a separation that has not really happened.  I am still as You created me.

Be with me throughout this day, regardless of what the day may bring.  Yesterday had a few bumps in my ride, and it is likely that today will as well.  I will not let that deter me.  When stymied, I will turn to Your Guide, intended for me.  Thank You for His Answer to all perplexities that may arise.  Help me to enjoy fellowship, inwardly, with You, and fellowship, outwardly, with the others in my circle.  Thank You for always holding me close when the day fills with what appear to be crises.  Let nothing of the ego blow my adversities out of proportion.  There is absolutely nothing that You can’t handle, that You won’t make come out alright in the end.

Amen.

I Was Born into This World but to Achieve This Day

ACIM Workbook Lesson 340 – for Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Affirmation:  “I can be free of suffering today.”

“Father, I thank You for today, and for the freedom I am certain it will bring.  This day is holy, for today Your Son will be redeemed.  His suffering is done.  For he will hear Your Voice directing him to find Christ’s vision through forgiveness, and be free forever from all suffering.  Thanks for today, my Father.  I was born into this world but to achieve this day, and what it holds in joy and freedom for Your holy Son and for the world he made, which is released along with him today.  (WB472)”

Reflections:

1 – A Holy Day

This is a holy day, according to our lesson from the Workbook.  It promises that, through our forgiveness of ourselves and our brothers and sisters, we will live in a personal world from which suffering is absent.  Note that this does not say that we will never experience pain, but we know from the Text that pain is not necessary.  We do not have to learn through pain; rewards as a way to learn are more lasting.

2 – A Pipe Dream?

Does this seem to us to be pipe dream?  Perhaps.  Certainly we need only turn on the radio and catch the news broadcast, or read the world news on the web or in a newspaper, to know that all is decidedly not well in this world.  But we can look at these things, and make one judgment in line with the Holy Spirit:  This that I see is unreal (from ACIM).  Then we are made ready to project another way from our inner world.  We can project an experience for ourselves that does not hold suffering, even if it should, from time to time, hold pain.  In this world we are not to be without limitations (an ACIM tenet), but we will be given the grace to rise above them.

3 – Project Good Dreams

Let us focus on this prayer to God.  We learn through following the guidance of the Holy Spirit, who wills only good for us.  And when we follow that guidance, we are well on our pathway back to God.  We do not make our own misery.  We have moved beyond that vale of tears.  We learn to depend on guidance for all aspects of our lives, and following what the Voice for God says, we project only good dreams.  We accept life in all its fullness, even when pain is present, and so we do not add our lamentable rejection of that pain, making it suffering (an interpretation, not stated in ACIM).

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

I would not get lost in pipe dreams today, but I would choose good dreams today and everyday.  Help me to realize anew that this wish is in line with Your desires for me.  And we will all know good dreams, happy dreams, until You reach down, metaphorically, and make this day the time that I am awakened by You.  I would wish for You to come sooner rather than later.  But I will be content to remain securely within Your timing.

May all of us project happy dreams.  Thank You for granting me the will to follow the Holy Spirit, and thereby to do my part in following Your will.  I would be flexible today, secure in Your love, ready to do Your bidding instantaneously.  Be with me so that this wish becomes a reality.

Thank You.

Amen.

I Will Receive Whatever I Request

ACIM Workbook Lesson 339 – for Monday, December 5, 2011

Affirmation:  “I will receive whatever I request.”

“Father, this is Your day. It is a day in which I would do nothing by myself, but hear Your Voice in everything I do; requesting only what You offer me, accepting only Thoughts You share with me.  (WB472)”

Reflections:

1 – Struggle No More

This is another logical progression in the Workbook from day to day, building on yesterday’s lesson.  If we trust enough to offer our problems to the One Solution, we will not only find the solutions to those things that perplex us, but we will find perfect solutions.  We need struggle no more.  If times seem hard, let us remember that there are always those who have it worse than we do, and some of these individuals have found a way to praise God in the midst of their troubles.  Trouble is not a respecter of persons.  It comes to the good and the “evil” alike.  But those who turn to the Holy Spirit for their solutions are not often kept defeated.  Their deliverance is sooner rather than later.

2 – The Holy Spirit = Voice

The Holy Spirit is the “Voice” meant in this prayer.  We deliver the day unto the Holy Inspiration, and then we thank God that His Answer is there for us.  Our gratitude is not demanded (an interpretation of ACIM, not stated therein), but we will out of the fullness of our heart want to offer that gratitude.  Gratitude thus becomes a means to express forgiveness of our previous misconceptions about this world and the people in it, especially our significant others, our “brother” (ACIM terminology).

3 – Solve Problems Quickly

Problems are meant to be solved, and solved quickly.  We do not need to cling to our fears about our daily sustenance in this world.  Certainly we remain concerned when we see ourselves and others hurting, and we would do what we can to heal the brokenness of which we all partake at various times in our lives.  But we who follow A Course in Miracles know some secrets that we need only share to those who are ready to listen.  Then the miracle becomes real in our own experience.  And God’s Voice has shown us the Way.

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

May I declare in my words and actions the emphasis that the Holy Spirit would bring to my day.  I would not make these decisions by myself, but I would commune with You and Your Voice, and I would offer the certainty that, when I hear aright, I will remain on the pathway that You smooth for me.  Today is no different from any other day.  I need You today just the same as always.  But I would make a special appeal to remain flexible as I walk throughout this day, struggling no more, knowing that You do not want me to struggle.  All too often, I know, struggle is of the ego and leads us away from the goal that You hold out to us–a home with You, reveling in Your felt presence.

Help me to realize that the struggle that seems so laudatory is anything but.  We are meant to commune with You, and then we are meant to accept Your Words, and then proceed peacefully and easily with our lives.  Anything else is an egoic dream, and I would not dream those dreams any longer.

Thank You for the gift of A Course in Miracles.  For others, there are other pathways; but for some of us, ACIM is the answer to so many of the questions that our minds have tried to solve.  May my mind be one with You today.

Amen.

I Am Affected Only by My Thoughts

ACIM Workbook Lesson 338 – for Sunday, December 4, 2011

Affirmation:  “I am affected only by my thoughts.”

 

“His thoughts can frighten him, but since these thoughts belong to him alone, he has the power to change them and exchange each fear thought for a happy thought of love.  He crucified himself.  Yet God has planned that His beloved Son will be redeemed.  (WB471)”

 

Reflections:

1 – God Within

This passage builds on the message from yesterday, spelling out what yesterday’s passage implicated.  Our frightened thoughts come from a mind not united with the God within, but they are unique to ourselves and can be changed.  When we let our minds merge with the God Who resides within, then do we truly know peace of mind for the first time.

2 – No More Fear Thoughts

We exchange our fear thoughts for thoughts of love.  Let us always remember that we are doing this unto ourselves; we are not plagued by other people, and we are especially not plagued by an angry God.  God is as we have always been taught by the New Testament, and now by A Course in Miracles, as a God who loves us unconditionally.  We have crucified ourselves by our imagined imprisonment by a will not our own.  We have endured this imprisoned will because we made the ego, the symbol of our separation from God–a separation that could not happen in fact, but which could seem to be real, causing what seem to be real effects.

3 – The Resurrection

But God had a plan to redeem us.  It is not the focus on the crucifixion that much of modern Christianity believes, but a focus on the resurrection–that we too can rise above the suffering of this mad world and know God’s greatest blessings.  The plan, we are told in the Text, was placed in the mind of God’s son/daughter as soon as the mad idea took hold, and seemed to cause real effects.

4 – The Solution Is with the Problem

The solution is always with the problem.  If we keep this in mind, we will not often find ourselves in troubled conflict.  We will reach a higher level of mind where the problem has already been solved.  Ask with the assurance that your prayer will be heard, and that the Answer to Your conflict has been given in the Person of the Holy Spirit.  Ask for guidance to solve life’s varied problems, and then rest in surety for the Answer to come.  We will not have to wait long.

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

I thank You most importantly today for the fact that the solution is always with the problem.  I can give any problem over to the Holy Spirit and then know that the answer will pop into my mind at the right time, almost always sooner rather than later.  We do not have to suffer in silence.  And we do not have to run ahead of the Holy Spirit, making problems after He has already given us the solution to the one problem that we are facing at the moment.

Increase my trust, My Father.  It is enough for me to know that answer will come quickly.  I do not have to make things tough on myself.

Thank You.

Amen.

My Sinlessness Protects Me from All Harm

ACIM Workbook Lesson 337 – for Saturday, December 3, 2011

Affirmation:  “My sinlessness protects me from all harm.”

“My sinlessness ensures me perfect peace, eternal safety, everlasting love, freedom forever from all thought of loss; complete deliverance from suffering.  And only happiness can be my state, for only happiness is given me.  (WB471)”

Reflections:

1 – Do We Want to Be Happy?

Do we want to be happy?  Is this a worthy goal, even above “saving the world,” as we sometimes have been taught?  In A Course in Miracles, happiness is sometimes seen as our function, and when this is assimilated, we know the truth of all that forgiveness holds out for us.  The passage for today offers many glorious promises, including the challenging concept of complete deliverance from suffering.  Part of this promise can come from the fact that what we project is coming from a purity within that has been recognized.  We will not project suffering when we are in our right minds.  That most of us, still, are not in our right minds explains succinctly why there is so much suffering still being experienced.  We may, until Awakening, know pain; but we need not have this escalate into suffering (an interpretation, not stated in ACIM).

2 – Madness

We can ask today for the perfect peace, eternal safety, everlasting love, freedom from loss, as well as deliverance from suffering.  Do not be surprised if our prayers are answered, if only temporarily.  Until revelation reveals the end to us on a sustainable basis, we will drift in and out of madness.  And when we are consumed by madness, we will think amiss and project amiss.  Ask today to be free of the oscillations that bring suffering upon us.  Be sure that we are asking in God’s Will.

3 – ACIM‘s Beautiful Language

A good way to invite this blessing is to study A Course in Miracles whenever upset.  The words themselves are poetry (expressed in iambic pentameter, Shakespeare’s verse form), and the beauty of the language will carry us far along into a different state of mind, a state further removed from insanity.

4 – “Happy Dreams the Holy Spirit Brings”

If we would know happiness today, we must give up all that stands in the way.  And when we realize that we are actually sinless, we will be free, however temporarily, of the insanity that has been holding us back.  Our illusions will take on the “happy dreams the Holy Spirit brings” (a quotation from the Workbook), and then, before we know it, God Himself will act to pull down Awakening upon us.  Then there is no need to look back.  Our reality is wholly in line with God’s Will.

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

I would spend awhile today reading A Course in Miracles.  I would revel in its beautiful language.  Help me today to know the happy dreams that the Holy Spirit brings.  You have shown them to me, over and over again.  Thank You.  Help me to feel Your Presence and Your happiness again today.

Help me to realize that happiness is not an inferior goal.  I would do more for others if I am happy, because I will not be so preoccupied with any neurosis.  And Jesus can heal neurosis.  His words in ACIM prove this to me.  Thank You again.

Amen.

Forgiveness Lets Me Know that Minds Are Joined

ACIM Workbook Lesson 336 – for Friday, December 2, 2011

 

 

Affirmation:  “Forgiveness lets me know that minds are joined.”

 

 

 

“Forgiveness sweeps away distortions, and opens the hidden altar to the truth.  Its lilies shine into the mind, and call it to return and look within, to find what it has vainly sought without.  For here, and only here, is peace of mind restored, for this the dwelling place of God Himself.  (WB470)”

Reflections:

1 – Peace of Mind Comes with Complete Forgiveness

These final passages in the Workbook choose to make firm the decision for forgiveness that is the central thesis of A Course in Miracles.  These passages would firm up our decision for the peace of mind, something that can only come when we forgive completely.  “Forgiveness sweeps away distortions,” and by this we can led to see that we have been looking with a distorted eye upon the mistakes of our brothers and sisters.

2 – Lilies Within

The theme of lilies is again found.  There are many lyrical passages in ACIM, and the passages in the Text on lilies are particularly beautiful.  We need to find the lilies within, to find within what we have vainly sought without.  We have even sought without in sickness, because sickness is described in the Text as a form of external searching.  We can be well, if not physically, then within our spirit.  And often spiritual healing carries a physical component.  When we rest in God’s peace, much that seems awry in our world gets corrected, and this passage gives the overview of how that miracle happens.  Forgiveness reaches into the mind and heals it; we no longer look without for healing.

3 – This Illusory World

Our peace of mind is a true experience of reaching the “dwelling place of God Himself.”
This way of speaking emphasizes that God is within and that we project our world from without.  The Text says that there is nothing outside of ourselves.  While this may seem like a metaphysical tenet that we cannot comprehend, it is the easy way of teaching ourselves how to forgive  If we are in a mass hallucination (an interpretation, not stated in ACIM), then we realize that the projected world is illusory; it is that mass hallucination.

4 – Very Little on Blind Faith

We are still as God created us.  This is an oft-repeated sentence from the Workbook.  Until and unless we believe this, we will not be in a good position to forgive fully.  We will still harbor a secret thought that we have been hurt in some real way by the misdeeds of others.  But this secret thought is healed, and we know that we too are forgiven, when we reach out with love from our hearts and forgiveness in both our hearts and the intellect of our minds.  A Course in Miracles requires that we accept very little on blind faith.  Belief in the absolute right of our brothers and sisters to our forgiveness may be as close as we come to needing to accept ACIM on faith.

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

Thank You for allowing me to understand that You answer our questions without asking us to rely on a faith that is focused on mysteries.  We need to forgive, and while we may not see that this one act will solve our problems, we can come to see this as we act it out.  Help me to forgive today.  Help me to refrain from both anger and attack, however tempting these negative emotions may sometimes appear.  Your counsel is always the peaceful way.  Never do we need to dwell on the negative.

May I see your lilies today.  I would walk freely and easily in this world, and You are the instigator of my peace, the peace that allows me to walk freely and easily.  Be with me throughout the day.  Keep me focused on the positive, regardless of how many things may happen today that test my patience.

Bless my brothers and sisters.  My relationship to them enables the means by which salvation comes–through special-turned-holy relationships.

Amen.

I Choose to See My Brother’s Sinlessness

ACIM Workbook Lesson 335 – for Thursday, December 1, 2011

Affirmation:  “I choose to see my brother’s sinlessness.”  

“What could I restore Your memory to me, except to see my brother’s sinlessness?  (WB470)”

Reflections:

1 – The Memory of God

The memory about which this passage talks is the memory that we are meant to have, the memory of God.  It is part of a prayer, and that is why the passage says “Your.”

2 – Recognize Sinlessness

We need to understand only when we recognize our brothers and sisters as sinless will we have peace.  Is this not hard to do, however?  We remember, failing to have forgiven, the attacks and anger that have been sent in our direction, and we cannot quite feel that this is coming from an innocent person, a sinless person.  To fully comprehend, we must buy into the philosophy of A Course in Miracles completely, knowing that we live in an illusory world and that nothing has ever truly hurt the real Self whom we are.

3 – Our Real Self Knows No Harm

If we make a choice to see the sinlessness of our brothers and sisters, we will be well on our way to the wholeness that will allow us to forgive any past misdeeds.  We will know that our real Self has not been harmed, and if this is the case, what do we have to hold against others?

4 – Forgive Ourselves Also

We may it difficult, as well, to forgive ourselves for similar misdeeds toward others.  Unless and until we can forgive ourselves, we are unlikely to forgive others completely (an interpretation, not stated in ACIM).  We too have not sinned, but have made mistakes (some of which can be rectified).  If we can make amends, now is the time to do so.  If it is too late to make amends, then we need to commune with God about our next step.  Hugh Prather suggested doing penance, and perhaps this too is a pathway that we might consider.

5 – The Memory of God Returns

We will find the memory of God in our minds and hearts when we have seen, truly seen, the sinlessness of our brothers and sisters.  If this seems impossible now, pray for guidance, that the difficult may be made easy.  And the difficult can be made easy.

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

Thank You for this day’s lesson, which gives us a simple formula for remembering You:  Forgive our brothers and sisters, and recognize sinlessness.  The real Self has never been harmed.  

May I recall this simple truth when the day turns rough.  I would walk into sunlight with You, guided there by the Holy Spirit.  

Amen.

Solace for a Bewildered Mind and Frightened Heart

ACIM Workbook Lesson 334 – for Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Affirmation:  “Today I claim the gifts forgiveness gives.”

“I seek but the eternal.  For Your Son can be content with nothing less than this.  What, then, can be his solace but what You are offering to his bewildered mind and frightened heart, to give him certainty and bring him peace?  Today I would behold my brother sinless.  This Your Will for me, for so will I behold my sinlessness.  (WB469)”

Reflections:

1 – Is “Sinlessness” Valid?

We need to recognize the sinlessness of our brothers and sisters, and of ourselves.  This is why we seek only the eternal.  While the concept of sinlessness is often one of the stumbling blocks in A Course in Miracles, it is a completely benign concept.  It says that the impossible has never occurred.  We have not really separated from God, despite the appearances of this illusory world.  We are caught in unreality, and we blame each other, as well as ourselves, for the “sins” that we believe brought this state of affairs upon us.

2 – The “Tiny, Mad Idea”

We have not sinned.  We are still as God created us (a frequent refrain in ACIM).  But we have made mistakes, and these mistakes began with a “tiny, mad idea” about which the Son/Daughter of God forgot to laugh, making what seemed to be real effects borne of this cause.  We thought in that tiny moment of time that we wanted something more than everything, something more than God.  We thought that separation would offer us something that we would like better.  And so the long descent, over millions of years, happened for all of us.  Jesus says that the return may take a similarly long time, over millions of years.  But, once begun, the end is certain.  We will return.  And in the meantime we do what we can to see that our brothers and sisters also return.

3 – Madness of This World

When we gain an intuitive inkling of what sinlessness really holds out to us, then we are well on our way to understanding how genuine we can make our forgiveness of our brothers and sisters, and of ourselves.  We will realize that the separation, though seemingly real enough to build up a whole world around us, is actually based on very flimsy grounds.  We should not underestimate the insanity, the madness, of this world.  But we can look at it, and simply say, “This is unreal.”

4 – Enter the Eternal

When we behold our brothers and sisters as sinless, we will be entering into the eternal.  And we will be immeasurably happier for not holding their “sins” against us as grievances any longer.

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

I would not spend any time today nursing grievances.  Holding them close to my heart is senseless and brings only despair.  We are not innocent in time, but we are innocent in eternity.  If this idea seems elusive, perhaps we need to realize that the eternal is the place where we want to spend our day.  The things of the eternal–the joyous, peaceful, tranquil, and serene emotions–are manifestations of the love that we are need to receive.  The fear that we sense is only in time, and thus it is as unreal as time itself is.  Illusions do not grab us, asking for verification, when we turn our day over to the guidance of the Guide that God gave.

May the Holy Spirit take me by the hand today and lead me along peaceful pathways.  May we not turn the inevitable pains of day-to-day living into suffering.  May we realize that even the experience of pain, as Jesus tells us, is unnecessary.  May I take to heart today the statement in A Course in Miracles that I do not have to learn through pain.  I would, as would anyone, choose to learn through rewards.  And may Jesus direct me along the way that will lead to this eventuality.  May learning through rewards be a part of my experience today.

Thank You for Your Guide, the Holy Spirit.  May I discern His guidance accurately, and may I not drop into ideas that partake of falsehood rather than truth.  May I follow Your will in all that transpires.

Amen.

Forgiveness Ends the Dream of Conflict

ACIM Workbook Lesson 333 – for Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Affirmation:  “Forgiveness ends the dream of conflict here.”

“Father, forgiveness is the light You chose to shine away all conflict and all doubt, and light the way for our return to You.  (WB469)”

Reflections:

 1 – Forgiveness is Central to ACIM

This section of the Workbook emphasizes in various ways, time and again, what forgiveness can do for us.  Forgiveness can be viewed as the central message of A Course in Miracles, and until we have come to terms with the need we all have to totally forgive ourselves and others, we will remain outside the kingdom.  Our return, this passage says, is made possible by forgiveness.  And it is our return to God that we want above all else, however often we may think that we want some glittering jewel that the world offers.

2 – Picture Frames as Metaphors

There is a passage in the Text that describes in beautiful language the adorned, bejeweled frame that hides a picture of nothing.  This is the frame that the ego would have us seek.  Our eyes are dazzled by the frame, not noticing until up close that there is nothing at all within the frame.  In contrast, we see a slim frame, held in light, that holds a picture of what is really true and what we really want.  We are bade to disown the ego, not to be misled by the frame that holds nothing of value, and to look instead to the frame that is framed in light–holding a picture of what we really desire, God’s kingdom.

3 – Conflict and Doubt

Conflict and doubt are of the ego, of course.  And the light of forgiveness shines all this nonsense (and it is nonsense) away.

4 – Do Not Underestimate the Ego

It is wise that we not underestimate the wily ways of the ego, especially as we approach ever nearer our union with God.  The ego becomes very subtle when some of the more gross distortions of value have been laid aside.  The ego may try to reassert strength by guile, and it may be very ingenious about how it attempts to do this.  Do not be fooled, at this late point, by egoic notions that will only delay our homecoming.  Be at peace with God, our brothers and sisters, and be at peace in one’s mind and heart.  Then the ego will know that its days are indeed numbered.

Prayer:

 Dear Father/Mother,

 I would see a picture of my world framed in a “light frame,” which substance rather than illusion found therein.  Help me to forgive my brothers and sisters, and myself, for the illusions that I might previously have sought.  May we leave illusions behind, because the fantasies that encourage illusions are not the best way to proceed.  May I live in the real world, however fleetingly, today.

 Be with all of us as we had into the Christmas season.  May we bring joy to troubled individuals, and may we find joy in this endeavor.  Help us to live a good day, as all of our days are truly meant to be.

 Amen.

Fear Binds / Forgiveness Sets Free

ACIM Workbook Lesson 332 – for Monday, November 28, 2011

Affirmation:  “Fear binds the world.  Forgiveness sets it free.”

“Without forgiveness is the mind in chains, believing in its own futility.  Yet with forgiveness does the light shine through the dream of darkness, offering it hope, and giving it the means to realize the freedom that is its inheritance.  (WB468)”

Reflections:

1 – “Imprisoned Will”

This passage refers to the “imprisoned will” (from the Text) that is ours in our separated state until we realize that salvation is all that we want, and that we want to realize the truth that God’ Will and our will are identical.  Our imprisoned will inevitably brings on pain and suffering, but not because God gives these difficulties to us; instead, we are seeing the inexorable law of cause and effect in action.  The law of cause and effect also means that Jesus cannot save us from ourselves.  We cannot ask him, for example, to free us from fear directly; we should ask instead that the conditions that brought the fear about be rectified (paraphrasing from the Text).  Then we will be asking rightly.

2 – Jesus and Fear

Jesus says that to ask him to take away our fear would be tampering with the most basic law of cause and effect, and he indicates that he would never do this.  To do so would take away a primary way in which God has granted his gifts to us; the law of cause and effect is really meant for our edification.  There is a lengthy passage in the Text that elaborates upon the truth of cause and effect.

3 – Freedom = Our Inheritance

But our freedom is our inheritance, and when we forgive, we receive this inheritance.  We are only free when we are directly in God’s Will, not trying vainly to substitute our own inferior, ego-inspired, will in Its place.  Inheritance usually has a most positive slant in our minds, but sometimes we are using the ego to feel this positive slant.  We think of an inheritance as being monetary or material, and this is exactly what our misguided ego hopes that we will think, hopes that we will get caught up in, so that its reign can continue.  When we realize that the monetary and the material are positive but non-essential to our true worth in the world, we will be in a better position to let ego-inspired notions of inheritance fall away.

4 – A Life Filled with Hope

With forgiveness, we live a life filled with hope.  Our days grow brighter, for we are living life God’s Way.  That is all that He really wants for us–blessings of His goodness and hope for a better present and future.  Forgiveness offers a serene brow on our faces.  Forgiveness offers the peace of mind that we have craved.

5 – Forgiveness Is Always Justified

Forgiveness is always justified, as is made clear in other ACIM passages, as the attack, anger, and grievances that others have felt toward us are mere illusion.  We make the reality that we wish to experience, and when we have moved past the first tentative steps, we can ultimately become co-creators with God (an interpretation from ACIM).

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

I would extend forgiveness today, and in the doing of it I will find peace.  I would not ask Jesus to remove my fear, but for help in the conditions that bring fear into being.  When we are unduly anxious, we need to stop and commune with You.  Help me to remember this easy solution today.  I would not live in fear or anxiety today.

Be with us as we walk through this day.  Your way is smooth, when we meet Your conditions.  May I study diligently, so that I know and implement Your conditions.  Your way is easy, but it must be understood for the simple means that are asked.

Thank You for giving me the peace that Your felt presence always brings.

 Amen.

No Conflict = My Will Is God’s

ACIM Workbook Lesson 331 – for Sunday, November 27, 2011

 

Affirmation:  “There is no conflict, for my will is Yours.”

“Forgiveness shows us that God’s Will is one, and that we share it.  Let us look upon the holy sights forgiveness shows today, that we may find the peace of God.  Amen.  (WB468)”

 

Reflections:

1 – One Identical Will

Today’s lesson harkens to the oft-repeated refrain in A Course in Miracles that our real will and God’s Will are identical–not similar, but identical.  This is a new concept for many of us, who have lived through sermons on Jonah and the whale, and wondered if maybe what God wants for us is the farthest thing from our minds.  The Holy Spirit interprets God’s Will for us, letting us know in the process that what we would choose in our right mind is actually what God Himself chooses for us.  The Holy Spirit lets us know what that real will is, because we are apt to misinterpret, believing that pain and joy are different and can be told apart.  We often choose the pain, thinking that it is joy; the Holy Spirit will interpret correctly–pain as pain (to be avoided), and joy as joy (to be experienced by choice).

2 – Forgiveness Gives Us “Holy Sights”

Forgiveness gives us “holy sights,” and it is important to note that this promise refers also to our illusory world.  It does not just refer to the real world, which not all of us can see on a consistent basis.  ACIM does not point out what those holy sights are, but we ought to ask, that we might receive.

3 – Forgive and Find the Peace of God

We will find the peace of God when we forgive.  It is just that simple and just that profound.  Let us take the right steps toward forgiveness of ourselves, others, and the world’s situations today.

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

I would forgive today any and all whose path I have crossed throughout my life.  May we forgive each other, if that is necessary.  I would find Your peace, and this is possible in this world only by forgiveness.  I get glimpses of the fact that no permanent wrong has ever been done, either by myself or others, but  in this illusory world we still need the practice of forgiveness.  Eventually we will see that there is nothing at all in need of forgiveness.  But most of us are not there yet.

I seek Your peace especially today.  I do not want to revisit old times and places without Your peace as a part of me.  I would not stay mired in the past, but live in the present and not plan unnecessarily for the future.  I would drop defenses about the future today.  I would find You in my present, secure in the truth that I can meet whatever happens in the future with equanimity.

Help us to be children of the light that You give to us through Your guidance.  May I be flexible today in following Your guidance, turning on a dime if I am straying from the pathway that You hold out to me.  Thank You for the many blessings which You have granted to me.  I know that to have on my own does not detract from anybody else.  Your storehouse is full and overflowing for all of my brothers and sisters, and I pray that all will recognize this truth and be granted the peace that comes from accepting it.

Amen.

Pain Begone!

ACIM Workbook Lesson 330 – for Saturday, November 26, 2011

Affirmation:  “I will not hurt myself again today.”

“Let us this day accept forgiveness as our only function.  Why should we attack our minds, and give them images of pain?  (WB466)”

Reflections:

1 – The Role of Forgiveness re Pain

When we forgive, we do not invite images of pain.  When forgiveness is seen as our only function, we do not attack our minds.  We do attack our minds when we hold grievances, attack ourselves and others, and look to the dark side of events in our world.  In fact, when we attack ourselves by holding grievances, we can never feel safe (a paraphrase of the Workbook).  We feel perfectly safe when we have let all grievances go.

2 – Our Functions re ACIM

A Course in Miracles gives other functions beside forgiveness, but these are also synonyms.  Happiness and salvation are the two that are most frequently cited.  But how can we know forgiveness without also signing on for happiness?  And how can we forgive without also offering salvation, in our own way, to our brothers and sisters?

3 – Forgive / Do Not Attack the Mind

It is the most important new concept on this day to note that we attack our minds when we fail to accept forgiveness as our function.  We are here to forgive.  Keep in mind that forgiveness, as we know it, is an illusion, because there is really nothing real to forgive; we forgive only illusions.  But in this world we experience the illusion as real, as tangible, and so we must be practical always (as Jesus bids in the Manual).  We forgive, knowing that nothing bad has actually happened to anyone, but in our deluded minds we think that the world that we see is real and capable of causing harm.  We must do what we can, in this illusion, to right the wrongs.  This declaration is not an insensitive attempt to save the world from itself.  We must reach out when we are welcomed by our brothers and sisters.  We are not meant to save when we would be rejected by the attempt.  But we should never underestimate the extent of the insanity in this world, and so others may not know enough to reach out to us.  Then, under the guidance of the Holy Spirit, we need to do what we can to lighten the load of our brothers and sisters.

4 – Living on a Higher Plain

If we would avoid images of pain, as seen by our minds, we must forgive.  When we forgive consistently and peacefully, we live on a higher plane.  Let us reach toward that higher plain today.

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

I would seek to forgive today, that I would help others and that I would also be helped.  I would not fill my mind with images of pain, which is the outcome when attack is made upon ourselves and our brothers and sisters.  

May I come to understand the other functions that find their primary home in forgiveness:  happiness and salvation.  I would ask You to help me to lead a happy life, in spite of appearances that invite the feeling that I am a victim when attacked.  Help me to realize that You honor the illusion, in that You wish us to treat well our brothers and sisters who believe in the illusion, and do not have the assurance that reality is a better place to make our home. 

May I live in Your real world today.  Assist me in making wise decisions that will lead to joy.  I know that this is Your will for all who make the earth our present home.  May illusions lose their hold upon my brothers and sisters, and me.  May together we walk into the light, always seeking the Christ-consciousness to which we will eventually be led.

Amen.

God’s Will for Us = Safe, Untroubled, Serene, Joyous

ACIM Workbook Lesson 329 – for Friday, November 25, 2011

Affirmation:  “I have already chosen what You will.”

“Father, my will is Yours.  And I am safe, untroubled and serene, in endless joy, because it is Your Will that it be so.  (WB466)”

Reflections:

1 – God’s Will = Already Chosen

This prayer carries the question of God’s Will a step closer to what we really experience.  The lesson for today says that we have already chosen what God wills for us.  This is akin to an earlier lesson that directly stated that we are in control of our destiny.  And when we have walked far enough along the pathway home, we have already made the choice that we would have the blessings that God’s Will would bestow on us.  We have chosen, ahead of time, that we would accept His Will–not fall into miscreations again, not choose with the egoic self.

2 – Our Blessings

When we have made the choice, ahead of time, that God’s Will is ours, then we walk smoothly.  We do not run into unsafe territory; we do not take side pathways, pathways that divert us from where we would really, in our heart of hearts, prefer that we go.  We are safe, untroubled and serene, with endless joy (see prayer above).  And we are all of these things, because God has willed these blessings for us.

3 – Reassurances from the Workbook

How often in the Workbook, especially Part II, do we encounter reassurances that we are actually intended to be at peace, to be serene and joyful.  So often, in our earlier lives, we have not chosen wisely, and we have only known these blessings in a fleeting way.  Sometimes the joys that we have encountered have been egoic, and therefore especially fleeting, turning to ashes in our mouths, and leading us to weep bitter tears.  But such unfortunate outcomes are not God’s Will for us.

4 – Callings

We can rest assured that what God wills for us will be ultimately recognized by ourselves as good.  All to often, in our egoic past, we have believed that we would not will what He would will for us.  We may have heard stories of a “call” that would be the opposite of what we think that we want.  But, if we are brave enough to follow that call, we find at the conclusion of the pathway a serene and peaceful conclusion.  We will be glad beyond measure that we stayed true to the calling.  God knows us best, and the one thing that He knows above all else if what we really want in our depths–for He is in those depths.  Do not fear, therefore, to rest in God’s Will as the very best pathway out there.  At this point in the Workbook, may we indeed know that we have already chosen the Will that is His to be our own.

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

I would walk the safe and sure pathway to joy today.  Jesus says in this day’s workbook lesson that we have already chosen Your will.  Of course!  We but walk a pathway that we have trod before, but this time we are choosing with guidance of the Holy Spirit.  We can still stray into side pathways, egoic ones, but I would not choose to do so.  I would especially not choose to follow egoic ways today.  Keep me safe in Your arms.

May we share our good news with our brothers and sisters who are ready to hear what we have to say.  May we not run ahead of them, trying to get them to accept a pathway which they may not yet choose.  And maybe a pathway different from A Course in Miracles is right for many.  We do not make decisions for other people.  But we do know that ultimately all of us will find our way home.  May I do my part, unobtrusively, to make that day come sooner.

Be with us today.  Help us, as always, to avoid anger and attack, irritation and impatience.  We need to know that You are there for us, and that You will pick us up when we have fallen.  We but try again, and again.  And finally we will succeed in being flexible enough to follow the Holy Spirit, and to know You as You intend for us.

Amen.

Wholly Safe, Eternally at Peace

ACIM Workbook Lesson 328 – for Thursday, November 24, 2011

Affirmation:  “I choose the second place to gain the first.”

“There is no will but Yours.  And I am glad that nothing I imagine contradicts what You would have me be.  It is Your Will that I be wholly safe, eternally at peace.  And happily I share that Will which You, my Father, gave as part of me.  (WB465)”

Reflections:

1 – God’s Will / A Puppet of God?

One of the great preoccupations of my early adult years, before I found A Course in Miracles when I was 34 years old, was the question of God’s will.  What did He want me to do with my life?  I pondered that one for literally years on end, writing in my journal and doing a lot of thinking.  I wondered if I determined what God’s will was, would I be a puppet of His?  If I don’t follow my own free will (which might be different, or so I thought), then what would I be except a puppet?

2 – The Will of God and Our Own = Identical

A Course in Miracles answers all these questions.  Jesus says that our real will and the Will of God–as imparted to us as guidance from the Holy Spirit–are actually identical.  The Holy Spirit lets us know what our real will is, and often we don’t know this until we accept His guidance.  We are so confused by the ego that we choose wrongly, and we suffer as a result.  But the Holy Spirit chooses for us.  He guides us into the smooth paths of harmony.  And all is well.

3 – We Near the End of the Workbook

By the time we reach this lesson, Lesson 328, we are well toward the end of the year spent with God in the Workbook for Students.  We are no longer imagining a result as dictated by the ego.  So the prayer above can say, “I am glad that nothing I imagine contradicts what You would have me be.”  We would be wholly safe, eternally at peace.  And the only way to get there is through guidance that God encourages us to follow, from the Universal Inspiration, His Communicator to us.

4 – We Want What God Wants for Us

Now, if we have listened well and communed constantly with God, we will be ready to recognize that we do indeed, and happily, share the Will of God that He gave to us.  We want what He wants for us.  We know that this is all that we want.

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

I regret that I spent so many years pondering what God’s wil might really mean.  Thank You for the answer in A Course in Miracles.  How could it be otherwise?  I am One with You, and though covered over by layers of egoic thinking, I know that my whole Self belongs to You.  So how could my real will and Your Will be different from each other?  You allow me to manifest in this world, and my Self encompasses the better individual that You still consider me to be.  You have never given up on me.  As ACIM says, I am as You created me.  Only in illusion have I fallen into the separation that is not really real.

Help me to retain these ideas today.  Thank You for this bit of theology.  If others do not find the theology compatible with their thinking, may they commune with You to get their own understanding, an understanding that may differ from my own.  Be with all of us today as we seek You once again.

Thank You that You did not create “puppets.”  That was always a false issue, and I am glad to leave that false idea behind me.  Be with me as I seek to grow ever more closely into the individual that You would have me manifest in this troubled world.

Amen.

“Unsupported” Faith Is Not Required

ACIM Workbook Lesson 327 – for Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Affirmation:  “I need but call and You will answer me.”

“I am not asked to take salvation on the basis of an unsupported faith.  For God has promised He will hear my call, and answer me Himself.  (WB465)”

Reflections:

1 – Blind Faith

We are not asked to have faith only, a blind faith that is totally uncomprehending, and just appeals to “mysteries.”  We have support for our faith in A Course in Miracles.  Salvation, leading to Awakening, is spelled out for us.  And God Himself will answer us when we call.  We will never be left to our own devices.

2 – A Questioning Faith

The fact that we do not have just to say “have faith” is important to me.  I always thought like a heretic, questioning the faith of my childhood.  Until I found A Course in Miracles, and then the answers came that I had been seeking for so long.  Not everybody, of course, finds their curriculum in ACIM, but more and more are.  We who study ACIM seriously ought to be very, very glad that the tenets of ACIM have found their way more and more into the popular culture, especially the self-help or self-improvement literature.  Not everybody realizes that the author is using ideas from A Course in Miracles.  And perhaps this is alright.  Jesus is not proprietary about the ideas that we read therein.  He wants the message to be spread, and he has said that there is a course for every teacher of God.  We all make interpretations, some based on ACIM and some not, and we learn from each other as a result.

3 – Finding Our Way to God

Our supported faith is the faith that God Himself supports.  This is an important truth, and it would be well to dwell on the implications of this.  We are never alone in the universe(s).  We always have guidance.  In ACIM, this guidance is said to come from the Holy Spirit, because we are in the time of the Holy Spirit.  In A Course of Love, this guidance is said to come from the Self within, the Christ-consciousness, as we are in the time of Christ.  Either way is OK.  We do not have to be proscriptive about how we find our way back to God.  He never left us, but we thought we left Him.  And now is the time to return.  As the New Testament counsels, “Seek and ye shall find.”  And I have found this truth in my own experience.

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

I thank You today for the day that I found A Course in Miracles.  No longer did I have to grapple with reaching for faith when I had questions and even doubts.  Your gift of ACIM answered so many of those questions.  May I be led today to put into practice the tenets that I have studied.  And may I reach out to others who are similarly questioning.

Faith does not have to be blind.  We are given answers to our reason.  We do not have to appeal to “mysteries.”  Help me to know when I do need to step out in faith and appeal to mysteries, and when the Answer, Your Holy Spirit, will guide me.  May He guide me carefully today.  I so long to walk the way of Your blessings, and Your blessings are never very far behind the guidance that is so freely given, when we ask for guidance.

Be with me today as I seek You.  Guide my thoughts as I reread A Course in Miracles.  Help me to discern the truth of its message.  And may I reflect in a helpful way for those who read this blog.

Thank You for always being near.  May I feel Your presence in me today.

Amen.

I Am an Effect of God

ACIM Workbook Lesson 326 – for Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Affirmation:  “I am forever an Effect of God.”

“. . .[A]ll Your attributes abide in me, because it is Your Will to have a Son so like his Cause that Cause and Its Effect are indistinguishable.  Let me know that I am an Effect of God, and so I have the power to create like You.  (WB464)”

Reflections:

1 – Cause and Effect in ACIM

The cause-and-effect section in the Text of A Course in Miracles is challenging to understand, perhaps more challenging than most other passages of the theology.  As part of the theology, understanding cause and effect is not absolutely necessary, because theology can delay us, and there is no universal theology.  I am much more interested in the practical that Jesus extols as being most important in ACIM.  But for those who do care about the theology, this prayer explains, succinctly, the relationship between God and ourselves.

2 – Cause and Effect Explained

God is the Cause, the Prime Mover (if you will).  He created us; we did not create ourselves.  So we are still as He created us.   We have made an egoic version of ourselves for this world, and we have suffered mightily for failing to laugh at the tiny, mad idea that there was something more that we ought to experience, apart from God.  But we are still His Effect, the one that He created who has not changed since that creation.

3 – Co-Creators with God

We are meant to be co-creators with God.  Cause and Effect thus become indistinguishable, as stated in the prayer.  God does not have anything that He will not ultimately share with us.  But preparation is necessary first.  God could not have miscreation go too far afield, and thus he set the limits on our power to miscreate.  This was through the pain that we experience.  The threshold for pain may be high, but it is not unlimited.  Sooner or later we have to recognize that there is a better way.  And A Course in Miracles points out that better way.  We are heading, once again, to a reiteration of the fact that Awakening (or Christ-consciousness, as A Course of Love says) is the ultimate aim of this world.  Then we will fully understand that Cause and Effect are One.

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

I have become lost many times in the cause-and-effect explanations in A Course in Miracles.  May I articulate today what Your true meaning is.  May all of us who reread these passage learn more each time that we confront them.  May their theology not delay us or divide us; it is an experience that we seek.  And we do not have to subscribe to theology if it delays or divides us.  We are all One, seekers for You.

Be with me today as I contemplate, once again, what ACIM is saying about Cause-and-Effect.  May I never be so arrogant as to think, as the ego does, that I made myself.  We are Your children, and there is much that we do not know.  Guide us to the greater understanding of Yourself that will sustain in this sometimes troubled world.

Amen.

Find the Way to Heaven and to God

ACIM Workbook Lesson 325 – for Monday, November 21, 2011

Affirmation:  “All things I think I see reflect ideas.”

“This is salvation’s keynote:  What I see reflects a process in my mind, which starts with my idea of what I want. . . .And from forgiving thoughts a gentle world comes forth, with mercy for the holy Son of God, to offer him a kindly home where he can rest a while before he journeys on, and help his brothers walk ahead with him, and find the way to Heaven and to God.  (WB464)”

Reflections:

1 – Projection Makes Perception

Salvation’s keynote, given above, is a statement of the fact the projection makes perception:  The process begins in the mind, with what I want, and then I see (outwardly).  When we are in a forgiving mood, it is inevitable that we will look upon a forgiving world.  When we are seeing people who need “fixing,” then it is our own mind that is in need of an attitude adjustment.

2 – Forgiveness / Love

When we want to see Heaven, we must meet the conditions of seeing Heaven.  And this is an attitude of forgiveness, most importantly, and an attitude of love rather than fear.  There is no other way.  We will see the dreams of a benign world, where we will rest awhile, before journeying on to Awakening.  The dreams of a kindly home prepare us for the shock of the ultimate Awakening, which we will not fear, but will welcome.  ACIM tells us that without the kindly dream, offered by the Holy Spirit, we would be too fearful to welcome Awakening.  We need the gentleness of forgiveness and the strength of love.  We need to be at peace.

3 – We Travel with Others

We go with our brothers and sisters toward home.  We do not have to travel alone, and indeed we cannot.  Only in the return of all of us are we freed to be at home in God.  Until that time, which may be millions of years from now, we have work to do.  But if we can believe ACIM (and we can), it is an effortless work and a joyful work.  We will not choose amiss when we choose as the Holy Spirit bids.

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

May I begin this day with a forgiving attitude and a loving attitude.  If I can begin rightly, then all else will fall into place.  If I slip, may I simply pick myself up and begin again–all with Your Guide to steady me.  May I come to understand that my mind makes the way that I view the world.  And may I look with kind eyes on my world today.

Be with me as I seek to have a good day, a better day than yesterday.  May I always remember that it is not Your will that I seek to travel in solitude.  You put me in a world with Your other children so that we might help each other along the way.  May we walk together in peace and joy today.

Amen.

A Safe Returning Home

ACIM Workbook Lesson 324 – for Sunday, November 20, 2011

Affirmation:  “I merely follow, for I would not lead.”

“So let us follow One Who knows the way.  We need not tarry, and we cannot stray except an instant from His loving hand.  We walk together, for we follow Him.  And it is He Who makes the ending sure, and guarantees a safe returning home.  (WB463)”

Reflections:

1 – The Holy Spirit’s Guidance

The “One Who knows the way” is, in A Course in Miracles, the Holy Spirit, also called the Universal Inspiration.  If we are flexible, if we vow to be remain flexible, we will follow the advice that we “hear.”  And that advice, that guidance, will invariably lead us home–and sooner rather than later.

2 – Final Lessons Meditative

All of the final lessons in the Workbook for Students are meditative, in that they encourage us to commune with God and His Teacher, the Holy Spirit.  Not only do these lessons have a common theme of communion with God, they also emphasize, systematically, the ideas developed in the Text and the Manual.  If we have had trouble with the intensity of the ideas in the Text, we can turn to the Workbook and then gain the great benefit that the more reverent words in the Workbook emphasize.  We will not go wrong when we seek reverence in our study.  And our prayers, our communion with God, will take on new meaning when we mean what we say.

3 – A Course of Love

Nobody gets anywhere in the spiritual life by theory alone.  We must buy into the ideas with our heart as well as our mind.  The idea of the heart’s involvement is developed overwhelmingly in the words of A Course of LoveACOL counsels “wholeheartedness,” which is another way of saying that A Course of Love is to the heart what A Course in Miracles is to the mind.  In another way of seeing this, the final lessons of the Workbook, as the year closes, lead us straight into the philosophy of A Course of Love.  This blog has considered two lengthy sections from A Course of Love, and these can be identified and read through taking a look at the months that the postings covered in the “About” section of the Menu Bar.

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

I would return home today.  Thank You that this does not mean that I need to die.  We return home when our hearts and minds act as one in wholeheartedness.  Thank You for the guidance that You give to me.

May I incorporate the tenets of A Course of Love as I walk farther along the pathway.  There is a continuum that I would adopt in my daily study.  Help me to study diligently, and to understand what Jesus says to me.  May I keep an open mind as I compare A Course in Miracles to A Course of Love.

Amen.

Give Up Suffering, Loss, Sadness, Anxiety, Doubt. . . to Enable Love

ACIM Workbook Lesson 323 – for Saturday, November 19. 2011

Affirmation:  “I gladly make the ‘sacrifice’ of fear.”

“Here is the only ‘sacrifice’ You ask of Your beloved Son; You ask him to give up all suffering, all sense of loss and sadness, all anxiety and doubt, and freely let Your Love come streaming in to his awareness, healing him of pain, and giving him Your Own eternal joy.  Such is the ‘sacrifice’ You ask of me, and one I gladly make; the only ‘cost’ of restoration of Your memory to me, for the salvation of the world.  (WB463)”

Reflections:

1 – God’s Love Flows In

If all of us in this world could believe these comforting words of A Course in Miracles, we would be a long way toward overcoming the suffering that besets us.  We are not asked to sacrifice.  We can give up suffering, anxiety, doubt.  The only way to effect these blessings is to believe that God’s Love is flowing into us now.  When we ask to feel His Love, we are reassured that all will be well.  We can let our anxieties go.  We do not have to feel the suffering that can arise from pain.  We can rise above the pain.  Then we are truly Home–living with the assurance that we are beloved of God and that we are free of the fear that has beset us for eons.

2 – “Suffering”

Note that “sacrifice” in these quotations is set apart by quotation marks.  This indicates that what is being asked of us is not really a sacrifice at all; it is the acceptance of a blessing from God, from Love.  When the memory of God is restored to us, we truly have reached Awakening.  And this is where we are all headed.

3 – Awakening / Christ-Consciousness

The study of A Course in Miracles and A Course of Love both holds out these blessings for us.  We are told in A Course of Love that the time of learning is over.  We know enough just to accept our Home in God, our Christ-consciousness.  We may be mistaken in thinking that we have reached Christ-consciousness, but the inevitability of this blessing is never mistaken.  It may be sooner or it may be later.  We need not fear; it will come.  And in the meantime, we can prepare by turning to the Holy Spirit (if we are reading ACIM) or the Self within (if we are reading ACOL).  There is a logical progression from Jesus’s words in the New Testament, his words in ACIM, and his words in ACOL.  Would that we could only accept what he says at face value!  There is very little that we need to do to effect these changes in ourselves.  Our contribution is indeed small, and we are sometimes chagrined by this (paraphrased from the Text).  But why should we let the arrogance of the ego tell us that Awakening/Christ-consciousness is difficult?  Let us rest in God’s mercy, and we will know that He wishes us to have these blessings.  We will not have to seek pathways innumerable; the blessings will come with a sincere desire.

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

I would find You today, and I would do the little part that you ask of me to effect change for the better in my life.  I would come home to You.

May my brothers and sisters feel Your Love, and may they leave behind fear with all of its component parts.  I would do the same.  I am not above feeling fear, as much as I try to avoid anxiety by trusting in You.  We are all very human with the frailties that accompany the human condition.  May we help each other to rise above to the joy that You hold out to us when we have been made ready by Your guidance.

Be with me today.  Help me to know that sacrifice is never asked, and that I am misperceiving when I think that You might be asking this of me.  Your Way is the Way of Love, and when I know that in the depths of my heart, I will also be at home in You.

Amen.

The Return of Love / Loss of Fear

ACIM Workbo Lesson 322 – for Friday, November 18, 2011

Affirmation:  “I can give up but what was never real.”

“Father, to You all sacrifice remains forever inconceivable.  And so I cannot sacrifice except in dreams.  As You created me, I can give up nothing You gave me.  What You did not give has no reality.  What loss can I anticipate except the loss of fear, and the return of love into my mind?  (WB462)”

Reflections:

1 – Sacrifice is Not Needed

We do not really need to sacrifice in this world.  We need only to lose our fear and to return to love to have all that we really want.  Even with our loved ones, we do not need to experience sacrifice; when we are acting out of love, it is a misconception to think that we are sacrificing.  We are giving, and it is in the giving that we will learn the most about love.

2 – Let Us Lose Fear

We would lose fear today.  If this loss is important to us, we will do everything in our power to effect it.  And we will not make this transition–from fear to love–without deciding that egotistical, egoic, matters are not what we want.  If we would leave the ego behind, all would be peace.  When we will ever learn this?

3 – The Dreams of This World

We sacrifice in the dreams of this world.  And when we are loving, we are experiencing a reprieve from dreams, if only momentarily.  This understanding of the world that we experience being a “dream” is not unique to A Course in Miracles.  But it is spelled out for modern-day readers in a way that we do not find it in earlier religious writings.

4 – Give Today

May I give today, and then give some more.  And may I recognize that in this giving I will realize that I am not sacrificing my own best interests, but instead that I am finding them.

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

I would reach a deeper level of love today, knowing that with this deeper level fear itself is diminished.  I do need to give, but help me to realize that “sacrifice” is not needed.  The return of love does not demand sacrifice.  Help me to follow Your Guide today, as I seek to enjoy a good day.

Earlier I believed that sometimes sacrifice was called for.  Thank You for showing me, through Jesus’s words, that this idea was well-intentioned but unnecessary.  Help me to give and then give some more.  But help me never to feel that I am sacrificing my own best interests in the guise of helping another.  I would help whenever I can, but the individuals whom I help, and I, will only gain when I give.

Love is the great need of this world.  May all whom I touch today, as well as myself,  try to give a little more love .  Then we will all come home to You sooner.

Amen.

The Way to Salvation

ACIM Workbook Lesson 321 – for Thursday, November 17. 2011

Affirmation:  “Father, my freedom is in You alone.”

“Your Voice directs me, and the way to You is opening and clear to me at last.  Father, my freedom is in You alone.  Father, it is my will that I return.  (WB462)”

Reflections:

1 – The Path to Salvation

This is a three-part procedure to salvation, to Oneness with God, to return to the Oneness that we thought we lost in separation.  We can have freedom only when we are at One with God; anything else leads to the imprisonment of our will with resulting pain.  Detailing the path to salvation in three sentences in the prayer for today does indicate to us how very simple the essence of A Course in Miracles really is.

2 – God’s Voice Speaks

First, God’s Voice, the Holy Spirit (or Universal Inspiration) tells us what to do to effect not only our salvation, but the best living out there that is possible while we are effortless seeking our salvation.  It is a straight line to God when we are flexible in changing our directions during any given day, changing to head straight through to the next right step that we have been given.  God’s Voice does not often direct us in advance, though when we need to plan for the future, He does direct us how to do so.  (That is the only time that planning is encouraged; otherwise, it is a defense best left alone.)

3 – Our Will Is Free

Second,  we are free only when we are at home in God.  Then our will is not imprisoned.  Our imprisoned will is a theological point in ACIM that may be difficult to grasp.  Basically, it explains that God put the limits on how much we could miscreate.  Sooner or later we would have to recognize that there is a better way to proceed.  The limits for pain may be high, but they are not infinite (a paraphrase from the Text).  We will want to avoid pain, and the only way is to bring our will into alignment with what our real will is, which is the same as God’s Will for us.  He does not punitively punish, though–never.  He only gently guides us into the right decisions, the ones that will easily show us the better way.

4 – Return Is Our Priority

Third, we recognize that our return to God is the priority of our lives.  It is all that we really want, but all the other blessings of the real world wait upon this return.  We do not desire to follow down blind pathways, trying every turn, here and there.  We want the straight way to the heart of God, and we can have it.  A Course in Miracles explains the means to us (from the Text).  Occasionally revelation will reveal the end of Awakening, but to get there the means are needed, and this is what Jesus is detailing in ACIM.

5 – Our Freedom Is in God Alone

So, our freedom is in God alone.  To live this truth is to find our way back.  But we have to love God, and we have not to be afraid of Him.  When we see the blessings that He has waiting in His storehouse for us, we will be more reassured that His Will is never punitive, and that He is never cruel.  Our own meanderings have caused the pain and suffering inflicted upon us so far in our journey through this life.  We create our own reality, and if we choose pain, then we will find the suffering that this pain entails.  But we can live peacefully, even when the world cries out in pain, if we have a calm certainty that what we are seeing is illusion.  We help others in pain, but we do not join them in their pain.  We recognize that pain is a form of insanity, and we would ask that our minds be awakened to the truth, the benign truth, that reality actually contains.  Guidance will show us the way.

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

I would walk the pathway to You today.  I would not seek inferior methods, but would seek to know that Way by listening to Your Voice, the Holy Spirit.  I would do only what is loving, discerning Your Will, in part, by testing out if I am feeling love or feeling fear.

Only in love is there hope of salvation, to finding our way back home.  I would be at home in You today.

Thank You for this brief passage for today from A Course in Miracles that encapsulates the way to You.

Amen.

There Is No Limit on God’s Will

ACIM Workbook Lesson 320 – for Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Affirmation:  “My Father gives all power unto me.”

“Your Will can do all things in me, and then extend to all the world as well through me.  There is no limit on Your Will.  And so all power has been given to Your Son.  (WB460)”

Reflections:

1 – Follow God’s Will

This prayer is very insightful (as with all prayers to God by Jesus).  God’s Will can do all things through us, extending unto the world as a whole.  And we have the power to effect change because God’s Will is resident in us.  Of course, we have to be open to following that Will, and to be so, we must discern correctly.

2 – How Do We Discern God’s Will?

How do we discern the Will of God in any given situation?   The following are my own interpretations of ACIM, not stated directly therein.

3 – A Suggested Procedure

First, we get silent and still and quiet.  This is a preliminary step to almost all correct discernment.  If our emotions are turbulent, it is impossible to hear God’s Voice without having those very emotions intrude.

4 – Ask for Guidance

Second, we ask for direction and guidance of the Holy Spirit.  He is our Communicator from God (an ACIM tenet).

5 – Ask Others for Help

Third, if appropriate, we test out our discernment by going to others for help.  We do not always stay just within ourselves.  If there are no appropriate others, of course, we are on our own.  And this can be tricky.  So this leads to the final question.

6 – Love or Attack?

Fourth, is the discernment that we are making a gesture of love or of hate (attack)?  This is a testing of the guidance we have received.  If we consistently follow “feelings” or “intuition,” we may follow amiss if we think we are being led to do something that is less than honorable.  The ego is very wily, and it will mislead if given half a chance.  So the test of a loving gesture is important.

7 – Change Ourselves

We have the power to change the world, if we are first changed ourselves.  Many evangelists and gurus have stated the same over the years.  Many religious leaders have believed this, including the renowned Norman Vincent Peale (who saw a banner to that effect in his youth and therein changed the direction of his life, leading to a life of ministry to others through Christianity) and Billy Graham (the most renowned speaker of our era in regard to preaching the Gospel).

8 – A Course in Miracles = Our Curriculum

Let us today take up our curriculum, A Course in Miracles.  We may alter the curriculum to suit our temperament; Jesus does not forbade this, and even encourages it by saying that “There is a curriculum for every teacher of God.”  The forms vary tremendously, but if we keep an open mind and heart, and we respect each other, we will not really clash.  May the teaching and learning that all of us do today make a difference in the world that we inhabit.

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

I would take my own advice today as I seek Your will in how to direct my life.  If there are omissions in what I say, then please correct me.  Help me to live a peaceful, tranquil way as I walk this world, because serenity invites accuracy in discerning Your Will.

Be with me today.  Thank You for guiding me to understand some of the ways that I can know Your Will.  Be with me as I seek to implement those ways of discerning.

Amen.

What One Gains Is Given unto All

ACIM Workbook Lesson 319 – for Tuesday, November 15. 2011

Affirmation:  “I came for the salvation of the world.”

“The ego thinks that what one gains, totality must lose.  And yet it is the Will of God I learn that what one gains is given unto all.  (WB460)”

Reflections:

1 – Jerry Jampolsky

This passage is well-examined in a book by Jerry Jampolsky, a book (Love Is Letting God of Fear) which delves deeply in the ACIM truth, “Whatever I give is given to myself.”  Jerry means, basing his discussion on A Course in Miracles, that the joy, love, peace that we give to others comes back to us as these qualities are multiplied.  It is only the material things of life that seem to diminish when given away.  And the material things are never what we want for long; we will find more and more wants that remain unsatisfied, because the material gains are frequently props for the ego.  And the ego is never satiated.

2 – Totality Does Not Lose the Things of God

Totality does not lose when we gain the things that are of God.  And we are told in this passage that it is the Will of God that what one gains is given unto all.  This is a great blessing!

3 – Why Are We Here?

What did we really come for?  The lesson for today says that it is the salvation of the world.  Edgar Cayce, an early psychic, said much the same thing.  In metaphorical language, he indicated that the Sons of God came to rescue the daughters of men on this plane of earth.  And Ruth Montgomery, also an early scribe of “Guides,” indicates that we will none of us find our way home until we have led all to home.  In ACIM, Jesus seems to indicate that we must lead our brothers and sisters home, even though it may take millions of years.  Time has been saved for us when we practice ACIM.  Each one of us save a thousand years and more (a Text tenet).

4 – Let’s Do Our Part Today

So let us do our part today.  We can, after all, only do our part one day at a time.  Let  us not backslide now.  We need to save time, as the world is worn and very weary (paraphrases from the Text).  We know that the ending is sure (an ACIM tenet), and if the way seems long, we have started on that way.  It is enough.  It will always be enough.

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

The gifts from You which we receive are never for ourselves alone.  When given from us to others, these gifts but increase.  Help me to realize the truth of this glorious promise.  I know that Your gifts are often intangibles, because material things may seem to diminish if shared (something of note that may be illusion).  Even with material blessings, we are bade to understand that You can bring increase there as well.  Individuals who tithe their income, however small, quickly learn that their material blessings in this world do increase abundantly.  Thank You for the many testimonials that I have heard and read about this puzzling miracle.

May I walk a green earth today.  Your Way is always the best way, and Your way will help not only myself, but my brothers and sisters as well.  May I be generous with my time and my gifts, intangible and material.

Thank You for the gift of A Course in Miracles.  Thank You for leading me to these magnificent volumes so many years ago.  Thank You for the writings that spoke to me before ACIM was published.  May all of those individuals I encounter today find the truths that they need to live a happy life.

Amen.

May I Understand My Sinlessness

ACIM Workbook Lesson 318 – for Monday, November 14, 2011

Affirmation:  “In me salvation’s means and end are one.”

“I am the means by which God’s Son is saved, because salvation’s purpose is to find the sinlessness that God has placed in me.  I was created as the thing I seek.  (WB459)”

Reflections:

1 – Mistakes – In Eternity, No “Sin”

Here is the answer for those of us who find it difficult to believe–given our many mistakes–that we are really innocent, sinless.  We were created sinless, and it is only in illusion that we have left that glorious state.  And to leave something in illusion–in dreams–is not really to leave sinlessness at all.  “I was created as the thing I seek”:  Yes!  We have spent eons chasing our tails to find the very thing that we are, deep within.  It is only up to us to access that deepest place, where God is, to realize that we are One with Him, and that all is well.  We do not have to atone for anything.

2 – Making Amends for Mistakes

We do have to make amends for the wrongs that we have perpetrated, if this is reasonably possible.  If reaching out to someone we have wronged would make the matter worse, then we would do well to commune with God, express our amends to the Holy Spirit, and simply walk a green earth again.  If reaching out to someone we have wronged would help to right the wrong, then we should definitely reach out.  Only our deep communion with God and our guidance from the Holy Spirit can tell us what is right to say and do.

3 – Salvation

We in our essence encompass the means and the end of salvation.  We will know this when we have forgiven ourselves for our misdeeds.  Forgiving ourselves is easier said than done, because the ego (still a force, though weakened, in many of us) would have us see ourselves as guilty.  The ego’s life depends upon the guilt that it can engender in us.  If we thrust aside the guilt, which is actually the only hell that there is, we would be a good position to live peacefully, without the turmoil and agitation that guilt always causes us to feel.

4 – Salvation’s Purpose

In this passage, we are told that salvation’s very “purpose” is to “find the sinlessness that God has placed in me.”  To carry this statement to its logical conclusion would mean, I think, that we will find that God is ready to awaken us when we, in our depths, have discovered the sinlessness with which we were created.  We cannot be even a little bit in hell to find this sinlessness.  We cannot feel even a little bit of guilt.  Of course, to say this is to invite the ego to have a field day, because the ego will assure us that without guilt, we will say and do all manner of despicable things.  But will we really?  Perhaps this possibility is just what keeps Awakening from us.  Perhaps here we are approaching some of the secrets of salvation.  If we are truly ready to accept our sinlessness and to relinquish any of our thoughts or actions that would normally cause guilt, perhaps God can awaken us.  Perhaps finally we are ready.  (This final paragraph is filled with my own interpretations and is not based, precisely, on ACIM tenets.)

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

I would always seek to make amends for the errors that I have perpetrated, but I would not lash myself, metaphorically, calling them “sins.”  I have sinned in time, but not in eternity, where I remain as You created me.  May I get some inkling of what this means today.

I would walk farther along the pathway to salvation today.  I know that Awakening stands at the end, and I ask for You to consider my petition for Awakening.  I am content, though, to wait on Your timing, knowing that it will be the perfect time when You choose it.

Help me to forgive my brothers and sisters for the mistakes that they have made in attacking me or in getting angry with my shortcomings and misunderstandings.  May all of us live, together, in peace today.  And may You allow me to feel Your presence as I walk throughout the day.

Amen.

The Embrace of God

ACIM Workbook Lesson 317 – for Sunday, November 13, 2011

Affirmation:  “I follow in the way appointed me.”

“And all my sorrows end in Your embrace, which You have promised to Your Son, who thought mistakenly that he had wandered from the sure protection of Your loving Arms.  (WB459)”

Reflections:

1 – God and Jesus Embrace Us

The embrace of God is similar to the oft-quoted passage from A Course of Love, in which Jesus embraces us.  Both are meant to offer comfort and love.  We would ourselves want our sorrows to end, but to have that happen means that we must cooperate with God’s plan.  We have never actually separated from God, though we live in a dream world (before we awaken) that says that we are separate from Him.  We need to be flexible, to follow guidance, to relax into the day rather than to fight against it.  If our thought or action makes us feel bad, then surely there is another way to live.  We can ask.  That is all that we really need to do to live a better life, one in which we rise above difficulties and disappointments in this world.  We also rise above the tragedies of this world, recognizing that they are illusion.  This does not mean that we do not offer comfort to our brothers and sisters, as we would ourselves wish to be comforted.  Offer others the embrace, symbolically and, if appropriate, actually.  We will not be sorry for having done so.

2 – Follow in the Way Appointed

If we follow in the way appointed, we are following the guidance of the Holy Spirit.  Later on, in A Course of Love, we are living the elevated Self of form, and we turn inward for our guidance in the time of Christ-consciousness.  But for now we are studying ACIM, and guidance in ACIM is from the time of the Holy Spirit.  We seek Him always.  And He will never disappoint us.  The way that we will follow will be joyful.  We will know peace.  And the egoism, and egotism, that overcame us for eons will just dissipate.  What a blessing that indeed will be!

3 – Our Sorrows End

If our sorrows end in the embrace of God, then we are at home in Him.  This is a very great promise, and one that we would do well to remember in our darkest moments.  And we may have more dark nights of the soul.  Our evolutionary pathway is not a straight line (from Neale Donald Walsch’s Conversations with God).  The way to Awakening is often a kind of spiral.  We see glimpses that revelation gives us, but we do not live the ending.  But the ending is sure, and it will come quickly when we are ready.  Once we have seen the real world–the world of peace and happiness–consistently, it is only a matter of a short while before we will know awakening.  God Himself takes this step, when He knows that we have been made ready.  Because we have been so prepared by A Course in Miracles, the light that is turned on in the dream will not frighten us anymore.  We will awaken gently and with peace.

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

I would sense Your embrace today.  Thank You for this reassurance.  We so often forget that You are always with us, carrying us when times are difficult.  Help me to do my part to ease the burdens of my brothers and sisters, and help me to know what to say to them when they are struggling.  If they are open to faith, give me the words to say.  I know that the Holy Spirit’s guidance is always true.  Help me to discern accurately.

An embrace is such a comforting gesture.  May I rest easy as I walk through this day, knowing that I am a part of You, and that You wish me well always.

If times seem tough, let me retreat to an inner sanctuary, in quiet, where I can feel the embrace that Jesus tells us about today.

Amen.

I Do Not Recognize God’s Gifts

ACIM Workbook Lesson 316 – for Saturday, November 12, 2011

Affirmation:  “All gifts I give my brothers are my own.”

“Father, I would accept Your gifts today.  I do not recognize them.  Yet I trust that You Who gave them will provide the means by which I can behold them, see their worth, and cherish only them as what I want.  (WB458)”

Reflections:

1 – “Perfectly Calm and Quiet”

Jesus says that where we are headed is to be “perfectly calm and quiet” all the time.  I have had a friend, a non-student of A Course in Miracles, question this.  Why would anybody want to be perfectly calm and quiet all the time?  My friend, I can speculate, believes that leaving out drama would not be a good thing.  (She was not specific.)

2 – Leave Out Drama

Yes is leaving out drama bad?  Isn’t it, after all, the drama that makes our lives turn full of conflict?

3 – Eckhart Tolle’s Response

Eckhart Tolle (The Power of Now, A New Earth) says that he and his girlfriend do not have drama in their relationship.  (Eckhart is a spiritual teacher who has detailed his experience of Awakening at age 30, after years of deep depression and accompanying anxiety.)  I believe that as we come closer to God, we will become quieter.  We will not seek acclaim (an egoic notion) for ourselves.  We will be still.

4 – Gifts of God

Quiet and stillness are gifts of God.  He has many more gifts to give us as well, gifts specifically designed for what we really need and want.  Our desires are very personal, as our personalities are also different.  So no “one size fits all” in the universe.  Let us ask God today for the gifts that He has held in waiting for each of us, the gifts that will warm our hearts and give us the blessings, material and otherwise, that He has waiting for us.

5 – God Cares about Our Material Needs

It is a misreading of God to believe that He does not care about our material and/or physical needs.  They are as important as our emotional and spiritual needs.  He would answer both.  It is true that a big part of the answer may come from what we are guided to say and do by the Holy Spirit.  But the Holy Spirit does most of the work.  Our own way to God is easy and peaceful, effortless (an ACIM tenet).

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

I would seek to recognize Your gifts today, knowing that I frequently am not able to understand and to appreciate those gifts as I should.  Help me to go as far toward understanding and appreciation as I can go today, given my spot on the pathway back to You.  I would drop drama from my list of emotions, as drama is frequently of the ego, and I would leave the ego behind.  Help me to be satisfied by the calm and quiet that only You can give.

Be with me today, as I seek to walk Your world in peace.  Be with me as I seek to understand what You would wish for me to have.  If I have material needs, help me to know what my part is in resolving this as a problem of mine.  Be with me through thick and thin, as I do know that You are.

Thank You for granting me the blessing of feeling Your presence.  You are all that I want.  You will see that everything that I need is graciously provided.  

Amen.

Finding Our Way to God

ACIM Workbook Lesson 315 – for Friday, November 11, 2011

Affirmation:  “All gifts my brothers give belong to me.”

“And everyone who finds the way to God becomes my savior, pointing out the way to me, and giving me his certainty that what he learned is surely mine as well.  (WB458)”

Reflections:

1 – Our Brothers and Sisters Play a Part in Our Salvation

This passage points the way for us, as well as the way we ought to interact with our brothers and sisters who have become our saviors by finding God.  It is a two-way street.  While we may realize that there is much more for to learn, and that others are ahead of us, it is true that only time separates all of us, and time does not really exist (ACIM tenets).  Once started on the pathway, the ending to our home in God is sure.  We learn from the individuals who have walked farther along the pathway than we have, and this applies most precisely to Jesus as our elder brother.

2 – Glimpses of Awakening

All along the way, though, we catch glimpses of Awakening, and at such times we are likely to have epiphanies that help us to know what our next step is to be.  At such times, we easily relax into the guidance of the Holy Spirit to tell us how to interact with others, our brothers and sisters.  We do not force “our” way upon them; there is a course for each teacher of God (a Manual tenet).  As I have said before in this blog, some are ready only for a smile.  Proselytizing frequently does the reverse of its intention.

3 – Only Time Separates Others from Us

Since only time separates our brothers and sisters from ourselves, then their knowledge is ours as well.  We just may not yet recognize how what they have learned can apply to ourselves.  Let us ask for guidance in such cases.  Often we recognize that a friend has a peace about him or her that seems almost supernatural.  Once we have started on the pathway, this experience of seeing salvation, seeing Christ, in the faces of others will build.  Our foreheads will be serene, and we will smile more frequently (from ACIM).  There is a way of being in the world without quite being here.  Those who comprehend as we do will recognize how we have changed, but others will think that we are the same as always, like them.  (These are paraphrases from ACIM.)

4 – A Secret Society

Thus develops a kind of secret society among those who see Christ in their brothers and sisters.  But we are not to be exclusive or use this miracle as a egoic distraction.  The ego is wily, and it will use such thoughts to separate us from others if we let this happen.  And we must join with our brothers and sisters, not think we are in anyway different or better than they are.  Only time separates, and time is an illusion.  All will go home eventually.  Let us help to make that time sooner rather than later.

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

I would ask to see the face of Christ in my brothers and sisters today.  I know that this is a necessary prelude to the experience of Awakening.  I ask to love unconditionally all others as I walk the path to You.  Help me to forgive myself and others for all ego-based thinking and action.  We need to cultivate forgiveness,. and from forgiveness to move to make all of our special relationships holy.  May I make progress in this endeavor today.

I would be careful not to let ego intrude on the intriguing concept of walking this world with others, and being recognized by some of them as being on the pathway to You.  Actually, all of us are on the pathway to You, because there is no other pathway.  But not everybody realizes this, and so time separates us.  May I live in eternity today, aware that time is only an illusion.

Be with me as I turn aside from any and all attack and anger.  May I recognize these actions as the calls for help that they really are.  Help me not to retaliate, and give me guidance about the way that I eliminate this egoic thinking from my mind.  May I enjoy the “secret society” totally without any investment in the ego, but completely with thanks to You for giving me a way to recognize others who have found their way to You.

Amen.

A Quiet Future Filled with Joy

ACIM Workbook Lesson 314 – for Thursday, November 10, 2011

Affirmation:  “I seek a future different from the past.”

“Who can grieve or suffer when the present has been freed, extending its security and peace into a quiet future filled with joy?  (WB457)”

Reflections:

1 – Helen and Bill’s Agreement

What does it mean to have a present that has been “freed”?  According to ACIM, it means that we no longer have an imprisoned will, and it is an imprisoned will that is causing our misery.  We see pain because we have not yet come around completely to a new perception, a perception cleansed by our following of the Holy Spirit.  We must know that there is another way, just as Helen Schucman and Bill Thetford came to recognize.  In the midst of harsh academic politics, Bill exclaimed one day, “There must be another way!”  And Helen immediately promised to help him to find it.  That was the turning point for them, and the scribing of ACIM began soon afterwards by Helen, leading to the turning point for the several million people since who have purchased ACIM, some in languages other than English.

2 – A Freed Present = the Real World?

If we are living in a freed present, what would it look like?  This passage gives indications:  security, peace, a quiet future filled with joy.  Is this not the real world?  Is this not what we have been wanting all along?  (This is an interpretation of my own.)

3 – Heaven on Earth

We will not grieve or suffer when the present has been freed for everyone, for Heaven on earth will have arrived as the comprehensive Awakening of all has finally come.  Jesus says that just as the separation took millions of years, the return may extend over a similar period of time, and perhaps still longer.  This seems a pessimistic statement, but it probably best viewed as realistic–and we will have no trouble comprehending as we look at the conflicted and troubled world in which we live.  Our own little worlds will improve, though, as our projections become cleansed by a mind freed of egoism, and we perceive the good in this world.  No longer dwelling on the wrongs that we may also perceive, we just categorize these wrongs as “insanity,” as illusions (or maya), and while we do what we can to free our brothers and sisters, we do not join them any longer in insanity. Thus our future becomes quiet and joyful, even though we continue to live and work in a world where many things are amiss.  Our attitude changes when we are living under the guidance of the Holy Spirit (an interpretation, not stated as such in ACIM).

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

I would make the same decision that Helen and Bill did, to find “another way” to live in this world.  ACIM points out that glorious way, a movement beyond the separation into salvation that eventually becomes a comprehensive Awakening for all individuals.  We must “be there” for our brothers and sisters, even as we intensively study A Course in Miracles, “our” way.  And some of us may feel led to consider A Course of Love, viewed by some as a sequel to ACIM, also believed by some to be channeled from Jesus.

Help me today to live in the present, and to accept this world even as I reach the conclusion that much that I view is simply insanity.  All of us are aware of the conflict inn which this world is caught.  Not all of us would view this trouble as sourced by the ego, turning our minds to madness.  But ACIM makes this pronouncement, and I would seek to understand this concept through the words that I read daily.  

May we first change ourselves into beings who wish to love without the ego, and then may we reach out to others who are ready for the message we long to give them.  Help me to know that changing myself is the first responsibility, and never are we bade to involve others who are not themselves already seeking.  May I share what is needed by my brothers and sisters today.  May I walk in love, with Jesus as my elder brother, holding me by the hand.  He promises to be with all who ask for him.  Thank You for this comforting thought.

Amen.

Awakening from the Dream of Sin

ACIM Workbook Lesson 313 – for Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Affirmation:  “Now let a new perception come to me.”

“Now let His true perception come to me, that I may waken from the dream of sin and look within upon my sinlessness, which You have kept completely undefiled upon the altar to Your holy Son, the Self with Which I would identify.  (WB457)”

Reflections:

1 – Much Meaning

This brief prayer packs much meaning from ACIM tenets.

2 – True Perception

First, we need “true perception,” because what the egoic mind has projected from within has been a perception that mirrors the inward conflict that the ego always generates.  And this makes a world that seems awry virtually all the time.  With true perception, we are identified with the Self within that is another word for the Christ within (an interpretation, not specifically stated in ACIM).

3 – We Have Been Asleep

Second, we have been asleep, because in the myth Adam fell asleep and nowhere is it said that he awoke (stated in the Text).  God knows that we sleep, because His channels of communication are closed, and He recognizes this, thinking that His children sleep and must be awakened.  We have taught ourselves the most unnatural habit of not communicating with our Creator, and we would undo this; we would commune with God more often, much more often.  (“Unnatural habit” and “communion” with God are Text imperatives.)  If we would stop imagining that we sin, we might stand a chance of recognizing that we have merely made mistakes that are correctable.  We would not condemn ourselves or others.  And we would recognize our sinlessness.  I have had individuals who read this blog say that our innocence is the most difficult concept of A Course in Miracles to believe.

4 – Our Altar Is Undefiled

Third, the altar to the holy Son (or Daughter), the Self, is undefiled, meaning that we are indeed sinless.  Our innocence has been kept pristine throughout the years that we believed that we were separated from God (and in which this separation became believable because we were actually mad).  There will be no comprehensive Awakening until the sanity of the Sons and Daughters of God has once more been recognized.  The Self that is a Son or Daughter has not fallen into insanity, but the egoic mind has made the personal self (a term from A Course of Love) think amiss.  We would change all this, but we cannot effect it ourselves.  And this is where A Course in Miracles says that the Holy Spirit comes in.  We open ourselves to His guidance, we remain flexible in our daily activities to do His bidding, and sooner rather than later God knows that we have dismissed the insanity of the egoic mind and are ready to awaken.

5 – True Perception

May the understanding of true perception effect a miracle in our lives today.  We may not be ready to awaken, but the knowledge that comes to us through ACIM will bring that distant day many years closer.

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

I would awaken, if I had my choice.  But it is Your choice, and I realize that, since Awakening has come only in snatches for me, I am not yet ready for the sustained Awakening that only You can give.  I did once experience six months of Awakening, and that memory is sweet.  But that was a long time ago, and I forget quickly.  Help me not to forget today; help me to remember more of what you taught me in that period of time so long ago.  May my brothers and sisters see glimpses of Awakening along the way also.  Thank You for the blessing of these glimpses.

I would have true perception.  I realize that this is a precursor to Awakening.  I would not let my weakened ego win back strength from guile.  Jesus warned against this in A Course in Miracles.  May my ego just wither away.  I will remain with a strong sense of the Self, which is far beyond the little self that has been monopolized by egoic tendencies.

Help me to reach You today.  I know that You are within, and that all external to me is simply a projection.  All except the intangible love, joy, peace that You bring.  May I experience Your gifts today.  And may I never forget to say “thank you.”

Amen.

Perception Follows Judgment

ACIM Workbook Lesson 312 – for Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Affirmation:  “I see all things as I would have them be.”

“Perception follows judgment.  Having judged, we therefore see what we would look upon.  For sight can merely serve to offer us what we would have.  (WB456)”

Reflections:

1 – We Make the World We See

We do make the world that we see.  This is a reiteration of the oft-repeated refrain in ACIM that projection makes perception.  Surely this is an important point, since it is repeated so often.  It may be hard to imagine that we see the world that we have made, because it is our wish.  But A Course in Miracles says many things that at first glance are hard to accept.  This is one more.

2 – We Interpret What We See

We can have solace in a difficult world by recognizing that the lesson for today indicates that our sight includes our interpretation of what we are seeing.  We can choose the emotion that we will experience by being more careful about what thoughts we entertain.  Richard Carlson (author of Shortcut through Therapy and other Psychology of Mind books) says that feelings follow thought, though we do not often recognize this.  So, if we believe this and take it to heart, we need to be more careful about what we think.  The thought will generate the feeling or emotion that we experience.

3 – We Are Much Too Tolerant of Mind Wandering

Jesus himself in ACIM says that we do not watch our thoughts carefully enough.  We are much too prone to mind wandering (from the Text).  And everything that we think makes form at some level (an ACIM tenet).  We do not understand these levels, and ACIM is not specific about whether or not some levels are on other planes of reality (e.g., the Other Side).  We need to follow Jesus’s advice and say “Stop!” to ourselves when we realize that we have engaged in mind wandering.  It may be seen that much that we make is false and bad for us because we have entertained negative thoughts.  Even popular psychology agrees, in that we are made to understand the self-fulfilling prophecy.

4 – Try Not to Judge Today

Let us make a pact with our closest brothers and sisters not to make judgments today.  If there is someone whom you know who studies ACIM, contact them and ask that they join with you in a day judgment-free.  If not a day, try for an hour at a time.  The results will prove the point of today’s Workbook lesson.

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

I would not judge today.  I would realize anew that what I judge against affects my perception, making an interpretation that is not true.  My interpretations are always wrong when informed by the ego.  And judgment is of the ego.  Help me to keep these thoughts in mind today that I may have a good day.

May I not fall into “mind wandering” today.  This is one of my worst habits.  I sometimes pray aloud to keep my mind from wandering.  Help me in any simple techniques today that will keep me on track when I talk to You, when I commune with You.  I would open my heart, my inner heart, and feel Your presence keenly.  May today be a banner day, filled with the sense of Your presence.

Amen.

In Fearlessness and Love I Spend Today

ACIM Workbook Lesson 310 – for Sunday, November 6, 2011

Affirmation:  “In fearlessness and love I spend today.”

“There is no room in us for fear today, for we have welcomed love into our hearts.  (WB454)”

Reflections:

1 – Love and Fear

This is an important composite of much that the Text tells us.  Love and fear are the only emotions, and everything else that we feel are components of these two.  We need to leave fear behind and to turn, always, to love.

2 – Fear is Persistent

Of course, it is easy to say to leave fear and turn to love.  It is not something that we should ever attempt without divine intervention.  Even when we have studied A Course in Miracles for years, fear will rear its ugly head from time to time.  And we will not always have it within our power to listen to the Holy Spirit when in the throes of an anxiety attack.  Then we need to realize that there is a reason that we are not in this world alone.  We reach outward to our brothers and sisters, sometimes to professional help or pastoral guidance, and we learn more.  Temporarily there may be others who know more than we do (a Manual tenet).

3 – Today’s Lesson as an Affirmation

Used as an affirmation, the lesson for the day is very helpful.  If our fear is only low-grade, the affirmation may help us quite a bit.

4 – Catherine Marshall’s Solution to Fear

Catherine Marshall, though, says that in her experience, affirmations are not powerful enough when she is very fearful.  Walking right up to the fear and staring it in the face seem to work better.  Of course, she and we do not walk alone; we are, indeed, being “carried” by God (from an anecdote told by Hugh Prather).

5 – Welcome Love

When we welcome love into our hearts, we will naturally encounter fewer actions in the outside world that will arouse fear in us.  We will project love, peace, calm to the outer world of our perceptions, because projection makes perception (an ACIM tenet).  The world that we will make at such times will stand us in good stead, in memory, when we are less careful to fill our minds with the Thoughts of God.  The Thoughts of God will always save us.  And this is what we really seek as we try to live, consistently, in love.

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

I would not be fearful nor anxious today.  I would welcome love, which is the only permanent cure to fearful and anxious thoughts and emotions.  Let me rid myself of fear in whatever way seems to help me the most.  I realize that different techniques work at different times and for different people, but Jesus says that the only permanent solution is a return to love.

May I return to love today.  May You join me in this endeavor.  May I turn inward whenever I am beset by worry, and may my assurance that Your Guide is with me be the best means of knowing that all is truly well.  Thank You for being there within me, and may I touch that inner core more and more often.

Amen.

I Am Eternally Innocent

ACIM Workbook Lesson 309 – for Saturday, November 5, 2011

Affirmation:  “I will not fear to look within today.”

“Within me is Eternal Innocence, because it is God’s Will that It be there forever and forever.  His Son, whose will is limitless as is His Own, can will no change in this.  (WB454)”

Reflections:

1 – Looking Within

We sometimes fear to look within because we imagine that we are really despicable creatures.  We fear what we will see if we get a good look within.  But is this realistic?

2 – Mistakes – Not “Sins”

A Course in Miracles says that we are innocent.  We may have made mistakes, in illusion, but we have not “sinned.”  So we must be good on the inside.

3 – Ask for Forgiveness

When we know that we can ask forgiveness of the Universe (we do not have to ask forgiveness of God, because He has never condemned us–an ACIM tenet) and of ourselves, not to mention our brothers and sisters, then all is well.  We need the exercise of asking forgiveness.  It heals our minds.

4 – Avoid Stress = Avoid Anger and Attack

Asking forgiveness also calms us.  And it is normally in our stress that we get into trouble with attack and anger.  When we are at peace, these emotions do not often occur at all.  When we have avoided forgiveness and all that it holds out to us, and we attack or respond in anger, then we need to ask forgiveness of the individual against whom we have judged.  We have judged him or her, or we would not attack.  And our attack, we think, has brought us something that we want.  It has been a defense for ourselves (a Text tenet).  But we do not need defenses.  We are little and weak, in need of defense; we are actually quite strong as we follow the Holy Spirit.

5 – “Eternal Innocence”

“Within me is Eternal Innocence”:  This is a phrase that will mean much to us as we memorize it.  It will give us a day in which we feel justified in God’s Sight.

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

I thank You that You have led me to believe that I have sinned in time, but not in eternity.  And it is only eternity that counts.  I have made mistakes in eternity, but I can ask for correction, and it is mine as soon as I make the request.  Help me to remedy any wrongs that I have perpetrated on my brothers and sisters.  And help me to forgive myself, as well as any wrongs that I have imaged that others have done to me.

Be with me today as I seek to avoid mistakes.  I know that I will always make mistakes that need correction, but I ask to be shown where I am wrong, and I ask to be shown how to make amends immediately.  May I discern the guidance of the Holy Spirit accurately today and every day.

Amen.

Live This Holy Instant Only

ACIM Workbook Lesson 308 – for Friday, November 4, 2011

Affirmation:  “This instant is the only time there is.”

“Thanks for this instant, Father.  It is now I am redeemed.  This instant is the time You have appointed for Your Son’s release, and for salvation of the world in him.  (WB453)”

Reflections:

1 – We Live In the Present Always

There is no past and no future; we live only in the present.  The only exception to this is what we do with our minds.  We can imagine ourselves in the past or the future, but never can be go there.  The time is always–now.

2 – Make This Instant Holy

This instant of time can be a holy instant if we are open to it.  Holy instants are harbingers of the Heaven on earth to which we all are headed.  Holy instants, for which we do not have to prepare (a Text tenet), are evidence of the Holy Spirit’s guidance.  And our blessing will come from the holy instant that He has prepared for us.

3 – In the Now We Are Redeemed

It is only in the Now that we can be redeemed.  What does it mean to be redeemed?  This is another word for salvation, and ultimately for Awakening.  As we practice living in the present, our worries will diminish.  As we see a long “to do” list for the day, we try to go down one item at a time, not looking ahead in frustration that there is too much to do.  Taking one item at a time on  our “to do” list is an example of living in the present, living in the Now.  It is the best way to live, and this ensures that we will live aright.

4 – May We Be Healed Healers

We are meant to bring salvation to the world.  We first become “healed healers,” or what we do will be misguided.  According to ACIM, an “unhealed healer” needs to turn within and seek for his or her own healing.  Then we reach outward.  All of this doesn’t happen at one time, but in repeated evidence that we are not totally healed.  We oscillate between being healed and being unhealed.  And when we recognize that we have fallen into the latter, we are to turn to the Holy Spirit, and, once again, to ask for healing.  He will answer.

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

I would practice living in the Now, the present, today at every point of which I live in awareness.  I would take one item on my “to do” list at a time.  I would not focus on the future, in fretting; and I would not focus on the past, in worry.  I would remain serene and calm in this moment.

Help me to deliver on this intention.  I know that to do so will not be easy.  But You are always there to guide me, and the Holy Spirit, inwardly, leads me home.  Be with me as I seek home often today.

Amen.

To Will Separately from God Is Senseless and Painful

ACIM Workbook Lesson 307 – for Thursday, November 3, 2011

Affirmation:  “Conflicting wishes cannot be my will.”

“Father, Your Will is mine, and only that.  There is no other will for me to have.  Let me not try to make another will, for it is senseless and will cause me pain.  (WB453)”

Reflections:

1 – The Father’s Will and Mine Are Identical

This prayer returns us to the important message that A Course in Miracles gives out to us:  Our will and our Father’s Will are identical.  When we ask for and receive guidance from the Holy Spirit, He chooses for us; He lets us know what we really want.

2 – An Imprisoned Will

Anything else engenders an imprisoned will that brings on pain (a Text tenet).

3 – Revisiting Jonah

It is hard for us who were schooled in the Old Testament (or Hebrew Bible) and the story of Jonah to believe that what God wills for us is exactly what we will for ourselves, if we only knew our own mind.  But it is.  And this is the glorious promise that we are not puppets.  The Holy Spirit chooses for us.  He knows all circumstances–past, present, and future–that will impact any decision, and then He lets us know what decision is best, what we would best choose to say or do (or even think) next.

4 – Judging Amiss

The Manual discusses judgment quite a bit, and it points out to us that we have often thought that we judged aright, only to find out how wrong we have been.  The world, the Manual says, teaches us to rely on judgment as we mature, but this teaching is in direct contrast to A Course in Miracles.  We turn our judgment over to One Who does know, and we are infinitely blessed by this gesture.

5 – When in Conflict, Go Within

If we find ourselves in conflict, the best action that we can take is to go within, to God, to the Holy Spirit, in silence, and to get quiet.  Then the next step will appear without fail.  If it appears not to appear, we have allowed emotions to cloud our thinking.  Be still, wait in confidence, and the next right action to take will come to us.  Especially is this advice important when we find ourselves in conflict with one of our brothers or sisters.  Get quiet, do not engage in debate or argument, and listen to guidance of the Holy Spirit.  Then the conflict will dissipate.

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

I would affirm today by my thoughts and actions that I know that my real will and Your Will are identical.  May I not get lost in foolish thoughts about puppets, thinking that if I do Your will, I will be little more than someone dangling on a string that You control.  This is not the Way.  The Holy Spirit knows what I really want in my heart, and in every way he seeks to have me realize these heartfelt truths also.  I would walk the Way that He directs.  I would not seek to make judgments about what to think or say or do, when it is completely impossible for me to know all the facts.  You do know all the facts, and Your Universal Inspiration will reveal to me what I need to know to walk the right pathway.  Thank You for caring for me enough to give me a Guide Who cannot fail.

Be with me all day today, as I seek to walk Your pathway.  May I intuitively know the next right thing to do, and may I never doubt that this intuition, if informed by Your grace, is the best way for me to go.

Amen.